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The rebuilding series of the 2006 Dodge Charger HEMI former police car continues this month with the completion of the bodywork and re-painting of the Charger in the original factory black paint. This Charger was initially introduced to MoparMax.com readers last year (December 2014, Hemi Put Out to Pasture); at that time the Charger had a poorly running 5.7L HEMI and a slew of engine and chassis codes. After great success in getting the Charger to a running condition, the initial bodywork began at the Pennsylvania College of Technology’s body collision program (February 2015, Hemi Put Out to Pasture Part II). The Charger required extensive bodywork to rework a previously, and poorly repaired, quarter panel, fix all the dents and imperfections, and fill some holes in the sheet metal, the results of the installation of various light bars and antennas.
With most of the bodywork already completed, the last body part to repair was the front bumper cover. There were two one-inch long splits in the cover about an inch apart from each other, the result of some type of impact while the Charger was in service. The work began on the painted side of the bumper cover with the cracks ground into a V-channel shape down their entire length with the use of a die grinder. At certain points the grinding cut through the entire bumper cover. Cutting through the bumper cover is very common if the damage to the cover is extensive. To correct the damage, the inner surface of the bumper cover was sanded smooth and cleaned so an adhesive patch could be affixed to the damaged area. With the patch adhered, the bumper cover was flipped over so the splits could be addressed on the outer side (painted side) of the bumper cover. A flexible filler was applied to the outer surface in the V-channel area. The flexible filler selected was a 3M product (refer to table 1 for the product list). The flexible filler used was a high performance two-component flexible epoxy-finishing adhesive that could be used to repair most flexible plastic parts, including bumper covers and other plastic body panels. Once the flexible filler dried, it was sanded by hand and then with a DA sander; this product was easily sanded and has been developed to formulate for an excellent featheredge result.
With the body repairs completed, the Charger’s doors were removed to be prepped separately from the chassis. The previously removed rocker panel covers, hood, deck lid, and bumper covers along with the doors and door handles were shot in primer at various times whenever one of the three prep booths was free for primer paint work. The primer chosen for this project was a two part component, non-isocyanate primer manufactured by DuPont that provided corrosion resistance and excellent adhesion characteristics for direct-to-metal applications. The DuPont primer sealer and the accompanying activator were selected because when it is mixed correctly it dries to a dark gray color. This primer has a DuPont ValueShade of seven (a dark tint). The dark gray color primer allows for the use of less basecoat paint product for complete coverage of the Charger’s surface. Additionally, the selection of this primer allowed the bumper covers to be shot in primer without the need for the addition of a flex agent in the primer.