Sunday, March 25, 2012

E34 oil change, door skins part 1.1

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Most of today's session was taken up by an oil change on the E34. First time for that car, so it took me an hour. The Fram replacement cartridge came with oil rings for the cover and the cover bolt, and two crush washers for the cover bolt and the drain plug. Filled with same oil the po was using, Mobile 1 15w50. Reset the computer with my new Polk scanner.

I spent what little time remained on the E9, prying off the door skin. Finished the bottom edge. Got better results with some channel lock pliers.

My E34 was in the bay next to my E9, and on the other side was a mid-2000s M3. Just outside was a late model 530, getting new tires. So naturally we all wasted some time admiring each others rides and swapping car tales.

Had to leave early to do packet pickup for tomorrow's 10k run in Kailua. Sorry to say their packet pickup was as messed up as everyone else's. Seems like a job opportunity, a professional packet pickup contractor.
posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, March 17, 2012

New camera, door skins part 1

We will have a guest artist spending a week with the U.H. Gamelan, giving a bunch of lessons, and I decided that I wanted to video my sessions. My old Nikon 5400 can shoot video, but it is low res 4:3 and the battery is going. Time to buy a new camera. Okay, an excuse. Been looking for months and wanted a Nikon 1. Now I had to choose between the U1 and the V1, decided to go with the V1. Still learning how to use it, including how to upload to Flickr. I have been reducing the image size from the 5400 to 800x600, plenty good enough for this blog, but so far I have not figured out how to do that for the V1, so these pics are full size.

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Decided that since the door skins are here I should dig into the doors, and come back to the floor. Comparing the skin to the actual door I found some things to do before removing the old skin. Removed two rubber pads that act as stops for the door handle. Removed the lock, and the side mirror mount. Measured the spacing of the holes for the trim:

LH door

#1  5/8 in. from fwd edge

#2  7 1/2 in. from #1

#3  9 3/8 in. from #2

#4  9 3/8 in.

#5  9 7/16 in.

#6  5/16 in. from rear edge

Last but not least, I got started peeling back the lip of the door skin. I must admit that by the time I had to leave, my hand was tired and sore from working the pliers. Hopefully I will get one off next Saturday.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Not giving up

So maybe I was having a bad day. Stuff at work. Training hard -- cycling and running, that is. For whatever reason, the accumulation of setbacks seemed like too much to take on. So I decided to abandon this project.

Time passed. A few days. I discussed my decision with friends and got a lot of encouragement to keep going. So I decided I was back in the game.

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The next Saturday, my birthday, the door skins had arrived from England. Got them from a terrific restoration shop, Classic Heros. Love their address:

Coles Hall Barn
Five Ashes

I can just see Bilbo and Samwise walking through the meadow.

As I unpacked the door skins, wrapped in a lifetime supply of bubble wrap, I noticed many little spots where the primer was worn or scratched. In other places this would not pose a problem, but in Hawaii that bare steel will start to rust right away. I wanted to cover the bare spots with enamel, to really keep to moisture out, but it was raining so I could not shoot paint outside, and there was a nice car in the next stall. I wiped all the bare spots with Acetone, then shot them with POR-15 etching primer and called it a day.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Time to give it up

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Today began with removing the tar from the inboard section of the driver's side floor. As I went along and  exposed more of the damaged areas I realized that the second floor removed last week was the original floor. BMW used two layers here. What looked like good floor was the lower, external portion. Also alarming was the extent of rust along the top of the U-channel that runs under the floor. The damage was so bad I could see how it could contribute any strength.
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While I worked I began to plan how I would repair those large holes. Obviously these would require welding. Then I spotted something along the lower edge of the smalled hole roughly in line with the gear shift. I lifted the car and looked underneath, and to my dismay I could see that this was the rear transmission mounting bracket, a U-channel welded to the floor. With so much rust damage this mount has lost its integrity, and repairing it would require some advanced sheet metal shaping and skilled welding. All this while retaining the alignment of the mounting point. Not easy.

Then I spotted more trouble. A big rust-through on the underneath floor in the area of the rear seat floor. And the tell-tale pattern of pop-rivets, indicating another cheap patch job on the rear floor. I could just make out that the floor here was also a double section, and that it served as the mounting point for the rubber drive shaft bushing. In other words, a second structural area, a load bearing point.

Already these discoveries were serious, but then I added up what I had found in recent weeks. Recall that after finishing the nose I thought the only big deal remaining were the door skins. While preparing the doors for re-skinning I found damage along the top edges, tricky to repair. Extensive rust in the kink panels, enough to make me question their ability to hold up the doors. Poorly done repairs to both fender wells. Heavy rust around the heater mount. Several poor quality repairs to the floors. Even when the body is done, I will need to redo the interior, including all of the wood. Add it all up and it comes to more than I want to take on, given how long it has taken me to get to this point. To top it off, the Lotus needs a lot of work, and has been ignored while I concentrated on the E9.

For all these reasons I have decided to abandon this project. This car has had a hard life, made worse by poor quality repairs that concealed the damage rather than repair it. Enough is enough. Time to move on.