Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Trunk floor extensions

Just ordered the trunk floor extensions from Auto Metal Direct.  I gotta say, so far these guys are a pleasure to work with.  If you're at all interested in quality and service, I'd say you couldn't go wrong with these folks.

Monday, May 28, 2012


I took a small amount of time this weekend and worked on some patches.  One is the critical patch to the inside left wheel house/rocker, and I cut two more very small patches for the dash panel.

The hole I have to plug in the wheel well is ugly:

But once the patch is in place, all will be well with the world:

The holes are for plug welds, much like those I did for the floor.  I did have a chance to try out my new punch/flange tool, and punched the holes on the top of the patch, and even put in a light flange in the backing (you can see it in the top photo).  It works well, but the reach for the punch tool is limited.  The holes, as before, are for plug welds, except for a coupe of holes where I have some sheet metal screws for positioning the patch.  That trick works pretty darn well.

I could go ahead and weld in the patch now, but I need to do some rust treatment inside the rocker.  Once that's done, I should have the trunk drop, and I can seriously tackle getting this side of the car finished up.

On the dash panel, there are a couple more small areas of concern.  At this point, it might be better to replace the whole dash panel, but I'd hate to have to do that.  This should work out OK.

The gray is the weld-through primer.  A few weeks earlier, I had done some rust treatment up in here.  Let's hope it will be enough.

I am going to have to order the trunk drop for the left hand side.  Probably for the right, too.  Unless some kind of miracle happens, and I figure out a way to get the quarter panel and wheelhouse fixed without moving it.  Not likely!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Left Hand Outside Wheel House

Well, after some deliberation I decided it was worth the effort to get the remainder of the outside wheelhouse out from between the other two panels.  This was sort of a bitch.

I ended up taking a hint from some YouTube posters, and picked up a cheap air hammer.  I guess they're the cat's meow when it comes to breaking panels apart.

Well, yes and no.

It worked really well in some spots, and didn't work worth a damn in others.  And, as with any power tool, you can do a lot more damage in a lot less time.  I'll have to do some repairing, but in the long run, it will be for the best.  And hopefully, I'll do a better job on the other side.  I can see how the air hammer can be a great asset--I just need more practice.

I began fitting the inside wheel well.  It's going to be a bit tricky, because I'll have to fit it and the quarter panel at the same time, more or less.  But then I can clamp the wheelhouse in place and take the quarter off for welding.

I still need a punch tool.  Trying to decide to get a hand punch, or a punch/flange tool.  I'll probably just get the punch/flange tool, since I can use it for other stuff down the line.

One thing I think I've forgotten to note is that I also have to repair the rocker where it meets the wheel well.  This should be a simple patch job, as all I've got to do is box off the end and blend everything in properly.  I will likely get in there and do some rust treatment on the inside of the rocker while it's open.

So, it shouldn't be more than another week or two before I have this side back together.

OH, one more note, I think I will go ahead and replace the trunk drop while I'm at it.  Might as well.  The old one is usable, but it looks pretty bad, and my hammer/dolly work simply isn't up to it.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

More Quarter Panel Prep

I'm continuing with the preparation for the new left quarter panel.  I have most of the old metal removed, with the exception of a couple tough spots.  I have a couple of pictures.  First up, is near the roof, where I have the spot welds cut and sanded down smooth.

You can see where I've cut some of the roof out to make room to work.  The roof skin overlaps the quarter panels, so I have to have it out of the way right now.  Doesn't really matter, because the whole roof skin has to be replaced anyway.  As long as I don't disturb the structure of the unit-body, I'm OK.

Next up, I'll show you some problem areas.  The window frame is kind of a bitch.  I really don't want to screw it up, or the glass won't fit back into the hole!  You can see where there's a stubborn piece still hanging on.  I will likely remove that carefully using a roloc sanding disk and die grinder.

You can also see some bending and warping of that lip.  I'll fix that with some hammer and dolly action.  Shouldn't be a big deal.

Now, the other problem area is a real tight spot on the rear panel.  I'm not 100% sure how I'll handle this, but it will probably take a small grinding stone in a rotary tool to get in there without dicking up the good panels.  Tricky, but do-able.

I wanted to share pictures of the tools I've been using to cut the spot welds.  For most of the work I've done so far, I've been using this Harbor Freight spot weld cutter.  It actually works pretty well.  However, it doesn't take long for that center pin to start to wobble, which makes cutting a certifiable bitch.  On the plus side, when you wear one set of teeth out, you can reverse the cutter and keep on going.

I got tired of the wobbling, which was getting to the point that I would've been better off with a grinding wheel.  So, I asked the body supply place down the street if they had any good tools.  They did.  I decided to try this little beauty:

This is a sort of stubby 8mm brad-point bit.  Why metric?  I have no friggin' idea.  But it's easier to steer, cuts a hair faster and doesn't wobble a bit.  The bit is also 2-sided, so you can flip it once one side is dulled.

Bad part?  The new bit is $22.  The Harbor Freight cutter is $5.  But if it makes my job easier, then it's worth it.  I'm finding that some cheaper "short cuts" just aren't worth the headache.

So, I probably have another weekend's worth of work before I can start fitting that quarter panel and wheel house.  But I'm pretty happy with how this is moving along.

I will be picking up a pneumatic punch/flange tool as soon as I have this prep work done.  That's going to pay for itself on these quarter panels and wheel houses.

One other quick note:  I have started looking into those Lord body adhesives.  I keep hearing really good things about them, and I may try to incorporate them on some of the more difficult sections of the quarters.  I need to do some more reading and shopping around, but it sounds like the new stuff is as strong or stronger than welding.  Sounds silly, but there's some good evidence out there.

I also ran into "Mag Daddy", who make these very interesting fasteners.  I apologize for the horrible music after the link.  Don't they tell web designers these days not to do that anymore???

I'm particularly interested in the glue-in fasteners for door panels and such.  Door panels are such an uholy bitch.  I've never been able to do anything but wreck them, even being super careful.  The mag daddy's look like a great alternative.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Auto Metal Direct is Blistering Fast

Well, I'm sick as a dog today.  I think the phrase is, "I feel like hammered dogshit".  I've just been sitting in the house being miserable all day.  I watched "13 Assassins," which is possibly the coolest samurai movie in existence.  Then I played God of War and nursed some pomegranate juice.  Meh.

Tomorrow, it's back to work.  Hammered shit or no.

I had to jump on and post, because Auto Metal Direct got me my parts already. I figured I had at least 3 weeks to work on trimming out the rest of the old quarter panel, and get everything cleaned up for the new one.  But Sala freight delivered the parts to me today.

The metal looks great.  I haven't tried test-fitting, but they definitely did not skimp on the metal.  It's an obviously heavier gauge than the Rick's Camaro floor pan patch.

So if it all fits, I think Auto Metal Direct may have a new customer.  It will still be a week or two before I'm ready to weld the new panel in.  List:
  1. Cut all old spot-welds, and remove the old metal (I'm about halfway on this chore)
  2. Sand down the humps from the spot-welds
  3. Prep and paint the interior of the panels
Once that's done, I can fit and install the new quarter, and outside wheel house.  I'm only trimming part of the wheel house out.  I think it will be much less work to do that than try and untangle all that structural shit in there.

It's going to be sooooo awesome, I can't stand it!!!

Pictures to follow, probably later in the week when I start feeling better.