Product Reports—

August 1, 2008 | By Larry Lyles

Unicoil—Bending Straight Hoses Into Shape

Here is another one of those products you knew you needed long before you could actually purchase one. Sold under the Unicoil brand by Gates Corp. and under the EZ-Coil brand by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the Unicoil’s stainless steel coil and metal spine allows you to bend any straight hose on your ride into the shape needed up to 90 degrees to obtain a custom fit.

Available to fit 1/2-, 5/8- and 3/4-inch inner diameter hoses, the Unicoil works on just about any type of hose including water, air, emissions, fuel, and oil to allow you to route the hose without worry of getting kinks or crushing the hose.

I put the Unicoil to the test on my Charger where the heater control valve has a short bent hose that previously had to be special ordered. The Unicoil let me use a standard 5/8-inch hose and bend it to fit without any kinks.

Unicoil products are available at O’Reilly Auto Parts, CARQUEST, Auto Zone, Checker Auto Parts, Pep Boys and other automotive parts dealers.

Gates Corp., 1551 Wewatta St., Denver, CO 80202; ; www.gates.com; Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 1144 East Market St., Akron, OH 44316-0001; ; www.Goodyear.com

DeVilbiss Auto Paint and Priming System

Thinking about trying your hand at painting? Here’s a good place to start, with the DeVilbiss Auto Paint and Priming System sold by Eastwood (Part #12506).

Here’s what you get: two full size HVLP spray guns, one set up with a 1.3mm spray tip and the other set up with a 1.8mm spray tip, two 20 oz. aluminum cups, and an extra 1.5mm spray tip that will fit either gun. That lets you spray everything from heavy-bodied primers to base color coats to final clear coats plus everything else in between.

The guns come in a great blow molded carrying case that lets you keep everything neatly packaged, clean and safe from harm.

Inside the case you will find a tool kit for disassembling the guns for cleaning, a cleaning kit to keep the guns working at their best and a pressure regulator to be sure you have the right amount of air moving through the guns.

It all looks nice, but I learned a long time ago to move past the looks and think only about the performance. After all, if the gun doesn’t perform up to standards no amount of spraying expertise is going to improve on the final result. Here are my findings:

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Using the 1.8mm spray tip I loaded both guns with urethane primer/surfacer, in this case PPG brand, and sprayed a couple of test panels. Both guns performed best with the spray pattern set to give a six-inch-wide pattern. Wider patterns had a tendency to spray dry, narrower patterns went on a little too heavy. That was to be expected.

Next I installed the 1.5mm spray tip and repeated the test with the urethane primer. The results were very similar, but I think the 1.5mm tip is better suited to the urethane than is the 1.8mm tip. I’d probably opt for the 1.8mm should I need to spray something very heavy, such as Eastwood’s Rust Converter product.

Next I moved to base color coats. I switched to the 1.3mm tip and sprayed both a solid color base and a metallic base. The solid color sprayed evenly and flowed out nicely. The metallic color was another issue altogether. It has a tendency to mottle and became somewhat blotchy with the second coat. I overcame that issue by boosting the inlet psi up to 32 psi from 30 psi and spraying a light mist coat immediately following the final color coat. The mist coat helped the metallics to orient themselves within the paint layer and eliminated the mottling effect.

Next I loaded the guns with acrylic enamel. Now here is a place where these guns excelled. I had absolutely no mottling problems; I had no runs, and very little orange peel.

After that came the clear coats. I wish I had better news here, but neither gun performed beyond what I would call average. The clear coats had a tendency to orange peel and nothing I did to alter the pattern, such as change my application speed, adjust the inlet psi, or over reduce the mix produced much of an improvement.

So here is the bottom line: I like the kit. I really like having the case with all of the attachments to help keep the guns clean and working anytime I need them. DeVilbiss is a top name in spray guns so I believe the guns will last for many years given proper care and cleaning. The only place I felt the guns were lacking was spraying clear coats. But then as the old saying goes, “clear coats reflect the price of the gun.”

I would buy these guns (about $125 for the set); use the heck out of them to spray primers, sealer and color coats, but then shop for a top-quality spray gun that can be dedicated to spraying clear coats only.

The Eastwood Company—263 Shoemaker Rd., Pottstown, PA 19464, ; www.eastwood.com