Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Driveshaft restoration

In the last two months, I have learned it is ludicrously easy to bring a driveshaft back to life, make it look brand new, and so nice you don't even want to install it.  I initiated this pursuit as it's my goal for the underside of the car to look almost as nice as the...topside.

I wish I had a 'before' picture, but the driveshaft was crusty, crusty black.  I started by taking my scraper and scraped all the junk off it.  After this I took to it with brake cleaner which took everything off right down to the rusty metal.

On my rolling shop table, I made a convenient driveshaft workstation by resting it on jackstands.

After it had been cleaned with brake cleaner, I started sanding the rust off with a DA which quickly brought the metal back to looking brand new.

These are the original factory-applied stripes (white, green, red), used for color coding the driveshaft .  As the car moves down the line it is accompanied by a build sheet.  The line worker would grab the driveshaft dictated by the color code on the build sheet.  Or so goes the lore that I have read.  I took measurements for each of the strips so I could repaint them.  Closer to the end of the shaft were two gray lines.

The driveshaft is completely sanded, looking brand new.  Next I treated it with several coats of zinc phosphate to protect against corrosion and condition the metal.

...then remeasured out the stripes and taped them off.

All the stripes are taped off.

I repainted the stripes with regular old enamel model paint...basically because it was the only thing I had where I'd have all the colors, and figured it would have *some* durability.  Two gray stripes at the end, then the three middle stripes.  After the stripes were painted I clear coated the whole thing with several coats of cheapie rattle can Duplicolor Clear.

And the finished the product up close.  I wasn't striving for perfection on the stripes since the originals were very sloppy.  I also wasn't striving for exact color matching.  As the final leg of the driveshaft restoration, I took it to my transmission rebuilder where he put a new yolk and u-joint on it, so I could have a fresh new yolk to slide into the freshly rebuilt transmission.