Saturday, January 03, 2009

Beetle Build - Day Three Point One

The plan for today was to clean the cruft from the interior and the front (bonnet) compartment. Get it down to perhaps the bare metal, and maybe put down some Rustoleum and/or primer. An all around visual improvement was envisioned.

The first thought was: get a sand blaster! Air + abbrasive = clean body. Renting one turned out problematic. The only blaster I could rent was too powerful. It was made for cleaning brick and steel I-beams. So I had to buy one from Harbor Freight. The hardware wasn't too expensive ($100 for a 40 gallon unit) but the material (walnut shells!) was $1/pound. So a 25lb bag cost me $25. Roger said that wouldn't go far. But he's never blasted with walnut shells.

Anyway, an hour to put the unit together. An hour to figure out how we're supposed to use it. Two hours to figure out it doesn't work. First the moisture trap literally shot off of the unit. It must has expanded and spread over the threaded seal, and then went off like a bottle rocket. Then we couldn't get any of the walnut shells to shoot out. It kept getting glogged in the lines. And by lunch time, it was clearly a losing cause. We'd wasted all that time and worn the funny shroud for nothing.

Plan B was to use chemicals to devour the cruft. Old Top at Ace Hardware suggested I use lacquer thinner. That would get up the nasty tar paper. I might have to lift up the crime, but the toxic liquid would make short work of it. So I buy a gallon of it, some rubber gloves, and give that a shot.

New mask, but notice I'm not smiling? That is because Plan B was a bust, too. The Styrofoam was very quickly dissolved. But the tar under it wasn't. It just sat there, thick and angry. Mocking me.

I was still left with a mess. A different mess, indeed, but still not what I had envisioned. So, once again, more time wasted. More money wasted. And it started to rain. Not a good day at all.

We're thinking Plan C is: scrape up the tar or try a wire wheel (via angle grinder) on it. Then use some POR15 products to degrease the body, prep the body, and coat everything (even any remaining rust) with any extra layer of sealant that the painter can cover with a topcoat.

Some actual work was accomplished: we did pressure wash the front (bonnet) compartment, removed the old protective barriers in the engine compartment, and washed out the back.

But, for a weekend's worth of work, I'm pretty ashamed of how little we did, along with the wasted time and wasted money. Hopefully Plan C will prove fruitful.
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