Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hard top cafe

Here's the Land Rover with its newly painted hard top all done and the new plates on. Hard to guess that the parts were all covered in mold and grime just a couple days ago.

It took quite a bit of elbow grease to get them cleaned up, and I had to drive up to Newport to buy meself another cheap Chinese angle-grinder from Trailside Discount Tools Tarps and Rope (which distinguishes itself by having one of the funnier local ads on TV, where a very fat, very Maine-accented older guy says endearingly, "From big, to bigger, to how big you need: Trailside's gotcha covered!")

I've burned through two previous of these cheap angle grinders, and I know that they're just not well-made, but at $32 they last for a few years. I kept the old ones in the hope that one day I can use them for spares. 

With the wire wheel, they do remove paint, mold and grime off aluminum very quickly indeed. 

(And they remove the aluminum from the aluminum quite efficiently too, if you're not careful!)

I'm just not quite sure the Chinese have engineering for high rpm down at this point. And a good thing too. If their fighter jet engines are anything like their angle grinders, we'll be all set if there's a war.

I used Rustoleum clean metal primer and Rustoleum paint. Thinned down with five to ten percent mineral spirits, it makes a decent spray paint, although it's obviously going to be a little soft for automotive wear. Absent a heated spray booth and two part paint, it's a good compromise choice and should prevent future corrosion of the steel parts. Two coats of primer and three top coats, but I didn't rub it down between coats. A lazy man's paint job and well suited to the utilitarian farm truck theme, it will last for a few years.

The weather didn't help. On the planned spray day, Tuesday, we began with high humidity and ended with thunderstorms. Spray paint doesn't generally like humidity, since the cold air escaping with the paint under pressure will tend to condense and add water to the mix. Luckily the humidity dropped as the day went along, and by noon we were able to spray more or less happily. After that it was just a matter of dodging thunderstorms by spraying outside and carrying parts inside. 

This worked well enough until it came time for the final coat on the roof. I'd placed it on a couple of saw horses outside and sprayed the last thin coat, all while watching a storm roll up. As the storm arrived I put a second set of saw horses inside the garage and called up to Aimee for help moving it. I might have move it myself, but not without some danger of a bump or a scrape because it was so large and bulky.

Unfortunately, herself was taking a nice nap, and emerged from the bedroom in a fearful temper. As for me, I waited for my lovely wife to get her act in gear and her clothes on, saying "come on Aimee, come on."

Just after we managed to get the roof in the garage, the heavens opened.

But all's well that ends well, and after I got everything put together yesterday, Aimee even took a picture which will no doubt appear upon Facebook for those of you who are among the elite (her Facebook "friends"!).

Here's all the bits on the lawn after the last coat but before final assembly. I put them out in the sun to harden the paint a little more before working with the various pieces. 

I realized, too late, that the normal color scheme would be for the rear door to be the same color as the body, not the top. I also need to see a picture of an intact sliding window, so I can see the assembly configuration. I don't think I have it right. And I may need some more window catches. I have two out of four required.

Oh well. It looks good, for such an old truck. And it drives well too.

Once the hard top was on I drove it to the local auto shop to book it in for a Maine state Safety Inspection. This is a good excuse for a test drive. (If you get stopped for driving a truck without Inspection, you can just say that you're going to the Inspection station.) Up until now I've just driven it up and down the Great Farm Road. 

The truck drives down the road well, and the steering isn't near as sloppy as the ones we drove in the service, but the muffler is loud, and I don't know why since I couldn't find a hole. I'll look again today. It'll give me something to do, since I'm running out of jobs and heaven forbid I should weed the garden!


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Welcome to our Farm Blog.
The purpose of this blog is for Aimee and I to communicate with friends and family, with those of our students, and other folks in general who are interested in homesteading and farming activities.

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