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How to Paint Raw Sliders

Posted by Mark Hawley on

How to paint Raw Sliders -  There are lots of ways to do this. This is one way w/o the use of power tools.

Stuff you need:

2 Red Scotch Brite pads

1 Car wash size bucket (make sure no car wash residue is in the bucket, some have waxes etc in them that you do       not want)

1 Single-use pack of the cheapest laundry detergent powder (has to be powder) you can find. (Coin Op Laundry mat     vending machine stuff, or $1 store)

1 Pair of rubber dish type gloves (the gauntlet kind that goes up your forearms, again $1 store)

2 Old bath towels

Primer: Paint of choice

Top Coat: paint of choice

Hose + access to water. BEST results hot water. At least use hot water in your wash bucket, then cold on the hose.

Note on water: Using hot water is the best for wash and rinse. Not everyone has a hot water spigot on the side of their house. However, there is one on the back of your laundry washing machine and sometimes at your hot water heater. I personally have run a 50' hose into my house to the laundry room. I even did this in college at my apartment complex! If cold is all you have for the hose, that's fine just fill your wash bucket with the hottest water you can stand.

Note on the weather: If it's a hot sunny day, let the sliders pre-bake in the sun for a bit. They will get real hot careful handling them. But having them hot will help with the cleaning. If COLD, warm them up a bit like in your house overnight, then move them where you can wash them. I would never suggest washing them in your tub or shower inside...... 


#1 most important step is the prep. You have to remove all oils, weld splashes etc. paint pen markers, sharpie marks from the guy bending the tube, etc. it all has to come off. We are using the cheapest laundry detergent since its basically alkali that is a harsh cleaner and its cheap. Alkali is how most of the powder coating companies prep parts, hot pressure washers with alkali washdowns. (sandblasting is better overall but not all have that)

1. Glove up - this stuff will eat your skin.

2. Mix your full packet of Laundry detergent into the bucket with HOT water. Get it to dissolve all the way.

3. Do one slider at a time now

4. Using a red Scotch Brite pad as a washcloth, scrub the sliders hard. Keep dipping the pad back in the hot water and focus on the joints and weld areas. Take your time this step is the #1 most important step. As you're scrubbing, the scotch pad is scratching up the surface of the sliders and the Alkali will etch the metal too as its removing oils. If you're done in less than 20 min, you went too fast. That extra 10 min of time will pay off.

5. Rinse the one slider you just spent 20+ min scrubbing. You want to get 100% of all the alkali soap off of it. Hot water is best as it warms the steel so it will flash dry better.

6. Towel dry the slider the best you can. Move it somewhere it will stay dry and can keep flashing off the water. Summer = in the sun, Winter = in your house.

7. Do the other slider.


You need to paint your sliders once they are fully dried. Do not let them sit for a few days as they can start to flash rust due to how clean they will be from the combination of the Scotch Brite pad and alkali wash.

1. Stand the sliders up on there mounting feet. If they will not stand on their own, use some boxes off the backside. Try to keep the top and outside edge unobstructed as that is the part you will see once on your truck.

2. Follow the directions for your primer. Thin coats are far better than one thick one.

3. Follow the directions for your top coat of paint. USE THIN coats. Take your time to do them slowly. Follow the instructions on how to let them cure and fully gas off before handling or starting to install them.

Notes on using bed liner:

We hear this desire a lot. Ok to use just fully prep and paint them first. A bed liner will peel away when it hits the stuff the sliders are meant for. Also, parking lot door dings can peel them away. Bed liner is also very hard to "touch up" so eventually, it is kinda chunky and flaky looking.

Notes on "step" areas:

Hardware stores have grip tape. It's great stuff and works well with any painted (including powder coat) slider. To help it stick and stay on longer do it when your sliders are new and freshly painted. Also when you cut strips of it, round the corners a bit. This will help keep it from lifting up.

Mark Hawley

Founding owner of Metal-tech 4x4

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