With the front bumper along with everything else out of the way, we moved on to prepping the radiator core support (the exposed rusted area behind the grille) and inner fenderwells to be painted in semi-gloss black spray paint. This entailed yet another stage of degreasing with a car wash sponge and a thick concentration of car wash soap in a 5-gallon plastic bucket. After scrubbing and rinsing the area down with hot water, we used compressed air to accelerate drying. Then we used 150-grit dry sandpaper to sand down the rusted metal and feather out the existing black paint. After the entire area was thoroughly dry-sanded, we used compressed air to blow the area clean, and then moved on to finer grades of sandpaper. This is where we switched to using 220- and 400-grit wet and dry sandpaper dunked in a light concentration of warm soapy water followed with a fresh water rinse, finishing with additional compressed air.
Once we were sure everything under the hood and on the core support was completely dry and free from any contaminants such as oil, it was time to mask the entire area off, blow it clean for the last time, and start spray-painting.
Before we reassembled the front end with the new parts we bought from LMC Truck, we checked to make sure they fit properly. The only snag-and it was a very minor one-was the tips of the lenses' screws on the reproduction turn signals protruded farther than the originals. It was necessary to grind the screw tips down until they would allow the turn-signal lamp assemblies to sit flush into place without interference. Installing the turn-signal assemblies first onto the front valance was the proper order, followed by setting the grille surround into place above the turn-signal assemblies. Next, the headlight bezels were installed, followed by installing the grille inserts, then lastly the front bumper.
Maybe at a later stage in the build-off we'll pull our '72 F-100 all the way down to the frame and dump some big dough into it, but in the meantime, thanks to a good selection of high-quality reproduction parts from LMC Truck mixed in with a few detailing tricks, we've been able to enhance the cosmetic appearance of our trusty '72 to show up in time for Americruise, and do it for some relatively low bucks to boot!