Next thing to take care of is the tail lights. The lenses were all loose, which tells me there are no gaskets installed. Luckily I bought foam gaskets a while ago.
Time for a bit of a rant….I am amazed with the lack of care taken when reinstalling parts onto a newly painted vehicle. There was quite a bit of damage caused by the installation of the tail light frames. There is also a mounting bracket missing from both sides (behind the lights) which I will have to make or buy once I know what I am looking for. I touched up all of the chips using VHT Roll Bar & Chassis paint which I sprayed into a cap and then dabbed into the chips. This will at least seal them and prevent the rust expanding for now.
The tail lights are easy to remove. All you have to do is undo the screw installed at the bottom of each light, and then give it a twist (just like a bayonet light globe fitting) and they come out.
Once I pulled them apart, I could see that a clean and coat of paint would help the reflector efficiency. I cleaned the reflectors and made a mask from a piece of cardboard. I used Chemtech Liquid Chrome to paint the lenses – I used this on my Brougham lenses with great success. The difference was significant, and definitely worth the effort.
Turning my attention to the lenses, they are in reasonable condition. One of them is better than the others, so I will use it to make a mould sometime in the future and cast some new ones. For now, a clean and polish will do. They came up pretty well. The last piece of the puzzle was the chrome frames. You can see my kit of tools I used to clean and polish them up. They have some pitting, but still look so much better then they did!
I re-assembled the lights with new gaskets and all was well. The incandescent globes have been replaced with LED globes. I have used these before with great success. They are brighter than a incendescent globe, and illuminate faster. Fractions of a second count sometimes.
Job done…..until I went to assemble them and realized how shabby the tail light frames and rear bumper looked. They were covered in green spots…from the copper under the chrome I guess. On top of this, the body colour spears had rust along the seams – it was clear that they were painted sitting on a flat surface which prevented them being painted on the back side. Amazing that someone would go to all that trouble and then not do it properly. The bumper was not centralized with the body either, so this needed to be sorted.
You can guess what happened next….I removed the spears, fin trim and bumper bar. 🙂 I can’t help myself sometimes.
First job I did was replace the wrapping around the tail light looms so I didn’t forget.
The fuel filler frame was also very rusty so this needed to be sorted as it is visible when assembled. I removed the aluminium trim piece and got started on this. The nuts were all rusted to the bolts holding it together, so I decided no to fully pull it apart. Safer to work on it together.
It was pretty cruddy. The assembly method with the bullets is similar to the grille, however a previous individual has taken some license and used a split pin to hold one of the bullets in place. Crude, but it seemed to work. Interestingly the bullets and clips are 10-205 larger than the bullets in the grille.
I did the same old thing and lightly sanded each piece, followed by Autosol and NXT Tech Wax.
Fin trims were next. A good workout with the Autosol made them shine like diamonds.
The bumper however was a bit different. The surface corrosion was pretty bad, and although the Autosol could get it off, it was a bit slow. I decided to use some fine steel wool and water to take the crud off of the surface (this would prove to be a mistake). I followed up with Autosol and the Tech Wax. It looked so much better than what I started with, but I could clearly see fine scratching. I can only assume this was from the steel wool. I will have to get some Chrome polish and see if I can reduce the scratching.
Besides the fine scratching, the assembled bumper looks ace!
Attaching the bumper back onto the vehicle and getting the alignment right was easier than I had anticipated. I noted that a couple of the attaching bolts were at the end of their slots when I removed the bumper, so I extended the slots before re-attaching it which allowed me to move it far enough to the right to get it centralized.
The back of the car looks like a Cadillac should now!
I realized that I also have a set of gasket seals for the reversing lights and reflectors. I went to install them, and only then realized that I need to access the insert from the rear in order to release it. Grrrrr. It’s hot (33 Celsius) and I am exhausted – there is no way the bumper is coming off again today. I cleaned the reversing light lenses and left it at that.
I don’t expect to get much done tomorrow as it is Christmas. Boxing Day might be a big one…..
I would like to wish all of my readers from all over the world a Merry Christmas. I hope you make some great memories with your family tomorrow, and most importantly stay safe.
I am truly amazed and humbled by the number of readers from so many different countries – thank you for your interest. Here are the page reads by country for December so far: