Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bending brakes and angle grinders

Confession: My sophomore year at Baylor, I was a recluse. Weekends, I'd plant myself on our black vinyl sofa and play Tetris on the SNES until I was crosseyed and sweaty. I would fall asleep aligning blocks that fell endlessly from the blank void of my subconscious. It was French Existentialism in video game form. The relentless, eventually overwhelming march of opposition. Why continue when you know you will lose?

So that's what working sheet metal is like. You remove what seems to be a perfect 2x2" bit of cancerous metal, draw and cut out a replacement from a clean sheet, and lo, it slightly overlaps in one miniscule area. You file it down a hair, only to find there's now a massive gap. So you file a bit more and create a filler patch to complete the expanded gap. Too big. So you start over. And again. And so on. Ad nauseum.

Granted, I'm a total clod when it comes to fine, detail oriented work, so maybe attempting my own body work was a monolithically terrible idea. I do have the steady hands necessary to cleanly weld the patches into place (I've already filled trim holes), just not the dexterity to manufacture the patches. I'm slightly terrified of the windshield base repair.

On the flip side, my bumpers came out great! I flat-blacked the diving boards and refinished the plastic trim with some satin Plastidip spray. I drained the shock mounts so I can bring the entire bumper assembly, front and back, about three inches closer to the body. I'd PREFER a Zender kit, but as rare as they are, when they do sell, they sell for a lot.

My biggest issue is the tail lights.

The red circles are spots that have rusted though. I need to cut it out and replace, but bending new metal to match the surrounds is well beyond my capabilities. I'd not even bother with it, but I want to replace the monstrous plastic tails of the GTV6 with the simpler, more elegant lenses of the previous GTV.

Or I could just roughly patch, then fiberglass and Bondo my way back to some semblance of the original shapes and leave it at that.


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