To answer the most pressing question first, no, the Laser still isn’t running. Next, yes, I’m still alive. Last weekend was crazy, we drove straight up to Duluth (about 5.5 hours) from work for a Halloween party. It was totally worth it! The next morning we drove straight back down so we could make it to my cousins party, so all in all we spent less time in Duluth than we spent driving up and back, but it was a seriously good party and it was great to see our friend as we rarely get to see him. Kyle, if you’re reading this, that old man mask really made my month.
So that was all crazy, and it was my first week on call, and it was production patching weekend so I spent some of my party time on the phone or the laptop trying to fix work stuff. It was honestly a crazy weekend, but we had a lot of fun.
But that’s not what you’re here to read about! You’re probably here for the Laser update, and I’m not going to talk about it because I’m convinced at this point that it won’t run ever. The water lines I ordered didn’t fit, I’ve lost some transmission bolts that are probably important, I’m not sure where my flywheel inspection cover got off to, and I’m missing a few other semi important parts. Maybe next year.
A few weeks back I mentioned pulling my Mazda apart to try and stop the rust in the quarter panels and along the rockers, I finally got to finish that whole process today by giving it a nice wash and wax, so that’s what I’m going to distract you all with today! Also, this happened while on a run to Walmart today (where I picked up antifreeze for the Laser, I haven’t completely given up!).
So anyway, lets take a look at what I saw when I pulled the side skirts off and knocked the loose rust (aka most of my car) off to get it ready for POR.
Ladies and gentleman, I present a product of the rust belt. Not good. This car has been in Wisconsin it’s entire life and it shows, the winters here really aren’t nice to paint or metal. I really should crawl under the car and rust proof what I can there before Winter really hits, but I’m afraid of what I’ll find now. In some places the paint was the only thing holding the “metal” together and a few of the side skirt anchor points were also made of paint. Now they’re made of thin air. I did what I could to knock and scrape the loose rust flakes off to give me a good base to paint on. I actually took a flat head screwdriver and scrapped the rust bubbles as well to get all of the bits in there out of the way and hopefully stop it from simply bubbling through my new paint. Then I donned my gloves and goggles and got to painting. All the rusty bits got a single coat to start with, and once it got tacky I went in with a heavier dose of anti-rustyness.
I ended up going over some places a third time a few days later before I started painting as I could see some tiny specs of rust that I missed. To start the paint process I headed over to AutomotiveTouchup.com and ordered a spray can of Mazdas’ 22V paint along with a can of clear coat. The grand total with shipping included was just shy of $42, which isn’t bad until I noticed the shipping was nearly $14 itself and there’s no guarantee the paint will ship right away as they mix it to order. It didn’t ship until 6 days after I ordered, but it did arrive within 3 days which was nice. Still $14 for shipping seems a bit much as the entry level option.
Anyway, the paint arrived with some information about the company and it’s companion clear coat so I was ready to paint. I made a half-assed attempt at taping the lights off to try and shield them from over spray, but otherwise didn’t really worry about taping off windows or anything as a razor makes cleaning them off easy and I wasn’t going to be painting close to them anyway. I threw on my paint mask and got to work with a light coat, then another, and another, and then one more because why not. I put the coats on a bit heavier each time, mostly because I was doing this later in the day and time was not on my side, the drop in temperature made the wait between coats lengthen each time as well. Did I mention I didn’t really get to wash the car before I started painting? Yea, this is a high quality job.
To make things even better, I ran out of daylight before I could get the clear coat on, so I stuffed everything in the hatch and opted to take care of it when I arrived home from work the next day. And so I did, time and temperature fought me again but I was able to get a good 4 coats of clear on. I’m even lazy enough that I left most of the tape on the back overnight, so I didn’t even have to prepare much before getting to the spraying part.
I tried to make each coat a nice wet coat but I don’t think the final coat was quite wet enough. Somehow, I didn’t get any runs or drips, so I at least avoided that amateur mistake. Here she is with the clear coat on, it darkened the paint down a bit, as you could clearly see the difference in paint color before (yay sunfade) but the clear coat helped narrow the difference a bit.
Most importantly though, the single most critical part of the entire process went pretty well. Though, I think I should have moved it up a bit as some of the lettering dropped off the side a bit.
Good from far but far from good as they say. You can definitely tell it’s been painted, if not because the paint is a bit brighter than its surrounding, then by the texture that is clearly rust underneath. But, it isn’t black, and it isn’t rust, and that’s exactly what I wanted. Did my stupid lazy tape job leave some odd lines? You bet! Does it look horrible? Well, it isn’t body shop quality. Will it rust? God I hope not.
That all happened last week, and this weekend I finally got the chance to give it a pre-winter wash and wax and see what the paint really looks like. One thing I noticed is that the water seemed to stick to the new paint more than the surrounding paint. Maybe because the last clear coat wasn’t wet enough to get a smooth finish, or because the surround has been waxed before, or because I looked at it wrong. I started with a brush down, then went over it all again with a clay bar and sponge to get the small parts I miss with the brush. Once it had some time to dry, I took liquid glass and went over the entire car and then moved to the interior to clean and condition the leather seats. Those are a pain to clean by the way, and for some reason the original buyer did not get the heated seats. Why original owner, why?
After all was said and done though, it turned out pretty damn nice. I definitely found some funkyness that will need buffing, but that can wait until Spring swings around. For now, I’m just happy that it’s not rust or black. We’ll see how well it holds up! Here, have some more sexy pictures of post-wash Lady. If you pay close attention to the rear quarter panels you can see the my new clear coat is a bit rough and almost has a semi-gloss look rather than the standard gloss clear coat around it. I think I need to get another good wet coat on there to smooth that out. Or not, who knows. I do have some paint and clear coat left over though, and plenty of rock chips on the front…
You can’t really do the paint justice with a camera, I tried, and I was frustrated. As an aside, I don’t like our DSLR so I think I’m going to stick with my HTC One M8 as that or the M7 have provided all pictures on this blog thus far, unless otherwise noted. Anyway, here’s a shot trying to show some of detail and flakes of Mazdas’ Sunlight Silver. The setting sun makes it look more golden, beautiful either way.
And also this shot because I really love my cars. Note to self: shooting into sun bad.
So what do you all think? Should I have kept the rust? Maybe tried a Mad Max thing with the POR-15? Is there a white hole at the center of our universe causing it to expand? Let me know, and maybe next week I’ll have some better, more DSM oriented news. Speaking of DSM, Nate stopped by with his newly re-transmissioned Talon TSI, god I need my Laser on the road right now.
As is a DSMs’ nature, we immediately found something broken, or more specifically, a leaking upper radiator hose.