Tuesday, November 10, 2009

She's Giving Up Her Secrets

Well I don't know if the car is a she or a he yet, but the secrets are slowing being revealed!  After digging out the Mystery Hole behind the passenger door, I decided to dive into the clearly worked-on place on the driver and passenger side where the cowl meets the front fender meets the A pillar at the corner of the windshield.

A bit of bad news...  As I was removing the chrome trim from around the windshield, an inverted L-shape crack appeared in the windshield.  It's about 6" on each leg of the L, so the windshield is likely toast.  I did a quick Internet search and new windshields aren't too expensive.  I was going to remove the windshield for the new paint anyway, so this just reinforced my decision.  I won't be doing any serious driving so I'm not worried about a catastrophic failure.

Now on to the mystery spots.  First, the "before" pictures.  Here's the driver's side:

and here's the passenger side, after a bit of grinding:

So what can we spot here?  There's primer over body filler.  There's rust showing through.  The body filler is cracked where the cowl body panel meets the front fender meets the A pillar.  Sigh.  OK, let's dive in with grinders, palm sanders and my woodworking 1/8" long-shaft chisel (the handy tool that dug out the Mystery Hole).  Here's the result on the driver's side:

So what did I find?  Filler stuffed into the seam between the panels.  I dug all of that out and found several layers of  filler.  Under that I found a rusty hole, and the sides and the bottom of the seam itself was Swiss cheese.  This will be interesting to repair.  I've brushed on Rustoleum everywhere my tiny paintbrush will reach, so that will halt the accessible rust.  I'll need to figure out how to get strong metal on both sides of the seam, seal up the hole and some small penetrations near the windshield and up the A pillar.  What you can't see is just below the visible part of the picture was a rust spot about the size of a quarter, that pushed proud of the rest of the panel.  I knew that meant rust growing under the paint, and as I dug it out it was clear it had rusted through from the back.  Since this hole is about 6 inches below the hole you can see above, there's likely more rust action on the inside of the fender panel.  I'll take a closer look behind next weekend and see what I have to do to halt the rust and repair any issues.

Now over to the passenger side:

Whew!  Not as bad as the driver's side.  No penetration, but a bit pitted from the top.  Also notice what appears to be a rubber strip inside the seam between the panels.  The driver's side didn't have this, it was packed with body filler.  I'll have to do some research to find out what this should really look like, and do it on both sides.

Next I found the clearest evidence that the top layer of paint was a cheap respray.  This is the windshield wiper motor mount.

That's silver paint peeling off silver paint.  This is the only place I've seen peeling, but there is other evidence of the respray so I'll have some work to do to properly prep the car for the new coat of paint I'll be arranging for it.

The good news is there are no more mystery spots!