Sunday, September 15, 2013

Final assembly and masking, and new wheels!

I picked up a set of used 14" Cragar Super Sports from a guy on Craigslist for $250, with tires.  The tires are shot, but the rims are still in really nice condition.  I am going to stick with 14" rims because that's what these are, though I was originally going to get 15" if buying new, for no reason other than it's a popular size.  With 14" wheels however, I have realized several things:

  • wheel well clearance is not an issue, even with wider tires (these wheels came with 245/60's on the back, and 195's up front).
  • The extra space around the tires and wheel well lip give the car more of a muscle car stance because it looks raised rather than squatted (opinions will differ).  I'm very much not a fan of the 17" wheel look where the entire opening is filled up with wheel and tire.  It looks like a hot wheels car.
  • I don't have to change out my speedometer gear.
So here it is, what a difference new wheels make:

I've included this picture as a reference to see the difference without the wheels.  This is the other side of the car.

 Final Assembly and Masking
I did the final assembly of the rest of the car in preparation to paint the outside in its entirety.  I don't tighten bolt-on parts such as fender and quarter extensions or valances down tightly because I want there to be a gap.  This prevents paint from bridging the panels.  Eventually that paint will crack and will look unsightly.  After the painting is finished, I'll tighten everything up.   Because I had done a test fit prior to this, I knew everything would fit perfectly and I knew where my problem areas were going to be, I knew how to adjust to fix them, and where to shim.  I probably had close to 15-20 hr in the final assembly and getting all the gaps right.  It was during this time I wet sanded the entire car with 600 grit as the final sanding step before a metallic basecoat.

I'm using these rubber washers underneath the fender bolts so they don't scratch the fenders up.  It seemed like a good idea, but I guess I'll figure out really quickly if it was only good intentions.

In its final assembly

After assembly was complete, I drove the car into the booth, put it up high on jack stands to give me easier access to bottoms of panels when painting, and took the tires off.    I am using 1.5" 3M yellow.  I had used 3M green before, but it's hard to rip and is really sticky.  The 3M yellow corners nicely, tears pretty well, and isn't notoriously sticky, yet it still sticks very well.  I have also heard lots of good things about American Tape, but did not have a distributor nearby.  I could have picked it up on Ebay.

Some cars you see masked up look like a beautiful work of art.  I will probably never fall into that category, I want to be practical, functional, but not use 5 miles of tape either if it's unnecessary.  I do care about not leaving a tape edge, so I do lots of back masking.  Back masking provides for a rounded edge, rather than a hard edge, so there's a transition of paint and you can't tell it was ever masked.  I'll explain in the captions.

I'm doing this rather unconventionally, but I need to spray the trunk lid on the car since it's metallic, or at least spray it at the same time with the same gun settings as I do everything else.  But I don't want to remove it because I'll need to tape off the stripes as well and it needs to be perfectly in place for that, which it currently is.  But I also need to paint the trunk jambs.  The back edge of the trunk lid hangs over the tail light panel and obscures some of the tail light panel so the only way to get thorough coverage would be to paint with the trunk lid off, hence not painting the jambs separately.  Since I did not want to remove the trunk lid, I masked off the underside so I can spray it raised.

I back-masked the underside so I didn't get a hard tape line.  To do this I ran the tape along the edge of the underside of the trunk lid with about an inch of it sticking out.  The sticky side would have been pointing up in this picture.  Then I fold the 1" of tape that was sticking out down 180 degrees, so the sticky side would now be facing down in this picture, and would now have been folded underneath the trunk lid.  Don't crease it, keep it as round and bubbly as possible.  The masking paper then sticks to this once it's been folded under.

Back masking doors and hood is similar.  I taped the jambs with about 1/2-1" of tape sticking out, then carefully folded it back on itself about 90 degrees.  Then just simply shut the door or hood.  The tape will make a round bubble out the gaps and will prevent a tape line forming on the edges.

The car all masked and ready to go.  I tried an experiment with cardboard in the windshield but it didn't work well, so I just stuck to my masking paper for everything else.   A skirt is masked all the way around the bottom of the car.  The wheel wells are masked off, as well as the radiator opening and openings in the valances.  I also masked off areas behind any holes or openings, such as the quarter panel openings, door handle/door lock, gas cap hole, etc.

Installing the rocker nut for the fender-to-rocker bolt

I've seen the question come over forums time and time again, 'how do you install the fender bolt nut in the rocker?'

I was first stumped when I first had to do this, but it's very easy, and literally takes about, say, 5 seconds.  Seriously, when you see this you will say 'DUH! That's so simple!'....even though you just got done fighting it for 30 minutes. 

The nut has two little ears, or tabs, on each side that rest against the bottom of the rocker, on the outside of the rocker.  This is so you can push up against it and it won't go up into the rocker.  If your ears are busted off, don't even try to fight it, just order a new one.

The nut is going to go into the hole in the bottom of the rocker in this orientation.  One side is 'longer,' because the ears are closer to one end.

Put the 'longer' end into the hole first, at an angle.

This is just another view.

Once it's in, then you push it up so it's flush, then kind of slide it back toward you with our finger and the nut will drop into place.  Pay no mind to my dust trails from wet sanding.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Installing weatherstripping

It's been a few weeks now, but I installed the weatherstripping on the trunk lid and doors.  There are a few tricks to it that don't seem immediately obvious as first.

I used Carpenter Reproductions weather stripping that I ordered from CJ's.  My panels were off the car laying upside down when I installed.  I did a test first first, just a mock up to make sure the stripping was going to be the correct length.

The weather stripping has a mold releasing agent on it that can make it so it doesn't adhere to the adhesive well, so first clean the weatherstripping with wax and grease remover.  I've read that some people have had to scuff their weatherstripping with a red scotch brite to make it adhere better too.  Then scuff the surface on the car that the weatherstripping will be adhering to with a red scotchbrite, and clean the surface with wax and grease remover and let it flash off.

I used 3M Super Black Weatherstripping Adhesive, applying a light coat to the panel as well as the mounting surfaces of the weatherstripping and letting it set up for a few minutes  until it was tacky before setting the weatherstripping on the panel, working in sections a few feet long at a time.

A tip I discovered...the adhesive is like black rubber cement, it will be stringy and get on the panel, and it will squish out and get on the panel.  This can easily be removed by the sticky side of some masking just pulls it right off, providing the adhesive isn't fully set up and cured.

Some areas of the stripping, especially the corners, I had to tape down to hold it in place to make a good seal.  I let it cure overnight at least before messing with any of the panels or trying to mount.

One word of caution, be prepared for your doors to not close well or all the way initially.  Eventually the stripping will soften and collapse a bit, but in the meantime, I have raised the latch on the trunk and will lower it over time as the weatherstripping settles.  The doors take some effort to close, but I've been keeping them close to train the weatherstripping as well.

I have tape holding down the weatherstripping on the trunk lid.  The weatherstripping should butt together at the striker location.  Sitting looking at my trunk lid upside down and backwards, I realized after the fact that I made my butt joint at the front center of the trunk, thinking it was the back.  Oops, but not a big deal.  At least it won't be real visible this way.

Trunk weatherstripping is completed.

This weatherstripping fit well.  The top is both adhered and secured into plate with a small screw.