My Sad Torino…

As she currently sits.
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Sadly she hasn’t had anything done to her in months now. :( If the body shop had stuck to their word it would have been done already. I’m beginning to think this will be a 1+ year process just to get it painted.

Steering wheel is all restored now too…
Before:
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Here it is finished:
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Steering, Polish

So this weekend I finalized the steering column and got it put back together. Started out with this:
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Painted it and got it all put back together. Had some problems through the project, was a bit rough with some of the parts and ended up having to buy some new ones when I shouldn’t have. Tried to handle the paint too early (when it says “fully dry in 24 hours”, don’t touch it!) so I had to sand them down and start over again.

In the end I’m pretty happy with it:
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A few left over parts….

I bought a new steering pad from Dearborn classics, but it was way too small. Probably a good 1″ too short across the top and it didn’t sit very well, so decided to clean up my old one and really surprised how well it turned out. Went from this:
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To this:
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I also had to buy some new black pad inserts. $60 for three little black pastic tabs… And they aren’t even correct:
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Notice how small one of them is… I called Dearborn and was given shit about it and told it would be a 25% restocking fee for them to send me new ones. Called again this morning and talked to someone else and they said they would send a single one out for free. So that’s good.

After that I watched some videos on how to do polishing. It’s a very intense process. Start with 320 grit, then 400 grit, then 600 grit, then 800 grit. All sanding by hand. Then move to a DA sander at 1000 grit, 1200 grit and 1500 grit. Once you are done with that, move to the buffer and do 4 different passes with different wheels and compounds. Took a couple hours for me to do one piece.

Built myself a nice little stand for my grinder:
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Before and after
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I’m kinda happy with the way it came out. But thought it could be better. I was expecting a mirror like finish. Maybe I just rushed it too much.

LeMan’s Auto Body

In Summary: Not responsive to requests, not honest about time frame, they just don’t communicate at all with customers and give you the run around. Maybe they are fine for insurance work, but nothing else!

This saga started 3 months ago. I’m restoring a classic car and was looking for a body shop close to my office in El Segundo. I found Leman’s and spoke with the manger, Steve. I told him that it was a full restore, the car would be delivered to them completely stripped (body only) and sand blasted. I specifically asked him, “I see you are an insurance shop, are you sure your guys can handle this”. He re-assured me that it would be no problem, he’s done restorations himself and has a guy that can work weekends on it. I told him no problem. I asked him what the time frame was and was told 4-6 weeks. Seemed great! Steve’s a nice guy.

Had the car sand blasted and delivered to Le Man’s on May 14th. Day 1 they primed the car right away and from what I can see, the primer looks good. Up until this point, Steve was replying to phone calls and emails in a very timely manner but once they got the car things took a turn for the worse. The process was supposed to be that once they received the car Steve was going to send me a detailed proposal, etc. He said he would have it to me within a week. I waited a week and no word. Call Steve, he’s busy, told he would call me back in an hour. Waited a day, two days, three days. No call back. I would call, leave a message, no call back. This would become a recurring theme.

Once a week I would stop by on my lunch. Steve and the office staff were always very friendly and they would tell me “Sorry we’ve been so swamped, I’ll have it this week”.

Calls to Steve, unreturned. Visits to the office with excuses and promises. “We’ve got a new guy starting tomorrow he will only be working on your car”; “We lost an office person, I’ve been swamped”. I tried to be as patient as I could, I know the car is not their bread and butter. I knew it was a lot of work.

4 weeks came and went, the car was sitting in a corner collecting dust. 6 weeks came and went, car hadn’t moved. At 6 weeks, I finally got the proposal for the work.

At 7 weeks, I get a call from Steve, “Our shop in Downey is slow on work and we’d like to take it over there”. I tell him, sure as long as it’ll be the same quality and same price, etc. I was told it would be and that it would be moved there the next day (Friday) and started the next week.

The next week comes (week 8). I call Steve Tuesday afternoon to confirm my car has been moved to Downey, I was going to be in that area the next day and wanted to stop by to meet the manager, make sure he knew what I wanted, etc. Steve answered the phone and I asked if my car was in Downey and if they were working on it. He said it had been moved and he would call me back “After 6pm to talk about it”. 6pm came and went, 8pm came and went, never called me back. I stopped at the Downey shop early Wed morning. Walk in and talk to the front desk person. She gives me a blank stare. She goes to the manager and they talk for a while. Finally the manager there comes out and talks to me, says he just got back from vacation and he has no idea but he would check to see if had been delivered. I wait about 20 minutes and he finally comes back and says that no one has seen my car or knew anything about it.

The manager calls Steve and we’re told it was “On it’s way there”. I ask the manager to show me around the shop while we wait for it… 30 minutes go by and no car arrives. Call the Steve back and we’re told “Oh sorry, the car is in Fullerton, there was a mix up”.

I never agreed to take it to fullerton, I wanted it CLOSE to my office. I ask Steve directly “So are they currently working on my car right now?”. His answer, “Yes, they are working on it.”

I drive to Fullerton and meet with the manager. Sure enough. I’ve found my car.. But, it’s sitting in the corner, not being worked on.

I talk with the manager for a while and am told that the car is “too much work for our shop and we don’t have the experience to work on it”. Great… So now they have had my car for a total of 8 weeks and I’m now being told that it’s too much work.

Finally I get district manager on the phone and he apologizes for all the problems, says that they can do the car but would have to take it to another shop and it would be 3-4 months to do, etc.

I spent the rest of the day looking for new body shops and found one nearby that said they can do it. I have them transport the car over there on a Friday. On monday I speak with the new body shop and find out that they are missing some parts.

Another call to Steve and I’m told they would FedEx the parts to the new shop. Here it is two weeks later and they STILL don’t have the parts. I call Steve yet again this morning, leave a message and was told he would call me back in 20 minutes. Come to find out they took the parts to the WRONG SHOP!

Car Update

It’s been a while since I’ve written about the car. A lot has happened since then.

Back on Apr 22, 2014 the car was taken off to the sandblasting/body shop.
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Took the sand blasters a while longer then anticipated but a few weeks later, I think they did a great job. Only found a few minor issues:
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Bought my first impact wrench which is exciting. I dunno why I never had one before. Makes life so much easier and was able to easily break apart the front brake assembly. Also found that my dash pad is a bit worn so will need to get that repaired
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Tore my seats apart, bought a new rear tail light housing, painted it up and then dropped it in the grass. :(
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Other then that, I’ve been doing lots of random little changes, etc. I’ve torn the steering column apart and working on getting that back up and running.

Pass side done, new tools

Today has been a bear! Started out this morning about 8am and went out to get started… First order of business, get the tires off. Sounds easy enough, right? Nope! Broke two ratchets trying to remove the damn things.
Broken Husky

Since I only had a 1/4″ drive ratchet left, I went to sears and accidentally bought a little more then I needed.
New tools 2
New Tools 1

Grandpa would be proud! :) I also just bought some socket organizers on Amazon, so hopefully they will be nice and organized and pretty soon!

Spent the rest of the day swearing and sweating and LOTS of use of the BFHx2 (Hammer and Handle!) to get this darn thing apart. All the video’s I’ve watched made this look MUCH EASIER. This is even after TWO DAYS of soaking it with lubricant.
Pass side crap out

I was really hoping to get both sides done today and get the rear loosened up. Guess I will be working on it this week to get those parts done.

So the next part of this project is to get it off to blasting and body/paint. But I’m a bit confused about what order to do things in:

Option A:
1) Blast and Primer
2) Bring back home
3) Put new suspension stuff back on so it’s rolling again
4) Take to body/paint

Option B:
1) Blast and Primer
2) Take to body/paint
3) Bring back home
4) Put new suspension stuff back on so it’s rolling again

I like option A better, because then they won’t be painting over/around all my new and (hopefully) pretty suspension parts.. But it makes it 1000x harder to move the car around. The blasters I’ve talked all want it fully stripped so they can blast everything and I want to lizardskin the bottom of the car so the painters I’ve talked to have said they can work either way. Not sure what’s the easiest though.