Sunday, June 29, 2008

More Hardware Shopping

I went to my favorite two heartless corporate vampire outlets, Home Depot and Harbor Freight. I felt the need to move the jack stands under the front frame rails since I needed to fix the passenger side rail but my jack stands aren't tall enough to reach the front portion of the rail and keep the car at it's current height so a trip to Home Depot scored me a set of pavers just the right size for jack stand bases. It would be disastrous if one of the stands fell of the paver so I shook the car pretty hard and it doesn't budge. Regardless, I'm not going out of my way to stress the front. I wouldn't do this with a car containing an engine as the weight would likely crack the pavers. As this car stands, I can lift the front off the jackstands so I'm not too worried about the weight.

I have new sheet metal on order so I felt the impending need to paint coming on soon so I stopped by Harbor Freight to pick up an evaporator/oiler unit they had on sale for 20 bucks. Also, I'm really bad at keeping my air tools oiled. Now all I can do to neglect them is to not keep this unit filled with oil.

Friday, June 27, 2008

More Right Inner Rocker Removed

I pulled out the rest of the right hand inner rocker to the rear of the car. I cut the side brace off that ties the trunk to the inner wheel house to the floor and inner rocker for better access. I'll weld that back in when I'm done.

When you look down into the "hole" that I made by removing the inner rocker, you're supposed to see the ground so I was confused as to what this mess is below where the inner rocker was supposed to be. I was fearful that I would have to patch this metal whatever it is but later determined that the last guy welded in a patch to replace the bottom of the missing inner rocker so I'm free to cut this away in favor of a good inner rocker panel. That scary-looking line of rust is actually the remainder of the original "sandwich" of inner rocker, outer rocker, and rocker reinforcement plates.... soon to be gone and replaced with an actual rocker.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Digging Into the RH Rear Inner Rocker

Friday I removed the front half of the inner rocker reinforcement plate so this shot is a view of the inside of the passenger side outer rocker panel toward the front. Most of the rust you see in this picture is surface rust with the exception of the very front where you can see a cancer hole at the bottom. I'm going to patch that and clean up the rest with a grinder. Toward the bottom right of the picture you can see the top side of the right hand lower reinforcement box. I left the section of the inner rocker reinforcement plate attached to that box to continue to support the frame rail of the car where my jack stand is located. Were I to cut the lower reinforcement away from the remainder of the inner rocker, I doubt the frame rail could support the weight of the car and things would bend out of alignment. I'm going to need to relocate the front jack stand eventually though.

Tonight I started to cut away everything I could that was in the way of removing the remainder of the inner rocker at the back of the car. The brace laying at the bottom of the picture was welded to the box structure you see to the upper left side of the picture just behind the rear of the door opening. The brace is also laying on top of the rear torque box cover which I also need to cut away from the inner rocker.

Additionally, I need to remove this long angular brace. I'm unsure how I'll do that though as it goes through the rear seat trunk panel. I've already cut the welds along the inner wheel well and I'll probably just cut it in half just shy of the rear seat transition (the hump). There's a little rust spot at the lower left edge of this brace that I need to patch plus it's in the way of the installation of the floor so it's gotta come out.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Seat Pedestal Removal

I got some new 14T "demolition" blades for the the Sawzall at Home Depot the other night so I put them to the test tonight by cutting out the "C" channel portion of the inner rocker to the rear seat transition area (where the floor humps up for the rear seat). This gives me better access to the remaining spot welds that I need to remove to get the remainder of the inner rocker out.

In the image below you can see the remainder of the plate that I mentioned in my last post that served as a patch during some kind of floor job back in the 80s. Behind that plate is the original inner rocker panel plate that SHOULD have been replaced decades ago.

After I hacked out the portion of the passenger side inner rocker, I set out remove the seat pedestal to get it out of my way so I could access the inner rocker spot welds. This was a bit of a hassle because the last person to work on the floor bead welded the tunnel portion of the seat pedestal to the floor tunnel. So, I had to cut out several spot welds on the floor, 4 spot welds on the top of the tunnel, and a mess of bead welds along the sides of the tunnel to accomplish this task.

Note the rust that accumulates between the seat pedestal and the floor. This area was never painted or protected by Ford so once your classic Mustang's seat bolt access plugs disappear, you're trapping moisture between the pedestal and the floor which means you'll have this job to do in your future. That's the now-removed seat pedestal laying in the right side of the picture.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Today was a rare sunny day for this June so far. I spent most of the day with my daughter and generally enjoying the sunshine but did a little work in the early evening.

I decided to see what was behind the passenger side inner rocker where I'd previously removed the torque box. I soon discovered that the previous owner's restorer took some more shortcuts when "restoring" (and I use that term lightly) this car. It appears that the inner rockers had rusted out quite some time ago, prior to the 80's which is when this car was allegedly last restored.

Rather than cut out the old metal and replace it, the culprit (I'm not going to call him a "restorer" anymore) inserted another plate up under the existing (already rusted out) inner rocker and welded it to the inside of the old inner rocker which indicates to me that the bottom portion was already gone otherwise they wouldn't have been able to weld where they welded. So now I have to cut out the inner rocker with their inserted patch plate AND the original inner rocker plate. Just as a note, the "plate" I'm talking about is a long piece of heavy, flat sheet metal welded between the inner and outer rocker panels. In the picture below you can see the original plate (with the spot weld nibs on the outside) and the end of the "new" plate which I'd already cut away.

This is just a view from the inside of the car showing the newly removed rust/metal. Looks like this task of removing the entire inner rocker assembly and the junk inserted by the culprit is going to take me more time than I'd thought.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Passenger Torque Box Removal

I finally worked up the gumption to begin cutting out the rusty structural members of Ol' Rusty. You saw the steps I took to prepare the car to be cut up when I made door braces, the next thing to do is to put the car up as has as I could on jack stands. Now, some guys put the car on a rotisserie which is the way to go if you have the room (and funds). I don't have the either so I'm stuck with jack stands. I set them as high as they would go and positioned them directly beneath the (undamaged) frame members. Later, I'll move them under the front clip and trunk area frame members and the rockers when I go to install the floor. Note: The jack stand under the rear differential is only supporting the rear differential to take some weight off the back of the car. If you are attempting to level a car, the suspension is a poor choice to use for support.

I had to ensure that the car was level side to side and front to back. This is yet another step in attempting to ensure that the car remains aligned when I go to weld in the new structural members.
Having stalled the inevitable as long as I could, it came time to perform the first surgery. The removal of the passenger (RH) torque box. Remember this picture? This is what it USED to look like. The bottom was rusted out of existance.

About an hour later with the help of my 3.5" air cutter, my 4.5" dewalt angle grinder, and my air chisel, I had the absolutely worthless torque box removed leaving a gaping hole behind the front wheel. I think I'll leave it this way to help keep the car cool on those hot August nights. Well, for as useful as the old torque box was, I might as well. Note the missing inner rocker (hint: there's supposed to be a "C" -shaped member running along the inside of that big flat plate you see at the middle left side of the picture. It was missing when I started... in fact, a lot of the car was missing such as the floor pan and firewall toe boards. Can you see that god-awful "patch" at the bottom of the frame rail? I need to cut that out and replace it. Other than that, the frame rails appear to have plenty of meat left to them.

And this is the old torque box... or what's left of it. Actually, it stopped being a torque box the day the prior restorer "restored" this car around 1984. You can't tell from this picture but there's a sheet of 22 gauge sheet metal tack welded in place of a cut-away original 12 gauge that took over as the bottom of the torque box. If you aren't aware, 22 gauge is about half the thickness of 12 gauge sheet metal. This member was no longer structural after 1984. Ah well, the bright side is that I really can't do much worse of a job restoring this car than the prior guy did.