Applying Herculiner

Paint-on Armor

Tired of smelling your musty old rugs that never seem to stay in place?  Can you feel the rust forming under that damp rug?  Is your Jeep's floor in need of protection?  Herculiner is one solution for these problems.  Herculiner is a polyurethane liner that was created for pick-up truck beds.  Suspended in the polyurethane are tiny little rubber beads that both provide a slight layer of added protection and a bit of traction, too.  The best part is, it is a do-it-yourself product that makes the liner a bit more affordable.  It will take some time to do the job properly, so plan ahead and set aside a weekend to get to know your Jeep!

What You'll Need

The typical Herculiner Install Kit comes with a gallon of Herculiner, a 2" paint brush, two 3" foam rollers, a roller brush, one 3m abrasive pad, a silly paint can lid remover, and instructions.  Besides a weekend, you will also need about a quart of Xylene (or Xylol, a slow-drying industrial-strength thinner), some rubber gloves, more scouring pads, a paint tray, paint mixer (a good stick will do), masking tape, clean-up rags, a large screw driver (to really get the lid off), and some old clothes.  If rust is visible, you will also need a wire brush and some chemical rust remover.   Compressed air and a sander may be helpful, too.

How To

The instructions that are included in the kit are very clear and complete.  The following details are specific to installing Herculiner into a Jeep.

Step 1 Start by removing as much as you can from the interior of the Jeep.   Did you get everything out?  Keep going until the seats, seatbelts, rugs, Velcro holding the rugs, center console, shifter boots, shifter cover plate, gas pedal, all 12 drain plugs (1"), any accessories bolted to the floor (speakers, fire extinguishers, tool boxes, etc), and if you can, the roll bar.
Step 2 Clean out the interior as best as you can, and then a little better.   Start by taking a shop vac to the inside to remove as much of the dirt and debris as possible.  When the big stuff is out, take a brush and a garden hose and work your way around the edges and corners.  For the really tight places, an old toothbrush works well.
HRL - ruff inside.jpg (64319 bytes) Diverging a bit from the Herculiner instructions, this is where you can now attack any rust, or address any body work that may be needed.  I used a die grinder (with a 3m scrubber disc) to remove any subtle rust spots (usually in the vicinity of the bolt holes, or where the paint had been scraped off).  For the bigger areas, I used a 5" disc sander attachment on an electric drill.
HRL - Xylol.jpg (54553 bytes) Once everything has been ruffed-up, wash out the tub (again) and wipe it down with a damp rag to remove all the paint dust and excess material.  Then, take another rag and clean THE ENTIRE SURFACE TO BE TREATED with Xylene (or Xylol).  This process is to insure that any grease or other chemical residue is removed from the metal.   The Xylene will take about a half-hour to an hour to dry.
HRL - taping edges.jpg (85434 bytes) Now for one of the most important steps, taping.  I found having a roll of 1" and a roll of 2" masking tape worked best.  You want to tape off anything you don't want the Herculiner to adhere on in the vicinity of its application.   Take your time and make sure the tape has no folds or bubbles for the liner to seep beneath.  Start at one corner and go all the way around.  Also keep in mind the height of the 3" roller, if you think you'll be rolling next to the taped area (use the 2" wide tape).
HRL - plugging holes.jpg (57031 bytes) After taping the edges, and covering parts you don't want lined, now cover the threaded holes with tape.  Cover the hole with tape, and then cut around the edges with a razor.
Gator gloves.jpg (64360 bytes) Now you are almost ready to apply the Herculiner.  It is advisable to contemplate everything you'll need to have ready at this point.  Once you start (open the lid) you will have to move quickly so that the liner doesn't begin to set up.   Speaking of opening the lid, this will take some work as their lids WILL NOT open accidental!  (You'll know what I'm talking about when you do this yourself.)  As the Herculiner will stick to everything it touches, make sure you have your old clothes on and plenty of good quality gloves at your disposal.  (The Xylene will zip through a weak glove if you're not careful.)
HRL - first coat front.jpg (94682 bytes) First, stir the Herculiner VERY THOROUGHLY to mix all the rubber particles consistently (the rubber will be in a big mass at the bottom of the can).  When it's ready, start applying the first coat with the 2" brush by going around the edges, corners, and those hard to reach spots - anywhere the roller won't fit or where you don't want to make any mistakes.  Use the tip of the brush to dab at the areas, don't "brush" with it.  When all the tight spots are covered, now take the roller and fill in the remaining area.

It is recommended that the first coat only needs to be lightly applied - as a primer.  Don't cover the area too thickly at this point.

HRL - accessories.jpg (120337 bytes) If you have any accessories, or other parts you plan on covering, now is the time to hit those items.  Other items may include the bottom side of your tool box, transmission access plate cover, the tail gate, etc.
HRL - spot cleaning.jpg (87673 bytes) Once the first coat is applied, make sure the lid of the can is back on.   Put the 2" paint brush in a can with Xylene to keep it from setting-up.   There is about an hour wait before applying the second coat.  During this time, take a rag and the can of Xylene and carefully spot-check the inside AND outside of the Jeep for signs of unwanted Herculiner.  This will be one of the last times you will be able to remove the stuff!
HRL - second coat front.jpg (90200 bytes) After the first coat is no longer tacky to the touch (about an hour), get the paint brush out of the can and wash off all the thinner.  Again, mix up the Herculiner and begin the second coat just as you did the first by going around and hitting all the edges and corner with the tip of the brush.  Then fill in the rest of the area with the roller.  Toss the first roller and apply the fresh second one for this coat.
HRL - remove tape.jpg (88779 bytes) Once the second coat is applied, remove all the tape before the liner sets up.  Don't forget all the bolt holes you covered, too.

The liner will take several hours to dry (and about 24 hours to cure).  It will be better if you wait for the liner to harden before you install all the parts removed in Step 1.  Again, go around and spot-check for any signs of unwanted Herculiner and immediately remove them with the Xylene!

HRL - complete.jpg (76874 bytes) After the liner has dried (the next day), you can now install the interior.  If you can wait a while, hold off on installing anything that will slide around or scuff-up the interior until after the liner has fully cured.
Step 14 Make sure you properly dispose of any unused product - don't just toss it in the trash.