Sunday, February 26, 2012

Starting Patch 2. . .

The second patch is the largest area--again, while I only need to patch a smaller area I like having a wide margin around rust.

First, though, I have a nice steering wheel that I don't want to get goobered up with splatter from the welding. So it had to go.

Wheel gone! Rust holes visible to the left.
Of course it wasn't as easy as that--I do happen to own a wheel puller, but unfortunately, it wouldn't fit the narrow distance between the mounting points on the Studebaker wheel.  So off to the parts store to rent one. After having the proper tool in hand, the job only took 3 minutes.

Once the wheel was out of the way, removing one bolt on the bottom of the column and disconnecting the shift linkage allowed for removal of the outer shell of the steering column.

Does that look like something to bump your head against?
To remove the steering post requires removing the steering box. Unfortunately, I didn't have a joint separator that fit, so that will have to wait until later.  For now at least I won't be damaging a potentially expensive part, and, so far, I haven't bumped my head on it.  Hopefully I'll be able to get the right tool so I can get that out of the way before that happens.

On to the floor.  I got the area cut out using a cut off wheel on my angle grinder. This one was a bit trickier because the floor is spot welded to the brace, so I had to locate and grind through them. Once that was done, I cleaned up the surface rust with a wire brush and coated it with a rust converter so it wouldn't continue to rust.

If that brace weren't there, I'd have a one-legged Flintstone's car!
I discovered some good news: the cross brace was in excellent condition. And, surprisingly, no rust on the rocker panel.

Up next, I'll cut out a patch and get this puppy closed up.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Patch 1, Done (pretty much)

So I finally had time to work on the Stude today. If you'll recall, I had 3 areas to patch on the floor; today I decided to patch the area behind the driver's seat.

The red arrow marks the spot

The rusted through area was about 3 to 4 inches in diameter. I wanted to make sure I got all of the rust, so I cut out an area much larger:

The bad stuff removed, the remaining metal treated--ready to weld in a patch.
From this point on, I didn't take many pics. But it was a fairly simple process. First, I made a pattern by taping a piece of cardboard above the hole, then tracing around the opening from the bottom with a sharpie. After that is carefully cut out and made sure it fits the hole exactly, the pattern is used to trace an outline on the new piece and it was cut out with a jig saw.

Of course, I erred on the side of making it too big, then fit it by cutting/grinding where needed. Once I got it matched up, I used 3 large magnets to hold it in place with the edges flush, and welded several spots around the perimeter.  Then, after removing the magnets, I made more spots, spacing them to avoid warping the metal from the heat. Once I had a group of welds about 2 to 3 inches apart, I started to connect the dots.

In theory, this works very well, and for the most part it did. But I haven't welded anything this thin for quite some time, so there were several places I burned holes through it.  And, when I first started, some of my welds weren't very pretty--that's why there aren't any pictures!

But the end result (I still have a small bit of grinding to do and I'll go over it with a body hammer and dolly to level it out a bit) looks like this:

Nice and solid (and also treated again to stop rust until it is painted) now!
Of course, if this were in an area that showed, I would take more time to make it absolutely perfect--but this will eventually be covered in a thick, sound deadening "paint" with insulation and carpet on the top side and undercoating on the bottom so it simply won't show.

On Monday I'm having the owner of a body shop come by to give me an estimate for paint. It won't be long until it is away from my garage for a while.