By Mike Peake
With the boot lid now red and the very last of my paint used up, I was finished with spraying. Thank the gods! The isocyanates hadn’t killed me despite all the horror stories and neither did the cellulose fumes, so that is good news. I gladly threw away my disposable gas mask. Dare I say that I’m on the home stretch and there is light at the end of the tunnel?
After my adventures with rattle cans and boot lid last year, I’m leaving it well alone for at least a week before touching it. So I turned my attention to the unmasking. Following advice, I ran a razor blade along the edge of the masking before very carefully removing it. I even managed to do it without removing the paint from where it was supposed to be – this time. However, I was somewhat alarmed at the amount of red that was staining my windscreen and white stripe. Most of it turned out to be from flatting water and wiped off easily but some was paint that had managed to get through. Even this came off easily with some wet 1200 grit paper though. A razor blade flat on the windows had a similarly cleansing effect.
Mrs FB, with her steadier hands used touch up paint to go over the bits of damage I did to the white stripe when sanding the car as well as a few battle scars. It was now that we found out that my white stripe isn’t Triumph White 19. It turns out that Triumph White 19 is in fact a creamy colour and it looked almost yellow against my white. Anita and Sophie were dispatched to The Range and Halfords to look for a more suitable touch up. They came back with Vauxhall’s Summit White, which, whilst not perfect, will do until I can re-spray the stripe.
I then machine polished and waxed it. I will re-spray the white stripe eventually, (when I’m feeling particularly masochistic) but want to make sure my new red paint is fully hardened. I don’t want to risk putting masking tape on new paint.
I then spent a full day at my polishing wheel getting all the chrome ready to go back on the car. There seemed a lot more of it than I remembered but it was quite a satisfying and therapeutic task and many of the parts came up really, really well considering I’d only ever used Autosol on it before.
Next were the front bumpers which were a little more problematic than the rear ones. They slid on easily enough but getting them to sit correctly on the bendy bits was nigh on impossible. I did the best I could but it didn’t help that all 3 were too long and needed cutting whilst on the car but I got there in the end. That was the job I was fearing most about the build-up because of all the horror stories I’d read online. It’ll be much easier now won’t it?
Nope! If I thought that was fiddly, I should have waited until I fitted the aluminium bumper end caps before complaining! Good grief that was a pain! It took half a tube of KY Jelly, a very sharp knife, blood because of the very sharp knife, brute force, perseverance, ingenuity, bad language and a whole morning just to fit four aluminium bumper end caps.
Still, the rest of the fitting up will be easy - won’t it? Of course not! I keep forgetting that I’m a bumbling incompetent fool, albeit an optimistic one with delusions of competence!
It was time to turn my hand to fitting the weather strips to the top of the doors. This’ll be easy as I’ve even bought the special tool and all new clips and strips to do it.
Needless to say, it wasn’t easy. Hours of trying to squeeze the special tool, weather strip, clips and my fat fingers between the window and the door skin produced no success whatsoever. I was beginning to see why the previous chap had resorted to pop rivets and self-tappers but I was determined to be the better man. I thought it might be easier to take the window out, so I removed the interior door handle, window winder and door card in order to get at the window mechanism. At this point I decided that, no, it wouldn’t be easier to take the window out. It was fiendishly complicated in there and my workshop manual hadn’t even bothered to try to explain how to do it. At least I was able to recover all the clips I’d dropped into the door though.
In the end, I managed to do it by fitting the clips to the strip first, and then stuffing it all into the gap and pulling the clips up into place using the special tool. I then carefully wiggled the rubber back up into the correct position. The second door went much quicker but I still had to remove the interior door handle, window winder and door card in order to recover dropped clips.
It took me a whole day just to fit 4 weather strips (inside and outside the widows). Traumatised and tired, I called it a day and had a pint of G&T in the garden.
I could put it off no longer. It was time to flat back the boot lid. Have I mentioned how much I hate flatting back? I moved the boot lid into the back garden. However, having suffered the consequences of turning the garden table white after flatting back the primer, I made sure I covered the table in used polythene masking. The marathon began and the boot lid and my fingertips gradually became smoother and smoother.
It was time to get the machine polisher out to compound and polish the boot lid. I’d even learned a lesson from the last time I did this. I’d bought small polishing pads for my drill which is much easier to manoeuvre around the fiddly bits reducing the risk of inadvertently burning through the paint with the top of the polishing disc. It actually worked too. I didn’t burn anything. After a lavish application of wax, I was actually pleased, yes pleased with the result. I know! It’s a miracle! Of course it’s not perfect, but as I had no more paint or patience, I was pleased with it.
I was so pleased that I decided to fit the furniture. Another lesson learnt from last time, DON’T TURN IT OVER TO FIT THE FURNITURE!! I turned the boot lid up onto its edge and got Mrs FB to hold it so it didn’t fall over while I fitted it up. The finished boot lid was then VERY CAREFULLY carried through the house and placed safely on the back of the car. There is still lots of work to do in the boot so I didn’t fit it yet, but it was the safest place I could think to store it.
So very nearly almost there! Can I get to the end or will bumbling incompetence ruin everything? I really wish I knew!
To be continued …
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