1952 FORD F1 PICKUP CAR RESTORATION PROJECT
1952 Ford Truck Restoration Part 7 — Making the Hood Ready for Paint
In the last article we detailed the removal of everything attached to the hood. Once it was stripped of those components we began stripping to bare metal to assess the condition of the welded sections and get it ready for new paint. First things first, of course, and that meant stripping the underside.
Why the underside first? For several reasons, actually, the primary one being that it's the most complex part of the hood, with lots of hidden surfaces and visible corrosion. Second, if we strip and prime the top first we'll only scratch it up when we work on the underside. Once stripped, the hood could be coated with etching primer and put away until the completed truck body is ready for painting .
Looking at the underside, there's a welded stiffening plate/latch platform on the underside of the hood's nose that was particularly ugly. There was a lot of corrosion along the weld so we brushed on a coat of paint stripper to clean off the first layers of paint and accumulated crud. After the stripper bubbled the paint we cleaned it off with coarse steel wool
This is where we started on the underside of the hood.
After our first application of paint stripper, we cleaned the area with coarse steel wool.
Next, we wire brushed the area to take off leftover paint and loose oxidation. This revealed the extent of corrosion. Fortunately, only the surface of the metal was pitted. Structurally the platform was fine, so we decided to clean it up as well as possible with stiff wire brushes and the grinder, then coat with some metal prep (phosphoric acid). Later we'd spread a light coat of body filler over the pitted areas to smooth out the surface.
We cleaned the surface further with the help of a wire brush.
Next came the unpleasant part: stripping the whole underside. The area under the nose is covered by the valence panel that attaches to the platform above, which means the area is not visible when finished. The good news, therefore, is that we didn't have to get the surface perfectly smooth. The bad news is that we needed to clean the entire area of rust, dirt and loose paint without actually being able to see what we were doing. We accomplished this task through the use of bright light, mirrors and tools that included wire brushes, scrapers and sandpaper.
After some grinding, and coating with metal prep, the hood is starting to look better.
Tip: keep lots of hand tools close by for operations like this. You'll invariably need scrapers, steel wool, wire brushes, putty knives, razor blades and, well, just about everything.
Satisfied that we had cleaned the area as well as could be expected we coated everything with Oxysolve, an old, well-known product from Eastwood, that stabilizes rusted metal. We first applied Oxysolve with a sponge to wet down the surface, then stuck paper towels to it and soaked the towels with more of the solution, using a spray bottle. We did so to prevent the Oxysolve from drying out, allowing the chemical action to penetrate well into the metal surface. We left everything overnight and then removed the towels. The rust was now "stopped" and we could go on to the rest of the hood.
We used Oxysolv to remove the rust in the tight spots where we couldn't mechanically remove it.
The original paint on the hood's underside was very well adhered. We could have left it there and repainted, but we wanted to observe the condition of the metal. After experimenting on a small area using stripper and sandpaper, we decided on stripping the paint mechanically. To be more specific, we wanted to try out another product, 3M's Bristle Disc, sold by Eastwood. These discs' fibers are impregnated with abrasive. The idea is that they cut like a wire brush, with fresh abrasive hitting the surface as the fibers wear.
How did it work? Very well indeed! It took a bit of practice to get a "feel" for using it correctly, and you have to be careful not to hit sharp edges (that tends to shorten the life of the bristles,) but the entire surface area of the hood's underside was stripped to bare metal in less than 10 minutes.
Quick work was made of mechanically stripping the underside of the hood. Note use of the dustmask whenever you're in a dusty environment.
Obviously, the bristle disc couldn't get at the tricky areas, so a fair amount of hand sanding was needed to get the entire surface ready for priming. That took about another hour, not counting the cleanup of all the dust and debris on the floor of the garage.
Onward To The Top
Stripping the outside of the hood was pretty easy. We coated it with chemical stripper rather than using the bristle disc because the surface was, overall, rather flat and we wanted the opportunity to do a comparison test of strippers (see our article on testing several chemical strippers, entitled "Take It Off, Take It All Off") We went off to do some other chores for several hours to allow the stripper to work, then came back to inspect the chemical action. Satisfied that the chemicals had done their work, we scraped off the loose stuff with putty knife and scrapers, catching it on newspapers spread on the floor under the hood. Strippers almost never get through multiple coats of paint the first time, so the process was repeated.
After several hours, the paint stripper had caused the paint to bubble.
Now the messy part begins. We scraped the old paint off with our scraper. Keep lots of old newspapers handy to control the mess.
The topcoat came off easily, revealing the original blue finish and some body filler work that needed to be removed. A second brushing with stripper took off most of the paint and revealed the original primer. Wiping down the surface with steel wool — dipped in stripper — and then with mineral spirits, resulted in our ability to see the quality of the metal, virtually all of which was very good but in need of straightening and surface preparation.
Slowly making progress.
There were dents and dings everywhere! Getting out the body hammers we pounded out everything (within our level of skill) to as flat a surface as possible. After cleaning the metal once more we mixed up some body filler and spread the areas thinly, so as not to build up the surface too high.
We pounded out minor dings, and put on a thin coat of body filler to smooth things out.
Next came the sanding. Using 100 grit paper on pad sanders we smoothed off the entire hood surface, being extra careful to match any contours where body filler was added. Afterward, we wiped off the dust and washed the surface down with Prep Sol and then with DuPont's Quick Prep, a mixture of phosphoric acid and alcohol. A final wipe with a tack rag and we were ready for a coat of filler/primer, which we had mixed up and poured into our paint gun. It took only a few minutes to spray the [relatively small] hood surfaces and the project was done, at least for the time being.
After final sanding, cleaning and tacking, the hood is ready to receive primer.
Reflections in the wet primer show that some minor imperfections still exist. We will deal with them during our final paint prep.