May 30, 2014

PROJECT 180SX: B-Pillar Removal and Refinish

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This is the first work being done to Project 180. As stated in the video, these things looked really bad, and needed to be tackled. Also, I didn't have a place to work, so I needed something relatively simple to get back into the swing of things. And, to be completely honest... I mean come on... I just bought a car, and I was kinda broke, lol. 

Watch the video below, and then read on to find out more about this project.

In case the YouTube video doesn't have sound, just watch the Vimeo version, below.  

In the video, we got a really shortened version of the work I put in on getting the b-pillars ready. These things looked like absolute shit. The previous owner had literally just sprayed them with some bottom barrel budget bin spray paint, probably lacquer. No prep, no nothing. They didn't even tape off around it on the car. Yeah, you read that right... they painted it on the car, with NO MASKING. I've still got crusty paint that I can't get off of my rear glass surround.

The runs in the paint and the sun damage really tag teamed on these panels. I was originally going to start with a 320 grit paper and work up to a 400 wet sand. Yeah...not if I wanted to finish these this century. I ended up going down to a 60 grit....SIXTY grit, and wet sanded my way up to a 150, then a 240, 320, and finally 400 before this primer shot was taken. Don't worry, I mainly used the lower stuff to knock down the runs. I don't recommend going that low, but I used it sparingly.

Getting them in primer let me see some of the pits that I couldn't sand out. I picked up a 40 gram package of Thin Putty from Holts. This stuff is similar to Bondo's glazing putty, for those of you in the States. After having used both products.... I think I like the Holts better. But, I've never seen it in the US. At least not in my area. I believe it's an English product.

After filling in the pits, I wet sanded the thing smooth, starting with 400 grit before a reprimer. After that I prepped it for paint with a 600 grit wet sand. Smooth like silk.

After that, I washed it with a little bit of acetone on a rag, and then sprayed it with Holts color match spray from a can. I used Color Code _____. I couldn't see that it had THAT much flake in it when I bought it. The store was kinda dark. It's hard to see the flake in this picture, but the color is much more like a Charcoal Gunmetal with flake than a black. It's a pretty color, but I don't know if it's right for this application. The clear seemed to make it look even lighter, as it gave it more of a luster. We will see what happens. Anything is better than what was on there. That was embarrassing.

Not being one to waste, I used the back of the Holts Thin Putty packaging to hold my screws, so that I could paint them to match the b-pillars. Details. Before spraying them, I scuffed them up with some 400 paper. I didn't bother to primer them. They have held up this far. You can also see the color of the paint a little bit better in this pic.

The b-pillars still had the rubber backing and seals attached, and I decided I wanted to put them back on. I used a tube of Holts Black Sealer for this. To get the sealer on the seals and spacers while making as small of a mess as possible, I used a bamboo yakitori skewer and dipped it into the sealer. It turns out the skewer was just the right thickness for the small tube shaped spacers that you see in the back.

For the seal at the top, I used a little bit bigger skewer as a putty knife. I just squeezed a little sealer out of the tube and onto the skewer and spread away.

Came out ok, and not too messy at all. That's a plus for me.

Here are all the spacers and seals on the back of the b-pillar. When this set up hard, it actually retained the OEM appearance. I was pleased.

Time to reinstall them. To see the removal and installation process, click the video, if you haven't already. It's only 1:40 seconds. Shit moves fast.

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