Questions for Larry

July 1, 2008 | By Larry Lyles

Readers Ask This Restoration Pro About Welding, Two-Tones, Orange Peel, Spray Guns, Tack Rags & More

Mounting a Truck on a Rotisserie

In the April 2002 issue you showed the shop-built rotisserie you used on Project Charger.

What I couldn’t see was how you mounted the body to the rotisserie. I have a 1976 Ford F-100 and I would like to mount the cab on a rotisserie but am not quite sure how to proceed.

Orley Fout Marion, Ohio

This may sound a bit odd, but considering that most truck cabs are extremely top heavy I’ve had better luck mounting them on a rotisserie sideways.

I use the striker bolt mount in the door opening and the upper door hinge mounting point as a means to attach the cab to the rotisserie.

Tips for Two-Toning Your Ride

I’ll be painting my VW soon and I want to two-tone the car. I’m not sure which color to spray first and I would also like to know if I can spray the clear coat over both colors at once.

Gary Deines Via e-mail

Assuming the car is assembled I would spray the smaller of the two areas first. It is much easier to mask off small areas than mask off the entire car.

It is best to clear coat both colors at once. The good news is that you have a 24-hour window between spraying the first color and spraying the clear coats. That should give you plenty of time to get both colors on the car before adding the clear coats.

Safety While Painting

What type of safety equipment did you use while painting the ’46 Ford and did you move the rotisserie into a booth for the painting?

Paul Abati Honolulu, Hawaii

Safety is always paramount when spray painting. I used an SAS Pure Air System (Eastwood #20396) to protect my lungs. The system comes with a full face mask and is OSHA approved. I also wear a new pair of painter’s coveralls and latex gloves.

I didn’t spray the body of the ’46 in the booth as I needed to raise and lower the body in order to turn it for spraying. I cleaned the shop, wet down the floor, and turned on the booth fans to pull the over spray out of the shop.

All of the smaller pieces, like the hood, doors, fenders and deck lid were sprayed in the booth.

Welding the Fenders on Project ’46

What procedure did you use to weld the rear fenders to the ’46 Ford?

Chad Lott Via e-mail

I bolted the fenders to the car to get the fit right. Then I welded along the outer seam line. Next I removed the bolts and plug welded the bolt holes underneath the fender. To dress out the seam I used a die grinder with a 3-inch cutoff wheel.

Some Welder and Welding Tips

I just finished reading “Project Mustang” and really enjoyed it.

Can you tell me what kind of welder you use?

In “Project Mustang” you say to drill 1/4-inch holes for making spot welds. Do you really have a spot welder? I have a cheap wire welder and I don’t have much luck with it.

Perhaps I went too cheap.

Ned Smith Chattanooga, Tennessee

I use a MIG welder for just about everything, including filling spot welds.

Back when I worked in the “big shop” I actually used a spot welding machine to join panels. A spot welder is actually a resistance welder in that it creates enough electrical heat at the contact points to melt the metal and form a welded spot, thus the name. Spot welders are readily available but not really practical for most restoration-type repairs.

In “Project Mustang” I drilled 5/16- inch holes in the new floor pan and once the pan was installed in the car I used those holes as welding points to attach the new pan to the structure of the car. Technically these are not spot welds, but maybe more accurately defined as “spaced welds.”

As you have learned, all welders are not created equal. In the case of wire welders, cheaper usually equates to poor performance. You may also have learned that a wire welder doesn’t have to be a MIG welder. Some wire welders are sold as flux core wire welders that don’t require an inert gas. They burn much hotter than a MIG welder and are not well suited for welding thin metal panels such as the ones found on most cars.

MIG welders, on the other hand, use an inert gas, thus the name Metal Inert Gas welder, to cool the metal around the weld and are therefore well suited for welding just about anything needing welding on a car.

As for going too cheap, yep, that’s very possible. Expect to pay at least $500 for a good MIG welder.

By the way, I’m gearing up to do more DVDs and welding has been mentioned as a possible candidate. If there is enough interest out there I’ll see what I can do. Go to my Web site, www.LPLBodyWorks .com, and e-mail me if you would like to see a DVD on welding.

Did You Have Inadequate Support?

Please tell me that my eyes are deceiving me.

In the March ’08 issue it appears that the Project ’46 Ford is being supported by a jack stand under the wheel stud on the rear axle. Please correct me if I am wrong. What is even worse is that I see a muffler under the car ready to be installed. I can’t believe anyone could be professional enough to restore a car to such a mint condition and yet be dumb enough to support something this heavy in such a way. I wouldn’t try this with a go-cart.

Harry Graves Hollywood, Maryland

Your eyes don’t deceive. The stand is under the wheel stud. What you can’t see are the jack stands under the frame. There is one just inboard of the muffler and another under the cowl. You can just see the bottom of that stand in the photo. They are positioned inboard for the simple reason that they are out of the way while we work on the exhaust. The stands under the axle are there to help position the axle to the normal ride position, a necessary step to ensure the exhaust pipes have plenty of clearance.

As for the muffler laying on the floor, this is a working shop and I made the decision many years ago to let the photographer click away anytime he wanted. Some shots are cluttered, others are not. That’s just the way it is in a shop.

By the way, the car’s wheel studs have the acorn-style nuts on them to protect the threads.

Advice on Fighting Orange Peel

I purchased a Binks M1-G and have sprayed base colors with great success. However, when I spray urethane clear coats or urethane single-stage paints I have trouble with excessive orange peel. I read somewhere that I may be spraying the coats too dry and the mix should be reduced more to compensate. Any help would be appreciated.

Ron Bleganski Pahrump, Nevada

Don’t add more reducer. The mixing formulas are very exact and over reducing can sometimes lead to a hazy clear coat. In the past a little orange peel was normal. But today the clear coats and single-stage products have been refined to the point that orange peel has been all but eliminated.

I have two suggestions. First, go to a slower drying reducer. That will give the coats more time to flow out. With the slower reducer you will need to increase the wait time between coats by at least 10 minutes. Second, speed up your spray strokes. The refinement in urethane finishes now allows a coat to flow even if it appears very thin immediately after spraying. In fact, the initial coat of clear should appear so thin that it will lead you to think it will never flow out. The second coat, when applied at the same fast pace, should lay very flat and give you the surface you are looking for.

Painting has changed so much in the past few years that I am working on a new DVD to address those changes, as well as address many other common problems painters face. It should be completed in the near future.

A 1.4mm Tip Does the Job

I plan to use single-stage urethane to spray my next project and am looking at the Binks M1-G HVLP. You stated that you use a 1.3mm tip but I am having trouble finding a gun with that tip. All of the M1-G spray guns available now have 1.4mm spray tips. Where can I find a 1.3mm tip or will the 1.4mm tip work?

Bruce Haroldson Via e-mail

You can use the 1.4mm tip and it will work just fine.

At one time the 1.3mm tip was the default tip for the M1-G. Today it is available by special order only.

Where Are Your Tack Rags?

After reading “Revive Your Ride” I didn’t find a single mention of the use of a tack rag. Is the use of one so obvious that you didn’t feel the need to mention it, or do you not use them?

Bill E. Via e-mail

You are right; nowhere in the book did I mention the use of a tack rag. Hopefully, using a tack rag is like plugging the spray gun into the air hose. You don’t think about it, you just do it.

But you bring up a good point. I should have mentioned the use of a tack rag a few dozen times. I use them all the time and would never bring out a spray gun without first bringing out a tack rag.

“This book combines the insight of a highly experienced restoration pro with one of the most popular automobiles to ever come out of an assembly plant. . . . Larry Lyles is not only a true craftsman in the shop but also a seasoned journalist who can present technical material in a clear and even entertaining way.”

—Ted Kade, editor, Auto Restorer

“Filled with advice that will save you time, money, and aggravation.”

—John Sloane, research and development, The Eastwood Company

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