Wednesday, October 27, 2010

tarting up the trunk part two

In my last post I moaned about the difficulty of getting my wire wheel into all the tight corners in the trunk...and it didn't get any easier. The picture below shows the passenger side after I had done everything I could with the various wire wheels in my tool collection.

The spaces behind the wheel arches were even more difficult to get at. The next picture was taken quite early on in the process, but you get the idea. I did as much as I could with a two inch wire cup on my die grinder, and then attacked the remaining areas by hand with a piece of sand paper.

After I really had got rid of as much surface rust as I possibly could, I brushed on some Zero Rust and called it done.

Here's the view behind the driver side wheel arch:

I also gave the Zero Rust treatment to the area above the rear of the trunk. I've got big hands (yes, I've heard it), so I couldn't even get my sandpaper into most of this recess - I ended up scrubbing the rust as best I could with a toothbrush-sized wire brush and then painting over the entire area with a brush. I was expecting the painting upside down to be messy - and it was - so I left the clean up of the surrounding area until afterwards.

Next day, with the Zero Rust touch dry I ran the wire wheel over the surrounding area.

Then it was just a matter of cleaning up the rest of the trunk. This picture shows the awful nature of the paintwork in the trunk - it has been painted several times, at least once with some white stuff which looks like tippex! My method of working on a large area with the wire wheel is to first divide the area into sections, and then do one little bit at a time. Mostly the reason for this is psychological, but I also worry about warping the body panels when I concentrate the wire wheel in the same spot for a long time.

I continued the clean up just passed the edge of the trunk and into the interior, as this will make masking off the interior a bit easier when it is time for the primer. You can't see it in this  picture, but I also painted Zero Rust inside the shock absorber access openings.

The other tedious place to clean up was inside the trunk lock/fuel filler tube housing. There was actually more crud than rust inside. The places that I couldn't get to with the wire wheel or sandpaper were scuffed up with the wire brush, cleaned with acetone, and blown out with compressed air, repeatedly, until the inner space was ready for primer (this picture dates from partway through this process...for some reason my obsession with taking pictures left me during this part of the project).

The insides of the quarter panels were easily the worst bits to clean up because of all the sound muffler previously sprayed on the of those things you just have to get on with I suppose.

When the entire trunk was finally devoid of paint I gave it all a good wipe down with lacquer thinner to remove dirt and the residue from the sound muffler - mostly it polished up quite nicely.

I've been told not to paint epoxy primer over ZR - it is apparently much better to go straight to the base coat, but that would not be possible here unless I painted the entire trunk in ZR...and that's not going to happen since ZR doesn't work so well over bare what to do? Try to mask off the bits I already painted with ZR? Again, not really an option in this case because I want the overall finish to be the best it can be. In the end I settled on scuffing up the previously painted areas with either 220 grit sandpaper or a scouring pad, depending on the ease of access..we'll see what happens when the epoxy goes on later...fingers crossed!

The final pre-painting step was to give all the bare metal a coat of metal prep, which I left on for about ten minutes, then washed off with water and a sponge, and dried with a towel followed by compressed air to get the surfaces really dry. The last step took ages because of all the little spaces in the trunk where water likes to wonder the trunk area is so often rusted out in vintage Mustangs....more to come soon...

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...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

should I stay or should I go?

You have got to let me know. Well, no you don't actually, because it's already over, and the answer was "GO". If you're wondering where this is heading (cough), it's a long story...isn't it always...which started back in June when I took out the windshield. Removing the front glass was a straightforward decision: it made accessing the dash area way easier while I was tearing that all down, and it had to be replaced anyway due to a couple of huge chips. So the windshield was pulled out and stored in the basement...where it will probably stay for a long time after the car is back on the road.

The backlite meanwhile was a much tougher customer. Literally. The original plan, after very little consideration, was just to pull it out too. Back in June I started trying to get the trim off the rear opening. Like the front, I followed Mark Stang's video for removing the trim - except it was much harder to do at the back. The side trim pieces are held on with screws...easy enough...but (as it turns out) the rear window trim clips are a slightly different shape to the front, and much harder to "pop off" as it were...except I didn't know that until later. So the backlite just got left in, while I asked around for help removing the trim...only I never did. It was always on my "to find out about..." list, but never made it to the top.  So the car sat like this for about four months while I worked elsewhere.

Recently a couple of different friends have been giving me the 'if it aint ripped, leave it' mantra about the headliner, and with the back window still in situ, this was starting to make sense. I mean the headliner wasn't ripped or torn at all, the only defect was some minor fading (darkening) everywhere but behind the sun visors. So I left the backlite and rear window where they were. When I started on the trunk area, I was planning to work around the rear window as far as I could. This went very well for a while (more on this later), but then I took a peak at the inside of the C-pillars behind the headliner...and I quickly realized the headliner and rear window had got to come out. No question about it.

So...I set to work at the top strip with a variety of trim removal tools I got from Eastwood. It was not easy, but after wiggling various objects around under the edge of the trim, I managed to get two clips loose at the passenger side. Then I just slid the trim all the way out. I would not recommend you try this, but I managed it somehow, and without damaging the trim or the bodywork. Phew. Unfortunately, nothing I tried could get at the clips holding the lower molding. So I tried a different approach: I cut off the outer edge of the rubber backlite gasket with a razor blade, and pushed the glass out from the from the inside. It was a cinch to do. The only problem was I found myself standing in the trunk area holding the glass. I somehow wiggled myself and the glass out from under the car (it is still on stands at the back). After this delicate operation, stashing the backlite in the basement was the easy bit. A replacement rear window is $$$ not to mention the $$$ for shipping, so this will definitely be going back later. With the glass out of the way, getting the lower piece of trim out was no problem.

The opening was filled with the usual mixture of dead leaves and general grot that I have become accustomed to while taking this car apart. Most of it when straight up my vacuum.

Onto the headliner then. Mostly the removal was so easy that I neglected to take any photos - just a matter of popping out the bows at one side first and working front to back. Then I found the thin wire hangers above the backlite opening...these were really tough to get out, and in fact I ended up tearing the headliner in the process. I dread to think how I am ever going to replace these little hangers.

Here's the headliner after I got it out. The patches at the front are closest to the original color.

The underside was heavily water stained around most of the perimeter. This picture was taken before I pulled out the supporting bows, which fit inside tightly sewn tubes in the material. Due to the shape of the bows it was impossible to get them out without destroying the stitching - it just seemed to disintegrate. I think the age of the headliner fabric and stitching was a big factor in this - I certainly hope so, as the bows will have to go back one day and I don't fancy sewing them in.

The first thing I noticed about the bows was that several of the ends were covered with red over-spray - isn't everything on this car! The second thing was that they are all slightly different sizes and shapes. The golden rule with parts like this is simple: make some notes. In the digital age, a quick picture is mandatory, and it also helps to draw a quick sketch. This should take some of the stress out of installing the new headliner...although I have been told it is a total PITA.

This is a picture of the surface rust on the inside of the driver side C-pillar. The other side is very similar. A quick glance at this when I peeled back the headliner and I knew I couldn't leave it as it was. Fortunately there are no serious rust issues, and unlike one of the guys in BAMA, I didn't suddenly discover any homemade sunroof-related horrors.

The yellow insulation I found under the roof was the same as the piece I pulled out from under the backseat. I'll be replacing all this later with some modern material.

The perimeter of the roof had surface rust all the way around - not really much of an issue, I just have to figure out how best to treat it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

rear drum brakes

What is going on? An average of two posts a month since summer started and now 3 in a week! I guess it's just part of the posts tend to show something being completed, and just lately a few things have been finished off at the same time. Anyway, the rear axle I bought from the Concord Cougar King came with a pair of ten inch drum brakes which I have been refurbishing over the last few weeks. When I first took the drums off, I couldn't believe how HUGE they looked next to the tiny 4-luggers my car came with.

Some of the parts like the park brake link bar were definitely original '68 ford parts, but the springs and a few other bits were repros. The biggest pain about getting the brakes apart is removing the park brake cable, but I already moaned about that here, so I'll skip it this time round.

The backing plates were in reasonable condition with most of the paint still intact, but the drums were heavily rusted. What they needed really was sand or media blasting, but I don't have that luxury in my shop - I just don't have the space for a decent cabinet and my compressor isn't up to the job either. I could have easily outsourced the task locally, but this project is about saving money where practical, and in any case I was impatient, so I broke out the wire wheel once more. This was the result after about an hour:

Time to build a paint booth! Some might call it a cardboard box nailed to a table, but to me it's a paint booth. Here it is with the door open:

This is the view with the door closed:

I took the drums into the booth and hit them inside and out with several thin coats of zero rust. I taped off the inner rims, but I was a bit haphazard about it - I'll be having the drums turned later on, so a bit of overspray is nothing to worry about.

Next day I sprayed the drums with two coats of Eastwood brake gray - I'm getting to like this paint because it is really thick, but goes on even with no runs. It can reputedly withstand up to 400F. Hopefully I will get a chance to test this claim one day.

The small parts that I'll be re-using also got a going-over with the wire wheel and a coat of the gray. I painted the axle retainers at the same time.

I'm replacing the brake shoes, springs and most of the other small parts, but I kept the wheel cylinder bolts and a few other items which were in good enough condition. This was my first chance to try out the zinc plating kit I got from Eastwood. I decided to buy this kit after reading Tom Mackie's review. Really I don't have much to add to that excellent testimonial. My own experience showed that the more effort invested into getting each part really clean before the plating, the better the finish. Since most of these parts will never be seen I didn't waste any time on polishing, although you can do that too. As long as you understand it's never going to look the same as chrome. One of the best engine compartments I've ever seen was painted flat black and had every fastener dull-zinc plated. It was/is a really cool look.

I gave the backing plates the "POR-15 treatment" that I described here. They came out good enough rather than exceptional.

I could have got by with reusing the wheel cylinders, but when they're 10 bucks each, why take a's worth 10 bucks each not to have to clean the old ones!

Reassembling the shoes and springs was one task I was really not looking forward to. I usually love putting something back together after taking it apart and cleaning it up....but this looked difficult. I couldn't find much online about how and in what order to do I just had a go...there were a couple of moments where I could have done with a third or even a fourth hand, but I managed.

It took me about an hour to get both sides together. Is this good?

A few days later I took the drums in to SP Auto in San Leandro and had them turned - this was how they looked afterwards:

I had SP press the new bearings onto the axles at the same time. So that's that. Apart from figuring out what I'm doing with the differential, the rear end is all back to the bodywork...