Monday, January 16, 2012

Driver's Side Floor Repair - Almost There

Finally.  An afternoon with nothing on the schedule after dinner.   After getting home from my Sunday "pastor" duties, and making a nice chicken artichoke spinach pasta dish,  I took my freshly filled container of K-1 Kerosene (at $ 4.49 a gallon!) and filled up my trusty torpedo heater.  This is a 30,000 BTU Craftsman brand I bought on eBay a number of years ago for $36!   It does a nice job of heating my 3 bay garage.  I plugged it in after topping off the tank, made sure that there was no danger of fire, and left it running to heat the space up.  After about 30 minutes, it was nice and comfortable at 64F degrees, which is good enough with a sweatshirt and jeans on to work.

The first thing I did was to mark where the seat riser will go with a white paint pen.  I'm not planning on making the welds look fully dressed since once that riser goes in, no one will ever see the welds unless someone else decides to cut this apart again.  But I don't see that happening...ever,...after this beast is done. 

I'm not going to bore you with a whole slew of pictures on finishing up the floor.  It's a ton more of weld and grind....weld and grind...weld and grind.   I got the hand full of remaining plug welds done on the flat section of the floor and rocker panel.   Then it was hop around on the transmission tunnel and floor seam to get all the welding done.  It took more time than I would have liked since after grinding down the weld, there would be pits and holes left to go back and weld up and grind.   You see the pattern here.   I used the white paint pen to circle the areas that needed repair.   I had to do that since my auto darkening welding helmet didn't like the work light I was using and would go dark on me as soon as I leaned over to weld.  But at least I could see the paint marks.

This process went on for what seemed like hours.  Wait a minute...  It WAS hours.   The joys of working with almost 44 year old metal.   I removed all the drill sheet metal screws and plugged those welds up from the top.  I'll do the bottoms when the car makes it onto the rotisserie.

One of the places that gave me fits was where the emergency brake pivot bracket was spot welded to the floor and transmission tunnel.  I started to drill out the welds back when I cut the original floor out.   I thought I could work around it.  Well that didn't work out so well.  I had all kinds of trouble with blow through.  I tried my copper backup and it didn't work.  So I decided to cut out a larger piece and make a bigger patch with tighter gaps.

I thought I wouldn't worry about the upper right-hand corner since that's were a spot weld was drilled out.  I used a piece of scrap floor pan metal to tack it to the patch and then hold it in place.  The concept was a good idea, but the execution was not.  The right side blew through again and I couldn't get it to stitch up.   So I stopped and decided I'll do what I should have done and take that bracket all the way off.  Then I can make a proper patch and do it right.  I can repair the underside later on the rotisserie and put the bracket back on then.

In the mean time, the rest of the welding is pretty much done.  I did crawl under the car and will have some work to do on the back side of the seam.  But I'm calling the tunnel seam done at this point.   All I have left is that aforementioned patch and the rear seam of the floor pan to the rear floor.  That will also be a weld that's hidden by the seat riser.   So the results at this point are OK--not perfect--but OK.  

Besides, if I go with Dynamat or something similar for sound proofing--or even if I don't and go factory--all of the pretty welding will be covered up anyway.  I don't know too many people who would ask to have the carpet and sound deadener lifted up so they could see the welds.   The important thing is that the welds are strong and no moisture can get through.

It's another full week of evening meetings Monday through Thursday.   So I have to wait and see how next weekend plays out for time to work on the ol' gal again.  At least there seems to be light and the end of the floor pan replacement tunnel.


  1. Nice work Dennis - plug'in and chug'in....


    1. You got the "plug" right on that RJ. Hopefully I can get that patch in the floor and move on.

  2. Glad you got some shop time under you Dennis! Floors are a pain for the volume of work, but your work looks great!

  3. Thanks Sven for the encouraging words. I never would have thought I've have spent this much time on the floor, especially considering the time I spent on the front structure replacement. I had a meeting cancelled tonight. So I'm hoping after supper I can get a couple of hours in on it and call the floor "finished".

  4. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!
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