Oh, Rust!

Saturday . . . time to spend some quality time with the ‘Bird. Now that it’s running reliably, more or less, I can focus on “real” restoration projects: taking things apart, cleaning them up and reassembling them (and hoping it all works).

Valve Cover Restoration
How are you supposed to sand out the loop in the "R"?

The car came with a couple of aftermarket valve covers that I don’t care for–they’re big, a little clunky and hard to keep clean. I also got two pairs of stock-like covers, one set chrome (and rust), the others pretty much all rust now (though I think they used to be blue). The completely rusty set were said to be original, so I set to work on them.

I buffed off as much rust as I could with a wire wheel, then set to work with coarse and medium grit emery cloth. A little bit of this work goes a long way with me–after about an hour, I set the project aside to be enjoyed another day. As you can see from the photo, I made a fair amount of progress with one.

It rained last night and I knew the trunk seal was a little iffy, so I popped the trunk to see how much water came in.

Turns out, it was a lot. Once a dug down through the spare parts to the trunk pan, there was a fair puddle there. Drying it up, it was hard not to notice that most of the trunk pan had long since rotted away; someone in the past did a crude patch job, but there were plenty of peep holes to the ground below. Disappointing, but not a critical item.

Trunk Pan
I once did a roof repair like this. That didn't work, either.

I got out some “elephant snot” rubber seal adhesive, pulled the old seal off, cleaned the whole shebang and glued it all back together properly. The rubber seal was deteriorating a bit, and the channel it sits in was starting to rust in spots as well, but overall the seal went in snugly, and the trunk lid didn’t get glued down permanently when I closed it. (Boy, that glue just gets everywhere.)

Last thing, I swapped out the taillight lenses for a couple of much nicer spares. Inside the housing, I found a bulb socket that was heavily corroded. A little emery cloth and a new bulb and all the taillight elements are now working (and pretty). The old lenses came off in pieces; the new ones are shiny and bright.

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