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Heavy metal!
Good job fixing the mess.
 

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Well dang. Yeah I couldn't find those mounts when I did a 76 for a member on here. I had to make them too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #103 ·
KurtfromLaQuinta said:
Heavy metal!
Good job fixing the mess.
Could have done without 150 billable hours. On the flip side would have taken me 3 times as long to it maybe a 1/3 as nice / solid as this. I'm just glad to be in the other bay and done bleeding rust money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #104 ·
I f'ed up a few times in the planning and rounding up parts bit. Was on top of the trim clip problem. Found some NOS tailgate clips on ebay and looted a pocketful of used side clips from my fav old Dodge grave yard. For those of you playing along at home: both NOS and repop side clips are long gone.

Would ya believe my guy still has the gun for tacking the clip rivets on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #105 ·
I straight up hate picking colors because ya know, I suck at it. If ya loop back a couple pages, I kinda decided to keep the brown because of scoring the uber rare buckets. The bit I skipped is how many of those exact seats in dark red / burgundy I've walked past. As in: already painted the doors and dash, no big deal painting them again. Meanwhile my body guy has really been balking at the idea of color change and I of course don't wanna put that kinda hole in my budget - again. In the process of working thru that I may have told him match it with something I like better or it's goin Inferno Red. Well, damn if he didn't pull that off.

Depending on your paint supplier, ya can still dig up formulas for 40 year old paint so that's where we started. The fender on pg 2 was supposed to be original color in single stage and the metallic wasn't even close. The center section on this spray out is supposed to be the same thing in base clear but it's an even worse match. One side of this is a base clear that got cooked up based on what the scanning camera picked up from the inside of the doors - ya know, where its not sun faded. It's just about dead on and how often does that happen. The other section is 2013-15 Ram and I really dig it - kinda. Has more red in it and that works for me, great metallic / pearl in the sun. Looks plain boring without bright light.

The other conversation has been how to tow-tone it and break up the big brown blob with some tan. I was leaning toward the factory style but I've gotten over it. Part of that is try finding the trim, never mind the clips. I kinda landed on paint the roof tan to match the interior but again my guy wasn't diggin it. While looking at the spray out I had a moment where hey, maybe paint the roof this center color that doesn't match at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #106 ·
Looking at the spray outs I've been leaning toward the brown on the right because it's almost dead on for the color it currently is. Tryin to get behind the idea that I'll like it more when the whole truck is fresh and shiny compared to how dead the original paint is. Been showing the panel to people and asking them which one they like best. So far everybody is going for the one on the left - the 2013 Ram. Of course the material cost is double of the other one.

Then I spotted this thing on FB marketplace. Seller says it was repainted before he got it, doesn't know what they used. Kinda looks like the newer ram color and I gotta say I kinda dig it.
 

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Nice truck!
 

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Looks like a quality paint job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #109 ·
Primer stages should be about done by now and paint coming soon so I've been working on exterior finish details.

Have a new after market front bumper and the current rear is pretty good. Bought the repop prospector decals and door handles, need to pull the trigger on the mirror bases and hood emblem. Gotta grab the side spears and wipers to polish up and ya'd be surprised what a buffing wheel and some aluminum polish will do for old dull wiper arms / blades.

Recently looped back to the problem of cleaning up the grille. Been a thing I've been tinkering with for a while and think I've got something that will work (except for Kurt). Simple explanation: hit it with 80 grit to tear through the anodized layer and work the scratches / dings out, repeat until ya get to 5000 grit. Clear coat solution to follow but thinking about powder coating. Test spot came up pretty well. I think what looks swirls on the final polish is actually some scratches from around 120 grit because I was short a couple grits in the sequence.

 

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Discussion Starter · #110 ·
The one spot came up well enough that I decided to do the whole thing. This is a bigger section knocked down to 80 grit and first pics shows a few blems. The test spot taught me that you've got to get it uniform at this grit or you'll just be polishing defects later. A 5" orbital worked for most of it, need to order some 2" pads for around the head lights.

For the small dings, a few taps with small hammer from the back will turn a low spot in to a high spot and then just grind it away to make it flat. The book case on wheels will be perfect for spinning it around because it's real easy to get bench scratches in the soft aluminum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #111 ·
Dunno exactly how the 77/78 grill became the test mule but it's all good - I've got one of those too. Was gonna keep going with the finer grits I have while waiting for the smaller disks to arrive. Decided not to risk getting overlap and just wait for the order and do the whole thing 1 grit at a time.

Decided to grab the best of the take off 79 grilles I have around and see what I could do about working the serious dents. Went a lot easier than I expected and I seriously think I spent more time trying to clamp the grill down then hammering on the dents. Used a couple simple hammers and a piece of flat stock for a dolly. Also fooled around with using sockets and other round things as a dolly when knocking the high points back down. Last pass here is 60 grit and still needs a little tuning.

 

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Nice stuff!
Even though it's shiny.  ;D
 

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Really nice work that must be long to do if you want a good result. Just a small question,
is that in time this is not likely to oxidize again? (sun, rain, snow temperature difference)
I’ve always been reluctant to go out and do more damage than improvement.
Also I love the metallic brown on your test panel, the one to the right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #115 ·
I know that channel and resto. Also turns out I kinda know the guy. Back before FB existed I was running a group / mailing list / website for Cordobas and he was in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #116 ·
On the question of time: like every other tin grille owner I've spent years researching how to bring these things back to life. I've also spent time talking to metal polishing shops and gotten insane bids to strip, polish, re-anodize. See also time spent testing out other peoples ideas. How long it takes to actually finish one will probably end up being less time than it to took to work out how.

I'd say the bright and shiny spot in the first post took about 90 minutes while doing other things. That's based on stepping through 9 grits and spending about 10 minutes with each one. Didn't actually clock anything but I'd guess about 2 hours more to get the 77/78 to where it is now - dents knocked out, scratches gone, 90% of it ready to move on to the 2nd step. I'm gonna estimate about an hour per grit from where it is until done.

The big ugly dent in the last posting legit took me maybe 20 minutes. The aluminum is really soft and so far has been going back in shape really easily. I did most of 3 ugly dents on that one in under 2 hours which included a lot of time spent figuring how and trying different things. Ballpark, I'd bill like 15 hours to do a 77/78, less for a 79/80 because of the headlight buckets.

As for a final top coat protection, haven't gotten there yet. Gotta do something because it picks up small nicks pretty easily when stripped. Leaning toward clear powder coat but haven't priced it. I get the bit about not wanting to make it any worse than it already is. Pretty much why I'm paying for rust repair instead of doing it myself. For this experiment I started with a take off grille that I no intention of ever putting back on a truck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #117 ·
The on going saga of cleaning up the grille is now on you tube. Maybe a how-to article here later. The center sections are mind numbingly tedious and still not sure how to get to one part of them. R&D hours keep piling up but still have faith in the end product. I created a play list that I'll add to as things progress.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9md5C5XfCIa_jBHJUoQ5D0rGB5HnFMyE
 

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Discussion Starter · #118 ·
Both sides are primed, blocked, repeat, ready for color. First color went down yesterday and is looking like glass and is about as close to the original as it's gonna get. One sag on the tailgate but I've seen his finished stuff so I'm not worried. 5 coats of color and 3 coats of clear with more coming so plenty of room to cut and buff.
 

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Lots of work is paying off.
Real nice.
 

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Looking good!
 
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