Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Prep for Bodywork - Part 2

Time flies when you're having fun.  For me, it was more literally than figuratively.  In the course of 8 days, I was on 8 flights, traveled some 4,500 miles by air, crossed the US/Canada border twice, and saw a temperature swing of 78 degrees Fahrenheit.  A bonus of the trip was on my leg flying at 25,000 feet from Sachigo Lake, Ontario back to Winnipeg.   I got to see the Northern Lights for the first time.  It's quite a spectacle of nature.  But it is good to be home...at least for a couple of weeks until the next venture "up north."

So after a day of recovery it was time to continue where I left off on the fastback in prepping the body for primer and bodywork.  The one advantage of this step in the restoration process is that there isn't a lot of set-up or tear-down of equipment such as the MIG welder, hammers, dollies, air tools, etc.. It's basically a couple of tools with a couple of different abrasives.  Oh... And a LOT of labor.

The first thing in the process was to drop the plastic sheets that make the walls for my Dexter "Kill Room" as my daughters like to call my dust containment system in the garage.  The second half of the roof went reasonably well except that I discovered a slight crease and indentation about a foot back from the windshield.

Front view of cleaned roof
Rear view of cleaned roof
 There are a couple of barely detectable dents over the driver's side door.   I'll have to deal with them all eventually.  I'm hoping my arsenal of slapping tools and files will get most of it out.  I'm not a fan of smearing a lot of body filler on the roof to make up for poor metalwork.  Less is always better.  I'm not looking forward to more metal massaging and it's a little disappointing but it is what it is.

The largest crease is visible just to the left side edge of the light reflection in the roof.

Another light crease is visible at the near edge of the light reflection

A couple of light ripples are visible near the edge of the light reflection.

I applied the PickelX-20 on the rest of the roof.  I then moved on to the driver's side cowl.  This will be more tedious as I'll have to hand-clean the vent grates.  That's why I bought that box of red Scotch Brite pads for occasions like this.

The next area that I need to work on before removing the body from the rotisserie is to get the rest of the interior surfaces cleaned, apply with fresh seam sealer, and painted in Zero Rust.   I figured I would start on the cowl and dash, including the underside which will be easier to get to on the rotisserie than on a body cart.  However, before I started cleaning up  the dash, I needed to document some of the hardware that I hadn't removed, or I took out and ran the screws or nuts back in place.

This is the left inside of the cowl looking through the instrument cluster hole of the dash.
This is the driver's side cowl vent.  Fortunately, in spited of the surface rust, they are solid on both sides.  So I won't need to cut the cowl apart and replace this part of the car

This is a view of the underside of the dash looking through the instrument cluster area to the passenger side where the heat/AC unit passes through the firewall.
This is looking straight through the instrument cluster hole in the dash and the bottom of the cowl.

This is a view of the backside of the lower half of the dash.  The console mounting brackets are still in place.

This is a view through the instrument cluster.
 Once I got all the nuts n' bolt n' screws removed, I started the metal cleaning.  I switched over to "surface conditioning" pads and away from the 40 grit sanding disc.  It does a fairly good job of cleaning the paint and light surface rust and will not remove or damage the metal.

Here's the driver's side of the dash that is mostly done.

Here is the passenger side of the dash mostly complete.

The top of the dash is about 80% done.  I need to use a stripping pad to get to more of the hard to reach areas.

I was able to get about 80% of the dash cleaned up.  There are some nooks and crannies that are left along with the bottom edge.  I'm waiting for my 3M Scotch Brite 2" Roloc 50 grit bristle brushes to arrive.  I've never used these before but hoping that they will do a good job of cleaning those contour areas that are hard to reach.  I might even try them on the cowl vents.

I'm figuring I have less than an hour of external dash work left.  Then it's on to the underside which will be a challenge as there isn't much working space under there.  It's times like this I wish this was a Mopar as several of them had removable dashboards making work on them duck soup.

I'm hoping to get some more work done in the evenings this week before my wife and I head to west Iowa to visit my middle daughter and her family.  We haven't been out there since, as one of my friends said, "the last tile project" which is true.  So It's our turn in the barrel to travel west.  My travels won't end there as I'll be home for 4 days and then hit the road for Red Sucker Lake, Manitoba to conduct another family and parent workshop in that First Nation community.  Long underwear is NOT optional there!  Then I'll be home for a week before I hit the road to northwest Michigan to open the family cabin.  I'll be back for a week and then off on a round-robin trip to LA and Edmonton, Alberta before heading home.   I'm tired just thinking about it.  And then people wonder why I'm not making such great progress on Eleanor.   So there you go.

Until the next time...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Body Prep for Bodywork: meticulous and boring

Paint flowed onto the underside of Eleanor in November last year.  What a milestone!   And then the flow of work came to a screeching halt.  You're familiar with the drill.  Thanksgiving.  Christmas.  Family gatherings.  Post-New Year reset.  Add to the regular seasonal stuff a Kitchen backsplash re-do that required a complete tear out to the studs and new drywall.  Then there is always the post-season garage space recovery.  And then there was travel.  Lot's of travel.   As I write this, I'm in between two trips to northern Ontario First Nation communities.

However, I may be using all of my personal family, work, and house projects to put off what has got to be one of the most tedious, meticulous and boring aspects of a Mustang restoration project but necessary for the finished product to come out looking great.  And that is body metal cleaning and prep for body work.

But in all fairness, I did spend a few days going through the garage gathering all the metal I had accumulated over the past umteen years of Mustang restoration and other bits and pieces of other vehicles (like my daughter's mangled Civic hood), RV parts, and metal plumbing and electrical pieces.   That filled the bed of my truck which then went to the metal recycler.  Then it was sort through and reorganize the space which is now much more roomier, though there's still a bunch of miscellaneous stuff sitting on my drafting table that should be sorted and stored.   But floor space grew at least 20% which in my garage is a huge accomplishment.  Now I have recovered space to work on the fastback.

I got a dose of reality thanks to a little Facebook reminder about when the Mustang was put on the rotisserie.  Sadly, it's been on the "rack" for 5 stinking years as of 10 days ago.  That was a rude awakening that I need to work on Eleanor even if it's just for an hour or two here and there.   So that's what I did...an hour or two here and there over the weekend and last night.

I really have to take advantage of the rotisserie since it's easier to get to the roof (inside and out) and the interior thoroughly cleaned while it's still mounted on it.   Stripping surface rust and old paint is one of the most unglamorous jobs in auto restoration.   Sure, I could have spent $1,500 for the local portable soda blast company to come out and do the inside and outside.  Yeah, it would have all been done in a day.   But $1,500 could fund a nice start on the engine and transmission rebuild, or the new AC/heat system, or instrument panel and interior restoration, or...  Well, you get the picture. We all make our choices and deal with the consequences, right?

With dust mask and ear protection in place, a 6" DA sander, 2" air sander, 4" grinder with an abrasive head laid out and ready to go, I began the task of stripping half the roof.  There's really not a lot of detail and wiz-bang pictures associated with this work.  It's loud.  It's dusty.  It's dirty.  Nuf said.

The challenge is to be careful around the edges of body contours so that they are not distorted or rounded off, especially the small "peak" at the rear of the center of the roof.   Also, it's possible to get too aggressive and put small crescent gouges in the metal.   Unfortunately I have a couple of those, but thankfully, the high build primer/surfacer should take care of them.

A wipe down to remove any residual dirt and an air blow down preceded an application of Pickelex-20.   So that mischief was managed for one half of the roof.   Now it's repeat this for the other half.   I might get it done before my flight north Friday morning, but I need to pack Thursday night and do an oil change on my wife's Fusion tonight since it's been flashing that "oil change required" reminder for the last week.   That shouldn't take too long.  Maybe I'll get an hour or two in after dinner.   But with my past history not being to reliable, it's wait and see.

Until the next time.