Entry: 4/1/07 - Last night I put the finishing touches on the installation of the 12-volt auxiliary air compressor into the confines of the "smuggler's box" and routed the custom-fabricated ¼" inner diameter stainless steel air lines with braided stainless steel Teflon-lined connecting hoses I converted from race car brake hoses, that attach to a set of Gabriel Sky-Jacker super duty off-road rated air shocks originally designed for use on an H2 Hummer lift kit. Some re-work of the mounting holes was required to accommodate the smaller Porsche attaching hardware but minimal additional material and some quick MIG welding solved the problem. The initial tests went very well and I was able to go from stock ride height to a 10" lift well under 1 second from actuating the lift switch disguised as a fog light switch. I still have a couple minor design issues to work out on the telescoping drive axles but it's looking like some '76 Jeep Wagoneer front driveshafts will bolt-up with a little modification. I think this adjustable height feature is going to be great for seeking validation for all the hours of work I did on the "faux factory undercoating" on the bottom of the floor pan when I show the car at the various Porsche car shows in the area. What's the point of putting all that effort into restoring the bottom of the car if nobody is going to see it, right?
Entry: 4/4/07 - I had a change of heart about the 10" lift idea so I removed all the extra hardware and returned the car to stock ride height (hee-hee!). Once I had made all my circles with chalk, I started block standing and spot putty work on the left rear quarter panel, inner door frame and door jab. I really don't have many places that need additional attention but even so, there are many hours of work to be done.
A large box was waiting on the front porch when I arrived home this evening, an original OEM front deco strip with the beautiful original style rounded ends on it. The OEM is just a slight bit heavier made and better finished than the repro ones on the market. I saw that Stoddards was doing an inventory on April 1 so I made sure and queried for the 901.505.041.32 part number and by gawd it showed up and I immediately clicked the "put in cart" button and bought it for $285.52 with my 10% Stoddards discount! It is kind of spendy but the front of the car is turning out so nice, I'm starting to care more about little details like a shiny new anodized deco strip instead of a polished aluminum old one! Now all I am lacking is the two for the rear bumpers. The old ones are actually in very good shape and not rock pitted like the front one I had stripped the anodized finish off of and planned on polishing.
Entry: 4/9/07 - Look closely in the following photograph and you'll see what 10 hours labor over the last several days in the patience test that fixing dozens of minute imperfections looks like... other than some fresh primer in spots, I can't photograph any differences without using a macro lense... yeah that's the rub, so no glamour shot today! I'm done with the outside and have a couple more tiny flaws on the lock post and inner door to give one more iteration of glazing putty and block sanding to wrap-up. Actually most of the work was on areas unseen with the door shut. So, rather boring to photograph but with a hand-held worklight casting shadows to expose ripples, pin holes and low spots and seeing none, that's exciting to me! It won't be long before I can turn the car around on the 4-post lift now!
Entry: 4/11/07 - This evening after dark, I gave the left side of the car another shadow inspection using the 500-watt halogen spotlight. Just about the time I thought I had it all finished, I can still see a couple areas that need further attention, especially the area at the lower back corner of the door that has a bit of a high spot that needs to be worked down quite a bit before I'll be satisfied with it. This is an area I've adjusted once to meet the rocker panel at the corner so it doesn't surprise me that it's a bit off and now is certainly the time to fix it. There is also some attention that needs to be paid to that bottom end of the front fender where it meets the rocker panel. The light doesn't lie and I certainly don't want these boo-boos to slip by to the bodyshop because they will certainly notice them when working the filler primer with the guide coat.
Meanwhile, I moved on to the front latch sill and collision repair area under the left headlight. The red-oxide spot putty doesn't show up well on the red-oxide primer but if you look closely you can see there is quite a bit there. Once I've finished with the spot putty work on the front latch sill I will run a bead of 3M seam sealing caulk along the seam between the front sill and that weatherstrip lip spotwelded to the front to keep water from getting into that seam. I'll finish the front bumper when I remove it from the car so not much more work before turning the car around on the lift but I have to keep the dicipline and not rush the job until I'm totally satisfied, this is the final pass!
Entry: 4/12/07 - The high spot on the left door didn't stand a chance today. I block sanded the area to expose the high spot in the sheetmetal, flattened it down with a pick hammer and a leather bag filled with lead shot supporting the back side. There were a couple welds beads on the lower edge starting to poke through the filler so I used my Dremel tool to grind those down too. I had this panel totally perfect at one time before I mounted it on the car and then beat the bottom corner edge outward a few millimeters to line up with the door opening in that lower corner of the door sill. Appearantly that beating and forming caused the excess doorskin to bow in that area and that's how this high spot resulted... go figure. It's not the easiest thing to form two panels to fill an opening simultaneously and that extra doorskin had to flex somewhere, I just didn't see it until last night. Well, here is how it looked, all formed and ready for a coat of Evercoat Rage Xtreme lightweight filler.
I did the majority of the filler shaping while it was setting-up with 80-grit sandpaper on my sanding board. Fine shaping with 180-grit and feathering into the surrounding surface with to 320-grit left it ready for a coat of Spies Hecker Priomat Primer 3255 self-etching primer. So here it sits, I'm also just about done with the area needing attention at the back edge of the front fender at the rockerpanel.
So here's a photograph showing another look at it under 500-watt halogen light after dark this evening and the shadows look much better now. Once the primer cures overnight, I'll wet the entire section down with mineral spirits and look for problems in the wet reflection which emulates the way the shiny paint will look. This kind of work is actually quite fun because you can see the improvements immediately.
Entry: 4/14/07 - Over the last couple days I've made one more block sanding pass over that lower rear corner of the door and finally feel satisfied with how it feels and looks. Since the entire door skin was skim coated with a thin layer of filler, there is a slight crown to the door that must be gradually tapered to the door edge. I think I finally have that taper shaped such that it won't draw undue attention by distorting the reflections in the glossy paint surface. All the other little "boo-boos" have been fixed on the left side and I'm calling it finished as soon as the small dent in the roof has been block sanded out. I'd say there's at least 15 hours into that side alone... slow progress.
I also finished detail sanding out and re-priming the front latch sill and made great progress on the area below the left headlight and a low spot along the fender / hood gap next to the headlight. My wife has been in the hospital with pneumonia since 4/2/07 and went into the ICU last night so things in my life are a bit intense right now and I'm amazed at how therapeudic a few hours sanding on the 912 can be and how much it lets me escape from the high drama for a while and relax.
Entry: 4/23/07 - My wife, Anne passed away at 12:20 PM today after 10 days on life support in the ICU. It will be a while before I work on the 912 project but know it will help me grieve her loss as much as it has helped me grieve the long, slow downward spiral her health has been on the last year or so.