ah painting, a place that can have as many varying opinions as what truck to by
hey bill you have a few options to consider before painting. obviously sandblasting would be the most professional but, after you get the quotes (i have no idea what it will cost, never had anything blasted before) take some time to ask yourself if it will really be worth it? i mean it is gonna get roughed up again, more than likely it will get roughed up quickly too. would you be better off taking an hour or so to scuff everything with red scotch pads, hitting the real rough patches with a 36 grit disc and then just using the red primer rustoleum makes specifically for rusted metal then paint over that? up here it's $33 or so for a gallon. just beware that the metal must still be rusty. i used it on a plow years ago (it was all i had) that i had completely sanded with 24 grit so it was almost clean and while it appeared to adhere paint and primer came off the first time we used it. needless to say i learned my lesson the hard way lol
now then if you do have it sandblasted my personal preference for primer would be the spray cans of rustoleum professional grey. they're a pita on big projects cause that kind is only sold in spray can but neither i nor my dad (who's been an autobody repair/painter for 30+yrs) have ever seen a primer stand up to more abuse than that stuff.
as for paint, i've always used rustoleum for projects like that. heck we even painted the gmc with it a few years ago but i gotta tell ya i am really impressed with the way the valspar i got a tractor supply has held up on the plows. i don't know if it's just because they sell the hardner for it or what but i think from now on that's what i'll be using for paint
ok imma get off my soap box now