Gunners Garage

$30 Dirt Fighter in Home Restoration Shop

Working on old cars is dirty. Now, don’t get me wrong – it’s a family hobby – but it does leave more grime, grit and grease on the old garage floor every time you do another project. Some people will recommend a pressure washer to keep the floor clean, but if drywall was used to wall your shop in, the washing solution can ruin the gypsum board..
Of course, there are all types of epoxy paints that claim to be totally resistant to oil and dirt. The trick is getting these finishes to stick properly on a floor that’s already soiled. To do so, you need special equipment and, most likely, professional help. For a typical two-car garage, you’re probably going to encounter costs in the $3,000 range – or higher.
While a nice, professionally-applied epoxy garage floor finish may be on your “to-do-someday” list, here’s a suggestion on how to keep the floor under your latest project car reasonably clean for a cost of about $30. This home-crafted $30 Dirt-Fighting system was dreamed up a few weeks ago and is working fine so far.
The only real cost involved in this system was the purchase of two carpet remnants in the mark-down aisle at the local Wal-Mart. The black rugs are 8 x 9-foot in size and cost only $15 each. The original plan was to roll the car onto the rugs, take the vehicle apart, let the debris fall on the cheap rugs and then roll the rugs up and throw them away. This concept was later improved on.
With the shop cleaned up, the car parked on the rugs looked very nice and it seemed like a shame to ruin the carpeting. Stored in another part of the building was a rectangular wooden shipping crate obtained from a furniture-moving company. It had been quickly built with a couple of 2 x 4s and a piece of thin plywood. It was designed to protect a glass table top. The crate was just slightly narrower than car’s front tread width and long enough to reach from the front bumper to the transmission. This is the area that usually gets dirtiest.
The wooden shipping crate was lined with black plastic garbage bags. These were left over from last fall’s leaf clean up, so there was no cost involved in recycling them for garage floor use. The sides of the bags were split so the plastic fit the crate better and could be wrapped over the sides if needed.
Since plastic bags will not catch everything dropping from a car under restoration, a visit to the local Subway sandwich shop was in order next. Were they were making up any large orders for a local businesses? No, but they were putting together platters for a private party nearby. It took only a quick phone call to ask the party giver if he was planning to throw away the plastic platters that the sandwiches are delivered in. He had no use for them and was happy to donate them to the $30 Dirt-Fighter system.
Six of the clear plastic platter lids were placed inside the wooden packing crate on top of the plastic garbage bags. Then the crate was slid under the car and the restoration project began. The engine will be coming out of the car and the work is underway. The $30 Dirt-Fighter is doing a great job of catching oil, ant-freeze, falling parts and all kinds of dirt.
At night, before the tools are packed away, the wooden crate is slid from under the car. Large quantities of fluids are recycled. Old rags are used to soak up any liquids the cake dishes didn’t catch that day. Small parts like washers and hose clamps are picked up with a magnet. Captured dirt is sucked up with a shop vac. So far, the homemade Dirt-Fighter is worth every cent of the “big bucks” spent to build it – 30 big bucks that is!

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