The BugShop: Project '57, pg 14

This page last modified- 11/3/01

There was a strange period in this restoration.

There was the car I had worked on for 7 years, freshly painted. There were boxes of brand new rubber parts from Wolfsburg West along the wall. Yet, strangely, I was very unmotivated. For a few weeks anyway.

I don't think I was truly overwhelmed, but the scope of what had left to be done was perplexing. One part of me could just reason "Hey, fenders, lids, carpet seats, steering wheel and we are done!!!".   The other side got all tangled up in the details. "What about wiring? License plates you still haven't even painted? Insurance; who's gonna sew up that B-pillar cover, what about that vent window that isn't the same make as the one on the the other side; what about re-chroming that window separator; when are the rims going to be done, can you find a shop to balance 5-lug rims; is that engine really ready to drive you around??????????????"

There were actually a few times when I opted to do yard work instead of working on the car.

But all that is in the past now. I have made some important milestones, the last of the "paintables" are supposed to get done this Thursday evening and the body is fully bolted up to the chassis.

This page is a hodge-podge of "post-paint" tasks, it should give you some idea of, well, the things that I was worried about....

This is after I finished bolting up the body to the chassis. Putting all those bolts in place was a bit of a chore. I got all new ones. The "side" ones from Wolfsburg West in a kit, the others (fat ones extreme front and back) I had to scrounge up at a HW store. Using an air powered ratchet made the job much easier. I used my dremel and a "zip bit" to make a small hole in the new seal from underneath (it is solid, completely covers the threaded bore behind), then a small pointed punch to "feel" for the bore and get some idea where it was in relation to the hole in the pan. Then I placed an extra nut in the socket on the air ratchet (the extra nut is to insure that most all of the bolt shank sticks out of the socket so you can "push" it up through), the new bolt in a washer and one of those shallow U-channel "caps" that go under there, and finally a bit of oil on the pointy end and "WWWWEEEEEEEEEEEE" with the air ratchet.

One interesting experience with the first 8mm bolt: As the air ratchet tightened, the socket suddenly slipped with a thunk. I SWORE I over torqued it and either stripped the bore or twisted the nut off inside the heater channel. So I was careful with the others, but a few later it happened again. I put the socket on a ratchet handle and hand tightened it. Barely snug torque and "SLIP" loose again. I almost cried. That is when I noticed that the socket wouldn't come off the bolt head. A little more investigation and guess what? I had been using a 14mm 6 pt socket on 13mm bolts. The socket was slipping on the bolt head under torque. It felt just like when you strip out a bolt and it "lets go". 

Sure is nice to get a *pleasant* surprise every now and then. 

This is a little jig I built up when I was "testing" some spare rims I had for straightness. It is a front 5-lug drum and whole hub with spindle (less backing plate and brakes) that I use to "spin" wheels and rims. It is bolted to the end of a 2x4 (using a piece of a hacked off swingaxle spring plate) and here is clamped in my workmate. You can see the backside of a freshly sandblasted rim.

BTW, sandblasting is the only way to go in my book when it comes to cleaning up rims. My shop did the rims (front, back insides) for $10 each.

Now here is the easy way to paint rims. First the insides are painted with a (cheap) etching primer. Place the rim on the hub, center it, but you don't need any lug nuts. Then spin the rim with an index finger in one of the lug holes and spray the primer in the inside (the "outside" really, the part you see in black here). Fun. Start at the bottom edge, with a continuous spray and move the can slowly up. Whey you get to the top, stop spraying, but keep the rim spinning fast to place a little centrifugal force on the wet paint and keep it from sagging. Also, air passing over it makes it dry quicker (Ok, just a theory) I used a can of Eastwood's self etching primer here. 

Next, spin the rim again and spray your "good" primer on the back (or front) face. Start at the top edge and work your way down into the dish of the rim. If you want the front sides to look really nice, you need to sand the freshly sandblasted metal with 220 grit first. Spray around the lug nut holes with the rim stopped.

 Now after the cheap primer has had few minutes to dry, spin again and spray the Eastwood "Chassis Black". I know that Eastwood doesn't recommend Chassis Black over their own gray etching primer, but I figured a "wet on wet" would adhere OK, and it is the inside of the rim after all.

My "good" primer is Spies-Hecker "red/brown" anti corrosive. It is available in spray cans (they cost $16 each!!). The red/brown can either be sprayed "wet on wet" with Spies HS surfacer, or if the red/brown dries, it must be lightly sanded then sprayed with the HS. You cannot spray a color coat over the red/brown etching primer. I spray the HS out of a small spray gun. The backsides of the rim will be painted with a Spies black, single stage (Chassis Black would have been just fine with me, but I bought a whole quart of black Spies paint, so I'll use that). The front sides are 2 tone, L412 Diamond Green on the outsides, L87 Pearl white on the insides. These will be done in Tom's shop using the 2 stage color/clear product after a thorough sanding with 220, then 600 grit. We are painting up 10 rims (5 with "show" whitewalls, 4 with "everyday" radials and one spare) 

As I took this car all apart (years ago), I wisely kept a list of the all the parts that needed to be painted. Below they are listed with the colors and paint codes for each. The paint codes are: Also used:
L412 Taillight housings (2)
L412 Front turn signal (bullet) housings (2)
L412 Hood Hinge "arms" (2)
L412 Speedometer cable tube (2)
L412 Hood support mechanism
L412 Door hinge bolt heads (8 visible, total)
L412 Radio block off plate 
L412 Glove box door 
L412 Ashtray outer cover 
L412 Decklid brackets
L412 Decklid support spring 
L412 License plate light "nose" 
L75 Steering column tube 
L75 Turn signal switch housing (2 pcs)
L75 Turn signal switch wiring cover
L75 Emergency brake handle 
L75 Front seat frames (incl. adjuster cams on each side)
L75 Rear seat cross member 
L75 Rear seat backrest pivot points (where the bolts go through)
L75 Shifter lever 
L41 Bumper brackets (4) 
L41 Bumper overrider supports (4) 
L41 Steering box inspection covers (2, round plates behind spare tire) 
L41 Shift rod access plate (round plate behind spare at bottom) 
L41 Hood latch mechanism cover 
L41 Battery cover
L41 Brake fluid reservoir
Gray Vertical support behind dash
Gray Speaker block off plate
Gray Inside of headlight "buckets"
Silver Small securing tabs on headlight chrome rings (bottom)
Silver Turn signal switch arm
Silver Wiper arms
Silver Wiper blades (metal part)

Last time I sprayed with real auto paint, I had a terrible time just getting the damn stuff out of the can without making a huge mess and wasting the $40 a quart stuff. I asked Tom when I was at his shop about how to do it. He handed me a spare "mixer" top for the quart cans. These things are ingenious. They clamp into the inside lip of the can with some little thumb tabs, they have the "syrup pourer" type spouts and have an integral mixer inside with a gear on the top (big spiral screw that goes top to bottom in the can). See page 8 for a picture of the big rack that these things go in that can mix hundreds of cans all at once.

Of course, I didn't have the big rack in my garage, so I had to improvise (thoroughly mixing the paint is very important). You can see my solution in this picture. A small block of oak wood (tried cheap pine first, it instantly split apart under the torque) with a 1/4 inch bolt in the center for the drill to clamp to and a couple wood screws on the other side to mesh with "kehole" holes in the gear (almost looks like Spies has some special "single can" mixer tool that you put on a drill too). This "HS" primer is super heavy. This quart can felt like it was filled with lead. The drill could hardly get the mixer blade going at first.

In the upper left corner, you can see the detail of the little pourer "door". Works wonderfully, Tom dispenses paint by the drop with these things when mixing colors. The handle is held in the vise to hold it while mixing. 

Watch your head.

This was the "HS" primer shoot of all the small parts. Now I am no paint expert, in fact this was only second time I sprayed paint out of a gun. The first time was when I painted the underside of the pan. This time I used a small "touch up" gun that I had never used before. In fact, I don't even remember buying it. It was just hanging there with some cobwebs on it and I thought it might be kinda cool to try (pretty sad huh?). The cup only holds 6 oz of paint, I mixed up 5 oz. I didn't know how far it would go. I dialed up about 40-50psi of air, adjusted the paint needle a bit and off I went. My 7 year old son could paint with this gun, it was so easy!!

I painted all of the small parts (Hanging: hood hinge arms, hood support latch, steering box inspection hole covers, shift rod access hole cover and speedo cable tube. Yes, Ovals had metal ones) And the face of one rim; and I still had paint left!! I was stunned at the coverage, and pleased too. The primer is $40 a quart and the hardener (mixed 1 part to 2 paint) is $35 a liter.

You can see my exhaust fan in the window frame in the background (good thing my neighbors house is white, it is now anyway ;-) and the 36 hp engine that needs to have it's T-stat and cooling ring installed. 

Here's what greeted me when I came home from work 6/2/99. Seems that Tom went ahead and painted the fenders and lids, a day ahead of schedule. And then was so nervous about having my pristine parts laying around his shop (and potentially being responsible for chipping or scratching them) that he made not one, but two trips, with a helper to deliver them to my house.

But can you spot the Beetle in this picture? The decklid is on top of it. That piece of plywood is hinged at the left on the post of the stairs to the house (see the post on the right side with the little caster wheel at the bottom). The car is under a blue cover behind, a comforter hangs over the backside of the "wall" (you can see it under the lower right side). That floral comforter was just retired from our bedroom and "donated" to the '57 (not sure it "goes" with the battleship gray walls all that well though). The 2 foot high cement kneewall behind the car is covered with jute padding, as is the wall in front of the car. You can see the engine to the right on a little 3 sided dolly that I made that you allows you to lower it with the jack right on to the dolly (I'll take a pic later).

So that is how I am protecting that paint from the kids bikes and stuff. Yeah, I guess when it is all done I will want to keep it "out" during the summer. I though of putting some "armor" on the sides of the cover and just keeping it covered. 

I know this picture is big, but the scene reminded me of that '53 Factory Photos calendar that has been out for a few years. Notably the picture of the stacked hoods (I think). Here is my hood and "W" decklid.

It was only after I downloaded these pictures that I realized just how close that ladder in the background was to these pieces. Yes, that is the "replacement" ladder. Some of you may recall the ugly incident with my "former" ladder and the freshly painted body that resulted in the fiery burning of the dismembered six footer. This new ladder was brought out to witness the commutation of this sentence and I can say has been very well behaved thus far.