Personally I can not stand the color of the Metalcloak lift kit. Short of a bright green, orange, or yellow, I can't think of a worse color. However, to compound the problem, they didn't paint the parts, they zinc plated them, which make them difficult to paint. If they had powder coated the parts or simple painted them, giving them a new color would be a snap, but zinc is a surface that paint has a hard time sticking to.

Here is the proper way to get rid of the ugly and give your Metalcloak arms a new durable finish that will last for years to come. It is probably best to install the lift and dial in all the control arm lengths, then take them off and prep and paint them assembled. I couldn't install my lift for several weeks because of other missing parts so I took them apart and painted the parts individually. I'll have to climb under the jeep and do some touch-up painting once I get the arms adjusted. Please note that there are three different types of joint on a Metalcloak lift for the JK, straight, narrow bent, and wide bent. The rear uppers are narrow and the front uppers are wide.

1) (If you've already installed the lift, you can skip this step.) Unthread the forged ends from the arms. It's impossible to know exactly what the finished length of the arms will be so don't bother guessing.

2) Start by wiping down the arms with a clean rage soaked with a solvent like acetone to remove any oils left behind from the production process. Pay close attention to the snap-ring areas since you know they lube those bushings so there will definitely be something there that has to go, however don't submerge the joint in solvent since you don't want to remove or break down the lubricant inside the joint, just clean the outside. Also don't remove the grease on the threaded portions of the forged ends, just tape off the threaded portion and clean the joint end only. The threaded portion that remains exposed after installation will get cleaned and painted after installation.

zinc plated arm
Metalcloak arm in all it's golden horror

3) Sand the arms thoroughly. I used 320 grit 3M SandBlaster Ultra Flexible sandpaper.

4) Steel wool the retaining ring/washer area of the joints. It's crucial to get paint to stick here since these ares will be the parts most susceptible to rust. The small ledges and grooves will hold salty water all winter long and the thin metal of the snap ring and washer are the last pieces we want to fail.

5) Wipe down again with acetone just before painting to make sure all oils are gone.

Preped Metalcloak arm ready for primer
Metalcloak arm sanded, steel-wooled, and ready for paint.

6) Using an acid-etching primer, like Eastwoods #16114 spray several light coats. Obviously read the directions on the can to find rest time time between coats and before top coating. Sometimes there is a limited window of time when you can top coat, and if you wait to long you may need to sand the primer before top coating. Also, acid-etching primer is nasty stuff in the fumes department so I strongly recommend an appropriate respirator.

Primed Metalcloak arm ready for paint
Metalcloak arm primed and ready for paint.

Primed Metalcloak arms waiting to be painted
Metalcloak arm primed and ready for paint.

7) Top-coat with the paint of your choice, I chose the excellent Hammerite paint in "Hammered Black". This paint hardens to a very durable and slippery surface that holds up well to contaminants and oils. Hammerite paint builds up quickly so I will have a VERY thick coat of paint with 4 or 5 coats. Another benefit of Hammerite paint is that it can go right over rust, so if a few years from now I've developed some rusty scratches on my control arms I can paint right over it.

Metalcloak arm with a coat of Hammerite paint
Metalcloak arm with several coats of Hammerite paint.

Metalcloak arms with a coat of Hammerite paint

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© Mike Riley 2016.