Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Doors-aster? The First Attempt at Door Restoration

With the interior ferried safely away to the TAFE college, and the vinyl purchased, the doors would need to be completed in time for the students to test fit the door trims.

Now, unlike the fibreglass/steel combination body, the doors were an all steel creation, with skins unique to the Equipe, welded to Herald frames. With the doors stripped and blasted, it was possible to see a minor amount of rust in the drivers side door (skin and inside), and a gouge in the passenger side door. There was nothing major, with a few minor dents inside to both doors.

Not as horrible inside as I thought. Phew!

With the students pending, I decided to send the doors direct to a panel beater for repair and painting. I purchased enough paint to do the whole car and proceeded to procure quotes. The first was $1000 PER DOOR. The hours and expense just did not add up, so I went to the next guy. WORSE! Surely these guys were having a lend? I was beginning to despair when someone told me of a chap who did great 'hot rod spec' work for cash.

I visited, checked out his work, and was very impressed. A price of $1000 for the pair was agreed, including re-welding the quarter vent frames (which had fallen apart on removal), and off I went. This is where my appreciation of concourse restorations really began to grow. The doors languished for months. Despite regular calls from me to look at progress, so I could take restoration snaps. The delays continued until, suddenly "you can pick 'em up".

Initially, all seemed pretty good, but I looked closer. Firstly, around 2-litres of 2K was used in the job - half of what I'd purchased to do the entire car! The dents on the inside of the doors remained untouched and a thick coat of orange peel sprayed over top. The frames were re-welded incorrectly and did not fit into the doors, or the glass. The finish outside of each doors was magnificent, except the lower edges had not been painted (or the paint had been buffed away), and holes from an aftermarket mirror remained unfilled. I have no idea what is underneath the paint - most likely bog (bondo).

"Whaddaya expect for $1000" was the excuse provided. Well, dents removed, holes filled and consistent paint for a start!

Nice 'n' shiny on the outside, and passes the magnet test, so any bog is only thin. If only they'd got the inside nicely finished and dent free. I may try a crash repairer to see if the dents can be removed without damage.

However, I'm less positive about the frames. NOTE: The upper frame is designed to fit inside the other...with the job they've done, what do you think the chances of that are??? Honestly - just check your work guys!

It became apparent that, paying and asking for a good job, being diligent and putting in the prep work, was not enough to guarantee any kind of quality, at all. Lesson learnt. It also became apparent, I'd be coming back here forever, if I wanted the job done properly. So, took my doors home and put them in storage - a nervous wait trying to keep them scratch free until final assembly!

However, I'll probably need to purchase more paint, and re-do the lot. Sigh.

Meanwhile, the glass from each door was scratched beyond economical repair, so quarter vents were polished, main glass replaced. All rubber parts were obtained through Fitch the Rubber Man (can't recommend them more highly) or the UK (thanks again to Guy, for the unobtainable quarter vent rubbers, unique to Bond), and some diligent cleaning got all moving parts working again.

Zinc plated parts are still pending, but there's no need to rush as, unfortunately, the TAFE upholstery course had only one student enrol, and they soon withdrew. I was stranded, so I collected all my parts and returned home. Sigh, again.

I now know the restoration process, especially if the work is out of your hands, is a series of wins and matter how hard you push, some things just don't go the way you want them too. However, some wins were just around the corner.

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