So after researching different bed liners and calling up Line-X for a quote (I almost laughed when the guy said it would be $900) I decided to order the black raptor bed liner kit from Upol for a little over a hundred bucks.
I knew I would be doing some body work because I have minor rust in my driver side floor board and a few other dings and really minor rust spots throughout the tub. I'm brand new to body work and there are a few things I am unsure about and would like some suggestions.
1. Floor board rust
I called up my best buddy's dad to help me out since he has an old Chevelle that he restored nicely. I showed him the rust holes and he said it would be no problem to weld them up with his wire feed welder. I sanded and ground out the surface rust before I brought it over and he started workin on it. After a few attempts, he realized that he was running the welder too hot and it was cutting right through the metal, leaving the floorboards looking worse than they started. He was frustrated and embarrassed about his work and said he would be definitely giving it another go with some other materials from his work and possibly some sheet metal pieces for the bigger holes (the biggest one is no wider than 1/2 inch).
So now my question is, once he has fixed it up, should I use Bondo to smooth everything out and make it look original? Or, if he can't fix the holes, can I use bondo and some sort of patch to fill in the holes?
2. Will I need to disconnect any wires to spray the liner in the front of the tub?
Can I just tuck the wires up with painters tape? Is there anything I need to be really careful about?
3. Should I spray the top outside edges of the tub?
I was looking at some pictures and I really like the way it looks when there's that visible strip of black on the very top edge of the tub where a hard top would sit. My reason for asking is because I DO have a hard top that I have on from about October to April and I don't want to spray liner there if it's just going to be scraped off.
4. Should I use Bondo to fill in some dings, etc?
Or will the liner be thick enough to hide them?
I know that being happy with the finished product is all about prep, and I really want to get this done right the first time. Any other suggestions are much appreciated.
FWIW, I was considering Raptor as well, but I ended up going with a product called Monstaliner. It's a roll on product vs. spray on which was good for me because I didn't have a spray set up.
I didn't do any "body work" prior to applying. I just scuffed the existing paint really good. I also wire wheeled the existing rust spots then applied POR15. The liner was pretty thick and it covered a lot of the imperfections really well. I did line the top edges of the tub and the door surrounds simply because I thought they'd be the most susceptible to wear and tear. Just tape off those parts, apply the liner and then remove the tape before the liner dries.
1. Tell your buddy's dad to try using a copper backing plate for his welds. It will dissipate the heat and help prevent blowing thru.
2. I can't think of any wires you'll have to disconnect in front. You'll have to get the tail-light pigtail out of your way, however.
3. I use some thin sticky-backed foam rubber strips to prevent my top from scratching the paint.
4. I think it depends on how deep the "dings" are. I had good luck smoothing out the shallow dents and scratches with Evercoat metal glaze. But I painted. The bedliner will probably hide a lot of the shallow stuff. I'd use a high-build filler, like Evercoat Rage Gold for any deeper dents. Bondo brand is generally frowned upon.
As for prep work, I'd try to sand any surface rust down to bare metal. I'd use a rust converter on areas I couldn't reach to sand. I think Raptor recommends priming any bare metal before application.
I didn't use the raptor lining, but I figure all of them have a lot of the same qualities. Mine did cover up some minor dings and made the larger ones less noticeable. Looks like all good advice above, but one thing I didn't see was (and I may have missed it) it's a good idea to cover any bolt holes with ear plugs or stick something in them. You will end up having to chase everyone of them if you don't. That stuff will get down in there and it is almost impossible to get a bolt started in them. Good luck and let us know how it turns out!
Here's a pic of mine using the RAPTOR liner. I got the clear and mixed it with an original 84 color. "champagne metallic" if I remember correctly. Easy to spray on and it's held up great for 3 years now.
Only things I remember having to move /remove was the dimmer switch on the floor, the wire loom that runs under the driver door sill, the seat mounts and the seatbelts. You can mask them off or spray around them, but they are pretty easy to move out of the way. I left the parking brake cable in place and just masked it off because I didn't want to mess with it.
Make sure you scuff up the surfaces pretty good to allow for proper adhesion.
I have two small spots on the inside of my tub where I chipped it off, that being said, it was pretty smooth underneath those spots
Here are some pictures of the progress I've made on the floorboard. Putting on the last layer of bondo and sanding down this afternoon. I'm not sure how well I'll be able to match the grooves with my dremel.
From past experience: If you use bondo, make sure you treat the metal underneath with a rust inhibitor like Metal Ready or other Phosphor Etching stuff. Otherwise rust will thrive under it and your bondo will peel and crack faster.
I've used herculiner and monstaliner (also tons of spray can stuff, but that's really only ideal for touch ups). Monstaliner appears to be good stuff. Herculiner I would pass on for Raptor Liner or Monstaliner...which gives a much more full bodied look.
Building out a Jeep is like trying to smother a fire with twenty-dollar bills. You just never have enough at once to put it out...