Saturday, June 15, 2013

Nubs bug me

The GT Hawk I pulled the steering box and column from was a manual shift 3-speed/OD car.  For those younger folks following, a 3-speed manual was, for many years, shifted from the column. Since I'm going to a 5-speed, which has the shifter on the floor, I need to get rid of the shifting mechanism from the column.

First, let's clean the 50 years of gunk off.
Once I got the column all cleaned up, I threw the section of the column that held the shifter in the bench vise, being careful not to scar the piece since it is made of a very soft alloy:

That nub has got to go...
The cut-off wheel on my angle grinder makes quick work of that, although after cleaning it up it looks like a need a little finer wheel for this soft stuff:
Nub gone!
Then it is a matter of filling the hole with epoxy (the alloy would not hold up to welding, and I don't have a torch (nor the talent with it) to braze it closed.

Epoxy dried and sanded
At this point, it becomes a normal body work project--a little filler...

A little more sanding to go
Then I sanded down everything. . .

Taken apart and sanded
I'd like to say that all that was needed was a quick coat of primer and call it good for now, but that wasn't quite the case. The main part of the column had a bit of surface rust on it--with a few pits that were deeper than I could sand out--so I ended up having to treat it with a rust converter/primer. And there were a few tiny air bubbles in the filler, so several coats of a heavy-bodied primer and a lot of sanding was required. And then, when I almost got it completed, I managed to get a contaminant on it (probably from my fingers) that caused the paint to curdle. That resulted in having to sand it back down to bare metal, cleaning with a bit of acetone, then re-priming. But the end result is nice--and it is ready to go to the body shop to be painted along with the dash.

Oh, and I'll have turn signals now!

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