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Optimus Prime - The '68 Coupe

 
Gregski
Enthusiast
Posts: 475
Joined: 03/10
Posted: 01/10/11 10:51 PM

In this post I would like to share with you the process I will go through to prime (or primer) I don't even know which one is proper, my 1968 Mustang coupe.

Why primer the car?

Well it looks like crap, and in order to get motivated to turn a wrench on it I can't have it look so depressing. Also I want to protect it from rust and prep it for a paint job.

I am doing this post for two reasons.

1. To ensure I stay motivate and committed to get this done.

2. To solicit your help and advice along the way.

A little background about myself. I am a computer nerd by trade. I have never primed and or painted a car before. I did however wet sand, primer, and paint a motorcycle before, and boy that was a lot of work. I swore never to do it again.

I don't have the money to have this professionally done and even if I did I would still attempt it myself to learn and enjoy the process and the results.

Now to set our expectations. I am not going for A results, B is good enough for me. Now that is not saying I will put in half @ss effort into this, I will work my butt off, but A being the work of a professional with years of experience and all the proper tools, my B is going to be the best an amateur can expect. Also I allow myself to make mistakes and roll with the punches.

So sit back pop open a cold one or pour yourself a hot cup of coffee and don't hold back those "otta boys!" LOL  

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Gregski
Enthusiast
Posts: 475
Joined: 03/10
Posted: 01/10/11 11:09 PM

Ok, so first thing's first. What are we up against here? Let's see the canvas if you will. Well here it is, the way she looked the day I bought her. Some of you may have seen it already when I bragged about landing this beauty for a mere $800 bucks and a firm hand shake, others may have been spared till now.

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Gregski
Enthusiast
Posts: 475
Joined: 03/10
Posted: 01/11/11 09:18 PM

so I have to be honest with you, the original plan was simple, buy the car, run by the local AutoZone and pick up 10 cans of gray primer for $1.99 each, put on some Lynyrd Skynyrd and hopefully by the time the last track of Nuthin' Fancy plays I would have a rattle canned gray car... BUT [and for those of you who have ever taken on a project car, you'll agree there's always a but] then I decided to learn how to properly remove surface rust from the roof and more importantly keep it from coming back.  I also learned that not all primer was created equal.  So Plan A quickly turned to Plan B.

PLAN B  

Phase 1 - The Rusted Roof

Phase 2 - The Trunk and Rear End

Phase 3 - The Doors and Door Jams

Phase 4 - The Front End

I decided to break up the project into 4 phases for the following reasons.  First I knew I could only work on the car on Fridays, and there's no way I could strip, prep, and prime the entire car in 1 day, [not even if Chip Foose and the crew of Overhaulin' did return my phone calls, but they didn't]  I also did not want to strip a section to bare metal, like the roof for example and have it sit naked for weeks if not months until I was ready to prime it.  Also working on a section of a car would keep me focused and give me a sense of accomplishment, [we do live in the age of instant gratification after all].  So just like my daddy would say if he was into cars, we start at the top and move our way from front to back, well sorta.  We start at the top and move our way from back to front, since we don't have a hood, in hopes that we acquire one by the time it's time to do the front, LOL.

However priming a car in phases does have it's downsides.  I would have to clean up after each phase, not only the car, but my work area ie the garage, but also the spray gun, etc. rather than just once at the end.  I would need to run to the store for primer 4 times, (I like a fresh small can of primer, that they wiggle for me that day, rather than a large can I open and try and reseal and then sits on a shelf in my garage for weeks and settles).

More on the types of primer and my choice later...  

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Gregski
Enthusiast
Posts: 475
Joined: 03/10
Posted: 01/14/11 11:21 PM

Introducing the starting line up.

1. 5 Inch Random Orbital Electric Sander - Harbor Freight $20 bucks

2. 4 Inch Angle Grinder - Harbor Freight $15 bucks

3. Eye Protection - too old to remember where I got them

4. Air Mask - Home Depot $40 bucks


If our 5 inch work horse orbital sander is the Running Back, then that makes the 4 inch angle grinder our Full Back. So just as you rely on the RB to get you the easy 6 yards on a first and 10 ie strip off a coat of paint, you need the FB to get you that tough yard on third and 1, ie grind the rust off of those stubborn places.

Under the Safety First Column, we have the eye goggles, a must when using the wire wheel on the angle grinder, loose wires fly all over the place, and for those fans of oxygen, the air mask.

These four tools are a must, I will add the optional nice to have tools in the next post.

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Gregski
Enthusiast
Posts: 475
Joined: 03/10
Posted: 01/14/11 11:40 PM

Standing 24 inches tall and making a career out of sucking is our clean up hitter, the mighty Shop Vac aka R2D2. Not necessarily a must have, but definately a nice to have. $30 bucks from Harbor Freight and I love it, works great.

One of these triangular tool jobies, but only if you can borrow it from a your friend. It does get into those hard to reach places if you don't want to rely on handrolics and elbow grease.

Full face shield (Home Depot), it has it's place but in the winter it fogs up from your breath and it makes it difficult to see, gloves (preferably one for each hand, and not 3 sets for the right hand only, remember to kick the dog for that one) also from Home Depot.

now time for a Disclaimer and I hate disclaimers, but...

This is not a How To Prime Your Car post, this is How I Primed My Car post. Your help and advice is greatly appreciated, however I am not an expert body man / painter, nor do I play one on TV!

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Gregski
Enthusiast
Posts: 475
Joined: 03/10
Posted: 01/15/11 07:25 AM

Phase 1 - The Rusted Roof

I know what you're thinking, are we gonna sit here and list all the cheap tools, or are we actually gonna get something done? LOL

So we join the action late in the first quarter, where Greg has jumped out to an early lead having completed Phase 1 - The Rusted Roof of the project.

What? How the he11 did he do that, this post just got started?

For an instant replay and excruciating step by step detail please visit the original post entitled Restoring a Rusted Roof

Below are some photos summarizing the strip down process.

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Gregski
Enthusiast
Posts: 475
Joined: 03/10
Posted: 01/16/11 07:44 AM

Phase 1 - COMPLETED

Oh man it's a re run! Hang on, we're just getting up to speed.

And here are the photos of the primer being applied and the finished product. Remember although I had no runs, at this phase of the game, runs are not a big deal as they can and will be sanded down. Same can be said for the orange peal, which again I am happy to report I managed to avoid. Pardon me while I try not to sprain my elbow padding myself on the back.

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Gregski
Enthusiast
Posts: 475
Joined: 03/10
Posted: 01/16/11 08:35 AM

LESSON 1 - One Part VS Two Part Primer

One of the first lessons I learned was that no primer is created equal. There are what I like to refer to as two lines of primer, amateur (one part) and professional (two part) types of product.

The first one is the stuff in a spray can we are all familiar with. This is the stuff you can buy at you local Auto Zone parts store or at Walmart. This product is pre mixed and ready to go. Just shake the can, press the button and apply. This sounds wonderful, however I learned sacrifices had to be made to make this happen, (read the Two Part paragraph below to see how). I am not knocking this type of product I am just trying to point out the differences.

The second type of primer is what the pros use. This product is made up of two and sometimes three separate solutions that you mix. For example you take what's in the first container ie primer, and you add to it something called a "hardener" from the second container. (Different manufacturers may refer to their second product by different names, ie "activator".) The ratios differ as well, it could be a 2:1 ratio it could be something else, the instructions tell you how to mix it. The third solution may be optional, and it is called the "reducer" it basically thins out your concoction making it easier to come out of the spray gun. Once the primer hits the car, the "reducer's" job is done, it begins to evaporate. When you mix the two solutions you have to wait, allowing them time to react, this is called "induction time" it's like adding sugar to your coffee, you need to allow it time to dissolve. But unlike sugar in coffee which dissolves in seconds, this concoction may take minutes, 15 or more, etc. Ok so now you waited the 15 minutes, now you enter the "pot life" phase. This is the time you have to spray your car before your primer is no longer any good. Going back to our coffee example, this is how long you have to drink it before it gets cold. But unlike coffee which you can pop back into the microwave and warm it up again, your primer mixture is wasted.

Ok, so now you see why we can't buy the two part "good stuff" at Walmart. It's because it would be hard as a rock or coagulated like rubber, since it would have been days, weeks, even months since it was pre mixed for us at the factory. Now there are some manufacturers out there making two part primer in an aerosol can, but they have you pull some kind of a rip cord to get the solutions to mix before spraying, so technically although they are in the same can there is still some sort of barrier between them. Although I have never used their product, I think it is cost prohibitive to do an entire car with. You could also possibly ask your local professional car paint supplier to pre mix some two part primer for you and shove it in an aerosol can, hoping that by the time you drive home you can shoot it that day, I think.

Now this does sound a bit intimidating, but it is so easy even a cave man could do it, and believe me, no one hated chemistry in high school more than me.

I ended up using a Two Part Epoxy primer that you need to mix.

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waynep7122
Guru
Posts: 774
Joined: 01/10
Posted: 01/16/11 10:23 PM

greg.. did you see this parallel post over at HR

http://forums.hotrod.com/70/8442292/general-topics/68-mustang-fastback-restorations-my-sons-1st-car/index.html  

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Gregski
Enthusiast
Posts: 475
Joined: 03/10
Posted: 01/17/11 09:25 AM

no I didn't thank you, what's it doing on Hot Rod?, it belongs over here, LOL excellent stuff, they haven't painted yet though,  

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Gregski
Enthusiast
Posts: 475
Joined: 03/10
Posted: 01/17/11 09:26 AM

On to Phase 2 - The Trunk and Rear End

With the roof primed and Phase 1 completed it is time to move on to The Trunk and Rear End

Phase 2 begins with the removal of parts.  (I believe it is worth sharing how these come off as I personally was a bit surprised how they are held on).  I may not call some of these do dads properly so please feel free to correct me.  

1. Rear Fender Side Market Lights ('68 and up models)

2. Quarter Panel Trim (older models referred to theirs as three fingers)

3. Rocker Panel Side Trim

4. Trunk Lid Letters "MUSTANG" (mine had no chrome trim piece)

5. Rear Fender Extensions Molding

6. Tail Lights

7. Rear Bumper Guards


My "aftermarket" third tail light mounted on top of the trunk lid (you probably won't have one of these)

Rear mud flaps, again I hope you don't have any of these either.  

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Gregski
Enthusiast
Posts: 475
Joined: 03/10
Posted: 01/17/11 09:36 AM

Fender Side Marker Lights ('68 and up models)

removing these little guys, one from the driver side and one from the passenger side of the car, reveals a bit of the history, like in my case you can see the vehicle did not have a premium second paint job, since these guys were left on and only taped off prior to being painted.  

They were held on with two nuts and screws each, which you get to from the inside of the trunk.  I didn't realize they are only reflectors, and do not have a bulb and any electrical wiring going to them.

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Gregski
Enthusiast
Posts: 475
Joined: 03/10
Posted: 01/17/11 09:57 AM

Quarter Panel Side Trim

The side trim bits had to come off, they were held on by 3 bolts on either side.  In order to get to them the quarter panel windows had to be removed, lots of work, (photos available upon request, lol).  

Needless to say these trim pieces will not find their way back on to the car.  The holes will be welded shut, a job that will prove much easier said than done.  

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Gregski
Enthusiast
Posts: 475
Joined: 03/10
Posted: 01/18/11 09:10 PM

Quarter Trim Removal

here's what had to be done on the inside to get those pesky quarter panel "ornaments" off, I had some more pictures of the small metal bracket on the bottom but unfortunately they came out blurry so god only knows if I'll be able to put these windows back in properly, can't wait... Not!

Obviously these pictures also show you the state of my interior.

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Gregski
Enthusiast
Posts: 475
Joined: 03/10
Posted: 01/18/11 09:34 PM

Rocker Panel Side Trim

The Rocker Panel Side Trim plastic brackets were next to come off.  Technically my car did not have the trim on it any more just the pesky brittle white brackets.  Even if it did they would not be going back on as I am going for the clean look.  The brackets were held on with aluminum rivets which had to be drilled.  Then I attempted to fill the holes by welding them closed with my Harbor Freight Flux Core welder.

Ignore the floor pan rust that fell on the floor, that's a whole new thread, lol.

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