Imperial Home Page -> Imperials by Year -> 1973 -> Kerry's Restoration -> Part 12
SHINE(!) and door handles
Monday 7/24 - Finally finished wet sanding. I say that but I can tell already that I will have to re-sand a spot or two. I can also tell that my paint is too think in spots. I may have to re-paint the left quarter. The good news is that the paint blend is perfect so repaint will be a snap.
Once the paint is sanded to 2000 grit, it is time to buff it out. The last time I did this I used 3 products from 3M. Today the products have been reformulated and there are only two, a rubbing compound and a micropolishing compound. Also in the past, I used only wool pads on an OLD Black and Decker 7" grinder that weights about 98 pounds (or so it seems). I now have a 7" air grinder and purchased some foam pads and the "velcro" backing pad. Foam pads do not burn the paint like wool will and minimize (but not eliminate) the possibility of cutting through the color. With wool, it is EASY to burn through the color. Been there done that. My favorite "real" auto parts place had a bunch of 7" flat foam pads for a buck a piece last year and I bought all they had. I also picked up some 7" waffle pads when I got the velcro backing pad at the paint store. The foam does not cut as well as the wool and I can see some sanding scratches that will need to be sanded out and re-buffed. This entire process COULD be done by hand but it would take a very long time.
The process is to put enough compound to do about a 2 square foot area. Note, this must be done on a shady car. If the sun is on the car it won't work. Believe it!
I got my son (turns 21 7/27) to take some shots. A two foot area is about half a door. This is the finishing compound, the door is already rubbed with the waffle pad.
By the way, this is a messy job. The buffer slings compound everywhere! You apply some pressure until the compound begins to dry, then decrease pressure and let it buff. I use the edge of the pad rather than the center because that is where the pad works best.
In the following shot, you can see how the shine comes out. When I could start to see the gray hair in my beard, I knew I was very close to being finished. A final hand polish and some good sealer wax will
There will be a haze left after the buffing that will have to be taken of by a warm wash followed by a polish and wax. However, when you can see yourself in the reflection, it is good enough for me!
By the way, just so it's clear. It takes a LOT of time to paint a car. To this point, I guess I have 120+ hours in the paint job alone and probably another 80 in the body repair and filler work. I'm sure this would be much faster if a pro did it but then I wouldn't be having all this fun. This is fun, isn't it?
I had use the airbrush to touch up a couple of spots and since there is a 3 day wait for the paint to get hard enough to sand, I decided to put the doors back together. For the past few months, I have been opening the doors by pulling a coat hanger attached to the inside handle. It's a pain! As I thought about it, I realized that there was nothing to keep me from putting the entire interior back together. To be exact, to put the doors, windows, and wiring back together.
7/25/2000 - My photos did not turn out on this stage. Drivers door was pretty easy. I had pulled the mirror and it was not TOO much of a pain to put it back on, you just have to reach up inside the door behind the glass and put two 3/8 nuts on the mirror and tighten them with an open end wrench. Its slow but doable. If the glass was out it would be a snap. Imperials have a very large 1/8 inch plate on the inside of the door to spread the load of the mirror. Most cars just screw them to the sheet metal and the metal deforms over time. The main problem was that I kept putting the nuts on the plastic studs that hold the mirror backing plate in place. One of the plastic holddown thinges for the outside door handle linkage was broken. Fortunately, there were several on the doors from the parts car out back.
The passenger door was another story. Remember from an earlier chapter, I had managed to let the window regulator spring get unwrapped and when I put the window back together it did not go up unless I "helped it". I assumed it was because I did not wrap the spring to the proper tension. To make a long story short, I spend half a day screwing with the dang window regulator. Nothing in the shop manual tells you how to put the spring back on although they tell you at least EIGHT time not to let it unwrap. Yeah, yeah, I know.
Finally I decided that perhaps it was the motor after all. I had bought a new window motor months ago so I took the regulator out of the door for the elemdethy twelfth time. Oh Oh, the new motor is for a left door and I need a right. I also remember that this was the only motor they had. Humm. Wait a minute, why can't I swap the gear box out? Took 15 minutes but worked great. I believe this will help a lot of us. The gear boxes are right and left but rarely break, so if we have a good motor, we can swap it into the proper gear box and we're back on the road. Magic!
Put everything back and the window works. My "new" switch has a problem and I will get back with Wayne Maddox on it.
7/26/2000 - The stock market is really sucky this week so I'm getting lots of shop time. Today I want to get the interior door panels and door handles on.
The mirror on this side was a bear! I spent an hour trying to get the nuts on. Just could not get my hands on it. I considered pulling the glass but I hated to mess up the new working window. Finally realized that I just did not have the right tool. A 1/4 inch ratchet was too 'thick', and a open end wrench just wasn't working. What I needed was one of the 'ratchet' wrenches. Unfortunately, this is one tool I don't have. Humm, 9 am, the store is open. By 10 I'm back with a brand new ratchet wrench and 20 minutes later the mirror is on. Amazing what the right tool can do for the job.
Ready to put on the door panels. I made new weather seals with heavy plastic sheeting and taped them down with holes for the door handle and window switch. Getting the door panels on was somewhat tricky because the cardboard was soft and tore when I pulled it off because the window had apparently been down and allowed the panel to get wet before I got it. My door panel looks good but I will have to put some screws in the front to hold it down along the bottom.
The back door was much easier. The door handles are easy.
This dark photo shows all the door handles on the right side. One thing to note. The trim along the top of the door goes on BEFORE the door panel because there is a screw that has to be tightened from the inside. #$*&^!(~% Now I have to pull the door panel again and tighten the nut. Darn!
Well, on this note, I'll go cook supper before I mess up something else.
Kerry's '73 Restoration Saga Main...
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