Being online always makes me feel pretty bad afterward. It physically hurts: there's the crick in my neck from staring at the monitor for too long, the tenseness in the shoulders from being hunched over no matter how many times I sit up straight again, the extra-sore shoulder from moving the silly mouse around the desk for too long. It's also mentally numbing; very little online is truly stimulating, interesting, worth spending time on.
At the end of it I'll have nothing to show for all the time wasted.
Fortunately, I haven't been doing much of that in quite a while. Not only has work been completely non-stop for the last two months, but I've been squeezing out time here and there to work on lots of different projects, including the nearly full rebuild of my 1972 Jeep J-4000 pickup truck. I'm trying to get it done by June, because absurd deadlines are a lot of fun.
Doesn't look like much of a truck anymore! It all started as an engine rebuild. The piston rings on the tired old engine were totally shot, causing a lovely oily blowby to thoroughly coat everything in the engine compartment. While the engine was out, I thought I might as well try cleaning up the oil too. (Everything under the hood looked like the right-hand-side of the photo.)
Once I started scrubbing, old paint started coming off, sometimes revealing some rust underneath. So I thought, why not go ahead and just quickly strip down and paint the engine compartment? Couldn't be all that bad, right?
Then there was a spot on the driver's side wheel well that I couldn't get to while the hood was on, so the hood came off.
After that there was another spot I couldn't get to unless I took the fender off, so I took the fender off.
Then I couldn't very well just do that on only one side, so I did the other too.
It only took about a day to leave me wondering what in the heck I was getting myself into...
I spotted some new rattle can paint from VHT that I wanted to try out, a nice epoxy-based black. It sounded pretty promising, but I didn't want to try it on anything very complicated or critical, so naturally the bumper got to be the first victim. The bumper was in reasonable shape to begin with. I didn't want to soften any of its edges or clean up any of the welds or change the look of it at all, because I really appreciate the home-made DIY style it has. So, some quick sanding and cleaning, and a few coats of paint later, and it came out like this. I really like the look of it, and I've decided to do the rest of the chassis the same way.
The paint is very easy to get along with and doesn't have any of the application problems that I've come to expect from rattlecan paint jobs.
More progress here. The entire left half of the cowl has been taken down to bare metal. There are a few small rust holes on the side that I'm going to braze. The driver's side of the cowl is cleaner, but still has lots of paint on it. It is not my favorite side thanks to the wiring, cables, and tubes, most of which I don't really want to remove just yet.
Here it is with primer on the top of the cowl. There was about a week-long gap between taking the top of the cowl down to metal, and getting primer on it, thanks to a heavy workload and other things. The moist morning frosts we were having were causing some light surface rust on the top of the cowl, and I wanted to put a stop to that right away. I found out that Jasco's Metal Etch is no longer available, sadly, but after searching online and scouring most of the paint-supplying local shops, I found a bottle full of disconcertingly blue liquid and lots of scary warnings, which is pretty much the same thing as metal etch. I rushed through the prep a bit, but it did get sanded, cleaned with detergent, treated with the chemical (phosphorous), wiped clean, and then primed with a zinc-rich primer.
I don't have the time, money, or equipment to do this rebuild really right, so I'm trying to do it as rightly as I can afford, and hopefully never have to do it again -- for this vehicle. I'm going to be experimenting with a roll-on painting method which is reported to give great results for very little mess or money, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how that turns out.
As of now, the cowl is almost completely bare metal, and the transmission is ready to come out. If I can get enough time in on it this weekend, I should be able to remove the transmission, strip the frame rails and front chassis, and prep and prime the cowl and firewall. Then it'll be time to paint the chassis, followed by a transmission rebuild, and on and on and on until June.