Today when I got home from work, I dragged Marie away from the internet so we could make a start on the epic task of covering Herman liberally in luvverly black Hammerite. Rather than try to ‘paint the whole Forth Bridge in one go’, we decided we’d do a section at a time, to try and keep monotony at bay. The thought of having to sand down an entire van that size is enough to send anyone flying from the room screaming.
So, we decided to start off with the rear doors. I removed the numberplate and some rubber stoppery type things and we got down to giving the doors a good going over with 240 grade wet-or-dry. Terribly tedious, but as any good painter knows, preparation of surfaces is half the battle.
After we’d finished rubbing down the doors, we noticed that the ghost of the lettering was still visible across the top, mocking us. It seemed that even tho’ the letters had gone, the glue which originally welded them to the paintwork was still there, raised up and in the shape of the letters. I was minded to just leave it as it was and trust to the thick gloopiness of the Hammerite to obliterate any last vestiges of the signwriting but, in the end I decided to take no chances, so we got a couple of bits of rag, soaked in Hammerite thinners and managed to scrub the remnants of letter glue off with that.
With the boring prep out of the way, we could begin the comparatively ‘fun’ task of actually getting some painting done. With the two of us dolloping it on, it didnae take much more than about 45 mins to get both doors painted. Looking at Herman now from a narrow angle at the back, you can get the first hints of how he’s going to look when he’s completely ‘blacked out’. Should be pretty cool, I think.
One downer today was that, just before we headed back up to the house after our painting session, I decided to turn the engine over, just to see if it would fire up. As I half expected, it didnae. Unfortunately, the half-dead car battery that came with the van is just too weedy to turn the engine over fast enough and for long enough to get him started. It died after a few seconds of turning the engine over. So that’s going to be more shelling out, as I’m going to have to add a good beefy heavy duty battery to my ever-growing shopping list.
Let’s hope that a heftier battery will be all it takes. I’m still not 100% certain that there isn’t a leak in one of the fuel pipes somewhere, which could be allowing air into the system…. Or of course, it could be that the glow plugs are on their way out… or the injectors… or all three. Still, I’ll need to get a decent battery anyway, as I wouldnae trust the one in him at the minute as far as I could throw it. If he’s still a reluctant starter after that, then I’ll do some more detective work on the fuel supply side of things.