Thursday, September 6, 2018

Supra Headlights, Cooling Plate, and "Whisker" Install

Besides hanging out with my wife's sister-in-law, and her sister-in-law, and my sweet little wife, I've also been beavering away out in "Gandpa's Garage". The fog lamps are all cleaned up, bagged, and awaiting final cleaning and painting. It's been a little too cool and humid to have bare-naked metal out in the shop for my taste, so I've done a few other things, like the headlights, and starting the prep work to refinish the bumper cover.

I wet sanded all the mostly horizontal surfaces on it were the worst, and then blended those areas in to where the paint was still fairly intact. This took about 45 minutes with some 220 grit in a rubber sanding block, and lots of my "Sanding Juice" out of a spray bottle. This will be a project of it's own, but getting started like this lets me examine the underlying urethane for damage. It's got some scuffs on the outer corners, and the black band running horizontally across the front has a lot of gravel dings, so there's a lot more sanding and reapiar work to do.

And the new headlights are in after about two hours of fettling. The OEM sealed beam lamps used protrusions molded into the glass to provide a mounting surface where the glass rested against the bucket. The bezel then held the lamp tight in the bucket, and once you aligned the headlights, they stayed put. The new ones are a stamped reflector housing adhesive bonded to the glass lens. To position the lamp in the bucket, it relies on small metal tabs on the back of the reflector. Small metal tabs that can be bent to adjust, but weren't. I couldn't even get the bezel to fit close enough to get a screw started. I compared the backside of the old sealed beam to the new one, and then used my caliper to measure the distance from the front of the lens to the mounting surface. Sure enough, the new ones were 1/8" out-of-tolerance. I bent them with some needle nose pliers to get the correct dimension, and they fit right in. I also cleaned and polished out the stainless steel bezel that holds the headlamp in the bucket, and replaced the screws with new hex drive stainless steel button-head screws. Then I popped out what was left of the plastic headlight trim (aka "Whiskers") with a trim tool, cleaned the paint under the area, and snapped the new whiskers in place. The round black plastic plugs turned out to be the same size as the one I used to plug the hole for the rear window wiper, and they snapped right in, replacing the headlamp washer nozzles quite nicely.

Then I moved on to repairing the surface rust on the four spots on the hood that contact the rubber hood bumpers when the hood is closed. Since this car was never cleaned under the hood, dirt and oil vapors built up on the contact surfaces of the rubber bumpers, and ground through the paint. So I used the flap wheel in the Dremel to take all the rust down to clean, shiny metal, and then treated it with Evapo-Rust Gel, and primed it. It will get smoothed out and painted later.

This one just had a "ring" of rust ground into it from the round rubber bumper. It cleaned up in just a few minutes.

Oh, boy....this one. For some reason, water pooled here, and even got under the seam sealer and lifted it. Those two little black spots? Yep, rust holes. They started out as pinholes, and since that's as far as they easily opened up, they fortunately never got much bigger. That's solid metal all around them, and I was able to get at the backside of the metal through the convenient drain hole Toyota provided. I poked around in there and couldn't get any loose scale or rust to come out, so I'm crossing my fingers that I caught it in time. I shot some Eastwood Rust Encapsulator in there, and that should seal it off. But rust never sleeps, and like some of the old "B" movies, it might get released later to ravage the hood. The correct, "purist" way to fix this would to weld or braze up the holes, or perhaps even lead them. Lacking a welder, and not wanting to repaint a larger part of the hood than absolutely necessary, I'll be using a different method. Yes, I'm going to "Bubba" it, and use a couple of dabs of JB Weld, then sand smooth, use some spot putty, prime and paint. Before you laugh too hard, I know people who have put their cast-iron axle center sections back together with the stuff, and drove out of the middle-of-nowhere. It;s strong, and if the metal is clean, it holds.

This one took maybe 15~20 minutes to clean up. Just a ring of rust, and some rust coloration on the seam sealer, and what looked like a hole in the sealer. Turned out to be a bit of rust that quickly cleaned up.

This one was another piece of cake. 5, maybe 10 minutes.

So while the primer and rust encapsulators are curing, I measured, located, and drilled the other two mounting holes in my "Cooling Plate".

The cooling plate is to ensure that most of the air coming in the front of the car goes through the radiator, and not over it. There's a rubber seal on the bottom of the leading edge of the hood, and one on the cowl that seals to the bottom of the trailing edge of the hood. If the front seal gets out of shape, or is missing, a lot of the air coming in will scoot over the top of the radiator, rather than going through it.

And it makes a nifty place to hold things!

Holes drilled, reamed, and chamfered.

New holes in core support for plate. After I finished the holes in the plate, I clamped it in place as a template, and used transfer punches the locate the centers of the new mounting holes.

The reason I was stalled on installing this thing was what to use for fasteners? I need it removable, as there's stuff down there can fail, so that means something like a nut and a bolt, right?

Nope. I stumbled across these "Bumper Cover Retainers" while looking for something else. Most of these push-pin type fasteners are meant to be single-use, like a plastic rivet. These have threaded pins that can be backed out with a good old #2 Phillips screwdriver, and then you pull the fastener out. Elegant, light, simple, and reusable! The nylon washers will go between the plate and the sheet metal to isolate it a bit.

Washers over the holes.

Plate and fasteners installed!

It doesn't rattle when I tap it, so it should be quiet on the road. It's coming back off to get cleaned, and then I'm painting it with wrinkle-finish black paint, something I've loved on machinery and vintage radio gear since I first saw it probably fifty years ago. On my never-ending list of projects is to refinish a pair of cam covers I have. They'll get the same wrinkle-finish black like from the factory, with the fins and lettering polished. Then I'll go over the "TOYOTA" block lettering with a bright red, and the "DOHC" block lettering with either a bright blue like it was, or a matching yellow to the "DOHC" on the cam drive belt cover (see below). Then a couple of coats of clear, and hopefully they'll be good for a few years.


  1. Replies
    1. I'll be able to take it out and drive it once I bolt the front plate on it. I think I'll do that a few times before I pull her in and put her up on jackstands for the heavy-lifting I'm going to do this winter.

  2. Getting there, would yo post a video when you get it driving?

    1. The only thing stopping me from doing a video is the lack of a suitable mount for my GoPro. I keep meaning to look into it. The Best Buy back in Long Beach didn't have any mounts, so I just never got around to it. Might be a better selection out here considering how much more outdoor activity there is here compared to SoCal.

  3. Plastic push pin fasteners.
    I found that using the screwdriver to lift the pins was iffy, and I bought these pliers.
    Prices vary, and I don't think you need to spend a bunch of money.
    Great work.

  4. Never saw those before. I'll have to order a pair. Sometimes those pins can be a real PITA to remove.

    These push-pins have a Phillips head, and are threaded. Just use a screwdriver, and they come out easily.


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