A major milestone achieved! The stripped body shell is off to Metal Immersions to be dip stripped. The great thing about the chemical immersion process is that it saves hours of messy cleaning. 

I had already trialled the process with the spats, so I knew what to expect and how much preparation I needed to do. Not much!

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Off for a dip!

I got Warren at Metal Immersions to remove the front and rear suspension once the body arrived there. That made transportation much simpler.

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Suspension removed. That Mini looks small.

Here’s an overview of the process, I’ll post more detail of this later. Initially the body is put into the acid for the minimum period of time to strip the paint and underseal off, and to determine where more dipping is required.

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Initial dipping

Here is the car after the initial process. There is a little surface rust developing on the bits previously dipped. This gets cleaned up in next stage. There was a pause at this point so I could view progress.

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Initial dipping
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Rust in rear wheel arch
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Sills opened up

I decided to cut the sills off (as these were being replaced) to allow us to clear the inside of rust. Here’s what the shell looks with the sills cut open. As you can see, all the surface rust is now removed. Also that pesky wiring which was jammed in the sills has been disposed of.

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Plenty of rust under the front guard
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The completed product!

Initial assessment

The next stop was a few meters down the road to The Surgery in Tawa for body repairs and painting.

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Arrival at The Surgery

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At this point the shell was inspected for the quality of the stripping, which was very good, and then prepared for the application of etch primer.

This preparation consisted of:

  • Pressure blow dry the body shell.
  • Machine sand exterior panels to abrade surfaces.
  • Clean body shell with degreaser and blow dry.
  • Hand scrub entire body shell with PPG Deoxiden metal prep.
  • Neutralise and dry metal prep.
  • Mask any areas needing further attention.
  • Apply etch primer as per image below.

With the body now protected with primer the required repairs could be catalogued. Unfortunately there were plenty.

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Etch primer applied
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Cover plate for fuel sender missing

Interesting, I don’t remember removing the cover port for the fuel sender on the left side of the boot floor. I suspect that it’s happily dissolving at the bottom of Metal Immersion’s tank.

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Looking better already!

This marks the end of the disassembly. The detail of the restoration follows a traditional blog format.

7 thoughts on “Dip Stripping and Assessment

  1. I am at the point of having to decide between blasting and dipping. Were you pleased with the outcome of the dipping process? Would you do it over again? Any lessons learned?

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  2. Hi Lin, I was very pleased with the outcome. I also knew that the team where I got my car dipped had lots of experience with classic cars (lead loading etc).
    I did a test run with some parts first to see how they would turn out, which added to my confidence.
    One thing to consider is the amount of manhandling of the shell with strops, as you can see from the pictures. There was a little damage to the roof guttering. Not major but everything adds up. So that may be something to consider.

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    1. Hi Brett, I’ve replied to your question offline.
      I’m not sure if there is any real price difference between dip stripping and media blasting. The main reason I chose the dip stripping was convenience, the car bodywork was being repaired a few meters down the road, and I had previous experience with this approach. So I stayed with what I was comfortable with.

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  3. How do you ensure all the “hidden” areas get protected again? Insides of tubes or frame rails, etc.? I am looking at chemical stripping, but was hoping to have the stripped body ecoated afterwards. Unfortunately it seems “custom” ecoating is no where near as common as chemical stripping. It seems odd, as the two process seem to fit like a glove on hand… Was hoping to ecoat, and then start the panel repairs. That way the whole car will be sealed (even areas that would never be accessible by any spray method), and I could take my time to do body repairs without fear of rust accumulation as I do my work (or ever, as every surface would be coated). The most “vulnerable” area would be areas I would need to sand the ecoat off in order to weld in body repairs.

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    1. Hi Mike,
      As far as I’m aware E-Coating is not that common here in NZ, in the Classic car scene anyway. The approach we are following was/is to blow the body dry, clean and decontaminate, and then apply etch primer to everywhere you can get it. In the latter stages all the seams are sealed and cavity wax is pressure injected into all closed cavities, gutters, box sections, double skin areas, pillars, sills etc. Whatever you do will be way better than when these cars were originally built! However, I understand your concern.

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