Seam Sealer Saves the Day

Eastwood brushable seam sealer to the rescue!

A little over three years ago when I started this project in earnest, the first things I ordered were two tubes of Eastwood high-solids seam sealer and one quart of brushable seam sealer.  I ended up using both tubes but hadn’t opened the brushable stuff until last week.  Luckily for me, it was still good!

Part of the reason I’d never opened the can was that Ford used a pressure gun on more seams than they did the brush.  Or at least I’d thought so.  As it turned out, they used brushed-on sealant in lots of places, but I hadn’t had to replace much of it.  Or so I thought.  As I mentioned last week, the media blasters removed a lot of the exterior sealer.  Bill, to his credit, replaced a lot of it before he painted.  But he didn’t reseal the edges of the cowl…so I had a leak on both sides.

While it would be convenient to blame him for shoddy work, I can’t.  It would be easy to miss the fact that there are actually three layers of metal joined at the edge seam cowl area, rather than the two you might expect.   The top two layers are the top and bottom of the cowl tub (where the fresh air enters), but there’s a layer below that which forms the inner edge of the dash-board.  Ford originally applied sealant there, which should be a clue that a water leak is likely in that area.

Fenders, bumpers, and valances…oh my.

With a bug sufficiently planted up my rear, I figured today was as good a day as any to pull both fenders.  Even as recently as this morning, I wasn’t sure I’d actually pull the fenders before I get the car running.  But I’ve been fretting over this for the last several days, enough that I had lost sleep over it.  I had to DO something about it, so starting around noon, I tore into the project.  I left the grille center support in-place, but I removed pretty much everything else I’d planned.  The only part I struggled with was the bumper, and even that only took an extra 10 minutes.

With the bumpers and all the other ancillary junk removed, I set into pulling the fenders themselves.  Fun fact: Bill actually left out a bolt on each side.  Fender removal is relatively straight forward as long as you can find all the bolts.  Apart from the row at the top and the bolt at the bottom rear edge, there is a bolt in the middle rear (accessed from the inside, behind a rubber plug), a bolt at the top (accessible with the door open), and two behind the headlight bucket area of the front of the fender.  Remove all the bolts or the fender won’t come off!

Sealing in the freshness

I’d hoped I wouldn’t need to, but I ended up putting the fenders in the living room for safe-keeping.  With the fenders off the car, seam sealer was a quick next logical step.  I saw the issue right away — the edges of the sheet metal hadn’t been sealed at all.  At first I found myself regretting using all of my previous two tubes of sealer.  Then I looked at some photos and realized Ford used the brushable stuff originally.  A thick coat later, and I found myself anxiously waiting for the sealer to cure so I could water test the car again.

Tomorrow I’ll move forward, hopefully without any leaks, and finally have a chance to make some more real progress!

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