With E’s suby tricked out, and the bumpers redone on the Frontier (and I built a heat shielding platform behind the seats with aluminum faced foam-core as the twin tailpipes converge into one large pipe back there and bake the pets on road trips, half carpeted for Nora, and the other half covered with a wood platform with tie-downs for the cat carriers: that is, after getting under the truck and sleeving the tailpipes under the cab with 10 feet of heat shields); it was time for Paint Correction. The first time for the truck to have a real Paint Correction in her 15 years, and it took an hour for her every year old to complete, and maybe a bit more. Just cleaning the whole truck with a clay bar took many hours, as it kept giving up more and more yutz. Then I go section by section- roof, hood, cab side driver, cab side passenger, etc with each section taking 1.5 to 4 hours, timing the work for early morning or late afternoon to beat the near triple digit heat and keep the surface out of the sun. I use my pneumatic random orbital polisher with a cutting microfiber disk and cutting fluid to remove the heavy scratches and oxidation; next I switch to a polishing microfiber disk on the orbital with polishing fluid to shine her back out; and finally a polishing microfiber orbital disk with finish wax, and buff that off with a microfiber towel. I use Meguar’s fluids, as they invented the microfiber disk and proprietary fluids/compounds. I used Mother’s on the suby, and found the Meguar’s more responsive and less likely to overwork the paint as it is made to break down as it cuts which helps to indicate when the pad is dirty/the paint is clear.
Next I’ll see if my little jar of touch-up paint is still good, and clear up all the dings.
A buddy of mine has started a business as a trucker; his rig is a stout MAC tractor and this flatbed trailer. He lives up a steep winding road in Park City, and a neighbor lets him park the flatbed down at the bottom at a vacant lot. The underside railing of the trailer needed to be cut out and replaced. The outfit is too big turn on a city street, so we couldn’t use my shop. He picked up a nice little welder that would run on 110, but provide 140amps, and we lifted his big generator into the back of his truck and worked in-situ, or en-plein-air if we really want to be artsy about it.
When you finish a two day rust triage on the big deer bumper up front, it is tempting to forget the sad rusty bumper on the back. It is so small though. And so so rusty. I bet you could just pop it off and make a light day of it in the shop. Sure. Let’s do it. and that’s how I got my tennis elbow back.
In May, while waiting to install the Ibis, I decided it was past time for the Subaru to get a do-over for my old attempts at rust fixes. She turned 20 this year, meaning she is now a “Classic Car”. She is the same age as the Mustang was when I was in High School, which seemed old to me then, but now 20 seems pretty dang new as the pony car is an “Antique” at 54. E is the car’s second owner as of 2006, the car’s first owner drove it up and down Parley’s Canyon (I-80 to Park City) daily, and she has driven it to work in Kansas and here for 12 years. So it is peppered with rock chips and well salted, plus it was not garaged and tree sap and bird-poo took a toll. I did quite a bit of online diy tutorials, and each car panel that I dealt with improved. By my last fix I wanted to go back and redo my first fix, but there are still more fixes to go…
Doing it right requires removing the wheels and grinding out the dead metal inside the wheel well and out, then sandblasting, then rebuilding the surface. I decided to go with the POR-15 system to seal and rebuild. POR-15 requires chemically etching the metal to cure the surface and allow the polymer coating to adhere to a chemically altered steel surface. This is the best method for keeping rust from returning, and the rather lengthy and problematic process dovetailed with my patina work on bronze- the logic behind it is much stronger than other systems. The polymer surface can be painted with other matching polymers from the POR-15 catalogue, and recently they added a primer coat that allows body paint. So I ordered in the matching Subaru pearl black and clearcoat.
The Subaru Impreza is 15 years old and has needed some TLC for awhile now. A few years back when I set up the new studio I ground out a few rust blooms and repainted them. I shied away from the wheel well by the gas tank, thinking sparks and gas fumes and “boom!”. My local mechanic is amazed at the car’s mechanical fortitude, and predicting that it will last another 100k miles thought a little body work at our friendly local auto body shop a worthwhile investment. I swung it by for an estimate and they recommended replacing the whole panel- parts and labor were about 1/4 what we paid for the car. So we ignored that whole scenario and since then I’ve noticed auto body guys welding all around under cars and got over my jitters. This spot was left to fester for three years, and I had to cut away about 7 inches x 3 inches of corroded steel. My guess is that a drain between the body panels was plugged with dirt, as both walls needed cutting.
With this big of an area to float, I used a formable mesh wire. I cut straws and put them between the body panels and behind the wire to allow water to pour through. Then it was bondo time. I skinned the wire with bondo and let that set up, then did another layer of bondo from behind and filled in more on the front. I ground that down and added another layer to the front. Then it was tooling with the pneumatic disk grinder to shape it to match the panels. It could have used another thin layer of bondo and fussy finish sanding, but I had lost the sun and the bondo was kicking slowly enough that I brought out the heat gun to help it along. I decided that “good enough” was going to be good enough and wiped the area down with acetone and taped off the boundary. Then it was primer coat, then topcoat just as the light faded and the temperatures sank below spray-paint level.
We’ll see if the repair survives a Utah winter.