Firewall and Engine Bay Detailing | Part 4

Since it's inevitable not to scratch a few areas of the hood surround lip, I will lightly sand it when I am ready to spray the firewall, and then give it a few coats of SEM Landau Black paint, at the very end.

Meanwhile, I continue to sand and fill in deep scratches with glazing compound, most of which is sanded off with 80-grit paper.

So I am making some progress, albeit slowly. Plus working in a garage where temperatures easily reach 100° in the Florida summer months, tends to make this project harder than it has to be.

And here's the other side of the firewall pretty much ready for bedliner spray. Of course, I still have to clean the whole area and I will use mineral spirits for that.

Once all that is done, I will consider the firewall ready for the finish coat, but before I start spraying my plan is to get the inner fender areas ready, then mask everything that is not supposed to be painted, at which point I will do all the spraying at one time.

At one point I considered removing the air conditioner blower motor in order to replace the blower wheel with a bigger and newer unit, but there are only so many projects that can be handled at one time, so I decided to leave that one alone.

Besides, it never fails that you start removing components only to realize that a few parts need to be replaced, so I've decided to repair things only on an "as-needed" basis going forward.

One thing that I am doing is making sure is that any visible wires are clean and that sections of the wiring harness I am able to reach, are wrapped properly as well as clean.

As the photo below shows, in order to gain access to clean a few wires and also use shrink tubing, I removed one of the plug connectors. To remove it, all you need to do is slide a thin piece of metal to compress the pressure tabs that hold the terminals in place.

After sliding in the shrink tubing, I reinstalled the plug but made sure the tabs stuck out enough so the plug would work properly. All I had to do was bend them a little bit with a small flat screwdriver.

Shrink tubing works a lot better than electrical tape for the wiring harness, but there only are a couple of places where you can use it. For the rest of the harness, I will use a combination of flexible wire tubing, plastic braided mesh, electrical tape, and cable ties.

And just for the record, I always use black conduit, tape, and cable ties, since I feel that an understated look works best under the hood of any car.

As I mentioned in an older post, the previous owner of the car "detailed" parts of the engine bay with a spray can. Add to that formula forty years of grime, and you end up with what seems to be a never-ending cleaning job.

But I am almost done with the firewall, so I've started masking a few things in order to make my life easier. Masking plugs, hoses, and wires is a very slow process, but I am taking the time to do it to the best of my ability, as I know it will make a huge difference when the project is finished and the freshly rebuilt 350 is back in the engine bay.

Thanks for following my '76 Vette Blog, and please stay tuned for Part 5 of this series.

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