Sunday, January 31, 2010

Two patches RH rear panel

I did not write last week because I was in the middle of upgrading my Fujitsu T1010 notebook. Now it is mostly working, except for a few little things. Like tonight I discovered I cannot import photos from my Nikon Coolpix 5400, the camera I use to take the pictures posted here. So I will make a quick note, and when I have the photos I will expand.

Last week was all about making the larger of the two patches for the RH rear. These are low, under the bumper line, which is why I had to remove the fuel tank.

I began by inspecting more closely the repairs exposed by the removal of all that bondo. This first sequence tries to convey how uneven the surface is.

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This patched needed a lot of shaping. To fit perfectly would require tricky compound curves. For this I don't need perfect, just a foundation upon to apply filler. I did spend some time trying to get it to fit nicely, but I wanted it welded in by the end of the day, so when it was as close as I could get it, in it went.

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Today began with the discovery that none of the welds higher up were strong, so I had to redo that part. Not a big deal.

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Next came cutting and shaping the smaller patch. This one also needed so compound curves but not as radical. I managed to get a closer fit. After welding and grinding I filled in the gaps with POR-15 Epoxy Putty. I also put a fiberglass patch on the small rust-through above the larger patch, using POR Patch.

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While the putty set up I went back to the LH side and sanded down the last batch of filler. That high spot under the tail light really causes a problem. I decided to let it show a little, but I did add back some of the filler I had ground off earlier. A compromise. If it takes too much filler I'll try hammering it down with a shrinking hammer.


With the putty mostly set up I continued to play with the TECHNIFILL filler on the RH side. Having discovered why it is so thick over there I know it will require several applications before that area is smoothed out.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Removed tank, found old damage

It took a great deal of will power to tear myself away from the Vikings - Cowboys game. Luckily my Tivo was there. Who could have predicted the final score after the Vikings' opening drive? Brett Favre is still amazing.

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I decided to tackle the gas tank removeal first thing, while I was fresh. Turned out to be an easy job ... the tank drops in from above and a PO hadn't bothered to bolt it down!


Before disconnecting the three wires to the fuel gage sending unit I made a note of their colors and position. Standing at the back of the car, looking straight down, the fuel line goes off at 3 o'clock. Just to the right is the brown wire. At 12 o'clock is the brown with yellow dots,and at 6 o'clock is brown with a black stripe. We drained out the two gallons still in it to use in the shop's tow truck. I want to treat the inside with POR-15 Fuel Tank Sealer, but I doubt anyone in Honolulu stocks it.

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With the tank out I spent a few minutes inspecting the area and found more evidence of what I already suspected, old collision damage. What surprised me this time was the poor quality of some of the work. My plan is to leave alone as much as I can, and re-do what obviously needs to be done. I need to get under the car and remove that fuel line before I can weld the crack.

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I finally got around to removing the white plastic wheel well covers. I also checked out the rubber drain plaugs along the floor ahead of the wheel well and tank area. They turned out to be dried and crumbly, not savable.

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The reason for removing the tank, beyond the fact that it needed to be, was to weld this area.

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Just a few minutes of grinding revealed a thick coat of bondo covering an old collision damaged area.

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I spent a good halk hour grinding away all the bondo. There is no reason for it to be so thick below the bumper.

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Look how thick it is, 1/8 places.

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I cut out the damaged areas, and cut two patches from my sheet metal stock. I finished with wire brush scrubbing with POR-15 Marine Clean followed by a coat of Metal Prep. Next week I'll shape and flange the patches, and hopefully weld them in.