Kerry's 1957 Imperial Restoration - part 15

Imperial Home Page -> Imperials by Year -> 1957 -> Kerry's Restoration -> part 15

Katherine has some serious warts!

2/5/98 Had and urgent Email and fax from Bob. "STOP THE TRUCK! I've got a better way! it said. Bob had found a 62 transmission case. I called the trucking company and had them redeliver the broken transmission which I brought home. Dang it's is really busted bad! (I know busted is not a word but it sure does describe how bad it is broken!) My transmission guy says he will switch cases without additional cost. The case is light and Bob is shipping it UPS.

The next day, the box from Bob which contained the front Ujoint flange and my rear brake spring arrived. Bob sent the whole front half of the drive shaft and I'm glad he did. I think I will need it. When I look at how the 440 should sit in the engine compartment I think I understand why the transmission mount has been moved forward. Today the driveshaft has a male shaft that slides into the transmission. You can see where it is not as far in as it used to be, about 2" less. The new transmission has a square flange which bolts to the Ebrake. If the motor indeed has to sit where the mounts currently are, I'll have to have a longer driveshaft made. I'm hopeful I can move it back but won't be able to tell until I can get the transmission and stuff bolted up to the motor and slip it in. (Slip...that's a understatement of Biblical proportions!)

The brake springs were not the right ones. Fortunately, I called Bob and he was able to find some specifically off a 57 and drop them in the UPS box with the new transmission case. This means I really can't put Katherine on her wheels yet.

Still on the hunt for a dual master cylinder conversion. Several ideas from the IML but no luck yet.

2/7/98 Got in the shop about 9 am. Can't finish the brakes without the spring unless I want to pull the wheel again. (Not unless I have to thank you very much!) What can I do. Two cups of coffee later I decide to start taking the paint off. (I got a $10.00 hot plate for when I need to think I make a cup of instant coffee. When I smash my thumb, I make hot chocolate and feel sorry for myself.)

I have several paint and rust removal options. A BIG old Black and Decker commercial duty 7" grinder (Back when B&D still made decent stuff) that weighs about what I do, a lighter weight 7" sander polisher, and several air sanders. The best option is the sandblaster but I don't want to do that inside. Besides, I haven't pulled the windows yet.

I get out the two grinders and put 24 grit sanding disks on them. The paint on the upper surfaces has this nice rusty glow to it. Under the surprisingly tough paint I find rust stains in the metal. Not scale, just dark stains in the metal. I call it pre-cancer.

rust1.jpg (15k)

The Imperial has some SERIOUS sheet metal in it so perhaps I can sand or sandblast it out. If not, I'll have to kill it. I've had very good luck with POR15. My new stack of "Skinned Knuckles" has an article which is based on a 5 year rust prevented product test. POR15 and Corroless (Eastwood) were the only ones that worked. Other popular things like RustMort, etc. were rated as poor to terrible. The only problem with POR15 is that it takes forever to dry. Since I do not have a paint booth, this means I get stuff in the paint. On top of that, it dries as hard a glass and if you don't "dust" it with primer while it is still tacky, you have to scratch it up with sandpaper or the primer/surfacer won't stick. I'd rather not use it on the outside body for these reasons. No problem in the trunk, doors, or under the car however.

I've got to order some and am leaning toward Corroless. Primarily because I need to order something else from Eastwood. It costs about the same. Quarts are $23 if you buy two or more. I'll order 4 quarts instead of 1 gallon because this stuff does not keep well once it's opened (at least POR15 doesn't)

So anyway, fire up the grinders and have at it. On the passenger side, I know there is some bondo but am quickly dismayed to find the extent. The back of the front fender, front of the door and back of the rear fender is bondo. As much as 1/2 inch deep! DARN! The bondo work was good but WAY too thick. This is why it had cracked. Under each crack was a ribbon of dark rust stain. Nothing for it but to grind out the bondo. Where did I put those 24 grit disks? Humm, better get some more.

2/10/98 Six hours Saturday, three Sunday, and three Monday afternoon (it's 55 and sunny, can't pass up a day like this in February) later and the passenger side is pretty well clean of built up filler. WHAT A MESS. Bondo dust everywhere. It was warm enough that I opened my shop doors and set my big fan up to blow some of the dust out. It still gets everywhere. I covered some of my workbenches and rolled my tools into another room. In spite of wearing a dust mask, my nose is still full of bondo dust. I don't see how the pros do it all day every day!

I can see that I've got a lot of work ahead of me on the passenger side. I'm going to have to bring out several body panels as much as 1/4 to 1/2 inches. Lots of little dents still have Bondo in them which will have to be blasted or ground out because at the bottom of many of them are rust spots. The Bondo was so thick that in the deepest spots it had not fully cured. Also have some rust stains and even scale under the Bondo so it had to come out.

I may re-re-re-consider the 59 Imperial in the junkyard up the road. While it has some rust it should have some patch panels that COULD save me some time. On the other hand, it could be more trouble than it's worth. I'll probably see how much luck I have working the metal out. I've never tried to finish anything as long as the straight panel as the rear fender. It will be a real challenge to get it right! Somehow I don't think I'll be painting Katherine black (Dark colors shows ALL the flaws in your bodywork!)

The UPS truck just brought the transmission case from Bob Hoffmeister of Bob Hoffmeister's IMPERIAL HEAVEN Salvage Yard. The brake springs were also in the box so now I can finish the brakes and get her on wheels. It will be good to do some of the body work outside when it warms up.

Last weekend I pulled the Ebrake off the broken transmission so I would not have to do it later. I have the broken transmission and the new case in the back of my pickup and will take it to my transmission guy this morning before it starts to rain. I would like to get her under power as soon as possible. She is too heavy to push by myself and I don't want to tie up my lift.

I also tried a couple of the 'handy dandy' rust and paint removal thingies from Home Depot. First was the "Scotch Brite" disks that chuck in your drill. I have a STOUT Milwaukee drill. The disks are about 8 bucks. Save your money unless you have more time than I do. Takes FOREVER and a day! Next I tried the "Nyloc" wire wheels. These look like plastic but supposedly are much better than wire wheels for removing paint and rust. They also run about 8 bucks. More cash down the drain.

These would probably work well on lacquer or easy paint but not worth a toot on tough stuff and Bondo.

Next Chapter...


This page was last updated October 19, 2003.  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club