Hello all, Reggie here. This is MY first post. Kipp, my jack-of all trades (web-designer, T-shirt producer, eBay listing writer, and shipping guru) typically handles the blog, along with my wonderful wife/photographer, Stephanie. They have both been taking my experiences in the shop and bringing them to life here on the web.
I want to point out that I am NOT a "trained" professional. I am a former DIY guy that has decided to go "pro" simply meaning that I do this everyday and pay my bills by doing so. The processes I show/describe are ones that I have learned from reading, trying, and believe it or not....watching TV. Most of the projects you see me tackle on this blog are ones that I have done between 0 and 3 times prior. This being said, I can not be responsible for any "less than desired" results if you are using my blog as a how-to guide.
This week I've been doing more work on the 1988 325ic that belongs to my good friend Sean. Just a quick bit of history on this car:
I bought this car back in the summer of '06 for $300 and a scrap Mercedes-Benz 190e. The poor car was literally on the back of a wrecker on its way to be sold for scrap when my towing guy spotted it. He told the scraper that I may be interested in buying it, so brought it by and a deal was made. I purchased the car on Sean's Birthday, and he since happened to already have an '87 325is track car in the same color combo, it seemed like a sign that he should own it. It had around 86,000 miles on it, but it had sat outside for a long time. We've been piecing it back together ever since. We will be calling it done after this last extended stay at RMW, so you will see the final results next week.
For now, we have some rust repair to do!!
Here are the three areas I will be addressing: the battery tray (up front on a convertible)/frame rail, the top of the valance - just under the grille, and the left quarter panel - in front of the wheel and above the rocker.
First I remove the battery and any attached brackets/wiring to expose the majority of the damage:
Next I use a combination of wire wheels and sanding discs on die-grinders to remove most of the scaly rust.
Next I use "Rust Prep" to stop the rust in its tracks. The bottle in the photo is of a product that I have used with decent results, but in the later repairs you will see that I have switched to a Permatex brand product that I like much better. All of these do the same thing. They chemically convert the rust left behind into a black paint-ready surface that will not continue to corrode.
After reading the direction on these products, I find it is necessary to leave them for 24 hours before paint. For this particular project, I will be painting over the pitted metal, as the battery will be sitting on top of it. In an area that is more visible, I would top-coat with a body filler (or replace the bad metal) before painting. Here are some photos of the prep work on the other areas. All of the work is similar, although the other areas will be sanded and smoothed out much more before paint. Here is that panel below the kidney grille. As you can see it needed a bit of straightening before the rust could be removed. I sand this with 120, 220, then 400 grit papers to get a nice smooth finish to prime over.
Sadly, this area was "repaired" by a "professional" body man less than 8 months ago!! When I went to grind away the big bubble, water splashed me in the face. He just sanded it down a bit and spread some putty on it. As you can see in the photos, this was THROUGH rust that came from the back side. In my experience, you can get by with body filler on pitted rust if it starts on the exterior (if well-prepped), but if it's coming from the back it won't work at all. Initially I thought I'd be able to weld these holes shut, but some prodding with my pick made it clear that the back of this metal was badly corroded and the rust would continue to eat away at this section.
Thanks for looking and have a great weekend!!