Sunday, December 4, 2011

Convertible top frame blasting and painting

I sandblasted the top frame this week. After that was done, I fabbed up the intermediate bow that was missing from the frame. Once that was welded in and operational I coated the frame with 2 coats of DP-90 then top coated with rattlebomb black. I think the DP will provide the durability, the rattle bomb was just a bit of UV protection for the DP.

I was also able to get the doors hung on the car. It feels like it's starting to come together.

Intermediate bow jigged up

Doors on and top frame installed

Monday, November 28, 2011

Body Back on the Frame

My dad, my uncle Gordy, my friend Damon and my wife's uncle Scott came over after the rain let up on Saturday to lift the body back onto the chassis. The operation went almost too smooth. 5 minutes of rolling the car out and about 30 seconds of heavy lifting and the car was re-married to it's frame. I prepped the frame by using seam sealer to stick the pan gasket into place and cutting holes in the gasket with a razor blade. The pan bolts will probably go in and come out half a dozen times while we shave down the bushings on the front and back ends of the car. Hopefully the doors will fit correctly and the world will be a happy place once again.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Floor Pans are Bedlined

I stripped all the POR-15 off the floorpans last weekend. The stuff just doesn't hold up like you would expect it to. I have decided I will never use a single part paint on a car again. Also, I will never fall for the "you can paint right over the rust" snake oil pitch again. If you have rust on a car, you have to remove it!!!!!!!!! Just like weight loss, there is no magic bullet, no magic pill, no magic potion to point and click the rust away. It takes hard work, elbow grease and abrasives to remove unwanted corrosion.

I chose to use U-Pol Raptor liner on the pans since it has a hard surface with some texture to it. I was much happier with the texture on the pans vs the texture I got in the wheel wells. I was able to hold the gun back a bit further and I got very even coverage. I used a bit more hardner than directed so the material came out of the gun with a much smoother texture. It took 1 liter per coat to do the pans. I bought a 4 liter kit, so I still have 1/2 of the material left. I may spray the inner quarter panels and the rear luggage areas, I'm not sure yet.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Finally - Paint Day Arrives

I took a two week vacation from work so I could get the car painted. I hoped to have it prepped and ready to spray last Friday. I spent around 12 hours a day Thursday through Monday getting the car sanded to perfection. The nose and right fender both had hairline cracks in the primer right at the body lines. I wound up grinding out all the bodywork on the 3 inches both sides of the nose ridge to make sure whatever caused the primer failure was gone. That meant completely redo-ing the bodywork on the toughest part of the car in a day. As I was washing the car for the final time, I noticed the crack in the fender. It was about 1/8" long and barely noticeable, but still it needed to be sanded and fixed so it would not translate up through the paint.

The paint day was ridiculous. I started working at 5:30 a.m. emptying the garage and getting everything clean. After the cleaning my dad came over and helped me hang plastic, mask the car and get the lights set up. I started painting at 1:40 p.m. From the time I started painting I was non-stop busy. There were a couple quick water breaks, but that's it. I laid down sealer on everything, then started laying color. I base coated all the parts. Somehow I did not get the gun perfectly clean between sealer and basecoat. The first coat of base had trash from the gun splattered all over the left fender. A quick call to a hotrod builder in Arizona gave me the tools I needed to fix the troubles and continue the paintjob. I took a piece of 1500 grit and some grease and wax remover as a lubricant to sand out all the goobers. I would guess there were 25+ areas that I had to fix. After the next coat of base, you couldn't tell there were any problems.

I had issues with the hood, fuel filler lid and license plate light bar. All the parts that had been previously painted. It wasn't the existing paint it was just coincidence. A bug landed in the hood after the clear was down. I got runs in the base on the other two parts and had to sand them down to the sealer... It was a mess and I'll probably paint them again.

Yes, there are a couple sags and some orange peel in the paint, but all in all it looks really good.

Car in paint and outside

Now that I see it, I am really glad I filled in the grills

Monday, October 3, 2011

Karmann Ghia Engine Bay Painted

It's been awhile since I posted, again, most days I post vids on youtube. I gave the whole car it's initial 3 coats of primer and I have it all block sanded down. I glazed a few spots and I am ready to do my second prime. I am waiting on some materials, hopefully I'll have everything this week and be able to shoot the Matrix MP3 HS. Once I shoot it, I'll have to let it sit for about a week to cure before I can sand on it.

I did, however, get the engine bay sanded, primed and painted yesterday. It took all day to finish the bodywork, sand all the fiddly bits, clean and tack. I wrapped up my cleaning around 10:30 pm... That's a bit late for a work night, but it was totally worth it. I did get a couple small sags under the accent lines on the wheel tubs, but hey, it's an engine bay, so I'm not worried about them. I'm sure I could polish them out, but I doubt I will.

Engine bay painted under the lights

In the sun

Monday, August 1, 2011

Front End primed

This feels like groundhog day. I was at this stage back in November before I completely striped the shell AGAIN... Now all the bodywork is done on the front end and it has epoxy and high build sprayed on again.

Sorry for the lack of updates. I put videos on youtube with progress about every week. It's an easy format for me to show progress and ask questions of guys who have a ton of experience.

I am 100% complete with the bottom of the car as well. I put on the second coat of tintable U-Pol Raptor bed liner and I couldn't be happier with the results. The car will be sitting in the 100+degree heat for the next few days.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wheel Well Painting - U Pol Raptor Liner

I sprayed on the first couple sections of U-Pol Raptor tintable bedliner on my wheel wells today. I am happy with the look and feel of the stuff. It went on very easy. My first step was the driver's fender well, then I did the luggage area and firewall. I decided after the first quart that I don't need to worry about 100% coverage on the first coat, just get the product on. That said, I think I'll put 2 coats on everything and that will take 2 kits to make that happen.

Driver's Side fender well
First Coat on Luggage Compartment

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Car on Rotisserie

It's been awhile since I've updated the blog. I've been posting lots of videos to Youtube since it seems to be a quicker and more descriptive vehicle for showing detail about the restoration. That said, I took a week off work to push the project ahead and was able to bodywork the car from the back of the doors forward. I got the front bumber brackets mounted, I fit the rear decklid, gapped the doors, finished tubbing out the rear wheel wells, finished building my rotisserie and straightend out my torsion bar access holes.

This week I got the car ready to put onto the rotisserie. I did the whole operation by myself with an engine hoist. I was nervous about it, but it could not have gone smoother. I wrapped a chain around the two inspection hole for the steering boxes, through a square tube and put a cross brace at the back of the doors under the convertible stiffner panel that attaches around the back of the striker. The car lifted like a dream and the rotisserie fit like a glove. All the measurements I made for the rotisserie were done with the body on, so they weren't perfect by any means. I was actually surprised when I was only off about 3/8" from front to back. The car swings really heavy at the bottom of the swing and the car clears the fixture by about 1"!!! I couldn't be happier with it.

I'm hoping to get the front wheel wells coated this weekend, but I'm not sure I can get everything prepped and coated... We'll see.

Car on the hoist rolling across the garage

Car on the rotisserie fully rotated

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Blocking and some paint

It's nice to have help once in awhile... My wife's uncle Scott came over to the garage for a couple hours to help knock down bondo, strip off the JP-205, push out a few dents and drain a couple beers (buying beer beats the hell out of paying a $50/hr shop rate). It seemed like we were able to do 3x the work with only two guys.

While Scott was sanding the doors and fenders, I was busy working on the front hood, fuel filler lid and license plate light/decklid handle. I found more panel damage from the sandblasting and made a promise that I would never again sand blast a panel with structure behind it. After some block sanding, it was evident the hood had low spots around the perimeter where the structure pushed while it was being blasted. The spots weren't deep, but still required a lot of work to smooth out. I had one spot that was close and I wanted it to be perfect, so I stuck the hood in the e-wheel for some smoothing... BAD IDEA! I accidently went too close to the edge and pinched the structure below into the panel and created some deep grooves... I wound up having to fill in the area rather than metal work it.

Unkie Scott grinding out some filler The bodywork on the low spots The hood after a couple coats of epoxy primer 4 coats of Matrix MP3-HS Urethane Primer and a guide coat

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Paint Supplies Arrive

I've been collecting body and paint supplies over the last 4-5 months. When I can find a good deal on the internet, I buy it... I've finally found a bunch of good deals and I have assembled almost everything I need. I had to wait for warm weather because my paint was shipped in from the East coast and I didn't want it to freeze on the way here.

I ordered a pint of color - VW Gecko Green Metallic - in PPG's Deltron 2000 DBC. I haven't seen the color in real life (only in photos) so I figured I'd order a small amount and shoot the hood or something small to see if I like the color. I'm also going to use the test panels to the upholstry folks so I can figure out what materials and colors will go with the paint.

I did a quick drop of paint onto the fuel lid... I like what I see. I'll take it out into the sun tomorrow to get a better idea of the color. I'd like to paint the hood this weekend, but I seriously doubt I'll have enough time to get everything prepped and painted before it's time to go to work on Monday morning.

All my new supplies: Evercoat, Deltron DBC, DC3000 Clear, MP3-HS 2K high build primer, norton 80 and 180 grit PSA, U-Pol Raptor Tintable bedliner (for the wheel wells), filters and sticks.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Beginning Bodywork

After a LONG time away from the car, I started the bodywork this weekend. Last time I touched the car, I was squirting on a gallon of polyester primer in hopes it would save me some headache when it came to surfacing the car out.

Once again, I have learned there are no shortcuts or easy ways out. I began my weekend by visiting my friend Brian. He has built about half a dozen cars in the time I've been working on the Ghia. I asked his advice on block sanding and prepping the car. In his explanation, he gave me some great pointers and sent me home with a box of long blocks to try out. I already have a 16" body file, an air file and a couple small sized blocks. Brian lent me a flexible 12" block, a 24" block and a couple small pieces of flexible rubber.

The first thing I did when I started to work was to spray the car with a guidecoat of black rattlebomb paint. After the paint was dry, I went to town on the rear quarter with the long block. I figured I would have a lot of paint to sand through before I'd hit the epoxy primer... WRONG!!! I hit the primer and went down to the metal all over the place. Judging from all the low and high spots in the guidecoat, you'd think the car had been in a hail storm. HOLY COW!

I figured I'd bust out the filler and start filling the low spots, well after a couple hours of filling lows and sanding through primer, I figured I'd stop and start asking questions... I'm wondering if I am doing something wrong, so I am halting operations until I can talk to someone who can either confirm I am doing itright or can tell me what I am doing wrong.