Engine Bay Cleanup

5/28/2009 to 6/20/2009

“What fresh hell is this?” — Dorothy Parker

Have to start somewhere. So I removed the engine pan. These will take some time cleaning…
The side panels come off with two bolts and 4 wing nuts. This will give me better access to then engine bay and expose more rusty areas to paint. The only tricky part was the paint seam between the fender welting and the side panel. I had to cut it carefully with a razor blade to prevent chipping. The picture on the left is the driver’s side panel sitting on top of the service manual and my 1967 Simplicity lawn tractor. Both side panels are stashed in the trunk for safety.
Here is the terminal block for the headlights on the driver’s side. I took these off both sides to clean and paint. The ground strap probably needs replaced as well. It is a bit ragged.
The voltage regulator mounts on the firewall. I labeled the wires, removed them, then unscrewed the voltage regulator. I will clean it up and paint it.
Time for some gunk scraping. Here is some of what I have to deal with. I seem to have three options. I can lay under the car and get all this in my face, hair, etc. Or I can bend over the fenders and dangle head down in the engine bay. Or I can physically crawl into the engine bay and hope the phone does not ring. I will probably try all three scraping the gunk out. I wonder if a pressure washer is a good idea here?
I removed this transmission tunnel cover. It was bent up and did not fit very well so I cleaned, shaped, and painted it. I found a roll of adhesive weather-stripping in the garage so I used that to make a seal.
Here is the result of a scraping session. Lots of gunk.
Getting a little help from the kids and the dog.
Scraped the worst off, washed with Purple Power, then sanded lightly.
When the body work was done on the car the area between the grill and the radiator was not done. The front around the grills is rusting quite a bit. The area at the top on in the picture on the right is totally surface-rusted I am going to do what I can but at some point front clip sheet metal should come off and the rust fixed. But for now the cleanup is complete.
Time for masking. The first step is to spray a rust converter on the problem areas. I don’t know what it does to paint and I don’t want to find out. So I am masking off everything that might be a problem. Firewall components like wiring and the steering column are getting wrapped in tin foil.
I am using aerosol Rust Converter by Eastwood. You spray it in two light coats and the rust is supposed to turn black. It certainly darkened the rust up but I am not sure about turning black. Maybe I did not put enough on?
The next step in rust control is a rust encapsulator. I used this stuff from Eastwood. I just brushed it on with a couple of disposable brushes. The hardest part was getting the stuff under the battery tray. It also dries quickly so I had to keep a sharp eye out for any drips or runs. If it is going to be top-coated (and it is) I have to do it before 36 hours have passed or I will have to sand it. Meanwhile I got serious about masking off the car for spraying.
I hoped to paint everything at once but I ran out of space to work. I kept bumping wet paint so I just got the heck out of there to let the first half dry. I think it looks pretty nice.
After an overnight drying I sprayed the other half of the engine bay. This side was much harder due to the wiring harness and more blind corners and narrow places. I just took my time. Whatever is left will get brush-painted but I am letting this paint set for a while first. I have plenty of hardware and small parts to clean and prep.
The steering column and front cross-member are painted. I left the steering box and suspension alone.
Cleaning up the headlight terminal blocks for paint. These are in OK shape but there is a bit of rust.
These heater hose tees are worse. The car has two heater cores. There is a big one under the driver’s seat that heats the car then a smaller one under the dash to defrost the windows. These tees divide the hot water between the two heater cores. They are pretty far gone so I wire brushed them well, sprayed them with rust converter, then essentially dipped them in rust encapsulator. I still do not have any plans to hook up the heaters so they should hold up just fine.
The last big part to paint is the radiator. Since only the top tank and the back side are visible that is all I will paint. The picture on the left shows the radiator before cleaning. I used some high-test detergent and ended up with the much cleaner radiator on the right. The bottom outlet is cast iron so I hit that with the rust encapsulator then painted the visible parts.
Last step is to install the new cowl seal. I used Permatex weather strip adhesive. It dries really fast but I used masking tape to keep things from moving while it set up. I really, really hope I put it in the right place. There is no way to tell without installing the hood.
Engine bay is ready! The very last step was to tape stuff out of the way so nothing will get caught, pinched, or crunched. Here everything is ready except the speedometer cable.


Engine Bay Cleanup — 1 Comment

  1. I have been following your site for a couple of years. I bought a shell, a 1941 Studebaker.
    I am hot rodding it but I get a lot of good advice from your site.
    So thanks
    Steve Budge

    Thanks! I appreciate that!

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