Sunday, October 24, 2010

tarting up the trunk part one

As I've mentioned many times in this blog, I started taking my car apart without any intention of undergoing a complete restoration; I was just working on the latest bit of chasing ugly (note: if you're not familiar, this expression derives from the process of fixing the ugliest spot on the car, and then moving onto the next worst bit, and so on, as you essentially chase ugliness around the vehicle for eternity). However, the back of the car, specifically some dents in the driver side quarter panel was where it all began. With the distraction of taking the entire car apart (minus motor and tranny), and then the work on the underside and the rear axle, it has taken a while to get back to the trunk area. The inside of the trunk was always a mess, as the picture below shows (this pic was actually taken back in March after I removed the gas tank).

Much worse though was the rust underneath the package tray! In fact the picture below, also taken in March 2010, was probably the single most influential issue when it came to deciding on a full scale restoration: having discovered this much (admittedly surface) rust, I just could not ignore it. I was also completely incapable of doing a quick cover up, I just had to do the job properly.

There was more surface rust behind the wheel arches on both sides:

Then there was the issue of paint. The trunk has obviously been repainted several times since the car left the Ford plant in Milpitas. At least one coat of paint was a specked white color (!) And then this had been partially painted over with more red...quite possibly with a brush. Honestly, it was awful.

Inside the quarter panels there was the usual rough surface of sound deadener, and a mess I made myself when I was beating out a dent close to the tail panel. I've always hated the Ford spray-on sound deadener - the first time I ever saw it, I thought it was rust! I knew from my experience with the wheel arches that grinding this stuff off would be a pain...and it was (see below), but there was no question that it had to go.

Even after all this though, the biggest single issue in the trunk was the rust holes in the base of the driver side quarter panel. I was really gentle with the wire wheel  when I cleaned up this area as I didn't want to make the problem any worse than it was. The most obvious way to fix this of course is to cut out the affected area, and replace with some new metal, but there was a major problem with this approach. Although I have some experience of fabrication and (mainly arc) welding, I don't currently own a welder. While it's likely that I will eventually buy or borrow one, especially if I am going to lower the seat pans, buying a decent MIG welder setup is not an option right now. Even if it was, I am presently limited to 110 V in my garage, and I'm not convinced this is enough to run a quality piece of equipment.

So I took the cowards way out, and sprayed the whole area with a couple of coats of Eastwood's rust converter (I used some tape on the underside which was removed before the picture below was taken).

Then I mixed up some...wait for it...wait for it...JB Weld. I know, I know, it's sacrilege, and I also know I'm in for some serious abuse from the guys in BAMA when the word gets out....but, but, well the holes were rather small (as John Lennon once said). I mixed up 2 oz of material (JB weld comes as two separate parts in a pair of 1 oz tubes), poured it into the bottom of the quarter panel, and spread it out. Curing time is 24-48 hours.

Later on in the project I roughed up the JB weld and the surrounding area with some 220 grit sandpaper and brushed on a coat of Zero Rust. The passenger side got the same treatment, minus the JB weld, as the rust was not as bad on that side and the panel was still intact.

Then it was onto the area below the package tray. I started off by working the area over with my wire wheel, as far as was possible - it was tough to get the wheel into all the tight spaces. I wouldn't have been able to do this at all if the gas tank was still in place, but with it gone I was able to sit on a low stool and lean forward to get into this area - very comfortable compared to working on the underside of the car.

The issue of access was a much bigger issue on the portion of the trunk behind the package tray (I'm not sure if this area has a specific name?). There was really no easy way of getting at this rust.

Struggling for access was actually the reason why I removed the trunk lid way back when. Although at the time I was worried about being able to align it properly when I (eventually) came to put it back, a half dozen bangs on the head was enough to make my mind up! I'd been going back and forth on whether to take out the trunk hinges: aligning them looked like it would be really tough. Eventually my desire to remove as much rust as possible won out.

Once the hinges were off, I knew it was the right decision: they were think with rust on the inside, and I think they were only on the bench for long enough to take this picture before I threw them in the sandblasting pile.

The area behind the hinges was in similar condition. I'll certainly be priming the hinges while they're off the car, although I may well put them back before final paint. It's probably going to be several years before I have to make a final decision on this! In the meantime, the rust removal continues...


  1. Looks good. The important part isn't how you deal with the rust as much as the fact that you dealt with it to prevent it from returning. As long as you converted it before you covered it, I'd say it's a good fix.

  2. There is a big dent in that PS wheel well! Someone told me that one day. I had to explain that's where the spare goes.

    Looks very good. Dremel tool with the extender cable and metal cut off wheels work great in those tight areas just to rough up the paint.

    Keep up the great work and wonderful updates and pics!

  3. hey guys, thanks for the encouragement, I appreciate it!