'73 metal work and more boxes showing up

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VWJake

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I welded the repaired right outer wheel housing back on the '73 a week or so ago. I was using weld through primer and had a horrible experience with the stuff. When coating both parts and trying to plug weld the welds popped and splattered as if I was welding a pile of rust in a puddle of oil. I tried letting it dry more thoroughly, and finally settled on using a flat faced drill bit to scrape away the primer within the weld hole. The welds were tolerable, but not what I wanted to see. Going forward I won't be using any more of that, I'll treat the seams after the fact with a "creeping" sealer of some sort. Anyway, after getting the outer wheelhouse and the C pillar bracing back on the '73 I rehung and tacked on the quarter panel. It's only tacked at the B and C pillars for now as I still have an outer rocker panel to replace and a trunk floor to repair.

 

Once the quarter was fitted and clamped down I decided to remove the remaining rocker panel from the right side of the car. The inner rocker was rotten at the leading edge and the bottom of the A-pillar was in pretty sorry shape as well. After I cut away the lower A-pillar I found a solid inner rocker minus the first 8" or so. I cut the inner rocker back to good clean margins and took it to the garage to use as template. Some 16ga steel sheet, a bit of work on the bead roller, some hammering (folded edge at the front), and trimmed to fit and I was ready to weld it in.

 

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More 16ga sheet stock, hammers, dollies, cut-off wheels, and a welder got me a fresh lower A-pillar. It was tricky recreating the pad the backs up the jack point on the outer rocker skin. Originally I thought I would just hammer it in... That wasn't working at all so I made to two slices in the sheet so I could make an offset section. Once the depth of the offset was good I added filler pieces and welded it all back together. I didn't figure the size of my patch panel properly when I laid it out so I had to go back and add a little piece in the upper front corner. No harm though. It's all welded in a good to go. Plug welds and folded edges mimic the original. I left the lower edge loose until I was ready to re install the rocker panel as I wanted to make sure the new A pillar contour matched the old rocker.

 

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With the lower A pillar repairs completed I refit the front portion of the right outer rocker. There was a small section after the jack pad that was pretty severely rusted from the inside so I cut that out and patched it with some 16ga sheet. After the upper and lower lips were straightened and the flanges were scuffed I aligned and plug welded the outer rocker back to the car. With that section fully welded I realized that I needed to remove the quarter panel again to install the replacement section of the outer rocker (harvested from the '68). So off with the quarter again. It only took a few minutes as there were just a few tack welds and a hand full of vise grips holding it on. I didn't quite get the rear portion of the rocker fully burned in before quiting time today.

 

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A couple of boxes showed up yesterday. One from W&N and the other from Ireland Engineering. The former included 2 new outer rockers (left for the '73 and right for the '68), a right outer wheel arch for the '68, a lower trailing edge quarter repair panel for the '73, and some small odds n ends (door handle gaskets, etc.). The later included 4 ABS Turbo flares and a fiberglass turbo air dam for the '73. I've wanted a turbo-look '02 since I was a young lad. The '73 seem like the right car to fulfill that desire with.

 

I spent some time in the garage yesterday taking all 6 tail lenses (4 red centers and 2 ambers) apart (prying out the reflectors/inlays) to create the 4 best lens that I could. I managed to create 2 nice Red center lenses and 1 nice Amber and 1 decent Amber. With all of the inlays out I could clean everything really well and them mix n match parts as needed to make the best assemblies that I could. Someone previously tried to repair one of the amber lens with super glue after a hot bulb ruined the marker light portion of the lens. After getting the replacement red reflector portion out I could see that they didn't put in the clear prism segment (probably because of the bulging lens). I carefully ground down and polished (the best that I could) the remaining material. The glue deposits a white film or coating sometimes. It typically develops on finger prints and other smudges/smears. This lens looked terrible. With the inlays out I was able to polish away the deposits to make it generally presentable. I still want to polish the outsides of the lenses with a buffing wheel to really make them shine but for now I'm pleased with my progress. Once the outsides are polished and the lenses are washed one last time I will use dabs of clear silicone to secure the inlays. I also glass bead blasted a pair of lamp housings and painted them white on the inside and aluminum on the outside. The aluminum is too "bright" in my opinion. When I refinish the 2nd set I'll likely just clear coat the outside. The white is an old hotrodders trick to brighten up tail lamps. Looking forward to seeing the fruits of my labor when the time comes.

 

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