Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Driver's Side Floor Repair...Slowly getting there

It's been awhile since I've been able to carve out some time to work on the fastback.   From my last post, it's obvious that life often interrupts plans and priorities end up shifting.   I'm sure you can relate.  Well...on with the latest effort.

As the last exciting episode of this part of the project, I used the Eastwood Rust Converter to coat the inside of the frame rail and the top of the torque box that the lower part of the firewall / floor extension attaches to.  It was not drying as advertised.  Believe it or not, I put a box fan in the car after 3 days of waiting for this stuff to dry.  It took another 2 days with the fan running on high for 24/7.   I don't know what the deal was...if I didn't wait long enough between coats or put it on too heavy, but I'll definitely have to either use it with some degree of restraint, or live with the fan drying technique in the future.   After it finally dried, I figured I would just shoot some black Rustoleum on over the rust converter for extra protection.   It may not be the fanciest of coatings, but it's more than it came with from the factory which was....none.

This is the result after the rust converter dried and flat black Rustoleum was applied.
I took the extension panel and did another test fit... 

I had to do some light grinding on the right side to get it to fit the drive shaft tunnel a little better.   The edges were sanded to remove the EDP coating to get a nice clean bare metal surface for welding.   I used a pencil to mark all of the hole for the plug welds on the torque box and frame rail.    The panel was removed again and the paint was removed with my 2" grinder with a 24 grit pad where the pencil marks were.  I fit the panel back in place...again....(must have been a dozen times by now) and clamped into position.   I did have to "persuade" it with my body hammer to get it flush in some places.   Then the fun began by plug welding all the holes.

This may not sound difficult, but it was the position I was in to do it.  The frame rail was poking in my gut while I leaned over as far as I could with my head under the dash...with a welding helmet on.   The out of position welding didn't produce the prettiest rosette welds, but hey...that's what a 4" grinder is for, right?   (It was about half-way through the plug welds that my wonderful wife got home from work, walked into the garage and said, "Are you having fun?")  Huuump...   Anyway...back to the welds.

Since this part is a structural member, I'm more concerned about strength than beauty on this part of the reconstruction.   I worked in a criss-cross pattern to get the 4 corners attached.   Then I worked in the same pattern starting in the center of the part so that I wasn't putting too much heat into the part.   The last part of the process involved putting some small tacks on the seams at the top and right side where it joins the firewall and drive shaft tunnel respectively.

This is the panel with all the plug welds in and some of the seam tacks which haven't been cleaned up yet.....
...and this is how it looks from the engine compartment.

I still need to finish up the seam welds, tweak the steering column patch, and fabricate a small patch in the firewall to the left of the steering column hole.    It was getting late, I was hungry, and it had been a long day.  But I'm getting closer to starting on the front floor pan installation, which should be fairly easy compared to this unexpected project.

Oh...BTW...I inadvertently left my work light on when I was done which happened to be on the floor under the right side of the car.  I didn't notice it since it was still light outside.   I closed the garage door, went inside to eat and do some other things.  I went back into the garage for something else after dark.  I opened the door and in the pitch black garage, I noticed the light was on.  I walked over to the driver's side to reach through the "Flintstone" floor to pull the light out to turn it off.   Then lo and behold...I saw a couple of pinholes in the passenger side extension panel the light was shining through!  Bugger!  I did do some probing and it's nowhere near as bad as the driver's side, but I will have to put at lease one patch in it.

I think I'll wait to do that after I get the body on the rotisserie...which may be awhile.  After all, it's Labor Day weekend coming up and the house needs to be painted.  If I'm fortunate, my wife and I should be able to get it done by Monday if the weather holds out.

And people wonder why it's taking me so long to finish the car.  LOL!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Driver's side floor repair - extension panel prep

Finally, the temperatures here in central Indiana have moderated some.  41 days without rain...19 days in a row with a high at or above 90F graciously came to an end this last week.  So I planned to get back on the Mustang, but then some much needed deck repair intervened and took 3 full days out of my schedule.   There is more deck work left to do, but then the severe storm that came through Saturday night took out my neighbor's 80' Ash tree and then went on to collapse the stage structure at the Indian State Fair that took the lives of 5 people and injured 45.  Such a tragic event.  Anyway...the rain was hit and miss on Sunday afternoon as the cold front moved through.  So no deck work since water and electric cords don't go well together.

With the deck rain delay, I started working towards getting this front floor repair to the firewall moving along again.   I needed to clean up the frame rail and treat it for corrosion protection.  I cleaned the area with a wire brush and Scotchbrite  pad.  Then I sprayed it with Eastwood's "Rust Converter."  As it dries, it turns the surface black and is a prep for finished paint if desired.  It takes 2 coats and 48 hours for it all to cure.  So that meant I'd be limited on how much I could get done on the car.  Bummer.

The first coat is applied and waiting to dry.  The second coat went on this morning.

I turned my attention to the floor extension panel.  I got out my "Weld and Sealant manual" and looked at where the welds were originally.   There are no specific measurements in this manual, but it does show the relative location, type, and number of welds.   So approximating the location, I marked the replacement panel with the welding chalk...

The above picture is the side that will be facing the passenger compartment.  I did mark the outline of the frame rail on the opposite side to be sure that my punch marks for drilling would be in the correct place.   After center punching all the "X"s,  I used a 5/16" drill in my drill press to get to as many of the punch marks as possible.  The throat of the drill press isn't deep enough to get to any of the interior marks.  I switched over to my DeWalt drill and with a 2X8 inch wood backup drilled out the rest of the holes.   I cleaned up the burrs on both side and ground away the EDP coating so the plug welds will stick...

When the Rust Converter finishes curing which should be Tuesday, I'll shoot it with some Rustoleum black.  After that dries, I'll be ready to get this bad boy installed.  I'll have a small patch to fabricate on the firewall between this piece and the steering wheel patch I put in previously.   Then it's on to the front floor pan and seat riser installation.  But that may be awhile with my upcoming schedule.

Let's see...my second grandchild is having her 1 year old birthday party this Saturday.  My daughter and Son-in-law return from the West Indies after almost a year and a half there at Ross University Med School.  Then I get to pack a U-haul truck with all their stuff I've had in storage and send them off to their next stop in Medical training at Saginaw, Michigan.  The last of the deck wood replacement will be squeezed in.   Oh...and there's my wedding anniversary in there too.   Granted, I love to work on the Mustang, but family comes first, even at the expense of "the other woman" in the household--er' garage.   But that's OK.  I keep telling myself, "Even if progress is slow, it's still progress."

And I'm sure many of you will agree with that.