Saturday, July 26, 2008

Right Front Outer Rocker Patch

Remember the "Independence Day" post where I cut off the end of the outer rocker? Today I finished that task by welding in a new patch section.

First, I measured and cut the new outer rocker extension panel to the same dimensions as the original

Then I marked the cut line with masking tape and cut the patch section off with my angle grinder spinning a cut-off wheel. Compare the old to the new:

The hardest part was making sure that the new extension patch was welded in straight (up/down and in/out) because if not, the new inner rocker panel and torque box wouldn't fit well in this area and that could result in quite a problem. We still have yet to see how this all works out. Here is the new extension welded with welds ground flush.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Right Rear Wheel Well

Before I feel comfortable installing the new inner rocker, I needed to replace the patch the previous person had welded into the right rear inner wheel well that has started to rust out. I bought a new inner wheel well panel from NPD and cut a patch to fit the area that I wanted to replace. Here's what it looked like before I started cutting.

I ground around the area I wanted to replace; above the rust; and then marked and cut out along a straight line up to the seam of the outer wheel well panel. Note the rusted flange where the inner wheel well attaches to the floor panels. One challenge will be to patch the flange.

Finally, I cut out a patch from the inner wheel well panel and test fitted it into position. This is one of the Taiwanese parts (Dynacorn?) and it fits very well.

Because the area around the wheel well at the rear floor was rusted away, including the flange to which the wheel well was welded, I had to fabricate a patch out of 20 gauge sheet metal and weld it into place.

This is the new flange. Yeah, it's a bit ugly but it's the most complex patch I've had to make yet since it curves along the rear frame rail, wraps around the wheel well, and has a flange 90 degrees to all that curving.
I prepped the wheel well patch for welding by drilling it with holes where I intend to make the plug welds and then coated the areas that would be between seems with a weld-through primer.

I welded, and ground the welds this is the completed patch area. You shouldn't be able to tell the patch is there after it's painted. The camera does weird things with reflections but the metal is pretty smooth.

From the inside where the new floor patch meets the new wheel well patch.

Here's a picture of the same area before the patch work.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Right Front Frame Rail Extension Patch

After cutting out the rust on my RH front frame rail, I ground around the cut, gave it a coat of Ospho, and then a coat of red oxide ZeroRust that I picked up at APS Paints for $57 a gallon. The Ospho converts the rust to iron phosphate and the ZeroRust sticks to that and prevents water and air from activating the rust in the future. I also painted the patch inside and out with DP74LF primer.

After another hour or so of adjusting and fitting the patch (funny how you think you got it just right and it still doesn't fit when it comes time to weld) I welded the seams on both sides and ground them flush.

As a side note, I discovered that pre-painting butt-welded patches like this is probably not a good idea since the paint all around the weld joints catches fire during welding and needs to be repainted afterwards anyway.

Finally, I repainted the entire work area again with a coat of ZeroRust and test fitted the new frame rail after surgically removing the remainder of the old rail. I left the lower seat reinforcement in place for this to help me align the new rail section.

I drilled 14 holes on each side and another 10 holes on the bottom and then plug welded the frame rail extension floor support to the rear portion of the front frame rail such that it contacted the floor reinforcement box and the tunnel crossmember.

Finally, I ground the plug welds down and will paint over the bare metal to complete the task.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Leg To Stand On

Remember the post from the 4th when the front of the car dropped after I had cut the frame? Well it seems that Kevin's Rod Shop was right after all. I thought I didn't need the "leg" welded to the door braces but it turns out that it's a stroke of genius after all as it acts as an adjustable support for when you seperate the inner rocker from the front and rear torque boxes. Once you cut the front frame extension, there's not alot keeping the front of the car from dropping down unless you support it so I made some legs with adjustable feet (made from a carriage bolt screwed into two nuts welded to the leg member).

After the leg was doing it's job I hacked the rusted out of the front frame member in preparation for a frame patch that I had just received from NPD today. It's really a strangely shaped part and I'm not sure that I'm using it correctly but here goes.

Friday, July 4, 2008

What a way to spend Independance Day.

In 1776, our forefathers cast off the oppressive rule of the British Empire. 232 years later, I felt it a fitting tribute by casting off (most of) this rusty front outer rocker.

I drew the line in the sand (steel) and bellowed, "I only regret that I have but one angle grinder to use for my Mustang!! Attach cut off wheels! Chaaarge!"

The front defenses were weak and went down without much of a fight. Now we could get to the real fight, the poorly reinforced front frame rail itself. We had to cut through that to see the true enemy beyond...

Sparks flew and rusty metal fell away to my unyielding assault. After the rust-dust, settled, I could only stand in awe to the power of the destructive forces at hand. My true enemy has revealed itself.

Yes, it set me aback. After I had regained my composure I shouted, "It's too powerful! We have to cut off it's allies!" among the din of steel rusting. Thus, I drew another line and readied my trusty angle grinder, revving it menacingly.

After I finished my attack, the enemy fell (literally, the front right side of the car dropped a quarter inch!) "The infrastructure is failing!", I shouted. It was evident that we needed to station reinforcements until Mustangland is able to support itself again.

So I subcontracted Mr. Bottle Jack to assist while I placed an order for a frame rail patch which will be here on the 9th. Check back around then for the mother of all battles. Happy 4th!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

New Metal Has Arrived!

Got the call from Rose City Mustang that sheet metal I had on order has arrived so I went to pick it up. On the way downtown, I stopped by APS paints and picked up a quart of DP74LF and a pint of catalyst. DP74LF is an epoxy 2 part primer that sticks to and will be stuck to by darn near anything. However, at $44 per quart of paint and $25 per pint of the required hardener, it's not for the faint of heart.

Anyhoo, I picked up the sheet metal and brought it home. The parts below from left to right are inner rocker panels, torque boxes, right front frame rail extension, and right outer rocker panel extension.

I was a bit surprised that it already had rust spots. Not just flash rust but actual rust. Note the outer rocker panel extension.

Being that it was bare metal, I felt the overwhelming, deep desire to protect and paint these parts but first I had to remove the dirt and rust so I washed them with some dishwashing detergent, water, and sponge. I then dried the parts and coated them heavily with Ospho. I plugged one end with a rag and poured some Ospho in the other end and swashed it back and forth and around until I coated in the inside too. I let the Ospho dry and then washed the excess on the outsides off with soap and water. I didn't rinse the insides because I wanted the heavy coating to remain. The outsides would be painted, however, so I wanted good adhesion. Notice how the Ospho removed the rust on the outer rocker extension (The short, fat piece).

Finally, I mixed up some DP74LF and hardener, fired up the air compressor, and shot the "Red Oxide" primer with my Harbor Freight gravity feed spray gun. 6 ounces of primer to 3 ounces of hardener did all of this in 2 coats. Clean up required the use of acetone as regular paint thinner just serves to harden the epoxy and makes a mess. Ask me how I know. ;-)
Using a red oxide color is a kind of a Ford Mustang originality thing. The original Mustangs were coated with red oxide primer before being painted (or not painted).