Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Keeping Trim.

Part 4.

       I’ve been keeping you all as well informed as possible regarding the progress of Mojo, my Morris Six, from more or less the start of the restoration to the present. For the full horror story in colour, you can read all about it elsewhere on this blog site.

      My good friend Mr. Dave Barker, did me a huge favour last December by retrieving Mojo from Stuttgart on his trailer as the car could not be driven (and my wallet had been on a severe crash diet), and also brought me a complete interior from a 6/80, which although scruffy and stained, was salvageable. Unfortunately the same could not be said for the car it came from, which was, sad to say, beyond economic repair although it yielded many useful spares.
       My MS will have, more or less, a 6/80 interior but with a home-made wooden dash board and glove box covers, and a few little extras. One of the "new" front seats needs re-stitching, the other has a couple of little rips in the upper panels, and they all need cleaning and re-dying but I'll cross all these bridges as I come to them.    
      To start this topic off, I'll show you how to clean up trim "on a budget", by beginning with the door cards.

      Below is the driver's door card, with the outer edge trim removed. It's quite filthy and is very nicotine stained. I stopped smoking years ago but have not become a martyr to the subject. I don't object to people smoking as long as they don't wave a ciggy in my face or breathe smoke all over me in a confined space.   
      My wife smokes, and I don't mind her smoking in the car, as long as she has the window open and puts the ash and the cigarette-end outside, plus it adds to "That Smell" that you often wish you could bottle, and sell.

      There are quite a few methods of cleaning vinyl, and many automotive shops sell expensive sprays for the purpose, many of which have "Special Foam Cleansing Agents". These don't really achieve anything more than you can by yourself, using simple ingredients which you can often find in the kitchen cupboard, which also cost far far less.
      Let's explode the "Foam cleansing agent" myth to start with. The chemicals in the cleaner release the dirt/oil/grease's grip on the surface to be cleaned, and the foam floats it to the top where it can be wiped away. The foam doesn’t actually clean anything, it just floats the dirt away.
      Sugar Soap (it looks like sugar), is a very good cleaner. It's a compound of Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Phosphate, and Sodium Silicate, which when mixed together are extremely effective, especially for removing nicotine stains. This cleaner may be known by different names in the USA and other countries.

      The first thing to do before applying any "magic formula" is to rid the surface to be cleaned, of normally soluble dirt and grease. For this I've used neat washing-up liquid. You could also use a tablespoon of salt dissolved in a cup of liquid soap, and a tsp of lemon juice.
      Keep it all cool though, don't use hot water. This is not because the surface is vinyl/plastic (although hot water won't hurt as long as it's not near boiling), it's in case there are any proteins ingrained in the material.
      Heat cooks protein. Take a glass milk bottle for example, when the bottle is empty you rinse it out first with cold water to dissolve the proteins, then with hot water to dissolve the fat. If you use hot water first, the proteins cook to the inside of the bottle and won't come off.
      After a good scrub with a washing up sponge, using the abrasive side (a stiff brush would do as well), and then a quick rinse off, the surface showed a significant improvement.
      Now to try and remove the nicotine, which can be seen as a yellow/brown stain at the top of the photo.

      If you have Sugar Soap, use it. It's the best stuff I've ever used, but in Italy it doesn't exist because of the phosphate element, "green zone" and environmental (emphasis on the "Mental") issues, so I used Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) salt, and vinegar. (Acetic acid)
      You can also use the Soda with Hydrogen Peroxide (which is the foaming agent), or use household Ammonia and Hydrogen Peroxide. This last combination makes peroxide bleach which used to be used for bleaching hair.
      The vinegar, when mixed with the salt and Baking Soda will act as the grease cutting agent. The water in the vinegar will make the Soda foam up a bit. If you use Peroxide and Ammonia, use a mask and try not to breathe the fumes.

      In the photo below I've sprinkled Sodium Bicarbonate on the damp surface, along with a couple of teaspoons of table salt and am rubbing it in with a damp sponge. I then left it to penetrate for 5 minutes before sprinkling it with vinegar and giving it another scrub. After leaving it for a further 5 minutes I rinsed it off and dried it.

      If you use the Hydrogen Peroxide/Ammonia mix it'll work well, sometimes better and will foam up quite a lot but Ammonia in a 15% dilute solution (which is about as strong as you can buy it commercially) is not a pleasant substance to handle and if you get a lungful of the fumes, can render you unconscious, be careful with it. USE GLOVES!

      Vinegar doesn't make the Bicarb foam up much, but go easy with it and try not to let it soak into the compressed card backing either from overspill, or through the window and door handle holes, otherwise when the weather's warm the car will smell like a mobile fish
 and chip shop. With really stubborn stains, try applying some household bleach with a damp sponge, rub it in and leave it for an hour or two.
      Sometimes no matter how many different chemicals you use, you'll still be left with a little patch that won't budge. There's really not a lot you can do about that unless you use vinyl paint, and then matching the colour can be difficult especially if the vinyl has faded. This means you end up doing the lot and then it doesn't look original anymore. (Hark at me preaching about originality eh?)
       This door card came up quite well, I took the photo after using just Bicarb, salt and vinegar, and then washing it off with soapy water. I later applied some bleach to the areas around the door handle, window winder and ash tray holes, and left it a while. It got most of it fairly uniform whilst still looking "period".

      If you're cleaning a 6/80 door card - like this one - the edges which are covered with the outer trim will no doubt be a slightly different colour as the exposed area will have faded with time, especially if its been exposed to sunlight. Not to worry, you're going to put the edge trim back, so nobody will see it.
      You can spend a fortune on proprietary products, and the results, despite the manufacturer's claims, will probably not be much better than what you can achieve with everyday household ingredients.
      Saving money makes a lot of sense to me, I haven't got a lot of it! ("Neither money nor sense" say's my wife.) Next time I'll clean, repair, re-dye and treat the seats.

Part 5.
This tale started in December 2006.

I’d already taken YSJ (MOJO) to the workshop of a local mechanic (retired) whom after it had been there for over six weeks with nothing being done, became difficult about letting me have the keys so that I could get on with things. This all meant that I could only go there on Saturday mornings when his son was there, or on the odd occasions when he was there himself, so I decided that as it would take years to do it like this, it may as well take years in my lock-up and I wouldn’t have to pay any extra. Then I was hit by the flu.

Before you go down the pages and have a look at what’s going on, have a look at some photos that I took of Mojo in mid-November 2006 just before he went into “the workshop”. These don’t appear to be too bad but don’t let this fool you. You may later also wonder why I bothered….so do I, but I just love that old car.

I had a 6/80 to by then (altho’ had to go n get it..) which was in lovely nick, but if it was a choice between the 6/80 and the MS, I’m sorry 6/80 fans, the MS would win. I don’t really know why. Try not to breathe in too sharply through your teeth, you’ll rupture something.

(Photos in order)
1. Not too bad from a distance.

2. Driver’s A post.

3. Driver’s door step.

4. Nearside wing, hiding a multitude of horrors!

5. Off side wing, not quite so bad?

6. Near side rear wing….cringe.

7. Comfy seat.

8. Nice wiring, fortunately I have a new loom.

9. Rats nest.

10. Half a screen trim, rotten rubber.

11. Rear’s had it too. I have replacements.

12. Passenger A post, wait till you see further on!

13. Rear driver’s side passenger step.

14. Bloody awful indicators.

15. Rotten rear panel.

16. Nice chrome frames! I have “new” ones.

17. More nice chrome.

Well, that’s what it looked like from the outside, wait until we started to take it apart!
Sharp intake of breath!


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