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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Paint #10 - Second Coat of Raptor and Some More Door Work

You know me...getting behind again...

The first order of business was to get a second coat of Raptor Liner on the underneath.  So, following UPol's recommendation covered in the last post,  I scuffed it up and shot a second coat. As you would expect, I didn't need to use as much so the first (and only) batch of 500ml of tinted liner was enough to get it all.

Guess I should start paying myself now...

Closeup with a 1" chip brush to try and show the texture. This is what I was looking for.

My OCD kicked in. Just needed to see what a new grommet and the liner looked like. Perfect!

That done, I shifted my attention to the doors. There was paint prep to do and repairs on the driver's side check strap retainers as well as cracks to repair around the window channels and whatever else I may find.

A crack around the window frame support. Was able to weld this up, obviously.

Example of some cracks around the window channel.

Some more cracks.

In the end, I changed my plan from doing body work to just going ahead and stripping down the door to bare metal with my paint stripper wheels. Then, I will effect the repairs that require welding. Finally, I'll hit them with epoxy primer before I do any bodywork.

Found a few pinholes in the passenger's door after stripping.

Ahhh, bare metal.

Being a weeknight, that was about all I got done, but I was back at it first thing Saturday morning to conduct the door repairs and paint prep, as well as prepping the boot lid.

I got right at fixing all of the cracks in the window channels. I drilled a very small hole at the crack ends to stop them from spreading (even if you weld it, if you don't do this the cracks will continue to propagate).

Cracks around the door handle.

Crack around the window channel.

Partially welded up.

Welded up and mostly ground smooth.

After getting cracks welded up, I moved on to fabricating new door check strap retainers. I had a damaged one to use as a template and, having my trusty Dremel tool with me this time, I was able to cut out some good parts.

Matching with a grinder after rough cutting.

Weld-through primered in preparation for welding.

I used the original as a guide to make sure they were correct and got them welded in. Luckily, the holes lined up so I didn't have to do any manual persuasion.

From the outside.

From the inside. Welding upside down and mostly blind...not too bad.

Once all of the repairs were done, I got both doors hit with 80-grit sandpaper on the DA and red Scotchbrite everywhere else in preparation for epoxy primer. For the inside of the doors, I hit it with some of the POR-15 metal prep to convert any rust. That stuff and the epoxy primer don't get along that well, but I don't expect to be able to get much epoxy in those areas, so I wanted some insurance against future rust.

With the doors ready, I moved on to the boot lid, removing all of the hardware and framing and then stripping it most of the way down to bare metal. Of course, this made an absolute mess (which I spent hours cleaning up today) but it's in really good shape and doesn't look like it will require any repairs (though does need some metalwork).

The dealership sticker was still there. I tried, but couldn't save it.

And that was about it. I did get over there today but most of my time was spent cleaning up all of the paint dust. I also got the car transferred back to the sawhorses in preparation for body work. Next visit should see the boot lid and doors in epoxy. Cheers!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Raptor Liner with HVLP Gun - Triumph Spitfire Restoration


I got to the garage nice and early on Sunday and got right to work. First up was to double-check my scuffing job on the epoxy. A few spots needed attention, but otherwise it was good. I mixed up some epoxy primer (normal 1:1 ratio primer:activator) and, while that induced, I got those spots done.
I cleaned it all up with wax and grease remover and then, using a 1" chip brush, I epoxied the spots in the rear wheel arches and a large area under the dash that I missed. I had intended to spray that spot under the dash, but the epoxy went on so well in the wheel arches with the brush, that I figure that was easier and would save cleaning time.

After the first coat, I had to wait 30 minutes before applying the next. During that time, I modified my  Harbor Freight "Purple Gun".  It was a whole $10 with a coupon and, though it's  a piece of junk, it fit my purposes exactly.

If you've ever seen a typical painted truck bed liner, you know that it's pretty roughly textured. I wanted something smoother than this but to get it, I would have to use an HVLP spray gun instead of the bedliner gun that comes with the Raptor Liner kit.  Unfortunately, the purple gun comes with a 1.4mm tip and HF doesn't seem to sell any other sized tips separately, so I had to modify it myself to meet the 1.6mm to 2.0mm tip size that Raptor Liner specifies. I used a 5/64" drill bit to make the tip just shy of 2.0mm.

In the drill press to try to get it as straight as possible.

Post drilling. Rather anti-climactic, but it worked!

When I got that done, it was time for the second coat of epoxy  under the wheel arches and dash and  then I waited another 30 minutes.

Under the dash area fixed. Trust me that there was a large missed area here. You may notice the brush lines.

After the 30 minutes was up, it was time to spray a sealing coat of epoxy over the underneath in preparation for the Raptor Liner. Since I was outside of my 7-day topcoat window for the epoxy, I needed to take additional measures to ensure proper adhesion. In this case, SPI directs scuffing it with 180-grit sandpaper and a maroon Scotchbrite pad. Then, spray a reduced coat of epoxy primer, wait 2 hours, and apply the topcoat.

With the underneath scuffed, I cut the remaining  epoxy primer from my touchup (I mixed enough for the underneath as well) by about 25% with urethane reducer, then sprayed a single wet coat over the entire underneath.

Hurry up and wait...

Then, the wait was on. Unfortunately, I didn't plan that far ahead so I didn't have much to do for 2 hours. I tried to clean up a bit, ate lunch, and generally tried to pass the time.  With about 30 minutes left in the wait time, I started mixing the Raptor Liner.

The purple gun has a 20oz. cup. Since I needed to mix the Raptor Liner, its activator, 10% tint (the SPI medium red basecoat), and 10% urethane reducer to get a smoother texture and make it easier to spray, I decided to mix it by weight.

Raptor Liner provides a convenient table with various weights on it. I bought a digital scale (didn't want to wreck the one from home) for about $10 from Amazon.   To make sure I could get it in the purple gun's cup, I mixed 500ml of Raptor Liner (~420g of Raptor Liner and ~120g of activator for a ~3:1 mix), then 54g of tint and about 54g of reducer.

The SPI Medium Red basecoat; my tint.

I combined it all in a quart cup and mixed it for a while, about 5 minutes. Even reduced, the stuff is pretty thick and I wanted to make sure I got it well mixed.

Quick safety tip: As with all automotive paints, at least in my experience, you need to be careful and wear the appropriate safety gear. The Raptor Liner has something called isocyanates in it. This is nasty stuff. If you remember that Union Carbide chemical release in India in the 1980's that killed several thousand people...yeah, this is that stuff. I wore a full-body paint suit, with hood and booties, an organic vapor mask, and safety glasses. Fortunately, the Raptor Liner is so thick that it doesn't go airborne anywhere near like the epoxy primer does, but that's no reason to take any chances. Wear your safety gear!!!

With the mixing done, I transferred it to the paint cup (it just fit) and went into the booth. I did a quick test pattern and it looked good enough, so I started applying.  The stuff went on pretty slowly and I had to change my method of application from shooting the epoxy. I also got within just a few inches of the surface to get good coverage.  The first mix got the boot floor and rear wheel arches and cross-member right up to the floor boards. I mixed another 500g to finish it out. This stuff doesn't require an induction time so you can shoot it as soon as it's mixed, which is convenient.

From the front.

From the rear.

I even remembered the spring cover!

Once all of the initial spraying was done, I went back in with a flashlight and got any spots that I missed; there were lots. My "booth" isn't very well lit so I needed the bright light to help.
All in all, I was very happy with this stuff. I was surprised at how strong the color was given the amount that I used (didn't seem like a lot). And the stuff goes on brainlessly easy. It's so thick that it's nearly impossible to get runs and, since it's a textured product, it's all about epic orange peel, so you don't really care about how "clean" it looks.

Unfortunately, with all of the wait times, my garage time came to an end after the first coat. I contacted UPol today about applying a second coat, which they highly recommend. Normally, the wait between coats is 60 minutes. UPol told me that the recoat window is from 60 minutes to 5 hours. If you exceed 5 hours, wait 24 hours, then lightly scuff it up and re-apply. They said you can do this a week, a month or even years later. Just make sure it's clean, scuff it, clean it again, and shoot. The scuffing may be a bit painful with the texture, but that's what I intend to do on the next visit.

Once the second coat is on, I have to wait from 5-7 days before applying any "weight" to the Raptor Liner. The next step for me is to remove the wings to get them out of the way and get the body back on the sawhorses to start doing body work. I'm hesitant to do that inside of that 5-7 day window in case the weight of the body resting on the sawhorses messes the Raptor Liner up, so we'll see. I can always go back to the doors while I'm waiting!

That's motivating!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Restoration - Interior Seam Sealer

An evening visit to the garage and I got the interior all seam sealed and the underneath prepped for some tintable Raptor Liner.

The window with which to apply topcoat or, in my case, seam sealer to the epoxy primer is about 7 days. Inside of that window, there is no need to sand the surface prior to applying a product on top of it such as more paint, body filler, etc. Since it had only been a few days since I had sprayed the epoxy, I was well within my time.

I didn't take a whole lot of pictures for this process, but I did the same as I had done for underneath. I used the AC Delco caulk tube seam sealer in the deep seams between panels and the Evercoat brushable seam sealer over top of that and wherever two panels overlapped each other.

Under the dash on driver's side (car is up on the wings).

Around the battery box. Again, car is up on the wings.

With that done, I flipped the car fully over and started scuffing up the underneath. Since it's been the better part of two months since I sprayed epoxy in this area, I needed to scuff  it up for proper adhesion of a topcoat. Once outside the 7-day window, the epoxy needs to  be hit with 180-grit sandpaper prior to applying paint, body filler, etc.

Flipped and ready for prepping.

I went over everything with 180-grit sandpaper and then used the maroon pads and the paint stripping pads to get the hard to reach areas. Since the epoxy dries with a pretty good shine to it, my goal was to get all of the areas dulled up as I figured this would be a good way to tell if I got it all. There's still some cleaning to do, but the scuffing should be done.

All scuffed up and ready for the sealer coat of epoxy.

Once that's done, I will shoot a sealing coat of epoxy. This is regular epoxy but "cut" about 25% with urethane reducer. This will provide a good transition between the base epoxy and the Raptor Liner and is what SPI recommends when topcoating their epoxy outside of the 7-day window. I'll give the epoxy about 2 hours to dry and then shoot the Raptor Liner.

I'm modifying a cheap purple gun from Harbor Freight (drilling out the tip to about 2mm since they don't sell different size tips) and using that for laying down the Raptor Liner  as I want a smoother finish than the gun that came with the kit would provide. At least, that's the idea. You'll have to wait until next time to see how it went!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Paint #8 - Supplies, Booth and Interior Epoxy

I'm combining two visits with one post here since there wasn't much to share in the first visit as it was mainly paint booth set up.

I did get a bunch of supplies, however. I got my tintable Raptor Liner kit from Amazon for about $100. I got the 4-liter kit, which came with a "free" spray gun. As I mentioned previously, I intend to modify a cheap-o Harbor Freight purple gun, but the difference in cost between the kit with and without the gun was about $3, so I  got the gun anyway, just in case.

Also from Amazon I got some Evercoat Rage Ultra body filler for about $58 for a "gallon" (actually, 3 liters). I read through SPI's forum and some others and this stuff got high marks enough that I figured it was safe to go with. Not a definitive choice from everyone but, again, safe. Not like I have anything to compare it to anyway!

I also got the rest of the paint that I will need (hopefully!) from SPI. I got another epoxy primer kit (paint and activator) just in case, two quarts of medium red, a gallon kit of 2K primer, two quart kits of universal clear, and a gallon of urethane reducer. All in all, the paint ran $600 in that order, so if you include the two other quart kits of epoxy and the gallon of Wax and Grease Remover, all told it's just under $800 for paint. Having priced around, that's not too bad at all, and the SPI stuff is top notch.

All my new supplies

I changed how I put up the "paint booth" this time. Instead of just using those spring poles like I did last time, I bought a bunch of cup hooks and screwed them into the ceiling. I doubled over the tarp at the top for some tear resistance, punched small holes, and worked my way around hanging it to the cup hooks. I put a cup hook about every 2 feet and it worked fine. I'm using the spring poles now to hold back the tarp when the fan comes on as the tarp sucks in due to the air flow.

Tarp set up. Not an exciting picture.

With that, I got the car arranged where I wanted it and did a few dry runs with the paint gun to ensure I could reach all of the interior spots that I needed to. Some tight spots, but I think it will work without having to roll the car on the wings.

The goal of my next visit, with the booth set up, was to get the interior in epoxy primer. Goal accomplished!

After making sure that spraying the car without rolling it was the way to go (it was), I hit everything with a combination of 100-grit sandpaper and some 3M paint stripper pads. You may remember that I bought a box of the maroon 3M pads. These have worked well, but I wanted something a bit more coarse. 3M makes tan pads, similar to the maroon ones, that would work great, but the price difference is huge!  I paid about $18 for 20 of the maroon pads. That many tan pads would run me about $60+. I found some 3M paint stripper pads instead and, while they are more expensive per item, I only needed a few of them so $3 a pair made more sense!

Between the sandpaper and these stripper pads, there was quite a bit of dust, so I vacuumed the entire car, wiped it all down, and blew it down with compressed air. Then, I hit it with the wax and grease remover and let it set for a bit. I went over it with clean Scott Shop Towels  (get them at Walmart), changing them out often. Rinse and repeat. The second go around was much cleaner and I went through a third time only on the spots that needed it.

All clean! Some tape and ear plugs in there, too.

With the cleaning done, I masked off some areas just to prevent incidental overspray (probably didn't need to do this) and taped over all of the holes and put earplugs in all of the captive nuts to prevent gumming them up with paint.

Masked off a bit.

From the back.

I went through, with the spray gun in hand, a few dry runs to figure out my order of laying the paint down. I decided to start at the boot, getting the hard to reach areas first and working out of them to the easier areas. I then moved to the area behind the seats and got those hard to reach areas, like the sail plate, and then the floor. Then I moved up front under the dash (the hardest spot) and got those areas, then into the footwells via the door cutouts, then finishing with the floors under the seats. I go through this in the video, but I know it saved my some time and hesitation when the paint started flying.

The epoxy primer is two-part, with a 1:1 mix ratio. I had just about a half of a quart left in the can that I used for doing the underneath. Since I knew I was going to need it all, I mixed it all in a quart cup after stirring the paint itself for a while. Since it is a high-solids paint, it tends to separate and proper mixing is crucial to a strong and proper application.

After a 30-minute induction time, it was time to paint. I set up the paint gun (I won't go into that because every gun is different, but I took notes and you should too if you do this!!) and got to spraying.

If I didn't mention it before, I've been very happy with the air compressor's performance with regards to the paint gun. It kicked on maybe two or three times during each full coat and had no trouble keeping up. Because it wasn't running that much, and because I had a fan blowing around it to keep it as cool as I could, I didn't have any moisture problems. Granted, the day was not that humid, so I may change my tune on a humid day...or just not paint.

I went back in after about 15 minutes to see how my coverage was. There was some spots that I missed and also some spots where I had bad adhesion or where the gun cup touched the  wet paint. I made a mental note of these areas to hit them first when I went back for the second coat.

After waiting ~45 minutes from the last spot I painted (~1 hour from when I started), I went back in for the second, and final, coat. I had mixed up just a little bit more to make sure I had enough (I did anyway) and got the second coat down. I hit the missed spots first, then went back to the plan I had for the order of laying the paint down. The second coat, as you suspect, went better than the first.

Floor boards. Yes, this stuff is that glossy when it dries.

Boot area.

Dash and footwells.

And that was about it. I point out in the video several runs and areas of bad adhesion.  I will leave these areas alone for now and only go back and address them if I feels it's necessary. Well, the bad adhesion areas I will, but if a run will not be seen (under the carpet, for example) I'm not going to fix it.

Another semi-milestone! Next few visits will focus on flipping the car over, getting that epoxy scuffed up and preparing the area for Raptor Liner application. The first shot of color!

Triumph Spitfire Body Work - Door Work

Paid some more love to the passenger's side door during this visit and started on the driver's side as well. The video:

Having figured out where all the damage was and filling in the slide hammer holes, I decided to try my hand at a bit of  metal work. I picked up a door skin repair kit from Harbor Freight, mainly to get the dinging spoon to help me bang out dents with very little room behind them.

I got the door all cleaned up  and picked a dent on the interior top.

All clean. The dent is hard to see, but it's right above the left side of the top-most, triangular cut out.

A close-up (blurry) image of the dent.

A dinging spoon works counterintuitively. The object is to put a dolly, matching the approximate curvature (if any) of the panel you are trying to fix behind the dent. Then, while pushing "out" on the dolly, you  use the dinging spoon to hit (not very hard) on top of the dent.  The combination causes the dent to flatten out. Amazing. And even better, it actually works! I was able to get most of the dent out using this method is pretty short order. I was now left with a small low spot.

I cleaned the paint off around the low spot and, using a propane torch, heated it up until the metal just discolored, smacked around the dent, then quenched it with a wet rag. Damn if that didn't work, too!

I wouldn't believe it if I didn't see it.

While I didn't totally get the dent out (there's a small low spot at the top), it was definitely good enough. This area is covered in vinyl on the Mk2s, as well, so this will get a light skim of filler to finished it off after it's epoxied.

Feeling confident after that score, I flipped the door over to pick my next victim. There are several dings around where the door is creased and I didn't want to play with those yet, too afraid that I would make it worse instead of better and lose the crease line.

Good ding on the crease line towards the far right of the door.

So, I chose another dent and followed the same method as before.

The darker red paint is the low spot of the dent.

I used the dinging spoon to get most of it out, then tried to shrink it the rest of the way with heat. Unfortunately, I wasn't as lucky this time and put a huge high spot in instead.

After hitting it with 100-grit block sander, the high spot right in the middle of the heat zone is obvious!

I did some more hammer and dolly work, trying to flatten it back out. It got better, but figured I wouldn't push my luck and moved on  to assessing the driver's side door.

After some hammer and dolly work. If the dent was totally removed, the heat colorization would have been sanded completely off.

The driver's side door had some of the same damage as the passenger's side, namely the dings around the crease and the bent up door handle from years of use.

Obvious gap on the bottom of the door handle as it's lifted up into the top of the door from years of use.

I took the same path and, after getting the hardware stripped off, I hit  the door with the DA sander and 80-grit. There were several areas with sanding swirl marks in the paint, indicative of body filler underneath that was not properly sanded. One spot was just bad sanding, but the other was a large area of filler.

The bounds of the filler.

With such a large filler area, I thought for sure that the door would be dented all to hell, though the inside of the door showed no damage. Turns out, there really wasn't much at all. Just a few slide hammer holes and dings here and there. Overall I'm happy with the condition of the doors, especially since there is not deep rust to speak of.

One area on the driver's side door that requires repair is the check strap attachment point. One tab had broken off completely and the other was well on its way. With this part failed, the door was able to swing freely when opened and I have dents on the front of the door and the bonnet to prove it.

Tab from the outside. There should be another one on the left.

Attachment points from the inside of the door. You can see the crack in the left-side one.

These are pretty beefy plates, 14-16 ga steel, but again, years of use. The trick here was getting them out. There was very little access to this area from inside the door, at least where you could get tools or a hand in there. Additionally, there are three layers of metal here: hinge strengthener plates on the outside of the door, the outside of the door itself,  and a strengthener plate that the hinge plates are attached to. Since the check strap tabs are spot welded to the inner strengthener plate, you cannot see the spot welds from outside of  the door. I tried a few times to get lucky, but it was hit-and-miss at best and I thought I would turn the door into Swiss cheese.

So, I fished the pneumatic drill inside the door and was just able to get my arm in there just enough to get some leverage and I painfully drilled out the spot welds and liberated the tabs.

The drill inside the door.

Tabs on the bench!

Closeup of the cracked one.

Outside of the door showing my few attempts at guessing where the plug welds were.

I didn't do much after that as it was getting late and I put some pretty sharp creases in the skin of my arm reaching through the door access holes.

I did  bring home my paint chip that I made using  Triumph's Signal Red I got from Automotive TouchUp  and compared it to the reds available from SPI. In the sunlight, the SPI medium red is closest to the Signal Red. In shade, they are practically identical, so medium red from SPI it is!

Signal red in center. Dark red on right, medium on bottom, and red on right. Dark looks closer here, but it's way off in shade. Also, picture doesn't really do the comparison justice.