Sunday, May 27, 2012

Right front fender patching

Let's see, where were we?

Oh yeah, I had chickened out, uh, I mean, wisely decided to buy preformed patch panels for the repairs to the driver's side front fender. But the passenger side was in better condition, so I decided to make the panels for it myself.

If you'll recall, here's what the bottom-front of the fender looked like after I removed the paint to inspect it:

The first step was to get rid of that epoxy, and cut out the thin material. After I did that, I repaired the small amount of rust through on the brace behind the area, cleaned and treated it for any rust that might be remaining, then primed and painted it so it wouldn't rust again.

From here on out, pictures of the fender will be upside down

Next, I cut out a piece of left over flooring material a little bit larger than the hole in the fender and bent and hammered it into a curve that matched the fender.

Then it was simply a matter of grinding the patch and the hole in the fender until they fit together nicely.

Finally, I welded it in place following the "series of spot welds" technique to avoid warping the metal and ground back the welds. I still have a little bit of grinding/filling to do, but the bulk of the hard work is done.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

An ounce of prevention...

I'm back from a week in Indianapolis (no, I didn't get to go to the Speedway, but I did get to see some Indy cars taking practice laps from the air) and so have wandered out to the garage to get to work.

Today's work is a bit more introspection and a bit less cutting and grinding. Take a look at this:
It is hard to see but if you look carefully you'll notice that the surface around that rusted out area is pushing up the sheet metal from behind; this is because dirt and debris got trapped between the outer fender skin and the brace behind that area. After a few years of trapped moisture and junk, the fender rotted out from behind.

Now I could cut this to clean metal, form a patch, weld it in place and call it good. It'd probably last for many years. Probably.

When you're spending a few thousand dollars on a quality paint job I don't like the word "probably." And so I'm going to cut out an even greater area so I can thoroughly clean all signs of rust from the front of the brace, treat it so it won't rust again and then weld a new patch over it.

But I'm not going to form this one myself. As Dirty Harry was fond of saying, "A man's got to know his limitations." And this one--especially the top portion--is a complex curve that is going to be incredibly visible. So I've ordered a rust repair patch for the driver's side and will cut out the areas I need from that preformed section and weld it in place.

I've also ordered a repair panel for the rear weatherstrip channel for the trunk area--there had been some dodgy repair there during the last repaint--and a small fender bender at some point that had bent the metal along a formed line that was simply filled with body putty during the last paint job to make it look ok. Easy enough to fix now--and that patch was very inexpensive.

So at this point, I have a bit of waiting before I can push ahead with the left front fender. But there's plenty of work remaining elsewhere.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Stude-gathering

Willamette Chapter of the Studebaker Drivers Club meet in Independence, OR for their annual photo shoot.