Adding Metal

What a difference a week can make at Mustang Maniac, my car seems to have gone from a shell to a recognisable car in a mater of days, it even has bolts back in it. I have been sent little teaser photos by Adam and John over the last couple of weeks and it seriously wetted my appetite to get down there as soon as I can to start work on her. The car was packed Friday night, the alarm was set a little earlier on the phone and wishing the hours away to the morning. I arrived to find that Adam had been invited to Goodwood Revival so I was left in the very capable hands of John and Yogi. I was taken around to see my car and my jaw hit the floor as the car has a rear end and sides now. Terry has been adding the panels, welding up and doing a fantastic job and his attention to detail is second to none. The pictures here are of Terry working on the quarters with old school techniques rarely found in this Mustang restoration business. Firstly clamping up the panels and the wheel arches to each other for a dry fitting, the trunk lid rested in place for quarter gap positioning. Once everything is place then the top joints welded and brazed in place just like they were from the factory. Many people will just weld and leave it as it will be covered with filler and paint, not these guys though and that is quality of workmanship that they have become respected for. (Please on the pictures to see the full sized versions.)

Do I apologise for such a large picture post? No way!

The other workmanship revolves around the bottom of the roof to the quarters themselves. These are normally butt welded up by some people or even cut around the lead work. But here the lead has been removed, the spot welds removed and the rotten sections removed and re-plated with the original contours. This allows for the full quarter to be to be fitted to the roof section and welded where it’s supposed to be. Terry welds into the original places and then it will be ground down to allow for the full leading to be applied where it will all be covered over and the strength is retained in the car. Many other places will not do the lead work as it’s a fine art and some modern garages don’t use it for daft health and safety reasons.

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With the quarters in place and fully welded up the next big panel was the trunk lid. With the freshly painted hinges and inner wheel arches they were lightly bolted into place and the trunk lined up to the quarters, once in place its all tightened up. The trunk will lay down under its own weight to allow final positioning of the trunk. Once that is done the tricky and dangerous (if you get it wrong) twisting of the sprung bars into place to keep the trunk open once the key has released the catch.

The next section was the filler and light panel to be fitted. The new rear quarters have alignment holes that need to be located to the light panel to ensure the light housings fit into place as the two halves form both the openings. The panel is then welded to the chassis brackets to give the rear strength.

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Next is the rear quarter links that join the rear panel which are positioned and welded into place. With everything in place Terry then completes the trunk and quarter areas he has done so far with the traditional brazing.

Forward thinking at this point see the guys dummy fit a rear bumper to see where the quarter end caps will sit in relation to the trunk and the quarters. These original fittings are notorious to fit correctly to new panels, but these went on like a dream and only small adjustments needed. The bumper will be able to be moved into the final correct position at a later date. The final panel for the rear section is the back up rear valance. My original was well and truly mashed up on the right hand side as if it had been backed over a rock. It could have been repaired but for the sake of £60 it was decided to replace with a new panel and there is no rust worries either at this point now.

Remove the bumper and then screw the rear valance into place after aligning all the sections up together.

With the welding all completed the seams were sealed up like they were in the factory and it was really was quite brutal in those days and nothing fancy. Terry then added the boot catch to the inner panel and welded it all up. Rear section done.

What does she look like from the side? Pretty darn good I would say. The next stage was to add a little filler to the panels to smooth out any imperfections and apply flexible sealer under the quarter to the sill.

During all of this you may be thinking well what did I do Saturday? The answer was simple, I was prepping the other panels and removing the paint in order for Terry to be able to weld up properly. My tasks this week was to strip the fenders the “A” pillar posts once I had removed the doors, and then start on the roof. A large amount of work, but it all needs to be done so I left very late into the evening, I was physically hurting at the end of the day. The same old story, strip, scrape, strip again wire wool and strip any remaining last bits before a final wipe over with thinners.

The roof tuned out to be a big task. The car is on the jig I couldn’t reach into the middle, even at 6’4″ tall my long arms didn’t make. So I had to balance on the sills hold on and apply stripper and scrape. Now I’m no gymnast and it was quite tricky at times to be honest and I think this is where the fatigue kicked in. But the results were good and the roof came up pretty spotless.

Sunday I have spent most of the day editing these pictures ready for the blog plus the afternoon nap too. Next week – I know what I will be doing, stripping the hood back to bare metal.

 

 

 

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Some You Win…

I try to post on a Sunday evening so I can give an update on the work completed by Mustang Maniac during the week and the work I do at the weekends. The reason I haven’t posted is quite simple. Trying to catch-up on the huge amount of  I have taken and the huge amount to work the MM (Mustang Maniac) guys have done. Most of the photo work has been completed now and hopefully the delay will be worth it. Where do I start?

The first thing I noticed when  I turned up was the back of the car was sitting in a white primer where Terry had cleaned and seam sealed it up.

The back of the trunk is to get blown over of the Acapulco Blue when the car goes for the full paint job. In the mean time a couple of light undercoats of colour will be applied to the areas that you can’t paint once the rear quarter panels are welded in place, such as the chassis drop off points and the top of the rear arches that can be seen when you open up the trunk. The hinges I prepared last week were cleaned up and given a spray and hung up to dry.

The next part to be spotted was the upper cowl that had been fitted in place and welded to the lower cowl. The Black resin coated parts in black are now all welded in place and brazed as they should be. Tape was placed over the vents and masking paper placed in the vents to avoid any and dust and rubbish getting into the fresh paint. The paper will be pulled out at the time of fitting up the rest of the car.

As I wanted an export brace on the front of the car going from the fire wall to the shock towers this one was going to be fitted correctly. What I mean here is that the export brace was fitted to a thick piece of plate also welded onto the top of the fire wall to add the required strength. Many export braces fitter later in life are just bolted into the original shock tower bolt holes and the fire wall. Under load the firewall will bend and give which defeats the whole point of the export brace being fitted. The welding you see here is exactly how it was when they were first fitted, no neat seam all round welding, just the little lines of weld you see in the close up. The brace is only resting in place as its not needed at this point of the restoration.

When I arrived on Saturday Terry was competing the repair plate to the roof and quarter panel lead area. Yes you read that correctly – lead, not filler and welds as modern restorations will do for you, but this lucky little lady was going to get the forgotten art of leading and brazing the quarters in place. The filler and welding are not ideal and could blow through with damp and rust at a later date. The Common place to have the rust appear is at the top of the B pillar as the water runs down and sits at the back of the strengthening sections and so it will eventually rot. Welding and filler will be especially susceptible to the damp. Red oxide paint was applied to prevent any more rust. The replacement plates in this area are common and the secret is make sure the plate are lower than the rest of the roof in order for the lead to run into any holes and fill the cavity up with strength. It’s this attention to detail that sets these guys apart from everybody else.

Anyway, I was given my task to strip the doors down to find any of Adam’s nasty little surprises as he likes to call them. The door, oh yes the lovely left side drivers door. The stripper was applied to door and the first layers of paint was removed no problem. Then I spotted it – filler. Ok, the filler was to mend any cosmetic issues for paint, so I kept telling myself. So the door got more stripper and more scrapping. The filler patch got bigger and bigger until it was across three quarters of the door. I asked Terry to take a look who said “You have to get it all out to see what is behind it”. So the door got more stripper applied to loosen the filler, then more and more. The scrapping knife was lifting the filler out like a spread of butter until the next layer of filler needed to be softened. Now I was going through the stripper like you wouldn’t believe as the filler was soaking it all up. The breakthrough to the metal was a good moment to behold and I thought I had cracked it, but no. The filler was about half an inch thick in some places, then I found out why. The car has had a knock in the door. There was regular holes in the door skin to pull the dents back out again with a slide hammer. At this point Adam was called down to survey the damage. Then he said “all the filler has to come out to see the full damage”, that’s consistency. Two hours later the filler was all out. The door panel was now fully exposed and any pressure on the door and the door popped inwards as the metal was stretched beyond repair, the filler was holding it tight. If I had of known this then we would have replaced the skin in the first place on the outside of the door.

The door had to come of to strip the skin. Adam went and got a skin and brought it over “it’s your lucky day – it’s the last one.” The door was mounted and the skin was knocked away from the door by breaking the spot welds. The inside of the door would show the damage if any done to the structural part of the door. The skin was popped off a little while later being careful as they were trying not wanting to damage the door frame. The skin was lifted off and with the inside exposed we could see the heavy rust at the bottom of the door and the thin metal about to break away. Not good. The side strengthening bar part of the frame had been bent on the initial impact and had not been straightened out at the time. Even worse. The arrows in the pictures show the areas of concern, the bent frame and rust holes.

In case you are wondering how much came out of the door? This much.

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The decision was made the door could not be salvaged with the amount of rust inside and the damaged bar. Yes, of course they could fabricate new parts and weld in place, but the man hours would out way the cost of the door. Terry went and got a new door. I had spots before my eyes or was it “£” signs, i’m not sure now??? Terry then offered up the door and fitted it along the B pillar and the sills. Adjustments had to be made with the door catch to make it shut correctly.

So to sum up:

1 x 5ltr od paint stripper = £30

8 hours stripping time

1 x door skin = £120

Terry’s time – a lot!

1 x new door = £400

1 x scrap cart full of my nice clean, paint free, bent door skin that has more bullet holes than Al Capone’s getaway car! One man was not impressed. BUT, some you win – some you loose, the original drivers door was a write off and that is the chance you take with old cars unless you know the history. I soon got over it once I had seen the new door in place. Oh, yeah it looked good. The other door Adam stripped down for me, that one was fine and OK to prep for paint. I think he was feeling sorry for me at this point, I did give him his door skin back though!! AND it only took him an hour or so to get this far.

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The door surround was cleaned up while Terry was prepping the door for fitting, this part of the bodywork came up pretty clean all round the inside and I was pleased with the results.

The door fitted with the clean pillar and inner door frame cleaned up looks amazing.

It was a silly long day and I would a special thanks to Terry, Adam & Frank for helping me out. I had a good laugh and it was great to see the new metal on the car and some colour.

I hope the wait for the post was worth it, it was for me. 🙂

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The Bits I Missed

A couple of weekends have gone by where I have not worked on my car. So much so that I have had comments like “Are you feeling OK” or “Are you getting withdrawal symptoms?” Last weekend was the Enfield Pageant where I took some photos on a previous post, the week before it was a logistical car issue I couldn’t get down there. Anyway, over the weekend I went down to see the guys at Mustang Maniac and got some cleaning up work done on the underside and some more on the tunnel area. In other words, the bits I missed that needed the clean up weren’t worth taking a picture of as it wasn’t to exciting to look at, just sheets of metal with a little rusty paint in the corner. Not boring from my point of view of course, but from a photo and a post point of view it could be. Now the panels are clean enough, they are now at an acceptable standard to Adam to move on to the next stage. We are hoping to take the car of the spit and put her on the jig next week to start on some of the removal of the bad bits of chassis and adding the good bits. But, things can change quite quickly so I will have to wait and see. I will definitely post some pictures on here when that all happens. This could be an exciting stage of the project if all goes to plan.

Yesterday I started a clean-up of the hand brake, parking brake, emergency brake or secondary brake depending who you talk to. It wasn’t too bad to look at but I managed to free it up a while ago. So while the car is in bits – all the way down to the nuts and bolts, I decided to refurbish it properly. Same ol’ story of paint stripper, de-rust, mask up and spray. I stripped the whole thing down by removing the pin and retaining clip, remove the wire it’s pretty much there.

 

The only part I have to think about was the mini fire that had melted the back of the handle. I used progressively finer grades of sand paper to get it smooth again. I can’t go to far otherwise it will get thin and crack. But, it has all come up pretty well and will look good under the dash now.

All I need to do is work out the colour for the lettering of the lever. Red, white or leave it black. Any ideas for the colour? I shall reassemble this and post a pic of the final version next week.

I need to make an apology now as I had been told that the link to the Batmobile article wasn’t working. So I have re-done it with a couple of extra facts and dimensions about the car. It should be fine now, I think. Let me know if there are any more issues with it again.

1966 Batmobile

Quick Links:

Articles – Original Batmobile 1966 or click here.

Photo Menu – Inside The Car Hand Brake Refurbishment or click here

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Sparks Will Fly

The weekend is here and I have an extra day to work on the car. I arrived at Mustang Maniac and found the guys preparing some cars for collection by their owners. I had a chat with Adam to see what needed to be done on my car first. The last bit of scraping then maybe a change if I managed to get it all done. I cleaned up the front engine bay panel and found some hidden numbers marked on it under the paint. I had a conversation with Adam about them and it turns out these are the original factory markings. This is good on two accounts; The first being that the front panel is original and has not been replaced due to an accident. The second is that the markings match up to the fender, secret numbers and the door plate. I have taken some pictures of the original markings during the cleaning and then I have gone over them in a colour to make them stand out a little better. The top set is actually 5A but it looks like the 6 prefix has rubbed off. These numbers which are the model type the other numbers are options for the car, interior colour – black etc. The third picture is after the clean up. I wasn’t sure if the numbers would still be there after the final cleaning up. No matter what I did to the marks they stayed there. Impressive stuff for forty eight year old grease proof marker.

I cleaned up the rear chassis legs to the point where they will be replaced. Then it was the right side wheel Arch for a clean up. Same procedures again, stripper, scrub, scrape and repeat. What was left is a little surface rust but it’s basically solid. There is a whole that needs to be patched up though, in the chassis leg that has been uncovered as a result of the clean up.

After that it was time for a change, the poor welding on the floor plan is to be ground down to see if there are any holes that are in need of re-welding. Adam was on the case to start the process to see the quality of the welding. The set of pictures here show just how bad this batch of welding is.

The grinding wheel started and the slow process to gently grind down the high spots without damaging the panels. The sparks were flying alright. The initial quick test patch was completed to his satisfaction. I was shown the technique ready for me to take over after putting on my new welding gloves, ear plugs & safety specs. I will post the pictures once I have completed some of the work. It made for a nice change and things look like they are starting to step up a gear.

I can’t wait for more of the same, but when somebody does it so easily and makes it look simple, it’s difficult to follow in those footsteps. I am a fast learner and I will step up my game.

 

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It’s A Wind Up

Saturday was the now usual routine, up breakfast and then bolt out the door!  Two reasons, one – I won’t get collared for any “little” jobs before I go, two – I can’t wait to get down to the Mustang Maniac guys. Unfortunately I didn’t quite make it to the car before I heard the words, can you clean… “Yeah I will do it tomorrow” loaded the boot and I got in the car, did I really just promise something I thought to myself. Anyway, I was going to start of by cleaning up the engine bay to see what little goodies was in store for me this time. The same technique of stripper, remove and add more till you see metal. This was going to be difficult due to all the profiles that had to be rubbed down, wire wool was used more than the scraper this time. This made my hands cramp up a few times, but the results are really good I must say. There is a question mark of the right side inner wing where the battery tray sits. The wing under the battery tray had been repaired with a large ugly plate. The rest of the wing looks sort of OK but could be a little thin and may be better to replace it. This is the before shots of the engine bay.

And after the fire wall was cleaned up.

I worked counter-clockwise around the bay and this time I took a few more intermediate pictures as I got a bit carried away with the fire wall part and forgot to take intermediate pics.

The end results of the days hard work looked to have paid of nicely and you can see where and what I have done.

With any luck I may start on something different next weekend, but that will all depend on if Adam is happy with what I have done so far. I know we have a little more to do around the rear chassis rails. Perhaps the rear chassis legs will be on cards so I will have to wait and see. The results are amazing that there is so much good metal under there for a nearly half a century old car.

Sunday was more cleaning, I started by finishing the other front quarter vent window click here for the full process. After that I decided to clean up the main door window winders on both sides. The driver’s side was in a much more dirtier condition than the passenger side. The process here was to clean the grease off and remove the hardened dead grease and make sure the mechanism winds both ways. I used POR Marine Clean in its strongest mix 1:1 and got to work. I ended up having to use a scalpel to remove the harder parts and more recessed areas. Eventually it all came off and looked pretty good. I did notice that one of the plastic washers for the winders to locate in the rails was missing. I will have to get a replacement before I re-assemble it.

After the clean up the mechanisms worked well again. I did not grease at this point as I will do that nearer the installation time to avoid the fresh grease being contaminated. I just both complete mechanisms a coating of Gibbs Brand to stop any rust and allow the lubricant to work its way into the rusted joints.

After cleaning up the window mechanisms I then got the window cleaning stuff and started to clean the windows in the kitchen. I did promise I suppose but now my arms and hands are killing me. I was hoping that the wife was only winding me up, but no. It seems that If I can clean all day on a Saturday then I can a few windows at home. Fair point I guess and there’s not much I can say to that is there?

Quick Links:

Photo Menu – Glass Work – Door Window Mechanism Clean up or click here for the full set of pictures.

Photo Menu – Under The Car & Chassis – Under Seal Removal or Click here for the full set of pictures.

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Getting There!

A trip to see the guys at Mustang Maniac on Saturday was filled with a little bit of fear. I knew what was coming and last week I hurt when I got home. But, I felt pleased with the progress although it seems slow while you are doing it. This time there was much more of the area to clean and what was to come of was more of the tar, under seal, paint and what ever else they piled on it. The newer paint is a lot harder to strip back due to the advances in the process I guess. The work was hard and painfully slow all day or so it seemed, but when you pack up to go home, look back at the car there is lots that has actually been done. I even had Adam tell me that now I was a “volunteer apprentice” (I’m proud of that title), no using electrical tools as that was cheating! We did get to use them later on though for a few test areas after we saw bare metal. During the day, I had an interesting experience should we say. Although I am working in a very, very well ventilated area, in fact the wall is a massive full sized steel door, when opened the sun floods in and natural light helps with what you are doing, I even had a mask on too. I was using thinners earlier to clean up a section and decided to take a short break. The thinner fumes had obviously impregnated my clothes and the can of Red Bull that I decided to drink, certainly gave me wings should I say. Now I know how Pink Floyd came up with those songs they did should we say. A quick wander around to the other work shops to see what the dogs were up too and take in some fresh air soon brought me down again, I seriously don’t recommend that one! Next time I think it will be just water to drink. Anyway, I came home in the evening and I was hurting again, poor ol’ me, but with a massive smile. The results are amazing I must say on the car and I’m pleased again with the amount of work that got done when I look back at the pictures. Adam joined me later in the day and he did get some tools out to see what was under the rust. We found a couple of issues but nothing to horrendous, some good old filler had been used on a chassis rail so a section of that rear rail will need a new section welded in. The previous welding has a lot to be desired and we will take some of it off and put back in some proper welding. Tip, never give your classic car to a bloke who can’t weld!

 

Once we had bare metal we needed to protect the metal so a spray of Gibbs Brand was used and she will not rust up again now. In fact she looks almost new underneath now. Apart for the suspect welding that can be seen on the top chassis rail, and the bottom floor pan section. Next week I hope to move to the engine bay and fire wall for a strip down. I am developing a better technique each time I start using the stuff I am pleased to say.

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I woke up today with arms that felt like they belonged to an orang-utan. As I was allowed to go and “play cars” all day yesterday I did promise that I would help the wife in the garden today. I had to put up a trellis, but the trellis was on its own to create a patrician. So I had to dig three deep holes for the posts to hold them up. So here I am having trouble holding the mouse let alone typing. The aches will pass for sure and I will be ready to go again next weekend. I even tried the sympathy vote on wife, I got “the look” and carried on digging. The trellis does look good, but right now – I hate it!

Quick Links:

Under seal Removal – Photo Menu – Under The Car & Chassis – Under seal Removal or click here for the hyper link.

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Stripper For A Day

The stripper was of course the chemical sort to get me down to bare metal on the underside of my car. There are so many innuendos I could use for this post, but I wont go down that route. The day was of course at Mustang Maniac where my day of hard work was to begin. The car looks quite menacing when you stand there with just a three-inch scraping knife. I used some stuff called Starchem – Synstrip. This has been given quite a few reviews on how good it is. The old school strippers like Nitromors has had an ingredient change due to new laws or health and safety for what ever reason. The results speak for themselves, they don’t work like they used to. So this stuff is one of the few old school strippers left out there that you can get your hands on. Professional use only with disclaimers all over it on the label. It took notice and used goggles, face mask and gloves. Is the stripper any good? I shall review it fully soon, but it does burn like hell on your hands, that should give you an idea.

Anyway the car was given a good slap of the mixture on the under seal and it was obvious it was attacking not just paint but under seal, tar and any other stuff sprayed on it. It was going to be a long day, the first attempt removed a lot, the second exposed the base paints and we were almost there with the third. Why take it all off? Well, we wanted to see what was under the sealers to see what work need to be done or what filler needed to be removed. So a tip is – don’t buy a car that looks great as it could be covering a multitude of sins. It’s better to see bare metal and you know exactly where you are. I exposed a bit of filler around the welds, nothing to bad as it was just to smooth it all out. There was some real good clean metal by the tunnel gearbox area and a little surface rust on the rear panels by the fuel tank partition. The work was slow, made my arms ache and Adam gave me hand towards the end of the day too. What a difference it has made already. I will start on the other areas next week if I have recovered enough by then. Hopefully there will be a lot more bare metal all round next time. The process is apply the liquid, let it bubble up, scrap it off, add more, rub it in with wire wool, scrap it all off and repeat. The pictures I took after each treatment, you can’t really see a huge difference between the sessions, start and finish there is a difference.

What it looked like:

rotisserie14After the first session:

After the second session:

After the third session and the end of the day, we rubbed the chemicals down with thinners to see the bare metals. The surface rust will be attacked again with a little aggression where I can. Anything that looks bad – we will replace and patch properly.

Well that was all day Saturday taken care off, Sunday I was rubbing down my driver’s side fresh air vent. It was a real mess and needed rubbing down, primer, and a couple of top coats. I have added the full process under my Photo Menu – Inside The Car – Drivers Air Vent Refurbishment, or click here for the quick link. Here are a few pictures of the before, during and after. My arms are killing me and I am pleased with the results. for both days. On the assembled pictures for the air vent the finger prints were my oily fingers, it wiped of clean. Unfortunately there is too much exciting stuff to look at here apart from different angles of course. I was well chuffed with the results, even if I do say so myself.

 Quick Links:

Photo Menu – Inside The Car – Drivers Side Air Vent or click here

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