Cleaning Wheel Wells...Sucks!

posted Dec 3, 2012, 6:46 PM by Jonathan Imberi
Fighting off my cold took a lot longer than I had expected and has really prevented me from working on KITT. It was 50 degrees outside today, so I thought it would be okay to be in the garage again even though I am not completely over my cold. I was able to keep the garage at 60 degrees with the heaters.

I started working on the driver's side rear wheel well. I wanted to find an easy way to get the underbody coating off. So far I have tried a heat gun, wire wheel and the last of my POR-Strip. Nothing has really worked. The heat gun, although it does work, takes forever to heat up one little section at a time until it is soft enough to scrape off. The wire wheel literally burns the coating off and throws the near-flaming pieces everywhere. I did not have enough POR-Strip left to really do much. It might have worked if I had more, but the bit I had did not do much.

After Dad's success with Zip-Strip on the rear springs, I thought I would give that a try. I decided to work in small sections until I figured out a method that works. Here is a before shot of the area I worked on:


Here is the Zip-Strip:


You can see the small outer section I worked on. After brushing the Zip-Strip on, I let it sit for a full thirty minutes. 


After I applied the Zip-Strip and let it work on the wheel well, I examined the parts we painted last week. The rear bumper looked good and I moved it off the saw horses. The rear springs dripped pretty bad and the underside was not coated completely even after the second coat. I used a razor and scraped the drips off and then prepped the area for another coat of paint. I also laid the track/Panhard bar brace across the saw horses so it could be painted.

I flipped the springs upside down and painted the undersides.



This is what the Zip-Strip was able to remove. After I used a putty knife to scrape off the underbody coating I went over the area with the wire wheel on the drill. I was a little disappointed it did not remove more of the paint. I decided I am going to follow the advice of the POR-15 reps. They told me if the paint did not come off with the stripper and wire brushing, it is not going to come off and it should just be cleaned, prepped and painted over with POR-15.


Now that I have found a method that works to at least remove the underbody coating, I decided to do a larger section, basically the forward half of the wheel well. 


After letting the Zip-Strip sit for thirty minutes I scraped it off with a putty knife.


This is going to be a very slow process. Maybe I will have it done by the end of the week.