August 31, 2002
With the interior finished, I can now start work on the exterior trim items - side trim, bumpers, emblems, mirrors, door handles, grill, etc.  It's a three day weekend (Labor Day), so I hoped to get a lot accomplished.

The grill was taking up too much room in Dave's garage so I decided to put in on first. But before it could be installed, I needed to paint the radiator support and the front frame rails.  The radiator support is really visible through the very open GMC grill and the decidedly ugly radiator support would really detract from the look of the front end.

As with most paint jobs, the prep took 3 times longer than the painting itself.  Dave and I wet sanded the clip and front frame rails with 220 grit sandpaper, washed it with Dawn detergent, then wiped everything down with lacquer thinner.  We then proceeded to mask everything off.  Dave had some plastic sheeting that had masking tape already applied to the edge.  We used that to mask of the fenders and it really saved a lot of time.  It may have been overkill, but I was paranoid about getting over spray on my new paint job.  We then carefully masked off the headlights and AC tubing.  When everything was masked off, we sprayed a couple of coats of Rustoleom gloss black enamel.  It turned out pretty nice - not show quality, but nice just the same.

While waiting for the paint to dry, I installed the restored emblems.  The front fender and hood emblems are attached with speed nuts, so they went on quick and easy.  The bed side emblems were more of a problem.  No speed nuts on these emblems because the studs  aren't accessible when the emblems are installed.  Instead, they are attached with special crimp-type fasteners that go over the studs and are pressed into place.  The problems was, the crimp-type fasteners where destroyed when I removed the emblems and I couldn't find replacements anywhere.  Dave to the rescue!  For some odd reason Dave had some of these crimp-type fasteners and he even remembered where he'd put them.  We tried one and it fit perfectly.  For added insurance I put double sticky tape on the backs on the emblems also.

By the time I got all the emblems installed, the paint on the radiator support was dry enough to install the grill.   To facilitate installation I removed the screws attaching the front of the fenders to the radiator support.  Now, with the fenders able to flex at the front, installing the grill was a snap.  It does help to have and extra pair of hands but it could be done by one person with not much effort.  After the grill was bolted down, I installed the eyebrows.  These are attached with studs and bolts and a couple of special brackets that fit the curve at the front of the fenders.  Luckily, I had told Alan (the paint and body guy) not to re-install the inner fenders after he painted them.  The eyebrows and the fender trim would be almost impossible to install with the inner fenders in place. 

With the front completed, I turned my attention to the other end of the pickup.  First, I installed the woodgrain trim panel on the tailgate.  A few screws and it's done.  I had purchased new screws to attach the panel because the original screws were badly rusted.  The next item I installed was the upper tailgate trim.  This trim consists of three pieces - two long pieces and a short piece over the tailgate handle.  I was able to restore the short piece, but the two long pieces are new reproductions.  These pieces were the first of the reproduction pieces I had purchased to be installed.  They came with new molding clips, so all I had to do was install the clips, line them up with the holes, and push the clips in place.  The hardest part is figuring out how to install the clips in the trim.  I just used a  little trial-and-error until they "looked right".  The new tail light bezels went on about the same way - install clips and push in place.  There are also a couple of screws in the corners of the bezels.  With the exception of the bumpers, the front and back of the pickup is finished.  

I didn't install the bumpers when I was installing the other trim items because I wanted the paint we applied to the front frame rails to cure a couple of days and I wanted to paint the rear splash guards.  I did a bone-head thing when I was painting the frame with POR-15.  When I had finished painting the frame I decided to slap a little POR-15 on the splash guards, ignoring the directions that said you can't put POR-15 over painted metal without special preparation.  Well, the directions were right on.  The POR-15  I put on the splash guards was now coming off in large strips.  Nothing to do but remove the splash guards, sand off the POR-15, and repaint.   

The first problem was that I couldn't get the splash guards off with the tailgate on.  The guards are attached with Phillips headed bolts and there is no room under the tailgate to get a screw driver on the screw heads.  With Dave's help we carefully removed the tailgate and put it safely out of the way.  With the tailgate out of the way, I had the guards off in just a few minutes.  Now all I had to do was sand them down.  Sounded easy, but the POR-15 that did happen to stick, stuck very well and it took a lot of sanding to get it all off.  After about an hour and 2 sheets of 220 grit sandpaper, I had the guards in shape to paint with a couple of coats of Rustoleum gloss black enamel.  Dave performed those honors.  I'd hate to admit it, but Dave's better with a rattle can than I am.  

Getting too late to do much more today (Saturday), so I'll start again tomorrow. 



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