Wednesday 15 March 2023

Comrade Car - proper paint can be proper problematic (part 8.1)

I am by no means a monochromatic guy even though the way I dress (or paint my bikes) may suggest otherwise, I do like other colors aside from black. (Let's not get into the "but black ain't no color"-debatte please.) For example, I am very, very well aware that I do not like either the color, nor the paint scheme.

But I very much like the contrast of anthracite and a not too bright white. (Yes that's a picture of one of the walls next to the cellar stairs in the house I live in.)

To be fair the bright or as some would call it "Commie" red that the Comrade originally sported was a very vivid and actually beautiful color and one I would have been perfectly happy with. (I secretly always wanted a red car.) But this shade of faded brownish red, not gonna happen. Additionally, the lines of a Lada Niva aren't exactly textbook-elegant and as such could use a little help, especially the 1600s tail-light area is something I particularly disliked. As my dad was kind enough to let me use the somewhat heated garage in his house for painting, I had devised a plan of starting on the inside and then to continue on the outside. As you can clearly see, there's some slightly rusty patches on the inner wheel arches that warrant my attention, yet make it look like I had "caught things just in time". I didn't.

Sufficiently grumpy I decided to chisel out the remaining mess of bitumen mats.

So much for the plan to just paint the inside.

At this point I was on a roll and the freezing cold helped quite a bit to remove the bitumen and I decided to stop making half-assed attempts and remove all the remaining mats even if that could mean to find some more surprises. In order to gain access to the firewall, the heater box had to come out, which judging by the moldy and mossy mess inside wasn't one of my worst decisions. 

After a wash and a good scrub that's probably about as clean as it'll ever get.

Removing the heater fan is pretty straight forward and only means to remove the ground wire from the central point behind the dash...

... and the single wire that connects to the switch. The fan itself was dusty, but the bearings sound alright and a quick check with it hooked up to the battery didn't let the magic smoke out.

Whilst chopping away on the sound insulation, some forensic analysis clearly revealed that the previous owner must have used Comrade in a needle forest. Also, very likely the mesh that should be present between the air-inlet and the heater box has got a hole or two. 

That's only a fraction of what came out, but trust me when I say... there was STRONG evidence piling up on the floor.

With most of the floor being bare metal, one would assume that the little bit of insulation on the gearbox tunnel can't be too bad, right?

At this point, it was time to install the base model seat and drive Comrade back to the other garage and start tackling the rust holes.

Four identical patches were cut out to cover up the existing holes. (This is just to buy me time until Summer, when I probably have to do the inner wheel arches.)

... and another hole in the right foot well, that I hadn't seen previously...

... and on the driver side's door catch, which also explained why the door was dented on the outer skin.

Take the car back to the heated garage, let it warm up and get started on the inside. (Just a quick reminder we're still around the middle of February at this point.)

Once everything was in primer (which was roughly a day's work), some actual paint had to be applied the next day.

Also did you see the stains on the headliner in some of the previous pictures. You can call it foreshadowing or a bit of a spoiler of the things to come.

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