Monthly Archives: November 2011

If it moves and it shouldn’t … duct tape

You know know that sinking feeling you get when something bad, and totally unexpected, happens? I suspect the owner of this Charger had that feeling when he heard the stop block ripping the nose off his car.

Unless you are very careful, if you drive a car you have probably heard the nose scrape on one of those parking blocks as you ease into a parking place. Modern cars are so low it is very easy to do. In case of this driver, the block must have been a little higher than normal because it didn’t just scrape, it broke the lower section of the car.

Deciding that duct tape holding the broken pieces together wasn’t an acceptable long term solution, the car was brought to the JMC AutoworX shop for repair. The first picture show’s the damaged nose section, with duct tape holding it together, after it was removed from the car. The second photo shows the new nose section sanded and waiting it’s turn in the paint booth. We’ll get some paint on that and once it is good and dry we will pop it back on the car. Then the incident will be nothing but an unpleasant memory.

You know that old saying … “If it moves and it shouldn’t, duct tape. If it doesn’t move and it should, WD40.” Well, if either of those options are acceptable there is a third way … JMC AutoworX.

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The difference is clear

Until the car is painted it is still a damaged car … no matter how good the bodywork.

After pulling out the crease and smoothing up the lines, this Rogue is ready for paint. In the first couple of pictures you can see the car with the paint sanded, making it that flat, dull red, the masking applied to protect the rest of the car from over spray and the sealer applied to the damaged area.

Even though the car was only damaged on the rear door and quarter panel, the vehicle is masked off in this manner to give me room to blend the paint from the newly painted sections into the existing paint, disguising the repaired area and preventing the eye from being able to pick out any slight shifts in color.

The last three pictures show the car after the clear has been applied. Where the color layer is blended from the repaired panels into the existing panels, the clear is applied over the entire area to bring up the shine, both on the newly painted panels but also on existing panels which were sanded.

Once the car is dry we will fit it with the repaired bumper, also damaged in the scuffle with the cart corral, and this Rogue will be ready to return to the customer.

T’is but a scratch

We have had a run of Rogues in the shop lately. First the black Nissan Rouge from a couple of weeks ago and now this red one.

Where the black Rogue suffered from a severe case of road rash, this Rogue got up close and personal with a buggy corral. The worst part is visible in the second picture. That’s a nasty bend where the corral caught the edge of the rear quarter panel and bent the per-diddle out of it. You can’t smooth something like that with body filler, so there were two options for the repair … replace the rear quarter panel, or pound it out.

We decided to see if we could pound out the dent before we went to the more drastic step of cutting off and replacing the rear quarter. If we could pound the dent out it would much less expensive for the owner, and if we couldn’t, no harm done.

You can see in the third picture that we went to work on it with our handy-dandy slide hammer. The copper colored sticks are the studs, and the heavy looking gizmo attached to one of the studs is the slide hammer. The direction the studs are pointing indicates which way we intended to pull the metal. With a really nasty bend like this one, the car can end up looking like a porcupine.

After banging away with the slide hammer for a while we were able to tease the metal back into a shape that closely resembled the original body line. The fourth picture shows the results of all that hammering and yanking. Looks pretty good actually. Those dark marks that look like holes are actually the low places left after the body was teased into shape.

The next two photos, numbers five and six, show how we fix that. The whole area is slathered with a layer of body filler. The filler will fill the small holes and allow us to sand smooth all the tiny imperfections left after pounding the body into shape.

Now that the crinkle has been removed from the paint, the rest of the side of the car received some attention. The next photo in the series shows the door after it has been sanded. Sanding the paint revels imperfection in the bodywork that would otherwise be difficult to see. Notice the spots that look different than the uniform white of the sanded paint that surrounds them. Those are high places that will have to be repaired, as small as they are, lest they show up in the paint later. A thin layer of body filler to smooth the lines is all that is required.

Photos eight, nine and ten, show the car after all the filler has been sanded smooth and the paint is prepped for priming.

The last three photos are of the car after application of the primer. Other than the obvious difference in color, the car looks good. The door and quarter panel seam as straight and even as the day it left the assembly line and the little bumps and rub marks are smoothed out and primed over.

I’m happy the with results of our metal work and we were able to save the customer a considerable amount of money by not having to replace the quarter panel, which should make them happy.

After the application of paint and reassembly, the car will be good as new … just in time for the holidays.

Big wheels a rollin’

What do you do when you get a good deal on some wheels but they are the wrong color? Why, you paint them of course.

These wheels, from a ZR1 Corvette, were picked up on the cheap, but the owner wanted them in classic black instead of the standard silver. The first picture shows one of the wheels in its original color, scuffed, and ready for paint.

The next two pictures show the black paint going onto the wheel. I haven’t painted too many wheels, and I hope I don’t have to paint many more because painting wheels, and getting good coverage without runs, that’s surprisingly hard.

The last three pictures show the finished wheels. A trick of the light causes the front of the wheels appear to be quite flat in the pictures, but in reality they are very glossy. If you look carefully at the pictures you can pick out a few reflections, like my toes in center cap of the fifth picture.

Once these bad boys are mounted up with some nice tires and mounted on the owners Pontiac Trans Am, he will be riding in style. And for a lot less than the cost of new wheels too.

Let us give thanks …

JMC AutoworX is closed today and tomorrow in celebration of Thanksgiving. We will reopen Monday, November 28th to serve you.

I hope that you and yours have many things to be thankful for this year. Like most, I am thankful to have my family and friends. But as I sit and think, I realize I have much more than that to be thankful for.

My business has been blessed with some truly great customers in the last couple of years. Because of you, my customers, my business is beginning to grow and prosper. But more than that, I am thankful that so many of my customers have become my friends. Cassie and Karl, Terry, Rufus, and all the others … they all started out as customers but have turned into people that I can call friend.

And for that … I am very thankful indeed.

Now I know how the customer feels

It’s funny how a different prospective can bring clarity to a subject you had given no thought to before.

I have built many a car in my shop, and I have always enjoyed it when the customer is so excited to see their car. I understood it from a intellectual prospective, but I never really got that emotional jolt that the customer gets.  When you see a car go together, bit by bit, you never see the car, only the collection of parts that make up the car.

Monday I stopped by to see Kelly at Murphy Rod & Custom and I saw the ’32 Ford assembled for the first time. Just … wow. Even though I painted the thing, seeing it together for the first time like that … Now I understand what the customer is feeling.

No wonder the customers are giddy … it’s quite the rush.

Like … wow man

Having never been a drug user I can’t say I had a very good understanding of the whole stoner colors thing. Well, until now maybe.

This is a picture of some paint I was mixing. Care to guess the final color? Go ahead, I’ll wait.

What did you guess? Want a hint? If you think back to primary school when you first learned about color, you may remember that there is a color that is the combination of all colors. Do you remember what it is? It’s white.

I was mixing a quart of white paint and I happen to notice this swirl of colors in the can. I have never observed such an interesting effect before so I pulled my phone out and took a quick snap shot before I stirred it up. Long time readers of this site may recall my mentioning in the past how there are very few pure colors … how most automotive colors have two, three, or more, colors in them, even if you see blue for example. Well there you go. I can’t explain it any better than what this photo show.

Below is an interesting quote by Dr. Albert Hofman … I wonder if he saw something like this?

After some time, with my eyes closed, I began to enjoy this wonderful play of colors and forms, which it really was a pleasure to observe. Then I went to sleep and the next day I was fine. I felt quite fresh, like a newborn.

Albert Hofmann

Better together

Peanut butter and chocolate. Biscuits and gravy. V8’s and classic cars. What do each of these things have in common? Each is pretty good alone, but together they are better than their individual parts. Now there is a new combination … JMC AutoworX and Murphy Rod & Custom.

Kelly Murphy, owner of Murphy Rod & Custom, has been my metal fabricator for some time now. When a car needs heavy body or engine work, Kelly is my man. He does all the things that I have neither the skill, time nor equipment to do for myself. For example, I can install a fender, but Kelly … Kelly can make a fender. Kelly has had his hand in several very well known, and highly respected, show cars over the last several years. Not only that, he is builder of the Murphy Roadster, a true one off, hand crafted car that was built entirely in the Murphy Rod & Custom shop. If he can take flat pieces of steel and build a car, there isn’t anything I’m going to need done that he can’t handle. He is just launching his web site, but I take a look at it anyway. You might just see an old friend or two, first seen here, over there.

In order to open up some breathing room in my schedule, Kelly and I have entered in to a loose business arrangement where some of the tasks that were once performed by me, here in my shop, will now be done by Murphy Rod & Custom. The same iron-clad JMC AutoworX satisfaction guarantee still applies to all work because Murphy Rod & Custom is very, very, good at what they do and I have no worries over the quality of their work. As long as I have been using their services I have never had one question over the quality of their workmanship.

You will still be able to watch the progress of your car on this site as I will continue to post progress reports even while it is in Kelly’s shop, plus you will also be able to follow it on Murphy Rod & Custom’s own web site for a more in depth explanation of what is going on. A link to their site is always available in the side bar on the right.

Why are we doing this, you ask? As my business has grown I find I have less and less time to fool around with stuff I am not good at. In other words, I no longer have time to learn how to plumb the transmission cooler lines on a 1965 Chevy. Kelly, he lives and breaths this stuff, so what he can knock out in a day or two would take me a week. This will allow me to push more cars through my shop by off-loading some tasks to a facility that is better equipped to handle the work. That is how it helps me.

But it also benefits you, my customers, by allowing work to continue on restoration projects while I am busy working on other things. Where now a long term project is put on hold while I deal with other customer’s cars, depending on timing, work could continue in the Murphy Rod & Custom shop. This means a potentially faster turn-around on long term restoration work, which means you get your pride and joy back that much quicker.

Like peanut butter and chocolate, JMC AutoworX and Murphy Rod & Custom are better together. The only thing left to work out is which of us is peanut butter and which is chocolate.

Closed for Thanksgiving

Thursday and Friday of next week, November 24th and 25th, JMC AutoworX will be closed to celibrate Thanksgiving. We will reopen Monday, November 28th to serve your auto body repair need.

Everyone enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday.

Ready for takeoff

Here’s the Pilot with all the molding and trim pieces installed … the massive door ding completely repaired.

When the owner shows up this Pilot will be ready to takeoff for home.

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