Saturday, April 25, 2009

the lulz live on in spirit

Today was painting day for the minivan. No more EPIC LULZ, no more perversely charming smiley and frowny faces eying you from the rear.

We begin with sanding:

Meanwhile, JDH worked on stripping the dash. Later on I discovered, by pouring it all over myself, that the heater hoses from this removed A/C unit are actually still full of coolant.

I honestly wouldn't have thought it possible, but the partially-sanded minivan hit such new lows of disreputability that we scratched our plans of driving it to a nearby spray-n-wash (especially since we could actually hear cops driving all around our semi-industrial suburban neighborhood, occasionally hitting a siren and laying on the megaphone.) There was no hose in the parking lot we were using, so we had to rig something up:

Somewhere around the time when we were scoping the parking lot to try to figure out the hose situation, I remembered the freshwater pump still sitting in its box in the ambulance. I bought it months ago, intending to rig up a sink for the ambulance, but never got around to using it. It takes 12v dc and I also already had the water bladder and some basic fittings. Jdh took one look, ran out to Orchard, and came back with all the necessary parts to hook up two bladder tanks in parallel, with a real hose attached. Go team!

This came in handy, since being able to rig a hose meant that we could work in the nice spacious parking lot, rather than invading Laz's driveway (especially classy with him being away for the weekend at a NASA race) and imposing on his long-suffering wife.

Meanwhile, Rob rigged an awesome fix to our how-are-we-going-to-paint-the-windows? problem, with sheet aluminum and pop rivets. Instant minivan-to-panel-van conversion.

When we planned out how to handle the painting, we contemplated a lot of options. Last time around we had pretty good luck with Sears appliance enamel, but they don't really make appliance enamel in Mystery Machine Blue. We thought about Rustoleum, which comes in lots of colors, but it lacked a certain visceral appeal. Eventually, we collectively worked our way around to realizing how awesome it would be to paint our van with house paint.

House paint on a car works both better and worse than you might suppose. For example, the orange peel sponge texture that you get from roller sponges works better on walls than it does on cars. On the other hand, it went on nicely, and after a few beers or about thirty feet of distance, it actually looks a whole lot better than the original battered burgundy.

And here she is, with the blue base coat nearly finished:

Still remaining:
- cage (happens this week)
- fit a seat (requires fabricating a base)
- front brakes, etc
- wheels and tires
- harness, cutoff switch, fire extinguisher
- find and tape up that one loose wire
- add the temp sensor to go with the nice new(ish) temp gauge (or "gage", as Plymouth spelled it)
- paint the green and orange bits

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