Friday, January 25, 2013

Attention in the Trunk Area

Time is a fickle thing when working on an old car.  It ebbs and flows frequently and often without much of a wake.  Sometimes you turn around and dust yourself off and realize you actually made some use of it when you weren’t paying so much attention to it.  Poetic eh?

Anyway, a lot of time has been spent recently, tackling the preparation and base priming of the rear interior areas of the Boss.  There is no small amount of surface area to deal with in this section of a fastback Mustang and I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything on my way to planning some finish work this summer.  Also, of significant importance in the project, I now have HELP!  My daughter has managed to hang on to a young man that happens to have a particular interest in just about everything involved in car restoration and has been rather quietly watching my work from the sidelines for a few years.  We’ll call him “Ted.”
“Ted” has been hanging around the shop, asking good questions, lending a hand and heading out to car shows and cruises with me when opportunity presents itself.  At the same time, he’s been attending trade classes at a local school in the paint and bodywork trade and I’m happy to report he’s top of his class!  At some point, in a moment of weakness (and in an attempt to get him to quit drinking all my damn coffee!), I asked him if he’d like to get in some genuine “work” time on the car and help me on a regular basis.  Luckily, after a mandatory consult with his parents, he agreed to dedicate a few days a week to the project and I have definitely appreciated the extra pair of capable hands.  I have agreed to hold back absolutely nothing and will do my level best to educate him on every aspect of the work I do.  So the bottom line is:  You can expect to see a lot of Ted in future blog entries as I believe he deserves credit for every stitch of his effort and I believe he has the potential to make the experience more valuable than we might expect.  It is important for me, and the hobby in general, to pass along what I can, when I can, to preserve the future of our beloved restoration hobby and ensure our passion lives on for generations to come.  More on this in a later blog.

With the bulk of the bare metal preparations complete, I needed to tackle a few more small modifications to the body and floor I have been pondering over the last several months.  The first was to remove the original e-brake cable brackets from the frame rails as they are no longer required with the new Lokar tunnel mounted e-brake handle I will be using.  These took all of about 15 minutes to remove since the spot welds holding them in place were very easy to identify and cut, leaving only a little bit of welding and grinding to clean things up.  Then a quick scuff with a sanding pad and each of the spots was shot with a coat of PPG DP40-LF primer and this job was done.

Next, I set about filling the seam between the lower rear quarter panel and the rear rocker.  This was another seam I have always found rather unsightly and I wanted to smooth this area up in similar fashion to what I did in the upper trunk lid area I mentioned in my last post.
After thoroughly cleaning the seam of all remnants of debris and leftover seam sealer, I carefully stitch welded the groove, cooling between small stitches with air until the entire seam was no more.  I repeated this same procedure on the opposite side and then started the delicate process of smoothing the welds.

When the welds were as close to flat as I could get them, I smeared up the surfaces with an oversized Sharpie marker and finished the surfaces with a 36-grit pad on my DA sander.  This technique shows the low spots that will require more metal finishing quite easily.  As it turns out, the surfaces were surprisingly smooth and the work in this area should be rather minimal in preparation for final finish work.
At this point, we were in good shape to begin sanding the trunk area and axle tunnel area on the interior to prepare the surface for the SEM Rust Shield paint that I decided to use under the PPG DP40-LF epoxy primer that would follow.  In the course of a solid evening, Ted and I had the scuffing completed and had time to go ahead and scuff the already primed surfaces in preparation for the final primer and paint layers that are planned in the near future.

With the sanding complete, it came time to swab everything down with grease and wax remover and let it all dry overnight.  Then it was time to mask off everything that didn’t need coating and tool up the spray gun to apply the SEM Rust Shield to these freshly prepared areas of the trunk and floor.  Somehow, I managed to get my daughter Desiree’ into the act and the masking went very quickly. This allowed plenty of time to apply two solid coats of SEM to all of the bare metal surfaces that remained inside the car and let it dry thoroughly before the next round of scuff-sanding could begin.
After several days of drying time, it was time to scuff the freshly primed surfaces to make way for a good coat of PPG primer/sealer to lock everything down. I recruited Ted to scuff the “tight” areas given he weighs about 120 pounds soaking wet and can fit into small spaces I can only dream about reaching.  Another solid evening worth of work and the surfaces were fully scuffed for the next round.  We did identify a number of spots that required brush application of the SEM product to ensure complete coverage.  However, the bulk of the surfaces looked very well covered and ended up being rather easy to scuff with heavy Scotch Brite pads alone.  Another round of touch-up priming with the SEM Rust Shield product and we will soon be ready to seal up the entire interior area with PPG DP40-LF epoxy.
Original e-brake brackets needed to come off, so I marked each one for removal.  This is the bracket located under the driver seat area.  Notice the very clear spot weld locations.  This made it very easy to drill them out for easy removal.

Each rear frame rail had one of these brackets installed, so off it will come!

After quickly drilling out each spot weld, these brackets came right off with little effort.

Under each bracket flange was minimal rust, making clean-up very easy to accomplish.

Passenger side area has been smoothed and is now ready for primer.

Left side e-brake bracket surface ready for primer.

Here is a close up of the former front left e-brake bracket location.

A quick few coats of PPG DP40-LF primer and the modification is totally invisible.

Right side rear e-brake bracket location is smoothed up and primed.

Front e-brake bracket area is ready to go!

While we were working on priming the spots where the e-brake brackets were removed, I decided to prime the floor drain covers I installed some time ago.

With momentum on my side, I decided to weld up the quarter seams just behind the doors.  Here, the seam has been thoroughly cleaned and is ready for welding.

Left side all welded up!

And the right side too!

The dark lines are lo areas that are highlighted by the use of a jumbo Sharpie marker as an indicator and sanding the surface with a 36 grit DA sander.

Here is a peek at the passenger side filled rocker seam after sanding with the DA.

All of the work in the previous month or so has the rear inner quarter structures in good shape for priming.

Front trunk floor is etched and ready for primer.

Left inner quarter is also in good shape for priming.  The "wet" area between the outer wheel house and the quarter is leftover wax and grease remover that hadn't dried yet when I took this picture.

This is Ted.  Ted works hard.  Ted is skinny.  Ted fits in small places.  I like Ted.

All of the EDP coated parts are scuffed with sanding pads prior to application of SEM Rust Shield primer.

While we were at it, we decided to sand the entire interior floor at the same time we did the rear trunk area.  A trick I use to do this kind of work and save HUGE amounts of time is to use a 6" nylon cup brush on my body grinder to scuff-sand the surface.  This is the exact tool used by spray on truck bed liner installation companies.

Here, Ted is sanding the inner tail light panel surfaces.

Everybody loves playing with masking tape!  My daughter Desiree' decided to join in and help mask the trunk area in preparation for the SEM Rust Shield.

Here is the inner trunk areas after the SEM Rust Shield has dried.  Nifty!

Another view of the freshly applied SEM.

I left the original sound deadener in the rear quarters since it was adhered so well and there was no rust underneath.  The SEM Rust Shield applied right over this with no trouble at all.

Here, Ted is sanding deep inside the rear quarters to prep them for PPG epoxy primer.

Scuffing the rear trunk floors.

Ted scuffing the inner tail light panel for primer.

And there ya go!  The rear axle tunnel and divider is scuffed and ready for the PPG epoxy primer.

Front trunk floor ready for primer.

Rear inner tail light panel is fully scuffed.  Can't wait to see these surfaces in fresh, smooth PPG primer.