My winter beater/toy

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My winter beater/toy

Post by RoboGeek on June 7th 2009, 4:47 pm

This is a 93 cavy that I use as a toy/winter beater. It has ported head, cat back, 1.6:1 rockers, bigger TB, shift kit and a reprogrammed chip. I've fixed up cars since the early 70's and with this car rusting out horribly, I decided to try the cheapo way.
It was going to be a RWD V8 transplant, since its hard to find unrusty Vega's, but I let it go too long, then saw the fast and the furious and just had to make this run better. Not a big problem since we race midgets with 300hp 4 bangers, including the pontiac version of this motor.

Synopsis of the car before work started:
There were no rockers, lower doors, left fender flare or right quarter left. Rather than replace it with metal, I build skis, so I thought I'd use some of that on the car.
The left flare was molded from the intact right one, and the right quarter was molded from the left. From the molds I used triax glass and epoxy to recreate the parts, which were installed with regular glass. The triax and epoxy will be strong enough to take the snow blobs that build up and break off regular fiberglass/bondo.

total cost for this was $141.69 - and I have many new supplies left over. That includes the bodywork stuff too - lots of expensive triax fiberglass, and I used the epoxy I use for building ski's, which is much more expensive than fiberglass resin. But it releases from molds easily, and its super strong - needed that since the lower quarter panels and one fender flare are solid glass now - don't want snow accumulating and breaking things off!
That also includes the plaster of paris and other things to create molds from the good side for the bad side - most people wont need that.
Actual paint supplies was $46.41

If anyone tries this, here's what I learned (the hard way).

1. Spraying is much easier, but requires more taping
2. If you do roll it on, roll it very thin and wet sand after every 2 coats
3. Change the tape every 2 coats. I'm spending more time removing paint hardened tape than I did actually painting!
4. Contrary to the internet lore, I found 6" rollers easier to keep the paint even with
5. THIN!! I can't say it enough! The thinner a coat you apply, the smaller the orange peel, and the less sanding you'll have to do
6. Make sure to wait at least a couple weeks of hot weather before final sanding and buffing. Oil based enamels take longer to harden than acrylic enamels do
7. This is the biggie - make sure your surfaces are as perfect as you want your paint to be. If you don't mind dings and dents showing after your done, go for it. A light sanding and cleaning, and rustoleum will stick fine. If you want it to look like a mirror (and this paint will shine up that good), you need a perfectly smooth surface. Trust me - any little flaw looks 100x worse after its got shiny paint on it!
And if you are changing colors, get a can of spray paint in the same color for the door jambs, under the hood and trunk, and any places you cant reach easily (like under door handles). Spray those first, then the rest of the paint will blend in perfectly

Fun factor for this project = 5 stars
90% of the work is on facebook - pm me if you want added to see



before





after


Last edited by RoboGeek on June 8th 2009, 11:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by retired plumber on June 7th 2009, 7:41 pm

Nice looking car. Must have been quite a project to make your own body panels out of glass. I also like and agree with your comments about the tape and especially about the prep. That is 90% of the paint job. I have always said "if you see it before paint, you WILL see it after" thumbs up .
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by RoboGeek on June 8th 2009, 11:47 am

its actually pretty easy to make a mold to do it. I used plaster of paris and old newspapers. Seal it up real good with paint and apply lots of mold release. Then just lay the fiberglass in the mold and wait for it to harden. It comes out as smooth as a baby's bottom!
The parts I used epoxy for, but I used regular fiberglass and resin to mount them
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by MR2Miach on June 9th 2009, 6:22 am

RoboGeek, you just gave me a great idea! I have been pondering over the side skirts I want to make for my car and the plaster trick is just what I was looking for. Huge thumbs up to you!
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by RoboGeek on June 11th 2009, 8:37 pm

If you really want to have some fun...

get some modelling clay (real stuff - not playdoh) and make a basic shape out of wood and other filler material. Then lay on the clay an inch or so thick. You can create all kinds of intricate details for things like hood scoops, vents, flares, etc. A little water helps make it perfectly smooth, and when you have it just the way you want it - make that into a mold. Plaster and paper will work ok for that too if you make it thick enough. Make sure every little detail is filled good, then add thickness. Pop it off when its hard, seal it and then make sure you work the fiberglass into every little space and you'll have a perfectly smooth replica of what you created in clay.
Of course you can lay the glass directly on top of the clay, but its much harder to get perfectly smooth - lots of sanding and filling

We used that method to make glass front ends for our late model, since we smooshed ours alot, and it was easier and cheaper to make 4-5 for a year's racing instead of paying $300+ for one each time
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by MR2Miach on June 11th 2009, 8:44 pm

Nice! Thanks for the advice. I have side skirts already but the back part where it meets the wheel well I want changed, your tips are going to make things way easier.
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by RoboGeek on June 11th 2009, 8:53 pm

I'm thinking a nice black cobra style hood scoop might look good on mine.. lol

First I have to wet sand and polish the car. Even though the orange peel is small, it still is there. But I can't believe the number of people that have just stopped and asked if that was the same rusty blue car.
And of course they want me to do it to something they own! Like my computer shop isn't busy enough... Razz
Maybe I should expand...lmao
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by MR2Miach on June 11th 2009, 8:58 pm

I know what you mean. On mr2oc.com folks are constantly asking me how I did it, what I used, can they send me spoilers and valances to paint. I had to do a complete write-up and post links to this place so folks can see they can do it themselves.
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by RoboGeek on June 11th 2009, 9:04 pm

yeah.. I'm thinking of posting on JBO ( www.j-body.org ) about it. They are sceptics though - they didn't believe we could make the HP-Tuners stuff and tune a GM through the OBDII port, and when we finally ported it to 4 cyl, they still didn't believe it. They didn't believe how much HP we got out of our hornet either, or the tricks we used to do it. So I'm kinda leery of posting about it there. A couple computer forums have the full story on them though.. lol
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by MR2Miach on June 11th 2009, 9:13 pm

The MR2 folks are different in this nature. Show them the parts you used then the dyno sheet and they eat it up. Of course we have a ton of SCCA and professional race drivers, so they pretty much have seen most of it before.
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by RoboGeek on June 11th 2009, 9:31 pm

unfortunately most cavy owners are 16yo kids..
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by MR2Miach on June 11th 2009, 10:06 pm

Nothing better than a 16 year old snagging his first MR2. The first post he will make is beside exhaust and intake what can I do to make big power. They love to take out little 4age's (112 hp, 96 trq to the crank) and throw on 10psi worth of boost and blow the motor an hour later. We tell them the best bang for the buck, they don't listen, they are later asking where to get a different motor LoL. Gotta love the power hungry kids. You gotta know your motor before you throw stuff on and expect it to fly.

I would love to hear what you have done and what increases you have gained.
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by RoboGeek on June 27th 2009, 3:30 pm

Finally got around to wet sanding and buffing out the paint...


before..




after...





No wax, not sealed yet and still have the roof and vertical surfaces to do. A corvette show car guy thats a customer came by to pick up his computer and refused to believe I rolled the paint on.


To really notice the difference, look at the siding image in both pics. You can read the serial number off a dollar bill in the reflection now!
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by RoboGeek on July 5th 2009, 3:21 pm

ok, now I have a dilema..

I was just fixing it up to either sell or 'drive it till it dropped' as a winter beater so I could save the newer cavalier from the lovely rust we seem to be able to spawn on anything around here. But after a bunch of people have taken a liking to it, I'm at the point where if i keep it, I need to fix it up. After all this work I kinda got attached to it.

If I start fixing on it, thats gonna put me past the point of no return, where the car becomes a money pit - after all, if you put hundreds into getting it in good shape, why not add NOS and some fat tires?
Now its a little loud - gotta add some power to that stereo.

It sounds good - but those ratty stock seats have to go - oh look at the pretty recaro's!

you know the drill.. lol
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by Batjac on July 5th 2009, 6:19 pm

Well, just my opinion, but I wouldn't put a lot of bling into it. When I met my wife, she was just divorced with a total beater Dodge Spirit. It was a workout just driving down the road at 40 MPH, the steering and suspension was so bad. I didn't think it was really safe for her to drive her kids around in. Well, I did a little work for her when we were dating, and then after we got married, we got her a new car and I drove the Spirit, fixing it up as I went along. I eventually sunk about 4K into the car over about six or seven years. Everyone thought I was nuts for spending so much on an old Spirit. But, it was in fantastic running condition. I did put a new stereo in it, but I didn't upgrade anything else in the interior. I also avoided the performance upgrades that I kept reading about (yes, there are performance upgrades that tuners do to the lowly Dodge Spirit).

Just get your car driving smooth and use it for what you got it for, a reliable second car. I have always felt that EVERYone should have a reliable beater to fall back on when their primary car goes down. And, if that beater looks good on the outside, all the better.

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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by RoboGeek on July 6th 2009, 12:34 pm

actually its a 3rd car, and possibly the 4th if I find a S-10.

My beaters I usually fix up with parts that will fit in any car so I can swap them into the next one. Cavy parts will fit into S-10's too, so all my engine mods can be popped onto that 2.2.

I prefer to fix up the beaters because if you break them - who cares! Buy another one.
I don't modify my daily drivers until they get old enough to become the beater
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by zoelife on July 18th 2009, 9:43 pm

is that a white cavalier in your garage?
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by RoboGeek on July 19th 2009, 4:05 pm

yeah.. one of 3 cars. Thats 2002 - totally stock. It may get repainted shortly since all the paint chips are rusting
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by RoboGeek on July 22nd 2009, 8:48 pm



Still not rubbed out, but I washed it today. I like the reflection of the flag in the window and the paint

And yes my house needs paint!! Being born in 1895 does that to ya.. (the house, not me!) lol
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by RoboGeek on July 30th 2009, 5:47 pm

one more...







I think I have a sweet winter beater now!!!
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by RoboGeek on August 26th 2009, 10:44 am

Finally got around to rubbing it out and waxing it...


side view





ugly dude reflecting in the pretty paint






clouds reflecting off the hood






can reflection..



I think its ready for winter now!
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by RoboGeek on March 16th 2010, 7:13 pm

well.. liked this car so much I parked it all winter!

Took it for its first spin of 2010 today. Nice cool air.. the chip really loves that. With the leftover grit on the roads from winter and a shift kit, I left a foot of rubber in front on me neighbors house from the 1-2 shift.. lol

Gonna wash it tomorow.. first wash of 2010.. awww..
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by retired plumber on March 16th 2010, 10:27 pm

Well, after all that work what did you expect to do, use it in the winter? lol! Mike
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by stang_krazy on March 16th 2010, 10:53 pm

Hey RoboGeek

Your car looks great, love the red thumbs up

have you tried this out yet?
http://www.autodetailingsolutions.net/meguiars-ultimate-wash-and-wax-g17748.html

go to wal-mart and get it for $8.97 (my wal-mart price) and also get a $5.00 rebate back!

Don't be like me and buy 2 and think your going to get back $10.00, 1 rebate per house hold. LOL!
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Re: My winter beater/toy

Post by 63Falconconvert on March 17th 2010, 8:27 am

great looking car, way to nice to drive in the snow. Do they use salt on the roads there like they do here in NY?
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