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RayS

Getting a 20+ Year Old Mustang Challenge

Question

I have never shied away from a challenge and while I'm passionate about Mustangs, I do have an overall requirement that they have to be Red.  I have been presented with a Mustang Challenge with a Fall 1997 (98 model year) convertible that I am pretty sure the only washing has been when it rained.  It has lived its life outside in the South Carolina sun since it was purchased.

 

The worst area is the hood, the first picture shows the entire hood and the second is more of a close up of the hood.  The rest of the car isn't terrible, but wow - Mustang Abuse without a doubt.  I know there are some stone chips, which I'm not overly worried about, what I don't know is what the real condition of the paint is.  Maybe there is enough dirt covering it, that it isn't as bad as it looks, I just don't know yet.  I have plenty of experience with Red vehicles, so at least I know what Red is supposed to look like - this isn't it...

 

My plan of attack is to wash it, properly, which will probably be a 6 or 8 bucket wash with this much crud on it.   Given that it has not been taken care of for over 20 years, should I start with a regular shampoo wash, Strip wash or Diluted APC wash?  It will be about two weeks before the car is in my driveway to start working on and I have access to it to take additional pictures if anyone has any they would like to see that might help with the some guidance. 

 

Much appreciate any and all feedback.

Mustang Hood.jpeg

Mustang Hood Closeup.jpeg

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I would do a regular wash and then a strip wash. Looks like you have your work cut out for you. Interested to see the results. Good luck and keep us posted. 

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Skip the strip wash entirely. It’s somewhat of a step that isn’t entirely necessary. The prep process will ensure any waxes and such are removed regardless. There’s a reason many manufacturers don’t make a strip wash like product. We don’t even use a strip wash. Couple that with the fact that this vehicle has been neglected and there’s no surface protection to strip off anyway. 

 

I would foam it. A lot. Let that foam really dwell before rinsing. I’d use a pressure washer. It’s going to need to be polished out anyway so if you induce a little damage with a high pressure rinse, you’ll be getting at it anyway. 

 

I would use a clay pad on a polisher with plenty of lube. You can rinse the pads when they get dirty. Regular clay will get dirty way too quick with this. And again, marring will be handled with polishing. 

 

Pads...you’re going to need a bunch of them. So stock up. 

 

Patience is something else you’ll need a ton of. 

 

Once you get the paint decontaminated, you’ll know more about how far you can take it. 

 

Good luck. 

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Thank you all for the feedback.  @shane@detailedreflections specific to your statement about patience, I have lots of it and plenty of time on this one.  Once the washing is complete it will get moved into the garage and can be there for as long as needed.  

 

I'm working on an order and it will include multiple pads. I'll make sure I keep a record of the actions and pictures of the outcomes as it progresses.

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2 hours ago, RayS said:

Thank you all for the feedback.  @shane@detailedreflections specific to your statement about patience, I have lots of it and plenty of time on this one.  Once the washing is complete it will get moved into the garage and can be there for as long as needed.  

 

I'm working on an order and it will include multiple pads. I'll make sure I keep a record of the actions and pictures of the outcomes as it progresses.

 

Buy way more pads than you think you’ll use. That’s going to consume pads rapidly. 

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5 hours ago, shane@detailedreflections said:

 

Buy way more pads than you think you’ll use. That’s going to consume pads rapidly. 

I was planning on 2 per panel, that would give me 16 on hand.  Fortunately, it is a convertible which removes a lot of surface area and the hood is the worst panel.   

 

The more I keep looking at the pictures, I think it is going to take a month to do between the exterior and interior so I can order more if needed.   If you think I should alter the quantities either way, let me know - your experience far exceeds mine, so I trust your judgement - Thank You.

 

I have done mechanical and interior restorations, so this will be the first that I would be willing to consider as an exterior restoration.  I'm looking forward to the learning opportunity and challenge.

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@shane@detailedreflections and @pirahnah3, I'll ask...how can I/he tell that's not damage (compromise of) to the clear? I've never encountered something like what's shown and would be really reluctant to polish, especially since I don't own a paint guage, at least not yet.

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9 minutes ago, shane@detailedreflections said:

Unfortunately you don’t really know. Hopefully the washing process makes what’s underneath a little bit apparent. 

 

It looks like years of grime stuck there. So hopefully it’s just that and not damage. A test spot would be revealing. 

Great idea on the test spot @shane@detailedreflections.  I will try and get the car this weekend and see if I can get a test spot on the hood and one of the fenders washed to find out what's there.

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@RayS Do you know if it is single stage or base coat/clear coat?  If it is single stage there are other options (cleaning and hydrating) you can try before polishing. 

 

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4 hours ago, mc2hill said:

@RayS Do you know if it is single stage or base coat/clear coat?  If it is single stage there are other options (cleaning and hydrating) you can try before polishing. 

 

@mc2hill It is a base coat/clear coat.   I'll know more once do a couple of test spots this weekend.

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On 8/9/2018 at 4:06 PM, RayS said:

I was planning on 2 per panel, that would give me 16 on hand.  Fortunately, it is a convertible which removes a lot of surface area and the hood is the worst panel.   

 

The more I keep looking at the pictures, I think it is going to take a month to do between the exterior and interior so I can order more if needed.   If you think I should alter the quantities either way, let me know - your experience far exceeds mine, so I trust your judgement - Thank You.

 

I have done mechanical and interior restorations, so this will be the first that I would be willing to consider as an exterior restoration.  I'm looking forward to the learning opportunity and challenge.

 

Two pads per panel may even be a little on the light side. Some you’ll get away with two. Others may be three or four (or more) depending on how bad the area is. If you’re working over time, you can always clean pads and freshen them up so they’re good to go. Some will end up in the trash. I can promise you that. Maybe even a fair amount of them. 

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On 8/9/2018 at 8:05 PM, falcaineer said:

@shane@detailedreflections and @pirahnah3, I'll ask...how can I/he tell that's not damage (compromise of) to the clear? I've never encountered something like what's shown and would be really reluctant to polish, especially since I don't own a paint guage, at least not yet.

 

On 8/9/2018 at 8:57 PM, shane@detailedreflections said:

Unfortunately you don’t really know. Hopefully the washing process makes what’s underneath a little bit apparent. 

 

It looks like years of grime stuck there. So hopefully it’s just that and not damage. A test spot would be revealing. 

 

Im going to agree that a good soaking foam bath or 4 and then a gentle wash to start with, before getting a bit rough is a good way to start, yeah you are bringing it back and minor damage can be fixed but always use the least aggressive first. 

 

That said, I would wonder about a paint gauge....maybe that could shed some light. @shane@detailedreflections has always said check a doorjamb or similar area that usually gets thin paint and is not overly worked to get a good idea of what might be there. 

 

I would also think that after the wash, a lot of the crud will come off and you should get an idea if there is any shine left in her. Even still I might spend the time to look into the paint gauge if you are going to do this type of thing more than once, or if you dont want to deal with the potential of a repaint. 

 

If you dont have the paint gauge and are not planning to get one, I might honestly start with a little area and decon it with clay and iron remover of some sort. Honestly slap a finishing pad on it and see if it shines. IF it does, there is a good chance that there is at least somewhat of a clear left on there. If it wont even show anything you know where you are without wasting DAYS of time. 

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On 8/10/2018 at 3:45 PM, RayS said:

@mc2hill It is a base coat/clear coat.   I'll know more once do a couple of test spots this weekend.

 

If the wash water turns red, stop there, as the clear coat has failed (that is what it looks like to me).  You can try polishing, but you will be down to the base coat (or worse!).   

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I was wondering... since Adams Polishes Car Shampoo is pH neutral would soaking even help? pH neutral soap I thought was only to provide lubricity. The rinsing stages and the wash mitt is what gets rid of the dirt on the car surface. 

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@mc2hill, @shane@detailedreflections, @BigBlue2007 - Good feedback and good points.  If it starts bleeding when I do the test sections, then it is going to the paint shop, but we're hoping to avoid that if possible, although it has been a contingency all along.  I did not get the Mustang this weekend as planned for the testing, but the owner is picking their Red Lexus today, so that is the priority for me to protect and then I'll start on the Mustang.

 

Over the last 3 years, the Mustang has had the engine completely rebuilt, new brakes, lines, calipers, rotors, etc., radiator, front rack replaced and new rear suspension.  All that is left is the body, which does not have any rust nor dents and then getting a new top.  

 

As always, much appreciate the feedback and input.  

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I got the Mustang this weekend and was able to get the test areas done.  While the dirt came off rather easily, what was supposed to be the clear coat came with it.    After doing a full inspection of the car, it needs more than a wet sand and clear coat reapplication as there are way too many places where the paint is cracked to the sheet metal.  It is going to need a complete paint job.

 

Since we know this needs a complete repaint, I think it changes the final outcome to being a candidate for Ceramic Coat - time for more research.

 

Thank you all for your reviews and feedback in helping to get the first phase of the body restoration underway. 

Mustang Test 1.jpeg

Mustang Test 2.jpeg

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I was afraid of that, but seems like you have a plan. Make sure you talk to the body shop about the amount of time you should wait post-paint before doing anything polish/protection/etc.-related to the new paint. Durations vary by shop.

 

Looking forward to seeing progress, so be sure to keep the pics coming. Good luck!

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52 minutes ago, RayS said:

I got the Mustang this weekend and was able to get the test areas done.  While the dirt came off rather easily, what was supposed to be the clear coat came with it.    After doing a full inspection of the car, it needs more than a wet sand and clear coat reapplication as there are way too many places where the paint is cracked to the sheet metal.  It is going to need a complete paint job.

 

Since we know this needs a complete repaint, I think it changes the final outcome to being a candidate for Ceramic Coat - time for more research.

 

Thank you all for your reviews and feedback in helping to get the first phase of the body restoration underway. 

Mustang Test 1.jpeg

Mustang Test 2.jpeg

 

Sorry to hear about that. There’s a ton of information on different coatings out there. Feel free to ask should have questions. 

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I've been in the bodyshop business for a while and can confirm, that is complete clear coat and paint failure.  Nothing left to work with there.  Not sure what the owner is looking to achieve but expect $10,000+ for a high quality stem-to-stern repaint.  Make sure the shop knows what they're doing. A lot of bodyshops are all thumbs when it comes to doing classics, meaning their techs aren't used to dissembling and prepping an older vehicle.  It's a slow and gentle procedure and more costly than brand new stuff.  

 

As with Ceramic Coatings, 95%+ of a paint job is the prep and how flat/perfect the surface is before spraying.  Once color/clear is down, sanding is only going to remove the last 5% of the flaws.  If he's going for a show quality vehicle, make sure they do many layers of clear so there's plenty to sand down to get perfectly flat as well as years worth of polishing.

 

And by all means, once it's gotten the quality paint job and is finished to perfection via skilled hands, apply PPF and a Ceramic Coating to it to lock it in for a while.  

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14 hours ago, RayS said:

I got the Mustang this weekend and was able to get the test areas done.  While the dirt came off rather easily, what was supposed to be the clear coat came with it.    After doing a full inspection of the car, it needs more than a wet sand and clear coat reapplication as there are way too many places where the paint is cracked to the sheet metal.  It is going to need a complete paint job.

 

Since we know this needs a complete repaint, I think it changes the final outcome to being a candidate for Ceramic Coat - time for more research.

 

Thank you all for your reviews and feedback in helping to get the first phase of the body restoration underway. 

 

 

 

Where is the shot of the rinse bucket filled with red water? 

 

After I did one like this I had a dark green rinse bucket.  After that I knew there was no reason to polish the truck (Mitsu SUV), but I did get some great 50/50 shots with doing the headlight and interior!   

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2 hours ago, mc2hill said:

 

Where is the shot of the rinse bucket filled with red water? 

 

After I did one like this I had a dark green rinse bucket.  After that I knew there was no reason to polish the truck (Mitsu SUV), but I did get some great 50/50 shots with doing the headlight and interior!   

I stopped after the 2nd test spot since I was pretty sure it was going to start bleeding like stuck pig.  Based on the way the clear coat just wiped away, I'm pretty sure I would have had a red bucket very quickly.    While the Mustang of out getting a repaint and curing, we'll be doing a 1994 Lexus SC400 - at least this one has been taken care of and yes it is Red. 

 

The next update on this thread will probably be late October or November based on the repaint and curing time info I'm getting. 

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