Monday, February 7, 2011

Polishing stainless steel

I'm on a roll in getting these blogs hammered out. Today's is short and sweet, but makes such a catamount difference in the overall presentation of the car. It can only be a blessing that most of the shiny trim on a car--mostly that around the windows--is stainless steel. This means it will never rust, pit, or corrode, and with the investment of time, can be made to look better than new.

Polishing the stainless steel is a good winter activity as it doesn't require much...a warm basement shop, a bench, adequate lighting, a drill, and a polishing kit. I'm using an Eastwood metal polishing kit, which comes with 5 different buffing compounds and a bunch of different buffing pads, that mount to a drill.

Eastwood buffing kit

The kit comes with instructions that are pretty straight forward. I first wash my pieces with soap and water to get the dirt off, then pick out any small dents or imperfections that may be in them. Then it's on to buffing, moving from coarsest to finest buffing compound. Here's an example of what can be done:

This is a piece of window frame before polishing

The same piece after 40 minutes worth of polishing

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Door skin and repair, part 3

Continuing the third installation in the saga of complete door restoration, I bring my door ever so closer to completion--or ready for primer.

To pick up where I left off last time...I painted the door. The jams, or areas otherwise prone to the elements and rust were treated with several coats of Eastwood Rust Encapsulator, which will be primed over with epoxy primer when the time comes. The interior door panel was painted with black semi-gloss lacquer. The door panel metal is stamped to resemble vinyl. Ford used semi gloss lacquer paint here as it does not fill in the grain. Before painting I had applied a light coat of etching primer to etch the bare metal.

Next came the door handle install. I already installed the lock which is a very simple procedure. The pre-drilled holes in the door skin weren't in proper alignment for the door handle bolts, so I had to hog out the holes. Since the holes were now enlarged, I had to weld shut the part of the hole no longer required so the holes were smaller than the nuts attaching the handle to the door.

The welds look big and ugly, but once they're ground down the new holes are effective.

The bare metal is covered with etching primer and the new door handle was attached to the door. These door handles are Scott Drake 'show quality' handles. They have quality chrome and are made in the USA. They are a nice unit and resemble the originals exactly.

Next the window is installed. Window installation is a tricky procedure--the first time it's done. After you've done it once and figured it out, a window can be installed easily in 15 minutes.

Next, the beltline felt and seal is installed. I used a set of Repops brand that I got from CJ Pony. I also recommend this piece. To install the beltline felt, the bottom window stop rubber bumper is removed, allowing the window to be cranked all the way to the bottom of the door, below the door line at the top of the door. This gives you room to install the beltline felts and rubber seal. The felt strip goes on the interior side, while the rubber seal goes on the exterior side. Installation is very simple as the seals merely snap into place.

I now have a nearly complete door. The only thing left is vent window installation. This will not take place until I have replaced the necessary seals on the window.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Monte Carlo bar installation

Today's blog is theoretically a simple procedure, but involves a single complication many Mustang owners have to fight: the shock towers tend to fall in and need to be spread in order to fit the bar back in. A Monte Carlo bar keeps the shock towers from collapsing in, especially with the weight of the engine pushing down on the middle of the car, pulling the towers in. Additionally, the Monte Carlo bar reinforces the front end offering better handling.

This bar is a stainless steel Scott Drake bar. Several benefits of this bar is stainless steel as opposed to chrome (won't rust or pit), has oval bolt holes for the fender skirts allowing for install flexibility, and square holes for carriage bolts for the top of the fender skirt.

The actual procedure itself was relatively straight forward. I jacked up the car a few inches by placing the jack in the middle of the engine bay cross member. This allows the weight of the tires to pull the shock towers out. I then placed a porta power between the shock towers and widened in miniscule increments until I could fit the bar into place. The bar was secured on one side to the side of the fender skirts (it uses the same holes as the coil spring cover), and drilled out the holes in the top of the fender skirt. For this I used stainless steel carriage bolts that I polished to match the luster of the bar. The trick is to not completely tighten down the bolts until the bar is completely mounted. Moving on to the next side, the bar wanted to pop up a bit and not sit flush on the metal, but once the nuts were tightened on the bolts it pulled the bar tight up against the metal. And the finished product is what you see here.