This week a good friend of ours and a former Ford Motor Company employee has kindly donated us a pretty cool item. That item is called Fordite or Detroit Agate or Motor Agate, but it’s all the same thing. There are many places where this can be obtained even from the Mopar boys but it’s still generally called Fordite. What is nice to know is that the sample we have is from the Ford factory at Dearborn in Michigan. There are many web sites out there that will turn these waste and beautiful chunks of solid paint into recycled jewellery, paper weights or ornaments etc.
We have found out a little history on the subject but many websites all say the same thing: The original layered automotive paint slag “rough” was made incidentally, years ago, by the now extinct practice of hand spray-painting multiples of production cars in big automotive factories. The oversprayed paint in the painting bays gradually built up on the tracks and skids that the car frames and panels were painted on. Over long periods of time, many colourful layers of paint built up there. We have also found out that it’s not just the tracks where this agate was formed, but also the ventilation ducting above the units. Fine particles of paint were sucked up through the ducting fans and was also formed there too. This would also eventually cause problems of the same nature, more Fordite.
These layers of Fordite were hardened repeatedly in the ovens that the car bodies went into to cure the paint. Some of these deeper layers were even baked 100’s of times. Eventually, the paint build-up would become obstructing, or too thick and heavy, and had to be removed. As the story goes, some crafty workers with an eye for beauty realized that this unique byproduct was worth salvaging. It was super-cured, patterned like psychedelic agate, and could be cut and polished with relative ease! Sadly, the techniques that produced this great rough many years ago, are no longer in practice for health and safety reasons, along with efficiency and cost effectiveness reasons. Cars today are now painted by way of an electrostatic process that essentially magnetizes the paint to the car bodies. This leaves little, or no overspray waste. Sadly once this wonderful material goes it will not be replaced.
A lot can be told from the individual Fordite samples, the car plants tend to have layers of primer in between the coats of colour, even the trend of colours will determine their age, such as more vivid colours of the sixties, or to the more basic rustic colours of the van plants etc. A fascinating story and a little piece of history in each sample. How long will it be before this stuff ends up behind glass in a museum because of the lead content perhaps in some samples? We also know that this has been recreated perhaps forged even with a deliberate spray build up.
It seems that we have a very, very lucky customer. Chris had bought his wife a Fox bodied 5.0 Mustang has just had his car MOT and it passed fine.
We had noticed the car was running a little rough then started to get a lot worse. We knew about the oil leak from the rocker covers and we were going to replace the gaskets for him. While we were at it we would also give the car a much-needed service. The first job was to remove the rocker covers and we found that a complete corner of the gasket was missing from one bank of cylinders. Easy enough job to fix but a real pain to do if that makes sense, as the centre inlet manifold was attached to all sorts of cables and sensors we didn’t want to disturb. On the classic cars it was a simple case of unbolt the carb, remove it and you had full access to it all. The gaskets were replaced and no more leaks.
Second job was to change the spark plugs and they were rusted pretty badly, we soon found the reason for the misfires and pour running. Something we had never seen before in all of the years we have been fixing these classic cars. A broken spark plug. Not just the ceramic which we have obviously seen, but the complete bolt flat fittings had broken away as we started to undo it. Now as it turns out we knew they were going to be tight so we soaked them in Gibbs Brand lubricant to free them all up. We managed to get enough of the spark plug undone so we could get a selection of tools down to the bottom of the spark plug and gently work it to ease it out. Best case scenario was what we had, it came out. The worse case was to take the head(s) of and get it out, while you were taking one head of you may as well do both. That would have been an expensive service! Luckily it wasn’t to bad as the rest of the service went fine, it just took us a while longer to get the bottom of the spark plug out.
The WebShop has had more reclaims on our Gift Vouchers we are pleased to say. We have even had visitors to the shop and they have even commented on how neat and tidy it all looks – now that is first for Mustang Maniac!