How to Undercoat a Car
Since I was old enough to drive, I have always wanted to be in “the club.” And what I mean by that is: for years I have wanted my own project car. I've always been stuck in the passenger seat. Well… I finally found one. Over the last few months I’ve been learning fast and hard that project cars, restored or in progress, teach you many things; patience, respect, they give you pride, and a strong community. There is something cool about pulling up to a stop light in a loud inefficient V8 that says – I’m not like you.
I’ve always been impressed with my friends. I’ve watched them build their cars themselves over many years of trial and error. And like clockwork, every summer they cruise them thousands of miles. Now, many of them are onto their 2nd or 3rd projects and I’ve always had that behind schedule feeling. That time and money excuse is an easy one to default to. But, it’s like our product manager, Jeff Karls once told me – nobody ever has enough time or money to do this stuff – you just have to want it bad enough.
Your first project might feel like you just stepped off a cliff. Because yes, you have just changed the trajectory of your upcoming nights and weekends. I remember the first night I worked on the car (vacuuming 57-years of leftovers out of the interior) you find a hole here, another one there, WAIT ANOTHER! I had a sinking feeling – holy crap what did I get into?
Next thing I know, I’m standing under this ‘63 Impala sandblasting the floors in the dead heat of summer. The helmet fogged over with sweat every 10-seconds, I have sand coming out of my ears, but guess what – I guess I must want it bad enough.
I take all the advice I can get from my buddies because they’re the experts. Especially guys like Derek Turner – he’s done this a time or two. So, it was natural to start from the ground up. I was very lucky to acquire this car - there’s pretty good metal for the most part and keeping it that way requires some kind of long term protection.
One of the gold standards for doing this is Bedliner spray. This stuff is tough as nails, it looks great, and if prepped right – sticks very well.
Now I was fortunate enough to be using a rented rotisserie to get the underbody clean, a lot of guys lay on their back with a grinder night after night, but, I recommend looking into a rotisserie. You won’t regret it. You can maneuver much easier on two feet than you can on a creeper.
Once I had everything sandblasted, we did some much-needed patchwork (which you can read more about here) and I prepped the sheet metal by blowing it with air, soaking down with some wax and grease remover, taped it off, and laid down a few coats of 3-part epoxy sealer.
After the patchwork was done, I brushed on seam sealer, let it cure, and scuffed everything with Scotch-Brite pads. I put down a couple of fresh coats of epoxy sealer, let it dry, and we applied the Bedliner with the supplied spray gun.
It’s pretty simple, you lay down a single thick coat and let it dry for a day. I have to say, this was one of the first hurdles to jump over. It felt like a huge accomplishment having a solid floor to set down over the new frame.
Now then… what’s next?