Stripping Body Panels, Day 1

I spent the rest of today beginning to strip the paint off some of the body panels, including the doors, trunk lid, and hood. I made good progress but there is plenty of work remaining for tomorrow.

I began with the left door. I am using the same stripper I have used on other parts of the car, a product called Kleen Strip, which I have found to be highly effective. It is also highly toxic, so I took the proper precautions of wearing safety glasses and thick rubber stripping gloves at all times. I worked outside so there was plenty of ventilation; the fumes from the stripper can be strong. After getting some small drops on my sandaled feet and feeling an immediate burning sensation, I put on long pants and shoes despite the hot weather. Safety first!

I applied the thick, pasty stripper using an old paintbrush. I applied a liberal coat, putting it on thick and moving only in one direction to lay it down. The better the seal the stripper creates against the surface the better it will work and going back over areas breaks that seal.

After a few minutes the paint began to wrinkle off the metal. I allowed each coat of stripper to work for 30 minutes before going back to a panel.

So I walked away from the left door for 30 minutes to allow the stripper to work. I spent that time preparing the hood and trunk lid for stripping. The hood had two metal circles for the hoodpin holes, which I needed to remove. The hoodpins were not an original feature, so I am removing them altogether. The disks were held in place by three screws, which I removed using a Philips-head screwdriver.

I removed the cover revealing a hole in the sheet metal around the size of a dime. I should be able to patch those holes.

Next I removed the molding from the front of the hood scoop. I tapped it off using a rubber mallet and a plastic scraper to prevent any damage to the molding. It popped right off.

Here is the trunk lid, outside and inside.

I removed the molding from the rear edge of the lid by removing the three Philips head screws.

Next I pealed off the rubber gasket from the inside of the lid. It came off without too much resistance.

At that point around 30 minutes had passed so I returned to the left door. Much of the paint had separated from the sheet metal, and I began using my plastic paint scraper to scrape it away.

I gathered up the paint scrapings by scraping them to the center of the panel and then disposed of them.

Here are two views (bottom and top) of the door after the first application of paint stripper.

The door had a couple of areas where body filler had been applied, including this one.

I applied a second coat of paint stripper, waited 30 more minutes, and repeated the process.

After removing the second coat of stripper the left door was fairly clean. The exceptions were two areas: a horizontal line under which the side molding would go and a small area under where the mirror would mount. I think that the car was painted at some point and these areas were not, and the original finish under there was more difficult to remove.

I moved on to the right side door. I applied the first coat of stripper and waited 30 minutes. The paint did not come off very easily, and there was clearly a large body filler repair on the front half of the door.

After applying the first coat of stripper to the door I did the same to the trunk lid.

After 30 minutes I went back to working on the door. More paint came off revealing the body filler.

I scraped off some of the body filler, which had been softened by the chemical stripper. Also a large patch of paint on the other side of the door would not come off.

Here is the trunk lid at the end of the day after two iterations of stripping. I cleaned off the doors and trunk lids with soap and water to flush away any remaining stripper. Then I allowed the pieces to air dry for the rest of the afternoon in the heat.

And here is the hood after one coat of stripper and after washing it thoroughly.

There were a couple of areas that had been repaired.

After washing the body panels and allowing them to dry outside, I moved them into the garage overnight, where I turned on my dehumidifier to help dry up and moisture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *