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