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S401 De-Mudding

Some people will do anything for their cars. And then there is me.

The S401 came from the depths of the South Island, from a farm and it had obviously been used as bit of a gravel road or field bashing rally monster… the whole underside of the car was packed with a fine, gritty mud.

Since I had work this morning, I thought when I got home that I would be all productive and awesome, and give the rally car a decent clean, and try to remove as much mud as possible. I also needed to clean the paint, so that too was covered in dirt (mostly from transporting up the country, apparently cars on transporters get really dirty).

This is what I started with.

As can be seen, everything on the underside is just coated in mud. All of it. Everything else is just dirty. Very dirty.

First step was a little trick I picked up from someone deep in the interwebs. To loosen the dirt under the car, and soften it ready for water blasting, I picked up a cheap rotating garden sprinkler. Hook it up to the hose, run the hose under the car, start at the front of the car and slowly drag it backwards to the back of the car. It’ll give the underside a nice wash, and it actually cleared off a fair bit of mud by its self.

Then the fun part. It started to rain. Not just a little pitter patter here and there, the clouds opened up and took a dump. Well, at least the dirt on the paint is getting a good pre-soak (and so did I).

Due to all the mud packed in everywhere, and the state of the wheels, I decided the best thing was to pull all the wheels off and clean them. This would give me a chance to clean the inside of the barrels too. This turned out to the a great idea, as it was really the only way I was going to get all the mud off the inside arch and suspension components.

This is what I was working with on the first corner…. mud and brake dust.

A water blaster is a  must for this job. There is no way a bucket and a rag, or a normal garden hose would have ever touched this without taking years to do. After a thorough blasting, and quick scrubs and a spray with wheel cleaner to remove brake dust, this is what I had.

When you consider that this is the same location,

And this is the same wheel,

It says a lot about how bad it was and how well it cleaned up.

Whilst the car was kinda in the air, I also took the time to water blast under the rest of the car, up inside the linings and all the under panels etc. Its amazing how much dirt came off.

Moving onto the rear wheel, this is what I was facing there.

Mud mud mud; lots of chunky mud. It was all packed up around the side skirt, and inside the rear bumper cover. This one took a bit more work, but eventually i made it clean again.

Lovely. And here is the underside after a similar blasting. Keep in mind that this whole time it’s been utterly pissing down, and im having to roll around on my back, on the ground to get up under the car.

Spot the STI logo 😄

At one point I noticed that there was some dirt coming from the side skirt. Sure enough, I reached into it and it was packed solid with mud. The best way to get this out; bashing the skirt with my hand, rattling all the chunks out. It was the same on both sides, up to about half way along the skirt from the front wheel. The water blaster finished the job.

Once all that was done I gave the car a quick once over with a cleaning mit and some Ultimate Wash & Wax. In the rain. It’s hard to see, but it’s clean now. Look forward to seeing it dry.

It’s about here where I gave up, went inside, and took a nice hot shower. It had been 5 hours, in the rain, and I was soaked to the bone, and my shoes were full of water. There is probably more mud to be found, but I would need to pull the bumpers and linings off to get to it, so it can stay.

I still need to do the engine bay and interior, but that can wait for another day.

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