Thursday, June 7, 2012

Must've been a helluva salesman

If you're new to the blog, you may not realize that my car spent the majority of its life basking in the warm California sun--more specifically, the hilly desert region around San Diego. An ideal, bone dry climate (at least if you're a car.)

But I'm getting ahead of myself. This morning, after allowing an adequate amount of time for the neighbors to get out of bed, I headed out to the garage with a task in mind: I'm going to finish off the patching on the left front fender. And first off, I need to get rid of all that undercoating on the back side of the fender--this is something I needed to do anyway as the media blasting won't touch it and, well, I'm a little cheap: I don't mind applying a little elbow grease rather than paying someone else a lot of money to scrape black crud off a fender.

Now inside the car is a sound deadening material that was likely the same thing Studebaker used back in the day for undercoating--a slightly hard asphalt mixture that is reminds me of roofing tar. A little heat and it softens up enough to readily scrape it off with a putty knife. Although it was time consuming, removing this from the floor of the car was an easy task.

I think you can see where this is going.

4.5 hours in. . .2 more to go.
I did get it removed. There are those who say soaking it in Automatic Transmission Fluid overnight will soften it right up and make it easy to remove. It doesn't. And after putting half a quart of ATF all over it, I didn't feel like mixing that particular chemical with the oven cleaner option. And flammable options like gasoline? I'm not feeling that lucky.

So I used one of the two recommended tools, a scraper blade on a multi-tool (the other tool is a needle scaler--the end result is pretty much the same.) Six and a half hours of labor (my hands are still tingling from the vibration of the tool) and I'm done.

Oh, and the undercoating? Well, it appears to be PVC-based--a hard plastic. I'm pretty sure that's not original; in fact, the first car that I'm familiar with who used a PVC-based undercoating was the early Porsche 911 over a decade later than the Stude. And that was a disaster--oh, it worked excellent, until it cracked or was otherwise damaged--and then that impenetrable mass held in moisture just as well as it kept it out. This does appear to be a bit improved over that--so I'm guessing that it was applied sometime in the 70's or 80's (but before the last repaint since there is over spray all over it.)

Sound deadening properties aside, who in the world who lived in the desert be convinced of the need for rust proofing? And how could that salesman sleep at night?

Not sure I'll sleep tonight. I'm going to have to go through this on the other front fender, both rear fenders, under the hood (!) and a little bit on the body shell. Just the thought of all that scraping. . .

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