Not a lot of progress lately, due to family holidays and birthdays.
Good news is the latest shimpment has arrived in the UK and been collected. Pics will have to wait for another time, as they are all squirelled away in the garage, but good bits include: 100% quarter skins for both sides, trunk drop offs for both sides, outer wheel house (drivers),full tail panel, cowl panel, wheel adapters (with lip this time, yay!), and brake parts to allow fitting of the new system. I really hope that is the last of the large orders.
As for movement on the car itself, I've been concentrating on the inner door jamb suppport on the drivers side. Firstly cutting the bottom of the quarter up higher to give access, then making/re-using the template from the other side. The rot has gone a bit further this side, but nothing to bad, maybe an inch bigger on the replacement piece.
The shape was then cut from flat sheet, and out with the hammers, resulting in this:
Next up will be some more primering. I need to prepare this piece, which is next to be welded in, but at the same time I will put it on the outer wheel house, inner faces of the quarters, trunk drop offs and tail panel, so they are all ready to be fitted as soon as I am ready to fit them.
I had a half day to work on the car on Monday, so some time was spent on Sunday evening applying some primer to the next set of parts. The inner brace was first on the list, with the outer wheelhouse and trunk dropp-off being next.
The next morning I made the final adjustments and then welded the inner support in. I realise a missed a section at the bottom, where it attaches to the outer rocker, but that will be easy to sort out later.
With that done, it was on to cutting panels and spot welds. I cut a large section of quarter panel out (less than will be required for later) to give me access to the outer wheel house.
I'd bought the outer wheel house as I thought it would save time replacing the whole, rather than trying to patch. If I'd have realised how many spot welds there were, I may have reconsidered. There are tons of them, about 1/2 in apart. Here are the first few.
An hour or so later and I've only just started to reach the top of the arch. Access is getting harder due to the profile of the metal, and that the welds are nearer the curve. Came up with the idea of cutting most of the panel out, leaving just the flange, which is far easier to access.
Another hour on, and I'm still only 3/4 of the way round. Hopefully I will get this out in the next session.
Wow, more than 5 months since the last update. The good news is I'm still here and so is the car.
Time has been pretty limited, and progress very slow and/or not particularly visible.
Following on from where I left off, the rest of the old outer wheel house was pulled off, and the new one offered up for trial fit.
By this time the weather and motivation was against me, and I didn't get any further with that area. When the weather was good enough I did a bit of work on the drivers front floor pan.
First off was some exploratory work to determine how big the patch needed to be, and then a patch was cut from an offcut of the rear quarter.
I was then able to cut out the bad bits to match the patch.
The toe board area has previously been repaired (not by me) and there was some surface rust where the new patch overlapped the original metal. This needed cleaning up, as the patch I have made goes underneath this.
New patch trimmed and in place.
The patch has now been welded in, but not cleaned up yet. No pics yet, but I'll remember to take some. All of this looks pretty short piece of work, but was done across about 5-6 weeks in short 30-45 minute stints.
That is almost it for on-car progress.
Time has been well spent in the meantime though. I've spent many hours in the garage tidying up and re-locating things. There were a few reasons for this:
1 - I had no room to move:
2 - I couldn't find anything. There were a few things that I had been looking for, but couldn't find (for obvious reasons). I've now been through about 90% of the stuff in there, re-organised and catalogued where things are to help in the future (when I finally get as far as rebuilding and move stuff OUT of the garage!)
3 - I need to make space for a compressor. I'd managed to gather enough money over Christmas and birthday to afford a budget compressor that would be up to the job of spraying when the time comes. It's not a small thing, so space had to be made and in the right place (not sure why, but all my sockets are on the same wall). In preparation for this I have been making some cooling pipes from copper. I'm about halfway through this now, and aim to finish it soon. Pics to follow...
Finally for now, I'd been mocking up the rear quarter panel to the outer wheel house to check compatibility. The profile is good, but the lip is only folded about 45 degrees and will need bending in further to be able to weld the panels together. (pics would be really good here - need to get back on the game with those) I'm not keen in the idea of trying to hammer it down without distorting the panel, so I've looked at using a fender lip roller to do it.
This looks like it would do the job, with one big problem - the tool first to the rear end, which isn't fitted yet. The plan therefore changed to getting the rear floor sections finished so that I could fit the the rear springs and get it all in place. With this in mind I've started cleaning up the rear springs ready for a coat of epoxy.
However, whilst writing this I thought it will be easier to do the lip welding with the rear out, so it's got to go in and out a few times and not worth doing the paint work on it yet. Yet again, the plan changes...
The good news is that the weather is getting much better now, so there should be some more frequent updates.
Time on the car over this time has been very limited, often odd sessions of less than an hourm, once or twice a week. It doesn't feel like much has been achieved, however a couple of longer sessions last week have meant I've been able to make a few bigger, more satisfying jobs.
I mentioned in the last update that a compressor was on it's way, so I spent quite a chunk of time building a pipe system to help remove the water vapour from the air. Not used it in anger painting yet, but it seems to have done the job.
When that was done, attention finally turned back to the car. I welded in the drivers front floor patch. I've didn't have the time or energy to grind the welds back, so for now I just gave it a quick spray to cover it until I do get to it.
Then it was the Drivers rear floor section. This was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle, requiring lots of welding to piece the bits together. I wanted to get all of the sections joined and ready to be welded in, so that they could be epoxy primed before going in. First job was to fill the missing spot, which I was able to extract from the original floor piece that came out when the torque box was cut out.
I mocked it up and tacked it in situ, to ensure it was at the right angle, then it was taken out and fully seam welded and cleaned up.
This and a few other parts were then epoxied ready for fitting.
The patches were then welded into place, cleaned and primed. Photos don't show it, but I also welded the inner rocker into the floor edge too.
Next up was going to be the outer rocker panel, but when checking over fitment, I remembered that the lower fender mount point was rusted out and needed fixing.
Not sure what the hole on the left of the pic is for, but I made use of it to help line up the patch so that the threaded hole was in the same place. I started with a cardboard template which recorded the location of both holes. This was then transfered to the donor piece, and a suitable threaded block (taken from a scrap fender) was welded on.
A bolt was then threaded through this and into the one on the car, the open holes aligned, and then the car section marked for cuttting to match the patch. Then some careful cutting with the dremel and the rust is out.
The patch is then tacked in at one end, again using the open hole for alignment. The patch is then trimmed to match the size of the cut hole, tapped up into place and finally welded in properly and cleaned up flush.
With that done relatively quickly, I was able to start looking at the outer rocker. It has already been drilled and prepared for welding, but the car side hasn't. I put it into place with screws, jacked it up into place and started to mark the areas that need cleaning up.
Not sure what needs to be done in this area yet.
I may need to replace some of the metal, but I don't have any decent reference on how this should attach if it were a complete panel. Not sure if I'm missing anything, and what bits should be welded to the rocker. Guess I'll be doing some research...
bits should be welded to the rocker. Guess I'll be doing some research...
With some time off work I was finally able to put some reasonable hours into the car for the first time this year, and some good steps have now been made.
First off, and most important of all - I got a new piece of carpet! I picked it up for pennies at a village fete, it's wide enough to fully cover the gravel area to the side of the car and was long enough to cut in half and give two pieces about as long as the main body section. Happy days!
Any way, back to the serious stuff, after a bit of fettling at the front section, I was able to get the drivers side rocker panel 95% welded in. There's a couple of holes at the front door jamb where I need to get the door off before I can get to it, but the rest is done. I've still got to grind the welds back and primer over them, but that will wait for another day.
With that now in, I was able to focus on patching the inner wheelhouse panel. After mocking it up in place I could see that the floor/underseat panel needed extending along the lip.
A rough shape was cut and offered up, tweaked and then welded in place.
That, along with the edges of both panels were then cleaned up and zinc primed ready for welding. I used my butt weld clamps in anger for the first time, to ensure a nice even fit around the panel.
I tacked in between the clamps, then jumbed back and forth between them to extend the weld without warping (good practice for when I get to the Quarter panels). Clamps were then removed and the rest of the runs completed. With the panel join completed, I then filled in the spot welds along the lower perimeter.
I didn't completed the full panel front to back though. The front section needs to be welded from inside the car, and there was too much junk in the way, so that would be cleared later and welded another day. (still pending...) The rear section didn't quite fit where I'd cut (bad cutting) and will some metal removing from the car side, but there is also another section of the same panel that needs replacing, so I will do both of those at the same time.
As with the rocker panel, the welds haven't been cleaned up yet, and I will wait until the rest of the welding is done and do them all at the same time.
Before attacking the rearmost section of the inner wheel house, I wanted to know how much of the rear quarter I could safely remove and still be able to cover with the patch panel. Offering up the panel as it was didn't help as it was being blocked by the door's chrome trim. This was removed, after carefully extracting the weather seal first - It did split around one of the plastic clips, but I am hopeful it can be re-used. I do have spares if it can't.
With the chrome out of the way I tried again, but also, now the rear window glass was in the way. Having taken the glass out a few years ago, I knew this wasn't going to be a quick job, but it was necessary, so I got on with it. I'd already pulled the trim off, so the first task was to remove the filler panel. Getting the screws out was simple, but gettting the panel out whilst the trunk lid was still attached proved more tricky. I'd got myself in a bit of a mess, having moved the panel but not enough to get it out, but too far to be able to fully open/close the trunk. It took a fair bit of wiggling, but it did come out - note to self - remove the trunk lid next time.
With that out of the way, I discovered it was really easy to use a sharp knife along the lower edge from the outside. Using a narrow blade I was able to get it right around the corner too, being able to bend it slightly as the angle changed. That was half the job done with relative ease - it was now the more difficult upper section that had to be tackled from inside.
You may remember that the inside was still storing a lot of the interior pieces, including the seats. This was all pulled out and given a quick clean up, before being re-located to a freshly vacated area in the loft. With a relatively clear interior, I was able to clean it up a bit more, before climbing in to attack the window seal from the inside. It was a lot tougher along the top and needed a heavier duty blade, as the thin one was bending too much for my liking. Even so, it didn't take long at all. I was well chuffed at around 40 mins of cutting to get it fully out, about 10% of what it took last time!
With the glass now out of the way, I was able to get a real check done on the size of the replacement skin. I was pleased to find that it extended right up to and just past the trunk edge, confirming that I could take pretty much as much of the quarter out as I wanted.
Armed with this knowledge I cut out the section of quarter immediately around the section of inner wheelhouse that needed to be replaced. I need to but a bit more, but have already got a much better view of what needs to be cut out.
Time for another update, just to show I'm still here and working!
First up was the removal of the rusted section of the inner quarter. This was the first opportunity I'd had to use the air hammer with chisel attachment. (You can also see my nice new carpet, which has a deep pile and is kind on the knees )
All I can say is wow - I wish I had this when I started, it would have saved me hours of pounding away with a lump hammer. I need to get used to using a bit, as it can be a litte over agressive, but will make a big difference going forward. Anyway, it took just a few seconds to cut away 5 spot welds to the inner support and the piece was out.
With that piece out of the way, I noted that it gave me good access to re-do the repair done to the trunk floor, many years ago when I was still working out which end of the welder to use. To say it was ugly and poor is an understatement, and needed to be taken out. I didn't get a 'before' picture, but here it is cut and primed ready to go.
When it was a case of weld it in, clean it up and apply some epoxy.
Before applying the epoxy, I took the chance to clean up the last lot of welding (to the inner wheel house) and some of the trunk support and frame rail and make good use of that batch of epoxy.
The final part of this installment was the insertion of the new part to replace what was cut out at the top of this post.
I carefully aligned it at the lower edge, where the arch is, to ensure the contour remained smooth across the pieces. A couple of butt weld clamps held it in place, and once tacked in, I was able to massage the upper parts to get them to line up as I needed.
When the seam was done, I was then able to clamp the piece onto the inner support and refill the spot welds.
I've ground down the welds on the lower part of the arch, as these will be visible behind the wheel. The upper parts will be behind the outer wheelhouse, so I'm not going to worry about cleaning those up. There is a section of welding that will be visible from inside the trunk, so I plan to clamber in there sometime to clean it up. I'll need to do that before I apply any epoxy, so for now have just sprayed some cheap paint over it to protect the metal until I'm ready to sand it back of, clean it all up and epoxy both sides.
Before I do that, I plan to fix the trunk floor (where I'd cut some away to allow access to the frame rail) and make it whole again, so that it's secure enough to work inside when working on the arch.
The weather has well and trully turned now, and is a lot colder and frequently wet at the times when I'm available. Work rate will have to slow, but I do want to keep plugging away at it.
Having spent the 2016/17 winter playing with manual tire changing tools I got for Christmas, I've finally started back on the Camaro for the first time this year.
Yesterday lunchtime was spent removing the driver's trunk drop off. Armed with the air hammer (my new favourite tool), I was able to rip through the seams quite quickly. There were a few rips to the trunk lip, but that wasn't too bad as it was clear that there was some excessive rust along here too, so I will be looking to patch most if not all of it.
This may make the job of welding the new drop off in a bit easier, as I'm now looking at the possibility of welding the trunk pan patch the drop-off before it's welded into the car, then tying it onto the frame rail and the surviving trunk edge. Time will tell if that works as well as I imagine.
Sorry for the lack of pictures, I ran out of time, but will snap a couple when I get back to work next time.
I tried to mock fit the drop off, and it looks like there will be some massaging required with the outer wheelhouse, which hasn't been welded in yet.
I (almost) finished off welding in the rear most part of the inner wheel house. Here you can see I've welded it up along the seam and the spot welds on the edge. I've started grinding back the seam, but there's a thin spot where I've gone through and need to re-do. I sprayed on some basic primer to give it a bit of protection over the winter, and will strip it back before putting the epoxy primer on.
Here's the void left just after the trunk drop off has been chopped out. It doesn't really show the rough edge very well, but I'm currently planning to make a patch that will fit the whole area between the green lines.