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  1. #201
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    525
    Well I am modifying the hood and fenders and doing a full respray afterwards so a realignment is definitively in the cards.



    I'll post up a more thorough build thread later on.
    Manuel Scettri
    ------------------------------------------------
    1973 Firebird - Pontiac 455
    1990 2 Door 4Runner - byebye
    1990 2 Door 4Runner - byebye
    2016 KIA Sportage diesel - The Daily Driver


  2. #202
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Florida
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    I've gotten ahead of my progress posts so I've got to catch up. Below are pics of the splitter/air dam combinations I'll be testing. Not sure if there'll be any issues with using cable supports which might allow the splitter to oscillate or bounce. If there are issues I'll install solid splitter supports.

    The contraption in it's current configuration adds about 27 lbs to the nose of the car. This includes a lot of hardware weight I'll eliminate if it works as planned. The splitter easily supports my full wieght with just 2 of the cables in place. The hinging ability works and so in theory might save me from wrecking it. Front sections of various lengths can be slid into place in just a couple minutes. I started making plastic pieces to mate the original air dam and wheel flares with the splitter and will finish them when I determine the exact heights I'll try the splitter at once the car is assembled and on the ground with full weight. 3/8" plywood is being used for testing the front sections and I may use a different material later if everything functions as I'd like once road tested.












  3. #203
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Florida
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    Continuing to catch up on posting progress I'll move on to the front brake duct cooling system.

    The Baer brakes are large by huge 14" rotors with 6 piston calipers. The rotors are the curved vane type which are designed to move air from the rotor hat through the hollow vanes in the rotor to cool the rotor as long as it's turning. I want to have additional cooling ducts ta aid cooling for several reasons.

    A. The aero changes I'm making will reduce the air exchange in the wheel wells. So that might contribute to the rotors, pads and calipers heating more than without the aero changes.

    B. I'm running 285 front tires on 18" X 10" wheels that just barely clear the calipers. So the calipers and rotors are kind of shrouded by the wheels which might reduce cooling.

    C. With the Yokohama AO 48 DOT R sticky tires I can brake harder during threshold braking before lock up than I would be able to with higher tread wear tires so more heat is generated.

    D. Keeping the rotors and pads cooler should extend their life.

    E The car is is stock bodied with no lightweight fiberglass or carbon fiber and propelled by an iron headed Pontiac engine so at 3500 lbs + it's no featherweight race car, yet I'll treat it like one on track.

    Here's the basics of what I've done.

    1. Remove the speed sensor mount to open up more space for a 3" brake duct hose.

    2. Make backing plate for the rotor hat that has minimal clearance with a tube to attach the hose.

    3. To attach the backing plate I used a threaded boss in the spindle (supplied by Baer with their package) and drilled then tapped two bolt holes in the caliper abutment so the backing plate has three bolts holding it.

    4. Modified a couple dashboard vent ducts from mid 80's GM trucks so the 3" brake duct hose would fit on them. They're slightly too big for the duct hose stock so a few V cuts and they can be squeezed just enough to get the hoses on.

    5. Mounted the duct opening vents in the core support up high right next to the radiator on each side. This is a high pressure area behind the grills which isn't affected by the bow wave at the very front of the bumper or air dam. I'd originally planned on using the park/turn signal openings however a discussion with Ron Sutton about the bow wave influence and the reduction of pressure on the splitter just below the signal opening caused me to change plans.

    6. I've built everything using 3" 300 degree brake duct tubing. It's a tight fit by the outer tie rods and sway bar ends snaking a 3" tube in there with such wide wheels/tires. I checked turning radius, suspension travel considerations, and such but I may find that I need to downsize to 2" tubing. So I'm going to test with the 3" and if all's good make a prettier set of backing plates welded instead of riveted. If there's clearance issues I'll move down to 2" ducts and add inline fans.

    Here's the pics!

    Spindle with speed sensor mount in pic below.



    Speed sensor mount removed (but opposite spindle).



    White line in pic below shows how much of the rotor hat is blocked by spindle arms, caliper brackets, and abutments.


















  4. #204
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Florida
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    I wanted to seal off the openings on the top of the cowl where fresh air enters. This will increase air pressure on the top of the cowl so I'll get more down force in conjunction with a new hood to cowl seal which will be installed after final paint. I decided to use a reproduction screen I already had and modify it to seal off the openings. I used 3/32 EPDM rubber sheet and it's held in place with # 10 - 5/8"Phillips pan head screws and nylock nuts with 3/16" body washers to spread out the clamping force. The higher the air pressure, the tighter the seal will be. The car very rarely ever gets wet so I'm not concerned too much with drainage but if I'm on a trip and it rains I'll just pop the screen out.

    Here's the pics!








  5. #205
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Florida
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    Continuing my efforts to manage under hood airflow and pressure I wanted to seal off the inner fender wells above the frame. The stock inner fenders have a factory installed "splash shield" which helps separate the air in the inner fender from the engine compartment. I wanted to take that a step farther. So I made up some patterns and used 1/8" EPDM rubber sheet to more effective seals. I'm going to be running the modified stock upper control arms for a while after reassembly but plan on eventually switching to upper and lower arms that will allow more positive castor and negative camber so I'll need to reconfigure the seals. With that inn mind I'll be using threaded hardware to hold the seals during assembly after paint now but may use pop rivets to save a little weight when the tubular arms are installed.

    Stock splash guard in pic below. Note the gaps to the inner fender well not only around the control arm but also where there was no stock shield between frame and inner fender.



    Pics below show pattern making and the new seals in place.








  6. #206
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Florida
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    The inner fender extensions on the 70-73 birds rusted out pretty easily and over the years I've seen a lot of cars missing them completely. It's a part some might just consider part of the crash protection crumple zone or be considered more of a splash guard. However it's also a part that affects aero. Without it the air coming under the front air dam collides with the air in the wheel well and seeks a place to go. I believe that the air will flow through the opening into the area behind the core support.

    Twenty five years ago when I first built the car reproductions weren't available and I didn't really have a way to make replacements. I cut off the bottom of one of them because the rust had eaten it all up while the other had rust holes but wasn't as bad. Eventually I got a better (but not great) set off a parts car and planned on installing them.... Ya, never got around to that, and they disappeared along the way. Reproductions are available now, but I have the ability to make them so I did. If it was a customer car I'd have installed repros because of the fabrication labor time, but since it's my car I made them.






  7. #207
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Florida
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    The core support of the early 2nd gens had a lot of gaps on the sides and top as well as large openings for the bumper supports to pass through it. I wanted to seal these areas off to keep the air out which should reduce under hood air pressure and increase the difference in pressure in front/back of the radiator which will help the radiator be most efficient.

    Now those of you with early 2nd's might go look at the car and think pffft there's only an inch gap here and there and the holes for the bumper supports. However even though they're not directly open to the front of the car the cavity between the core support and the bumper/splash pan is one of (if not the) highest air pressure areas on the car. So the air is trying to get past the core support through the gaps as fast as it can. This is the same principal of why the brake cooling duct openings are placed in the core support rather than on the splash pan.

    So how big are the gaps really? I added them all up, then recalculated thinking I must be wrong but no.... Imagine a hole this big in the core support letting air in!



    The bottom of the core support is bolted tight to the lower edge of the splash pan sealing it. So the sides, top, and bumper openings are where I needed seals. To seal the sides and bumper holes I used 3/32 EPDM rubber sheet and pop riveted it in place. 3/16" aluminum rivets with 3/16" body washers.









    To seal the top of the core support I used the same rubber but with plastic push pin fasteners for a more finished factory look. All of the seals will become tighter as air pressure increases forward of the core support with speed.




  8. #208
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    631
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    John,
    Cool stuff! that's a big hole!
    thanks
    Pat

  9. #209
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    128
    John,
    It's been almost 4 months. What, did you get a 9 to 5 job or something? Working too hard to take pictures? Inquiring minds want updates!

    ;^)

    The former client...

  10. #210
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Chicago
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    2,291
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlodad View Post
    John,
    It's been almost 4 months. What, did you get a 9 to 5 job or something? Working too hard to take pictures? Inquiring minds want updates!

    ;^)

    The former client...

    Okay that made me laugh.

    Well John what gives ?
    marty-mj
    High Speed Welding KDHotrods RecoveryRoomInteriors WegnerAutomotive Autometer Ride-Tech

  11. #211
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    128
    Glad you got a chuckle. the intent wasn't really to bother John, just to motivate him to post updates.

    ;^)

  12. #212
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Florida
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    2,354
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    As rlodad knows the interior of my house was destroyed during a burglary and subsequent flood many years ago and insurance wouldn't pay so I've been working on that a bit. Then a tornado came along a couple weeks ago and made even more work for me by snapping off trees and what not however I've been working on the bird a lot. Haven't posted updates because I'm working on a bunch of different things concurrently. Subframe and engine/trans been in and out several times, rear suspension & axle in & out, front end sheet metal and bumper fitted aligned and now in final primer, modified subframe connectors, fabricated additional braces for PTFB G braces, fabricated cowl reinforcement, UCA mount mods, prepped cage for paint, mocked up new sidepipes and fabricated mounts, fabricated mounts for the full under tray/diffuser, modified brake pedal assembly for manual twin master set up, etc. etc. etc.

    Most of the work I've been doing is smaller parts of larger segments of the build and it seems silly to post about little (but time consuming) things until I can show everything about that segment. Like say modifying the brake pedal assembly, might as well wait till I have the twin master and balance bar etc. installed to show it. I've finished all the modifications and additional bracing for the adjustable G-brace install. New components are fabricated and painted. Will post about that this week. Car's currently disassembled back to just the shell on cribs as seen in pic below I took this morning. Couple belly pan mounts to weld on the subframe and I'll paint it this week.


  13. #213
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    128
    Excuse accepted. Glad the rumors of your untimely demise are unfounded...

  14. #214
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    Mar 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlodad View Post
    Excuse accepted. Glad the rumors of your untimely demise are unfounded...
    Don't worry! I've been busy. First up for updates, G brace and modifications for them!

    G braces have been around since Herb Adams & his crew were racing 2nd gens back in the early 70's. The basic brace idea itself was/is a good concept which triangulates the front sub frame to the upper cowl. This reduces deflection of the stock sub frame and stiffens up the overall platform so suspension and steering components can do their job better.

    The Pro-Touring F-Body Gen II adjustable G-braces shown here evolved from the simple early braces and are a great product. They're a very stout design with a nice adjustable feature that allows them to be easily installed on most 2nd gen F body's. The braces are actually much stronger than the cars they're being installed in and that is the focus of this post. By modifying the points where the forces transferred by the G-braces act on the cowl, upper control arm mounting bolt, upper control arm mount, and sub frame we can make the G braces function even better whan the car is pushed to it's limits.

    In my opinion G-braces should only be used on cars with solid body mounts as a minimum, and preferably have sub frame connectors also. Doing any of the modifications discussed in this post without solid body mounts is a waste of time and money (even if you think it looks cool). Additionally, if you're not really pushing the limits of the car at auto-X, hill climbs, or on road race tracks it's doubtful the benefits of most of this additional bracing would be noticed. However I do believe the upper control arm bolt support would be a good addition to any car with any type of G-brace that uses the upper control arm cross shaft mounting bolt as the G-brace lower mounting point.

    So here's my list of areas that can use a bit of improvement and what I've done. I hope this helps for those who might want to copy what I've done or come up with better ideas. As with most things the evolution will continue.

    Also for those wondering, Dave at PTFB has been kept in the loop while I was designing/prototyping all these things. You can expect a new bolt on center upper G-brace to cowl support to be available from PTFB very soon. Top secret at the moment so I can't disclose details but Dave should be announcing soon. Where the ones shown below only fit low valve cover Pontiac set ups the PTFB one's will fit multiple applications for those with tall covers, LS engines etc.

    1. Upper cowl where G-braces attach is three pieces of sheet metal spot welded together. The G brace mounts are almost centered on the large air openings on the top of the cowl which are the weakest areas. Also the drivers side G brace is in the area of the cowl recessed for the windshield wiper motor allowing more flex in that section of the spot welded ledge the brace is mounted to.

    Improvement 1. A strip of 1/8" steel plate above and below ledge creating a sandwich and bolted through the pinch welded area. Stiffens the ledge and spreads the force from the brace over a much wider area. Creates a wider thickness for shear forces transferred through the bolts to act on by doubling (or rmore) the thickness of the ledge. Provides a strong section in the center of the cowl ledge where the top of the cowl is stiffer for the additional centered mount triangulation braces I made that do not come with G-braces. The additional braces also provide lateral support. I used bolts but the sandwich plates could be welded in place.

    2. Stock upper control arm mount is made of 3/16" steel. It can flex and those of you who've examined them probably noticed that they've deformed over the years a bit around the forward UCA bolt hole from bumping parking blocks, tightening during alignment, or whatever. If your car's apart put a straight edge on the UCA shaft mounting face and you'll see what I'm talking about. The stock UCA bolts were splined for an interference fit. Often on the cars after many years the interference fit has been widened by movement and the splines don't engage tight any more.

    Improvement 2. Weld a piece of 1/8" flat plate to the face of the UCA mount. Most of us with track cars are already running a bunch of shims on the front and rear UCA shaft bolts to get as much positive castor and negative camber as we can. The 1/8" plate eliminates one shim front/rear and eliminates one surface where things could slip/move.. The 1/8" welded plate increases the thickness of the mount to 5/16 which is a 66% increase and stiffens the mount. Additionally it gives a thicker more solid base for larger splined UCA shaft mounting studs/bolts.

    3. The stock UCA shaft bolts are 1/2" with a small splined base. Their intended use was to clamp the UCA shaft to the mount and accept forces applied in compression and tension. They were not intended to receive shear forces trying to wiggle and tip the bolt. With G-braces the shear forces applied by the braces are at roughly 90 degrees to the bolt AND the force is not at the base where the splines are but away the thickness of the shims and control arm shaft so leverage is involved increasing the possibility of tipping or wiggling the bolt.

    Improvement 3. ARP 1/2" wheel studs with a wide spline base to replace stock UCA shaft bolts. The wide base makes the bolt more stable and spreads force over a bigger area. The spline area is also deeper which combined with the additional thickness provided by the 1/8" plate welded to the mount keeps the bolt more stable. The wheel studs are also longer allowing shims etc. to run a lot of negative camber while still easily double nutting the bolts with grade 8 nuts to prevent loosening. The ARP long studs are stronger and also allow space to utilize an additional support for the stud to transfer force to the frame horns ahead of the UCA mounts.

    Additional improvement. Adjustable UCA bolt brace between the front UCA bolt/stud and the frame on roughly the same angle as the main tube of the G-brace.. This support transfers loads from the G-brace to the front frame horns reducing the load on the spline section of the UCA bolt by providing additional support on the other side of the G-brace to help prevent tipping or wiggling of the UCA bolt/stud. I feel this is the most beneficial modification and recommend it to anyone using any style of G braces that use the UCA mounting bolt as the lower attachment point.

    Pic below is an overview showing everything mocked up but not yet fully adjusted and tightened. The sub frame will need to come out for paint after other modifications are done. The bolts and nuts are all serrated flange locking fasteners excluding the ARP studs & grade 8 nuts used for the UCA shaft mount. On the cowl, the top of the G-braces are fastened with 7/16" bolts and the other bolts (including the additional upper braces) are all 3/8". The lower supports for the UCA bolts are fastened to the frame with 1/2" serrated flange nuts/bolts.



    Pic below shows the 1/8" thick plate welded to the UCA shaft mounting surface. Note the thickness where the splines of the stud will hold the bolt more securely.



    Pic below shows the difference between a stock mounting bolt for the UCA shaft and an ARP wheel stud used to replace them. You can see how the wider deeper spline section will support the bolt more rigidly.



    Pic below shows how the additional upper supports are attached to the PTFB Gen II adjustable G-braces and the angle of the lower support that is attached to the UCA bolt and sub frame.



    Pics below show the drivers side lower support. The unused mount on the steering box has to be cut off to provide clearance for the mounting bolt through the frame. I used 1/2" mounting bolts so I'd have a wide surface area which need to be ground down a bit for steering box clearance. Everything's close but fits. Careful marking of where the frame mounting bolt hole needs to be is critical on the drivers side. Passenger side there's plenty of room.






    Pic below shows all the pieces used for the upgrades described that do not come with a set of PTFB Gen II adjustable G-braces.



  15. #215
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    Mar 2007
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    With everything mocked up and the last welding done to the sub frame I sandblasted it. Followed the blasting by shooting it with epoxy primer then regular high build primer followed by sanding then gloss black acrylic enamel.










  16. #216
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Orlando, FL
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOT A TA View Post
    Pic below shows all the pieces used for the upgrades described that do not come with a set of PTFB Gen II adjustable G-braces.

    John, will you or Dave be selling this as an upgrade kit?

    I still have the Gen I G-braces, but can already see where everything but the additional upper supports would be an improvement!

    I see a market for a Gen I upgrade kit and a Gen II upgrade kit!

    Nicely done my friend!!
    SMSgt Ty Ingle, USAF
    "CF71" - Freedom Bird
    Hoodpins.com, Inland Empire Driveline, Billet Accessories Direct, Modo Innovations, AutoRad Radiators, Morris Classic Concepts, Marquez Design, Anvil Auto, Fesler Billet, US Collision (DOOM), AGR Performance, Pro-touringF-body.com, Phoenix Transmission Products, Shiftworks, ACC Carpet, Hedman Hedders, BMR Fabrication, American Autowire, MityMounts, TIN INDIAN Performance, Kauffman Racing Equipment, Pypes, RobbMc Performance, WMC, Holley, NOS, PST

  17. #217
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    Mar 2007
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    Dave's been working on a clamp on upper cross brace design that adds triangulation to the center of the cowl. The upper triangulation brace pieces will be available as an upgrade for the PTFB Gen II cross brace sold in the past and as a package with a cross brace. Unfinished unpainted prototype of the brace he's been working on is below. I believe it's probably aluminum so should be lighter than the custom ones I made for my car.

    We've discussed whether one of us should make some of the other parts available. Initially I'll be making small quantities of the lower braces that fit between the UCA mounting bolt and frame horn. I'm not sure that there would be enough of a demand for them to have regular production runs since they're not a quick simple bolt on installation. Meanwhile Dave's considering making sandwich plates for the cowl ledge to work with the Gen II products. Will send you a PM with more info when I have it Ty.


  18. #218
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    Mar 2007
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    Florida
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    When I had the roll cage in my car fabricated 7-8 years ago I removed a lot of the interior, took the car to the fab shop where they built the cage, and then I painted the cage and reassembled the interior. I spent a lot of time trying to mask off the dash, headliner, and other interior bits that hadn't been removed so I could spray the cage. I found it extremely difficult (OK impossible) to get everything masked off and try to figure out a way to spray the cage with the windshield and rear window in the car. It just couldn't be done. So I ended up painting the cage with a brush Using PPG DBI (base coat with activator) then sanding the brush marks smooth, then sanding, then painting, then sanding, and painting again until I had several coats on. The DBI is for use without a clear coat. It came out fine overall but it just didn't look the way I envisioned at the start. There were brush marks and other little things I'd notice that bugged me although probably no one else ever noticed with all the roll cage padding etc. in place.

    Since I've got everything out of the car except the headliner (bow type), shifter, and some wires this was the time to spray the cage since the dash windows etc. are all out. So I sanded down the previously applied paint and shot it with the same color PPG Deltron Silver Frost base coat followed by PPG Global Matte clearcoat. For those of you who've never painted a cage, it sucks. I don't remember it being any easier when I was 40 years younger and although I'm still slender and agile, a contortionist I am not. However the cage came out the way I wanted it to the first time and I'm happy with the results.


  19. #219
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    Mar 2007
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    Florida
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    I'm finally nearing the end of bodywork and paint prep. Got the doors in final primer which were the last big parts of the steel body panels and am currently sanding all of the small pieces that are in final primer (about 50) to be ready for sealer/paint. There's lots of different materials used in the construction of all the smaller pieces. Cast metal, stamped steel, various types of plastics, fiberglass, and the Endura bumper. The bumper caused me lots of lost time and materials.

    The first time I painted the car 25 years ago I used 3M flexible material repair products followed by the old type lacquer primer followed by epoxy primer and top coated with acrylic enamel. Worked great and still looks good on my original bumper. I bought a new (used) bumper about 20 years ago with the intention of modifying when I got around to it, which is during this rebuild. The bumper had several layers of primers and paints over the the original paint. It was all cracked and crappy looking so I blasted and hand sanded it to bare Endura.

    I modified the bumper by filling the bumper jack slots and trimming the lower lip and then proceeded to use the modern version of the 3M flexible repair material to repair lifting Endura and make it smooth. Then primed with PPG K-38, blocked, primed, and blocked till it was straight with very little primer on it. Then laid a couple medium wet coats of K-38 reduced for final prime and set the bumper aside to allow materials to shrink back while working on other parts. Knowing the bumper was going to get flexed moving it around off the car while working on it I used a flex agent in the primers to slow down full curing. When final primed I put the bumper in a safe place in the house to allow full curing and shrink back.. A year or so later I pulled it out to mock up all the front end sheet metal on the car and the "final" primer was all cracked.

    I asked at my local paint supply store where I buy all my materials and they had no real positive answer as to why the final prime cracked. I'd gone through the same procedures with lots of other flexible parts for this car as well as modern cars and never had the final prime crack. The only difference was the use of a flex agent. SO, it was time to start from scratch.

    I stripped off all the primer and repair materials I'd put on the bumper and proceeded to go through the process all over again. Those of you who have sanded Endura bumpers know this is not fun at all because for some weird reason it seems to take twice as long to sand anything on an Endura bumper. This time the bumper was on the car with all the front end sheet metal aligned so I could work it so the panel alignment from bumper to fenders and hood was nice and smooth sanding across the panel gap. I did not use any flex agent in the primers and used PPG Omni primer for the blocking coats to reduce cost a bit then used K-38 reduced for the final prime. It looked perfect, so I set it aside in the house to shrink back and fully cure. I moved on to the G-brace mock up.

    Several months later I needed to move the bumper out of the house overnight so I stuck it in the garage. In the morning I went to retrieve the bumper and found the cracked primer you see in the pics below. GRRRRRR! So I put the bumper in the truck and zipped up the street to the paint store. They related that a restoration shop they supply was having the same problems on a GTO Endura bumper. A quick internet search showed that others had similar problems when using the modern high fill primers like the PPG Omni and K-38. The general consensus is not to use a high fill but rather an epoxy primer for blocking sanding etc. on Endura. So I sanded all the primer off by hand then sprayed it with PPG DP48LF epoxy primer the paint store guys gave me for free because they felt bad and knew how much time and materials I already had in the bumper. It's now almost ready for "final?" prime with reduced epoxy primer.

    Apparently the thin Lacquer primer and epoxy primer I used 25 years ago was fine but the Endura bumper expansion/contraction rate is different enough from the rate of the high build primer that it causes the cracking? We'll see...... Tough lesson as I now refer to it as the $3,000.00 bumper because I've got over 100 hours in it plus a couple hundred dollars worth of blasting media, panel bond, flexible repair material, and many coats of primer that ended up on the floor. K-38 is 300 bucks a gallon!

    So here's the pics. I put some dry guide coat magic dust on the cracks so you can see them in the pics. If it doesn't work out this time I'm gonna buy a fiberglass bumper. Last pic is blocking out the final prime on the shaker scoop, most of the other small pieces are done with blocking and ready for sealer/paint!








  20. #220
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    Sep 2004
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    Orlando, FL
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    Are you going to fill/smooth the license plate mounting spot like we did on mine?
    SMSgt Ty Ingle, USAF
    "CF71" - Freedom Bird
    Hoodpins.com, Inland Empire Driveline, Billet Accessories Direct, Modo Innovations, AutoRad Radiators, Morris Classic Concepts, Marquez Design, Anvil Auto, Fesler Billet, US Collision (DOOM), AGR Performance, Pro-touringF-body.com, Phoenix Transmission Products, Shiftworks, ACC Carpet, Hedman Hedders, BMR Fabrication, American Autowire, MityMounts, TIN INDIAN Performance, Kauffman Racing Equipment, Pypes, RobbMc Performance, WMC, Holley, NOS, PST

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