Friday, June 18, 2010

After action report....

Things I wish I had know....

Note: This is for your first time do it yourself restoration

My goal was to build a reliable daily driver that has a clean aesthetic. Do almost all the work myself and at a reasonable cost.

Project cost: 2-3k... actual cost: 5-6k
Projected Calender time: 2 years... actual time: 4 years
- it cost me more then I thought, and took longer then I thought... thou spread over 4 years it was 4 winters & 1 summer.

I did 95% of the work myself & was willing to spend time v's money.
Work contracted out:
- machine work of the block & rebuilding of the head
- blasting of the axle, front spar, body panels (hood, doors & trunk lid), wheels
- rebuilt distributor
- new wiring harness

It took me a good deal of time to set the garage up for this project.
- buy a compressor, enclose it, wire it & plump it. building the enclosure & decent plumping is worth the effort, I had no fisheyes in my paint (tptools has a plumbing diagram online)
- buy a welder, wire it, get gas for it and build a welding table to learn to weld. lincoln electric has a welding table instruction's on their web site, worth the effort plus you need to practice on thin metal in addition to building the welding table
- storage space, lots of it
- I used HF tools, which is acceptable for a 1 time restoration.
- Build a one-time blast cabinet (Waste of time, got dust everywhere, the HF blaster is sloooowwww and the pros blast very quickly and are pretty inexpensive)
- Powder coat oven (free), wire it & HF gun. A bit time consuming but I was impressed with the end result including wheels. Saved several hundred dollars just on powder coating my wheels myself. Powder from columbia coatings
- wooden rotisserie worked weel, cheap & easy to build, again a one time use item.

Things I did right & did wrong. Not a how to but just what I wish I had known.
- Throw nothing away and minimize your mistakes.
- I spent a huge amount of time on the web doing research (welding, body work, painting etc...) very worthwhile especially the mgexperiance web site, in addition I made detail to do lists before I started working hence I didn't feel lost 90% of the time, only 80% of the time
- I bought a good car. More luck then skill but that saved dozens & dozens of hours. I didn't have to replace a sill etc...
- My car was partially disassembled but I should of taken some measurements (ride height so I could mix & match leaf springs, check the fit, gaps etc. so you know what needs adjusted, door hinges & bumper brackets
- Lots of pics & plastic baggies
- Should of skipped scraping all the undercoating off the car & simply power washed the bottom and fixed any exposed areas. The metal under the undercoating was fine and it took a good deal of time to remove it and I probably accomplished very little in the end, expect it looks good while laying on your back. Without the need to remove the undercoating I wouldn't need the rotisserie.
- Wasted way too much time doing my own blasting in my home made cabinet. Cabinet leaked etc. but even if I built a better cabinet, the HF blaster was slow compared to the cost of taking the stuff to a professional. I was cleaning an area the size of pencil eraser while the pros clean an a area the size of cup. Take a sheet of paper and touch go over every section with a pencil eraser then compare the time to using a cup. I wasted hours.
- Paint removal: I striped the main body of the car with DA 80grit & paint stripper (DA + stripper + plastic wrap + let sit for an hour etc... do it again). Not good ROI, should of taken it to the blaster. I had the doors, fenders, trunk lid, hood, axle, front spar blasted. Came back perfect & was cheap.
- Pre Primer: Should of used a etch primer v's metal ready (phosphoric acid). It would of been easy to drop stuff off at the blaster & then etch prime the next day. You need to prime the day you pick your stuff up, so schedule your work.
- Welding: I got more distortion then I thought, even though I took my time. It takes hours to fix (metal work, bondo, sanding etc.) Watch for distortion on your dash if you do the modification, I suggest you tack weld with the dash in the car.
- Body work: Spend more time with metal work hammers, get the dent's out with your hammers.
- Bondo: Do two coats of bondo before sanding. I sanded way too much bondo off and then had to add more bondo.
- Buy good sand paper and lots of it, change paper often
- Primer: High build primer is the way to go. Learn to paint with your primer. Watch the paint hit the car!
- Use a guide coat, caught a number of dents that I didn't know about, still missed a number of subtle dents that made it paint.
- Use lead. There are 4 or more areas of the MGB which are leaded. I used to lead in those areas. If you get a build up of bondo (1/8 inch plus), when you buff your paint the bondo might expand and blister your paint this happened in 3 spots for me.
- Paint: Wet floor, HF gun, good plumbing on the compressor. No fisheyes etc... My big mistake, FIX all dust flaws in the base coat! I had a cheap water separator break on my gun while painting the base & it blew teflon tape all over. On your dry base coat, you can sand with 2000 paper and then clear with no ill effect. Fixing dust flaws after your clear SUCKS... you get a halo effect in the clear and require a blending agent. I have a 20 - 30 dust flaws that for now I'm leaving because I don't want to deal with it. I repainted a door due to the above teflon tape blow up. Pros expect 8-10 flaws per car.
- Shoot lots of clear. 4+ coats at least. Lots. I shoot 1 light & 3 med wet coats and still missed a section and got burn through when I buffed.
- Wet sand. It's worthwhile to wet sand out orange peel. I didn't have that bad of orange peel but it's a much better paint job without it... hence you need lots of clear. Now that I know what to look for, I see orange peel all the time in factory paint jobs.
- HF buffer & speedy foam pads worked pretty good. Cheap alternative to the expensive setups.
- Powder coating: Can't believe how good it works. Time consuming. My wheels came out great. Longevity is unknown.
- Use the loan a tool program at Advance & Autozone.

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