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The Day we Used a Little Bit of ‘Umph’

10/26/2017
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This week there’s been a whole lotta T-Bucket in my life. With the body fully disassembled, #cuteasabucket and I spent one afternoon transporting fenders, running boards, aprons, and the pickup bed to paint. Different from the crafty painting I do for funsies, painting a car takes time. A lot of time. The body has to be sanded and primed before any pretty stuff can even be applied. With our deadline quickly approaching, we thought it would be best to at least get the small stuff sent off while we worked on the finishing touches of the body. The paint man, aka Roger Nunn at Autographics Specialty Company, could get started on his part offsite and we could keep on truckin’ on our tear apart back at Speedway.

Note to self: A Tahoe is big enough to tow 6 friends around but probably not big enough to haul almost an entire T-Bucket body. It’s basically a life-sized version of tetris.

When tear down day rolled around we were all over the place, frantically trying to get everything disassembled so we could be that much closer to putting the car back together. #hotwheelhoney and #tinyT started tearing the rear end apart, since it needs to be fully disassembled before we can send it to paint. Turns out, there are a ton of components that make up a rear end and most of them are pretty tricky to get loose. The rear disc brakes were so tight that we had to phone a friend to help us loosen up the bolts. We tried using an Allen wrench but we just couldn’t get enough muscle behind it to make any headway. Jason, one of our engineers, showed us an ‘old school trick’ that he learned while following his dad around in the garage growing up. You use the same Allen wrench we had tried to use before, but you place a regular wrench at the end of it, providing more leverage for yourself. Once Jason taught us how to do that, we were golden. #hotwheelhoney had the new way of wrenching mastered and got all of the bolts loosened like it was her job. Piece. Of. Cake.

#HotWheelHoney uses her ‘phone-a-friend’ lifeline and learns a valuable trick!

When it came time to take the axles off, we quickly figured out we were in over our heads. They were so wedged in there that we had to find another resource. Fun word for the day: Dead blow. Total game changer. Not only did we learn what the heck a ‘dead blow’ was this week, we also had a shot at taking a few swings with it. (Yes, ‘dead blow’ is two words. Yes, I googled it.) A couple of semi-aggressive swings and ‘a little bit of umph’ later and the axles came right out, getting us just that much closer to completely disassembling the rear end. We also made sure to correctly label them ‘driver side’ and ‘passenger side’ since the axles were two different lengths.

While they worked on the rear end, #bucketbetty and I hopped in the bucket body as if it were some sort of boat. I worked on gluing the upholstery kit blocks to the inside of the body while she removed the brake pedal. Gluing wood blocks to fiberglass sounds like an easy task but let me tell you, it’s definitely not. Perhaps the right kind of glue can make your life easier, but I’m always up for a challenge. We never really found the ‘perfect’ adhesive to use, but I can tell you what not to use. We started with three options- an RTV silicone, JB Weld, and a wood-on-wood glue. Since the silicone wasn’t necessarily meant for fiberglass bodies (and we were almost out and couldn’t find it in stores) and the JB Weld was a little pricey for the amount of glue in the tube, we decided to try the wood-on-wood. Turns out, that type of adhesive is pretty (ok, extremely!) thin and will run down the inside of the car body. Even with clamps holding the blocks in place, the glue will get everywhere! (Luckily it peels right off when it dries.) The corner areas of the body are the toughest spot- since the blocks don’t lay flush against the body, all of the glue runs out and nothing is there to hold the blocks in place. When that happens, you turn to your trusty last two ounces of silicone adhesive because it’s a more cushioned type of glue that won’t be affected by gravity. Now that all of the parts are removed and all of the upholstery blocks are glued in, next week’s task will be sending the bucket body to paint along with its other friends! Note: There are still some wires attached to the firewall under the dash, but those can be taped off during the paint process.

Super runny glue makes for a big mess and a whole lot of extra work!

Our final to-do for tear down day was removing the third member from the rear end so we could send it to paint with the rest of our stuff. #hotwheelhoney and #tinyT had already worked so hard on the rest of the rear end disassembly that the rest of us wanted to tag in to help. After unbolting what felt like a 100 bolts, the third member was ready to be removed from the pumpkin. Being the Macho Woman I am, I gave the third member a fierce tug and it didn’t move. How embarrassing. Apparently I’m not as strong as I like to think I am. #tinyT came to the rescue and lent me a hand with a giant screwdriver and our trusty dead blow to pry it loose from the gasket that it was stuck to. After getting it super loosened, I successfully lifted the third member off of the pumpkin and into the storage case we’re keeping it in. Viccccctorrrrry!

You’re going down, third member!

This week was full of accomplishments for us and it was definitely a group effort in making the progress that we did. We may be taking apart the car, but we’re building friendships and a ton of confidence in ourselves while doing so! Until next time, #preTtyinpink

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