Monday, March 31, 2014

Bringing Light to Headlights

Dateline - 29 Mar 2014 - Continued sanding on the car to remove all the primer and get it ready to go to the paint shop.  This weekend it was focus on the front fenders.  What I had forgotten was that I needed to do some more metal work because of the front headlights.  As I had put in a previous post, the outside headlights had been replaced in this car.  The original headlight buckets, which had 6 inch sealed beams bulbs had been removed and 7 inch bulbs were put in their place (as well as Chrysler Cordoba light bezels!).  The way the light buckets had been mounted into the car was, well how should I say, not the best (read, "Sheet metal screws drilled through the light buckets directly into the fenders.")!  The buckets themselves were also in pretty bad shape with rust and bad attempts at welding new pieces to fix them.  Several years ago, I made a mental notes to myself that I needed to spend some time on the headlights to get everything working before I sent the car to paint.  Well, I forgot about the note!  So as I'm sanding on the fenders, I realized I still had a couple of days work to get these sorted. 

The first order of work was to sand the fenders.  Done! The second was to repair the headlights. I have no idea were the headlight buckets were sourced (Chrysler?).  There was a part number on them, but three hours on Google did not bring up a match.  So repairing them was the order for the day.  One reason these buckets were originally installed so badly was that parts of them were missing (broken or rusted off) and since they are not the correct buckets for the car, they were missing tabs needed to mount them.  So I pulled out the trusty sheet metal tools, bench vice and welder and went to work.  I was able to add the tabs and weld new metal where needed.  Not the best welding job in the world, but far better then what had been done before and should work to hold the lights.  I will even be able to adjust them, which I could not do before! 

The chrome bezels, being from a Cordoba where mounted on this car by by screwing them directly into the fender.  Ideally, there would be a nut plate that the bezel would screw into but these have to be designed into the fender.  To mount the bezels correctly requires screwing into the fender in a place were there is no metal! So in the prior installation, the bezels were turned about 10 degrees off center.  Well, I could not have that!  So I welded new metal into the fender to allow for the bezel to be mounted correctly.  This would also aid in headlight adjustment since the indentations in the bezels designed to allow a screwdriver between the bezel and the bulb now line up!  I finished the work on the left hand fender and started on the right, but ran out of time before I could finish.

Finally, I had to source two chrome headlight retaining rings.  These rings hold the headlight bulb to the bucket via three sheetmetal screws.  The rings on the car are in pretty tatty condition.  Both had been welded in the past and the heat flaked the chrome, which rusted pretty bad.  An hour on the interwebs and I found universal mount stainless steel rings for $10 a piece!  They should be in this week and I can see if they will work.  I may need to cut off a couple of tabs that are not needed.

So, as usual, I didn't get as much done as I wanted to, but I've definitely improved on a shoddy job and I still keep moving ahead, and that's the point!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Still Sanding

Dateline - 03/22/2014 - "Still Sanding" says it all.  I wish I would have known that I didn't need to spray all that primer!  It sucks to have to sand it all off.  Good news that I found a few wobbles in the finish that I'm getting cleaned up (e.g. Body filler) and I've finished all the doors, back two fenders, boot lid and back end.  All I have left are the two front fenders!

Next, I need to get some air in my tires, get them mounted and get the car off of jack stands!  Yup after over five years!  I need to get the car into the driveway so I can spend some time de-greasing under the hood with some simple green and water.  Don't want to do that in the garage.  Once that is done, I'm pretty sure the car will be ready for the paint shop!  Pretty exciting!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Slow Plodding

Dateline - 03/15/2014 - I noticed that I have not posted anything in a couple of weeks.  I'm still recovering from my cold, so haven't felt up to working much on the car.  Over the last two weekends I've finished up the soundproofing, which took much more time then I thought it would, but I'm also way to annal about how nice a job is done, so I could have probably been done a lot earlier if I could just let go!

This weekend I cleaned up my garage (which had gotten into a bad state between some home repairs that required cleaning out the attics and crawl space, and just general "piling on" of stuff on my work bench.  I did manage to start sanding the primer off of both the right hand doors and right rear fender.  I found that the rear right door had a pretty good sized dip in it that I had not noticed while it was hanging on the car, so I did some more bondo work to get it flat. 

After I get all he primer sanded off, I can take the car in for paint.  So that is were my focus needs to be now.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Slow Progress

Dateline - 03/01/2014 - Still feeling under the weather fighting a cold.  So I decided to do as much work on the car as I could before I got too tired.  Turns out that I was just about able to finish up the soundproofing.  I would have finished if I had not ran out of foil tape.  So, I still have a few more hours left on the soundproofing before it’s done.  Then I get to focus on sanding!