This past weekend was another work weekend on the BMW down in Virginia.
As usual, it poured. There was thunder and lightning and flood warnings. Almost every time I go to work on the car during the spring summer and fall, it has been pouring, and I'm driving 200 miles from York PA to Charles City VA. Regardless, considerable work got completed.
Previously I had cut out and welded in a new spare tire well. This past weekend I was working on the other side, taking care of the gas tank surround.
I found lots of thick bondo where someone had gooped it in hoping to hide the rust issues this car has.
Lots of drilled out spot welds later, the rusty panel was cut free and I could start cleaning up the remaining flanges. My plan was to use the original spot weld locations for rosette welds.
Test fitting the new panel from Wolf could now start. This panel needed less fitting then others I have done, but it still took me several hours to get it fitting tight like it should be. This pic is from early in the process, and you can see just how much further the panel needs to come up.
The next few pics show fitment getting much closer! I was very happy with how exact I was able to get my butts to line up where I retained the original sheet metal and cut away from the new panel. Where the shipping tie down was cut away, I also welded a patch there after the new panel was in, but I think I forgot to get pics of that, so there is still a rectangle on the fender that is open in these pics.
Now I've sprayed down some 3M weld through primer and gotten the new panel all clamped in. This was as far as I got the first day, but I was very content with it! It takes me 7 hours what my friend does in 3-4, but its fitting well and ready to get burned in.
Next day I broke out the MIG and went to town. I welded in the panel using mostly rosettes as planned, but also a few seam welds where it made sense. I learned again (and again) that retired running shoes, while comfortable, don't stop weld splatter. Usually I remember to bring boots, but I forgot them this weekend. Such is life.
Then I had to go and do more panel fitment to get the new panel to line up with all the old spot welds behind the rear bumper. This took more effort then I anticipated, but my favorite sheet metal tools (a large ball peen hammer and a rail-road spike) worked wonders here. Yes, at my friends shop I have access to all his fancy metal working hammers and dollies and I use a ball peen and a RR spike. Don't judge me. Hit them with the 3M Weld through, burned in some rosettes and ground them down.
I also went back over the spare tire well and added some weld to close all the gaps I found when I looked closely at it. I was rushing last time and the work showed. Now it looks MUCH nicer.
Finally, I laid in the gas tank for test fitting and it fit perfect, just as it should.
At this point I ran out of time. The welding and cleanup was done, but wanted to do metal prep and spray some epoxy over all the new clean sheet metal. That did not happen. Which only means I'll have some surface rust to clean off the next time I get down there, and I'll spray it then.
At this point all the structural rust in the trunk has been resolved. I only have 2 more structural areas to fix, as well as some cosmetic issues, and then all the rust repair will be complete. I'm hoping to do the drivers side rocker the next time I'm down there (july?) which will be the big task. The pass side rocker is the other structural fix, but it will be a much easier cut and weld job.
Thanks for reading, and until next time...