Thursday, May 31, 2012

Door Striker Removal--Fire N' Ice

I has posted my door striker plate dilemma on the Yahoo Classic Mustang group I joined about 5 years ago.  I got all kinds of suggestions, a number of them I already tried.  But today, a guy named Glenn suggested getting a can of computer keyboard cleaner and using the cold spray on the screw head after heating up the surrounding striker plate.   I stopped by Wally World and picked up a can of the keyboard compressed air.  But I needed something with a fine flame.  So I got on the Lowes website and found a mini-propane hand-held torch that's refillable.  It looked familiar and then I remembered...the kitchen.   Once again I raided my kitchen and got my mini-propane torch I use for making Creme Brulee' and other culinary delights, once again reinforcing my believe that a house should be designed around two spaces--the garage and kitchen.  I had an evening meeting tonight, but I couldn't wait to try it out after I got home.  So with fire and ice in hand, I made a last-ditch attempt to free the screws before resorting to the drill.

The "fire" is on the left...the "ice" is on the right.
This nice hot thin flame should do the job....I hope.
The first attempt was to heat the face of the striker plate and then blow the cold air onto the center of the screw head.   It didn't work and wasn't as cold as I had hoped.  Then I decided to tip the can on its side so the fluid would be sprayed out with the air.  I got a frigid cold stream but the screw still didn't budge, even after a couple of tries.  OK.

Next attempt was to try it from the back side.  That attempt wasn't successful either.  I played around with different amounts of  times to heat the backing plate and then cool just the threads.  No such luck.   I was afraid that if I sprayed too much coolant on the threads I'd end up cooling down the back plate and not create enough difference in the expansion of the screw and threaded backing plate.   But after a few tries, I thought I had nothing to loose since this is all an experiment anyway.

The next attempt, I used the flame to heat the back side of the plate around the screw and did that for about 30-45 seconds to get it smoking hot--literally.

This is the shot of heating the backing plate that's threaded for the striker plate.   Pardon the picture quality as it was a challenge to hold the camera AND the hot pencil torch.

Then as quickly as I could I grabbed the "ice" canister, tipped the on its side and sprayed across the thread for a good 4-5 seconds hoping I didn't cool down the hot backer plate.

I quickly picked up my impact gun and gave it another shot.  For the first 10 seconds nothing happened and I though it was an exercise in futility.  But then... I saw the screw make a sudden 1/8 turn.  In another 3-4 seconds, it spun free!

It was finally loose!   Success once again!   It took three cycles on the bottom screw to get it to break loose, but the striker plate is now off the car.

So once again, I have a new learning experience thanks to another Mustang enthusiast.   Now I have no more excuses to get working on the metal work on the body.  Onward and upward!

Underside Floor Finish and Door Striker Plates

A couple of days ago, I posted about getting my question about the black primer on the underside of my fastback answered by Bob Perkins and published in the June issue of Mustang Monthly magazine.   He had suggested that all three plants (San Jose, Metuchen, Dearborn) also used  black or dark grey as a primer beside red oxide.  I did find on the MCA (Mustang Club of America) forum and the VMF (Vintage Mustang Forum) similar information.  So this could be an accurate way the car was painted and it's recognized as a proper color by the MCA.   I also learned that not all places on the body were painted primer at the same time.  Apparently they didn't "dip" the whole car as they do today.   The underside was painted separately using a spray bar that applied the primer as the car went down the paint line.  Hence, when you look at the bottom of the floor, that explains the "fisheye" drops hanging from the surface.  It was about coverage, not neatness back then.  The inside of the body was sprayed red oxide primer along with the outside of the body.  A grey primer/surfacer was then sprayed on the exterior of the body for finish sanding and body work before paint.   Next, the body color went on.  Last was the black paint of the engine compartment.  I was surprised about that as I always thought it was done before body color.  That explains the black overspray at the cowl on my fastback.

Note the black overspray in the middle of the cowl.  It's like this on both sides.

So now with this information and Bob's suggestion, I took a Scotchbrite pad and some lacquer thinner and rubbed on a couple of placed underneath the car.   I did a spot on the transmission tunnel...

Here's the original black primer with no evidence of red oxide primer.  Notice all the little fisheye drips hanging from the bottom of the floorpan from the spray bar application of the primer.

Then I did a spot on the inside driver's side frame rail and got similar results.

The results indicate that the black is, in fact, the factory primer color.  There was no hint of red oxide anywhere.  So, I suppose when it comes time to repaint the underside of the floor, it's gonna be black.  I have the documentation from both Bob Perkins and MCA's website forum along with the photos I've taken.  I'm sure when the car hit's the show circuit (did I really say that???)  I'll get questions about the underside color.  Now I can support the reason for the color not being red oxide.  It's actually pretty cool.

Here is a picture of the right rear quarter panel just behind the door where I DA sanded the original paint off the car.  You will notice the three distinct layers of paint... red oxide, gray primer, and body color...

The feather edge indicates the three layers of factory paint (sorry for the poor picture quality)
I know I'm quite a way out from starting the painting process, but at least I have the information at hand and some of you may find this helpful when you get to the point of painting your Mustang.

One other note I thought was interesting in my research was that starting in 1969, the underside was painted in what was referred to as "batch paint" that consisted of unused body color paint that was mixed in with the primer at the end of the shift.  When cars were painted with this, the underside could be anything from gray in color to shades of green and brown.  It all depended upon what colors were used the previous shifts in production.  It utilized all the old leftover paint and in today's age of the EPA, there was no need to dispose of the old paint in an environmentally unfriendly way.   So in that respect, Ford was really ahead of the times both in material utilization and environment protection.   That doesn't surprise me though because when Henry Ford went into production on the Model A, he had the crates for shipping the frame rails to the factory specified so that the wood type and shape from the crates would be used for the wood structure in the bodies.  Pretty frugal and ingenious guy, that Henry.

On another note...the pesky door strikers

I stopped by Thrifty Supply and picked up a 3/8" #3 Phillips drive socket to try on the screws.  I also picked up a fresh tank of propane.   I decided to try and tackle the driver's side first since I already had one screw out.  The problem I had with the socket was I couldn't apply enough forward force to keep the socket engaged in the screw while turning it.  Bugger.  So I tried the heat approach.  At first, I tried heating the plate itself around the screw head hoping it would expand enough to loosen.  No dice.  So then I decided to heat the back of the screw.  There isn't enough room to heat around it, so I just poured the heat to the threads themselves.   I put the air impact wrench to it and for the first 5 seconds nothing happened.  And then POP and ZIPPPPP as the screw broke loose and the impact wrench spun up post-screw removal.   Success!

I got so excited about it working that I tried the same recipe on the other side.  But alas, no such luck even after a couple of heat and PB Blaster cycles.   I may get a different head for the propane tank that has a finer flame point.  The one I have is really for soldering copper pipe.   I'll try that on the next attempt.  In the mean time, I'm still doing the PB dousing of the threads.   I've sprayed so much on them that I had to put a pan underneath the car to catch all the drippings from the rocker panel.  I won't have to worry about that part of the car rusting out in the future.  

With the one striker plate removed, I noticed it has a spacer in between it and the body that appears to be stamped with knurls in it so that when the plate is properly adjusted for correct door closure, it bites into the body and the striker place to keep it from moving.   Here's what the driver's side looks like...

This is the B pillar on the driver's side.  There's the threaded plate behind the body that sits inside the pillar and allows for adjustment of thee striker plate.  Notice it's painted body color which means it was installed during body assembly. You can also see the "teeth" marks in the body from the spacer.

Here's the striker plate assembly.  The spacer is a stamping that has knurls in it to give it bite into both the body and the striker plate.
So...I'm getting there slowly but surely on the striker plates.  I still may end up drilling out the screws if I can't get the beat-n-heat thing to work.

But isn't this how it usually goes though?  The parts you think would be easy end up taking up the huge amounts of time while the more involved stuff goes much quicker than expected.  I think I had the engine and transmission pulled in the time it's taken me to mess around with these *blinkity-blank* striker plates so far.  But that's all part and parcel to the restoration game.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Long-anticpated Arrival

This arrival is better than a box from Eastwood or CJ Pony Parts or NPD.   My first grandson and third grandchild arrived last night around 1:45 AM.   He took the difficult route via C-section, but both mom and baby are doing just fine, thank the Lord.   Now I gotta get him that Mustang swag I've been collecting! 
My middle daughter with her first child.  Note the camo pants his daddy likes.
I'm looking forward to the day when I can take him (and my granddaughters) for a ride in the fastback.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Disassembly continues and Primer mystery solved

The temperatures and my schedule haven't been cooperating for me to get more work done on the fastback.  Three trips in three weeks sucked the clock dry.   The first week in May was to a conference for 2 and a half days.  Then the next 2 weeks were 2 trips to Michigan.  Sunday of Mother's Day, I went to Battle Creek for 2 days to help my mom on my annual spring trip with things to keep her house maintenance current.  The week after was to our family cabin near Baldwin to open it up for the summer.  That was also a 2 day trip that included 8 hours of chain saw work to remove 4 trees that fell.  #1 tree blocked the driveway....

#2 tree had fallen across the walk to the cabin...

I had to hack through this in the dark in a rain storm.  Fun.
 #3 tree had fallen onto to the roof of the cabin and the incoming power line...

The power was still on, but I had the electric company come out and cut it off the line.  I still had to remove the remains.

#4 tree was the largest and the main trunk just missed the cabin by 18".

Some smaller branches hit the roof but there was no major damage--just a lot of work I didn't expect to do.  Oh well...    The good news is that there wasn't any damage.  The bad news is I still have two debris piles from 2 of the trees yet to drag across the road to our brush pile we have in the woods.   But we're ready for family to start using the place.

Both trips to Michigan required me to take a load of tools to handle the tasks at hand.   Between trips, I was just stacking and putting stuff in the garage wherever I could, which meant I had stuff everywhere.   So Memorial Day I got up early to beat the heat and get some chores done outside.  Then I turned to the garage to reclaim my work space for the fastback.

After that was done, I searched through my corrugated box collection to find a box for the parts I had taken off the car.  With bagging and tagging and boxing done for most of them, I turned back to getting those blasted door striker plates out of the car.  Even after multiple soakings, I couldn't get the screws to budge using my hand-held impact driver.  I decided to resort to my impact wrench.   No such luck.   I guess I'll have to keep them soaking for a couple of days and find out if that will loosen them.   I moved on to the remainder of the parts left on the body.

I used PB Blaster to soak down all the small clips that hold various interior panels in place.   I took the parts off and was sure I kept them organized as far as left and right side along with B pillar and sail panel.   Here's that pile of parts....

After taking he smaller brackets off, I noticed that even though the part shape was identical, the hole that was made by what appears to be a self-tapping screw were in different locations.  I'm kicking myself because now when I put them back in, I'll end up swapping some of them around until I can get the one in the right place that will line up with the hole in the interior panel.

Next, I moved to the dash.  I was having a bugger of a time getting the light switch out.  The knob was fused to the shaft.  I resorted to my slide hammer to persuade it to come off...and it did...shaft and all.   I got a screw driver in the bezel and took it off.   The switch was then out, but now damaged.  I was going to get a new one anyway since it's hard to tell what condition electrical parts are in.  Plus the shaft came out instead of the knob coming off.   I'll deal with it on assembly.

The other three items left under the dash were the brake/clutch pedal support, the windshield wiper motor and linkage, and the radio speaker.    I got all of them out in about 15 minutes.

I'll bead blast this when it comes time to put it back in.
I'll have to check the motor before installation.  It was covered with metal filings since the magnets in it attracted them to the case of the motor housing.   Everything else looks pretty good.

I'll get these parts all bagged, tagged and boxed.   The only parts left on the body  are the outside rear seat belts, the interior brackets for the interior piece that goes along the top front of the back window, and the ever-stubborn door strikers.   If anyone has a suggestion or ideas to get those strikers out, I'm all ears.

On another note, some of you may remember my post earlier this spring about finding black primer on the underside of the car.   I took some pictures and posted them.  Well, I sent them off to Mustang Monthly Magazine in care of Bob Perkins who does the "Resto Roundup" monthly article.  I was quite surprised when I opened my June issue and low-and-behold, my letter and one of my pictures was published with the heading "Underbody Finish."

Bob said that all three plants did occasionally use a dark grey or black primer.  He suggested I use a Scotch Brite pad with some lacquer thinner and scrub on an area to see if it's black all the way to the metal.   I did that and it appears to be factory.   I thought I had the photos on the SD card I loaded the pictures on for today, but apparently they're on a different one.  I'll post those later in the week.   I did go to the MCA website, but was unsuccessful in finding the information Bob referred to in his response about the multiple undercarriage primer colors.   It seems like there's all sorts of mysteries about this little fastback of mine.  The cool part is all of this information becomes part of the documentation of the vehicle.  I think I"ll end up with two or three binders full of pictures and documentation by the time this beast is done.

Before I close for today, I got a call from my wife at 6 AM this morning from west Iowa.  My daughter's water broke and they were headed to the hospital in Omaha.   So I should have a new, and first, grandson hopefully later on today.   I already have a start on Mustang swag for Judah to wear.   Got to counteract all the "bow tie" atmosphere on my son-in-law's side of the family!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Even More Disassembly and Documentation

This has been an unusual week for me in that it's rare that I have THREE weekday evenings free without some sort of meeting or commitment.  I actually got to spend an evening with my wife on Monday.  Of course, it included a trip to the newly opened "Orange Leaf" custard shop.  If you haven't been to one of these, I highly recommend it.  But be careful.  They charge by the ounce and it doesn't take long for 2 dessert cups to hit the $8 to $9 mark with all the toppings.   Anyway....    Back to the fastback. 

This disassembly part of the process seems like it's going on and on and....on.   Every time I take a couple of parts off, I see something else that needs to be removed.  There are more bits and pieces than I imagined, but they must come off.   My last entry had a pile of parts on the floor.  That pile has since grown quite a bit...

I got these all bagged,  tagged, and boxed up in all things but an Eastwood box.  It makes it easy to find later.

I hadn't removed the drip rail and stainless door/window trim on the driver's side of the car.  I guess I overlooked it or got distracted in the process while removing the passenger side trim.  I drilled out the three rivets that held the rear B-pillar cover piece in place.  Then I got the "church key" out of the kitchen utility drawer that I used as my drip rail removal tool.   I put some painter's tape on the can opener end to protect the molding from scratches.   Here's what it looks like "before" tape and "after" tape...

The only other opener I have plays "The Victors" which for the uninformed is the University of Michigan fight song.  I didn't want to hear it every time the end made metal-to-metal contact, as much as I like U of M.   This method is an old trick a number of you are probably already aware of, but figured there may be someone out there who hasn't done this before, or has and screwed up their trim trying flat head screw drivers or pulling on it.   Here are some removal pictures.  I started at the front lower A-pillar and worked my way toward the rear of the door opening...

My wife's Fusion is in this shot.  It's the last of the "3 pedal" Fusion SE's.  We do love our manual transmissions!

It pops off easily and quickly.  Take your time and don't pry on it more than a 3-4 inches between pry points.

The trim was removed easily with no damage.  I did take an "after" removal shot to document what the headliner attachment looked like after removing the vinyl trim.   This is the way it was done at the factory in 1968.   Not very neat and tidy, is it?

The next step was to remove the door striker from the B-pillar.  It has those huge oversized Phillip screw heads that were not budging with my ginormous screw driver.  So I got out my impact driver I bought to remove the set screws on disc brake rotors.   It doesn't get used often, but when I need it, it's really handy.

The upper screw loosened up with no problems.  The bottom one, on the other hand, wouldn't budge, even after using my "persuader" (i.e. 10 LB. sledge hammer).   I tried the passenger side with the same results.  I  will come back to them later in the week after a couple of soakings with PB Blaster.

I needed to remove the side vents and sprayed all the screws down with PB.  Both the inside housing and the outside vent all came loose fairly easily.  So did the fake scoop trim on the rear quarters.  Then there was the fold down rear seat locking latches on each side.  Then there are a ton of itty bitty brackets with Phillips head screws that hold interior panels in place.  Those needed some PB soaking time before they'll loosen up.  I drilled out the rivets that held the rocker panel molding clips in place on the driver's side.    It was getting late and I decided to quit for the evening around 9:30 PM.   Now I have another pile of parts to bag and tag...

The old gal is getting down to the bare necessities.   I may work on it a little Thursday evening and try and get the rest of the parts off the body, bagged, tagged, and boxed.   I'll make another trip to the storage unit to get them out of the way. 

 If things work out, I'm hoping to start on the underside floor weld seams and get them finished off this weekend.   However, with all the rain and storms we've had in the past couple of days, I can hear my yard calling out, "Cut me!  Cut me!"   And my wife is ready for a truck load of mulch to put around her thoroughbred rose bush garden.  Maybe it will rain Saturday and I'll have a good excuse to spend it in the garage.  One can only hope, right?