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. 🙁

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Smooth Lines

The weekend took an age to arrive be fore I could get down to Mustang Maniac. I have been kept up to date with the progress of my car via teaser emails from John. The car is now in a very strong position to be taken from the supporting jig and mounted onto the transporting dolly or trolley, a big moment for my car. This also frees up the panel shop and the jig for the next little lady who needs it. Now maneuverable, the car can be moved around as required, especially important when she comes to be being painted of course.

On a personal note this was a huge milestone for me as it seems to be less of a permanent fixture in the workshop and shows that the work so far is at an acceptable standard to move onto the next stage.

The car had the fenders attached and aligned up to the doors and the hood. The story as you are well aware by now is to strip down the panel(s) to see what lies beneath the paint and then make a decision on what needs to be done.

dolley4

Last week I stripped down both fenders, things were looking pretty good. The left hand side fender was inspected for the filler prep the few dents were not to bad to look at, but the metal had stretched to a point that it would pop in and out just above the wheel arch with the filler removed, the same scenario as the left hand side door. So the the decision was to replace the wing unfortunately. The amount of filler and man hours to repair the fender was possible, but the man hours to make it paint ready was not going to be viable and the results could be questionable after paint. But, on the positive side this new fender will last the test of time. The new left fender fitting was good apart from the back sculpture of the fender to the door where the gap was a little out, so the MM boys being perfectionists that they are, made a little cutting and fabrication along a little metal work magic from Terry who gently refabricated the correct shape for the door – fender gap.

Terry made the repair to the bottom of the right side fender and welded the freshly fabricated new section as the bottom was a little peppered with rust holes. The repair was ground down and a light filler applied to protect the join. The headlight recess was repaired to make the rusted out odd shaped cable hole circular again via a new drilled out plate that was welded in its place.

The rear quarters were leaded up and rubbed down properly. The rusted parts of the windscreen were repaired with new lead work as the original lead had cracked. More of the same lead and ground out rust parts along the lower water channels to the windows frame at the rear. Once the lead had been rubbed down a final top coat of filler was applied.

With all the panels aligned and fitted the next job was the look and especially the feel of the panels, any minor imperfections were not going to be acceptable by the guys as it would show in the paint, so a little filler would be required which we knew would be the case. The leaded and brazed areas were now given a coating of filler and Terry worked to fill, rub down, add more filler and build it all up again in order to meet their high standards. A spray of dye coat or guide coat, was then applied to the first batch of filler. Later on this would be rubbed down to 500g ready for the fine paint prep work to begin.

Yogi started some filler on the top of the right fender where there were a few minor dents, I was given another master class on smooth filling and rubbing down with the aid of dye coat. It’s really annoying when these guys make it look so easy. The filler was applied so smoothly the amount of waste and rubbing down was minimal. Yogi did get a bit dusty, for which I received some grief I might add, all because it was a Saturday! Sorry Yogi, but it was funny! 🙂

Once I had seen enough to realise that the pecking order had been reasserted when it came to filler work I got on with my job, to remove the last persons efforts of filler work on the hood and see what lies waiting for me under the red oxide primer. The hood was placed on their panel work frame ready to start work as I put on my gloves. I wanted to start on the leading edge of the hood where all the primer was, if it was beyond repair it would be here was it filler or holes? I was about to find out.

As more paint came off and there was only a little filler that was found, the smile on my face got bigger. That was only half the story as the underside could be a big issue. The underside was unbelievably hard to get off, the heat of the engine maybe I don’t know but I was going through stripper like you wouldn’t believe. At 6pm Adam came to see how I was doing and helped me get the last bits of paint off. All was good, except for my back which was killing me.

We flipped the  hood over and the surface had started to get a little surface rust very quickly, so we went back at the surface again with wire wool and washed it all down with a good dose of thinners and a light coating of WD40, just for now. If you look closely at the front edge just to the right of the sculpt line there is a dent, this just happens to be the size of a palm print, common when the hood gets shut apparently over the course of time. But in general I am pleased to say the hood is in good shape. it will need some mastic to bond the frame and the skin together on the underside, but that wont take to long. Chris was back with me for a little while who kindly cleaned up the headlight doors which were in a good condition, so I was happy with that. Thanks to Adam, Yogi and Chris who all helped me out today.

The last couple of bits they had done was the dash and door. As the dash will fit the ’64 – ’66 Mustangs the gauge recess was generic. But, for the five gauge GT dash from ’65 (as an option) to ’66 it would not fit so the small cut out was made to accommodate the larger speedo. I have circled it so you can see it a bit clearer.

dash

The right hand door was lightly shot blasted back to bare metal in order for the light contours around the door cards to be painted properly.

shotblast

Sunday was a day of dusting things off, degreasing the metalwork that had been stored in the man cave and spraying them in them in red oxide, over the top of the anti-rust paint of course. These bumper irons will match the chassis when they are bolted into place.

Yes it’s another big post, but a lot happens in a few days when the MM guys get going. Once the car gets to paint then things may slow down a little and mechanical things will need to be done! quite what that will be I will wait and see.

Note:

McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes and Hob Nob biscuits are a popular choice with the guys, so I am looking for sponsorship from McVitie’s as they go through the stash of supplies I take down every weekend! How much are the McVitie’s shares???

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