7/17/2005: More metalwork

Here’s the final result for that nose panel I was working on in the last entry. As you can see, the damaged area is pretty hard to see from a distance (you can see it if you zoom in though). I’m happy with the result.

However, what I haven’t photographed is the back of that panel. It’s pretty heavily rust-pitted, so it could be a little thin in places. I’m not positive yet whether or not I want to use it.

I’m actually reporting things a bit out of order. This area of the car was the first one I attempted to fix. I stopped working on it for a bit because I realized how extensive the damage really was.

As you can see in this photograph, there was a crease across the edge of the door and the quarter panel behind it, all the way to the wheel well. In fact, there was also a second crease a few inches above it that is hard to see in this photo.

I used a combination of tools, including a stud welder, hammers, dollies, and the shrinking disc on this area, trying to figure how how to use them. In fact I made many mistakes, including leaving quite a few marks on the metal that I will have to fill later. Still, for the most part, I was able to flatten out the overall surface, at least in the middle.

There’s still a pronounced low spot near the door edge in this photo, and one near the top, and the area near the wheel well (which you can’t really see) is very badly out of shape because I can’t get good access to the back of it.

This may help to visualize what’s going on here. The two yellow lines represent the original, obvious creases in the metal. The red areas indicate the low areas that were created as a side-effect, and which still remain at the time this photo was taken. You can see how the creases must have pulled these other areas inwards and stretched them out of shape.

After doing my best with the rest of the panel (it’s not perfect, but i think a very thin layer of filler will get it there), I finally decided to just bite the bullet and make a big hole in the car for that least damaged area. I couldn’t see any other way to avoid having more than 1/8” of filler in that area to get that sharp edge on the fender flare right. And while I have no objection at all to a think coat of modern filler on my car, a big glob of it would still be shoddy workmanship, and i don’t want it on my car.


So now I’ve crossed some sort of line in this project, I’ve cut a big hole in the car. Now let’s see if I can fill it back in :)

This is going to be a tricky patch to make and to weld in, but it should be a great learning exercise. Once I figure out a few things, I’ll document the process here.

I’m also working on a few other parts of the car at the moment, so I may jump around a bit as I figure out what to do in each case.