Kerry's 1957 Imperial Restoration - part 21

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part 21 of ?? --December, 31 1998

I have a new digital camera and can send them without having to wait for developing.

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This is what a tire leak looks like when you spray it with soapy water. Bad valve seal

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This is my new compressor. It took me all day to get it installed. Had to run to town for parts, plumb it in, run back to the store for something I forgot, let it break in by running it with the port open and no pressure, then hook it up. Of course, there was a leak at the main air manifold. This particular unit was "refurbished" but I could not tell what was done. There was never any fitting screwed into the manifold so I can only assume it was the motor or switch. At any rate, I broke out my BIGGEST crescent wrench and using every bit of me was able to get the manifold out. Of course I had to take all the stuff off the manifold first. Pissed me off!. After I got it out, I cleaned the threads with a wire brush, applied Rector Seal, and put it back together. Magic, no more leaks. In fact, it will hold pressure all night without loosing a pound.

One thing the sharp eyed may notice is that my air line is PVC. Several people and the manual for the compressor says this is a big NO-NO. Apparently the PVC can get brittle and shatter. It is rated for 450PSI and I don't understand it but I'm nervous about having it in my shop. I'm thinking about building a "guard" out of lumber to contain any flying pipe should it break. There are LOTS of shops plumbed with PVC but I'm getting old and cautious. When I was a kid I was indestructible but now I realize my mortality. I'd do it over in steel but I hate to take the time. Practically, I could do steel quicker than building a shield and then I'd be done with it. Any thoughts?

I also set the pressure switch down to 150PSI from 175. I also bought a big filter and regulator (set to 125) which I hook to the end of the line where I plug the air hose into. All my air tools are 125PSI rated. I have several locations around the shop and just move the filter.

Yesterday it finally quit raining and I pushed her outside and finished the sandblasting. It is AMAZING what a lot of high pressure air can do. My old single stage 5 horse would only maintain about 70 PSI, this one will hold 125 FOREVER and not even run continuously. I just love good tools!

Anyway, I blasted everything. My tin foil on the windows worked great and kept any scratching from occurring. After I finished I vacuumed out all the sand from the interior and trunk and everywhere else I could find it. (I recycle my sand by laying tarps down and screening out any trash.). Then I blew everything off with my leaf blower and vacuumed again.

After blowing out the shop, I pulled her back inside and lined her up on the lift. Blew everything off, and let all the sand flow out of the nooks and crannies, and, guess what, vacuumed again. A little sand can ruin paint.

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Speaking of paint, the one thing you don't want to do with fresh sandblasted metal is let it oxidize. I was beat anyway so I cleaned up and went to my paint store. They had some new stuff called Rust stop, which is a rust neutralizer which can be top coated in 20 minutes.

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It works pretty good, you wipe it on with a sponge (wear gloves, it is acid based in fact, I did not pay enough attention to the warning and burned my throat and nose slightly. Just enough for my pipe smoke to sting. So much for the pipe today) It turns the rust dark and when you rinse it off with water it produces a zinc coating. It looks like just the ticket but time will tell.

Of course this is not a paint so you have to put some topcoat on it. I still have a LOT of body work to do so I did not want to use an epoxy primer because it is too hard to sand through for welding so I went with Lacquer primer. I just want to keep it from surface rusting while I work on it.

I scuffed the entire body with a scotch bright pad, , blew out the shop again, wiped it down with a tack cloth. and shot the primer. I can tell now that when it comes time to paint I'm going to have to build some muscles. That is a lot of car to cover!

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Well, here she is, all dressed in grey. There is a lot of work to be done and the paint shows up all the cancer.

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This type of small pinholes is called "lace" by bodymen. Most shops just pack it with kitty hair or fiberglass and fill it out. I'll try to do it right.

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Some of the cancer I have to fix.

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Ok, here is the answer to the trivia question. I was amazed to find COPPER washers on the hood latch bracket. Anyone have any ideas as to why?

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Couple of things I noticed. Several small repairs were done in lead and I think they were done in the factory. This implies a LOT of hand work on this car. Was this typical for Imperials? I also notices several brazes such as the tail light buckets and others. I am surprised by this. Was this common on other years?

Ok, I've decided. I am going to do a mild custom. Initial plans are to extend the fins into the middle of the doors and raise them by 3/4 inch. I am also going to take the band out of the roof. this should be fun. If I mess it up, I'll take the top off and build a removable Carson top. I am going to swap my flytesweep decklid for a standard one. If anyone wants to trade let me know. Don't know what I'm going to do with the front and rear yet. I'll think on it. What is the cost for rechroming the front and rear bumpers. I'm going to use most the stainless, a car this big needs some brightwork.

I know this decision is going to irritate some people but after all it is my car. I have saved several from the crusher in the past and this one probably should have been scrapped. I certainly would never have started it given the level of cancer. Hopefully, even if you are not into customs, you will still find the work descriptions valuable. The technique and technology doesn't change.


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