May 2003 – Bonnet, part 5, etc.

Bonnet disassembly (again!) (24 – 26 May 2003)

I completed the body filling on the front section of the bonnet, and so it was time to take the various pieces apart once again. You might recall that we inserted thin cardboard strips between the sections before bondoing (more details here near the bottom of the page). Now that we needed to take it all apart again, it was just a matter of removing the hardware and tapping the pieces with a rubber mallet. The two wings came off with a little tiny tap, and the lower section dropped from the center section without so much as a wiggle or twist. The parts look good. (The pictures to the right are small because the originals were very fuzzy. Making them smaller at least shows the gross results a little more clearly. Next time, I’ll look at the picture on the camera before continuing!)

Once the various sections were apart, we could move them around more easily, making it easier to smooth the parts that were harder to access, such as the bottom of the lower bonnet section and the inside parts of the bonnet mouth.

One thing we ran into that sapped several hours was bad behavior of a “sandable” primer made by Rustoleum. We applied some sandable primer over well cured “regular” primer (also a Rustoleum product), and the sandable primer formed cracks before our eyes as it dried. We were dumb enough to try twice, thinking we hadn’t prepped the primer surface, but the same cracking occurred. Then we gave up, and the bad Rustoleum primer went on the shelf. I’m thinking it would work fine on clean metal, but over primer it will not do.

We wanted to use the sandable primer to take out some of the irregularities still hiding on the nose of the bonnet. We’ll do the best we can without it at this point, and pay special attention to the area when we use the “Tie-Coat” primer over the POR-15. It, too, is sandable.

We focused effort on the bonnet’s center section and the lower section. We were able to get the front of the center section in good shape and prepared for POR-15. The “mouth” section of the bonnet still requires a bit more work, especially since the left and right sides of the center section don’t seem quite symmetrical. One thing about working on the mouth with disassembled pieces: it is easier to get at areas and to compare the two sides of a part from different angles. That ability alone has speeded the process.

The plan now is to complete the little metal work (mainly grinding) that is left on a few of the tabs of the bonnet, reassemble the pieces using cardboard along the top seam between the two wings and the center section, and then smooth that seam as we did the others in front. The next time we disassemble should be the last (except, of course, for some adjustment as will probably be required). After this “cardboard” treatment, the bonnet will be ready for final smoothing and application of POR-15. Then reassembly with adhesives and all the parts!

A little chrome buffing (17 – 18 May 2003)

Since it was raining, a little inside work was in order. I took out the buffer and grabbed the left front bumper. The chrome was obscured by lots of dirt and what may have been oxidized chrome. But after some quick buffing with cleaning grits the old luster came out. The plating looks pretty good from a few feet, but at close range you can see how thin the plating is in some areas. Although the chrome isn’t blistered or grossly pitted, there are very small, almost pore-like, holes in the plate. These are visible only up close.

The bumpers are good enough that replating them would be a waste of money, and I’m hoping that a high-gloss clear coat will obscure the small imperfections. Even without the coating, the bumpers wil be fine from a few feet distant, and that’s good enough. The clear coat is another POR-15 product. I’ll be applying it to all polished metal areas of the car.

Rainy eyeball repairs

The weekend was rainy, on and off, so the bonnet was frequently hidden beneath plastic sheeting to protect the bare metal from the elements. I did do some repair to the right headlight area of the bonnet, though. In our enthusiasm to remove the dents, we were a bit overzealous, and we banged out a “dent” that was actually supposed to be there. On the side of the headlight hole that is toward the center of the bonnet, there is a crease that extends from the back of the bonnet to a point nearly two-thirds of the way down the headlight hole toward the front of the car. We flattened a good portion of that crease, and we discovered the asymmetry by running our hands on each side of the bonnet.

Fortunately, the left headlight area is in very good shape, untouched by collision damage. It provided the details of the correct shape, and a few pictures on the web really helped (notably some of the closeups in the “workshop” area of Classic Jaguar’s site).

That small repair pretty much characterizes what lies ahead for us on the bonnet. It’s a matter of getting the details as right as we can. It is this kind of work that makes the body repair so slow and tedious, but this kind of work is also something that can’t be hurried along or ignored. The details are exceptionally visible.

So, a weekend means repair of a little part of a headlight. Scary to think how many hours might go by working on this important part of the car!