Thanks for the update! Are you painting the racks with anything special?
I have a few racks & bumpers to repaint this winter... and I am undecided on the paint type I should try this time? So I am looking for ideas for a durable finish... :-)
So sorry. I seemed to have overlooked your question until now.
I'm still not sure which paint will be the most durable. I guess that depends upon how you use your front and rear racks. LOL. I load 25 lb bags on corn on mine. Sliding the bags on and off will scratch the racks. Also, sometimes I strap a soft cooler on the front and my backpack on the rear but this usually causes no problems. These racks are on my Rancher and I used Rustoleum Metal spray paint. Not only does it scratch easily it has faded after only a few months.
On the Recon I used two different paints for the front and rear. Why? I bought a can of Krylon Automotive paint and used the entire can on the rear rack and rear diff cover. I had two cans of Krylon Fushion on hand and decided to use it on the other rack and metal parts to see which one will hold up the best. There is little difference in the color appearance of the paint but the automotive paint has a much smoother finish and is harder to the touch. I think it will be more durable. I chose a semi-gloss in both brands.
As you know, it's all about the preparation in painting. As i said in another post, I highly recommend "Total Solution" rust converter for priming. I have used it for years on other metal projects including wrought iron. It seems expensive but when you realize how long 1 quart will last it's very inexpensive. You can coat a rear rack with about 1/4 cup and that's for 2 coats. Of course you'll waste your time if your metal is perfectly cleaned with no rust present. There are cheaper products to use in that case. Also, it does not adhere well to factory paint. You need to sand it lightly for best adhesion. Look at my post for examples of how this product looks after applied. It's really amazing. The best part is that you do not have to apply paint over it if you don't want to. It dries to a black color. I think it's perfect when you want to touch up rusty spots from time to time without having to paint the entire area.
I used a wire wheel in my drill followed by hand sanding with the last being 220 grit. I cleaned the racks with Acetone. I applied the Total Solution. 2 coats, and let it cure about 2 days. I applied a light coat of paint followed by another light coat 30 minutes later, per instructions. After about 1 hour I applied a third heavier coat. Most people don't realize the importance of following the time instructions to ensure a proper bonding of the paint. I like to wait a least a week for the paint to cure.
If the Krylon Fusion and/or Krylon Automotive paint do not hold up I'm going to try Benjamin Moore metal paint since I have a gallon on hand. It's a great paint for other metals but I'm not sure how it would hold up on ATV racks. I know that it does not fade in sunlight. LOL
One day I want to try a epoxy paint. It's expensive so I'll eliminate the other paints first. LOL