Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Dangerous Dash

You know, I think I'm glad that Tony the media blaster neglected to strip my dash for me because I'm getting used to the originality and I think I'll just keep it this way. A little shoe polish and some elbow grease and it'll be good as new...

...NOT! An hour or so with the old knotted wire wheel on the angle grinder and the dash was starting to look a bit more liberated.

The underside of the dash was another story, however. There was a bit of surface rust under there as this shot of the pedal bracket on the driver side attests.

I managed to wrangle the ol' angle grinder in the cramped space and clean it up a bit. This was a painful, scary job, by the way. While contorted up under there with my arms wrapped around and through various sheet metal orifices, the angle grinder's wire brush caught an edge and spun out of my hands. With me laying there, it bounced around wildly while I frantically worked to extricate myself from the tiny space that it was forcefully taking from me. It all happened in the about the space of 2 seconds where I managed to make it from being stuffed into an area the size of a suitcase to sitting fully upright in the back seat area. Sadly, I didn't make it out unscathed as it was wound up in my coveralls, gnawing on my leg, where it left an impressive-looking welt. I now have an idea of what it might be like to be trapped in a closet with an angry badger.

Here's a shot of the driver side after wire brushing.

I then crawled back under and treated the area with a coat of Ospho and worked it with a scouring pad. The passenger side looked like this afterward.

I then mixed up some water and a couple tablespoons of baking soda in a spray bottle and neutralized the Ospho. The result leaves a white residue as seen in this shot of the driver side.

And a shot of the passenger side after neutralizing the Ospho and rinsing the area with water.

The last step in preparation for paint was to remove any loose white residue and wipe the area down again with lacquer thinner. The resulting passenger side is seen below.

Same for the driver side.

I masked off the holes in the firewall in preparation for a spraying the underside of the dash with ZeroRust.

I mixed the ZeroRust with 15% lacquer thinner to make it more sprayable. On a side note, I stupidly left off my safety glasses while mixing the paint and managed to splash a drop of lacquer thinner directly into my left eye and oh-my-friggen-god, it burned so painfully much and still hurts a bit to this writing. Luckily, there was a sink close-by so I was able to flush it quickly and I filled up my Harbor Freight touch-up gun and went to work. I'm thinking of joining the circus after performing the contortions I had to do to angle the gun into some of these surfaces (not to mention the multiple scrapes and abrasions from sheet metal edges). If I wasn't double-jointed before, I probably am now. The finished passenger side:

The finished driver side.

And finally, a shot into the instrument cluster hole just for the heck of it.

I don't think it looks too bad... with my right eye... standing on my good leg.