Saturday, January 2, 2016

stripping 240z paint

I put new tires on the 240 Z while we were back in Illinois. 

With the long week in Illinois, I decided that I would work on the 240Z at my parent 'splace while we were waiting for the storms to pass. The car had a lot of places in the finish where it was spider cracking and I suspected that the original 112 yellow (lime) paint was underneath and still in decent condition. Eric and I learned quite a bit from the VW community about being careful not to disturb original pieces and finishes by hastily speeding into stripping parts. Many VW split window bus enthusiasts will utilize oven cleaner as a way to slowly strip back through layers of paint that covers original factory paint. 

With me not knowing what I wanted to do with the color yet, I thought it best to try and preserve the original paint. I purchased three cans of oven cleaner and used my Dad's straight razor blade holder and some scotchbrite pads along with some rubbing compound. I started off by testing the drivers side rear quarter panel. I applied some oven cleaner and then walked away for 30-45 minutes and then came back to a softened layer of white paint and a semi soft layer of grey primer. A first I used the straight razor to carefully scrape the old paint away (note: grind the corners of the razor blade to a smooth curve to keep them from gouging the original paint). After a while I figured out it was just easier to wait a little longer, while the oven cleaner was working, and then use a green scotchbrite pad soaked in very hot water and I could simply scrub the old paint away. I kept a bucket of hot water nearby to rinse the scotchbrite and to keep a steady supply of lubricant to the body panel I was working on. Having the car in a warm environment at the time that I applied the oven cleaner seemed to work best. I assume having a heat gun close by could assist if there were numerous layers of paint present as the heat helps the oven cleaner work better (although I didn't need the heat gun in this case). I had to be careful around sharp body lines so as not to rub through the original finish exposing bare metal. It was actually very cool to discover a bit of history of the car by slowly working down through the finish. I discovered a few areas where the car had been repaired when it was still in it's original yellow finish, but the majority of the work was done during the white layer of paint. I worked on the car in sections and within two days I had the car down to the original color.

Unfortunately, there was not a lot of original paint in the lower portion of the car, but it was still good to discover what lies beneath. The hood was trashed with a lot of bond in the front portion, but the rest of the sheetmetal is surprisingly straight. The original Datsun 112 paint is a strange color as it looks yellow in daylight but lime green under fluorescent lights. I bet it was a vibrant color in it's day and I am also willing to bet that the white paint cover-up was an attempt to get rid of the color and update the looks of the car a bit. That said, the mid-life white paint job probably saved the thin sheetmetal on this 240Z from further rust and deterioration. My arm was sore after rubbing the entire car down, but I was really glad to see what condition the car was in underneath everything.

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