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Author Topic: Hit a deer in the Miata at 50-60mph  (Read 13365 times)
jloehlein
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« on: September 26, 2015, 03:06:07 PM »

So last Sunday a little before 10pm, I was driving through Amelia back to my house in the Miata.  A truck was coming the other direction, so I was looking down at the road so as to not be blinded by its lights.  All of a sudden, I see a deer in front of me...and I hit it before even having a chance to brake.  Pulled the car off to the side of the road expecting the radiator to be destroyed, but thankfully it wasn't.  I couldn't find the deer on the side of the road and didn't feel like walking through some farmer's soybean fields to try to find it, but it must have been pretty small.

It beat up the front bumper, buckled the hood, tore the headlight cover off the passenger side and bent the hell out of the fancy dual headlight setup that's on there.






Opened the hood and found that the support was bent up.  It was touching the radiator in the middle and got twisted to a weird angle.




Oh well, time to start pulling everything apart.  Danielle helped me drill out a bunch of spot welds and we pulled the front radiator and hood support off the car.  I'll pick through my Miata boneyard tomorrow and figure out which of the cars I want to chop up for a replacement.









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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2015, 03:32:27 PM »

Wow, that's too bad. However, you are lucky, it could have be a bigger one and make it up to the wind shield.

What do you do, cut of the section from a spare care and fit it to this one ?

Good luck with the repair.

Cheers
Engelbert
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« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2015, 03:49:26 PM »

Yeah, I'm glad it wasn't worse and I wasn't hurt.  I'll pull the bumper and hood from one of my parts cars and then cut the front frame horns off to get the whole radiator and hood support assembly in one piece, then graft that onto this car.  I think I'm going to end up stripping the car down and painting the whole thing instead of driving a multi-colored Miata or just spraying the front end.  Should be good practice for the Cobra.
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2015, 04:45:36 PM »

Justin,
     Glad you are okay...glad it worked out the way it did.  You may have swerved and done much worse if you had time to react.  Maybe it is the season but I have this vision of you and Paul digging up parts in the Miata bone yard.  Seeing what kinds of parts you can harvest.  The scene cuts to the Miata on the lift during a thunderstorm.  You have a labcoat on and Paul is hunched over gazing at the Miata thru one eye...from the shadows... (iin black and white of course) Lightening strikes and the car starts....ITS ALIVE...ITS ALIVE....."Miatastien"
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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2015, 03:17:45 PM »

Thanks, Mike.  I'm always tempted to build something stupid.  We'll keep the white car stock, but I decided to hack up my '95 M today to steal the front end, and now I've been daydreaming of building a tubular front end and turning it into a rally-cross car or something like that.  Hah- if only I had the time.

Anyways, this morning Danielle and I went and looked at my two whole parts cars, a red '93 and a '95 M.  The front bumper cover wasn't great on either and the hood on the M was better.  I ended up deciding to pull apart the M because the red car is basically complete.  It runs, drives (at least it did when I parked it...), and the top doesn't leak.  The M on the other hand may have a cracked block after the previous owner left straight water in the cooling system over the winter.  I bought it for the Torsen and the wheels, now I get to use the front-end, too.

We pushed it into the shop with the wagon and popped the hood.  Danielle cleaned out a nice home somebody made themselves near the brake booster.  After that, the process was very similar to yesterday, stripping body panels, cooling system and AC.








Once it was bare, I decided to cut the front end off as close to the front suspension as I could.  I don't plan on using that much, but I figure it will be easier to pick what I want to cut off the white car and then trim this to fit.  I used a sawzall to go through the sheet metal and then an angle grinder to cut the frame horns because I didn't have any sawzall blades long enough.  I made 90% of the cuts, set the front end down on my service cart, and then finished cutting.












I put the bent up hood on and rolled it back outside.  This is just begging to be the start of some terrible project.

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« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2015, 03:54:43 PM »

Dude! You started the miata hack project!

If you decide the tube the front lmk. Ive got the bender begging to be used.
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« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2015, 06:12:20 PM »

So, after a couple weekends away, I've made some more progress.  With Paul's help, I got the new front end mocked up and fairly well matched to the existing car.  I've pulled everything back apart and will spend a bunch of time cleaning, taking care of rust, and prepping the car for paint.  I've also got a bunch of maintenance parts (clutch hydraulics, timing belt, water pump, etc) plus all new A/C parts on the way.  Here are some of the pics I took.

I marked off where I wanted to cut, trying to keep to some specific reference lines to make it easy to cut a matching part off the good front end.




I cut one side with a hacksaw, which I figured would be more precise than the angle grinder - I was wrong, what a pain to try to keep straight.  I made the rest of the cuts with the angle grinder.










Spent a bunch of time with some degreaser cleaning a bunch of dirt




Even inside the frame rails






I cut the new front end long so that I could slowly grind away material to match it up.  In order to make that process easier, I tacked some tabs to the inside of the existing frame.




The new section slips onto them and now fits well.  The panels line up properly.






Anyways, time to do a bunch more cleaning, paint the frame, and prep the rest of the car.
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« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2015, 05:08:10 PM »

Well it's been a busy month.  I got a heat pump installed in the garage, built some more shelving for storage, started organizing my spare parts, then managed to clean out the room in the garage and seal the floor.  Now I can paint in it.  I've made some decent progress on the Miata.  I lost my camera for a weekend or two, so I didn't take pictures of everything, but I went through and freshened most of the mechanical parts: timing belt, water pump, PS pump and hoses, AC compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater core, belts, hoses, plugs and wires, clutch master, slave and soft line, etc.  Might as well make it nice while I'm in here.

Painted up the new front clip




Englebert powder coated my valve cover and intake in exchange for some tires.  Looks real fancy




I noticed a small rust spot around the windshield, took it out and found a few patches of rust around the perimeter.  Cleaned them up and POR 15'd the windshield frame








Because the factory paint is so bad, I decided to strip it off and start from scratch.  Paul and Jeff came over and helped me.  We used chemical stripper to loosen it up and then figured out the pressure washer would just peel the paint of.  It took a long time, but wasn't as tedious as sanding everything.








Used my newly cleaned room and got a coat of self-etching primer on the fenders since we took them down to bare metal.  Need to do the windshield frame next.  I'll sand the edges on the doors and hit a couple spots on them, too.  I need to get some zinc chromate for the hood since it's aluminum.






Lastly, I welded the new nose on.  Will need to clean it up and put some seam sealer on it.




Hopefully over the next few weekends, I can get the car in primer and block it.  Then paint it over Christmas.
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« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2015, 06:29:50 PM »

Looks good. Love those PC parts.

For stripping paint I found that Citristrip works nice to remove paint. Available at Homedepot.

I took off a thick layer of paint of some Fuchs wheels.

Next you need to put a set of these LED headlights in that Miata.





Cheers
Engelbert
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« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2015, 10:43:44 AM »

Well, I tried the Citristrip.  It's much more gentle than the Aircraft Remover.  It smells nice, but didn't really work on the trunk lid too well.  I let the Citristrip sit for about a day and it loosened the paint a little, but not nearly as much as the Aircraft Remover in ~10 minutes.  I wonder if it depends on the type of paint.



Citristrip



vs Aircraft Remover



Got most of the rest of the car stripped with the chemicals






Figured I'd take this opportunity to fix the rust spot on the passenger side of the car in the usual spot for Miatas



Of all my parts cars, I think only one (other than the LeMons car) had a good looking rocker panel.  I cut it out and used some fancy spot-weld cutters to drill out the spot welds.



Surprise!  It's also rusting.  Jeez.



I cleaned it up and threw a few coats of POR15 on it.






Cut the rotten sheet metal out of the car and also cleaned and POR15'd it.










I rough cut the patch panel with the grinder, sanded it down until it fit, then welded it up.  Looks good enough, especially since it will be covered in gravel guard.









I even got to use my fancy new jack stands to hold the car up since I needed to cut out the section right above the rear lifting point.




While I was doing all of that, I managed to spray a coat of self-etching primer and a few coats of primer surfacer on the doors, fenders and trunk.



The rest of the car is mostly masked off and ready to be primed, as well.  Will get it primed, sand everything, and then try my hand at spraying the base coat.  We'll see how it goes!

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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2015, 06:31:10 PM »

Nice job on the sheet metal replacement.

I should have mentioned that I let the citristrip sit for 3 or more days, and yes, it smells great.

Cheers
Engelbert
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« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2016, 11:35:20 AM »

Well, I've made some more progress.  I got the car in paint and am almost ready to start putting it back together.  Just need to clean up the weld seam up front.  I'll do that today or tomorrow.

I used the room in the middle of my garage that is ~20'x20' as the paint booth.  I sealed all of the openings to the room the best I could (caulked the ceiling and paneling joints, put some weatherstripping on the double door, sealed around all the electrical wires) and cleaned it several times.  I knocked a couple holes in the walls on either side and put some air filters on them with box fans blowing outward.  I also put two air diffusers in the ceiling and rigged up this device to blow air into the room.  It does a great job keeping the air clear while I'm spraying.  Unfortunately, it also does a great job stirring up any dust (or lint from my mop) that's on the floor.  I may need to get a speed controller so I can slow the fan down.



I also built a fresh air supply out of a $25 firefighter's mask, a spare Miata heater blower hooked up to a power supply, and a bunch of pool hose we had.






Thankfully, all my small cars (Miata, Civic, Cobra) fit through these double doors.



Jeff came over and helped me prep the plastic parts, like this bumper that has been repainted a couple times already.



I had already sprayed the self-etching primer, so next I put on 3 or 4 coats of primer surfacer.





After that, I moved everything back out and wet-sanded the whole car.  I used some guide coat to help me, it's the black powdery stuff in this pic.



I sprayed gravel guard on the bottom part of the car, like they came from the factory.





After that, I moved everything back into the room and sprayed the base and then clear coats.  You can see the clear coat adds the gloss (second pic).  The base coat paint is much thinner than the primer or clear and I put the first coat on too thick and got some runs, so I had to wait for it to dry and sand it down some.  I ended up using 4 or 5 base coats and 3 or 4 clear coats.  I also shouldn't have used the plastic to mask off the car.  It is easy for the dried paint to flake off and blow onto the wet paint on the car.










The paint isn't perfect, but it certainly looks a lot better than before.  I'm happy with the way it came out and am really happy I painted this before the Cobra.  I learned quite a bit and know what to avoid doing next time.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2016, 11:53:19 AM by jloehlein » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2016, 11:12:10 AM »

Nice setup you got there. I like when people plan ahead, like the double door to move the car into the clean room.

Looks good, what are you going to put on that blank sheet of white paper ? It's already screaming for some stripes. LOL

Happy New Year
Engelbert
« Last Edit: January 04, 2016, 07:04:24 PM by rothaus » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2016, 06:38:50 PM »

Justin,
     Looks great! My dad and I had a similar type of booth set up when I was a kid/teen  Two things that might help.  A moisture filter on the compressor (which you may have already) always helped us.  We made an inline one with PCV pipe with end caps and fittings on each end.  We filled the PVC pipes with tampons (I know ... But it worked..you really need another inline filter downstream to keep lint out.  Another step that helped was to wet the floor.  You can use a hose with a fine sprayer, or use an old crappy paint gun filled with water to dampen the floor before you paint the car.  That kept the lint and everything else on the floor and out of the paint.  I no longer have access to any sort of "booth" as you can see from my user pic....I just find an empty field now days....it turned out "okay" for a patch job, in a field.
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« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2016, 06:55:57 AM »

Yeah, I'll have to spray the floor down next time just to wet it.  That makes sense.  I've got an okay desiccant filtration system and the air line system is setup to pull moisture out (aftercooler, lots of copper pipe).  I didn't see any fisheyes, so hopefully I'm good to go there.
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« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2016, 02:23:17 PM »

Well, made some more progress over the long weekend.  Jeff helped me get all the body panels back on the car and I got to use the polisher Danielle got me for Christmas.  The car looks pretty good.  I did realize that I forgot to paint the headlight covers, so I'll have to do those soon.  I can start reassembling the car now, all the trim, interior and top.  Hopefully it runs when I'm done!

Here is the front end with all the mechanical parts back in place



And the panels back on.  The bumper doesn't line up perfectly, but it's pretty damn close.



It was a lot easier to put the dash in without the windshield in place




So, I definitely learned a lot spraying the car.  One thing I learned is that thin coats of clear = massive orange peel.  You can see the fender and the hood here.  I shot the fender with relatively heavy coats of clear versus the hood.  This is before polishing anything, I almost don't need to touch the fender, but the hood is horrendous.



I saw online that you can use a denim polishing pad and compound to remove orange peel, so I wanted to give that a try instead of wet sanding.



Here is the center of the hood before



And after




I also had to do the trunk, which I sprayed in the same batch as the hood.  I decided to try wet sanding and then polishing.  I used 1200 grit, then polished with the denim pad, and then went over it with a light foam pad and polish.  This was faster than just using the denim pad, though it was easy to sand because it's flat.  The hood would have been more difficult.  On the panels where I had a reasonable amount of orange peel, I just used the denim pad and the car came out well.

Trunk before



Wet sanded



Polished with the denim pad



After the foam pad




I'm happy with the way the car is turning out.  Hopefully I can get it fully assembled and running in the next weekend or two.
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« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2016, 06:28:42 PM »

Justin,
     How many coats of clear did you have on it and how did you go about wet sanding with the 1200, I am worried about going too deep on the Civy.  I too have lots of orange peel.  Also curious .... how do you get the pics to post in the post?
Thx
Mike D
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« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2016, 06:43:54 PM »

This looks very good.

I usually load the spray gun with reducer and spray a mist of it all over what I have painted. That cleans out the gun, and it makes a smooth surface, and leaves no orange peal and no need for sanding and polishing.

But that's just an old German guy does it.

Cheers
Engelbert

 
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2006 Cayenne S Work Horse
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« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2016, 07:09:22 PM »

Justin,
     How many coats of clear did you have on it and how did you go about wet sanding with the 1200, I am worried about going too deep on the Civy.  I too have lots of orange peel.  Also curious .... how do you get the pics to post in the post?
Thx
Mike D

I laid 3 medium-thick coats of clear (Value Pro HS Clear) and had a bit left, which I sprayed on the hood and trunk as a light coat, which really messed them up.  To wet sand, I did small sections (edges first, then < 1' square sections).  I used a small DuraBlock scruff pad, wrapped it in sandpaper that had been soaking in water for over an hour, then sprayed the section I was sanding and sanded a little bit, dipping the block and paper back in the water frequently (every 5-10 seconds?).  After a little sanding (5-30 seconds), I would wipe down the section with a towel and look at it against the light.  You can see the low spots because they're still glossy.  I repeated until everything was evenly flat.  After that was done, I had to compound with the denim pad 3-4 times and polish with the foam pad another couple times.  I'm sure others have quicker ways, but it was my first time trying to make anything look nice so I'm learning as I go.  Also - it's easy to take off more, but a paint in the ass to add it back, so I erred on the side of going slowly.

I use the BBCode image tag to post my images, which I host on Flickr.  Flickr also has a share button that has a BBCode option that will give you the code to paste in with some extra junk in it (like a link to Flickr).

This looks very good.

I usually load the spray gun with reducer and spray a mist of it all over what I have painted. That cleans out the gun, and it makes a smooth surface, and leaves no orange peal and no need for sanding and polishing.

But that's just an old German guy does it.

Cheers
Engelbert

That's a good tip, I can see how the extra reducer would give the paint some more time to flow out.  I'll try it out with the clear on the headlight covers.  I wonder if it would work with a metallic base coat.  I know people have a difficult time getting metallic paint to cover consistently, resulting in visible striping.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2016, 07:15:11 PM by jloehlein » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2016, 05:22:48 PM »

Well, almost exactly 4 months after hitting the deer, I took the car out for it's maiden voyage after rebuilding it.  I'm happy to report that it seems to run fine.  Jeff gave me a hand putting the top and all the trim back on and then cleaning everything up.  I still need to paint the headlight covers, clean the wheels and tires, and charge the AC system, but it's together!

I'm pretty happy considering 4 months ago it looked like this:








And then it looked like this:








Now it looks like this!







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« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2016, 06:28:14 PM »

Looks great, I wish I would that far with the 70 911T.

What are the 2 dents at the front of the bumper ?

Zoomm Zoomm,

Cheers
Engelbert
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2006 Cayenne S Work Horse
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« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2016, 06:48:12 PM »

The dents in the front bumper are where the previous owner screwed the license plate through it.  Unfortunately, that's the nicest one I had.
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« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2016, 06:58:27 PM »

OK, that makes sens, so once the license plate it on you will not see it, and all it cool.

Cheers
Engelbert
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« Reply #23 on: February 01, 2016, 06:15:15 AM »

Looks great, glad to see it back on the road!

Heard you may have some luck using a heat gun to pop those front dents out.
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« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2016, 08:35:12 AM »

Looks great, glad to see it back on the road!

Heard you may have some luck using a heat gun to pop those front dents out.

Good call.  I may try that out.  Now I'm worried about the car being too nice, considering this was my winter beater Smiley
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