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gema

"Doing it Right"

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    So I'm sitting here thinking of my enemy: rust.

    I'm the kind of person who likes to do something once and do it right, but in the case of Z bodywork, I'm a little stumped...what exactly is involved in "doing it right"? I'll do all the reading and learning I have to, and am willing to spend hours and hours in the garage, so that isn't a problem. I guess what I'm asking for is a procedure for 'doing it right' (being the refinishing of a Z car body), and hopefully, a list of tools I'm going to need to acquire. I have an entire summer to spend working on this (between work and my girlfriend), and the goal is to have everything pieced together, painted, and running smoothly by mid-July. If this means forking over 3-4k to a body shop, so be it, but I'd much rather do it myself (if it isn't beyond my abilities). So...anyone?

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    Nate,

    1)Find and remove all traces of rust, use abrasion, chemical eradication, and replacement metal whenever necessary. (Eye ear, breathing, and skin protection first, then, die grinder with sanding pads, Metal Ready(or Ospho), a welder(oxy acet or mig-but you will have more uses for oxy-acet, if you get into it)pre formed panels or 18G sheet and a set of ballpien hammers-they make great dollies as well)

    Be forewarned, rust hides when you go looking for it. "My next project" hid some of the nasty car cancer under the sound deadening-didn't find it until I started peeling up the stuff-It could be patched, but... I will be ordering new floors and stiffners from Zed Findings when the owner gets back next week-I prefer to do things once and right as well. When you have every spec of rust off of your Z, then we will get to #2

    I have a '72("My next Project" in my gallery) that I am getting ready to start on-I have almost stripped the interior, hopefully the engine and Tank will come out tomorrow). I will be going through it with my version of "the right way." I have a rotisserie coming from a member here-chime in Ken-and my car will be going shiney side down(not on the ground) so that I can "do things the right way" more comfortably-remember how you got your heater fan out? I will be videotaping the progress, and posting on my site and here-there will be some lag time for editing-2 hours of scraping undercoating off isn't bad when you are doing it, but I don't want to bore anyone into a coma!

    Will

    P.S. I am not making ChittyChittyZbang!

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    Nate:

    If you don't yet have Wick Humble's "How to restore Z Cars" book, I'd recommend you get it. It has many helpful nuggets of information.

    FWIW, your timeline of being done by mid-July sounds like an impossibility unless you have very little work to do on it, or have nothing else to do (like a job, or a life) except working on the car all day, everyday (and night).

    Of course, I don't know you, or your car, but I have done what you are going to be attempting, and it took me well over 6 months to get it all done. Maybe I just work slow.

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    Carl is right, follow Mr. Scotts advice, multiply the time you think a project will take by three, and you will be three times as likely to be close!!

    I couldn't remember the name of the book, but it is the one to follow-a few things have improved, and the club will keep you aprised of that.

    Will

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    I started on my '73 a little over a year ago . An am now working on the body and the mulitude of little dings and a few small dents. The thing I have found here is the poor bondo work that was done in the past . Body filler will alow moisture to penetrate and if holes are drilled through the sheet metal and covered with filler , rust will start under the filler and spread untill the filler cracks and falls off. Just a hint for future repairs. Either lead or braze the holes closed , then filler. I am like you and want to do things right. I cut out a rust riddled passanger floor and fitted in a unit from Zedd Findings. I had it tig welded in and treated the bare metal with POR , after sandblasting twice . At present

    the Z is a rolling shell . All the glass is out , also the engine and trans. All the wireing is removed , the gas tank is out and has been treated with POR. The dash and all the interior is out . Most of the body work is done and soon I will be primering and sanding in prep. for paint. I hope to have her up and running by the 4th of July but I dont think I can do it by then. I went over all of this because I want you to see what you are looking at , to do it right. As 2many said your time table is vary short, and your cost of body and paint is on the light side if you want it right. You can have it painted for under a grand and the body worked on also. If you want a 20 20 car. That is it looks good at 20 ' going 20 MPH. A truly fine paint job if you do most of the removing of the chrome will run about $3000.00 or so. Plus body work.

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    Thanks for the advice, and after lots and lots of searching/reading, I've decided to do it myself.

    For one, it's more rewarding.

    Also, I learn more (which is the point of this car to me), and I save a whole bunch of money.

    Now that being said, I have all sorts of hand tools and sockets/drills/etc, but I'm making a shopping list...please add on. About the mid-July date, that is really workable for me. The rate at which I work (on anything if I put my mind to it) is astounding, and generally I do the work of 3-4 other people combined. That is, if I'm motivated. Here's my list so far:

    1. Welder (Either MIG or Oxy/Arc, which is easier to learn?)

    2. Engine Hoist/stand (for removing engine/tranny and later to put in the ZXT motor)

    3. Stripping supplies (Sandpaper, chemical stripper, putty knives, eye/nose/mouth protection, etc.)

    4. Electrolytic Rust Removal setup supplies (not too expensive, mostly for suspension pieces i'll be having powdercoated)

    5. Dehumidifier (To run in the garage all the time, keep rust at bay while the car is stripped...will this work?)

    6. POR-15 like crazy.

    7. Painting supplies.

    8. Tons of boxes, bags, and labels, to put everything in as I disassemble. I can just see the trip to the hardware store now, me carrying 100 stripped bolts of different sizes, matching them up...

    Of course these are just some tools, not panels/floorpans and any other goodies I end up having to buy.

    I am seriously considering building a rotisserie, but I doubt I have the space for it. Let me know what I'm missing.

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    So you'll have a few pictures of the completed project posted here by August 01, 2004? Cool! Looking forward to seeing them.

    What color will the car be painted?

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    That's the goal date, and if I manipulate my work schedule enough (I can, my family owns the shop =D ), I can work in either the mornings or evenings, leaving the nice, warm sunny middays for workin' on the Z. Paint color is still up in the air. I wanted Chromesilver off the new Z, but thought about 918 Orange (original color), Le Mans Sunset, and now I'm considering a dark metal-flake blue, as it was the final color in my crazy drug-induced dream the other day (wisdom teeth surgery). So I'm not sure yet, but as of right now, it's a nice....spray-can Lemon Chiffon, and it resembles something between vomit, tapioca pudding, and cat pee. So anything is a step up.

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    I don't know, but, acording to ebay, that "spray-can Lemon Chiffon resembling something between vomit, tapioca pudding, and cat pee" color is rare, and makes even a basket case rust bucket worth 10K(because of the 10 HP the cars got from being deliberately painted that color)easy!

    I would say an oxigen acetelyne welder is more usefull overall-you can weld, cut, braze, and heat metal to bend. I have Mig, Tig and Oxy/Acet. In reality, Oxy/Acet will do all that the others will do, but with a Tig there is almost no time between the store and beautiful welds in almost any material. If all you want is autobody sheet metal, then a wire-feed mig is hard to beat-but do get one with a gas hookup, the flux core wire is convenient, but very messy and tricky to get pretty welds with-unless you spend the money for premium flux core wire, and the time to get to know your equipment.

    Strip the car in sections, and coat it with rust preventative primer as soon as you clean off the stripper(I knew a Girl once...). Anyway, rust will start in the pores of the metal where you can't see it, and a year or more down the line you will have a bubble to show for your trouble. I don't think a dehumidifier would be worth your time, energy, and money.

    Don't worry with Electrolytic rust removal. Get gloves, goggles, MarineClean, MetalReady, a steel acid brush, a spray bottle, and a plastic Mortar pan. Clean the parts with Marine clean, rinse them off thoroughly, and lay them in the mortar tray. Fill the spray bottle with MetalReady. Spray the parts and keep them wet. Use the brush on the places that are not cooperating with the MetalReady, and keep them wet. If you get side tracked, and the part dries, just spray it down again. I have even used pieces of paper towel wetted with metalready to get stubborn areas when I didn't want to babysit! The rust does not stand a chance.

    Will

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    Quick question before I strip the interior:

    I'm repainting the car its original color (918 Orange) and the interior is still 918, and in rather nice shape. What would be the purpose/benefit of stripping/painting it as well when I strip the exterior? The only reason I could concoct was to find rust, but there are no rust signs in the interior at all (short of the spare tire well, which has been repaired once...i'll saw/spot it out).

    So, is stripping/repainting the interior really necessary?

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    I'm at the stage now where I'm wondering the same thing. Now the floors I will be stripping and doing the POR thing but elsewhere it seems like I will be wasteing my time. I'm thinking that if there is no sign of any rust in the area and the original paint looks intact, leave it. As I was stripping the undercoating off of the bottom I noticed that the original paint/primer was still in great condition. So why strip?

    Oh, and on the replacing the nuts/bolts thing by making a trip to the hardware store, good luck. I have been to every hardware store in 50 miles and if I'm lucky I will find one maybe two bolts. I have had better luck cleaning the original bolt and taking it to the platers. So start looking now for a good bolt supplier.

    Good luck on your restoration. Oh, and make a rotisserie. You will be glad you did.

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    I would only strip the floors and maybe 1/2 way up the trans tunnel on my car because those are the only places I've seen any rust at all. Areas that have ABSOLUTELY NO RUST, I would leave alone. Places that have "spot rust" or worse, I'd strip and treat appropriately.

    JMO

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    What Carl said! if it ain't broke, and the color isn't being changed, why worry about it!

    On the Hardware, call Chloe at MidwestZ, she has all of the pieces-or at least the current Nissan version.

    Ditto on the rotisserie, if you want one, but don't have the time or inclination to build your own, email Kmack(Z of the month fame!). I got one from him several days ago, well built, painted, and cheeper than I could have put it together myself!

    I am hoping to ge the '72 on it next week!

    Will

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    ... are the how to videos & DVDs from www.paintucation.com. Covers all aspects of a project of this type. Metal Prep and rust repair to body work and paint to color sanding and buffing. Kevin Tetz does most of the body and paint work for the TV show "TRUCKS".... Real talented guy

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    I can't stress this enough: get yourself a Supplied Fresh-air Respirator (Hobbair, etc.) if you plan to paint the car yourself. Heck, I even used mine when using naptha to remove the weatherstip adhesive (read the bottle on that stuff: respiratory failure, nervous system suppression etc. etc.)

    If you want lots more tips, advice, and decent prices on tools and supplies, check out www.autobodystore.com and its BBS. :)

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    Just my 2 cents, but having been down this road, I would not recommend a body/paint novice take on a project of this magnitude. Probably too late now, but here's my advice anyway: if you want to learn body-working the RIGHT way, you have to work under someone who already knows it. Books help, but just as you can't learn to play the trombone from a book, you can't learn bodywork. You have to get out there and do it, and a teacher makes the process go exponentially faster. Said another way: why make all the stupid mistakes on the one car you DON'T want to make mistakes on?

    I wanted to learn bodywork bad enough that I enrolled in a tech school at a junior college and did it for a year and a half. That's one avenue, and has the advantage that everyone you're around is learning, too. You could also inquire at body shops to be a go-fer in return for instruction from someone, or 'hire' a guy to show you the ropes in his spare time/weekends. You can buy all the tools and trick stuff in the world, but if you don't know what you're doing, they'll only get you in trouble. Especially spray guns. I've seen some real paint disasters come out of spray guns in the hands of someone who didn't know what they were doing.

    Finally, it is a bit of a myth that the "best" paintjobs require you to strip down the entire car to bare metal. Actually, it is VERY difficult to get as good base down as they do at the factory. Yes, you have to get all rust areas down to fresh metal. But you don't have to take all the GOOD paint off. If it's not cracked or degraded, just leave it on. It's not going to hurt a thing, it's on there as good or better than any primer you're going to spray, and if you do the prep right, you'll never know it's there under the new paint.

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    I appreciate the advice, but this is a learning car, not a show car. I bought this with the intent to make myself do everything I could learn how to it, and that's what I intend to do. I will probably hire out the painting process and floorpans/framerails, but the rest I will do myself. Gotta learn somehow.

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    To revive an old and very informative topic...

    What can you enthusiasts tell me about lead filling holes in the sheet metal of the chassis? I've heard this process to be very complicated and only a few know it well enough to sell their work. Where do I start if I want to pursue this practice?

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    Custom bodywork shops that build Hot Rods can probably advise you. As you said, not many people do this work anymore. If you can stand to talk to the guy, Boyd Coddington or one of his peers could point you in the right direction.

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    This was the preferred dent and hole filling method untill the advent of nikky/bog/ bondo/plastic filler which was much safer and user friendly, and eventually cheaper, but as time has proven introduced its own problems to the art of body restoration. As BambiCarl has said, this lead wiping is a repair method kept alive mainly by the steel bodied hotrod builders and the vintage & classic vehicle restorers.

    During the '70's I remember seeing an early fifties Holden (Australian GM) after it had been media blasted.The roof had many examples of lead wiping dent repair. It was very obvious to the eye due to the colour difference in the metals, yet to run your hand over it I simply could not detect any contour variation in the turret panel. The guy doing the work pointed out that some of the lead wiping was actually applied at the factory during the body assembly to fill imperfections in panel joints. Bottom line is it's a good panel finishing method, but a technique best left to those who do it for a living.

    Jim.

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    The last build I saw from Boyds shop had bondo wiped all over it, no bumping metal to perfection, just get it close and fill with plastic. That was last week.

    economies of scale in skilled labor, cheep materialsm and completion time. I would be upset to pay that bill and find any bondo...

    Will

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    The last build I saw from Boyds shop had bondo wiped all over it, no bumping metal to perfection, just get it close and fill with plastic. That was last week.

    economies of scale in skilled labor, cheep materialsm and completion time. I would be upset to pay that bill and find any bondo...

    Will

    So what you're saying is, If Boyd could point him in the right direction, he wouldn't be pointing at himself? LOL

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    Hey there!

    Eastwood sells plenty of body working / metal working videos. Very inspirational. At least you get the chance to watch someone explain what they are doing and why. Eastwood sells the tools and kits to get you started, if you want to learn. One of the first things you will learn, as I did, is that you don't fill holes with lead. You fill holes with metal. Lead is filler for seams and dimples, just like bondo is supposed to be used. After lead is placed, it is filed with a rasp as compared with sanding methods for bondo. One can easily see how bondo took over the market. Keep in mind though, that 240Zs have lead fill issues and thus makes it important for our brand of people to keep the knowledge going. Learn to work lead.

    Thank you

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