Chassis powder coated

The chassis finally went off to the powder-coaters in early January. The grit-blasting picked up a weak point on the front offside outrigger which needed welding up. Apart from this the chassis was in good condition with no other rot evident at all. At the rear, some sections were showing surface pitting but they were otherwise sound and didn’t need any sort of fettling. Next step was a sprayed zinc etching primer followed by heating the whole chassis up to 200C before applying the final powder-coat. The final result is pretty impressive (if I may say so!)

Next to follow will be all the wishbones and other parts which lend themselves to powder coating. The rear wishbones are still attached to the rear uprights which I have sent to my local trusty mechanic for drilling out. This is a precision job (and I don’t have the necessary tools or skills) to make sure that the alloy upright isn’t damaged in the process and that the cleaned up holes are not then oversized for the new pivot rods. So far this is progressing without any drama (or so I am told).
The front-end disassembly is almost complete. The new taper joint splitter made light work of the track-rod ends and the top ball joints and an angle grinder was used to cut through the trunnion bolt head to get the front lower wishbones off. New trunnions will be needed on each side since the bolt was completey siezed in them. I still haven’t been able to separate the discs from the hubs despite heat and several whallops with a lump hammer. This might be another job for the angle grinder!
I next tackled a job which I started in the summer but didn’t finish because I couldn’t remove the centre screw holding the stainless steel windscreen in place. I still couldn’t shift it using normal methods so in the end took an angle grinder to it. I then discovered that there were more screws holding the outer frame in place. There were 3 more of them hiding under the rubber seals on each frame upright and, of course, 5 of them came out without much complaint but the 6th one wouldn’t shift. This was at the lower edge, close to the body and the angle grinder was a tight fit to get to the screw without damaging the body. In the end, I was able to grind it down with only a few scratches on the body which should be easy enough to repair (I hope!). Just as I found under the front chrome strip, there was more rust than metal under the outerframe.

I got diverted into looking at the paint work by noticing that the bubbles in the paint were soft and could be moved around by pressing on them. I decided to investigate in case they were full of water which would be continuing to damage the various layers beneath. The boot lid was the worst affected so I decided to attack this first and found that a metal scraper was pretty good at flaking off both the top lacquer coat and the old metallic grey paint underneath.

It didn’t take long to scrape the whole of the boot lid free. The primer coat didn’t flake as easily as the other two coats but seems fairly soft so, using wet&dry, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get down to the gel coat. This will be needed to be done all over since it’s clear that the bubbles have etched through the primer down to the gel coat although the gel coat seems intact.

This picture also shows the effects of bird poo which has left its imprint on the primer having eaten its way through both the lacquer and paint layers!

Whilst cleaning up some of the other parts to see which can be refurbished and which need replacing, I took the top of the fuel pump to reveal a horribly clogged filter. The hose to the carburetter was also cracked and leaking so it’s a wonder that the car ran at all.

I’m pleased with the progress in January since I now have the chassis finished and a base on which to start building up to the rolling chassis with new and refurbished parts. The bodywork is lagging behind a bit and the windscreen is obviously going to be a reall pain to get right but next month’s blog should be able to report progress on both the engine and suspension.

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