Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fenders primed

This is old news, as in it was the bulk of what I did this summer. I was surprised to see I haven't posted the progress on the fenders yet, so here goes.

The fenders have been a long, frustrating process. From the aspect of being rust free, they are good, solid--virtually perfect--fenders in that regard. From the aspect of being dent and ripple free....not sooo much. There were many small low spots or imperfections all over both fenders that I filled in with either plastic or fiberglass filler depending on the need, or just glazing putty. To put it briefly, I began overzealous with the filler and filled anything and everything. After I thought I was ready to start spraying, I decided I was then not happy with the amount of filler (basically out of fear of filler contour I might get in the final product) so I then proceeded to remove 70% of the filler I put down and put more effort into working out the low spots with a hammer and dolly. While painstaking, it was definitely in my favor as some of the low spots I was able to completely work out and required little more than a skim coat of glazing putty. By now this is probably boring you all, and you might not have even read this because you've already skipped down to the play by play action.

These first two pics basically show what we're starting with. This is the filler I put on the first time before I decided to go and take most of it off. Much of the filler on the top was then reduced to small skim spots.

I used the infamous Southern Polyurethanes (SPI) Epoxy primer to shoot on the bare metal. SPI is best known for their epoxy.

For this first painting step, I was working with both fenders and the cowl. This is after shooting them with epoxy. I shot two coats of epoxy with 30 minute flash time in between coats.

I then filled in minor imperfections with a skim coat of glazing putty. This pic was actually before I sprayed the cowl. I originally had the entire cowl and both fenders sprayed with Sikkens Washprimer, but after seeing some rust starting to come through that, I decided to sand it all back off and go with Epoxy, which is considerably more durable and corrosion resistant.

After the epoxy was on, I laid down some SPI 2k filler primer. The Epoxy needs to be sprayed within seven days so I had to plan my timetable ahead to make sure I could get on all the coats in the right time frames. I sprayed on three coats of filler primer at a time. This stuff is great and is very thick. It fills in very well and sands easily to boot. Here I have applied a guidecoat to the cowl and am blocksanding it smooth with 180 grit.

Of course I wasn't happy with everything after getting my final coats of fill primer on. I could still see some weird contours from the body filler that weren't natural for the car so once again I sanded off all the primer in select spots, removed the filler, bumped out the low spots better, and filled again.

After redoing everything, I again had to shoot the spots I fixed with epoxy followed by filling primer.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

door skin and repair, part 2

Part two of what looks like will be a three part series... After the door skin was fit, I finally got around to getting it permanently installed. To do this, the edge of the door skin is hammered down flat against the underside of the door, where it is then welded to the body of the door.

Picking up right where the last blog ended, all the rust was removed with a wire brush on the angle grinder, shot with a few coats of rust converter, and then shot with two coats of Eastwood Rust Encapsulator as seen here.

I could not find a reproduction insulator that goes between the door brace and skin, so I fashioned one out of cork that was the same thickness as the original insulator. I straightened the original staples out and then reused them. I then reinforced it by wrapping duct tape strips over all stapled areas, and finally a duct tape strip ran the entire length of the cork to cover it and hopefully prevent some degradation. The verdict's out on how well it will hold up.

The edges of the door skin were then hammered over and welded to the door. I ground the welds down.

The completed door skin.

I had a problem with getting tons of tiny little dimples across the bottom from the dolly, even though I was trying to be careful with it. I ended up pushing hard on it with my palm and using that as a dolly.

Next step in the repair was to fix this rusted out lower fron corner of the door.

The offending area is cut out.

A new piece is fabricated from scrap metal I saved from the trunk lid. I pounded this on a large pipe to give it a round contour that matched the contour of the door.

The piece was then welded in. It wasn't a perfect fit and there were some big gaps on the bottom and right side, so I had to fill that all in with the welder, leaving it less than pretty, but I've seen much worse weld jobs.

But after grinding down the welds it looks almost as good as new. It won't be in a visible spot and will receive a skim coat of fiber glass filler to cover up any pinholes where the welder didn't completely fill in.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Replacing door skin, part 1

Holy nuts it's been a long time. I've been working something insane at this car the entire summer trying to maximize productivity while the weather is nice. Some days this summer were just plain too hot, while others (most, it seemed) were too wet. It seemed like it rained 4 of the 7 days a week this summer. I've done some serious work on the fenders and they're currently primed. I'll have more on that later. Secondly, I have removed the entire quarter panel and tail light panel for major reconstructive surgery. More on that later as well. It just so happens that the video card on my other laptop (that houses all the pics of this project) has taken a dump, so until I retrieve data off that computer or replace the video card, I'll have to post progress with pics I've taken and uploaded to Rosemary's computer.

Today I go through a door skin removal. My original passengers door had rusted through in the front bottom corner, which is a common place for the doors on these cars to rust through. I bought a different old door that appeared to be in good shape (passed the magnet test and all), it just had a crease in the front that the seller (and old body guy who restores Mustangs) said would be easy to remove with a stud welder. Maybe for him, but not for me. Also turns out there was still quite a bit of filler on the door and some rust spots. All of this was on the skin. Since the skin is such an easy fix and a new skin is cheap ($50), I opted to replace the skin. I'll probably do this for the driver's door too as there are many dings in the door.

After receiving the door I dug in to see if I could locate rust or filler, which I did. Turns out the door was not looking so great, and the crease was a very difficult fix. Not worth it.

The firsts step in door skin removal is to go around the entire edge of the door with a grinder and grind away the skin where it folds over the edge of the door. This will break the skin away and it will start to separate as seen here.

Once I've ground the entire edge of the door and cut through half a dozen spot welds, the skin lifts off.

I now have the trash skin, on the left, and the door shell, on the right.

I then took the new skin and did a test fit.

As the pictures show, even though it's a reproduction skin, it fit nicely and the door will look brand new on the outside. The skin has a few dings from shipping (and I think I gave it a new one tonight) but they are minor and nothing that can't be worked out with a hammer and dolly.

Now that I know the skin fits, I can be at ease and concentrate on the next step...this rusty inner door. It's not pictured, but I then hit this with a wirebrush on my angle grinder to remove all the rust. Next I'll degrease it, spray the entire inner door with a rust converter, paint it with some rust encapsulator, reinstall the window and regulator and door handle/locking mechanism, put some rubber undercoating on the inside of the door skin for vibration dampening, and weld the skin on. Put a few coats of lacquer on the interior side of the door, install the new window felts and seals, and finally the panel and this door will look brand new. All this to come...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Gas Tank

For today's posting, a very short and sweet entry on the protection of the gas tank. I don't know what was considered correct for the car, but I'm sure the gas tanks originally came as unpainted steel, leading to their inevitable rusting. We took a few quick hours of measures to prevent this. It won't be concours, but it will sure look nice underneath the car, and even nicer in the years to come when the gas tank is protected from rust.

1. The gas tank is stripped down with a wire brush and cleaned/degreased very well. Rose begins to apply several coats of Miracle Paint. This is her stupid smile, not her serious smile :)

2. The gas tank is now encapsulated in a hard layer of Miracle Paint to be protected for years to come. And it looks great too.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Steering installation, part 1

Today we begin what turns out to be a saga of a steering rebuild. This car has a manual steering system, with an SMB-H code steering gear box; a rare gear box that was an 'experiment' for Ford and was only in 67's for a short run. That doesn't make it valuable, it just makes it a hindrance. So let's begin...

1. The story begins on a cold December day when I was initially trying to adjust the steering gearbox to fix play in the system. I then submitted to my wiser instincts that I should use this opportunity with an open engine bay to take the gearbox out and send it out to be rebuilt and do this the right way. After all, as I had not driven the car I had no idea of the condition the steering was in.

2. I sent the box down to Precision Products ( in Texas. Randy is a very helpful, nice guy and is probably one of the best in the biz, specializing in rebuilding and repair of old Ford steering components but let me forewarn you that he takes a long time and can be difficult to get a hold of. I finally got my box back in April (I sent it down in December). It looked great when it came back but it was also frustrating. If you have lots of time on your hands, I would recommend sending it to him. If not, I'd suggest looking elsewhere. On these old steering gearboxes, as you can see in the pic, the box and shaft is one piece; the shaft does not come out so it has to be sent and serviced as one piece. It's a non-collapsible shaft. Consequently, if you're in a major front end collision, this thing is putting a steering wheel through your chest.

3. Before putting everything back in I wanted to do some sprucing up of the firewall for protection against metal deterioration. This area in the pic, where the shaft and column pass through is prone to rusting so it's important to get it well protected. I start by cleaning up the area well with a wirebrush and some degreaser paint prep...

4. I then apply some Miracle Paint...

5. ...and install a new column-through-firewall rubber seal, along with the freshly repainted plate...

6. and install the gearbox in the engine bay, passing the shaft through the firewall and sliding the column down over it. The column and dash have been repainted as seen here with black lacquer paint. Lacquer paint is the correct interior paint to use in these old Mustangs as it won't fill in the stampings Ford put in the metal to resemble vinyl.

That brings us to the end of this section. I'll post more on hooking up the steering in the engine bay as soon as I have pics.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I'm still so far behind in getting this current, but at least when I make a posting it can include all the work that has been accomplished over some amount of time, making the post more comprehensive. Today's post is about fenders. If you look back at some previous pictures, you'll see the seemingly normal looking purple fenders, and for the most part they are/were normal. They are in great shape with no rust any where, however they are going to require a little body work. One of the fenders was obviously involved in an accident and had quite a bit of filler over a shoddy attempt at pulling some dents. Also, both fenders had areas on various mounting points (where the bolt goes through) that were either cracked or completely broke away. So to start this, we begin with some welding. I'll describe this with captions.

1. I took this to the Hendrick's residence to make use of their welder. Jason is a skilled welder and was itching to do some welding so he went ahead and made all the welds.

2. This piece here is a mounting point near the front of the fender where the fender bolts to the top of the inner fender skirt (or top of the engine bay). A large piece was missing and it had a large crack, so I cut it out altogether, snipped out a piece of metal from the old trunk lid (now retired as a metal donor) and we welded this in. It doesn't look like much right now, but just wait to see what the art of metalworking will reveal.

3. This is on the bottom of the fender where it bolts to the underside of the car. Here the metal was cracked so we cut it out and welded in a new piece.

4. The next step is to apply protective undercoating to the fenders so I'll never have to worry about them rusting. Begin with these dirty fenders...

5. Then clean them up with some powerwashing and wire wheel...

6. And finally apply two coats of Bill Hirsch Miracle Paint (an analog to POR 15). These fenders are going to be good to go for a long time on the insides now.

7. Remember that horrible looking patch we welded in earlier? After some grinding and cutting it comes out looking just like the other side. As it sits now you can barely tell anything was done to it. With a minor skim coat of body filler, this will look good as new.

8. Next the outsides of the fenders are completely stripped. I tried several methods of this--chemical paint stripper, electric and pneumatic DA with 40 grit paper, but at the end of the day a wire wheel on an angle grinder won out. It cuts through paint and filler like nobody's business and strips far faster than anything else. Both fenders in their entirety were stripped with the angle grinder and wirewheel.

9. You may have noticed the headlight buckets weren't painted earlier. I didn't paint them because I had to do some sandblasting around the edges on the inside. It's important to coat the headlight buckets as well because they are a part rusted out on many Rustangs. I sandblasted them and my lovely helper (wife as of one month from now) Rosemary painted them (she likes to do brush painting so I try to save most of it for her).

10. Good job Rose!

11. Now that the fenders are completely stripped and coated on the inside, for the final step they were treated with PPC's Phix corrosion treatment, which is a zinc phosphate product. It removes corrosion from the fenders that can't be removed by sanding. To do this process I first go over the entire fender with 80 grit on a DA to rough up the metal. Every metal surface is then degreased twice. The fenders are treated with two coats of Phix, leaving a nice dull protective zinc coating on the metal. This not only etches the metal and removes all the corrosion, but it also protects the metal from rusting before it can be primed.

Stay tuned for updates on door body work, additional engine work, installation of the steering system.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Been slacking on posting...and building a car.

So much progress has been made since my last posting in February. I completed my Master's in Veterinary Microbiology in April, and having cleansed myself of that burden I began some pretty serious work. To get this blog up to speed would require some epically long post, so I shall describe my adventures in segments.

In one of the first nice days of this spring, which occurred in early April, I pulled the engine out into the driveway to get some sun and start assembly, and the pics reflect the results of my efforts.

Because of the retardation of this site, and my increasing lack of patience with it, I have significantly scaled back the extent of pictures that I am posting because blogspot makes it impossible to format pics within the text, and then they give you this little tiny window to try to do it all in. At any rate, this zippy little 302 was topped off with an aluminum Weiand Stealth intake, new water pump and timing cover, and polished aluminum Ford Racing valve covers. It's important to remember if you're using roller rockers your valve covers need to be 'tall' in order to have clearance. Since these pics were taken, I also added on the thermostat housing and oil dipstick and tube--both all chrome of course, and stuck the fuel pump back in. The oil pan, fuel pump, harmonic balancer, and engine mounts were the only parts from the 289 that made it on to this build. Everything else is new.