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Car: Ford | Fiesta | CX (Mk3) | XR2i | Hatchback
Engine: BUB | 3.2 | V6 | (15º V6) | N/A | Petrol

Bodyshell preparation

A mass of parts

After every conceivable component was stripped from the shell and stored along the side of the workshop (see right photo), it was an ideal time to clean the body. I rest the body on 3 sets of high axle stands - Middle front and rear to give the shell good support for when I was inside it. This also gave me ample room to inspect, or to work underneath the car.

The underneath was actually immaculate, but I'm sure that going over it with a high pressure lance helped before I started the project. I could not find any surface rust on the body, anywhere, the only place rust was appearing was on the rear beam and lower arm carriers - which had been removed.

I set to work vaccuming out the shell, all the cavities like under the rear seat and in the sills. I removed all the rubber and plastic blanking caps from the floor pan. I went to the trouble of cleaning in all the window reveals and the inside of the doors with paraffin, just to make sure everywhere was clean. The whole shell was in absolutely amazing condition, the one previous owner certainly had pampered it!!

Even though the finished project will not be used in the rain, I want to make sure rust will never get a chance to start on the body - if it ever gets in the seams it becomes impossible to remove. Underseal is a good effort by the manufacturers to prevent rust, but long-term there are better options available. The trouble with Underseal is that once pierced, rust can creep along underneath the thick surface totally undetected.

Preparation

If your car is over 10 years old and is used in all weathers I would recommend stripping the Underseal off, Hammerite the underneath and finishing with Waxoyl.

At this stage I have two options to take regarding the finish on the under body, I can wither remove the Underseal and spray the bottom of the car to a finish or I can leave he Underseal on and Waxoyl over it. The first option would make my car eligible to be entered in concourse events (as long as the rest of the car was up to a high standard) but wouldn't offer any corrosion protection. The second option will stop the car rusting but will not look as good as a painted finish, also Underseal provides an effective barrier against road noise.

I decided to leave the Underseal on, as all the components underneath will be refurbished anyway the car still should look very good. The first stage was to go along the underneath with a fine tooth comb inspecting any 'humps' or bubbles in the Underseal, to ensure it was not rust creeping underneath the surface. After this I cleaned all grime from the Underseal and everywhere else I could access underneath and left the shell to stand for a month. There was some warm weather October 1999 and I took the chance to do this to ensure everything was thoroughly dry, just to be on the safe side.

An empty engine bay

I applied a thinned mixture (50% Paraffin 50% Waxoyl) to the bottom of the car with my compressor and a spray gun, into every box section, hole and crevice. I applied two father large cans of neat Waxoyl to ensure there was a very good coverage. I did the same inside the car into the sills, wheel arches and inspection holes in the floor. I let this set for a few weeks. Applying the Waxoyl with the compressor left overspray all over the body, which is a bonus because it will protect the paintwork for the time being (this is the reason why new cars have to be de-waxed before they reach the customer). I cleaned any overspray out of the engine bay and interior.

Next I polished the engine bay, door skins and reveals, boot floor, suspension turrets and all the window frames (see left photo) using Autoglym super resin polish. T-cut works wonders on bare metal alloy components, such as the windscreen wiper motor bracket as seen in the left photo. At this stage I installed the cleaned up fuel lines, fuel filter and all metal fixings removed for Waxoyling.

You may be wondering at this stage why the engine bay is black. For the 1995 Model year onwards, metallic Ford cars were not sprayed in the engine bay and therefore the etch primer is visible. If you look at any other dark metallic car, 1995 on, you will see the same thing.

Soundproofing

While the car is at this stage it is an ideal opportunity to install extra soundproofing. The Mk3 Fiesta is reasonably quiet even by today's standards, but it is definitely not refined by any means! Exhaust noise is particularly encroaching on the larger engined models, as is the vibration and suspension noise when going along rough roads or over bumps. I intend to cut all this out and make the car as quiet as a 'luxury' saloon.

To get the car to this level of refinement will take a lot of work and materials. I will soundproof the boot, suspension turrets, inner and outer door skins, rear wings, floor (especially along exhaust channel), A, C +D pillars, tailgate and bulkhead. There are two stages I will use to cut out vibration and two stages for noise control.

Sound deadening material

To combat Vibration I applied silicone sealant behind every trim fastening and in between metal surfaces which mount to the chassis. I also used this to seal the bolts and seams which attach to the bulkhead as I have seen water leaks here in other Fiestas (Particularly MK4 and Pumas which Ford did a fix kit for).

The second stage was to use a self adhesive vibration damping membrane (5mm thick - see right photo) called Barrier mat which I stuck onto every sheet metal surface and likely cause of vibration. The picture on the right shows the membrane stuck inside the rear wing.

I also used many bitumen pads (around 15" square) to stick onto the floor, wheel arches, suspension turrets and tailgate. The pads fix on with a hot air gun, and once warm are very malleable so can be bent around curves in the body. This is the material that is used by Ford at the factory to insulate the floor pan.

If you decide to do this yourself remember to leave about 5" space between this and the bottom of the doors and rear wings. Rain drains from the windows into the doors and from the sunroof into the sills, and in this case the material would be wet which could lead to bad smells and dampness (Its not good to have a source of dampness in these areas!).

Soundproofing on the rear wing

For the first stage in reducing noise levels I used acoustic cloth which is a dense fibrous material, I went for the self adhesive 1" thick variety. I stuck this around the speakers in double layers to provide a better cabinet for them to work from. I also stuck this on top of the vibration membrane which I had previously installed - on the rear wings, on the inner and outer door skins, in the tailgate, inside the door reveals, inside the tailgate and all around the wheel arches and suspension turrets.

Left - The inside of the drivers side rear wing, the window seal can be seen in the top of the photo. The tube in the far left of the photo is one of the four sunroof drain tubes.

I used a different kind of material for the bulkhead, called lead sandwich. The material comprises of layer of lead surrounded by foam and foil backed on one side and adhesive backed on the other. I used this for the engine compartment bulkhead and the boot floor. The material can be cut with a Stanley knife, I made a template for the bulkhead using the Ford insulation, which was quite fiddly due to all the bolts and protrusions. For the boot I cut the material bye eye. This is the most expensive of all the materials but provides the best sound deadening.

The second stage was a complete sound deadening kit. There are three types to choose from for petrol engines, depending on your budget, and one for a Diesel which is the most expensive. I went for the best in the petrol range as I don't want the engine and exhaust note cut out completely! The kit covers the interior bulkhead, the floor and under seat, the boot floor and under the bonnet. A little note about weight at this point, all the materials I used weigh a considerable amount so if you are concerned with getting the last drop of performance from your car don't go to the lengths I did! The soundproofing materials I used were all obtained from BJ Acoustics.

© Mark Stewart, Tuesday 15th June 1999
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