Having started a new job, it was looking like I was going to get even less car time than ever, at least in the short term. As things have turned out I'm now at home far more than expected, so progress has picked up.
One job I wanted to do while the weather was OK was to primer the exposed parts of the rear corner. Epoxy supplies are running out, so it's important that I make it count.
As I mentioned in the last update, I was about to weld the upper panel to the tail panel. Luckily I didn't proceed too fast on this, as I remembered that I needed to weld the latch mount first, otherwise I'd not be able to access where I needed to weld that part on.
I'd already cut this off the donor panel, but in the however many months it's been since, I now can't find it. Thankfully I still had the original one from my car, so I quickly took some measurements to help with re-fitting and proceeded to cut it out.
I used the latch and lock to help align the mount and welded along the top and then the lower tabs.
Having thought things through a bit, I've figured it might be easier to apply the body color top coat to the inner side of the panel before it's welded in place, as I don't think it will be easy to spray it from inside the trunk. With that in mind I figure I need to get all welding on this panel done now. Going back to the original panel, there are a series of four tabs that are used to hold the tail light wiring. These were carefully cut off, straightened and cleaned.
A little bit of prep and these were welded to the new panel.
Everything was now set for welding the top rail on. I started at the edges, getting them fixed in place, then worked my way across the top, making sure the pieces were properly clamped either side of each hole as I went.
3 weeks on and lots of updates. I'm enjoying being at home every day at the moment and the weather has been good. Still not getting long sessions on the car, but a lot more 45 minute ones that usual.
Following on from the last entry, I cleaned up all the welds on the tail panel, ready for some primer, along with a few other bits I'm working on at the moment.
Whilst waiting for those to dry I started on the corners of the quarters that would join the tail panel. Both sides were rough, with the drives side having been already patched (badly!)
Step 1, remove the bad bits, retaining as much of the original panel as possible.
A small piece of cardboard was used to mock up a template and this was transferred to a metal patch.
Same on the other side, although more needed cutting out this side.
Pathes were then tacked in, followed by fully welding.
Welds were cleaned up a bit and a coating applied to protect it for a while. These will need drilling and welding to the tail panel soon, so there's no point trying to make then perfect now.
With the tail and quarters ready, it was time to go back to the trunk floor and drop-off panel. These were clamped in place to make sure it all lined up.
Despite thinking I was being carefull when measuring and making the trunk patch, I got it wrong somewhere and had to bend/shape/cut it quite a bit more - you can see how much here:
When finally happy, they were removed from situ and welded together whilst taking care to make sure they stayed in the correct position to each other. Shortly followed by cleaning and painting the welds.
The joint panels were then fully prepped (drilling lots of holes!) and it was clamped back into place on the car. All the hole positions were marked on the underlying metal, so I could clean off the primer in those positions ready for welding.
I've started welding the patch in now. I started on the joint between the trunk drop-off and the inner quarter panel, as the positioning of this important for when I get to the main quarter panel. I'm steadily working my way inwards from there, working the panel down to fit the frame rail as I go.
I'm out of primer at the moment, so won't start on cleaning up the welds until I get some more. The weather has turned wet for a few days now, but the next step will be to pull the tail panel out of the way again, giving good access to clamp the rear of the trunk patch down and to weld the seam.
One good thing that has come out of the Covid lockdown is more time at home and more time working in the car!
Welding of the trunk floor patch went well.
After which I cleaned up some of the welds and added the trunk/tail panel support. It took a bit of hammering and clamping to get it laying flat again.
A bit more cleanup of welds and a coat of the new epoxy primer, which has added aluminium content, so looks more silvery.
With that done I was able to tidy up the outside edge of the trunk panel, where it folds up to meet the tail panel, and give that a good coat of epoxy too.
After what seems like an eternity, I'm finally ready to weld in the tail panel. Lots of careful lining up and lots of clamps and I'm ready to commit, starting from the middle and working out.
The most carefull lining up was saved for the corners where the tail panel meets the quarters and the trunk gutters. (not sure why this one looks pink)
Lots more spot welds along the back and it's in.
I've not bothered with a close up yet, but the bottom edge has been welded to the crossrail. Lots of tidying up to do there, but I'll do that when the car is on it's side.
The trunk gutters proved to be a bit tricky and took a few goes. Here they are mid way and completed.
You'll notice I've tidied up the tail to quarter welds yet. I'm planning to do that later, when I'm ready to spray the primer on, as this will be visible when done and I want a better finish than brushing.
With the gutters done I was able to refit the trunk latch, fiddle a bit with the alignment and for the first time in a long, long time, I was able to close the trunk properly. Not bothered with the lock section yet, but I do now need to use my special 'key' to open it now!
All the welds on the tail panel have now been cleaned up and a fresh coat of epoxy to finish. I'll be painting the exterior of the tail black later, but haven't decided whether to cover the whole panel, or have the lower section in the main body colour.
As an on-off side project, I've started cleaning up the lower A-arms. One side is cleaned up now, and there was a bit of epoxy left over, so it seemed a good place to use it.
Before welding the tail panel in I decided to paint the inner side in the final body colour, as I figured it would be easier to paint now rather than trying to paint it from inside the trunk.
Rather than breaking out the compressor and spray gun, I opted to go with a spray can as the panel won't be seen most of the time. To make full use of the cans, I decided to paint the inside of the new trunk lid.
The lid came with a spares car I bought years ago and although new, had been painted by the previous owner. This mean some extra prep was required to clean it up.
The lid hadn't been drilled for a spoiler, so I had to get that done before spraying any paint. I spent far too long measuring and checking before committing with the drill, but in the end only 1 hole needed adjustment, so it was probably worth it.
I'm sure I took some photos of the holes as I was working, but can't find them now. I'll add them later if I find them.
With the prep done, an afternoon was spent erecting a makeshift spray tent and then applying some base coat and 2K clear. Not 100% success, but I was more than happy with the result and it was a good learning exercise.
The trunk lid has now been wrapped up and carefully stored away, waiting for when I'm ready to prepare/paint the exterior.
The inner side if the tail panel did suffer from a bit of paint burn when it was welded in, but it will be easier to touch these up later than painting the whole panel, so overall a success.
Next step - Quarter panel patches. Part of the job I've been desperate to get to, as it will start making the car look whole again, but also the job I am fearing the most. So far almost all of my welding has been in areas that are hidden or rarely seen. This will now be the real test to see if I've learnt enough so far to do a good, undetectable job (from the outside at least).