Friday, September 4, 2015

Tidying Up The Bulkhead

In the previous post, I decided that the only way to do a proper job on the bulkhead was to fully remove the front subframe. It was a lot of extra effort that I hadn't really planned on doing, but once it was out and I could see the bulkhead behind, I quickly realised that it was the right choice.

I could see a number of areas where the paint had failed and surface rust has started. which if left untreated would most definitely add extra ventilation that I most certainly could do without. The last thing I need is a new way for rainwater to get in!!

Areas that really needed attention were where the car body sits on the subframe towers. I could see that some of the seam sealant had come away and there was a general crust of rust starting.

Another area of concern was the metal seam just above the steering rack. Again the seam seal looked a bit worn in places and there was a little rust here and there

Other areas that were 'on the way' were the left hand side strengthening plates and the bit just near the wheel arch.

Further up the bulkhead, where there's a sort of shelf, there was a little surface rust here and there and the corners just looked a mess.

The first job then is cleaning, lots and lots of cleaning. As there was bare metal here and there I wanted to avoid using water, so instead I used red diesel and a selection of brushes and cloths.
Many hours later after the diesel had dried, I went over the whole area again with a new cloth and some white spirit to try to get the last of the surface muck off.

After all that scrubbing, I have to say that it looked just as ugly as it did before I started, the only difference being the fact it was a bit cleaner.

Wire Brushing
Along with the cleaning I also did a lot of wire brushing. Especially concentrating on areas where there was some surface rust. Thankfully through the whole process, I never found any holes, which I was very happy about.

I decided to use Hammerite Smooth paint and paint everything from the floor upto the the underside of what I'll call 'the shelf' in black. This just seemed the sensible colour as the floor was already black and there was no obvious cut off point further down.

Two incredibly fiddly and painstakingly slow coats of Hammerite Smooth later, it was already starting look more respectable.

Above the black paint, on 'the shelf' it still looked very tatty and also needed a lick of paint to make it more presentable. I was going to colour match and use an aerosol spray paint, but very quickly realised that I would need to remove everything from the area. That's all the wiring, all the cables, pipes and grommets and then the rest of the car would need to be masked off.

As I really didn't want this level of work at the moment, I decided to use Hammerite Smooth, but this time white. Although the shade of white is slightly different to the outside, I'm not really bothered as when all the parts are put back in, it will just be for the background.

I started with the corners and after an application of rust preventer, they were given a generous heap of paint. Because it is a flat area there is no worries about it running.

In order to do the opposite corner, I had to take the windscreen wiper motor out. Once it was accessible, it also received a good cleanout and thick dose of paint.

I realised that due to the colour difference, I was going to have to do the whole of the bulkhead right up under the scuttle, so I carefully worked my way around all the bits that were sticking out and eventually made my way across the bulkhead. It was very slow and fiddly work, but as it was such a beautiful weekend, it was an absolute pleasure to be out doing the work.

But then the problem is; where do you stop!!!! Where ever I stopped, there would be a really noticeable line between the new paint and the old. So I decided not to stop and sat inside the engine space and went on to paint the inner wings also!!.

Once everything inside was painted the same colour, it started to look okay.

The next day was equally lovely and I sat again and gave all the white parts their second coat and I have to say, it's not perfect, but it's a mahooosive improvement on what it did look like so I'm very happy.

Right hand side from this...

To this...

Left hand side from this...

To this...

All in all, I'm very happy with the way it has turned out, yeah, it's not exactly the same colour and there are a few imperfections here and there, but I really don't care. The car will never be perfect and to be honest, I never want it to be. If it were, I'd never use it as every journey would make it less perfect!!! No, I just want it to be tidy and practical so it can continue to take me to work for many years to come and hopefully this has taken me in that direction.

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