It seems like more often than not, I start these blog entries with a statement about how “it's been a while since I posted/did anything/blah blah blah”.
This one is no different. If you want to get to the car progress skip to the mug shot of Shop Manager Poncho.
Its been a while since I posted an update, but I have excuses!
The last one was February and now it's July, which makes me feel like a lump.
I did continue to work on the car for a portion of the time between now and then. Recently though, we moved out of our rental with a one car garage and into our first home which has a detached 2 car garage!
Most of my weekends in March and April were consumed with house hunting and mortgage chores so I didn't get much done. We moved in the first weekend of June and have been setting up things ever since. The house is mostly unpacked and the garage is coming together. I inherited a 4 stroke leaf blower and weed wacker from the previous owners and bought a Cub Cadet. That brings our cylinder count up to 30 not including the '02 in Maine.
There is a slight sag in the center girder of the garage so I have plans drawn up for replacing it with a W8x24 I beam and other goodies. Once the I beam goes in I will be able to utilize the area above the garage as a nice
doghouse for when I'm in trouble storage area.
The small workshop in the back will suffice for now. I got some pegboard from Lowes for 10 bucks so that will help with organization for now. It's so much more space than what I had. It's a great size (for now).
Also, I got a great Craftsman 33 gallon compressor for a six pack of IPA. I think the seller just wanted to show off his awesome garage and new shop air system...
Obviously I have plenty of plans for the new place, after the I beam goes in, I'll be running a 220V line from the garage sub panel and picking up a AC/DC TIG welder. I have my eye on an Everlast PowerTIG 200DV right now. They are a great bang for your buck from what my research tells me. Don't tell my wife.
So last time I ended with my installation of the rear driver fender patch panel.
After that panel went in, I moved on to the driver rear quarter patch and learned a few more things during and after the installation. Most notably I found that you want to planish the weld spots with the on dolly method kind of heavily, but not too heavily. If planishing was making grits, you'd want them to be “al dente”.
When you tack weld the panels you add a little material then cool it rapidly which causes the metal around the weld to shrink. By planishing the weld, you flatten the tack weld out and effectively add metal to the shrunken area of the panel releasing the inward dent you just created. This is obviously an acquired skill, one that I don't fully or even half-ly(?) possess yet. It's like golf - how hard can it be?
The panel went in nicely using the same weld, planish, grind technique. The old one had about a 1/4" of Bondo on it. This car has clearly been well damaged over its lifetime.
I had a little warping so I tried to planish it out with limited success. Then I tried heat, which was the completely wrong thing to do. I was on a role so I figured, why not? And found out quickly why I should not. The patch panel warped even further and took me even longer to get it back to a point I was somewhat happy with.
I moved to the front of the car and pulled out the HVAC panel that goes between the engine bay and the heater core. It's welded to the inner fender wings in a few spots and welded to the center hood release bracket in a few million spots.
Once I got it out, I began cleaning it off and finding some pitting and holes in the panel. I will be cutting them out and welding in new metal. I'll have to replace some of the metal on the hood release bracket because there is so little metal left from where all the spot welds were.
Then I started looking at the very first welding repair I did to the car, the passenger inner wing which connects to the frame rail. It looked gross. I hated it. It came out. Along with that I cut out the passenger frame rail that I fabricated. There was just too much distortion from rust in the engine area. I couldn't justify leaving it there. So I cut it out and destroyed it, effectively making it impossible to undo what I had just done.
I fear that I'm turning into my father by keeping everything. To combat the transformation I destroy anything I think I might need in a year or two so that I am forced to throw it away. Anyway, I purchased a new passenger frame rail from W&N. They were having a sale, and with the flat rate shipping they do now, it was over $100 cheaper, not including shipping, than from our North American suppliers.
The new one came in and I started fitting it up, checking all of the chassis dimensions from the nice binder W&N sent me with all the exploded views, chassis dims, and badge placements. I guess they feel sorry for you once you spend a certain amount of money with them. I was pretty shocked to find that everything lined up within their plus/minus 1mm tolerance from the factory. I was able to breathe a sign of relief.
I started remaking some patches that I had done with the flux core because they looked absolutely terrible. I was able to use the bead roller to make a similar contour to the factory passenger foot well.
I have to make the bottom part of the passenger inner wing again unless I can source a donor for that area. If you have one available please PM me.
That's pretty much where I left off. It was hard to keep moving when I knew I was going to have to pack it all up and move the whole project. I just started slowly packing the garage instead of working on the car.
Now we are comfortably settled in at our new home so work on the car is starting to come around again. Hopefully more updates coming soon...
P.S. Good on you if you got the My Cousin Vinny reference.