Insight & Reviews From Larry

June 1, 2012 | By Larry Lyles

Readers Ask This Restoration Pro About Spray Guns, Wheels, & Rust Products, and He Tries Some “Chrome” In a Can.

I Want Some Retro Body Sealers

My project is a 1960 Chevrolet Bel Air. As I start rebuilding the car the assembly manual mentions the use of medium body sealer, body caulking compound and body cement. My supplier offered a product called Firm Seam Sealer. It did not replicate any of the compounds originally used on the car.

Can you recommend something that will meet my needs?

Steve Nimitz Virginia Beach, Virginia

I can, but please understand the sealing products used back in 1960 were of extremely poor quality compared to the products on the market today and precisely replicating those products is next to impossible.

3M makes a huge number of seam sealing products so I’m going to recommend only a few of them. The first one is 3M Ultrapro Urethane Seam Sealer 8360. This is a heavy bodied sealer that can be used anywhere you need a thick or heavy application. The next one is 3M 8505. This also is a heavy body seam sealer but should not be applied thick or heavy. It works great for sealing drip rails. The last one is 3M 8500. This is a water- based, very thin seam sealer used primarily for caulking around deck lid openings.

You’ll find these products at your local automotive paint supplier.

 There Are Mysterious Valves In My Brake Kit

Your October 2009 article on disc brake conversions has helped me tremendously. However, after I ordered a front disc brake kit for my 1967 Mustang and began the conversion I found a #2 residual valve and a #10 residual valve in the kit with no instructions on how or where these valves should be mounted. Any help with this is appreciated.

Jim Wynkoop Joliet, Illinois

 The #2 valve is for use on disc brakes and the #10 valve is for use on drum brakes. However, in your case these valves are not needed. The only time you would use a residual valve is when the brake master cylinder is mounted below the calipers or brake wheel cylinders, as in an under-floor mounted master cylinder on a street rod. The purpose of these valves is to prevent brake fluid from leaching back into the master cylinder and giving you more pedal travel any time you apply the brakes.

 My Tire’s Date Code Is Missing

After reading your article on tires and wheels in the February 2012 issue I date coded the tires on my project. However, when I looked for the date code on another set of tires I only found a partial code that read DOT OTE9. How would I date code these tires?

Jay Roth Via email

 Flip the tires over and look on the other side for the complete DOT designation. Some tire manufacturers prefer to place the date code only on one side of the tire instead of placing it on both sides.

 Do You Clean Your Spray Gun Between Coats?

What do you do with your spray gun between coats? Is there a temporary cleaning process you use to prevent the paint in the gun nozzle from drying?

Mark Nunn Via email

 When spraying primers I don’t do anything other than hang the gun up then give the trigger a short burst to check the pattern when I’m ready for the next coat. Primers require a larger nozzle, such as a  1.5mm,  so  they  don’t  tend  to  clog between coats.

Clear coats are a different story. In hot weather like we experienced this past summer I like to empty the gun cup back into the mixing cup then run a little reducer through the gun to clear it out before spraying the next coat. I usually don’t do this in cooler weather but it definitely can’t hurt.

Base color coats are even more fickle, particularly metallics. You must empty the gun cup back into the mixing cup after each coat then flush the gun with a little lacquer thinner.

Once you are ready to apply the next coat be sure to stir the mix thoroughly before pouring it back into the gun. If you don’t do this the metallics in the color coat will sink to the bottom of the mixing cup and that can alter the color as it is sprayed onto the vehicle.

 Velocity Warps the Panels

You mentioned in the March 2012 issue that heat was the cause of panel warpage when using silica sand to blast sheet metal parts. It isn’t heat that warps these panels. It is the high velocity of the sand grains as they hit the metal that results in warping the panels.

Bill Tully Via email

 I’m going to claim brain freeze for making that statement. You are absolutely right. The process of blasting doesn’t create enough heat to warp the sheet metal. Like you said, it is too much velocity and working  too  close  to  the  panel  being blasted that causes the problem.

I can only defend myself by explaining that in my world I have to speak to my blaster guy in terms he understands, that is to back off a few feet so that he doesn’t get my panels too hot and warp them. He understands that and complies with my wishes if only because of what you said in the rest of your email—that heat has been blamed for the warping for some 30 years.

 About Those Wheel Lug Patterns…

In the February issue you stated that the bolt pattern for five-lug wheels should be measured from the center of one bolt to the center of the bolt farthest away from it across the pattern. Is this correct? Received from several readers

 Yes, it is. This is the method companies like American Racing and Cragar use to measure the bolt pattern, or maybe spac- ing is a better word, on their wheels. This also is the easiest way to measure the bolt pattern on the hubs of your project in order to match that measurement to wheels from the salvage yard.

However, if you are thinking of designing your own wheels you will need to do things a little differently. In that case you need to know the bolt pattern diameter, not the bolt spacing. Here is a method you can use to determine that diameter.

4-bolt: Use the measurement from the center of the first bolt across the center of the hub to the center of the bolt farthest away.

5-bolt: Use the measurement from the center of the first bolt across the center of the hub to the center of the bolt farthest away and multiply that measurement by 1.05 mm.

(To convert inches to millimeters one inch equals 25.4 millimeters, or to make life easier measure in millimeters instead of inches.)

6-bolt: Use the measurement from the center of the first bolt across the center of the hub to the center of the bolt farthest away.

7-bolt: Use the measurement from the center of the first bolt across the center of the hub to the center of the bolt farthest away and multiply that measurement by 1.03 mm.

8-bolt: Use the measurement from the center of the first bolt across the center of the hub to the center of the bolt farthest away.

Note: To measure the pattern, or spacing, on a 4-bolt hub some wheel manufacturers use the measurement from the first bolt to the second bolt as opposed to the measurement from the first bolt to the farthest bolt across the center of the hub. Be sure to ask your wheel supplier about this measurement before you proceed with placing your order.

 What’s a Good One-Time Spray Gun?

How about a little advice on a spray gun? I’m thinking about either a DeVilbiss 670 Plus or a gun from the DeVilbiss Finish Line series.

Do you like either of these for a one- car restoration?

Phil Botti Via email

 Both guns are very nice guns, but for one time, one car I would lean toward the FLS-BG Finish Line gun that comes with three tips, the 1.3mm, 1.5mm, and 1.8mm. Use the 1.5mm for primers and the 1.3mm for everything else.

 How Should I Work With This Particular Primer?

I am working on a truck bed that has been primed using Slick Sand primer. I have blocked the bed using 320-grit sandpaper but I am not sure how to proceed. Do I need to apply a coat of high build primer or can I apply sealer over the Slick Sand and follow that with a base coat/clear finish?

Doug Miller Via email

 You can put just about anything over Slick Sand.

If you have areas that need more primer go with a good 2K primer. If the Slick Sand is smooth enough to be refinished you can apply a single coat of sealer over it then apply the paint over that.

For anyone who hasn’t heard of Slick Sand, this is a polyester primer made by Evercoat. Some refinishers like to use Slick Sand in place of a primer/surfacer because it is a very high-build primer. The drawback to using a product like Slick Sand is that once cured it is as hard as concrete and very difficult to sand. Most automotive paint suppliers will carry this product in stock.

 Fiberglass Body Filler

I am restoring a car with a fiberglass body. It has a number of holes that measure anywhere from 3/16- to 3/8-inch diameter that need to be filled but I am concerned with long-term shrinkage of the filler. Any suggestions?

Bill Cook Via email

 I would use Evercoat Fiberglass Resin Jelly #473. This product will fill the holes with fiberglass so it will shrink and expand at the same rate as the rest of the car.

 Do You Recommend Anti-Rust Products?

On many of the Websites I visit there are a number of people, both amateur and professional body repairmen, who decry all anti-rust products. No matter what brand is mentioned they say the product doesn’t work, that the paint will bubble up later. I have used Rust-Mort with success but I wonder what the track record is for anti-rust products over the long term.

Will the rust come back or not?

Gary Mehl Via email

I’ve not used Rust-Mort so I can’t comment on that particular product. What I do know about rust-inhibiting products is that most of these products absolutely do work. However, none of these products can work miracles.

If you apply these products on top of a panel that is rusted on both sides all you have done is stop the rust on the one side and nowhere else. Eventually the rust on the underside is going to destroy the metal underneath the rust inhibitor. This is something I have seen again and again. It isn’t so much that the rust inhibitor didn’t do its job, it is more that whoever applied it failed to deal with the entire rust issue.

That is why they make die grinders and MIG welders. Seriously rusted metal should always be cut out and replaced with new metal.

Will This “Chrome” Spray Work?

I am building a 1949 Austin A40. My question concerns the grille which is made of pot metal and needs to be chrome plated. The plating companies I have talked to will not guarantee the plating will stick to the pot metal. I have found a product from Alsa Corp. called Killer Chrome that can be sprayed over anything. Any thoughts on this product?

Scott Hogue Carrollton, Texas

 I decided to call the Alsa Corp. in Los Angeles about this product and they offered to send me some of the Killer Chrome spray so that I could put it to the test at the shop. A review of my experiences with the product is on the next page.

 Is This Epoxy and Hardener Too Old to Use?

I purchased an MG TD that the previous owner began restoring about 15 years ago. He gave me two quarts of DP40LF Epoxy and a quart of DP401LF hardener but I don’t know how old they are. Do these products have a shelf life?

Mark Rotsky Via email

 First, toss the DP401LF hardener. It is probably bad. The DP40LF may still be good. Open the can and if the epoxy stirs easily, it is good. If it is thick and hard to stir I would toss it.

If the DP40LF is good I would switch from DP401LF hardener to DP402LF hardener. DP402LF hardener does not require the 30-minute induction period required when using DP401LF. You can mix the epoxy using DP402LF and spray it immediately.

 Restoring a Painted Hood Emblem

The hood emblem on my 1956 Ford has raised letters and raised graphics. How are these painted without getting paint on the lettering or graphics?

Orlando Irizarry Via email

 Originally Ford would have painted the entire emblem, sometimes using two colors, and then polished the raised surfaces to remove the excess paint. That is a good method as long as the chrome on the emblem is in perfect condition and doesn’t hold any of the excess paint inside the pits or cracks.

What I often do on older emblems is to brush the paint on using micro brushes—Eastwood #34112 Detail Micro Brush and the Badger #PLIK 4501 Micro Touch- Up Brush. The best paint for this type  of work is enamel, as in the little bottles of model car paint.

 How Should I Paint My Bumper?

I recently had my 1978 Toyota Celica repainted to keep it looking nice. How- ever, they didn’t paint the rear bumper. I’m now ready to paint that bumper myself. Any suggestions?

Tony Wright Via email

 That bumper is most likely made of urethane so the best way to treat it is to sand it with 320-grit sandpaper and give it two coats of epoxy primer. From there you can either repair any flaws in the bumper using Evercoat Easy Sand filler and urethane primer, or just wet sand the epoxy with 320-grit sandpaper and paint it.

Attaching Quarter Panels

I am restoring a 1971 Nova and need to make some rust repairs around the quarter panel wheel wells.

You covered the replacement of quarter panels on a Mustang in the March 2011 issue but I didn’t see anything on how you attached the new quarter panels to the wheel housings.

Neal Hulse Downingtown, Pennsylvania

 I welded the new quarter panels to the new wheel housings by drilling a series of 5/16-inch holes about two inches apart along the folded edge of the quarter panels where they meet the wheelhouse panels then used those holes as spot weld points to join the two panels. A few pair of Vise-Grips or #8 sheet metal screws will help hold the panels together as you weld. Once that was completed, I ground each of the spot welds smooth.

 What Paint Is Good for My Moldings?

I’m in the process of painting a 1987 Corvette and plan on using the 2K PPG products outlined in your book, “Revive Your Ride.” This car has the black side molding and I’m wondering if I can paint this molding with the same PPG products I use on the car?

Peter Schied Chicago

The side moldings on that car are made of yellow urethane which means they were painted black from the factory. I would recommend sanding the mold- ings with 320-grit then applying one coat of epoxy. Follow that with three coats of black base coat and you should end up with moldings that look factory-new.

 How Old Are My Tires?

I am restoring a 1950 Ford Custom Deluxe sedan. The tires that came on the car when I purchased it looked brand- new. They are Goodyear Super Cushion with DOT CYNKB8753709. Can you tell me when these tires were manufactured?

Larry Jones Via email

Those tires were manufactured during the 37th week of 2009 (3709 of the DOT number).

 Do I Need Etching Primer Here?

I sanded the rear wheel wells on my project car down to the bare metal. I have been advised by the paint supply store to use an etching primer followed by an epoxy primer before applying undercoating. Do you think the etching primer is necessary?

Scott Marshall Via email

 Forget the etching primer. Most are not compatible with epoxy primers.

I would apply two coats of epoxy, wait 24 hours, and then coat the epoxy with undercoating.

Now, It’s Time for a Product Review: Alsa Killer Chrome System

In case you haven’t noticed, chrome plating shops are disappearing faster than the dollars it takes to actually get some- thing chrome plated. That’s a little frightening considering how much chrome is on the vintage rides we so adore.

To that end I started a search for an alternative solution to the high cost of chrome plating. That led me to the Alsa Corp. They have come up with a spray- on chrome system that I promise you mimics the look of real chrome so closely that you can’t tell the difference.

This particular system, called the Chrome FX System, requires a significant investment of time and money and is best suited to anyone wanting to engage in the business of restoring chrome-plated parts or, for that matter, chrome coloring anything that doesn’t eat or breathe. I mention this part of their business because there is most likely someone in your area who has already established an Alsa-based chroming business.

However, I still wanted something that could be used in the shop to put a high gloss finish on whatever part needed high gloss. That is when I checked out the Alsa Killer Chrome System. This is a three-part system that allows you to spray on a very nice-looking finish on any part that would look better shiny. This isn’t a chrome finish; it more closely mimics a highly polished aluminum look. I can see this product being used extensively on dash panels that need those thin chrome lines restored, or on drive pulleys that need a little more sparkle, or even on parts that paint just doesn’t bring to life.

Killer Chrome comes as a three-part system ($129) with easy to read and detailed instructions.

For more, contact Alsa Corp., 1213 E. 58th Place, Los Angeles, CA 90001;