After several days’ delay due to Hurricane Sandy (and no power for 4 days), I got a change to prime the doors and trunk lid. Like the body, they got 2 coats of epoxy primer and 3 coats of filler-surfacer.
I also re-installed the windshield with a new rubber gasket. It is a bit of an art to install it- you have to use a long, thin piece of rope to get the lip of the gasket to go around the edge of the opening in the frame.
I painted the body and bonnet over two days. Each part got a coat of epoxy primer mixed as sealer, and three coats of color. It came out pretty nice overall – a couple of little bugs in the paint, one small run on the windshield pillar, and a small orange-peely patch on the bonnet – nothing that won’t buff out. Most of it looks great.
One annoyance was that the color match was not so great. The original paint was orange-ish red, and the new paint (which was custom mixed to the original factory paint code) is a more saturated, pure, red. But since I painted the door jambs, there is very little original paint showing. The underside of the hood and the inside of the trunk are faded and grubby enough to make color matching irrelevant.
The next step to to get the doors and trunk lid painted. They are ready for primer, but the weather is supposed to be terrible for the next several days.
I got the entire body and bonnet (hood) sanded and ready to paint. The final sanding was done wet, with #600 sandpaper. It takes a while, since the body has lots of nooks and crannies. I am doing the door jambs, which add quite a bit of work. After a final cleaning, the car will be ready for the sealer and final color coats. One other thing that I need to do before painting is to fix up any place where the masking might have gotten damaged or loose.
I’ll actually paint the body first, and the bonnet the next day, since it has to be raised to paint the body, and lowered to be painted itself.
So far, I have managed to get the rear valences and both rear fenders sanded. I start with #320 dry, and finish with #600 wet. It takes a while, since the paint seems to clog the 320 sandpaper pretty quickly, and I have to keep vacuuming it off.
Over the last couple of days I finished the masking and got out all my painting stuff and set it up.
Then I sprayed a couple of coats of epoxy primer followed a few hours later by three full coats of filler-surfacer. The next step is to start sanding it.
I finished the filler work, went over the car one more time with 220 sandpaper, and wiped it down. Then I put a clean new tarp down on the garage floor, rolled the car to the correct spot, and jacked it up to be supported on some cement blocks, a foot or so above its normal level. This will allow me to more easily paint the rocker panels. Once the car was secure, I removed the wheels, and started masking off all the places where I don’t want paint.
I need one more day to finish the masking the car and giving it a final cleanup, and then it will be ready for primer.
I’m mostly done with the filler, but I spend more time than I planned. I realized that one rear fender had a fairly thick layer of old filler, so I started sanding it off. Then I ended up having to put most of it back. I should have left well enough alone.
Another complication: the main pressure switch on my air compressor burned out, and I had to order another, which meant that I had no air for a week.
I was away on vacation for a couple of weeks, and when I got back, I installed the capping strips on the bottom seams of the rear valence. I also drilled some holes in the valence panel for the rear bumper mounts.
Then I resumed sanding. There are a lot of edges, nooks, and crannies that have to be gone over, and it takes a while. I removed the passenger door– I’ll paint both doors separately, along with the trunk lid.
There is two or three hours of sanding left to do, and then a few hours of work work applying filler. After all that is done, the car will be ready for the actual painting, but I will have to prepare my garage for painting and do a lot of masking before I can actually start spraying.
The new panel arrived, and it looked good, so I got to work. First I removed the old panel by cutting out most of it with a jigsaw, and drilling out all the spot welds (90 or so) that held in place, using a special spot-weld-cutting drill bit. Then I had to clean up all the edges of the surrounding metal where the spot welds had been, including grinding off the remaining parts of the spot welds.
I also had to fabricate and install a patch for a damaged section of the trunk floor, where many years ago a muffler mounting bracket had been torn off and crudely repaired. Finally, before welding in the new panel, I had to completely remove all the undercoating and paint from both sides of the metal where the new welds would be, on the edges of both the new panel and the mating surfaces on the car body. Once all the preparations were finished, I fitted the new panel into position, and used an electric spot welder to weld it in place. The actual welding went pretty quickly- 90% of the work was in the preparation.
I still need to spend a bit of time tidying up the welded joints, and installing new capping strips over the joints behind the rear wheels. Once that is done, I can get back to the actual paint job I had originally set out to do.
I’ve done more sanding, in the spots that I could not reach with the 6″ sander. The car has a lot of nooks and crannies that take longer than I expected to sand.
I removed a lot of bondo from the left rear of the car. It had been hit there once, and whoever repaired it was quite generous with the bondo. Once I got the bondo off, I used my stud welder to get the rear corner of the rear fender closer to its correct shape.
I also decided to replace the entire lower rear valence. It had gotten bashed up, and it had been “repaired” by bashing it in an equal opposite direction and covering the entire thing with about 1/8″ to 1/4″ of bondo. The panel is fairly easy to remove, and since the seams are all exposed, spot-welding the the new panel will not be especially difficult. I had been considering replacing it for the last ten years or so, and if I don’t do it now, it will never get done.