Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Z - Work that Body

Today's post covers some more of the efforts on the 280ZX.

Rain Rain Go Away
In my last update about the 280ZX, I described some of the efforts that were going on. The oil and oil filter were changed, but the main focus of the work was dismantling the body. This included removing and stripping body front fenders, removing the dented driver door and removing the hood. If we had a garage larger than a freight elevator, this would have all been done in the friendly, climate-controlled confines of my garage. Instead, we were doing this under 10x10 canopy. Enter a wicked storm. The first night, the wind blew so hard that the canopy flipped over, leaving the Z exposed. We righted it and that afternoon set some things on the feet so they wouldn't move in the wind. Well, they didn't move from the wind... exactly... but they moved.

The torrential rain that fell the following night destroyed the canopy. All four legs were broken, the supports under the main tarp were twisted and mangled. The car was kinda dry, but the canopy was suspending huge bowls of water over the top of it. Boo and I got the water away from the car, but all over ourselves. Hahaha.. The canopy frame was moved to the yard where T could cut it into pieces with the angle grinder. The canopy top was laid on top of the Z to try to keep it dry. The wind remained relentless, so we held it down with whatever we could find: pain cans, old rims, etc.

If you thought the front yard looked bad before, imagine the scene now. Like many yards, it is in it's late-fall least attractive state anyway with leaves and overgrown landscaping. Of course, we have the 7 cars in various states of repair. One is in pieces under a make-shift tarp that is covered in paint cans and rims and other stuff. The canopy frame is sitting in a heap. And, of course, there are bits and pieces of the Z project strewn about the driveway and lawn. Did I mention the large blue tarp where some parts had been primed and left? Yeah.. it's a mess. So so bad. Or it was. And the inside of the Z was still getting watered better than my yard in the summer.

Move-a Move-a
C has been working very hard on this car. He comes over on the afternoons he doesn't have work and spends at least one day every weekend on it. He usually works at least one day every weekend at his job, so, basically, if he isn't in school or at work, he's on his car. Proud dad. He is steadily preparing the car for a re-paint, but the more he exposes, the more he is creating opportunities for rust on the panels or water to get into the inside. The panels have been getting stored inside the 2-car shed (technically my attached garage, but it's really barely 18 feet deep) where the MGB sits awaiting funding.

On his last visit we noted how much moisture was still getting inside his car. By moisture I mean standing water, not just vapor or dampness. Standing water. So, we moved things around in a full-scale version of Tetris. We moved cars all around, some car parts got aggregated into big unwieldy piles, and found a way of fitting the Z next to the MGB in the garage. Now, C can climb in and out the driver side and work on removing windows or tail lights inside. When necessary, we'll move the Z straight back into the driveway for grinding and then move it straight forward into it's indoor storage spot. We were all very pleased with the net results. Overnight, we ran fans to get the moisture off the car so with every step he takes forward he won't be watching his car deteriorate from the weather.

So.. Where's the Progress
Yeah, Okay. I know. Lots of words there but no tangible update about the car itself other than it is now stored indoors. Here goes: T went down to Sacramento and picked up some interior plastic bits as well as a driver door (Thx T!). The door, like the fenders and the hood, has been stripped down to metal. We swapped out the power window guts from the donor door, replacing with the manual crank style from the folded up original door. We test-fit the door card and rolled the window up and down. Perfect.

On the next dry day, C will be setting all bare metal outside on that awful blue tarp and shooting them with primer. Of course, he will follow the standard process of wiping the parts down with mineral spirits first so the primer adheres well. Also, he has started to remove the small triangular rear windows. It appears that these were installed with that black windshield caulk, making their removal more difficult. Still, those are the places where rust can go unnoticed, and he wants his paint job to last longer than a few months, so he's going where rust hides.

Ahead, he plans to remove the trim around the windshield and remove the glass so he can address the small rust spots he can already see. Next is removing the tail lights, rear gate and the glass from the gate so the rear tailgate can be prepped. Once all pieces are ready, he wants to learn how to shoot his own paint, so we'll be looking into that. I sincerely hope we get a dry spell or we'll have to figure out a temporary painting shed. Since so much of the car is in smaller pieces, the "shed" may not need to be as large as a car. We'll see.

One last thing: when it came time to move the 280ZX from where it has sat almost since it arrived in October, it started right up. The only other car we have that starts that fast is the VW bus. I took that as a really good omen.

That's it for today. As always, thanks for following along.

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