Why “powder coating” sucks !

Photo of petrol tank showing corrosion
Don’t be fooled by the promise of “powder coating” as being better than paint. It has it’s advantages in the right place, but for bits to be bolted onto a car (or Land Rover) I’d have a proper paint job any day.
Before I launch into rant (fuelled by a day spent on this job), a quick explanation of what powder coating is. Very simply, the article is coated in fine powder of something that can be melted (usually plastic), and it is then baked so that the powder melts and forms a continuous layer. In principal this gives good protection as the article is literally encased in plastic - but that relies on the continuous coat not getting damaged (ha, fat chance !)
On the pictures pages, there are some photos of my 110 and you can see that the petrol tank is “rather rusty” to say the least. At only 2 1/2 years old I’m not very happy. I had to drop the tank to change the petrol pump in preparation for fitting the EFI engine, and I just couldn’t bring myself to stick it back in with all that rust - even though I was short of time. Anyway, a few hours later I’d washed off the black underseal and wire brushed the tank down to bare metal - the picture above is what I was left with.
You can clearly see that the rust has spread in from the edges, lifting the powder coat off as it goes - on this side of the tank it’s lifted off about 1/2 of the area. That is the big problem with powder coat, it’s great as long as it’s 100% intact, but as soon as you have the slightest pinhole in it then the moisture gets in and this is the result. This isn’t an isolated problem, between us a friend and myself have used several of these tanks and gas cylinder cradles - and every one of them has ended up like this. I’ve seen all sorts of stuff (including bumpers, bull bars, winch mounts) from all sorts of suppliers and they’ve all had the same problem.
Photo of petrol tank after painting
Paint will do the same, but in my experience, if you get decent adhesion then it progresses a LOT slower. Best of all is galvanising, but for small one-off items it’s rather pricey as most places have minimum charges - there’s also the issue of leaving the items for a week or so while they are done.
To the right is the same tank after painting (red oxide primer and black top coat) and a quick brush over with Waxoyl.
Next time I’m buying tanks or cradles, I’ll be asking for them to be delivered unpainted - it’ll save the effort of grit blasting off their powder coat before I paint it properly !