Monday, October 5, 2009

Adventures in Car Repair

I don’t normally try to fix my own car mainly because I don’t really know what I’m doing and the consequences of messing it up can be painful. However, I was recently cornered into trying to deal with some rust that formed just above my windshield.

I have a great mechanic who was referred to me by a close friend who is a former mechanic. However, my mechanic doesn’t do much body work and he turned me away. While plotting my next move I tried using some rust paint, but that just slowed down the rust a little; it didn’t solve the problem.

Eventually, I asked my close friend the former mechanic to take a look. He started talking about a body shop having to remove the windshield and did I want to put all this money into this car or my next car! Who thought that a little rust could be such a serious problem? I decided that I’d have to try to deal with it myself.

After scraping off some paint and grinding off some of the rust, here is what the worst of the three rust spots looked like:



The metal sticks up just a little higher than the windshield and my best guess is that when small rocks hit the windshield they ran up and hit the metal. This eventually knocked off enough paint to expose metal and allow rust to start forming. However, this insight doesn’t help much with the repair.

After a couple of hours of trying to scrape away all the rust, I applied Bondo (a fibreglass product), sanded it down, and took a half hour to clear my head of fumes and my nose of fibreglass dust. The result wasn’t very pretty, particularly in the channel between the metal and the windshield. But, pretty doesn’t matter to me much at this point.

Then I applied three layers of primer, and about five layers of black car paint. Even in an open garage, the whole process left me pretty high after breathing all the fumes. I certainly hope that I extended the life of my car by at least a year, but I have no confidence that I did any good at all. Only time will tell.

4 comments:

  1. Have your shortened your life by inhaling Fiberglass and paint fumes?

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  2. Big Cajun Man: Probably. Hopefully I won't miss a good part of my life.

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  3. Maybe you will just miss some bad parts

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  4. I had some rust starting around the rear wheels on my 11-year-old beater. My borther-in-law used to be a detailer at a car dealer and has the neatest grinder for taking the rust off. Have to grind it once a year to keep it at bay.

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