Sunday, November 26, 2006

Project 21

This is a summary of a multi-day project started on Saturday a week ago yesterday. We were able to get 3 and a half solid days of work on the car. I can't remember quite what we did when, but it's all here.

To recap our last episode, it was decided that the wing was shite. We then ripped off the bottom molding and wailed away at it with various implements of distruction to include whiz wheels, sanders, air saw, two pry bars, a couple of big screwdrivers and a dead-blow hammer. We then decided to mount what was left on the factory steel decklid.

This is a general picture showing it clamped down.
We had to sever the crosspiece from the wing, reposition it and glass it back up. We also had to prep the inside edge of the wing, where it meets the metal to insure a good mounting surface.

Same thing at the back.

The next thing we did was epoxy it on and clamp and screw it down.

So, obviously, the hard part of doing this is blending the top of the wing onto the steel in such a way that it flows with the body, maintains all the appropriate lines and, well, looks right. After the bonding and initial sanding, the top looked like the pic above.

After 6 hours of work and the application of liberal amounts of elbow grease this is the finished product. It was built up using epoxy. This stuff is stable, sandable and bonds well to both the steel surface and the fiberglass. Final preparation was done using Evercoat. It took a lot of work. The thickest part of it is at most a quarter of an inch. It's a little thick but it looks good and the epoxy should remain stable.

Here's another shot.

We also had several seams along the rear edge that weren't bonded from the factory. There were some voids and brittle gel coat. We didn't have any kitty hair so we made some our own by chopping up fibers and forcing them into the cracks with a screwdriver. We also surfaced the top of the wing some. It needs more, but that's as far as we could get.

We also had to blend in the rear lip. That was straightforward, except for the cramped angle under the wing itself. That made it a real bear to contend with.

We remounted the doors so that we could check gaps and surfaces. It looks like we traveled a mile when, in fact, we only traveled an inch - if you take my meaning. Psychologically it was huge. Lisa saw it as significant progress.

Chris also found time to finish up the lower fender well while I was driving all over town trying to find a can of lacquer primer to use as a guide coat. It looks really good.
Next week, I'm in Arizona for Lisa's dad's 60th birthday.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Project 20 - One Rear Flare and Mucking Around with the Friggin' Wing

So as you might remember from one of the early installments, the rear wing has been the source of some consternation. After remounting it and shimming it. We decided it didn't fit very well. We then removed it, made some more shims and refitted it. It still didn't line up at all. To be precise, let me tell you what I mean. The top edge of the wing did not conform to the body. This means that we'd have to build it up and reshape it. But, the corners of the engine lid didn't match the corners of the car so they'd have to be built up and reshaped to match. The bottom edge of the decklid didn't match the car, nor did it conform to the slope of the rear turtledeck so that would have to be reformed also.

Now, it's not that GT-Racing makes junk. First off, Hank doesn't make this particular component himself, he gets it from someone. Secondly, if we just mounted this piece up and painted it, it would look just fine on a race car. However, this is a street car and we're a little on the anal side, so we had to do a little additional work.

Specifically, we decided we'd cut the wing off and mount it on the original steel decklid. So here you go. First, we separated the bottom piece from the top two pieces.

Next, we fitted it to the steel engine cover.

It took quite a bit of trimming and sanding but Chris basically just removed whatever touched the engine lid first, until it touched it everywhere.

We added the corner pieces back on and we'll have to blend all that in.

This is the state we left it in. It'll take a lot more work but it ought to come out fine.
While we were working on this, we also bonded the rear flare on and putty'd it up. It's nearly ready for paint.
Stay tuned to see how the wing turns out. Also, we'll be welding soon. Woohoo.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Project 19 - Bonding the Front Flares - Part 1

OK. We're back. We're back after a three week hiatus. We're better now. Back to work!

First, we took the hammer and dolly to the edge of the fender. This is to sort of smooth out the underside of the completed fender and make for a little more mating surface.

The front fender and bumper assembly is all bolted together the way they'll be on the car.

Speedgrip is readied.

Then we glob on a big 'ol thick bead of it.

And another big one on the flares itself.

Then it's stuck on and the flares are screwed down with sheet metal screws.

A little later - actually the next morning - we took the screws out. Next, we ground down the metal and DA'd off that pretty gel coat finish. This is interesting. One of the things that a bunch of guys seem to use to judge the quality of their newly purchased fiberglass parts is how nice the gel coat finish is. Well, that's the first thing the body guy sands off when he gets it, so, uh, you might want to think about judging based on fit or something else. Maybe price.

After that, two coats of Evercoat Z grip.

One to build it up and get the metal even with the flare edge (which is also sanded down to meet the metal) and one to shape it.
The third coat is putty. It's smoother and is used to make a cleaner smoother surface.

Then you hand sand this down. We used autobody sandpaper with the sticky backs applied to a spongey sander thing that I bought at Home Depot to sand sheetrock. Most of the autobody products are designed to make surfaces straight. RSR's don't have too many straight surfaces so they aren't particularly well suited to sanding Porsche flares.
If you look really close at the picture above, you can see that a layer of z-grip was applied to outer edge of the flare all along the contour, all the way down the face of the bumper. This was then sanded to make a nice clean uniform edge that follows around the rim of the flare all the way to the ground in front. It should look nice.

This is the finished product. Next step is to put some 2k high-build primer on it.
Tomorrow, we'll tack down a little spot that didn't get bonded on the passenger side flare and do the same to it. We're also going to try and get one of the rear flares attached but the t-bar hole is proving to be irritating.