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 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.


  1. Always forward Dennis! Glad to see your back in it, even for a little bit at a time! Warm months ahead and hopefully more opportunities to progress!

    1. You're right. Forward is good. My travel/work schedule isn't helping especially considering I'm usually in northern Canada for most of the summer. But I'll take what I get and keep on keeping on.