I've made the leap from wagon lurker to wagon owner

Discussion in 'General Station Wagon Discussions' started by Cyber-Wizard, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. Cyber-Wizard

    Cyber-Wizard Well-Known Member

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    Well, it took me quite a bit of time, but I have one seat frame ready to reinstall. Now I just need a car to put it in. :)

    I spent a lot of time this week trying to get my carpet clean. After throwing a number of household cleaning tricks as well as several commercial cleaners that I've had great luck with in the past, I've decided the carpet isn't worth saving. Since getting the seats out is ridiculously easy, I'm just going to put this carpet back in again and I'll replace the whole thing later on.

    I dismantled the power seat rails to get them cleaned off as shown above. I also opened up each motor to check for corrosion, cleaned the drive brushes and then sanded and painted the motor housings. I primed and painted one of the rails and used Rust Bullet on the other one. We'll see if one holds up any better than the other. Rust Bullet is a pretty thick coating, and they recommend two coats! I didn't bother with the second coat since these were going inside the car and weren't going to be exposed to the elements much anymore. Time will tell if that was a bad decision or not. Word to the wise, the Rust Bullet instructions state very clearly to wear gloves as the coating is very hard to get off of your skin. They really mean that folks. I got cocky and neglected to put on the gloves that were laying right on the table:rolleyes::coco:. It took me about half an hour to get the stuff off of my hands using an S.O.S. (steel wool) pad. I think Rust Bullet would really be best used on a surface that can be rolled or painted. My seat frame had many nooks and crannies and I used a brush. It doesn't look smooth at all but since it's under the seat I don't care.
    Here's some shots of the seat frame just before and after Rust Bullet.

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    After I finished up coating the second frame rail with Rust Bullet, I hit it with some black enamel to make it match the first one. I cleaned up all of the drive lines and then reassembled it. It was a buttload of work but it was really satisfying and, for something that no one will ever see, it really looks fantastic.

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    After I got everything put together again, I took a drive down to the body shop where the wagon has been all week. It's all done, they just didn't have it cleaned up yet. They were willing to let me have it back but they really wanted to clean it first. The interior was pretty dusty from the grinding and metal work, and the outside was so coated in road dust from the trucks going by today that you couldn't even see in the windows. I didn't want to rush them, and I'm not really in any hurry to tackle that other seat frame so I told them that I'll pick it up when they are done with it.

    Here are some photos of my repaired floor pans and new coating.

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    I think I'm done for the week now. I picked myself up a Slurpee on the way home and I think I'll work on indoor stuff for the rest of the weekend. The Mrs is back from Mexico tomorrow night so I should probably do some housework and laundry before she gets back anyway. Guess my bachelor days are over...again. :rofl::rofl:
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2011
  2. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    You need a vacation! I'm sweating just thinking about all you got done! :rofl2:
     
  3. Cyber-Wizard

    Cyber-Wizard Well-Known Member

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    ...and for once I didn't get called in to work during my time off! My junior guy emailed me constantly but I didn't even have to leave the garage to handle any of the issues that cropped up. Of course...there's still two days before I'm due to go back. Dun, Dun, Dunnnnnn:16suspect1:
     
  4. Cyber-Wizard

    Cyber-Wizard Well-Known Member

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    Well I picked up the Roadmaster from the body shop on Monday night. I got there right as they were closing up so they wheeled it outside as I was paying my bill. I was really pleased with the work that they did and anxious to get it home so that I could start work on restoring the driver's seat.

    I needed to get all of the parts that had been removed from the car stored inside it in order to get the wagon in the garage so I started loading bits and pieces into the wagon so I would have room to back it in. It needs to be inside as I haven't had the roof leaks repaired yet. As I was sorting out what goes where, I noticed that the floor coating (really just spray on truck bed liner) was peeling off in the rear floor pan. The rear pan wasn't rusting and the peeling wasn't likely to cause me any harm but I took it back to the body shop on principle. I figured that if I'm going to have the rest of the work that's needed done there, I need to know that they can do things right. I explained to the body guy what was going on and he immediately came outside for a look. He was really apologetic and said "we'll have to fix that for you someday". Just as I was about to call him on "someday" he gave me a really sheepish look and said "is there any chance you can leave it with me right now". I was pretty impressed that he was as eager to fix it as I would have liked him to be. I tossed him the keys and said "keep it as long as you need, to get it right". While I'm still not able to finish my seat repairs, at least I know they're going to do the floors right. I'll feel much better about them working on the roof line when I'm ready. The real kicker is that the weather is brutally hot here this week (for Canada...) and I could sure use that shiny new A/C system that I just had installed in the wagon. Driving in my foam padded box sedan with a dead A/C system is pretty tough when it's 33C (91F) outside. It's expected to hit 38C (100F) tomorrow. That makes the 5 minute drive to work pretty durn toasty in my Brougham.

    I think I've given up on getting my carpet clean in the wagon. I've thrown cleaner after cleaner at it and while the dump tank on my carpet cleaner is coming up as brown as ever, the carpet just isn't looking any cleaner. I'm thinking that I'll just put it back in and use it as is until I can get a replacement in there.
     
  5. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    If its any good, you could send it to an upholstery dye shop. They've got big vats and fans to shake out the rest of the muck that's trapped in it.
     
  6. Cyber-Wizard

    Cyber-Wizard Well-Known Member

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    I put a mess of time into the wagon this weekend. I tried yet another tactic on the carpeting. I'm starting to really believe that I'm a glutton for punishment. After cleaning the carpet 27 times (I did count) with my Simple Green water cleaner I figured it was a lost cause and anything that was still in that carpet was bloody well staying there. Prior to each run with the Simple Green I pre-soaked the carpet with Folex, a mixture of Tide with Vinegar as an anti-foaming agent, and a Turtle Wax carpet cleaner. Nothing was anymore effective than plain 'ol water so I just kept at it with water. On this last attempt I used Resolve Deep Cleaning Powder. Make no mistake, my carpet still isn't clean but I'm astonished at how this stuff works! In the picture below I cleaned the left side of the front edge but not the right. The difference is astonishing.

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    The wagon is back again from the body shop for the second time. After the floor coating started to peel last time I took it right back. They apparently stripped it off and applied the coating again. I put the wagon in the garage for the last week and pulled it out on Saturday with the intent of putting the carpeting back in and reinstalling the interior. Imagine my joy when I discovered that the coating was peeling again.

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    Since I couldn't put the wagon back together again I figured I would keep working at other items. Ever since I repaired the window switch lock wiring in November, my drivers side speaker hasn't worked and has buzzed whenever I opened the door and the interior lights came on. Since I had already found damaged wiring, and my driver's side power seat switches weren't working, I figured I had more damage to the wiring and I decided to tear the door panel apart to repair my speakers and seat wiring. I was thrilled to discover that the speaker issue was due to my own stupidity and I had mismatched my tweeter wire and my drivers door courtesy light wire. :slap: That's what I get for closing up in a hurry. I was equally excited to discover that my power seat issues were due to a switch problem and not wiring after all. I removed the switch assembly from the armrest housing. A little body english applied to the copper switch springs had most of my seat directions working right as rain. Since one button still didn't work I figured I would swap the switches from the passenger side until I can get a replacement. Strangely, GM makes a drivers side and passenger side switch assembly, there's no difference between the two in functionality, they just don't fit correctly with snapping off a small piece of plastic. Sounds like a money grab to me:mad:. In any case, I now know that I don't have any more wiring issues in the door panel and I feel pretty good about that.

    I've decided to go ahead with the roofline repairs that I mentioned a few posts ago. It turns out that both sides need to be repaired so I might as well do it all at once. In an effort to save on some labour I removed the headliner, rear seat back, and C-Pillar moldings. It seems that this wagon isn't done mocking me yet. The entire car has been undercoated but it seems that the undercoating was after the rust and the top of the wheel well on the passenger side is in really rough shape.

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    I figure I'll send the wagon back in on Monday to get the rest of this stuff cleaned up and that will likely be in for this year. I may drive it a little if I can get everything reinstalled before the snow flies and it's time to put it in the garage for the winter.

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    I really hope I can get everything reassembled before winter. The garage has room for the wagon, or for parts...but not both. :rofl2:
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  7. Cyber-Wizard

    Cyber-Wizard Well-Known Member

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    In another effort to save on a little labour when I have my roofline repaired, I removed the roof rack. I posted a little bit about this the last time I removed it looking for leaks. This time I got some proper pictures. Hopefully these pictures will be useful for anyone who needs to remove their roof rack and is wondering how it's put together. Each rail has four screws in it that thread downward into captive nuts and at the very front by the vista roof there is one bolt that inserts into the roof with a nut holding it in from the inside. The rack assembly that sits across the car just behind the vista roof also has a mixture of captive nuts and bolts that fit through the roof. Removing the roof rack definitely requires dropping the headliner, no two ways about it.

    The pictures below show the roof after the rack has been removed as well as shots from the inside looking up through the bolt holes.

    Here's hoping it doesn't rain before I can get all of this put back together again.

    Anyone found a source for those captive nuts that fit in the roof? Several of mine have rusted and I would just as soon replace them.

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  8. Cyber-Wizard

    Cyber-Wizard Well-Known Member

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    I paid visit to the wagon over in the body shop the other day (yes it's still there). I picked this particular shop because the head body guy has a good rep. He was the body man for the local Ford dealership for quite a while. He bought a local shop with a long standing reputation and kept the name alive.

    Unfortunately, it seems that he's not always around the shop. Apparently he's been out of town tearing down a used paint booth to bring back to his shop for the last while and someone else has been working on my wagon.

    At first glance, the work looked really good. The roof repair (done by the head body guy) was great. All new metal was welded in, painted, polished and clearcoated. The vista roof was reinstalled and looked good. The new paint was a slightly different shade than the rest of the car but that's to be expected. He repainted the roof up to the rear of the vista roof to minimize the appearance. The interior wheel well had a metal patch with self-leveling sealant around it and my seat belt bolts had been re-welded onto it. That looked acceptable until I crawled up into the wheel well to look at the patch from the underside. The paint guy mentioned that this was done while Joe, the head body guy/owner, was out of town. A metal plate had been welded into place and sealed but the rust hadn't been removed. They had just covered up the hole and left all of the rust exposed from underneath.

    Seeing the look on my face the paint guy (who seems to understand customer service) immediately volunteered to do it correctly that night while he was in working on some other cars. He's also going to paint the black sealant that they put over the weld spots at the back hatch. I don't know how they expected two massive black stripes in my rain gutters to go unnoticed.

    So I continue to wait for my wagon to return and I'm hunting around for body shop recommendations for the next projects I need done.
     
  9. silverfox

    silverfox New Member

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    Yeah, Wiz...you need to find another shop. And I would copy this thread and send it to the owner. Maybe he will realize that he needs better help and how fast and far word travels in today's cyber world.
     
  10. Cyber-Wizard

    Cyber-Wizard Well-Known Member

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    At long last my wagon is home again!!!:yahoo:

    I was starting to feel less and less like a wagon owner but I'm a pretty happy guy now. For the amount of time it took and all of the hassle, the work was well done and everything looks great. To top it all off they were able to do everything I asked and charged me for 8 hours labour. The final bill for all of the work was only $100 more than the original quote which was only for a portion of the work. In all I wound up paying about 1/3rd of what I was expecting.

    As Murphy's Law would dictate we were hit with a thunderstorm shortly after I got home. I had just enough time to get some electrical tape put in place over the open roof rack holes before. At least all of the shop dust is cleaned off the car now and the outside looks good again...even if the inside is still in chaos.

    Tomorrow I'll get some pictures of the repairs and maybe get started on removing the roof rack nuts and replacing them with WellNuts and stainless hardware.
     
  11. silverfox

    silverfox New Member

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    GREAT,Wiz!:D Glad you have it back, glad they gave you a play, which you deserved, and glad you are happy with it!:thumbs2:
     
  12. occupant

    occupant Occupantius

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    That's awesome, dude, I'm glad the work is done to your satisfaction, even if it took a couple of tries to do it right the first time!

    This is a major reason why I'm glad my grandmother bequeathed her Cutlass Ciera to me. It needs rust repair on the fenders, wheel arches, and rockers. That will be an excellent primer for me to learn bodywork so I can work on my Torino sedan (and all subsequent project vehicles including but not limited to some B-body GM wagons and at least one '75-'76 Fury/Coronet wagon) on my own, know it's done right, and be able to fix it again if I do manage to mess something up.
     
  13. Cyber-Wizard

    Cyber-Wizard Well-Known Member

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    Never mind. I spoke too soon. When I picked up the car I was anxious to get it home and get the roof rack holes covered up before the rain hit. Now that the rain has stopped I went out with a flashlight for a closer look. Once again, these guys did an excellent job of making the car look good without fixing the problem. They did a beautiful job of custom fabricating the outer skin on the roof and repainting it but left the rust as it was in the inner roof channel. It's not leaking anymore but it's not fixed the way that I asked for either. I guess I got what I paid for.
     
  14. silverfox

    silverfox New Member

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    I think it's time to sue them for all your money back and take it to a reputable shop.:mad: Sorry that this happened to you, pal.
     
  15. Cyber-Wizard

    Cyber-Wizard Well-Known Member

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    I took the wagon to another, much larger, more reputable body shop and they said that they didn't think it was worth tackling. The outer skin has been repaired and the remaining rust is now inside the car, up in the roof support channel. After chatting with the body guys, and crawling around with a flashlight, I just don't think it's worthwhile to cut the roof open again to cut out the cancer.

    I removed the flaking today and vacuumed out the loose rust to get a look. Since it's inside the car, I think it's as manageable as rust gets and I'm just going to live with it. I coated it with a penetrating, rust inhibiting gel and I think I'm just going to put it out of my mind. It's not going anywhere and, with it coated, it won't likely get any worse especially if this is going to be a summer car. I can always go after it later if the urge takes me. Here's how the car looks now.

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    AFTER
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    The roof repair actually looks much better in person. Here it appears like none of the panels are parallel for some reason. There are a few ripples but it's all covered up by the rubber roof molding. It's actually pretty decent work. I'll still go to a different body shop for the repairs but given the minimal amount they charged me I think it's OK.

    BEFORE
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    AFTER
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    The wheel well repair was really just a patch job so it looks pretty much just like a plate welded over a hole. I can live with that as it will all disappear when I reinstall the interior.
     

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