Excel rally car interior tar removal

Excel_electricsNow the Excel has had most of the interior stripped out, the task turned to some of the more tedious items: Removing the sound deadening tar from the floor.

Before we got stuck into the job, we removed the immobiliser which was surprisingly well installed. This task doesn’t take too long when you know what you’re doing and whilst we were at it, the clutch cut out switch was removed as well. The clutch switch is installed by Hyundai as a safety item to make sure that the clutch pedal is depressed before the car will turn over. In a competition car there are many reasons why this switch is not a good idea.

Tar Removal

The best time to remove the tar from the floor of a car is when it is cool. Early in the morning is best if you can get to it. During summer it is not always easy to have the car cool, even in the mornings.

There’s a few different ways to remove the tar from the floor. Dry ice laid over the tar to cool and harden it, followed by a light tap with a hammer works effectively. There are some issues with using dry ice though. The ice can cause cold burns, the evaporating Co2 is hazardous if not used in a well ventilated area and it can work out expensive when you have a lot of tar to remove and the weather is warm.

Excel_tar_removalWe used a mechanical method to remove the tar by chiselling it off the floor. You can also use a grinder with wire brush attachment, however it tends to make a huge mess with a lot of clean up afterwards.

Chiselling gets the tar out in pieces which we scoop up and put in a container for weighing.

This Excel had some of the most difficult tar stuck to the floor we’d ever seen. We’re not sure if it is just this car or all Hyundais are the same.

A couple of hours later and the floor was ready for cleaning. The picture shows the plastic bin full and around 11kg of tar on the scales at just over the half way point. In total 20+kg of tar was removed from the floor, a handy weight saving.Tar_weight

Once the bulk of the tar is out, the floor needs cleaning and some scraping to remove the remnants. For cleaning we use old rags, petrol and a scraper. The use of any solvent requires a spray mask and gloves for safety as well as good ventilation.

Tar_removedAfter the floor is cleaned and aired out, the seams are cleaned of sealant with a grinder and wire brush. On the Excels, it is well known that the strut towers and surrounding areas are a weak point for gravel rallying. Seam welding via stitch welds help significantly to strengthen the weak areas and stiffen the overall shell of the car.

Seam welding and removal of the engine and transmission will follow next.