Monday, March 28, 2016

Hood Work - Part 2

This is more of an update than a major leap forward on the hood.  So don't get your hopes up that's it's finished and in epoxy primer.  Not yet.

One thing I discovered is that my Kobalt (Lowes) 6" DA sander had a 3 year "no fuss" warranty.  So I replaced the old one with a new one.  So far, it's working OK.  I noticed that the new one has a label calling for oiling before and after use that the old one didn't have.  Maybe that was the problem.  Anyway...

So with new DA in hand and the need to de-stress after a hard emotional few days in Manitoba, I worked on the exterior surface of the hood Saturday in nice 72 F degree sunny weather after cutting the grass that decided to jump to life.   Nothing spectacular.  Just plain 'ol patience.  That red factory paint is tough!

The one thing that did reveal itself is that there are 2 placed along the center peak between the turn signal opening and the front lip with minor creasing as if something was dropped across the hood or the hood fell over.  It's nothing that's major.  I'll probably pull the dents a little with my stud welding gun and a curved face body hammer.  Then a little filler will get it back into shape.

With the top of the hood cleaned and treated with "After Blast", it's ready for the body work and primer.  Unfortunately, the underside of the hood still needs to be stripped...or at lease the surface cut with a Scotch Brite pad.   I'll have to see how that whole process goes.  At any rate, progress was made, abet a snail's pace.

Until the next time.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Hood Work - Part 1

It's been a couple of weeks since I had my "2-fer" weekends working on the car.   I had to take a break since we were doing a semi-major kitchen upgrade to replace our counter tops that were in rough shape.  They had taken years of abuse from cooking and using the kitchen sink for every project around the garage and house.   They were stained and bubbling in places.   So with a really good sale at Lowes on granite we pulled the trigger and ordered it.  3 weeks later, it's ready for the install.  But it didn't go without some hiccups along the way.  In spite of a laser measurement by the stone company, one cabinet needed to be releveled if I didn't want a 1/4" gap.  I fixed it, but then the back splash didn't fit, a point I raised with the company before they cut it based on their laser measured drawing.  After 3 tries and 6 days, the kitchen was back together.  Then I discovered that the new undermount sink put it a good 3-1/2" deeper than the old top mount sink.  The plumbing drain lines were too high.   The only fix was to cut through the back of the cabinet and into the wall and modify all the PVC piping.   I got that done and then cut into the utility room wall for the drain line for a new utility tub  in the utility room (not using the new sink and counters anymore!)

So now, after I have finished the kitchen counter demolition, base cabinet leveling, plumbing, installing a utility tub, and acid washing the tile floor and sealing the grout, the garage was a mess and needed some serious purging of old kitchen pieces parts.  Good Will and Ray's Trash took care of the leftover kitchen hardware.  A trip to the recycle center purged the pile of corrugated boxes from sinks and garbage disposal.  A broom and compressed air got the sawdust managed.  And all the tools used for carpentry, pluming, and electrical got put away.  Now the garage was mine once again.

Sunday afternoon was fairly warm and nice.  After I got home from a presentation of LAMP  (you can check out the organization here)  at a church a couple of hours away I had some time to get a couple of hours in on the fastback.

At my last post, I started to apply the filler with success and started working on that.  But I noticed that I was getting a thin layer of flash rust on the floor where it was bare metal.  I guess it's my fault as I expected to have this in primer long before now...the story of my life, right?

I bought some Eastwood "After Blast" which is a mild etching and phosphate coating product that is used after media blasting or cleaning metal that can be painted over.  I put some in a spray bottle and coated about a 2 foot section at a time, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wiped off the residual product.  It did a really nice job of bringing back the color of the metal.  I worked from the base of the firewall back to the rear of the car including the wheel housings.  It looks pretty good even if I do say so myself...

I really didn't want to get into the whole body filler thing and the hood had been leaning up against the back of the garage for months, I thought I'd go ahead and start the stripping process on it since the front fenders are done and I want to get as much of the car in primer before my long summer departure.

A small 1' x 1' section of the hood had been stripped using one of the 4" stripping pads on my grinder.   I thought I'd give the quart of "aircraft stripper" a shot to see if it would speed up the process of ridding the hood of the old paint.

Well, it did get rid of the layer of blue paint, but left what appeared to be a coat of brown primer/sealer. 

Round 2 got the primer off down to a layer of red paint that was the original color of the hood.

When I put the stripper on the red layer, it did absolutely nothing!  Even letting it sit on it for 15 minutes, there was not even a wrinkle of bubble in the paint. So it looked like mechanical removal of that layer was necessary.  I got out my Kobalt 6" DA sander and started the laborious task of stripping the red off.  An 80 grit pad didn't do much.  A 40 grit pad worked as long as I was judicious on how aggressive I got with the pressure.  The problem was the sander kept throwing the pads off.  It has the head for pads with adhesive backing.   I went through 3 pads in 2 minutes.  I cleaned the surface with acetone and tried again.  It was better but it would only keep a pad on the backing head for 5 or 6 minutes.  After 4 or 5 repeated head cleaning and pad replacements, I put a new pad on and hit the trigger to start up again.  Nothing but air blowing through it.  I had to take it apart to find out what happened to cause it to jam.  I didn’t’ see anything, lubed it with air tool oil and put it back together.  It worked…for about another 10 minutes when I replaced another thrown pad.  Then it stopped again.  I spun the head by hand in both direction and tried it.  It started to work, and then threw the pad off again.   Put a new pad on it and then it wouldn’t work again.  

Well, suffice it to say that the Kobalt DA sander is no longer functioning and in the metal recycle bin.  I decided to revert back to my 4" stripping pad even though it takes more time.  I got about 2/3  of the hood stripped before calling it quits to a dusty, frustrating work session.  But what's done on the hood looks OK.  I treated the bare metal with "After Blast" to keep it from flash rusting.

I'll probably replace the DA sander since I really need it for all the body work yet to do on the Mustang.  I can guarantee Lowes will not the place to buy air power tools (and don't get me started on Harbor Freight!).  Home Depot has Ingersoll Rand products and I'll be checking into one there.

In the mean time, the clock is running and what's left before my month of heavy travel in April is quickly slipping away.  I have a training session and presentation to make in Wisconsin this weekend.  Then leave Monday at 6 AM to fly to Cross Lake, Manitoba to help the community there with a state of emergency dealing with youth suicides (you can read about it in the news article here)  It's a tragic situation, but unfortunately one that's not so uncommon in isolated parts of First Nations communities in Canada.  I'll return to the states Thursday night and then collapse.   I might get a chance to work on the fastback again Easter weekend but I'll probably be catching up on stuff for work and home before my crazy April travel schedule kicks in as I'll only be home 8 days that month.   But in the final analysis, people's lives are more important than restoring a classic car.

Until the next time...

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Floor and Firewall Finish Work - Part 2

I cannot recall the last time I had two Saturdays in a row of work on the Mustang.   I don't know what's come over me!  A renewed passion?  Could be.  A desire to get this project further along?  More likely.  Sheer stubbornness?  Definitely.

When I closed shop last weekend, I had started to process of applying Metal-to-Metal body filler on the weld joints of the repairs on the firewall and floor.  The results were not great.  The material would not set up even after heating the garage to a toasty 75F.   The next day, it was still soft.  I was going to have to remove it and start all over.

That brings us to this past Saturday.  I got out all my body supplies in the hope that I could get this filler problem resolved.  Then with my trusty scraper blade in my Dremel multi-tool, I proceeded to remove the defective filler which was fairly easy.

If you look closely, my fingerprints are visible in the filler that never hardented

With a straight braided wire brush on my 4" grinder, I removed the remnant followed with a rubdown with Acetone to get all the old tainted filler off the body.

Ready for another try of filler.

Flakes of the filler required cleaning up after removal

The offending areas were the firewall and the floor between the transmission tunnel support and torque boxes.  There was also a section on one side of the driveshaft tunnel area of the floor that wasn't hard enough to work.  I basically used the scraper everywhere I had put filler.  If it started to come off, I removed it all.  If it didn't and was hard, I left it.  It was the only way to make sure that unhardened filler was gone.  Hitting all the filler with the wire brush was the final test.  Powder flying...OK.  No powder or dust...remove it.

Round 2 began on the driver's side firewall and much to my dismay, even after adding 20% more activator, the results were only marginally better.  I began to wonder if the activator and filler were suspect.  I had it on the shelf for over a year, but it was never opened.  I thoroughly mixed it before starting to use it the weekend before.  So, just in case, I decided to make a run down to the local auto parts store and snag another can and activator.  It was a different brand, but the same basic stuff. I returned to a warm (68F) garage and noticed the driver's side was still soft enough you could dent it with a fingernail.

I decided to mix up a batch of the new stuff according to the directions  to find out if it was a product problem, an environment problem, or an "operator error" problem.  To make a long story short, I got the same results as with the original material.  Hmmm.  It had to be environmental.  The garage temp was OK.  Maybe the material hadn't come up to fully to room temperature.  And the body metal was probably not warmed up enough yet.  So I let things warm up for another couple of hours while I went up to the bonus room and watched my Louisville Cardinals loose to Miami.  So much for winning the ACC championship outright this year.

With everything in the garage thoroughly warmed up to 68F, I began round 3.  It started with  removing the offending filler again and adding 25% more of the activator to the filler.  This time, the product did what it was supposed to do and after 20 minutes of curing time, it was finally hard and workable.

I proceeded to the passenger side firewall inside the fender apron and got a good application of filler applied there.  Then it was moving on to the firewall outside of the fender apron.  However, I noticed there was still some of the factory sealer and undercoating present and I didn't want to risk ruining the filler with the paint remover. 

I put the multi-tool to work getting the big globs loosed followed by a coating of "Goo Gone" paint stripper.

After 5 minutes, I hit it with a 3-M stripper pad to loosen whatever residual sealer was left.  Paper towels were used to mop up the excess.  I followed that with a couple of wipe downs with mineral spirits soaked towels and then wax and grease remover.  So now everything in this part of the body was spick n span clean and ready for filler.

The next batch of filler was mixed at the same ratio as the previously successful batch and applied to the firewall and left to cure.

While waiting for that to set up, I moved to the right rear quarter panel to put some "Metal-to-Metal" on the rust repair in the top upper right corner of the trunk lip.

The metal was cleaned up with an 80 grit disc and red Scotch Brite pad.

The application of filler went on nicely.  

While this area was curing, I went back to the driver's side firewall and worked on sanding down that area.  I do have to keep reminding myself that this doesn't have to be "perfect" but respectable.  I think I'm meeting that goal...maybe going a little beyond that.  I can't help myself.  It's got to be good enough that if anyone ever climbs under the Mustang, there will be no telltale signs of metal work.

With this side done, I proceeded to work on the passenger side.  First, the inner firewall was sanded...

Then the outside firewall area was sanded smooth...

I proceeded back to the right rear corner and got this all sanded smooth.

I rotated the body on the rotisserie and got the filler sanded and smooth on the transmission tunnel and the seam between the front and rear floor pans.  Now I was ready for the finished filler to be applied.  I started on the right rear quarter panel top and got the first layer applied...

Then I mixed up a batch to smooth out the seams on the floor...

At this point in this rather protracted and somewhat frustrating day, I called it quits to go watch my wife's Alma Mater, University of Kentucky play and loose to unranked Vanderbilt on the road.  Not a good NCAA basketball day for our family.   Maybe I should have kept working on the fastback.   No.  I was tired and burned out on a process that should have been a slam pun intended.

I have the firewall finish filler work left to do.  It will probably take another coat or two to get the underside and firewall ready for DP-74 epoxy primer.  Hopefully that will go better.   So the plan for this coming weekend is finish the filler work and get the metal cleaned of surface rust and remaining sealer.   Then comes the primer.  It's an aggressive plan, but who knows?  Maybe this round will go much smoother...pun intended!

Until the next time...