Baja Rebuild Diary - May
More News About My Baja 22th May 2001

I figured that I'd better update my diary. During the last month I haven't gotten very far on my baja. This has been due to bad weather, bad luck and bad health.

I caught the flu the Friday before a long weekend, in which I had planned to do a lot of work. My illness continued through the week and into the next weekend. So I lost a lot of valuable working on car time. I also had planned to do some outdoor sand blasting of some bits and pieces, but it rained, so I couldn't. I also tried to get my body taken to a my friends workshop for paint prep, but the tow truck was too big and couldn't get through our front gates

So with all those problems, I got a little bit done, and also found more problems.

  • I continued pulling the car to pieces. It is now in just about as many bits as possible. the floor pan is bare so that I can move it about and work on it.

  • I cleaned my front end and checked it. It has cracks which are caused by rusted sections, so I'd prefer not to use it. I cleaned all the paint from around the adjusters, as I planned on cutting them out and welding them into my spare front end.

  • I cleaned and sandblasted my spare front end. I was inspecting it for cracks and rust. It looked perfect with no rust, so I was started to feel better. I then sand blasted a little more, and then stood back and looked at it. hmmmm. hmmmmm. Oh. Son of a b*tch. I had just noticed that my spare front end was bent. Bent enough to be seen with the naked eye. I can't believe I didn't notice it before. I held a straight bar beside it, wow it's really bent.

  • Now I must decide what to do about the front end. I could patch the rust in mine (never works in the long term), buy another front end (it'd probably be rusted or bent too), or try to straighten the spare front end in a hydraulic press. I have decided that this weekend I'm going to try to straighten the spare front end in my friends hydraulic press.

  • I cleaned the floor pan, scraped off old body deadening panels, checked for rust. I found that the only place with rust was under the battery. It hadn't caused any holes, it had just thinned the metal. I decided to cut the battery section out with an air-chisel, and then I welded in a metal patch, which I cut from an old Subaru bonnet.

  • I pulled to bell housings off my two kombi gearboxes to inspect them for obvious damage and/or gear teeth in the oil. I found that the 1700 box had a lot of water in the oil, which had started to rust the diff gear carrier. I also suspect there is something wrong in the gearbox section, but at least I didn't find any teeth. The 1800 box seemed to be better. There was only oil in the oil, no teeth, only a little bit of metal on the magnetic drain plug. I will have to inspect it further.

  • I ordered, waited, and then picked up a new baja cheetah kit. My old one had some cracks in the guards that I didn't want to come back through the new paint job, so I opted for a new kit. The new kit was pretty rough, well very rough. The mould was really old, and obviously had lots of stress cracks in it. Obviously because the cracks in the mould had transferred into the gel coat on the baja kit. So basically the kit looks really bad because the gel coat has crack lines moulded into it all over the place. It is going to take days of sanding and filling to get the kit to a usable standard.

More News About My Baja 29th May 2001

I didn't get as much as I would've liked done over the weekend. I tried to get the floor pan back to bare metal (or as close as I thought practical). I tried sand blasting, which removed most of the old paint, but some just wouldn't budge. Mainly the layers of fish oil, and body deadener.
The body deadener on the top of the pan was the worst. I had to scrap it off with an old wood chisel. Since I had to do it for the entire top half of the pan, it took ages. After hours and hours of work, I eventually got the pan is pretty good condition for painting.

While I had the pan bare, I decided that I'd better weld up the small cracks that I had forming here and there, and just do general repairs.
I sprayed rust convertor (using a kero gun) into the chassis tunnel, as it had a little bit of rust scale. I also sprayed the entire outside of the pan.
After the rust convertor had done it's job, I clean the excess off. Then I cleaned the whole pan with turps.

I then sprayed the pan with anti-corrosive primer. After it had dried I sprayed it charcoal hammer tone. Unfortunately the paint didn't like the time of day at which I had been forced to paint (dusk). The nozzle kept clogging, so I tried thinning, but it didn't help. So the hammer tone will have to be done again next weekend.