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.