While the bulkhead
was away, I then decided that I should do something with the frame. Yes it
is galvanized, but, after 8 years of road grime, it began to take its toll
on the coating. There was no rust, but the galvanized coating looked as if
it was flaking. So, I decided that it had to be protected, just as a steel
frame. A healthy coating of Plast-Padding Asphalt Undercoating was applied to
frame. Also, the interior of the frame rails was sprayed with wax-oil
undercoating. This should add a few more years to the galvanized coating.
I'll do yearly inspections of the undercoating and do touch-ups where it is
Next I decided to do some sanding of the body panels. - It may appear to you that I jumped around doing different things with RUR 487, in no organized order, but I did it this way so I wouldn't become bored and say the hell with it. - During my summer vacation, I spent a full week in the garage - 8 in the morning till 7-8 at night - just sanding. I was sanding soo damn hard at first that I actually wore my fingers tips raw! They were bleeding and so sore that I was ready at this point to say the hell with it! My wife said - as a joke - to use her rubber gloves under the sink, see if they help. Did they ever, it was as if I had a second layer of skin on my fingers and so I carried on with the sanding.
I started with 100 grit paper, next was 180 grit paper, then 240 grit paper and finally I finished off with 400 grit paper. I removed all of the paint to bare metal. I'll never do that again, way too much work! The sanding of RUR 487 was the most time consuming thing with this rebuild. My advice, just roughen up the top coat and then spray. Like I said earlier, there was not a sraight panel on RUR 487, so I did use some body filler to fill in a few bad spots. I used also a body repair hammer & die set to reform the metal to the best of my abilities.
At the rear corners, they were so far gone that I was not able to straighten them, so I decided to fabricate some 5 bare alunimium plates to cover them up, actually they smarten up the back pretty good. The lower portions were cut off in a straight line, giving more ground clearance for off-roading.
In the pictures to the right, you can see the cut outs for the front fenders, who ever did them never used a template and they are different sizes. Also the tabs were not given any support ribbing. The front outer panels were so flexable, just a slight amount of pressure had them flexing. I then ran a strip of 3mm thick alunimium plate along the tabs which greatly strenghtened the outer panels. But I'm not happy with the outer panels, on both the front or the back of RUR 487 and one day I will change them back to original.
Getting back to the bulkhead, when I did finally get it back home, I just couldn't leave it alone, it had to go on the frame. But, before installing it, I gave the footwells a generous coating of stone guard then topping that off with a coating of asphalt undercoating. As expected, the bulkhead did warp a little, so the installation wasn't a so straightforward job. I was able to install the frame bolt on the left side then on the right side, I had to use a large piece of 2 X 12 wood as a lever from the ground , against my chest, lifting up with my legs. This allowed my hands to be free to pass the frame bolt through the holes. I would not recommend this proceedure to anybody, my chest was bruised for several days afterward. But, what do you do when your working alone?
Once it was securely bolted to the frame, I then began installing the engine compartment components. I ran into a few problems here also, thanks to the zinc dipping. You know that you read in the Land Rover Magazines, they say to "fill in the captive nuts with silicone" before dipping. WRONG advice! Most galvinizers will not dip a bulkhead that has silicone in it. The reason being, the silicone will contaminate the zinc solution, therfore the bulkhead must be completely bare.
It was suggested to me to put the bolts back in the captive nuts and just remove them when its returned. Simple enough advice, but don't do as I did, and fully insert the bolts. Just insert the bolts enough into the nuts to reach the end, but, not beyond that point! I had zinc on both sides of the bolts and when I tried to remove them, the captive nuts turned to. Had to use the angle grinder to remove the bolt heads and then punched through the bolts. I had to do this at both the heater unit/upper steering securing brace captive nuts, 4 in total. Then my solution to no captive nuts was reasonably simple. I stuck a washer and nut to the closed end of a wrench and gently feed it into the bulkhead cavity. I then carefully inserted a bolt through the required part and the bolt hole in the bulkhead to the waiting washer/bolt combination. This trick worked fine, and I used undercoating to hold the nut and washer to the wrench
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