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All dogs go to heaven

 

A question was posed to me once a few years ago: If you could fly, be invisible, teleport, be a billionaire, or have your dog live as long as you, which would you choose?

I’d choose my dog every day of the week.

 

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There is something so emotionally childish about losing a dog. Especially one that you don’t really consider a dog, but a true, full, meaningful part of your life. Almost more than a family member, more like an extension of yourself. Not to be political, but I always wondered how you could take a soldier’s dog, one who probably saved his/her life countless times, at the end of a soldiers tour. You want to guarantee PTSD? That’s one way to do it. I don’t care how old you are, how tough you are, if you have a bond with a dog, your reason, acceptance, and composure are reduced to toddler levels when they go.

On December 7th we lost our beloved shop manager, Poncho. It was a day I always knew was coming, but one that I knew I would never be ready for. Every night in the garage I would take a few minutes from working and sit on the floor. Poncho would wander over and lie down on my lap, rolling over to sniff my apron or paw at my chest for belly rubs. I knew that when he left us I didn’t want to be able to say “I never knew how good we had it”. I took these little breaks on the floor every day so to remind myself that I knew exactly how good we had it. We had the best dog ever. The whole neighborhood knew him. The other dogs, the three walking ladies we’d see every morning, the kids that would run up to hug him. He was never on a leash. He stopped at the curb and waited for me to cross the street. He’d wait till I said “go say hi” (when he could hear) to run up to other dogs. He was a champ. Loved by all. Losing him has been a part of life that really truly sucks. The only good that I can see coming from it is the ability to rescue another. We have taken a few months to get ourselves together with the new baby, but we plan on rescuing one or two boxers in the fall time frame. Adopt, don’t shop. And not just puppies, old dogs need homes, too.  Poncho loved steak and he got plenty of it in his old age.  So instead of cheers to Poncho, eat a good steak.  That's what he would have wanted.  But have a beer with the steak, too.

 

When I left off last, I was stripping down the driver side door. I finished pulling the paint and layers upon layers of Bondo to find a clearly damaged door… This car just keeps giving.

There was a line about mid-height that extended the length of the door. It seems as though it was a glancing blow by a car backing out of an adjacent parking spot.  Pulling all the Bondo left me with an intact but badly oil canned door. I worked on the low spots that I could, and after getting them up, I noticed the oil canning wasn’t getting any better. I tried my hand with a small propane torch, but it wasn’t hot enough to get the metal to shrinking status. I picked up an oxy-acetylene setup and was able to put some tension back in the door skin. The door is still not perfectly smooth, in fact it’s a long way from it, but I am headed in the right direction. I will work on getting it as close as I can, but if I go for perfection, I’ll never get to drive the car.  The first video shows the door and all the oil canning prior to heating with the torch.  The second video pretty clearly shows where I shrunk the metal with the torch to tighten up the door skin. 

The line can be seen in the both videos pictures just above my middle and ring finger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did some work on the nose as well. I thought it was an early nose because of the bumper holes being the slots and not the big squares for the later modes, but I was wrong. Somebody jogged the metal and spot welded a patch over the square cutout then Bondo’d the hell out of it.

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I ended up cutting it out and rolling a new patch panel on the English wheel. I filed the patch panel to have as close as a line on line fit as I could.

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I practiced a little fusion welding (no filler just the TIG torch) then went at the patch panel. It came out ok. There were areas where I needed to use filler and other areas where the fusion welding went well. The hardest part was making sure it contours were saved after welding...  I'd be lying if I said it looked great, but I'll give it a 6 out of 10.  Not sure why I left the little part of the slot open.  That was foolish on my part.  I will close that up.

I had to do some hammer and dolly work. It will require a little body filler but hopefully not too much.  I'm on the hunt for more body hammers, especially fender hammers that can let me get into some tight places I can't reach with my current set.

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I started sanding the nose above the kidneys to get to bare metal and wouldn’t you know! More Bondo!

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I guess they rear ended something or something backed into them because there were pretty heavy dents. After getting it back down to bare metal out came the hammer and dolly. There was a lot of heavy strikes in this area to get it back into shape. It didn’t take too long to get it pretty close to good. It also looks like they drilled holes in the metal to shove the Bondo through so they had some mechanical grip.

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Why wouldn’t the previous owner/repair shop spend the 30 minutes with a hammer and dolly and use just a skim of body filler?

Below the kidneys? More dents and Bondo. It’s pretty tiring finding all this damage.

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I still have another square bumper hole to fill and the dents to pull on the bottom of the nose, but hopefully I can get that back on the car soon.

I am on the hunt for a pair of good fenders. From what I’ve read, the BMW fenders have lost some of their quality over the years and I may be just as well getting aftermarket ones for a fraction of the price.

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Hug those pups.  Give them some steak.  And love them more than you ever thought you could when they get old.

 

 

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Pete-

 

So sorry you lost your dog. We lost our black lab a number of years ago. I agree with everything you said (emotionally childish.)

 

Your metal working skills are awesome, and, as far as I know, self-taught.

 

Hope you find a rescue to fill the void....

 

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Your best friend story brought tears to my eyes again. At least twice a day i'm still crying over the loss of my dog who left us on December 9, just two days after your dog left you. After 15 1/2 years with him as my best friend ever I knew like you the day would come but you never want it to. He would always want to come out into the garage to see what I was doing on the car. I, like you laid on the floor next to him whenever I could, 3 or 4 times a day just laying with him and rubbing his fur. I know I'll see him again someday so that makes it feel a little better. 

Now I just keep busy with my 2002 tii restoration and try not to cry too much.

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Thanks, guys.  It's certainly not easy.  

Doug, 

Fill the void is a great way of putting it.  He will never be replaced but we will rescue again to help us and help another dog without a home. 

I did take a metal shaping class which probably shot me forward quite a bit in just the creative process of using what you have to get things done.  The instructors didn't use crazy expensive equipment although they had it.  They made a lot of their own tools out of scrap metal, welded pieces, wood, modified pliers, etc.  Just seeing that ingenuity alone helped out so much in my own process. 

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