I hear it a lot: “I’m restoring a car. Can you help?”
The short answer is (usually) yes.
Of course, “restoring a car” can mean a lot of different things, so I like to ask some questions, and make a judgment call on a case-by-case basis.
For instance, if a customer calls looking for help with a single rust spot on a 2005 pickup, I may let them know that what they’re asking for is tricky. Blasting a small part of a large, assembled vehicle is incredibly labor-intensive, and a bit of a gamble – even if we put in a tremendous amount of prep time masking off all the good parts, there’s no guarantee that the blasting won’t tear through the masking, damaging the parts of the vehicle we were trying to protect.
Any car that still has glass in it, or the fuel cell attached, automatically becomes a very delicate operation, and I’m more likely to turn it down for being too risky.
My ideal car restoration job starts with a car that’s fully gutted – no glass, no suspension, no components – and in pieces (body separate from frame, with fenders, doors, and hood all separate as well).
A car in this state will benefit the most from the services we provide: we’ll blast the frame with steel grit, and can powder coat it if the customer wants us to. Anything that comes on the frame (spindles, sway bars, bracketry, etc) can be blasted and powder coated as well, but it must first be removed from the frame. We’ll also blast the car body with crushed glass, and can easily apply liquid primer if the customer so chooses.
This is the best way to ensure that your car’s skeleton is fully blasted and protected.
We regularly see cars that have been gutted, but not taken apart. A car in this state will be blasted with crushed glass, because there’s no way to ensure that the blasting medium is fully blown out of every small space, and steel grit would rust if left behind. We also won’t be able to fully blast all of the nooks and crannies of an assembled car, simply because we cannot reach them. When the car has wheels, tires, and suspension on it, it won’t withstand the heat of powder coating. Therefor, we liquid prime all of the reachable parts.
Whether the car is in pieces or still assembled, I always tell my customers to check it over for heavy grease. If the grease is too thick and gooey, the blasting medium will get stuck, causing major problems down the road. All heavy grease should definitely be removed before the car is brought to us.
Long story short: for best results, gut and disassemble your car before bringing it to us. If that’s not an option, or if you have questions, give us a call! We have lots of experience working with cars in varying conditions, and we’re happy to help.