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Project "Free Jeep" a.k.a Project "FJ" - part #53
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(04/17/08) Sometimes it is the little things that make you feel the best. My cat started eating again today... a big relief as I thought we were going to lose her. Feeling good, I went out to the garage and saw that the mailman had delivered the hood latch that I won on eBay. It is an older style and wouldn't fit in the new grille shell I had, so I had to do some modifications to it.

The new shell has a bump in it that won't allow the hood latch to fit up flush against it. Also, one of the holes is off. So a grinder and a drill, the sandblast cabinet and a coat of paint, we were in business.
I had posted on the forums about the brake backing plate that I had and the fact that it was rusty. I got some 16-gauge steel out and quickly fabbed up a piece. I think it came out OK. I will try it out later on when I get a chance.
Before going in for dinner I masked off the hood to see if the spacing was good for the hood louvers. It is kind of a signature that I use on my Jeeps. It really does help to lower the under hood temperatures and besides, it looks pretty good too.

Not Jeep related, but the deck furniture is out as is the hammock frame. Soon it will be warm enough to take a break and nap in the hammock... I can't wait!

cb (04/17/08)
(04/18/08) Not much done, but a little bit of progress. Measuring twice and cutting/drilling once always takes so much time... especially for a OCD perfectionist.

The hood latch is all set now, painted, cut to fit and installed, works great... not bad for a few bucks on eBay. Also, the hood itself is coming along. As you can see the hood is ready to be cut for the louvers and I was able to install the support rod mechanism as well, so that is all set. Once the holes are cut, I will clean it up and put it on and make sure it all fits.

cb (04/18/08)
(04/24/08) Well, I finally have some news to report. The radiator is in place, the fan shroud is on the way, I even found a fan that seems to be quite rare, it has 6 blades and was off an 1982 Jeep CJ-7, could be the HD fan, who knows, but I will take a look when it comes in. It was only like $5.00 on eBay.
As you can tell, I have now cut the holes out of the hood and I have started the prep work to paint it up. Back in the beginning of the project I mentioned on here as well as to other people that I was going to "roll my own" paint job... well here is the start of it.

I started by cleaning up the holes, then moved onto sanding down the entire thing with 80 grit, then 120, then 220. I banged out some little dents as well. I then washed down the whole thing with and alcohol/water mix, blew it off with compressed air, and then cleaned it with acetone. I let it dry, mixed up my stuff and started painting.
As you can tell, there are some runs here and there before I cleaned them up. The most effective way is to use very little paint on the roller and it will work just fine. I can't believe how this stuff worked out. Much better then I thought it would. I cut the paint with about a 2:1 mix of paint to mineral spirits. All the details in how to do it was obtained from this guy and I followed him pretty much as he said. I got a couple quarts of Rustoleum "Aluminum" color. There are only about 6 different colors to choose from, so it makes it easy to choose.
As the hours went on, I was excited to see what it looked like. I went out 3 hours after I stopped painting and touched it and left some fingerprints as it was a little tacky still. So, the next morning I went outside and touched it and low and behold, it was dry, solid, and looked really good. Everything dried nicely and I don't see any runs at all. I have to get some sandpaper to wet sand it tonight, but all in all, I think we might have something here!

cb (04/24/08)
(04/25/08) I have a lot to update you on. I am learning fast that when people say that to roll a paint job is a lot of work, they aren't kidding. I have to go back to the PATIENCE thing again... As you can see in the pictures above, the outside one looks great, I took it with my wife's camera and it really did come out nice. I then went back in the garage, wet sanded the hood with 400 and cleaned it up, dried it off and then proceeded to put on another coat of paint.

This is where I messed up, as indicated by the large amount of orange peel. Basically, the orange peel picture is 6 hours after the picture outside. The outside picture has the 2 coats on it with no sanding and the orange peel picture has 4 coats on it, with wet sanding between the 2&3 coats. What I did was try to re-use some paint that I had left in the try inside a plastic bag. What I have read says that basically you get orange peel if your paint is too thick. My guess is that some of the mineral spirits evaporated? And this may have caused the paint to be too thick. I am not sure on this, but I made damn sure it was thin after I spent 2 hours un-doing my mistake by sanding off the orange peel.
I got the hood all cleaned up with sanding and such and then turned my attention to the tailgate. I went outside and sanded it down with 80/120/220/400 and got it ready for paint. I dumped out the old paint from the tray, cleaned it up/out, and then proceeded to mix up enough paint for another coat on the hood and the tailgate. I have also read during my research time that one coat goes on, pretty thin, self levels and then you put the 2nd coat on about 6-8 hours later depending on humidity and other weather factors. I will try this now.

This is where the PATIENCE aspect comes in I suppose. If you start at time 0 and do 2 coats, that is 16 hours later you can wet sand and then put on coat 3, 8 hours later, coat 4. So, if you don't sleep, you can do a body part in 2 days if you do the math. They say 6-8 coats should do it. I think I will practice with the tailgate, as it is a lot smaller and easier. We will see what happens, but PATIENCE is the name of the game now... With a few minutes before dinner, I was able to get the new steering shaft cleaned up and painted as well... the new lower boot should be in today... I hope.

cb (04/25/08)
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