January-March 2004 – Winter cleaning, undercoating, plating prep

Part 1: Winter cleaning, undercoating, plating prep

It’s been a while since I updated the web site, but when cold weather comes in, as it did in abundance this winter, you just want to hunker down and get through it. So I occupied my restoration time with things that were easy to do in short and less cold moments. Little things over a long period do add up. This is a two-part addition to the restoration journal. Welcome to part one….

I mentioned that I had chosen a non-3M undercoating. It is called “Gravi-Tex” and it seems to me to be a good equivalent of the 3M “Rock Guard” that is well known in Jag restoration circles. It goes on with a spray gun (that I got free with purchase of two bottles of the stuff). I got the material in black, although I suspect that other colors are available, simply because the color was listed on the label. It’s manufactured in the UK.

I followed the guidelines on the Classic Jaguar website for undercoating. The illustrated instructions are listed in the “FAQs” and show you what you need to mask up and where the borders of the undercoating are on the rear boot bottom and the lower outer sills. It took a short evening to mask up the body shell. Since I’ve decided to ignore the bonnet for the time being (yes, I got sick of messing with the bonnet), I didn’t worry about the front wheel well areas on it. I figured that I would go back to the bonnet in earnest once I had the bonnet subframe issues resolved.

I went about two and a quarter inches up the outer sill from the bottom of the outer sill and followed the photographs on the Classic Jaguar web site for the border on the boot floor. Use the notches in the bottom that meet the wheel wells to guidance. Your masking will almost bisect the hole for the fuel “bung.” Be sure to mask the radius arm mounting cups and the bolts for mounting the exhaust pipes beneath the floor.

I used fairly low pressure to spray the undercoating — 40 psi — since I wanted to have the coating go on roughly. Higher pressure will make the material finer grained, so to speak, and smoother to the touch. The original undercoating was even rougher than what I eventually ended up with, and I suppose I could have backed off on the pressure even more. The final effect is nice nonetheless.

I left the undercoating for a week or so before spraying a thin coat of primer over the surface. This may have been unnecessary, but auto paint folks suggested it for good sealing and for a uniform color beneath the paint.

In addition to the body work, I prepped the front suspension parts for nickel plating. I decided to go ahead and blast them. They’re pretty clean now, for the most part, and I have just a few more small parts to clean up before shipping the lot of them to a plating service I located in North Carolina. (I’m sending them off with a little trepidation, I’ll admit. The parts are practically irreplacable, after all.)

And, since one can easily spend money in warmth inside, I did a bit of that, too. Shocks, bushes, brake cylinder rebuild kits, ball joint kits, front brake rotors, and so on. Also, I got a used bonnet subframe from Stefan Roundy to replace the bent up one that came on my car. I can hardly wait to get the subframes ready!