Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Prep for Bodywork - Part 2

Time flies when you're having fun.  For me, it was more literally than figuratively.  In the course of 8 days, I was on 8 flights, traveled some 4,500 miles by air, crossed the US/Canada border twice, and saw a temperature swing of 78 degrees Fahrenheit.  A bonus of the trip was on my leg flying at 25,000 feet from Sachigo Lake, Ontario back to Winnipeg.   I got to see the Northern Lights for the first time.  It's quite a spectacle of nature.  But it is good to be home...at least for a couple of weeks until the next venture "up north."

So after a day of recovery it was time to continue where I left off on the fastback in prepping the body for primer and bodywork.  The one advantage of this step in the restoration process is that there isn't a lot of set-up or tear-down of equipment such as the MIG welder, hammers, dollies, air tools, etc.. It's basically a couple of tools with a couple of different abrasives.  Oh... And a LOT of labor.

The first thing in the process was to drop the plastic sheets that make the walls for my Dexter "Kill Room" as my daughters like to call my dust containment system in the garage.  The second half of the roof went reasonably well except that I discovered a slight crease and indentation about a foot back from the windshield.

Front view of cleaned roof
Rear view of cleaned roof
 There are a couple of barely detectable dents over the driver's side door.   I'll have to deal with them all eventually.  I'm hoping my arsenal of slapping tools and files will get most of it out.  I'm not a fan of smearing a lot of body filler on the roof to make up for poor metalwork.  Less is always better.  I'm not looking forward to more metal massaging and it's a little disappointing but it is what it is.

The largest crease is visible just to the left side edge of the light reflection in the roof.

Another light crease is visible at the near edge of the light reflection

A couple of light ripples are visible near the edge of the light reflection.

I applied the PickelX-20 on the rest of the roof.  I then moved on to the driver's side cowl.  This will be more tedious as I'll have to hand-clean the vent grates.  That's why I bought that box of red Scotch Brite pads for occasions like this.

The next area that I need to work on before removing the body from the rotisserie is to get the rest of the interior surfaces cleaned, apply with fresh seam sealer, and painted in Zero Rust.   I figured I would start on the cowl and dash, including the underside which will be easier to get to on the rotisserie than on a body cart.  However, before I started cleaning up  the dash, I needed to document some of the hardware that I hadn't removed, or I took out and ran the screws or nuts back in place.

This is the left inside of the cowl looking through the instrument cluster hole of the dash.
This is the driver's side cowl vent.  Fortunately, in spited of the surface rust, they are solid on both sides.  So I won't need to cut the cowl apart and replace this part of the car

This is a view of the underside of the dash looking through the instrument cluster area to the passenger side where the heat/AC unit passes through the firewall.
This is looking straight through the instrument cluster hole in the dash and the bottom of the cowl.

This is a view of the backside of the lower half of the dash.  The console mounting brackets are still in place.

This is a view through the instrument cluster.
 Once I got all the nuts n' bolt n' screws removed, I started the metal cleaning.  I switched over to "surface conditioning" pads and away from the 40 grit sanding disc.  It does a fairly good job of cleaning the paint and light surface rust and will not remove or damage the metal.

Here's the driver's side of the dash that is mostly done.

Here is the passenger side of the dash mostly complete.

The top of the dash is about 80% done.  I need to use a stripping pad to get to more of the hard to reach areas.

I was able to get about 80% of the dash cleaned up.  There are some nooks and crannies that are left along with the bottom edge.  I'm waiting for my 3M Scotch Brite 2" Roloc 50 grit bristle brushes to arrive.  I've never used these before but hoping that they will do a good job of cleaning those contour areas that are hard to reach.  I might even try them on the cowl vents.

I'm figuring I have less than an hour of external dash work left.  Then it's on to the underside which will be a challenge as there isn't much working space under there.  It's times like this I wish this was a Mopar as several of them had removable dashboards making work on them duck soup.

I'm hoping to get some more work done in the evenings this week before my wife and I head to west Iowa to visit my middle daughter and her family.  We haven't been out there since, as one of my friends said, "the last tile project" which is true.  So It's our turn in the barrel to travel west.  My travels won't end there as I'll be home for 4 days and then hit the road for Red Sucker Lake, Manitoba to conduct another family and parent workshop in that First Nation community.  Long underwear is NOT optional there!  Then I'll be home for a week before I hit the road to northwest Michigan to open the family cabin.  I'll be back for a week and then off on a round-robin trip to LA and Edmonton, Alberta before heading home.   I'm tired just thinking about it.  And then people wonder why I'm not making such great progress on Eleanor.   So there you go.

Until the next time...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Body Prep for Bodywork: meticulous and boring

Paint flowed onto the underside of Eleanor in November last year.  What a milestone!   And then the flow of work came to a screeching halt.  You're familiar with the drill.  Thanksgiving.  Christmas.  Family gatherings.  Post-New Year reset.  Add to the regular seasonal stuff a Kitchen backsplash re-do that required a complete tear out to the studs and new drywall.  Then there is always the post-season garage space recovery.  And then there was travel.  Lot's of travel.   As I write this, I'm in between two trips to northern Ontario First Nation communities.

However, I may be using all of my personal family, work, and house projects to put off what has got to be one of the most tedious, meticulous and boring aspects of a Mustang restoration project but necessary for the finished product to come out looking great.  And that is body metal cleaning and prep for body work.

But in all fairness, I did spend a few days going through the garage gathering all the metal I had accumulated over the past umteen years of Mustang restoration and other bits and pieces of other vehicles (like my daughter's mangled Civic hood), RV parts, and metal plumbing and electrical pieces.   That filled the bed of my truck which then went to the metal recycler.  Then it was sort through and reorganize the space which is now much more roomier, though there's still a bunch of miscellaneous stuff sitting on my drafting table that should be sorted and stored.   But floor space grew at least 20% which in my garage is a huge accomplishment.  Now I have recovered space to work on the fastback.

I got a dose of reality thanks to a little Facebook reminder about when the Mustang was put on the rotisserie.  Sadly, it's been on the "rack" for 5 stinking years as of 10 days ago.  That was a rude awakening that I need to work on Eleanor even if it's just for an hour or two here and there.   So that's what I did...an hour or two here and there over the weekend and last night.

I really have to take advantage of the rotisserie since it's easier to get to the roof (inside and out) and the interior thoroughly cleaned while it's still mounted on it.   Stripping surface rust and old paint is one of the most unglamorous jobs in auto restoration.   Sure, I could have spent $1,500 for the local portable soda blast company to come out and do the inside and outside.  Yeah, it would have all been done in a day.   But $1,500 could fund a nice start on the engine and transmission rebuild, or the new AC/heat system, or instrument panel and interior restoration, or...  Well, you get the picture. We all make our choices and deal with the consequences, right?

With dust mask and ear protection in place, a 6" DA sander, 2" air sander, 4" grinder with an abrasive head laid out and ready to go, I began the task of stripping half the roof.  There's really not a lot of detail and wiz-bang pictures associated with this work.  It's loud.  It's dusty.  It's dirty.  Nuf said.

The challenge is to be careful around the edges of body contours so that they are not distorted or rounded off, especially the small "peak" at the rear of the center of the roof.   Also, it's possible to get too aggressive and put small crescent gouges in the metal.   Unfortunately I have a couple of those, but thankfully, the high build primer/surfacer should take care of them.

A wipe down to remove any residual dirt and an air blow down preceded an application of Pickelex-20.   So that mischief was managed for one half of the roof.   Now it's repeat this for the other half.   I might get it done before my flight north Friday morning, but I need to pack Thursday night and do an oil change on my wife's Fusion tonight since it's been flashing that "oil change required" reminder for the last week.   That shouldn't take too long.  Maybe I'll get an hour or two in after dinner.   But with my past history not being to reliable, it's wait and see.

Until the next time.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Finally! Paint is flowing!

It's been quite a Fall.  As I looked at the calendar and how full it was becoming, and how much of the month had already gone by, I had my doubts that I would have any window to get the floor, lower firewall, and front frame rails in epoxy primer this year.  I had to travel to Michigan...Twice in the first two weeks of November.  One trip for business and a second for vacation to close the family cabin.   I also needed to work in some deer hunting to get venison in the freezer since last year was a huge deer hunt bust.   Unfortunately, my first deer came using my truck as a weapon outside of Grand Rapids on I-196 instead of my bow or gun.  I was fortunate that my wife and I were in my truck and not her Fusion.  Otherwise, I probably wouldn't be writing this as the outcome would have been much worse.  I had to make some "field repairs" to make the truck more driveable.  I loosened the left-front fender and pulled/pried it forward so that the driver's side door could open. Then I used my knee to push and hands to pull in logistical locations on the fender to get it straightened out more.

After a trip to the local Ace Hardware store, I patched the corner up with a 9" x 11" throw away aluminum pan, a roll of Gorilla Tape, and a piece of plexiglass.  It worked surprisingly well.  I wanted to at least be able to drive it safely...and try and put off taking it to the body shop until after I got some hunting in.  It goes into the body shop the week after Thanksgiving.

I was hoping that the unusually mild November weather would hold out to give me a chance to get paint on the car.  Unfortunately, the weather took a turn for colder more seasonable weather after getting home.   The good news is that it made the deer more active and I got a nice size doe Sunday late afternoon.  That freed up the rest of the week before Thanksgiving to work on the fastback.

I have been thinking and planning about what I wanted painted with epoxy paint and what I didn't want painted.  With a plan in place, I used my Eastwood tape and paper machine to mask off the body along the outer flange of the rocker panel, the rear quarter panel flanges along with the trunk/gas tank flange.

All masked off and ready for some paint!

Then there was the final prepping of the floor.  I had some remnant of  undercoating I needed to remove and clean up.  I used the 3M red scuff pads on the underside just to make sure I had good adhesion even though the Pickel-X said I could paint right over it.  I followed that with a wipe down using wax and grease remover.

It was time to actually apply paint.  It seemed surreal that after 11-1/2 years of ownership, I was at a major turning point.  in all honesty, I was a little apprehensive about it.  It had been so long since I sprayed any paint on a vehicle.  It was my first time using a HVLP spray gun.  Would I screw this up?  Would I get it right?   But enough of that.  Time to forge ahead.

I used a mixing cup to experiment with the ratio of the DP74 red oxide to the DP90 black until I got to the color tint I wanted.  The DPLF epoxy can't be tinted.  So the only way to change the color is to mix the different colors of DPLF together.  I didn't want to go broke at $80 a quart for three more colors.  I only wanted the red oxide toned down some.  After adding a little at a time and mixing thoroughly, I found the ratio at 4:1 of DP74 to DP90 would work.  It was exactly what I wanted.

Straight DP74 on the left and the 4:1 DP74:DP90 mix on the right.
I got my HVLP gun set up with the desiccant filter and pressure gauge to adjust the air pressure at the gun. 
The HPLV primer gun I bought for just this purpose.

I lowered my previously installed plastic curtain to contain whatever paint overspray I'd make.  I was also hoping to manage the heat and ventilation to keep the garage warm enough for the epoxy to cure and yet keep the fire/explosion potential eliminated.  I got the garage heated up and then shut down the torpedo heater since open flame and fumes do not mix!  I moved the heater to the other side of the plastic just in case.  Safety first in my garage!

Plastic curtain is in place ready for paint.

The DP74/90 and epoxy mixed and ready for the gun.

I loaded up the gun, donned my respirator, and off I went spraying.  I was immediately and pleasantly surprised at the minimal overspray with the HVLP gun.  I varied the fan pattern to get paint into some of the tight spaces.  Being able to rotate the body to the best position for paint application and lighting was great.

Everything was going according to plan.  The garage was a little cooler (~60F) than I wanted, but the ventilation was important for both me and turning the heat back on with my torpedo heater.  You never really know how much paint to mix.  I initially mixed 18 oz total of paint and catalyst.  I had to mix another 12 oz to finish up which was just enough. 

I ventilated the garage for about 5 minutes before getting the heat going again and kept the garage door open a few inches just to be sure the ventilation was still going.  Thankfully, it all worked out perfectly!   I got the heat directed under the car with the floor side down to try and help cure the pain in garage that had cooled off to almost 50F which I really wanted to avoid.  However, as the temp rose back into the high 60's, it looked like it would be OK.

Finally!  The finished product!

I love the way the tint of the color worked out too.  You would have to look really close to see where the floor repairs were.  If you're like me, I notice that stuff but it is because I've been looking at it for so long!   I cleaned up the gun and the garage and stood back and looked at the dramatic change.  What a huge step in the right direction!

I left the garage door open for another 15 minutes and then closed it up with the heat still going.  When my wife got home from choir practice, I had two glasses of wine waiting.  I handed her a glass and said, "Let's toast to a major milestone."   She looked at me with a quizzical look.  I said, "Come with me" and started walking toward the garage.  "You got the car painted!" she said. I opened the door into the garage and turned on the light.  Then I went to the rotisserie and rotated the car so she could see the freshly painted floor.  My wife blurted out, "That looks fantastic!  I can't believe how good it looks!"   She knew as well as me what a ginormous moment this was since we've had the fastback. The garage was approaching 70F.  I shut down the lights and heat and closed up shop for the night.

The next morning, I took a look all over and for the most part, I got everything covered fairly well.  There are a couple of spots I'll go back and touch up later, but for all intents and purpose, the floor and lower firewall are done!!!

Now it's on to the interior metal prep for paint by removing the rest of the sealer and cleaning all the surface rust off the dash and upper inside firewall along with the inside of the roof and body panels.

Who knows?  I might just have this baby ready for paint by next spring.  No.  I better not make any speculation on when that will happen based on my history with this beast.  But one can only hope, right?

Until the next time...

Friday, November 4, 2016

Preparing for Paint and Body Work

I feel like I've got a foot in the U.S. and a foot in Canada lately.  It's been a crazy busy time with work and family.   Throw in a wedding, baptism, and weekend PR travel for me and October has flown by quickly.   Case in point:  I've only been able to go out bow hunting 3 days since the season opened October 1.  Oh well.  There's always November, right?  (sounds painfully like the Cubs prior to their World Series win this year)

Well... on to Eleanor.

I ordered a quart of PPG DPLF-90 which is the black epoxy primer.  My intention is to mix it with the DPLF-74 red oxide to darken it up as the straight 74 is brighter than I'd like and what was original to the car.  This product can't be tinted so that's the reason for the color mix.

The other thing I need to do is have a better environment in which to paint in my garage.   I need to keep the dust and crud off the car and at the same time, keep the paint overspray off the rest of the garage contents.  So in this exciting episode, I'll show you what I did to prepare for the paint and body work.

I wanted to have some flexibility in making this paint/dust containment booth so that I could open it up and have access to the rest of the garage when not in use.   After putting some thought behind this project, I decided to use 5 mil plastic sheets for the barrier.   Attaching it to the ceiling of the garage was the issue, especially to keep it all in place for a long duration (and everyone knows how long "long" is for me).

I laid out the location on the garage ceiling and used my stud finder to locate the rafter joists.  Then I used pine 1" X 2" X 8' boards and attached them to the ceiling using 3" drywall screws.  After that, I cut 2" wide strips of corrugated cardboard out of old boxes so that I would create a washer of sorts.  I sandwiched the plastic sheet in between the wood strips and the corrugated strips and stapled it into position.  If I didn't to this, the plastic would easily pull through the staples.  I attached it on the vertical face of the 1 X 2 boards.

I proceeded to do this around the perimeter of the main 2 bay section of the garage.  It would protect all the family items (i.e. junk) that is on the shelves from paint and body filler dust.  It looked like it would work quite well and I'd still have enough working space for the Mustang.


The best part, as you can see from the pictures above, is that I can roll it up and get it out of the way when not needed.  With Thanksgiving coming soon (Yikes!) I need to have a clear path to the refrigerator in the 3rd bay for food and BEvERage storage.   Clothespins to the rescue!   All I have to do is roll up the plastic and pin it up.  So far, it works great.

So now the pressure is on the actually get paint on the Mustang.  I refuse to put a deadline on myself since I've broken every single one so far.   Suffice it to say, I'll get the epoxy on the floor in the future...the near future hopefully.

Until the next time...

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Floors and Firewall - Part 4

It's said "Time flies when you're having fun."   Well, I would say, "Time flies when you have more things to do than the calendar can hold."  That's a better and more accurate description of my life..

My summer in Canada came to an end in August.  Over the 11 weeks I was there, I visited 16 First Nation's communities, flew over 55 flight hours covering almost 8,000 miles.  I was as far south as Dryden, Ontario and as far north as Churchill, Manitoba on Hudson Bay.  That's a lot of real estate to cover and a lot of people to see.  It was all good and I enjoyed meeting new people and seeing old friends again.  I always leave a little part of me behind when I come back home.  But it's always good to be home, especially when I had a new arrival waiting for me to see.   And no...it wasn't a car.  It was my newest grandson, Arliss Edward Shelman...

My new grandson, Arliss Edward Shelman.  He's better looking than his grandpa!

I had my flight booked to DC to go see him before I returned from Canada.  I was only home for a few days before that trip.  He was almost a month old already.  Now I have a total of 5 grandchildren--3 boys and 2 girls.  I can't be any more blessed!

After my return from DC, there was a whole list of things I didn't get done before I left for the summer.  Unfortunately, there was more than just the the Mustang to address.

We've lived in our house we built almost 13 years ago long enough that exterior maintenance is required.  The natural cedar trim around the top of the chimney had to be replaced.  It takes a real beating from the weather.  Then the trim and siding needed to be painted it as well.  The list continued with all three of the vehicles needing maintenance... brake work on the Civic and Fusion and spark plugs on the F-150.  The garage was a disaster area with paint, construction supplies and tools strewn everywhere including my stuff I took north.  I also took back over the lawn care my wife had been doing as well.   So I got really backed up and it took a couple of weeks just to get everything sorted.

So now...on to the fastback.

She was in the same condition as when I left, thanks to the Picklex-20.  I had picked up a couple of tubes of automotive grade sealer and had a can of Eastwood seam sealer on the shelf.

I took the factory weld and sealant manual with me up north over the summer to study the method and location of the sealant.  There's a lot that was used when panels were joined together such as the inner wheel tubs to the quarter panels.  That obviously wasn't going to happen.  But there were a host of other seams on the underside that were detailed...

If you don't have a copy of the Ford factory manuals, I highly recommend you get the set.  They're available on-line from a number of sources including eBay.  Even if you're not doing an original or "Concours" restoration, they will help you at least see how the beast was assembled.

With my fall return trip to Canada looming and a window of opportunity available, I gathered the caulking gun, tube of sealer, can of lacquer thinner, the can of brushable sealant, and tinning brushes, and went at the task of sealing all the joints.

Since I'm doing an "original" style restoration, I made sure the right sealant type went in the right places.  I also wasn't exactly "neat" about it since the factory wasn't either.   Ford made over 317,000 Mustangs across 3 plants in 1968.   That works out to approximately 40 cars per hour coming off the production line.  There wasn't time to be absolutely neat about the task.  Beside, there are complaints by MCA judges of over-restored cars that are too perfect.  So I put the sealer on without a worry about perfect beads and brush marks and left the globs and goobers behind. 

The sealer in the tube was beige in color.  The original factory color was black.  It's going to be painted over with red oxide epoxy primer.  So sealer color wasn't an issue, not to mention the beige was in stock and black wasn't.

The beige sealer is visible in all the seams specified in the factory sealant manual
The brushable sealer was a gray color.  No big deal either. I put it on where the manual suggested.  Some sealer isn't visible since it's applied to locations that are hidden from the eye such as inside the rear quarter panel to wheel tub seam.

The joints in the wheel tub/quarter panel area were all brushed.  That sealer is gray.

I need to do some more sealing in the engine bay and firewall area.  Before I do that, there is some old sealer and undercoating that I need to remove and clean up.   Then it's on to the next task of actually spraying on the epoxy primer on the floor and firewall.

After that, I'll need to focus on the interior of the body shell by cleaning up the surface rust that's on the interior floor and under the dash, remove and replace the factory sealant on the interior, and give everything inside a coat of Zero Rust.  When that's done, I need to build a body cart and take the shell off the rotisserie.  Then it's on to hanging the fenders, doors, hood, and trunk lid for alignment and any minor filler work.  Hopefully, I can carve out time to get this project moved further down the road so-to-speak.

So a little more progress had been made on the fastback.  It would be nice to have it go faster, but that's a pipe dream at this point.

Until the next time...

Friday, May 27, 2016

Floor and Firewall Finish Work - Part 3.1

I am not going to win the race.  It's not going to be a total DNF ("did not finish" for those who aren't familiar with the lingo) but there will be a delay of about 3+ weeks in the schedule.

I knew it would be a battle against the clock with all the family coming this Memorial Day weekend for my youngest daughter's first baby shower.  I am in the middle of getting ready to leave for Canada next Wednesday.  Add on top of that I wasn't able to totally dedicate this past Thursday to getting the floors done and in DP-74 epoxy primer because of numerous work-related things kept popping up.

Thankfully Sven Pruett once again shared some wisdom on how I could preserve the work I've done so far without going through major pains of getting rid of flash rust that had accumulated on the bare metal.  In the comments on the last installment, Sven told me about a product called Picklex 20.  I looked it up on line and it sounded phenomenal.  It removes rust, protects the surface for years if kept inside, and can be painted over without having to remove the product.   

There was one caveat.  Sven said it was expensive but I was surprised how expensive it was.  Since I needed it fast, I got in contact with my local Grainer industrial supply house and they could get it for me in 24 hours.  Perfect.  I ordered it and picked it up this morning...which also is "Carb Day" at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Traffic was a nightmare but I got my Picklex 20.   And how expensive was it?   Take a look at the invoice...

Yeah.  You read that right.  $96.15 for just ONE quart.  It will cover 400 square feet which is plenty for the entire fastback.  A little goes a long way.  Spray enough on the metal to wet it and wait a minute.  Use a wire brush or ScotchBrite pad to loosen any surface rust. Then wipe it off or air dry with compressed air.    Seems simple enough.  Now it was time to find out if this was worth the price of admission.  Here's the "before" of the passenger side floor bottom...

...And here's the after picture of the floor...

The pictures really don't do it justice.  It works really well.  So even though Pickelex 20 was expensive, it was worth the price. 

I was able to get everything done from the rear floor pans to the rear of the car inside the frame rails.  I'll work on the rest as time allows me to this weekend.  What I don't get done I'll finish up next Tuesday.   That will keep everything preserved until I get back home the third week in June.   I'll have 8 days and should be able to take my time and get the epoxy primer on the car with no problems.  Then I'll head back to Canada for the duration of the summer.   At least that's the plan right now.

Until the next time...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Race is on! Floor and Firewall Finish Work - Part 3

The race I'm talking about is not the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 even though that seems to be the focus within 100 miles of Indianapolis.  No.  I'm talking about the race to get the floor in primer before my departure to Canada for the summer.

It's been a challenging piece of the project.  In my whole life, I never ever expected to do body work on the floor, more specifically, the underside of a car.  I'm not going for a "Rad Rides by Troy" or "Kindigit Designs" showpiece.   It's not going to be a 100 point MCA concours class Mustang.  It's going to be a driven Mustang fastback that will be restored to the best of my ability.  That also means my anal engineering mindset dictates the amount of detail I'm willing to go.  I'm doing it because of me.  Yes, the weld seams in the floor would have been OK to leave, but I would know they were there and visible.  Which makes me wonder, how many people get down on their hands and knees and look at the belly of the beast?  In my estimation, more than you think.  I've been to enough shows to see that.  Well, enough of this.

So with a handful of productive days and evenings, I have been trying to get the floors and firewall all ready for a coat of DP-74LF epoxy primer.  The big reason is that I'm getting a very translucent shade of brown indicating the formation of flash rust on the bare metal which has been bare for far too long.

After 3 rounds of applying filler and then sanding it off...and then another application, etc., I'm getting to the point of calling the filler work done on the floor.

There is some work left on the firewall outside of the fender aprons, but hopefully that will go smoothly...no pun intended.  I was glad that all the metalwork on the car was finally done.   Or was it?

Somehow I managed to see an overlooked area of the passenger side floor.  Guess what I found?  The dreaded pinholes.  Except these were caused by rust, not by welding.  Two of the spots were in the curved section of the floor.   Ugh!  The one good thing is that these were pencil lead size holes with relatively good metal around them.  Then a though hit me.  I have my box of slugs from the punch press where I worked in manufacturing eons ago.  So I dug through them to find some with the correct thickness and then checked out my drill bits to find the right size hole to drill through the center of the rust pit.  With bit and plug matched, it was on to the repair.

I drilled through the three rust holes and then used a fine rat tail file to open the holes so the plug fit snugly.  The slugs were slightly thicker than the floor metal on purpose to give me something to weld to and grind down, especially on the contour.

After fitting the plug, I took a piece of duct tape and put it on the inside of the floor to keep the plug from falling through and becoming lost on the garage floor (which happened a couple of times).  

Then I tacked the plug in, blew compressed air on it and then did a couple more tack welds.  the weld was carefully ground down with my 2" air sander and then the process of tack, cool, grind continued until I had the plug completely welded with no gaps or pinholes.

The 3 plugs came out OK.  Nothing spectacular, but passable.  Remember, it's just the floor of a car, right?  I mixed up a small batch of Metal-to-Metal and put a skim coat over the repair. 

A little sanding and a finish coat of filler will have this repair done.  I'm holding my breath I don't find any more areas that need metal repair.  But the way my luck has been going, I wouldn't be surprised.

I'm hoping that I'll be spraying DP-74 on Thursday evening, but with house prep and family and company coming in mass from out of town for my youngest daughter's first baby shower, I don't think I'll get much done.  I still haven't begun to pack for my excursion up north.

So...if you check back in a week or so and see a new post, you can figure I was successful.   If not, then the fail has occurred.

Until the next time...