More Powder Coating
I wanted to get as far as possible in the restoration of the front suspension today so I could move on to more disassembly of the car itself. It's bloody cold here in Cleveland today, however, so I moved my base of operations indoors to do some additional cleaning, scraping and disassembly on the A-arms. I scraped as much of the remaining crud off the A-arms as I could with a scraper and screwdriver, then wiped it down with some Acetone, which removed the last bits of residue. Then I disassembled the pivots and bushings (I guess they're the lower inner bushings) on each A-arm.
Unfortunately, they were WELDED! I don't know if this was factory or someone in the past decided they didn't want these to ever come loose again, but I had to cut the welds before I could unscrew the caps. If you know whether this is factory or some hack did it, drop me a line. I'm curious.
Once I cut the weld, I was able to easily unbolt the bushing caps and remove the pivots. It took a little stretching and prying, but they both came off without a wrestling match or damage.
So I threw both A-arms and one leftover radius arm into the blaster and started blasting. With all the nooks and crannies on these A-arms, it took quite a while to get them both cleaned up. I also suspect that my abrasive is wearing out (already?), because there's a lot of dust and the cutting action is slower. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, since these suspension parts are made out of forged steel, which is VERY hard. I'll pick up some more next week. It's cheap.
With the A-arms cleaned up, I put one in the oven to bake off any residue or grease, like I did with the springs. When I pulled it out, however, I was shocked to see that it had turned BLUE! Yep, blue. Not bluish, but a bright blue. Reading my materials, it does say that the forged steel parts should be gray with a slight bluish tinge, so I guess that it isn't unusual for them to turn blue. But weird. Check out the picture:
While the second A-arm was baking, I rigged the first one onto a rack along with its matching radius arm. I masked off the bushing holes, since I don't want the powder to contaminate the bushing seals when I put everything back together. Eastwood sells a special high-temperature masking tape that I got with my powder coater, and I used it. It worked pretty well, but isn't very sticky. But it did its job just fine.
Then I sprayed both parts with some of my "Stamped Steel" colored powder, which I figured would closely approximate the original color. Again, it was tough to get even coverage in all the nooks and crannies, but I made sure I put down an extra thick coat for good protection. Then I swapped racks in the oven and baked it up. After the other A-arm cooled, I rigged it and sprayed it along with the remaining radius arm.
You'd think that the powder would go on really thick, like a plastic coating, but it actually flows out so nicely that it appears to be paint. I can still clearly see the part numbers stamped on the side of the A-arms (and all the other parts, for that matter). Very cool. I am really digging powder coating, and highly recommend the Eastwood HotCoat Powder Coating system. I wish I could powder coat the body of the car!
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