Saturday, April 27, 2013

Rear end removal

   The last couple of weeks have not been great for working on the car.  Life, the yard, and other things have managed to steal time away from the mustang.  I did manage to accomplish a couple of things so here they are.

   I managed to grind down the welds, fix a few pinholes (there weren't very many fortunately), and paint the toe board against the elements.  It was a pretty straight forward job, not really much to say.  I also managed to get out the old 8 inch rear and leaf springs.  That ended up being quite the task.

   The leaf spring bolts were extremely rusted, and after all the usual methods of bolt removal (heat, penetrating spray, breaker bar, and lots of grunting/yelling), I had only managed to loosen two of those blasted bolts.  That just means it was time to break out the old cutting wheel, and remove them the quick and destructive way.  I cut through the back bolts first as they were the easy ones.  The front ones under the floor were not so easy.  With my 4 1/2 inch grinder I was only able to cut through one side of the driver's side bolt.  The clearance was just to tight to get in there with the cutting wheel.

  As I sat and pondered the problem, I thought, how about a sawzall?  Fortunately, my father-in-law had one I could borrow.  Unfortunately, after I had started in on trying to cut through the bolts, I found out just how fast one of those blades will dull on hardened grade 8 bolts.  I made it a quarter of the way through the bolt.  After pricing out blades at the hardware store, I determined that it would probably cost me 40-50 dollars in blades just to get the 2 bolts out.  There has to be a better option.

   As I started walking out of the store, wondering how I was going to get these bolts out, I passed the grinding discs.  The 7 inch discs caught my eye and I stopped and took a look at it.  Holy crap!  It has a 7/8 inch arbor!  I can fit it on my grinder if I take the guard off!  I will have to be very careful with this as it is very dangerous to do what I was pondering.  The thing that finally sold me on trying it was the cost.  A measly 4 dollars.  Well, here goes.

  Got home, got it on the grinder, put on gloves, and face shield and proceeded to slowly and cautiously grind away.  After a few minutes of doing my best to keep the speed to a manageable level, and all my fingers where they were, the first bolt was cut to pieces and the spring dropped out of the pocket.  After a little more time on the other side, that one was free as well.  Whew!  Hopefully I won't need to do anything like that again.

   Pulled it out and examined the transition pan with close scrutiny for pretty much the first time.  It doesn't look to bad, I can probably get away with some minor patches.  Not too worried about it as I plan on upgrading to a four link sometime in the future.  Assuming I have the money for the system.  I also have a 9 inch that I plan on installing in as well, so there goes the rusted and beat on 8 inch.

Ground down, and fixed some minor stuff.

Painted a nice uniform color.  I may fill in the e-brake hole.  I am pondering using a Lokar hand brake like Mr. Pruett used in his boss.

Here is that blasted hunk of rusted metal. 

Here is my solution.  I'm very glad that it worked. 

Empty wheel wells!  Yes, yes, that quarter is on the list of repairs.  It has had at least one really bad attempted repair already.

Doesn't look too bad under here, most of the factory undercoating is still there.  The holes for the shocks were a little hammered.  I may end up filling them in if they aren't needed.  Won't know until I decide on a four link kit.  You can see the great big hole that is in the frame rail behind the torque box.  I was able to poke holes in the frame as far up as the middle of the arch.  It is the big replacement this summer.  Should be fun.

Here it is pulled from the car.  It's a mess.  I wonder if I can sell it?

All this rust and grit fell out of the rail as I was pounding and working on the springs.  Yikes!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Toe board

I started this installation about two weeks ago.  I didn't have much time to work on it last week, so I just cleaned some stuff up and fixed some welds I wasn't happy with.  This week it ended up being rainy and wet on the first day, so I didn't get anything done.  The next day wasn't to bad, just kind of cloudy and a little cold.  So I put on a couple of extra shirts and dug right into the patch.

I started by marking off where I wanted to get started and cut out the area.  Most of it was already gone, I just wanted to get rid of all the holes left from the rivets the PO used to attach his bad repair.  With that out of the way, I got looking at it and decided that I wanted to square things up a bit.  I wanted to save the area under the steering column hole and the brake cable hole as they are not reproduced very well on the panel (or not at all).

After I had it a little more square, it was just a matter of trimming and fitting the patch until I was happy with how it looked.  Prepped all the surfaces, clamped it in place, pounded a few places with the body hammer to ensure tight fit, and warmed up the welder.  After a little while, and lots of moving around the panel trying to keep it relatively cool, it was welded in.  I think it turned out rather well.  Everything lines up pretty much where it should and it looks so much better than the hole that used to be there.

You can see that it isn't welded up near the top in the left side.  I left it that way on purpose as I need to replace that upper portion of the firewall.  Before I do that though, I have to pull off the cowl and fix that damage there.  While I am in the area, I will need to take care of the side cowl panel as well.  Things for the future as I don't have the panel to repair the cowl yet.  I will leave it alone for now and come back later.  The plan is to head back and get started on the drivers side wheel well and the rear frame rail.  I am really not looking forward to this part of the repairs as it looks like it is going to be a pain in the butt.  Oh well, it has to be done sometime I suppose.

My initial cuts.  I wanted to see where I really wanted to start the actual patch.

Rivet holes and some metal gone.  To many angles for me though, don't think I want to do that much trimming of the patch panel.

Taped off a little more for removal.

That's better.  Shouldn't be as hard to duplicate on the patch now.

Fitted and located all the holes for the rosette welds.  You can see some extra holes next to each other in the middle.  I have to admit I screwed up and wasn't paying attention before drilling them.  Measure twice and drill/weld once.  I pulled out my copper heat sink and filled them in before the final prep on the panel.  Hopefully I learned my lesson.  It may not be so easy to fix in the future.

Ground off all the paint in the spots where the welds are going.

Drilled, painted the backside with weld through primer, and waiting for it to dry.  The two smaller holes are where the clecos are going.  I used them to make sure everything lined up in the same spot as I took the panel on and off.  I'll drill them out using my spot weld cutter later.  I am finding the tool to be rather versatile that way.  In fact I drilled out all the holes with it.  I started with a 1/8 bit and used the spot weld cutter to just drill out the panel.  I found it goes much faster this way than trying to step it. 

Welded in!  I ran out time this week and will have to finish grinding it down next time.  After some paint it should look pretty good.  The butt welding went very easy on this panel.  Good penetration and it doesn't look like there will be a lot of pinholes if any.  I was pleased with how it turned out.