Start by buying (or appropriating from the pantry) a supply of zip seal sandwich bags, a big permanent felt tip pen, RP7 or WD40 spray, roll of masking tape, a supply of Bandaids and a quality note book. Write in bold letters on the outside the name of the project so it does not get used by the kids for school or the wife for her sewing or craft projects.

Spray all exposed threads and outside of the nuts with "mechanic in a can" spray before you start and repeat the process on a daily basis if the vehicle is in poor shapes. As you take parts off, put the nuts bolts and washers associated with them in one of the sandwich bags and label the bag with were they came from. Make notes and draw sketches in your note book and even take photos of how the things fit together. Remember it might be quite a few years before you get round to putting it back together or it may be someone else who gets the job one day.

If you are stripping the car back to bare metal remove all bumpers, light fittings, door handles, trim strips and badges. Remove the doors bonnet and boot lids and if the guards are bolt on items, remove these also. This will make stripping and repairing much easier and is well worth the time and effort.

At this point you must decide whether you will clean the bits and pieces as you go or leave them until you have dismantled the car. If you are having extensive body work done by others it is best to use the time while the body is away to clean the bits, this will maintain interest and speed up the process. Another point to consider here is whether you want to have the nuts bolts and washers zinc plated before they go back on. If this is the case, cleaning them is a waste of effort, the plating shop will do it for you far more efficiently than you can. The only problem with having things plated is they will have to come out of the individual bags and you will have to work out where they go when you get them back. Make notes in your note book about the sizes and type of fasteners used and a few photographs will help also.

Rusted nuts !

Now what do we do about real stubborn bolts and nuts. The best tool for removing rusted or very tight fasteners is an air impact wrench but to use one of these you must have an air compressor as well. Both items are a wise purchase if you are going to get serious about this restoration business. An alternative is to heat the offending fasteners with a gas torch but there is another specialised piece of equipment. Remember an LPG/Oxygen torch is a cheap source of suitable heat and, you do not need the extra expense of Acetylene. Another trick that often works is to use a big hammer to belt on the end of the bolts etc that are giving you grief. This often shocks them loose but be careful not to damage threads. Use a socket bar extended by 2 metres of pipe as a last resort. Don't be surprised of you break some of the fasteners, this only adds to the fun.

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Written by Phil. Storr, last updated 8th September 2000