Saturday, July 18, 2015

Trunk Hinge Repair

1967 Ford Mustang Fastback trunk hinge repair While stripping the trunk, I noticed that the drivers' side trunk hinge had a side-to-side wobble that the passenger side did not. Upon further investigation, I discovered the lateral support that locates the hinge mount had been sheared off.

My guess is that little rear end fender bender from the original owner is the cause. The trunk lid got shoved forward a little and the two spot welds that hold the hinge mount to the support were the weak link that let go. This was not on my list of stuff to fix.

Easy enough, I guess, once you can reach everything and clean everything.

The broken support (on the left here) and the hinge mount.

Close up view reveals two spot welds that are torn, allowing all that unflattering 'jiggle' in the trunk hinge. Some folks dig a little jiggle in the trunk (that's not funny), but this I have a welder handy, so why not? I need to clean it all up, correctly locate the pieces together and plug weld them back into a happy union.

First thing I did was to drill two witness holes through the hinge and the mount so I know how to line them back up later. I've already done the same thing with the door hinges. Notice that fastbacks come with coiled springs instead of tension rods, which you'll find on coupes and convertibles.

Hinge is held in by two captive nuts. And a better view of the sorry state of affairs.

 Removed the hinge, pulled the support forward for access and cleaned it all with wire wheels. The support bent easily out of the way.

Clean the backside of the support. 

I always seem to miss a shot in this process - here, I'm failing to show the two 1/4" holes drilled in the hinge mount for the plug welds (fake spot welds). You can see one of them between the vice grip tongs. Clamp tight, and bring the heat!

 Here's the plug-welded repair. Keep that ground clamp close and make the metal "surgically clean" before welding. That's my best welding secret so far. Oh, and welding sparks will go right through cotton tube socks like they aren't even there, and that hurts.

Checking proper alignment with the Dangle-ometer. Angle signs are reversed from passenger to drivers side, but the numbers match. Another Communist Freight special. Be sure to get one where the magnet is flush to the base. Quality control can be hit/miss with those guys.

Anything worth doing is worth overdoing. You can see where the two plug welds have penetrated (the heat discoloration spots). I decided to add a couple quick tack welds to the backside where the original spot welds were torn up - because I had the welder out already, so why not? I consider these extra credit welds.

Trunk hinge now properly located where it should be.

Welding advice:
1. Surgically clean metal - seriously, make it clean. No dirt/rust/weld-thru primer. If you're gonna MIG weld it, clean it one more time.
2. Welder settings - this one was easy, set the Millermatic to 18 gauge and hit it. These were vertical welds, and they didn't really give me any issues. Start at the center, then hit the top of the hole, then walk the weld puddle side-to-side on the way down.
3. Keep the ground clamp close to the work. This makes a bigger difference than some may think.
4. It's OK to whimper a little when you burn yourself as long as no one else sees or hears you. But otherwise, you have to suck it up and make a manly "Arrgggg...." sound.

More to come. Up next is the front fenders getting torn down and patching/priming, and then we're onto the really big project - the full frame rail assembly replacement!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Trunk stripping and priming

1967 Ford Mustang Fastback trunk stripping and priming The trunk is a hot mess. There's no two ways about it. Unlike the floor, I had a pretty good idea about this early on. But, still, it's not something I looked forward to - the trunk has a lot of hard-to-reach areas and metal edges near the trunk hinges, plus some parts of the structure that are partially obstructed. Working in there, trying to strip all those edges with a wire wheel on the angle grinder is like being in a knife fight in a phone booth - dangerous, hard to move, and you know how it's gonna end anyway.

So, for this exercise, I broke down and bought some 3M strip-it discs for the die grinder. At $10 a pop, they aren't cheap. And if you run it over a sharp edge, it'll just obliterate itself in a puff of black disc material. But part of this job is to inform about the right tool for the job. After using these, I'm a fan. They really work where a DA sander won't reach and an angle grinder will just eat flesh instead of paint.

The 'before' shots show the horror of homemade carpet kits. In this case, there is foam backed padding and carpet that has been glued to the interior of the trunk with Liquid Nails or similar product, rust around the gas tank edge, and some rust on the trunk floors. 

Notice the carpet glued to the wheel housing and the grey foam all over.

Backside of the taillight panel. Yes, that's Liquid Nails on there.

Other side of taillight panel. More construction adhesive and foam, plus a lot of factory seam sealer.

 A trunk no self-respecting mobster would be caught dead in.

 Not a lot of action shots here. Just notice all the hard to reach spots and the surface rust hiding under the fill panel at top. It's recessed in there and could only be reached by a wire cup on a cordless drill and handheld sandpaper.

I admit - this part (called the 'fill panel' I think) was zero fun to strip inside.

 The trunk floors and gas tank flange were easiest to reach - but had the most rust. In the end, just pitting, no real metal cancer here. I stabbed at all of it with my awl first, because I'd be hacked if I took all the time to strip it just to find it was rotten anyway

The sound deadener on the quarter panels flung a nasty mess all over when removed with high speed rotating tools. Next time, I'll use a scraper and some stripper.


The backside of the taillight panel. No more Liquid Nails, just good metal.

Down inside the drivers side trunk drop-off behind the rear wheel. Notorious spot for rust as crud and dirt would sit here, get damp, and just slowly decay. This side looks pretty good.

The passenger side shows a little more metal pitting. It looks worse than it feels, but I'm a little worried about this. When I strip the outside of the quarter I'll know for sure how bad this really is. 

Every surface gets cleaned with SPI's wax and grease remover until the rags come out as cleans as they started. Then I mixed up 16 ounces of SPI red oxide epoxy primer, masked off the edges and shot it with both the little Lowes gun (straight up shots) and the Vapor (everything else).  I used the foam brushes again here as well - this time for the inner structures that could not be done properly with an HVLP gun.

And now the interior of the car looks quite a bit better. From this....

(The token sideways pic...Darn you, Blogger...)

To this...

It took about 40 hours to do the trunk area. Again, I'm new and I'm slow. And that includes the trunk hinge repair I haven't mentioned yet.

I now have a better feel for how to do surface prep, and then mix and spray the epoxy primer. Plus the interior looks like new and I really like that.This will all need seam sealing and then scuffed and a second coat of primer before it's really 'done', but that's still more fun than stipping it all down to bare metal. 

These shots are about a day after shooting the epoxy.  There's actually several weeks between shooting the floor and the trunk, not a couple days as the posts would lead you to think. After a while, the color settles downs and the gloss is not as bright. The Red Oxide is starting to grow on me. I have trouble convincing myself to do the second primer coat over it in black. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Interior strip and prime

1967 Ford Mustang Fastback interior floor strip and prime After finishing all the metal work on the transition pan and floor pan earlier, I figured now was  a good time to strip and prime the interior before I started to get flash rust on all this exposed metal. The interior of the car should have a coating of unpolished paint on it, but after nearly 50 years, it was nothing like that any more. 

Mostly, though, I'm also worried there's still some rusty patches under there somewhere, and the best way to find out if there's rust under the paint - is to remove all the paint. I know I'm lucky compared to most vintage mustang owners who pull their carpet back only to see the ground peeking through a bunch of holes. 

Original Floors!
So I set upon the metal with all sorts of tools - paint stipping disks, lots of wire wheels on drills and angle grinders, sandpaper and a burning desire to see a clean uniform surface inside the car for the first time ever.

I decided early on not to do the dash or the firewall/toeboard up at the front because I'd just discovered the need to do a lot of structural metalwork at the front of the car. And at least one quarter panel needs metal work, so I'll skip stripping the exposed parts of those for now as well. But from the floor to the roof and back to the rear trap door opening, it was all getting touched.

It's no fun unless you write a procedure first!
I'm going use the red oxide SPI epoxy primer for this and see if I like it in the interior. If I do, I'll get more - otherwise, I'll just go over it with black for a good second coat later on. I'll still have the rest of the interior to do later as well, so this is really just 'most' of the interior.

 Quarter panel vent area - see all that dirt and crud? If you look close, you can see where the original primer application actually dripped at the factory. That's nice - it helps take the pressure of a guy who has very little time with a real spray gun (that's me).

The roof has adhesive and insulation stuck to it and not much primer. Interesting to note that there is NO primer at the edges of the roof where it meets the structure. Instead I found a lovely layer of surface rust which has to be removed.

 Beginning the strip the floor. Notice the original paint on the floor. If it's still stuck on well and has no rust under it, some of it can stay as it's still a good foundation to work with.

The crud hides in every crack and crevice.  Removing this J-nut from its bracket revealed a lot of nasty seam sealer and dirt. The seam sealer applied at the factory was done quickly and without regard to my future needs for cleanliness and ease of access.

Stipping the roof with stripping disks on a die grinder - except at the edges, where I had to use sandpaper and foul language.

 Stipping the interior takes patience and hours...

..and hours... 

See where the seam sealer is cleaned off the tunnel/seat riser junctions? There's no primer under there from the factory, but luckily there was no rust anywhere under any seam sealer.

Check out that clean, rust-free floor! What a nice surprise. Don't worry, I'll have some other major metal work in the near future to make up for it. 

This is stripped as far as needed for priming. Every surface has been either sanded to bare metal or at least scuffed down to primer if a well protected area.

 I also scuffed the primer already applied to the transition pan. Like I said, hours and hours of work. 

 Masked off the trunk, both glass openings, dash, firewall, toeboard, steering wheel/column and doors for priming. Wiped all surfaces with wax and grease remover several times to get a good clean surface to prime.

Blamo! Primer is on! It looks almost orange at first, but the gloss and the color tone down a little after it cures. 

That's so much better. Notice the inside of the quarter panels are not primed. I'm betting most of that metal will need to be replaced anyway, so I skipped it. 

Mmm....uniform surfaces... 

The roof got brushwork along the edges first, then sprayed for uniformity. The SPI primer is good stuff but it'll eat those foam brushes in about 2 minutes, so use real bristle brushes instead.

I practiced the pattern I would use to do the priming so I was sure to get all the surfaces that are facing different directions. Start at the roof, work down the back and quarters, and finish on the rocker panels. A little forethought goes a long way. Plus I'm pretty picky about this stuff.

I used my cheap-o Lowe's Automotive all-angle HVLP gun for this. In hindsight, I should have just used that for the roof panel and switched to the Vapor gun for the rest of it, as the Vapor has a better pattern and leaves a nice smooth finish. The finish here is sort of rough. It's fine for now, as I'll have to scuff and reshoot a second coating later, but lesson learned nonetheless.