November 2012 – Flares Completed

Seeing that November 2012 is a distant memory, at least I was able to complete the flares, let me add some detail.

I got the rear plugs back first, they looked good, but the body shop did take their sweet time in getting them done. Seeing that I prepped a few weeks earlier to make the molds  I had the majority of components ready. First the initial prep work was done, wax and gel coat, then the fun started with the first mold.  From day one I wanted to hide any fasteners and due to the shape of the flares, I had to make to molds per flare, this was necessary to get the end product out of the mold.

First off I started with the outside part of the flares, 6 layers of 450g fibre glass and 3 hours later the first one was done, later on when it hardened to some extend I turned it around on the main wood support and bonded it to the wood. Then I decided to add some extra support to make the mold that bit stronger seeing that remaking the mold will be a no no as I was pretty sure the plugs will come out in pieces. The next day the other side received the same treatment, a day later I removed all the excess material by cutting on the outside rim of the mold with a very flexible 1 mm cutting disc.

In the meantime the front plugs arrived, they also looked very good and I was quite amped to start with them, seeing that I learned a few tricks with the rears the fronts went a lot easier, but at this point it was quite apparent that my hands aren’t built for this sort of thing or the latex gloves combined with the sweat and prolonged time without oxygen my fingers were starting to develop some issues. Well this was not going to stop me, I just had to buy some time and by that I mean a day or two without any fibre glass work. During this time I prepped a second set of supporting boards for the flanges and removed the plugs, well more or less destroyed them in the process, then proceeded to remove the excess material and start prepping the molds for the first set of flares, I opted to apply 6 coats of ram wax per mold, even this process I managed to save a lot of time by placing a fan on the molds or placing the molds in the sun to get the wax to dry faster.

The part that I waited for ages seemed to be upon me, I started with the first components of the flares, this would also be the part that finally stretched my hands to their limits, my right hand thumb and index finger had blisters under a blister and quite sensitive, but strangely bearable when they are dry, but after a prolonged period in the latex gloves they became unbearable, after a day of soaking my hands in all sort of things and calling in the help of my favorite brand of dark rum I formed a new plan to continue, every 45 minutes I’ll take a quick 10 min break, dry my hands and replace the gloves with a dry set, this worked at the end of the day like a charm. To this day, my fingers shredded two layers of skin and I still don’t have finger prints on them, only a week or two ago the feeling started to come back.

But I was a happy man since all my outers and flanges was done, seeing that I got the opportunity to buy myself a decent drill press for future work did help, but that’s not all, I even found a decent set of 15″ wheels for Datto, I hate a big wheel on an old car, but seeing that 15″ rally tires are very common here, it just makes sense to make all necessary alterations to be able to use 15″ rubber for rallies. Even if that wasn’t enough to distract me, my brother decided to acquire this little thing and hog more space on the driveway, I love the “I’m on the run, let me through” sticker. I hope he decides to do a detailed build thread on this one, as I think it is going to be very interesting and a crap load of fun. I must say his timing is quite good, seeing that my car is almost done.

I spend a evening or two looking like Casper the smiling ghost while I trimmed the components off all excessive material, the next few evenings and weekend was used fasten the flanges to the body followed by making a few minor changes to the outers to fit nicely on the flanges and to follow the body nicely. Then I bonded the two pieces together on the inside with fibre glass and gave them a quick sand before taking them to the body shop for some final prep work and a few coats of paint.

While I waited for the flares to be painted I had to make space in the garage, this was accomplished by moving the molds  all 8 of them to storage as I hope to not use them that often. Once I had some room to move, it took about 2 evenings to get the garage clean, well cleaner than before, some of the dust will never come out of the poor thing. Afterwards I decided to lift the car, I managed to lift the car about 120 mm, it does look quite weird but much more practical for Police Clearance and Roadworthy, this will also help with measurements for the new set of shocks for gravel rallies.

I got the flares back from the body shop, but I wasn’t at all a happy man, so unhappy that I indicated to them that I will only pay for the work once I bring them back and they redo there work to my standards, at least they look ok for now, on closer inspection they look worse than a backyard job, anyways, enough of that. It took me and my fiance  yes you read correct, I got engaged at the end of November, the whole evening to stick the rubber strip to the flares and fastened them, I’m quite happy with the end results, a few things I’m not 100% happy with, but if I build up the courage one day I’ll fix some of them. I took the car for Police Clearance, now I just have to get the final parts assembled and then I’ll be off to Roadworthy.

More Pictures – November 2012 – Flares Completed

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