Strike Three – But Not Out!

Last weekend I went to a car show at the Enfield Pageant of Motoring, and guess what? It rained; OK it wasn’t a bad downpour, but it was still wet stuff from the sky which landed on my car. That’s the first three shows this year that I have attended and rain has appeared, although to be fair it wasn’t until later in the afternoon. This won’t put me off car shows, it just makes me check my useless weather apps more to see what lies they are going to tell me. It seems as though my luck this year with car shows is not going very well at all. I drove to the end of a field and parked up on the Mustang Maniac stand where I meet Adam, Yogi and Paul who were busy getting their priorities right, making the cups of tea. My priority was to start cleaning my car. Simple reason being that the previous day Saturday was a hot day for a change at the show and the entrance car park had dried to a dust bowl. The show cars that were driving into the event were going slowly so as not to kick up much dust and gravel. In other words, showing respect for other people. However some selfish a-hole in a van decided to do mini burnouts every time he moved. Needless to say the dust cloud that enveloped the car park was like cloud of nuclear fallout and just as toxic. Not a great a great start to the show, I wasn’t best pleased.

I have continued to review lots of car cleaning and detailing products as I get a few questions now and again about what products I use on my Mustang as well as the daily driver cars too.

Contrary to popular belief I am not a one brand product devotee, far from it in fact. A big pet hate of mine is where somebody will buy a single product and be brand loyal refusing to admit that some of that brands products are in fact a useless waste of money. Those same people will have blinkered and tunnel vision when it comes to trying other products. My outlook on the matter is simple, I’m still looking for the perfect combination of products for each step I perform whether it be; snow foam, drying, decontamination, cleaners for paint, cleaners for wheels, glass cleaners, polishes, waxes, microfiber cloths, brushes, carpet stain remover, rubber restorer, vinyl cleaner etc. Just about everything I use is in a combination of many products such as Meguiar’s, Auto Finesse, Chemical Guys, Poor Boys World, Mirror Bright, Valet Pro, Dat Wax and so on depending on what is need, and what I intend to do to get the results I want. This time I decided to use a Chemical Guys EcoSmart which is a waterless wash & wax product I have been using for a while now, but just couldn’t get it right to use it properly. The results are amazing (now) which have improved a huge amount since I started to use top quality plush, deep pile microfiber cloths at £5 each and not the 25 cloths for £5 scenario, which aren’t much better than toilet rolls if the truth is to be known. Round two was onto the quick detailer, a brand new product recommended to me which is Chemical Guys – P40. (Yes, I buy ALL my own car cleaning products, and I am unbiased in my reviews.)

The car finished and it looked quite clean again.

The Mustang Maniac stand was starting to get full as I was almost done and was easily the Mustang place to be. There were customers who turned up for a chat, people interested in getting a Mustang, and people who were just happy to be around the cars.

With the car finished some one and half hours later I went for a wonder around the show to look at the cars and stalls.

It was an fairly good show in general, but I think that this show is getting more mainstream rather than car focussed stalls. There were lots of house clearance stalls selling cheap rubbish, stalls that sell plenty of plastic toys and stalls selling a selection of tools (I use that term very loosely), which were aimed at people with an extremely tight budget should we say. For once I didn’t buy anything at all from anybody. The wife says I should take her out for the day with the money I saved, she’s right of course, there is a car show this weekend, I could take her there and maybe get her a burger and buy more stuff for the car.


Classic car owners second worse nightmare? Stone Chips.

The worst nightmare has to be rust, the second has to be the dreaded stone chips. I always drive with an extra spaces between the car in front of me and I back off if somebody pulls into that gap. It seems as though I have been caught out with the hated stone chips. Let’s just say I was pretty pi55ed off and the air was filled with the colourful language that may have slipped out of my mouth on a repeated number of occasions.

I spotted the evil craters from the previous car show and fixed them up before the trip down to Enfield. Although I got another one on the way back from Enfield, I spotted this one when I cleaned the car on Monday. I have done a walkthrough or tutorial guide that works for me under the Menu ‘How To…Projects/Fixing Stone Chips’. Here is just a taster of what I did to fix them. This is only the basic explanation, I fully explain it all here.

Identify the location of the chips by marking with a piece of masking tape.

Thoroughly clean the area with Isopropyl Alcohol (or similar) to remove all waxes and sealants, use lint free panel wipe or similar. Then take a little colour and place into a pot. I had some left from the original paint job so I was lucky in that respect for colour matching.

There are various ways to apply the paint, with a brush, paper, matchstick, toothpick or similar. I use a wooden burger skewer as they are longer, easier to hold and I can sharpen them well without splintering.

The idea is to place a tiny droplet into the centre of the chip so that it sits just proud of the rest of the paint around it. Place the tip of your choice of applicator into the paint and remove it which should now hold a tiny droplet which is held in place by the wood and not running straight off. If you get a big drop you have the chance of it dropping onto places it shouldn’t be, with a lot of recovery work for yourself later.

With the paint drop as small as possible, covering the chip itself and sitting proud of the paint – leave it to dry and cure. Not an hour or two, I’m talking a couple of days, I left mine for a week. This will also allow any waxes to apply to the fresh paint properly.

Next is to get the sanding paper out, I got a wide selection of wet & dry papers starting with coarsest being 1500grit all the way to impossibly fine 8000grit. They are different colours for identification.

I then take my special stone chip tool, a pencil eraser and mark out the width I need on the grades of paper to cut to the size I need. These erasers come in various sizes and shapes for your needs or what suits you.

The idea is to start with the courser grade and work finer to remove the previous sanding marks. I prefer the rubber eraser as it will give slightly to a contour as it’s not rigid, but firm enough to hold the paper flat to the surface. I marked the back of the papers as the cut strips may not show the grit grade itself.

Patience, then use lots more patience.

Wet the area, I use a small travel spray you can get from eBay. Then gently rub the paint drop down keeping the paper flat as possible. A few gentle rubs then check. This will give an idea of how the paint is reacting to the paper and also you don’t want to sand the topcoat or lacquer of the paint if you can help it. You can adjust your technique accordingly.

When you are getting close to the flat paint, swap the papers over to a higher grit. With the sanding the paper may shed and give you a light paste look depending on the type of paper you bought.

The higher the grit number will reduce the previous marks and stop you from rubbing the paint to hard, keep the area wet. Repeat as necessary all the way to the fine grades. When you rub your finger over the chipped area you shouldn’t feel anything at all, it should be glass smooth. If the paint has sunk and you have a pit, stop sanding and add another tiny drop of paint by repeating all the application steps above and let it dry.

Once you are happy with the sanded area then it’s time to bring the car paint back to life. Use a polish that you normally use to remove swirl marks or light scratches. This will remove all the sanding marks, I used Tripple on this occasion as it’s hardly abrasive. Rub into the area using a DA machine or by hand as in my case using the ‘Handipuck’ to get the shine back.

With the area polished it just leaves the protective wax to be applied, this after the hand polish. Pointed out stone chip area with the wooden paint pick tool.

My next step to wax and protect the area. Dat Wax which is show wax and is heavy on oils not the paste style which is ideal for this type of work. Oh, its also blue and smells of beautiful bubble-gum which I reviewed here.

The finished results:

The trouble is, I have to do it all again soon. 🙁

Share my Content

Before & After

I have had some emails saying why don’t I do a before and after photo set of the restoration? Then I got to thinking as to why I hadn’t up till now. There was no reason, so this post may be cheating a little as there is nothing new here. But what is new is the fact they have never been compared side by side before.  As I didn’t start my blog until a year after I bought the car, some of the earliest pictures don’t exist as such, during that time I had re-wired the car for the first time, managed to fire the car up, got the locks working (sort of), painted the trunk section and interior floor pans. Obviously if I had of known I would be doing a blog at that time, I would have documented it all much better than I have done. However my early work was re-done once the car had got to Mustang Maniac. Under their supervision and help it would be done “Properly” as Adam told me. So in effect you are indeed seeing the restoration from scratch, all be it not as bad as it was. I suspect that I would be playing catch up to keep on top of the car all the time to keep it looking good, especially with the original route I was going to take, ie; the amateur way.

Body Work:

 Rebuilt Back End:

Underside:

This was the old underseal, dirt and what ever else was squirted on there. Welded, ground down, filled, sanded down, painted with red oxide and painted with proper underseal and satin black paint.

Doors, Roof and Sides:

Rebuilt Front End:

Interior:

Inside was originally treated with POR15 for rust protection. This was later removed and proper sealant applied at paint and then primer and top coats. The last step was the Dynamat sound proofing, before the carpet that is.

Engine:

The story here was that I wanted to go sort of modern with the silicone look. As I knew I wanted a blue look to the car I went for the blue silicone and the blue spark plug leads. I went of the idea and eventually swapped them for the revised black and chrome look. The spark plug leads were changed at the last month as was the valve covers. The cable routing went through a number of variations until I was happy with it at that point. Rewire of the car was the first job as I had to see if the engine started, which it did on the second turn of the key after twelve years of standing years. Pretty impressive.

Transmission:

Steering and Suspension:

Brakes:

Even the brakes look as good as the outside of the car. The front drum brakes were replaced with disc brake conversion for stopping power and safety. The brake servo was original from the factory but was upgraded to dual system, again for safety.

Electrical:

All electrics have been replaced and the bulbs converted to LED where I can.

Glass and Bright Work Trim:

Paint Process:

There are hundreds of photos I could add here but I have kept it to the more key stages of the process.

Transportation:

These were some interesting shots of the car coming and going to different places.

Driving Her:

Special Thanks:

I have mentioned this before, but none of this would have been possible without the help and moral support from Mustang Maniac and their associates; Adam, Al (Yogi), Paul (Lob Monster), Chris (Careful), John, Paul (the paint), Lance (OCD from Marketing). I have learned so much from them all, above all I have gained some great friends who have all helped me realise a life’s ambition and dream come true.

Share my Content

And We’re Off

The day of work at Mustang Maniac couldn’t come round quick enough for me, clock watching only seemed to make the time go slower. Why was I more eager this week than previously? The simple answer is that I would be working on my freshly painted new shell fitting new parts. I wasn’t sure exactly what I would be doing as that was down to Yogi to let me know.

Before I get onto the day’s events I have to make a statement “I am a doughnut!” Happy now Yogi? I had to put that statement within the first paragraph or Yogi was gonna tell everybody about my daft as I was getting tired school boy error. It was one of those funny moments shared between a professional and his apprentice! I may explain it later depends how this write-up goes. 🙂

I arrived at the offices early to find Yogi with a fancy wipe clean Snap On board with a list of parts on it. We had our usual chat and listened to the conversation taking place. The list was new parts for my car and I was asked about what I wanted to do with the car stance. More of that a bit later. The important parts were going to be the upper and lower control arms which as the name suggests controls the efficiency and operation of the suspension. Old worn parts here could cause problems when it goes to the Geo Workshop later for tracking, camber and toe set ups. New parts it was to be especially around the suspension and steering. I walked into Al’s (Yogi’s) workshop and there was car still covered and looking very peaceful under her cover. I was informed that the fuel line has been fitted first as it’s a major pain to fit after the parts are fitted. The line hasn’t been fastened properly yet as the brake lines will need to go on as well at the same clips, but you get the idea anyway.

We discussed the plan of action and what we were going to do, shortly after we planned the day the parts turned up fresh from Mustang Maniacs stores.

The first job was to lift the car of the trolley, This was done via large axle stands and a large lengths of wood that would be supported under the car. The ramp was lowered until the strain was taken up, slowly the clamp bolts were undone and the trolley lifted away. The supporting blocks of rubber were mounted onto the ramps and another milestone was reached. No photo’s at this point as it was all hands to each corner and simultaneous actions required to prevent damage. This can be done in front and back but takes a while. A celebratory smile from myself was brighter than the sun that just started to show through the clouds. We (being Yogi and me), got a work table out and unwrapped by refurbished spindles, tie rods and their relevant bolts. Things were getting really exciting.

restored parts
Spindles and tie rods

The bottom control arms were fitted into place via the single heavy bolt and left to dangle, these were the first parts to be bolted back onto the car and I couldn’t believe that I was actually doing it. Yogi was prepping the bits showing me what to do and then letting me get on with it. I learned a little saying that is so true: “Finger tight, until you know it’s right.” This was the order of the day that allows you to move things around to fit should you need too.

controlarms

The top control arms were fitted into the inner wing mounts and the spindles bolted into place. This joined up the two control arms. The Tie rods were next to be bolted into place which linked the control arms to the front of the chassis.

We decided it was time to bring in the axle over from the panel shop where I had been working for the previous couple of weeks. The main axle shaft was black and the diff painted to the original Red Oxide primer colour scheme as it would have been straight from the factory.

The stainless steel shackles for the leaf springs were mounted to the rear chassis legs. The front of the leaf springs were lifted into place and lightly bolted lightly into place, the rear bushes were fitted into the chassis legs and the back of the of the leaf springs also lifted up into place, a little joggling around to get the bolts aligned through the holes to hold it all in place.

What followed was a complicated procedure of resting the axle on a support and lifting one side over the leaf springs to be seated correctly on the top of the leaf springs locating lug. The shock mounting plates were then clamped to the leaf springs and axle via the large U-bolts and tightened up, hard. The rest of the rear suspension bolts were now tightened up as well.

After lunch it was back to the front again, we were going to fit up the new spring perches that were a couple of bolts onto the lower control arm.

The uprated 1″ anti-roll bar will make a big difference to the handling of the car as well as the Export brace and Monte Carlo bars that will be fitted. Due to the size of the anti-roll bar this now runs very close to the tie rods and is a two-man job to fit with damaging any paintwork on components. The anti roll bar U-clamps were put into place to hold the bar and then the bottom mounting arms and bushing fitted to the lower control arms. Once we were happy with the alignment we bolted it up properly.

During this point of fitting the anti-roll bar bushing kit I had a couple of the rubbers in my hand and noticed they were different. I started to panic having a senior moment thinking that I had fitted the wrong parts somewhere. I held my hand out to Yogi with the parts to show him the different parts. He looked at them, turned one over and it was of course the same, simultaneously he laughing out “doughnut”. A few minutes of laughing followed with me saying “I can assume that this will not be mentioned outside these walls then”. To which Yogi laughed back with “not if you mention that you are a doughnut in the first paragraph of your blog!” I agreed. But, as I have called myself a doughnut and ‘fessed up to my school boy error, I needn’t of mentioned it earlier, does that make me a double doughnut? But it was worth it and I thoroughly enjoyed the banter. The final quick job rather than the fitting the front springs and shocks was to hook up the hand brake cables to the tunnel brackets so that they didn’t get in the way.

Now it was almost time to put the car away and Terry and John popped in to see how progress was getting on. But before we covered her back up I bestowed a little prezzie on the car my lovely wife got for me:

cover

It was a great day, and I loved every minute of it, thanks to the MM guys.

Previously posts I mentioned that I would get some pics of the inside of the car, I haven’t forgotten: