Tag Archives: PRE painting prep

  • Shaved Fender Vents on 08-10 Super Duty

    Shaved Fender Vents on 08-10 Super Duty

    Version 2

    The fastest way to make your vehicle stand out is with exterior modifications, but in order for them to look good it must be done the proper way.  Adding new pieces such as wheels, tires, bumpers, etc. is one method but it can easily be over done and just look tacky.  How many times have you seen a car with parts that just don't belong? I've seen way too many.  The other, and sometimes more difficult method is to remove parts that were originally there.  Not only does it make the vehicle look more seamless it also separates it from all the others.  From the factory this 2009 Ford F-350 Super Duty came with chrome plastic fender vents that stick out more than 3/4" from the panel.  Some may like this look but it ruins the body lines of the truck.  Just like Hot Rod guys shave door handles you'll see step by step how to remove these vents and make it look like they were never there in the first place.

     

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    These are the vents I'm talking about, yeah they are flashy and catch your eyes but they don't do much for the over all look of the truck.  With these removed the side of the truck is stream line all the way to the tail lights.

     

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    Using a plastic trim tool to pry off the vent, the recessed area underneath is revealed.  Having a recessed area the exact shape of the vent provides a great starting point because it will be much easier later on when I weld the new piece in.  As you can see in the above picture the fender is slightly curved so not only will the patch piece have to be the correct size it will also need the bend to be exactly the same to appear seamless.

     

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    I started by making a templet with a piece of poster board, to do this I cut a rectangular piece slightly bigger than what I needed and with masking tape attached it to the fender so the the vent area was fully covered.  Then using a marker and my finger I pressed on the edges of the recessed area and drew "+", one in like with the edge and one perpendicular to the edge.  I did this along the whole outer edge of the vent area and using a ruler connected all of the intersecting points.  Note that I did not once use a tape measure, on most patch panel fabrication an exact measurement it pretty much necessary but for a small piece like this the method I just described takes a lot of the guess work out because you are using the actual panel to get the shape.  Using a ruler and an exacto knife I cut out the shape using the marks I made earlier.

     

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    The template was was a perfect fit,  I want the panel to sit as close to flush as I can, this will reduce the amount of filler and body work later on.

     

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    Next using a piece of 18 GA steel I carefully traced the shape on to the metal. For the first side I wanted to use my Versa 40 Plasma Cutter to cut out the shape.

     

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    The plasma gives me the ability to cut the curves of the piece near exactly but for extra assurance I used two pieces of 1/4" Bar as a guide to make the the cuts perfectly straight.

     

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    Using a  60 grit flap disc attached to a 4.5" Grinder I removed the burrs, beveled the edges, and removed the surface rust.  when making patch panels like this its very important to bevel the edges, this gives the allows for a cleaner weld that will lay much more flush with the panel.

     

    Version 2

    Next to get the patch piece to match the slight curve of the factory panel I used my Bench Top English Wheel  to gently curve the panel.  Be very careful to only apply forward and backward pressure on the panel in line with the wheel.  Putting too much side pressure on the panel will give it a dome and not match the contour of the fender.  One way to eliminate giving the panel a domed effect is to put a rubber band over the upper wheel.  This reduces the side to side stretching of the metal because the band stretches instead of the metal.

     

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    You can see the difference in the two panels with the one on the right being the one that I ran through the wheel and the one on the left has not been touched.  Even though the curvature in the fender is very little, the extra time rolling it through the english wheel will save a lot of time later on when it comes time to apply filler.

     

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    Before prepping the fender for welding I used a magnet to hold the patch piece in place and look at the fitment and gaps from multiple angles to make sure no corners were too high or out of place.  After taking it off to grind a few areas down I was satisfied with the fitment and sprayed the back with Self Etching Weld Thru Primer to prevent rusting from the inside.

     

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    To prep the panel for welding I used a flap disc on a 4.5 ANGLE GRINDER and removed the paint down to metal all the way around the areas where I would be welding.

     

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    Starting with the top edge I used my MIG 175 on a very low setting to tack weld the panel in to place, making sure the panel was seated in the right place before tacking in.

     

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    If you find that after your first tacks the panel is no longer sitting flush with the opening there is a way to save the welds without having to cut the piece out.  To do this use a wide flat blade screw driver putting half of the blade on the new piece and half on the original.  Press the panel so it sits just below flush with the opening then place a tack weld right above the blade.  In the event that the panel sits too low in the opening you can use a very fine flat blade screw driver to pry the panel up to the desired depth.

     

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    The first step in the filling process I started by using Contour Short Strand Fiberglass Filler.  This filler is infused with fiberglass which makes it much much stronger than ordinary filler allowing it to be applied much heavier to fill larger gaps and depressions. Before application I wiped down the fender with PRE Painting Prep to remove and contaminants that would affect the adhesion of filler.  I applied the Short strand on all of the weld seams as well as the top section of the patch which were the lowest areas that needed the most support.

     

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    While some say this material is hard to work with because it gets too hard too quick making it more difficult to sand.  I've found that the ideal time to sand is about 10-15 min after application using 40-60 Grit to knock down the high spots then 80 grit PSA to level the rest.  Be aware that this is a very tough material and will harden very quickly so make sure you get all of the sanding

     

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    After the Short strand is leveled I applied and block sanded Contour Glazing Putty to finish off the panel.  I would have only needed one pass of Putty but I went too light with the short strand in the lower corner. To knock down the high spots I use 80 grit PSA  on a  11" x 1 3/8" Durablock, this block is great for smaller areas like this because it is easy to hold and is long enough to be able to slightly bend so all areas of the block are in contact with the panel at all times.

     

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    Now that the filler is blocked down flush it is time to apply primer to seal the area.  First I again wiped down the with PRE then used 2K Urethane Primer Surfacer using the Evolution Paint gun with a 2.0 tip.  This primer will not only seal the panel but also build up enough that I can come back with 320-400 Grit on a block and do a final blocking in case there are still any imperfections.  The best way to apply this primer is to start from the outside and work your way in, as you can see in the picture I taped off the area about 5 inches off the filler edge this will prevent primer overspray from getting on other parts of the panel that do not need it.  I am not using the tape to create a hard edge and will never have to primer in direct contact with the tape edge.

     

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    The final step before paint is to block the whole fender with 400 grit to remove and sanding scratches and scuff the existing paint so the base coat will stick.  Additionally I scuffed the whole fender with a red scuff pad to create a uniform painting surface.  Wipe off the panel with PRE and then with a tack rag to remove any dirt or lint from the painting surface. You MUST use a blow gun and move as much dust and dirt away from the area surrounding the panels.  Even dust on the floor nearby can get kicked up by the paint gun and get trapped in the paint.

     

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    I sprayed the base with the Concours Pro HVLP Gun with a 1.3 tip. The color I used is a Ford color code UD which was mixed at a local automotive commercial supply store.  Although these stores supply to collision shops most will mix as little as a quart of color matched paint at a reasonable price. I was lucky enough that this Ford UD Ebony color was a very common mix and a quart was just under $25.  Depending on the color code and the additives that go in prices can go as high as $200 just for a quart.  After three coats of base with about 15 min flash time and a wipe down with a tack rag between each its time for clear.

     

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    I applied 3 wet coats of 2:1 European Urethane Clear also using the Concours Pro HVLP Gun with a 1.3 Tip. I mixed the clear 2:1:1/2, the 1/2 being urethane reducer. This helps the clear flow a lot better and lay on the panel much nicer.  I applied 2 coats allowing about 15 min flash time between coats, because it was about 85 degrees the flash time was greatly reduced.

     

    BEFORE

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    AFTER

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    The fenders still need to be buffed to remove some small dirt specs but other than that there is no reason a job like this cant be done at home as long as all the preparation is done properly.  Post a comment about what you think, or any questions about the project!

    - James R. / EW

     

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  • It's starting to look a lot like spring!

    Here on the east coast, this is the time of the year when many of us begin to get a little "skip in our step". For most, this is due to the first glimpses of warm weather and the hope for all things great about spring and summer. For fellow car enthusiasts it is the thought of being able to finally dig your favorite "summer ride" out of storage and begin to enjoy it again.

    Personally, I don't have a million dollar restored classic (though I have grand dreams about owning a restored Porsche 356 in Ponyantha Red someday when I hit the lottery), but I still partake in this routine with some of my "Patina Queen" Volkswagens. My trusty summer car to cruise to the local GTG's and shows is a 1977 Scirocco. This car was rescued from the "ghetto" in Brooklyn,NY of all places. Even though it had relatively low miles when I found it (only 77k!), it had lived a hard life the past 5+ years. But regardless, I still get excited at the thought of being able to cruise around with the windows down in one of my "Summer Cars".  The 0nly thing I dread a little is all of the hand polishing of the chrome and polished bits I have on the 77. I know Autosol will be my best friend one Sunday afternoon very soon!

    Another thing I've found is that with the hint of warmer weather coming up, a lot of stalled projects get a much needed jump-start from this inspirational warm weather. I personally am very guilty of letting the cold, snowy weather get me down. Instead of tinkering with projects I tend to hide inside away from the cold. Now that it is starting to get a bit warm, I find myself exceedingly excited to start getting major progress done on one of my dozens of major projects. I seem to have a vehicle at close to every stage of the restoration process these days. First I have my convertible project that is in the major rust removal and panel replacement stage. If you find that we are out of Rust Converter, Rust Encapsulator and PRE next week you know who is to blame! Not to mention my 76 rabbit that is a shiny bare shell (I'll be firing up the Powder Coating Gun and oven real soon!); to my recent Rabbit Pickup acquisition that has yet to be started (already picked out our Euro Racing Green to repaint it with). I sure know a good chunk of my paychecks this spring are going right back into Eastwood for supplies! (the horrible downfall of working in the industry of something you love!)

    The last of my favorite early spring routines is to go on the hunt for "field/barn finds". Early spring and late fall are the best for this activity. You can even kill two birds with one stone (honey I'm just going to fill the car up with gas before the cruise this weekend, be back soon!") and drive your recently-uncovered summer ride on these exploratory trips. I find that if you go very early in spring you catch many more things you wouldn't notice or see many other times of the year. The foliage hasn't begun to grow back on the trees/plants and you can clearly spot those forgotten gems tucked away in back yards, fields, or woods with ease. The other nice thing is the age old routine of "spring cleaning", people tend to have their barns and garage doors open while cleaning and you might spot that classic tucked away in a barn underneath piles of "junk". I have spotted and pulled a handful of cars out of barns/yards just from this exact method (calling some of them "gems" is a far stretch I'm afraid though).

    So whatever your favorite spring routine is, make sure you get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. I know after this long, hard winter we had here on the east coast, I'm not wasting a single sunny day!

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  • Brake parts need love too!

    As I mentioned in my introductory post, I have a 1976 VW Rabbit project that I am building from the ground up. This car is going to be built with a heavy vintage motorsport "feel", but still in the end, it will be a show car and most everything is going to be gone over and polished, cleaned, chromed and powder coated. One thing people often neglect to restore when building a car is brake parts and associated bits hidden behind the wheel. Since I will be buying new brake calipers, I decided I would clean and powder coat the carriers ahead of time. I figured I'd post some photos along the way of some steps I did for the tech geeks like myself, and also to prove to friends and family I actually do work on my 76 Rabbit more than once every 2 years! (I can hear your laughs from here Dad!)

    First step when dealing with old parts that are so close to the road like this, is to clean all of that thick grease, dirt and road grime off of the part. This part had obviously been victim to a couple of ripped CV boots and thus had a few layers of hardened grease on them. You wanna scrape the part with a screwdriver or something similar to get the bigger "chunks" off first. Next I hit the carriers with some of our exclusive Eastwood Chassis Clean . Our chassis clean is a very aggressive cleaner that even removes heavy baked-on brake dust and grease. I just sprayed the part liberally with the handy aerosol can. As you can see in the pictures it just washes the grime off and leaves a "clean" (do not mistake for blasted "clean") surface!

    After getting these parts degreased pretty well. I next dropped them in our blasting cabinet. I decided to use some of our Aluminum Oxide Blast Media to clean the carriers. Since I cleaned the parts with our chassis clean before blasting, the carriers blasted clean quite easily.  After both brackets were blasted, I washed and cleaned them with our PRE Painting Prep to get any and all left over dirt or grease off of the part.

    Since these parts were cast, I decided to pre-heat these items at 400 degrees to bake out any additional grease or chemicals that still may be lurking in the metal and could eventually cause "outgassing". After 20 minutes I took the carriers out and immediately sprayed them Semi-Gloss Black with our increasingly popular Dual Voltage Hot Coat Gun . With the part being pre-heated it makes the powder seem to almost adhere a bit better. You may even begin to see a bit of "flow out" of the powder as the powder lays on the parts (the finish will begin to go from the dull "powder" to a "wet" type finish). After I got a nice even coat on both parts, I took them back to the oven and cured them at 400 degrees again until the powder flowed out nicely. After pulling them out and hanging them to cool, I got to relax and admire the nice glossy black brake parts ready to be mated to some new brake calipers!

    I by no means am a professional at powder coating and found the dual voltage gun to be quite easy to use. In fact, I was able to manipulate the amount of powder coming out of the gun depending on the pressure I had on the trigger (vs. some other guns I've used where it is either "off" or "full blast").  Hopefully some of my fellow hobbyists out there will be inclined to take up powder coating their own parts after seeing how fairly simple the process is!

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