Painting Your Outboard Motor

Give your outboard new color with the Quantum 2K kit.
Painting Your Outboard Motor
Quick Tip: A heat gun or blow dryer is helpful in loosening old decals, but be careful not to overheat and damage the fiberglass cowl and shroud. Use denatured alcohol to remove the adhesive residue. Tim Barker

Today, many outboard motors are available in colors to complement the shade of your boat. Honda, Mercury and Suzuki, for example, all offer their outboards in at least two colors; Evinrude lets you add custom side plates and accents from a wide spectrum of color choices.

There are also companies that paint motors. The Miami-based Outboard Paint Shop, for instance, will paint an outboard in the 250 to 400 hp range for $1,200.

Yet there is a more economical, DIY option. The proprietary Quantum paint system from Engineered Marine Coatings (EMC2) utilizes a hybrid acrylic- polyester topcoat — a technology developed for the aerospace industry — to create an extremely durable and professional-looking finish.


The Quantum 2K aerosol kit is available in a wide range of colors. No special mixing or spray equipment is required. You don’t need to remove the engine from the boat to undertake this project, but the boat needs to be out of the water.

Getting Started
Skill Level: 3/5
Time to Complete: Approx. 12-15 Hours (per outboard)

Tools and Supplies
* 350- to 400-grit sandpaper
* 2,500- to 3,000-grit wet sandpaper
* Rubber gloves
* Ventilator
* Protective glasses
* Aluminum foil
* Denatured alcohol
* Degreaser
* Clean rags
* Heat gun
* Orbital buffer with wool pad
* 3M Imperial or Farecia Profile 300 compound
* 3M Perfection or Farecia Profile 500 compound
* Tool kit for disassembly and reassembly
* Fresh vinyl decals (check out our story on custom decals:

Painting Your Outboard Motor
Step 1 Tim Barker

1. Disassemble and Wash
Remove the cowl, the shroud from the midsection, and any plastic pieces or appliques that might interfere with the painting process. Remove the rubber seal around the bottom of the cowl and any other rubber grommets or gaskets that might interfere with painting exterior surfaces. Wash all surfaces to be painted with soap and water; use a degreaser such as Star brite Ultimate Extreme Clean to remove grease and dirt from around the bracket and under the motor cowling. Carefully peel off any decals. Use a scouring pad and powdered bleach solution to scrub all surfaces clean. Rinse well with clean water.

Painting Your Outboard Motor
Step 2 Tim Barker

2. Prep and Mask
Sand all surfaces to be painted with 350- to 400-grit sandpaper. Use a power sander on broad surfaces, but you might need to hand-sand hard-to-reach spots such as around the bracket and lower unit. Wipe all surfaces with the Quantum SR-002 surface cleaner and a lint-free rag, then immediately wipe it clean. Use the tape and drape provided in the kit to mask off the top of the motor, propeller and surrounding areas of the stern to avoid overspray on the boat. Tape off all grease fittings, zinc anodes and plastic pieces you were unable to remove. Mask exterior wires and tilt/trim rods with aluminum foil.

Painting Your Outboard Motor
Step 3 Tim Barker

3. Paint the Parts
Choose a windless day with low humidity and temperatures around 72 degrees. Protect the uncured finish from evening dew by starting early in the day or working in a covered area. Spray the dry surfaces with a medium coat of the Quantum 45-X-115 K adhesion promoter and let dry for five minutes. Shake the Quantum 99-2KA-Color for one minute. Remove the red button at the top of the can and insert it in the nozzle at the bottom of the can, then shake for another minute. Spray all surfaces with a light tack coat; let dry for 45 minutes, then apply a medium coat. After 45 minutes, apply additional coats as needed to create a glossy topcoat on all surfaces.

Painting Your Outboard Motor
Step 4 Tim Barker

4. Reassemble and Debug
Allow the final coat to dry for 24 hours. Then remove all masking materials. Carefully reattach and reassemble all parts. If a bug or debris marred the finish while painting, wet-sand the spot with 1,500- to 2,000-grit wet sandpaper until the blemish is eliminated and the desired smoothness is achieved. Wipe the surface with a clean rag, then use 3M Imperial or Farecia Profile 300 compound with an orbital buffer with a wool pad at 1,500 to 2,000 rpm. Use medium pressure and lighten as the compound dries. Wipe with a clean rag, then repeat with 3M Perfection or Farecia Profile 500. Wipe clean and let cure for seven days. Apply fresh vinyl decals, if you wish.

Painting Your Outboard Motor
Painting Your Outboard Motor Tim Barker

How Many Cans?
Each Quantum 2K kit can be custom packed based on your motor size. It includes Quantum SR-002 Surface Prep/Clean, Quantum Adhesion Promoter, Quantum 2KA spray cans, rags, gloves, Scotch pad, tape and draping. If you are painting a six-cylinder outboard with a 25-inch shaft length, expect to use two cans of the Quantum 45-X-115 K adhesion promoter and four cans of the Quantum 99-2KA-Color topcoat.