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Body Sill Replacement - RT-629
Inner Body Painting

Memorial Day holiday on Monday turned out to be a long and productive day starting with 75dF at 10 am and warming up to 85dF by late afternoon, a perfect day for wet sanding. The body dolly was rolled out into the bright sunlight and the main shell received a prolonged rub down on the top cowling with 400 grit emery paper and a constant trickle from the garden hose. Then the "other" saw horses came to serve while the outer body panels got the same treatment in turn. As the parts would air dry it was apparent when and where they needed more sanding (still having some freckles), so wet sanding continued for six hours until I figured it was all smooth enough to apply the top coat paint (about 4 pm). Then I took a two hour break for a late lunch (and e-mail) while the parts could dry completely (which might have taken only 15 minutes in the warm breeze).

Roll the body dolly back inside, set up the other saw horses to hold the body on edge, and get a hand from son. The two of us lift one side to set the sill on the platform, then tilt it up to sit on edge ready for painting inside the shell. While I was trying to recall how to reassemble the paint gun I broke a small brass cap nut that holds the trigger. Bummer. After improvising a substitute bolt and nut I finally got started with the red enamel at 7:30 pm. While mixing red paint, reducer and hardener, anticipation was becoming euphoric, giving the work day extra legs.

Out came the little 6-ounce detail sprayer for getting into tight spaces. Having done this before I am generally comfortable holding a drop light in one hand while painting with the other hand, and I even do quite well switching hands when it may be more convenient. Toughest part of painting the MGA is getting inside the nose of the main body for all the little nooks and crannies, followed by spraying in and around the cowl vent air scoops. Painting inside the boot was almost easy by comparison. Under the boot floor and inside the passenger compartment was a breeze, but those larger surfaces consumed a lot of paint in short order making for multiple refills for the small sprayer. Even so it seemed just as easy to pause for frequent refills as it would be to switch to the larger sprayer periodically and end up having to clean two guns when finished.

When about two thirds of the inner body had been painted it was time to take some pictures and call on son's assistance for a few more minutes to set the body down flat and tilt it up on the other side for easier access to the remaining unpainted inner sanctums. Having finished that, and figuring it was not a good idea to set the body back down with the boot floor on a saw horse until the paint could cure some, I left the body sitting on edge while I went on to paint inside of all of the outer panels. Painting inside the doors is a particular pain, tough enough with the little detail sprayer, but would be impossible with the full size sprayer. By this time the euphoria was wearing thinner but adrenalin was still flowing, so I continued on until the inner surfaces of all nine of the outer panels had been painted as well as the six splash panels and two shut face plates. By 1 am the adrenalin had worn off and it was time to finish up, clean the paint gun, take some more pictures, and retire for the night.

Having done nearly six hours of intimate work with the detail sprayer, the next picture may give some idea of what backwash is all about when spray painting in tight spaces. Good room ventilation, a carbon granule breather mask and goggles work quite well, but that first look in a mirror was a little surprising. Fortunately the red hair and fake sun burn all washed out with a shower and triple shampoo. Not sure if the shirt will ever be white again. .... (26 May 08)

Next day I slept in a little later and caught up with some e-mail and lunch before heading out to the garage. First business was to set the body down flat to have access for painting the sides. This was going to be quick and easy. I mixed up almost a quart of paint and had at it with the larger (standard size) spray gun. In about a half hour (if I didn't lose track of time) the body sides and sills were painted and I was still in a good mood. Up to this point I had been laying the red paint on pretty thick because it was all inboard and underneath stuff (not to worry much about possible paint runs) and I didn't want to have to go back to do a second coat in all those nasty tight places. With some paint left in the gun I dialed back the flow a little and proceeded to paint the rocker panels, and then the face side of the valance panel. That part is a good practice panel due to limited visibility when installed.

Being fairly pleased with the results, and checking the amount of paint left in the gun, I then sprayed the outer face of the doors. This was promptly followed by one of those "Why did I do that?" sort of moments when it dawned on me that I was still painting without the air line filter and desiccator. On close inspection the paint on the door skins had some tiny "infractions" to the quality with many "hardly larger than pin point" imperfections probably due to a small amount of dust and a little water mist in the compressed air supply (possibly including a small amount of oil mist from the oil sump type piston compressor). So far not a big deal, just meaning I get to wet sand the doors once before the next coat of paint.

The gun was about empty of mixed paint, and there was only about a pint of red left in the gallon can, so it was a good time to quit for the evening (anticipating a trip to buy more red paint in the morning). Flush and clean the gun, put away a few tools, close the outer window (and the back service door in the adjoining garage space), and stay for a minute more to enjoy the moment and the view. What a difference a day makes. Yesterday morning it was all grey. Tomorrow evening it may be all red. Since this was a short day in the shop, I can feel like posting these photos and notes on the new web page (until way past midnight I suppose). .... (27 May 08)

Aw shucks (twice). After a nice productive 15 hour day in the shop (and several hours posting pictures and catching up with e-mail) I took a day off (shucks) to catch up with sleep, and bought another gallon of red paint and a couple of air line filters. Next day I spent a few hours wet sanding around the edges in preparation for painting the outside of the body, finished wet sanding the last couple of panels in a light rain (sort of fun). Then as it was getting late I decided not to paint today (shucks again) because it was raining and maybe not a good idea to paint when it's 100% relative humidity. Ah so, maybe tomorrow. .... (29 May 08)

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