Friday, May 17, 2013

Rear frame're outta here!

Had fun this week.  Had to practice my welding skills up on the roof repairing some holes that were in my swamp cooler water pan.  It was "fun" hauling the welder up and down the ladder.  Previous owners didn't seem to care to much about it.  Why can't people do their regular maintenance on things like that?  A little prevention prevents a lot of problems. One of those great rules about life and cars. And swamp coolers apparently.

Anyway, I spent the last couple of weeks doing this and that.  Also I worked on the car.  After taking every conceivable measurement that I could come up with using a plumb bob, level, tape, and the good old eyeball, I removed the rear driver's side frame rail from the car.  That's the short version.  The long version involves a lot of grinding, pounding, scraping, drilling, cussing, rust showers, and some blood here and there.

You'll see in the pictures just how far gone this rail really is.  I am surprised it hadn't just fallen off the car on its own.  Next step is to remove the shock mount so that I can properly get the new rail aligned and to fix the rust issues that were caused by this deterioration on the frame rail.  I will probably end up getting a new shock mount, but I think I can save the transition pan with just patches.  We'll see what happens as I would like to avoid the cost of a new one.

Locating the spot welds.

Cutting out the welds in the trunk floor.  Rust has certainly eaten this piece of metal.  Doing my best to hunt down and destroy this monster.

Had to remove this bracket to get at some welds.  Had to use the cutting wheel on my dremel due to the shape of the welds and the lack of accessibility.

Welds are cut on the front of the rail and the weight started this part of the frame to buckle.  Didn't take much as it is practically rusted away.

Stupid, rusty devil is out.

Look at the poor condition of the thing.

Yep, that's right, it's almost rusted all the way through at the back end.

Another shot of it.  I was wondering what that bracket was and had to look it up.  Apparently it is a factory tie down bracket used to ship the car out to the dealer.  The dealer was supposed to remove them and send them back to the factory before selling it to the consumer.  Not many dealers participated as it was a bit of a pain.  At 25 cents bounty per pair, labor to remove and return shipping costs, it was not very practical for most dealers.  A lot of cars will still have these.  I have both.  I will not be reinstalling them as the new rails don't have the holes for them, and they aren't necessary for anything but trailering the car.

Another look at that front piece of the frame.

Inside the shock mount.  It doesn't seem to bad here, but where it's welded to the pan, everything is pretty rusted and flaking.  The shock mount holes are also pretty tore up from some heavy use.

Rust that was hidden and caused by the rail.

Trunk pan is pretty much destroyed.  After I get the rail locked into place, this is one of the next things on the list.

New vs old comparison.

New vs old torque box.  As far as I was able to tell and measure, everything seems to match up really well.  I do think that before I put it in, it will get some of the welds cleaned up and better reinforced. and I might add some more support plates here and there.

Just a quick test fit.  Everything seems ok.  May need some massaging here and there.
Not tight, it's difficult getting it in there with the shock mount still in place.

Just loosely in place.  Doesn't line up well due to not being flush up near the shock mount.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Torque Box Gusset and Rear End Disassembly

  Not much time this week again, but I did what I could to keep moving the project along.  I started out the week by leveling the car as best I could.  It can be a little difficult finding actual flat places on these cars sometimes.  I ended up using the frame rails underneath to level the back as they "should" be the same distance from the floor.  At the front I used the radiator support and the rockers for the sides.

  After that was done, I was downstairs pulling out the new frame rail and I saw this triangular piece of metal lying in the pile of parts.  After a "what is that" moment I realized it was the torque box to frame rail gusset.  I had forgotton that it came with the torque box as 67 and earlier cars didn't have them installed.  Since I want as much support as possible for the car, as I am hopefully going to put an engine in it that gets 430 ft/lbs of torque, I decided to install it.

  Now the problem is that these cars didn't come with them and so they aren't in the assembly manual.  So where do I go to make sure I get it installed in the right place?  I just had to look up my fellow blogger's pages and I found Mr. Pruett's installation pretty easily.  My thanks to him for doing this and posting it.  It is a pretty easy install, but it was nice to have a visual of how it fits and where the welds are.

  After beating the living....I mean gently massaging it with my metal reworking tools, I got a flush fit, drilled the holes, stripped the e-coat, welded it in, ground it down, and painted it a lovely shade of black.  Every little bit of frame support helps, I suppose.

  The rear end disassembly was pretty straight forward except for a few pop rivets, and a bunch of rust.  After pulling out all the old wiring harness and deciding none of it was worth saving, I pulled the bumper, valance, and lights.  The fuel tank was already unbolted and there was no filler neck or cap.  Took a lot of pictures this week, so you can take the rustang tour with me.

Gusset fit, stripped, and drilled for welding.

Weld through primer applied at those places that will be completely inaccessible soon.

Clamped and checking final fitment.

Looks good here.

Welded and ground smooth.

Painted (top view).

Painted (bottom view).

Old wiring, get rid of it as it is a fire hazard.

This pile of rust is the old bumper.  Not worth saving.

Back end minus bumper.

Driver's side quarter and valance.  Look, more bondo, and....rivets?!  You can see part of the really horrible attempt at repairing this area of the car.

Valance removed.

Wow, look at the rust.  Good thing these parts are inexpensive.

Rusty floor and tail light panel, right side.

Rusty floor and tail light panel, left side.

Tail lights removed.