Saturday, September 30, 2006

Project 16 - Prepping and Priming

The Porsche was joined this week by a second car. This is the silver 911 from Criagslist in San Francisco. We've rescued it. It's a gorgeous car. It has 8" polished Fuchs on the back, sport seats and some sort of performance suspension - don't know what exactly. It needs a frame pull, but that shouldn't be too tough to accomplish. It's also jammed in reverse but my bet is that it's nothing more than a broken selector rod. But, this is the next project after the red one is finished.

OK. Three tasks today. Beef up the fiberglass bumpers, final strip the rest of the car and put primer on it.

Chris decided the edges of the GT-Racing bumper weren't thick enough to withstand street use. He also wanted to mildly reshape the edge of the opening, bringing it more vertical. So a lip was added on top of some foam. The foam was then cut out along with the original lip and the whole shebang got four more layers of cloth. The whole thing was DA'd down, then filled with putty and final smoothed.
I took the burliest, hairiest braided wire wheel I could find and using my 4 1/2" grinder, I ground out all the original body filler on the rear quarters. The mud was 1/2" thick. Chris then took a hammer and dolly to it and smoothed it out. It was final mudded with a light coating. This is the appropriate use of body filler and is fine by me. It's Evercoat Z-Grip in case you're wondering. The picture below shows the final product.

This is the other side.

I decided I'd sandblast the door jambs. I have a sandblaster that I bought from Harbor Freight. It's the pressurized canister type. The first time I used it a few weeks ago, the hose broke. I replaced the hose and then the sand i was using jammed it up. I was using PlaySand that was strained, but it didn't work. So this week I bought a 100 lb bag of actual sandblasting sand. It's very fine. When I got it home, however, I dropped it accidentally and spilled it all over the driveway. I spent 30 minutes cleaning out my shop-vac so I could suck it up. I then stored it in there until this morning. This morning I emptied the 50 lbs of PlaySand from the blaster and put it in a bag. I then loaded the blaster with the blasting sand. This worked for about 45 minutes. It was killer while it lasted, but, as to be expected from this cheapo thing, it blew its hose again. I then went to Lowes to buy new hose clamps, reinstalled the hose and then never could get good pressure again. I finally gave up. If someone wants to buy it, let me know.

Here's another shot of the beefed up edge of the bumper.

And this is a shot of the lengthened and strengthened mounting lip. You can refer to a previous project where we lengthened the lip on the flare. This will make a nice wide mounting flange to help spread the load. We'll also make a pair of steel bookends that we can use to clamp the upper and lower lips together. I think we may even do a couple of captive nuts to make things easy on us.
We then pulled the car out and cleaned up. It was still early so we decided to prime the doors.

We mixed too much paint, so we decided to prime the top of the car.

Officially, we've reached the Peter Egan state of Automotive Restoration Nirvana.

Tomorrow or next week we'll put the flares on.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Project 15 - Doors and Modifying the Fiberglass

What is it about car doors? There's no motor in there. There's nothing that should be spouting grease, yet, lurking inside every car door I've ever seen is the nastiest, stickiest, blackest goop I've ever seen. Hence, there are no pictures of me disassembling the door.

I'll summarize the operation for you. The Haynes tells you how to do each of the tasks associated with disassembling the door, but it doesn't tell you what order to do it in, in the event you are actually removing the door.

First, before you remove the switches, lower the window to half mast. Second, remove the window frame. Third, remove the bolts that hold in the riser mechanism and slide the window down. Next, remove the door trim, the outer and the inner squeegee. The outer squeegee will need to be popped out with the tip of a scraper.

After that, remove the window (you can get the window out first but you'll likely end up with a bruise on your chin when it pops free and smacks you - fortunately, I have a goatee so no one will notice). Disconnect the riser mechanism from the motor and remove them separately from the inside of the door.

Disconnect all the electrical junk, snip off the tip of the biggest plug - it goes to the power door lock and it won't fit through the hole. If you have one of those fancy shmancy baum tools you can use it but otherwise, I figure this is exactly the sort of thing they make heat shrink tubing for.

Remove the door check pivot. We cut it off with a whiz wheel then pounded the remainder out with a punch. Afterwards, take a short pry bar and a big dead blow hammer and press out the pins. Have one person sit on a rolling stool and prop the door on their knee while the other person fishes out all the wires.

Question: would it have hurt to make the holes just a little bit bigger? heilige scheiss fledermausmann...

Repeat as necessary and remember, installation is the reverse of removal.

Here we've DA'd and prepped the door for painting.

Doesn't look like much was accomplished does it? Well it took all day... The biggest hint I can give you is not to remove all the bolts you can find on the door at once. That's bad. The second biggest hint is to roll the window half-way down before you disconnect your battery and remove the switches. Don't think that just because you have the car mostly disassembled that you can skip this step. You can't. Don't try. Trust me.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Project 14 - Strip back half and top, more prep and disassembly

Long weekend this week. We started Saturday morning with taping the car up.

While I was stripping, Chris was adding extensions to the inner fender flare lips. The lips on the inside of the GT-Racing Flares are too short to be of any use. By lengthening them we can use them to make a firm connection to the front bumper. All the flares and bumpers will need either to be extended or reinforced.

These additions look a little rough, but they'll be smoothed out by the time they're installed.

Here are the results of the stripping.

Here's how I convinced the rear window to come out. You just keep moving the last screwdriver up until you're at the front of the window and then step outside, grab the window and pull.
We rolled the front lip a little. We might roll a little more.

That's it for now. This week I'll need to continue to DA down to the edges. Next weekend, we'll continue to prep. Sometime either during the week or next weekend we'll manage to get the rest of it primed. I bought some new paint guns and I want to see how they do.

On another note, I lost all of last weekend becuase the Miata blew a head gasket. I had to pull it, get it machined back flat (it was .010" out) and put it back on.

I lost part of this weekend because the new compressor I bought decided to go towards the light. That cost a good three or four hours. Chris and I can deadlift it up and down onto a pickup truck bed in 5 minutes, but it takes Home Depot two hours to find a fork lift and a fork lift driver and then take it off your truck (Jim's truck - thanks Jim). Then, since, they can't wait, it takes another hour for them to find a different fork lift and a different fork lift driver to put the new one back on the truck. Sheesh. This time I bought the extended warranty. It says guaranteed 100% duty cycle, so I'm going to test it out.

That's it.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Project 13 - Priming Front Clip

Today, I got up really early, went to Starbucks, and cranked up the new compressor at 8am (don't want to violate those neighborhood noise ordnances).

It took a little over 3 hours to DA it down to shiny metal.

We then went to a movie. We saw Barnyard. What's up with the male cow's? I guess that production company grew up in the city.

After that, about 4pm or so, Chris (the guy in the next picture) came over and we taped the car off. Chris, incidentally, is the brains behind this here operation. He owned his own body shop for five years - now he's in finance and, I guess, misses working on cars. Either that or he's a glutton for punishment because he keeps coming over and working on the car. Good thing, too.

Here's the car taped off.

Next we sprayed it with metal etching primer. This is a step that most body and restoration shops skip. It isn't visible in the final product (meaning it won't make it look any better) but it will yield a higher quality more durable finish. The metal etch binds up surface level gunk that's left behind after sanding and cleaning. Technically, metal starts to oxidize (rust) the second you're done sanding it. You can't see it, but that's what's happening at a microscopic level. The metal etch locks that stuff up so it can do no harm.

It burns my nose when I breath it - wear NIOSH approved vapor masks and ventilate the daylights out of your work room. I had a light breeze through the shop.

It's actually dark green in color and kind of translucent. The front clip took a quart of the stuff and you can still sort of see through it. It was $28 including the catalyst.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Project 12 - Stripping

OK. Step 1 Tape it up.

Other side
Step 2: Apply stripper, then wait.

It looks like the plants in War of the Worlds.

Step 3: Scrape paint into a box (it melts plastic).

Step 4: Pressure wash what's left.

Step 5: Go buy a biga$$ compressor so your friggin' DA Sander works like it's supposed to (that, by the way, will take all day and involve 14 trips to two Home Depots). I'm the one standing behind the compressor. The guy in front is Jim - I never would have gotten the compressor installed without him.

Here it's partially DA'd. It was too hot and I was too tired to continue after deadlifting the compressor off the truck then wrestling it into position.

Project 11 - Taking stuff off

This was a simple day. All I did was take off the front lights, the wipers, that little grill on the hood and the lights and reflectors on the back.

The lights were really disgusting and the retaining bolts had to be drilled through.