Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

Post pictures and stories about your cars both present and past. Also post up "blogs" on your restoration projects - the more pictures the better! Note: blog-type threads often get few replies, but are often read by many members, and provide interest and motivation to other enthusiasts so don't be disappointed if you don't get many replies.
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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#311 Post by Zelandeth » Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:05 pm

As predicted had hardly any time at all in the garage today because this had to be sorted out.

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Got started around 1000. Eventually fell back in through the door about 1900. Path still needs attacking with the pressure washer, but it's a lot better than it was.

I did get a couple of things done though.

Firstly was actually digging out a hole for the compressor to live in so I didn't keep falling over it every time I walked into the garage.

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Long term it will go in the far end of the garage and I'll have piping installed to get the air to where it's needed. For now though this will do. It's a noisy sucker of a thing so I may well make a "shed" for it outside and just pipe the air in at some point.

Following the (violent) expiry of my detail sander yesterday I made a trip out to pick up something a bit more manly which hopefully won't go pop as soon as it gets worked hard.

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That seems a bit more like it. Didn't realise when I picked it up that it's got an adjustable speed control, but that's quite a nice feature to have. It'll have a baptism of fire shifting that horrible undercoat that's been put on the Invacar! Obviously will need to either fix my existing detail sander or get a new one to deal with the fiddly bits as this one is obviously not a precision instrument!
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#312 Post by Zelandeth » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:35 am

Not been anything car-wise going on here today (scheduling an appointment from 1330-1530 does a good job of destroying a day's productivity) but ended up finishing up getting the path cleaned up...for all it's a minor task in the grand scheme of things, it makes a big difference in the first impressions when walking up to the house.


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Need to get some mortar to touch up a few bits. Aside from a bit of lifting of the slab in one spot it's not looking too bad for a 38 year old brick path though.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#313 Post by Zelandeth » Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:56 pm

Got a few things in this morning.

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Wow...that respirator is so much more comfortable than my old one (for which filters ceased to be readily available for a couple of years ago and I used the last one a while ago). It must be half the weight for one thing. 

Mainly though it means I've got a decent variety of sanding discs on hand meaning I could make a meaningful start on mission "Remove all the horrible crinkly primer from the Invacar."

That's one mission... here's the biggest problem paint wise though. I have *not* painted this panel yet.


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Some other panels have even more layers on.

The top coat on there is ridiculously thick, poorly adhered to the undercoat (so it tends to chip off in chunks), and has quite a rubbery texture which appears to be precisely the right consistency to clog sanding discs.

I am seriously starting to consider attacking the thing with paint stripper...though I've no idea whether that's likely to be bad news for the fibreglass itself... anyone got any idea?

A good 80% of the spot repairs I've got to do are due to pits and chips in the top coat...just getting back to a more or less bare shell would probably save me a bunch of time.

After an absolute hell of a couple of hours I got the bulk of the gunk off the offside front wing and was able to throw some more (decent!) primer at it so I could see what I was doing. Couple of bits needing some more filling but we're getting there. This primer is basically just a guide coat here and will mostly be sanded back off, I find it nigh on impossible to see what the surface is doing without a uniform colour laid down.

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Remember what a mess this looked like a week or so back?

We're getting there.

New sander is a great bit of kit. The speed control is an actual speed control too...so even at the lowest speed you've got the full 1200W on tap. Reckon this will be probably more useful when polishing than sanding, but it's a feature I wasn't expecting. Likewise the fact it's got a soft start system. Trigger is nicely weighted and well placed, and the latch is well positioned so it's easy to reach but hard to activate accidentally. Well happy with it so far. Item code 80451 from Toolstation if you're looking for one.

While it's producing an order of magnitude less dust than the old one was, it's still going absolutely everywhere.

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I really need to have a good think about the Invacar paintwork. 

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It's just such a mess (even discounting the rubbish I've slathered on) that painting over it is going to get me nowhere. Sanding it *all* off will take forever...and given how fragile fibreglass is I'll probably mangle a bunch and require even more repairs... really wish I still had random bits of bodywork sitting around I could throw some Nitromors at to see what happened...

How *would* a body shop strip paint from a fibreglass car? Know media blasting would be the first stop for steel...but I'd assume that's too violent for fibreglass. 
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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gazza82
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#314 Post by gazza82 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:59 am

What respirator is it? I'll need one soon and have been debating the best kind to get.


I seem to remember Nitromors used to do a "glass fibre friendly" paint stripper but to be honest since they changed the contents I don't think it works as well as it used to. I had to strip and internal door and it took much more stripper and much longer to do than s few years ago.



Just as an aside, I watched the John McEnroe documentary last night and in one shot of Wimbledon saw an AC driving through the spectators bedecked in Union Flags!!
"If you're driving on the edge ... you're leaving too much room!"

Retirement Project: '58 Austin A35 2-door with 1330cc Midget engine and many upgrades
Said goodbye: kept '98 Alfa Romeo 156 2.0 TSpark to 210K miles before tin worm struck

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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#315 Post by Zelandeth » Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:12 pm

gazza82 wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:59 am
What respirator is it? I'll need one soon and have been debating the best kind to get.


I seem to remember Nitromors used to do a "glass fibre friendly" paint stripper but to be honest since they changed the contents I don't think it works as well as it used to. I had to strip and internal door and it took much more stripper and much longer to do than s few years ago.



Just as an aside, I watched the John McEnroe documentary last night and in one shot of Wimbledon saw an AC driving through the spectators bedecked in Union Flags!!
This is the one I went for available over at Toolstation.

Have heard from a couple of sources that there used to be a glass fibre friendly version of Nitromors, looks like it's been unavailable for a few years now though.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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gazza82
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#316 Post by gazza82 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:55 pm

Thanks for that .. I have a Toolstation close by ...


What about something like this? Anything designed for boats/marine should be safe on f/glass.

https://www.owatroldirect.co.uk/product/marine-strip/
"If you're driving on the edge ... you're leaving too much room!"

Retirement Project: '58 Austin A35 2-door with 1330cc Midget engine and many upgrades
Said goodbye: kept '98 Alfa Romeo 156 2.0 TSpark to 210K miles before tin worm struck

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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#317 Post by Zelandeth » Tue Jul 02, 2019 12:21 am

We've got family staying at the moment and I'm designated taxi driver so my car time is generally going to be quite sketchy over this coming week until next Tuesday. Not that my time in the garage is ever exactly reliable at the best of times.

Today I had a brief quiet half hour though and I had a nice plan in place for what I wanted to do.

Paint stripper test. 

Further to what a few folks have said regarding "just paint over it," I'm afraid that really isn't an option. This is what the finish is like in several places. There's just no way you'll ever get it smooth - and those bubbles are going to cause more trouble as time goes on.

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That paint needs to go.

There was some questions over whether paint stripper would dissolve the surface of the fibreglass as well as the paint...I was 90% sure it would be fine, but obviously wanted to be sure before slathering the car in it. 

Conveniently there's one bit of the body which is both easily accessed and well hidden - under the engine cover. So let's throw a bit at it there and see what happens.

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Results were good. It didn't seem to show any interest in attacking either the resin I'd applied or the gel coat on the fibreglass, excellent. Yes that whole area needs to be rebuilt, but that's a fair ways down the to do list.

Encouraged by this, we slapped a bit of it over the top of the rear quarter. These are very important areas in terms of paint finish as the sort of vestigial tail fins are so integral to the styling of the car.

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Then attacked it with a stiff brush.

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Pretty quickly the top coat started to come apart, revealing biblical amounts of high build primer.

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Which also came off without any particular effort, revealing the gel coat below.

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As predicted there's a lot of crazing and ancient repairs present, hence why the car has been painted in the first place.

Interesting to see how much the removal of the paint has improved the definition of the line along the top of the "fin" compared to beforehand...not surprising how many layers there were.

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Other side was treated to the same routine.

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I think this is definitely the right approach based on these findings and the faffing about I've already wasted time on. I've far more chance of getting a halfway decent finish if I get rid of the existing paint first. Obviously I'll need to rework a few repairs first and then actually need to properly paint it all at the end of the day...how good a finish I'll get will be entirely down to my prep and my work. Reckon this will be an easier road than trying to get anything to sit flat over what's already on there.

Will pull the engine cover and tail lights off next and try to get the rear moulding stripped back tomorrow or shortly. At least then I should hopefully be able to see what I'm working with. Might actually have a shot at getting her looking halfway reasonable by the time the Festival of the Unexceptional rolls round...

Maybe... 
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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Zelandeth
Posts: 378
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm

Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#318 Post by Zelandeth » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:32 pm

Getting the impression that there are two types of paint on this car: the stuff which will come right off and that which is utterly immovable.

I think I'll just go round the car getting the easier stuff off then will have a look what's left.

Again today I didn't really have much time to play with but was determined to make at least some headway. 

So played automotive Tetris so I could get the Invacar actually out of the garage and see what I was doing. 

Set about slathering things with paint stripper again.

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Then ensued a good amount of waiting patiently followed by scrubbing and scraping. Finally the pressure washer was employed to get rid of the residue so I could see what I was left with.

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I need to pick up a better paint scraper, this one is so blunt as to be essentially useless. Think I need to be a bit more patient too to just see if it will slowly eat through the sections which have refused to budge so far.

Nice to see the roof to bulkhead seal showing through again...feels like we are seeing progress though.

I'd really like to get a couple of hours in a stretch where I could just leave the stripper to work and hopefully get a couple of panels properly cleared.



In other news, with the van having ceased squeaking at idle a really horrible sounding rattle/buzz was brought to the forefront.

Initially this sounded like it might be related to the belt tensioner, but a bit of digging revealed a far simpler and easily resolved issue. The U-bolt holding the exhaust downpipe onto the bracket on the gearbox had stripped the threads so it had worked loose. This clamp was reused because the one supplied with the exhaust was fractionally too small.

I made up a spacer with a few washers to pack it out returning the nuts to a solid bit of thread, allowing it to be tightened back up properly.

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Nice simple fix.

While I was under there I had a look at all the joints on the system for any signs of leaks now it's got a few miles on.

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No tell tale sooty marks anywhere that I can see, nor could I hear anything chuffing so I'll take that as a win.



So the Invacar still needs paintwork, but at least the van is quieter at idle now. I hadn't realised quite how awful it was until sorting this! 

Edit: Yes I know the front exhaust hanger is missing the rubber. This is another "things I've had to do to make a really cheap exhaust fit without touching stuff it shouldn't" and not buzzing. Think this being fitted made it lift another hanger elsewhere off so the whole thing wound up sitting squint. Just removing the rubber block seemed to be the easiest solution...the system is more than sufficiently supported.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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Zelandeth
Posts: 378
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm

Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#319 Post by Zelandeth » Thu Jul 04, 2019 11:13 pm

Decided to investigate whether the old cling film over paint stripper trick could help us shift any of the stubborn paint on the Invacar.

While not entirely successful, it was a worthy experiment. Using the cling film didn't seem to make a huge difference. We did get a bit more paint off the rear moulding though. It's a tricky balance with the scraper... there's about a 3% difference between the pressure needed to shift the paint and needed to dig into the gel coat, which is annoying.

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Did a little experiment later in the day with leaving the stripper on one of the really stubborn areas for a bit longer. The results were... annoying.

Turns out that if you leave this stuff long enough it will attack the gel coat.

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In spite of that though the paint ain't any more interested in moving than it was before. This is going to come down to a sharp scraper and patience it looks like.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

User avatar
Zelandeth
Posts: 378
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm

Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#320 Post by Zelandeth » Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:36 pm

This paint removal process I think is just going to be a long slog.

Got a few better scrapers today and they're precisely zero help. With the sharper blades they're just digging in and going straight through the paint and the gel coat, it's just too soft. On a few of the larger flatter panels where there's a nice clean edge to the paint as it's been removed, using the blunt edge it's possible to work away at it...but I was successfully doing that with my old blunt scraper already.

Heat lifts the gel coat before the paint too, as I did poke it with the heat gun just to eliminate it as a potentially helpful tool. 

I did bust the sander out again today just to see if I could flat back the area below the rear window where the surface was damaged by the paint stripper. Looks like there's plenty of thickness to the gel coat to sort that out at least.

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There's quite a bit of pitting on the one panel...you can clearly see the line where the paint stripper was sitting the longest...

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No huge issue, it's nothing a really tiny amount of filler can't hide...just annoying to have made more work.

Next stop will be investigating soda blasting. Either getting the kit to do it myself or getting someone in to do it.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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