Friday, July 15, 2016

Firewall and Engine Bay Detailing | Part 1

Even though about a year ago I took the time to detail parts of the firewall (those I was able to reach), having the motor out of the engine bay gives me enough access to detail a good chunk of it.

This is by no means, a fun job. Quite the contrary. But it has to be done. Otherwise, what's the point of having a rebuilt engine that looks beautiful sitting in an engine bay that looks tired and dirty?

So with that thought in mind, I decided to start cleaning and sanding some of the areas I can reach. At some point I will have to climb in the engine bay in order to mask everything that does not need paint, and I will also detail the chassis as much as I can.


I have a brand new coolant overflow tank and cap, since the original one is ready to be retired. Plus, removing it from the inner fender gives me extra room to paint areas that are totally bare.


The photo below shows inner fender areas where some of the paint has flaked off. My plan is to remove as much of the wiring, a/c lines and hoses in order to paint just the fiberglass areas, then detail the wiring, lines and hoses and reinstall them.


The wiper motor will have to come off so that area can be painted properly. Still debating how to refinish the brake booster.


The previous owner had spray-bombed the firewall at some point, but did not take the time to mask the exposed wires, so everything got painted. That's "no bueno." Goof Off works well to remove old spray paint, but it can be time consuming.

I think I will also eliminate the alarm switch, since my car no longer has an alarm system.


This is a close up of an area of the firewall that shows grime buildup. Lots of scraping is necessary to get rid of that gunk.


I started by sanding the firewall area behind the brake booster. I think I will need to use a little bit of Bondo® to smooth out some areas, but that should help eliminate the bad finish these cars came with from the factory.

Since there's lots of seam sealer blobs on the firewall, a lot of scraping and chiseling is required, followed by sanding. It's a slow and tedious process, but the results are worth the extra effort.



I am leaning toward using Dupli-Color Truck Bed Coating spray for the engine bay, as the textured finish looks nice and also helps conceal small imperfections, and there are plenty of those in areas that are hard to reach.

About a year ago I sprayed the wiper bay area with truck bedliner and it has held up nicely and looks fantastic. I also think that the thicker coating may help reduce engine bay noise and heat in the cabin, and that would be a nice bonus.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series.