While waiting on my front suspension pieces (still), I finally bit the bullet and picked up a media blasting booth from Harbor Freight. I wish there was some place local I could rent time on a nice blasting booth, but not finding that option, I figured buying one is cheaper than paying to have every part I run across blasted. Besides, blasting parts is fun.
It started with the shock tower caps. I spent some time with them and the wire brush wheel on the drill at first. They shined up pretty well, but I couldn’t reach all the spots. Looking into just replacing them, I could see replacing parts because I couldn’t clean them well enough wasn’t going to fly as it would cost me more than a blasting booth in just a few parts. Besides, I really want to actually have SOME original parts on this thing when I’m done.
You can see they ended up pretty nice. I am using 80 grit glass bead. It leaves a nice satin finish on the metal. I also used some chassis black paint from Reilly’s. My goal is just to get things rust free and protected from the elements. I have a slight concern on the minor drop in the top screw insert location, but I don’t think that will affect the cap’s job nor be visible once the shocks are in place. I like perfect, but I have to draw a line somewhere. For my own sanity and checkbook. I could only find 5 of the old shock tower bolts, so I just ordered a new set to make it all even out.
Next, I took on a bigger part. The wire brush didn’t work so well on the shock tower cover. That’s the part that is on the outside of the shock tower, under the fenders that goes around the top of the spring. One of them lost the rubber bumper at some point, and the other one was rusted solid. I had to do some real work to get it off. I almost thought all hope was lost, but eventually it came free. Since its in the lower recess, its nearly impossible to reach with anything but a socket, and the nut was quickly starting to round. I got lucky because that little piece of metal is $50 and a reproduction probably isn’t as solid as the original.
Once I had the bumper (and bumper mount) off, I went to blasting. It was quick work and therapeutic as I can systematically clean off the years and produce a nice satin finished shiny sheet metal part. I had to wait a couple days before I had a sun break to get a couple of coats of paint on them. I think they turned out nice, considering that once I get the fenders back on, no one will ever see them again. I have a lot of parts that look nice that wont ever be seen again.
To finish them off, I had to replace the bumpers. I thought this was odd. Notice one has a flat washer, and one has a lock washer. Also, the replacement was a 9/16 nut, where the original was 1/2 inch. Either way, its not rusted and the rubber is fresh.
I put the passenger side shock tower cover on, just hand tight. After all of this, I had to at least see what it would look like. I need to take it off again so I can do the drilling for the Arning drop when the control arms arrive. After that gets put together though, I will be able to put it on and leave it.
The last thing I reconditioned with this batch was the rear bumper guard mounting brackets. They were pretty rusty, but made of some thick steel, so blasting it off the surface still left a solid piece. Combine that with the fact that they will never be seen again once mounted, and I decided to save the money of buying new ones.
With a little blasting, they came out clean and only sligtly lighter. This is the most pitted part I have cleaned up so far. If it was visible, I may reconsider reusing it, but the paint should clean it up even more and make it good enough, though still shy of good as new.
I have the clips and bolts for the mounting hardware, but I figured I should just order new on those and added them to the next order.