Piston Slap: Wax Buildup, Stuck Engines, Buff Glass

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

TTAC Commentator Nick R writes:

Two questions pertaining to the Thunderbird we previously discussed:

My dad waxed this thing almost every month. However, those layers and layers of wax have now turn greyish. I have tried to remove it with rubbing compound and this filthy grey coloured crap eventually comes off. However, it does come off to an adequate extent and it is VERY time consuming. I’d love to hear some tips on sloughing this crap off more quickly.

Some the plastic in the cabin is a bit faded. Can it be redyed or should I look for NOS parts (yes, I know, good luck with that)?

And now, two generic questions:

Let’s say you are poking around a junkyard or a barn and find engine that you might just want, is there a way to determine if it’s ‘stuck’ or if rust has rendered it unusable?

Is there a way to buff glass to make it clearer? My daily driver’s windscreen, even when I wash it vigorously, is not terribly clear.

Sajeev answers:

I’d try a clay bar and a little bit of water as it’s far less invasive compared to rubbing compound. Which is important for a vintage Thunderbird still wearing original paint. I’d hate to see streaks of primer in the blue paint because you worked too hard on getting the wax residue off.

Several companies make a vinyl-specific paint that has more flex than regular paint. I have used it with great success when I added the factory cell phone parts (from a junkyard car in the wrong color) to my Mark VIII. Why I did that is not relevant (even to me), but that stuff works for sure. Finding someone to make that paint in your particular shade of blue may not be easy, but I know you’ll find it with enough Internet searching.

Some people could write an 800-word editorial on this one. Not me: so put a wrench on the crank (pulley) and see if the motor turns, or drop the oil pan and look for bent rods and pull the head to see if anything catastrophic happened. Sometimes a good looking junkyard motor still needs time at a machine shop. No matter what, buy a complete gasket set and refresh/clean the motor before installation.

Lucky for me, we discussed buffing glass in a previous Piston Slap. I’d go with the more aggressive treatments listed there, unless we are talking about a late model vehicle: replacement glass is cheap and easy in these cases.


[Send your technical queries to mehta@ttac.com]

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Gimmeamanual Gimmeamanual on Aug 12, 2009

    Do you have windshield coverage on your auto policy? If so, you're only a ball peen hammer, I mean a rock on the highway that a big truck spit out, away from a new one.

  • Vento97 Vento97 on Aug 12, 2009

    Just talked to a friend who is a T-Bird enthusiast. He recommended a site for T-Bird and Cougar enthusiasts: www.coolcats.com You will find plenty of knowledgeable T-Bird enthusiats in the forums there. Hope this helps...

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