Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Zed, Block Party of 1

Brief post today. After completing the various projects on Hapy (1972 VW bus) and Oliver (1978 MGB), I decided the weather was starting to look promising for getting back after the paint on Zed. Today's short post is re-entering the world of body work.

Where Were We
Last Autumn, I seized an unseasonably warm dry day after rainy season had started to shoot some hi-build primer onto the shell and other removed body pieces. I thought this was the best way to protect the largest portions of the exposed steel from rust. My thought appears to have been spot-on, and the shell appears to have fared quite well. Consider that the shell sat outside all winter under a temporary car port.... until February when we were hit with an incredible ice storm. Power was out across the Portland area for days. I did not lose power, but Boo and I had to go out into it to save the cars parked under the car ports. The ice had been building up, and you could see the material starting to flex. So, we pulled the opaque plastic sheeting off the frames and instead covered Zed with a pair on regular tarps. I knew this would encourage moisture to gather underneath, especially as the ice melted away, but I feared leaving the primer exposed to the elements more. The car ports were restored and the tarps removed within a few days.

Assessing, Sanding and Re-Priming
even under the fenders
Now, months later, our weather is considerably more suited to outdoor play. With various grit's of sandpaper, I started sanding the primer, and looking for rust. I was pleasantly surprised to find very little. Before I could really get started, though, I spent some time cleaning Zed, and vacuuming everywhere with the shop vac.

I started with the front clip (valence in front of the windshield and the exposed sections which will be covered by the front fenders. There were no new rust spots, but the sanding took most of a day. I took the hi-build down as smooth as I could with 150-grit first. The primer was so rough, it took the sandpaper down fairly quickly. Once smooth-ish, I would shop-vac all of the dust and wet sand with progressively higher "grit", starting with 220 and finishing with 400. Once smooth, I cleaned the area with oil and grease remover and then shot the area with self-etching primer.

halfway around
Once my process was defined, I spent the rest of the weekend, and the next week (around my work schedule) working my way around the rest of the shell. Overall, the body withstood last winter's weather very well. Of course, there were many places where I sanded through the hi-build primer down to the bare metal again. I found a few (less than 5) surface rust spots that I needed to sand down to bare metal as well. Still, the overall condition was quite good.

And Then More Sanding
Once the shell was completed, I shifted to all the other body panels (2 doors, the rear tailgate and the massive hood). Those parts represent more than half of the entire car surface area, so I expected that I would be sanding for quite some time. I did find, however, that using a block did move the sanding much faster, but the block can also accelerate you through the primer. So, I am using a mix of the block through the larger flat areas, leaving the edges for doing by hand, or much more slowly with the block. This balance has been working. Also, I only dry-sanded, focusing on 220-grit with a quick pass with 400 (again, dry), out of concern that the hi-build primer would absorb water.

More Bondo? Why, Yes, Thank You
there are always more spots
The shell that sat outside all winter needed better priming, but the body panels that were stored inside all winter needed more body filler. I had thought the hi-build would help cover up more of my bodywork misses. Nope. So, once I got the hi-build down smooth, I went hunting for waves in the panels. I found a few, and returned to the Bondo-Sand-Bondo cycle (See Bondo Zed) . I do want to stress that at no point is the filler more than 1/8" thick; I have 1 of 2 issues continuing to appear: over-sand or under-apply. In either case, the result is a need to go at it again. Fun. Eventually, I will have the panels in a condition where my hand cannot feel wobbles in the panel and then I'll be done. At that point, I will re-shoot with the hi-build over the Bondo spots as well as re-shoot on top of the self-etch on the main shell (this will insure better paint adherence). And then, of course, sand where I shot. Whee!

That's really all there is to talk about. I expect there will be a break in posts unless I take a step away from Zed to do something small on one of the other cars or take a trip or something. So, if you don't see a post, you know why. Once Zed is genuinely ready for final paint prep, there will be a new story to tell, and I'll post on that. Whether we are celebrating US Independence Day or Hapy's 50th birthday before that... well... Let's See. I have discovered along the way that we are missing the front air dam thing that goes under the front bumper. And, I don't have a solution for the rear bumper yet, so I'll be thinking about how to fill those gaps in an interesting way as well. If the solution will require painting to body color (likely), then the actual application of top coat may move further into the future. Cool.

Thanks, as always, for following along-

No comments: