I Wanna See It Painted, Painted Black

We clearly appreciate the color black (or shade, if that’s your opinion on colors, but that’s a whole other post), and there are many types of ways to turn an item black. After getting asked by a fellow racer about the types of black paint we use on the Stealth Bomber, we decided an in-depth post was needed.

In the SkunkRennWerks garage, we have five basic categories of black paint. From left to right; Plasti-Dip, Rustoleum Textured Satin Black, Rustoleum Trim & Bumper Black, Rustoleum Flat Black Engine Enamel, and Krylon Smooth Finish Flat Black. All are spray cans for convenience. Now these aren’t the only blacks we use, but they are in the rotation the most.

The first, and our personal favorite, is the love-it-or-hate-it Plasti-Dip. Originally developed as a tool handle coating to increase grip, Plasti-Dip’s spray can formula allows the wielder to create a tough, rubbery coating on nearly any surface. This product produces more of a satin than a flat black, with an appearance similar to OEM trim. We like Plasti-Dip’s ease of application, with minimal prep work required and rather lax masking needs. It can even be re-coated over and over with no need to remove existing dip. Plasti-Dip can be peeled off, assuming sufficiently thick coats are used. The downside of Plasti-Dip is that it loves to stick to itself, so as mentioned it peels (occasionally when you don’t want it to), adding difficulty in areas where you need a harsh line. It also does not wear well, resulting in tears in the dip itself, so is not suitable for high-traffic areas. Painting with Plasti-Dip is also an art form. Unlike traditional spray paint, thick coats are a way of life. Typical application steps for us are one light mist coat, then 3-4 thick, wet-paint coats applied 15 minutes apart. Our preferred use for Plasti-Dip are grills, three dimensional badges, and trim that doesn’t get touched often. We would never use Plasti-Dip on an area that sees high heat. Plasti-Dip’s makeup means cleanup is a snap, with Goo-Gone reverting the dip to a liquid state, and overspray wiping away with detailing spray and minimal elbow grease. The Stealth Bomber has Plasti-Dipped GT badges, gauge and vent trim rings, and strut tower brace.

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Next up is the Rustoleum Textured Satin Black. This is a standard spray paint, but with just a hint of texture. This texture happens to match most OEM’s black plastic. Our preferred usage for Rustoleum Textured Satin Black is for interior trim, radio bezels, and items that get touched often. Like Plasti-Dip, we wouldn’t use this on areas that see high heat. The Stealth Bomber has Textured Satin Black on the 3-gauge panel, shift light surround, pedals, and cup holder trim.

Third in line is Rustoleum Trim and Bumper Paint. This paint is great for exactly what it says, trim and bumpers! We use this in place of Plasti-Dip where we have harsh lines and transitions that don’t bode well for the dip. Produces a satin black similar to Plasti-Dip. This paint also has a bit of flex additive in it. Currently, the Stealth Bomber has nothing painted with this paint. Works great for Fox Mustang bumper trim.

Fourth is Rustoleum Engine Enamel. The can we grabbed happened to be the 500° version, but we also use the 2000° version regularly. This paint is very flat, and best for temperature-intense areas. Note that it will produce some vapors/smoke as it fully cures after the first heat cycle. The Stealth Bomber has it’s AC Condenser and exhaust tips painted with this paint.

Finally we close with Krylon Interior-Exterior Ultra Flat. This paint seems to stick to anything, dries dead flat, and has incredible coverage. However it is not for high-temp usage, or nice enough to use in the interior. The Stealth Bomber has the tow hooks and some miscellaneous underhood items painted with this paint.

Besides the five main black paints, we also have a few little cans in our blackout bag of tricks. Among those are gloss black caliper paint, obviously only for brake calipers and recently used for touch-up on our Brembo calipers, and Testors Flat Black Enamel Model paint which was recently put into action with the rivets holding down our GT500 hood vent.

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In general, we paint in what we call a four-angle paint job. Large items are painted from four sides to ensure even application, then flipped over and repeated for complete 360° coverage. Small items are rotated by hand through each of the four sides, with the hand holding the part sheathed in a latex glove for easy cleanup.

In the words of Mick Jagger, “No colors any more, I want them to turn black

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February 2016 Bomber Update

The blackout program is still in effect with the Stealth Bomber. This month we tackled the behind-the-grill area with the AC condenser taking the black, along with some touch-up on our front tow hook and GT500 hood vent rivets, as well as swapping the interior door handles for base model V6 black plastic handles, darkening the interior even more. We also installed the front SKNKWRK plate after a friendly encounter with local law enforcement. Remember folks, stay legal!

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2/14/16 SDR SCCA CAM-C Writeup

With two damp events, it was time for some typical socal weather, and the third event of the season certainly kept up appearances! Weather was clear and warm, with temperatures in the high-70’s all day.

This event was the first with camber set to “kill” at -3 degrees. We also added in the bolt-in 4-point cage along with 4-point harnesses, to help us stay put in the stock seats. The course was fast and rewarded patient driving, resulting in a lot of muscle cars getting sideways. Our favorite! We enjoyed the course but had issues sorting out the back third, where a choose-your-own slalom kept throwing us off our game.

Entries for CAM-C consisted of a co-driven 2001 Roush Mustang (featuring Brett Madsen of BTM AutoSport), a 2006 Mustang GT (with a brand new set of Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R’s), and a 2013 Camaro SS.  An extremely tight battle for the podium resulted in milliseconds separating first through third. Madsen, in the Roush, came in first with a blazing fast 58.648, followed by the 06 Mustang with a 58.889, and finally the Stealth Bomber with a 58.925. Rounding out the field, the Camaro put down a 62.924 +1, and the other driver of the Roush with a 64.690. A bit more of a gap than last month’s rain event, which is to be expected. Unfortunately the CAM-C vs CAM-T battle was lost, with the fastest CAM-T car putting down a 58.579. Milliseconds of difference, but the score stands at CAM-C 1, CAM-T 2.

While this event was hard fought, third was disappointing. The plan is to verify alignment settings and focus on tire pressures for the next event.

BMW E46 Yaw Sensor Replacement

What is a BMW post doing on a Mustang racing site? It’s one of our daily drivers, and one of our favorite road trip/parts runner/carry-all cars. Our particular example is a 2001 E46 wagon in classic Alpine white, featuring a manual transmission, coil-overs, OEM Euro clear corners and taillights, DIY Plasti-Dip shadow-line trim, tinted windows, and Alpina 18×8 wheels.

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The particular problem we’ll address today with our little BMW is a yaw sensor failure, with revealed itself by the ABS/TCS system grabbing the passenger front caliper for a millisecond, then illuminating the ABS and TCS lights, indicating an error in the system. This happened within minutes of driving the car, and was quite noticeable and alarming. Scanning the code with our OBDII reader showed a yaw rate error, leading us directly to the yaw sensor itself. We researched online, and came across tested yaw sensors on eBay, part number 1166003. $59.99 later, we had a verified good sensor sitting on the workbench.

First, we gathered the necessary tools for the job:

  • 3/8″ Ratchet
  • 3/8″ 16mm Socket, Deep
  • 1/4″ Ratchet
  • 1/4″ 10mm Socket
  • 1/4″ 1-1/2″ Extension
  • 1/4″ 1-1/2″ Extension, Wobble
  • 1/4″ Universal Joint
  • 1/4″ Driver
  • 10mm Box-End Wrench, Ratcheting
  • 5mm Hex/Allen Wrench
  • Wire Cutters
  • Magnetic Helper
  • Pry Bar
  • Flashlight
  • Matador Surface

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The sensor is located in the floor, just in front of the driver’s seat. We unbolting the driver seat, with two 16mm nuts under plastic covers up front, and two 16mm bolts out back.

We tilted the seat back, without disconnecting it’s wiring harness. Underneath the seat, a wiring harness is zip-tied to a plastic bolt. We cut it with the wire cutters, then turned the bolt by hand to remove.

Next, we used the pry bar to pop the lower inner door trim plate. This plate is held on by 4 plastic clips and was very stubborn.

We then pried the front section of the carpet back, exposing the bracket holding the yaw sensor.

The bracket is covered by a wiring harness, which we moved to the side, using the seat stud to hold the harness out of our way. The bracket is held on by four 10mm bolts, two of which are visible at the top of the bracket, already removed in the above picture

The lower bolts are quite difficult. The first bolt, on the outer side, can be accessed by removing the ground point with the 10mm box wrench, then removing the 10mm bolt on the bracket with the 1/4″ drive and both extensions, using the wobble extension to get the 10mm socket on the bolt. The last bolt is impossible, in our opinion, without doing a little demolition work. We used the pry bar to cut through the Styrofoam, to allow for us to use our extensions and the universal joint to get the socket on the bolt.

 

The bracket itself was then able to be removed, and the sensor unplugged via a simple push clip. We used the 5mm hex/Allen wrench to remove the two bolts holding the sensor to the bracket. Installation, as they say, is the reverse of removal. We bolted the sensor to the bracket, and the bracket to the body. We reconnected the ground point, and placed the chunks of Styrofoam back in place. Then fold the carpet back down, screwing in the plastic bolt, using a new zip tie to hold the wiring harness in place. Replace the lower inner door trim, then re-position the seat and bolt it back into place.

A quick test drive showed no more errors, and after a few trips with the car, we’ve declared the problem completely resolved!

1/31/16 SDR SCCA CAM-C Writeup

The second event of the San Diego region was quite the wet one! Rain throughout the day with spectacular conditions for our first 3 runs. The Bomber was set up in the “new” street configuration, running -1° camber and zero toe on the Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R 275/35/18 tires on Rotiform 18×10.5 ET45 wheels. While we brought the equipment to switch to track configuration, the rain dampened our spirits enough to prevent such adjustments. We did, however, take some time for glamour shots with Team BMO.

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CAM-C had a strong showing with five total entrants. Joining the Stealth Bomber was a 2015 Mustang V6 Coupe (driven by Brett Madsen of BTM AutoSport fame), a 2001 Roush Mustang, 1998 Mustang Cobra, and a 2013 Camaro SS. The course was on the west lot with two river crossings due to the rain. This meant it was a rare windows-up driving experience! The event was a flury of activity with two cars overheating and a CAM-S truck losing both rear wheels due to stud failure.

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A wet course and 200tw tires gave us pause, but the RE-71R’s performed amazingly well, unlike any performance tire we’ve experienced in the wet. Luckily, the course dried out for our fourth and final run, resulting in a 60.953+1, placing us mid-podium in second, while the 2015 V6 Mustang put down a clean 59.775 for first. Rounding out third was the 2001 Roush Mustang with a 61.368. Competition across the board was close, with the slowest time coming in at 62.148. Our CAM-T contemporaries lost this round of the CAM battle with a fastest time of 60.080. We’re looking forward to seeing how the Bridgestones perform under dry conditions and full camber.

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