Friday, March 29, 2013

Torque box part 2

     I wasn't able to get to it right away, but I did stick the fender and door on in order to check the gaps.  As the pictures show the gap at the back of the door is really tight, and up front it is a little wide.  If I had really spent some time adjusting everything I probably could have had everything lined up better.  I was really just looking for consistency and that the gaps were at least even on the sides and bottom.

Really tight back here, needs to go forward a bit.  I don't have it closed all the way.

Gap just looks bigger than it really is due to the angle.

See, it doesn't look to bad.

Lines are straight, looks good.
     I have now fitted the torque box several times while in the process of getting the rocker installed, so I am pretty sure that it is where it needs to be.  Quick check of the fitment, pull it off, and then scuff, clean and paint the back side with Zero Rust as it will be inaccessible for the duration of its life (I hope).  I also gave the inside of the box the same treatment.

Before paint.  Ugly!

Wet paint!

Scuff a little here, scuff a little there.

Cleaned and painted.  Looks good.  To bad it will never be seen again.

  I fit it, marked my holes, pulled it off, drilled them out, and reinstalled it.  Checked fitment one more time, clecoed and clamped it into its final resting place.  Now for those of you who are wondering, the box installs over the frame rail flange.  This is how the factory did it.  There is a great diagram in the assembly manual that shows this.  If you have an earlier car with out a torque box, and you're not replacing the toe board, you may want to do a one piece box as that would be easier.  That way you can slide it under the frame rail and just drill straight through the toe board for attachment.

Drilled and ready for hot, molten metal.

Clecoed tight!

I swear that the auto darkening helmet has improved my welds  significantly.  I can't believe I didn't get one to begin with.

   Ground down the welds, scuffed the whole thing up, cleaned it off with a white cloth and alcohol (that way I can see if I got all the crud) and proceeded to paint it with the Zero Rust.  I even did inside the frame rail at this point as I plan on doing the toe board next.  I felt good during this entire process.  I could feel the car stiffen up with this part of the metal work.

   I didn't have a whole lot of time left in the day for the car, but I did want to get the process on the toe board started.  This is just a rough fit to check everything out, I have a lot of trimming of old metal and new before final fitment.  I started by cutting off that annoying flange that is on all of these replacement pieces.  Why is it there?  The answer is simple.  These parts are meant to fit a range of years.  The early cars did not have torque boxes and so the flange was necessary to hold it to the rocker.  You can check this out by looking at a 67 car on the passenger side because they only had a torque box on the drivers side.  The earlier cars didn't even have that.  It wasn't until 68 that they became standard to have them on both sides.  If you again check the assembly manual, it shows the straight line cut of the toe board against the torque box flange.
It really feels good to be able to fill this ugly hole with metal.  I have been staring at it for way to long.

Goodbye unnecessary piece of metal.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Spring is finally here! Oh, and rocker install.

I had to remove some pictures as I submitted a replacement procedure for the rocker to CJ Pony Parts.  You can see them and my write up there. Complete Rocker Installation

  This has been a really good week for me.  I have had three full days of 50 and 60 degree weather with which to work on the car.  So out comes the tools, and back to work on the car.  Now for those of you who remember what it was I was working on, it was installing the new complete rocker assembly on the drivers side.  I had run into some fitment issues due to the fact that the replacement was a slightly different size than the original.

  The problem areas were the a-pillar where I had done a patch using the original rocker as a guide, and back on the b-pillar and quarter, where I also had done a patch.  After having three plus months to think about what needed to happen in order to get it to fit, I had come up with a solution.  It wasn't one I was really happy with due to the fact that it meant cutting out some of the work I had done and redoing it.  Problem was, I couldn't figure out a way of getting things to work properly without doing it that way.

  After pulling everything out and get the rocker fit up into the panels, I had confirmed that things needed to be redone.  Sigh.  So out comes the old whirling disk of metal destruction, and out comes part of the patch for the front a-pillar.  Suddenly that part of the rocker slid right into place.  All set there, now to head to the rear.  Now at the back, there are some tabs that stick out that were flush with the old rocker. they are on the inside of the b-pillar brace.  The original rocker was a little bit shorter than the reproduction piece.  The new piece had more metal in the area than the old one.  To solve that problem, I simply cut a couple of notches for the tabs to fit in.  Suddenly that bracing piece slid into place between the inner and outer pieces of the rocker right where it was on the original.

   Now onto the quarter fitment.  The problem with this was that I had welded in a new piece because the flange at the bottom had rusted away.  Somehow I had managed to weld it a little low towards the back end.  I had based my patch off of the piece I had cut out.  I didn't realize that the back side had been sloped down about 1/8 of an inch.  Every time I went to fit the rocker there was a gap at the front and it was flush at the back.  What was the solution?  Basically do a relief cut almost the whole way up the piece so that it would shift enough to get everything tight for the quarter/rocker gap.  Out comes the wheel again.  Cut is made, and everything now fits.  What is the lesson learned from this?  I should have replaced the rocker first, and then welded the patches in.  Hopefully I won't have to do this type of thing again.

  Now before I welded everything in, I grabbed the wire wheel and the wire brush and scrubbed out the areas that I wouldn't have access to again and then sprayed them with zero rust.  I fit everything and lined it up, donned my new auto darkening helmet from Harbor Freight (on sale, by the way), and started in on the welding.  Holy crap!  My welds magically improved, I wasn't blowing through as much, and I was welding a whole lot faster!  Why did I ever think that a regular helmet was ok, I will never know.  I will never go back to a using one of those things.  Little tip for anybody not already using an auto darkening helmet.  Go get one right now!  I still need to check the door alignment and grind down the welds, but it is in at last.

  My next post will hopefully cover the rest of the torque box, and getting the toe board in.  With any luck, my repairs will start to happen a lot faster as more of the structure is replaced with good metal.  On to the pictures!

Here you can see where I had to trim my patch back.  The welded metal  just wasn't flexible enough to reshape to the slightly different size of the new piece.  I'll have to put a new piece in.  There was also a little surface rust where I didn't get it properly protected before winter.  It came off easy enough with my wire wheel.

Getting it tight and flush.

The relief cut I had to make to get the rocker to line up all along the bottom of the flange. :(

Here is that cut again.  Notice how the gap is flush and tight.  All that gray is weld through primer.  I  ground down the e-coat and applied the primer.  I don't like to leave any untreated areas if I can help it.

You can just see the two little tabs that stick out on the brace that is slid in between the two pieces of the rocker.  I had to cut notches so that they would fit where they were supposed to be located.  I sandwiched it all together before pulling the weld trigger.  I love my high clamping force clecos.

Everything is fully welded in.  Time to get that brace out of there.