Thursday, June 21, 2012

200,000 Mile Face Lift

At last, it's complete. About a year ago I started taking my Landcruiser apart so I could take care of some of the cosmetic issues it had. You may think it's very vain of me to care about how it looks, and if you do that's ok. Sit back and enjoy.

I started with some body work that had to happen. Chelsea and I had both been a little abusive to the truck but fortunately, none of the damage was on the metal--only the fiberglass fender flares. A friend at work really came through and helped me do the fiberglass work, but I knew that painting would be expensive. I had seen some guys around putting bedliner on the rocker panels of their trucks and I decided that was the look for me (and the price was much more interesting).

After some research, I decided on Monstaliner. Last year I set aside some money for this so I bought the stuff (almost a whole year ago). Then it sat in the garage while I finished the body work. When that was finally done, my next problem was winter. The coating has to stay above 50°F for 24 hours after application. Another little wrinkle is that it gives off flammable fumes when curing. Basically, if I did it in my garage without the door open, I stood that chance of blowing up the house. (Bad.) So I had to wait for warmer weather and a free weekend. The stars finally aligned.

Last week I was working swing shift so I was determined to use the time to get this done. I knew it had to happen Saturday so Friday night (Early Saturday) I got home and started the prep. I had to wipe it down with MEK (nasty solvent), mask, and scuff prior to the application. As with most paint and other coatings, success or failure has more to do with prep than with the coating itself. Then I hit the sack. A few hours of sleep and a church service project later, I was back at it.

It was pretty tight quarters in the garage, but I'm grateful to have the space.

I didn't want to get the coating on the rubber welting between the fender flares and the body. I used some 5mm masking tape I picked up in Japan for doing plastic models. I knew it would come in handy some day.

Here's another masking detail. I had to take off most of the trim panels to get to where I could mask it.

This is after the scuff step. The kit came with a scuff pad that was like a scotch brite on steroids. You got to hear that scrapey metal sound when you were doing it. Normally you would be sick if you heard that kind of sound on your car. Note the slight change of color in the scuffed area.

Here is the completed first coat. So far so good.

Finished first coat on the other side.

Here's a close up of the rear door fender flare.

That Monstaliner was some nasty stuff. It was a two-part mix and I only needed half of it, so I bought this bucket to mix it in. As the coating cured it didn't bond to the bucket at all. It made cleanup pretty easy, though. I just waited for it to dry, then pull it out of the bucket. (I was planning on throwing the bucket away, anyway.)

And here's the finished product. I had a bunch of the trim panels off for the last several months, so it was good to have it back. The face-lift also included repainting the metal parts of the running boards with a glossy finish Hammerite, and getting a new trailer hitch.

It's nice to have it all back in one piece. This finally completes a look I began to envision more than two years ago.

Thanks for looking!


At 1:59 PM, Blogger Chelsea said...

Very Sexy!


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