Since so much metal was removed, reference points are almost non-existent. I have to temporarily assemble everything prior to making anything permanent and this includes the fenders – I’ll need these in place so I’m sure panel alignment is completely correct. The problem is, the old fenders were good enough for alignment but too rotted to save so I ended up getting rid of them (we are cleaning up to get ready to sell our house).
I ordered two new fenders from Ausley’s Chevelle on Sunday and they arrived today – perfectly packaged with what appears to be no damage. They look and feel really solid. I’m very impressed so far. I’m waiting for the radiator support bushing set and front clip hardware kit to arrive before I can attach the fenders. I may end up doing some media blasting and priming while I wait.
I ground down the spot welds and they are ready for media blasting and primer. I’m going to wait for a few more things to add to the batch.
Since I’m so far behind, I’m trying to target 1 – 1 ½ hours after work to get caught up. Tonight’s focus was on the trunk hinges. I drilled out some spot welds to free the old rusted metal. The hinge mount on the driver’s side was in pretty good condition so I left it alone. Now I just need to grind down the spot welds, media blast and prime.
I took a 4 day weekend so I spent a good amount of time working on the car – even though it doesn’t look like it. I’ve been fighting panel alignment and it’s gotten pretty frustrating at times. I took a break to media blast, prime and paint my motor mounts and a few other pieces.
Panel alignment tips:
- If it don’t fit, FORCE IT! Well sorta. I was trying to use perfect measurements for each part. If it was 21” on one side, it must be 21” on the other. Nope. Cars from the 60’s had loose tolerances. I found that adjusting a panel slightly had no real impact on my measurements but had a huge impact on the way they actually fit together. Also, aftermarket panels aren’t the same. One quarter was slightly different from the other, even though I purchased them from the same supplier (one was stamped more crisply). In some cases, I had to use clamps to get the panels together.
- Screw it! If you’ve been following my journey, you’ll know that most of the metal was removed so, I no longer had any real references for replacing each panel. My plan was to assemble all the new metal with clamps and once I was happy, start adding sheet metal screws to hold things in place – I really didn’t want a bunch of screw holes to fix before I was able to align the panels. I found it was necessary to add some strategic screws because the clamps would either get in the way of other panels or clamps or they moved when I was banging on another area. This worked particularly well with the tail panel assembly – which, BTW, was a real tight fit.
- It’s ok to play with your food. If something isn’t lining up, move something else. It’s ok to try something new to see how the panels line up. Remember, 60’s era tolerances are loose. Don’t get too hung up wanting or expecting a panel to line up the way you expect it – just play with it.
- Patience grasshopper. You will need a lot of this if your car is in as bad shape as mine. If you start getting frustrated, move on to something else. However, sometimes, fighting past an issue can be a real source of accomplishment and inspiration. Just don’t let it “own” you.
- You can never have enough clamps. Especially if you have a lot of metal work to do. I purchased a bunch, then a bunch more, then a bunch more. And you can always sell them when you are done. Pick all different kinds. It really makes a difference.
My old welder just wasn’t cutting it so I got a new Hobart Handler 140. What a difference!
I finished welding up the new patch panel and smoothing out the welds. This was particularly challenging because it wraps the side and bottom and has a curve to it and I wanted one full piece. I had to put my limited metal working skills to the test. Overall, not perfect but good enough.
The package tray shelf I ordered a month or so ago arrived today. The bend is not as crisp as OEM and is off by a full ¼”. I’m not sure how much this will impact the install. Overall, the pieces look good.
Both shelves are out of the car and ready for the new ones to be installed.
Hinge assembly was fairly straight-forward and they went together fairly easily. That is, until I got to the knurled bushing on the lower hinge. There was quite a size difference: bushing: 12.44mm, hole: 10.70mm. I reached out to the company I got them from (InLine Tube and was told “yeah, that’s too big and no we don’t have a different size.”). A little disappointed with the lack of concern but I drilled out the holes a little larger and got all the hinges assembled.
Note: The detent roller will only go in one way. The holes are obviously different sizes.
I finished the hinges and springs. The springs took all of 5 minutes at the most; would have taken more than an hour any other way. I blasted trunk drop-off with the rest of my time. I plan to get back on the back seat floor next. I just want to make sure my head is clear when I do it.
The media blaster upgrade kit finally arrived and I got my vacuum system setup. What a difference the upgrades make! After using it now a couple of times, I think there are a couple more upgrades I should get; the door shield (media falls out every time I open the door).
So, less than an hour and I blasted all my door hinges. This is so much easier than sanding and/or using paint stripper. I need to prime and paint but since I have no idea what color the car is going to be, I’m not sure which color primer to use. I may just go with gray and black for now. I’m hesitant just to primer since sanding these later will be a PITA.
This is a Harbor Freight cabinet but with the following upgrades:
- New gun & hoses
- Vacuum system (Cyclone & regulator)
- Pressure regulator
- Foot pedal control
- Sealed cabinet
- Upgraded lighting
- Rolling base
- Quick-change bottom
I spent most of Saturday trimming and fitting the new floor. The corners where the floor meets the rocker seem to be a bit short so I did some trimming and stretching to get the best fit. I had to cut a relief in both corners and trim and flatten the sides. I’m not 100% happy but very close.
The biggest challenge is alignment. Since most of the car is being replaced from the back seat to the rear bumper, I don’t have much metal left for reference. Add to that, the fact that the repo floor isn’t perfect and varies from one side to the other, it can be very tricky and very important to get this right; I’m taking multiple measurements from different reference points to ensure this is done right.
Media Blaster Update – Heard back from Tacoma on my media blaster kit – they are further delayed by at least another week. I was really hoping to get this done soon.