The Steps In A Muscle Car Restoration
This is a subject that I have spent a lot of time writing about, obviously there are a lot of people that either want to restore a car, or are thinking about buying a car to restore, it doesn’t matter which one of these is you, you’ll still need to know a few things before to start.
First an foremost that you study that car that you want to restore, learn as much about that particular car as you can, then learn where you can locate the parts, these days it is quite a bit simpler to get parts then it used to be, the after market is fantastic.
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If you already have the car in your garage you can start the first step of the restoration process, which is what I like to call a walk around, no matter how unneeded this may sound to you, it is one of those things that will save you a lot of agony in the end.
The Steps In The Process:
1. The walk around, or the inspection of the car, this is where you do a visual inspection while taking notes in a notebook, during this stage your looking for parts that need to be replaced, or repaired, your looking for mechanical issues such as leaks, bumps, rattles, knocks, well you get the thought here.
2. Make a list in your notebook of all of the things that you found on the car, I usually split a page in to three columns, naming one column excellent parts, one column repair parts, and last but not least a replace parts column, and add the parts accordingly.
3. Make a inventory list of all of the parts on the car, so you know what’s there, and what you need to buy.
4. Dis-assembly, this is the process of tearing down the car to start the restoration work, make sure that you have a lot of boxes to store the parts in, and also be sure to have box of plastic baggies for the small parts, and a sharpie to mark those baggies.
5. During the dis-assembly process make sure you take a lot of pictures, this will help you remember where the parts came form, I’d suggest that you take two pictures of everything, and keep one for you picture book, and the other should go in the plastic baggy with the parts.
6. I usually work from the front to the rear when I tear a car down, but this is completely up to you, do it how you fell comfortable.
The list above takes us through the dis-assembly process, the next step in the process would be to send the car out for media blasting, this is a process that you can’t control, since it’s not you doing it, so be sure to question a lot questions so you get a professional outcome.
Once the car, and parts are back form media blast, you can start to look for body hurt to the car as a result of being in an accident, or rust from the salt that the state puts on the road during winter to melt the snow and ice, I suggest that you use a sharpie to circle all of the terrible spots that you find.
After Media Blast:
1. Give a car a excellent though inspection, looking for body and frame hurt collisions, or from the state salting the roads, and causing you car body to rust.
2. Use a sharpie to circle the problem areas on the body, and frame of the car, if you don’t do this, you will end up missing something.
3. Next you should choose what is the first most vital thing to repair on the car, and plot how your going to repair it.
4. If the car has rust in the body, or frame this is where you should start, rust weakens the structure of the car, and is of utmost importance to your restoration work.
5. After the rust is repaired, you can go on to the dents and collision hurt that the car might have, and I don’t mean to fill them with mud.
6. You should use a stud welder to pull the dents as straight as possible, you should never use more that 1/16 – 1/8 inch of filler to repair a dent.
7. Of course make sure tat you have the tools to preform the restoration work before you start.
8. I usually place a coat of etching primer on the car after the initial body work is done, etching primer will etch in to the metal on the car, and make a very excellent bond, etching primer is not a filling primer.
9. At this stage you should be ready to spray an epoxy primer, or a urethane type primer, this is up to you, they both have advantages, and dis-advantages, you should never use less then 3 coats, it’s up to you if you want to use more.
10. Do not ever reckon about using lacquer primer to save the extra cash, it will never turn out the way that you want it to, it like to shrink and wrinkle.
The list above gets us to the primer stage, at this stage all of the body work is done, keep in mind that this is a very condensed version of the steps in the restoration process, the UN-condensed version is much longer, this is just the basic thought, it’s enough to get you in to the work.
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