Friday, December 19, 2014

I'm Back....and Cowl Removal

Well, it has certainly been a while since I have posted anything.  I think I can safely blame this one on work.  We have had a few people quit on us and it meant that I was asked to help fill the slack.  The result of this is that I have been working 50 to 60 hours a week for about 3 months.  That means that there has been no time for the mustang. :(  Fortunately that has now ended and I have managed to get back onto the car. :)

I had some birthday money and I decided that I would spend it on a portable car garage and an air compressor.  Happy Birthday to me!  What little free time I had, I used to erect the shelter and get the compressor set up.  I tried to be as thorough as possible and bolted everything down to the concrete to ensure it would survive through the worst weather.  I also picked up a small space heater that so far has made it very toasty inside my "garage."

I started by finishing up the stuff that I wasn't able to get to due to the lack of available time.  That meant getting in there and grinding down all the welds from the transition pan and floor work.  Accomplished that, fixed the pinholes that appeared and proceeded to prep the surfaces for paint.  Wiped down the areas and shot the paint.  Things should be pretty much done in those areas.

Next on the list was to get started on the cowl.  With the help of my new air hammer, I drilled out the spot welds and quickly separated the whole thing from the car.  The upper cowl wasn't as bad as it could be, but the lower cowl is a complete loss.  Certainly explains why I had to do all that sheet metal inside.

I do have a new cowl to install, the problem is that I have to do a whole lot of repairs to the flanges that it attaches to.  Also while I have the cowl off, I plan on removing the dash and fixing some rust problems on that, and replacing the drivers side lower cowl panel, and fixing some rust issues in the A pillars.

Here is my new "garage"

Finally got around to grinding down all those pesky spot welds.


More sheet metal riveted to the car in an attempt to repair it.  This actually went down far enough to cover the hood hinge bolt holes.  I wonder how he expected to get the hood to stay on?

Piece is removed.  Oh boy!  More rust!

Extension removed.  Cowl is pretty messed up in this corner.

Basically the same thing on the drivers side.

The new air hammer helped make this removal a whole lot faster than if I was still trying to use a hammer and chisel.  On this side it doesn't look too terribly bad.

This side is definitely worse, If I wanted to do the work, I could salvage this piece.  Feeling a little lazy though.  I picked up the whole assembly while it was on sale a few months back.

Well, there's your problem!

Both sides match!

All the rust that appeared as I was removing the upper cowl.  Yikes!

After vacuuming up all the crap.  I'm surprised it is still attached at all.

Overhead view of the mess.

The other side was barely hanging on.

Overhead view.

It's out! Firewall needs some serious help though.  Looks like I have quite a few patches to form.

Monday, September 8, 2014


This post is unfortunately not about the mustang.  In fact I have been so busy with work, and other things that have been going on, that I haven't touched it in a few weeks.  One of the worst things is that the transmission on my daily driver decided it was going to chew fourth gear into teeny tiny little bits.  This meant pulling the transmission from the parts car I have sitting around and swapping it into the driver.

This turned into almost a two week affair as I had to do it when I had time (working 70 hours a week at this point didn't help).  Since I couldn't pull the engine of my car without releasing all the freon illegally, I had to do it the longer and more aggravating way.  This involved the usual drive train removal, hoses, and various accessories in the way.  The real difficult part was that I found out that in order to drop the trans out of these 2000 Hyundais, you have to drop the sub-frame out of the way.  Now I had to unhook several suspension components and the power steering rack as well.  All to get about one more inch of needed clearance.  Putting it all back together didn't take nearly as long as the disassembly did.  I also had to track down a broken wire in the console that was causing the OD gear to intermittently not shift.  The good news is that the car runs great once again, and I managed to save some money doing it myself.  The bad news is that I got a little burned out on car projects for the moment.  Hopefully I can get back to the mustang soon.  I was planning on taking more pics than I did, but I was getting so covered in grease and not wanting to stop in the middle, that I only managed to take one.

This is the replacement transmission.  The engine from the parts car is seized.  I had swapped the engine about 2 years ago with help from a mechanic friend and his garage.  We had just swapped the whole thing to save time since the engine and trans were in working order.  This was the easy part since it was completely drained of fluids/gases and was just hanging in the car with only two of the mounts attached.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Transition pan

I have been meaning to write this for a while now as most of the work has been finished on this piece.  After I had the seat riser in, I moved onto the transition pan.  Originally, I thought I could save it and just patch the rusted areas.  Sadly it didn't work out that way.  If I had continued it would have ended up being composed of several dozen patches.  Better to just replace it and save myself the time and effort.

I had to cut it into two big pieces in order to get it out.  Other than that it really wasn't that hard to remove.  Fitting the new one ended up being more "fun".  I had to cut the spot welds on the cross-member as I could not figure out a way of installing it and the pan together without destroying both pieces.  I then cut the tunnel back in order to have space to slide and maneuver the pan into place.

First thing to do was to fit the cross-member as close to the original location as possible.  I had to grind back a couple of the tabs a little bit in order to get the best fit.  Once it was located, I squeezed it all together with the rail and tacked it in place.  Next I slid the pan in place and with the help of some prior measurements, and the holes where I cut the cross-member out, I was able to determine where it should be.  During this fitting process I did have to cut the tack welds on the cross-member and make some slight adjustments in order to get everything just right.

Once the fitting was done, I solidly welded in the cross-member, painted everything that would no longer be accessible with Zero-Rust and weld thru primer where needed.  I then did a final fit on the pan and welded it to the cross-member and the rails.  With that done, I worked on re-installing the trans tunnel.  Interestingly enough the tunnel and the pan dimensions in that area did not quite match.  The radius on the pan tunnel was a little bigger than the original tunnel.  Not a big deal, I just made a relief cut in the tunnel, filled it with some spare metal and made it all fit together.

Next on the list is the back part of the floor.  I fit the replacement panel, lined everything up and made a couple of relief cut here and there to make sure it fit perfectly.  I then trimmed it and welded it in.  Nothing to dramatic about the whole thing.  I still have to get all the welds ground down, and I still have the other side to patch, but this is looking pretty good.

Old cross-member out.

Leftovers of a rodent den in the cross-member.

Major portion of the pan cut out.

Just need to get that last bit of the pan separated from the car.

I saw this trick on tv and thought I would give it a try.  I welded a couple of tabs to the pieces, and used some clamps to try and draw them together.

It worked okay on one side, but not so much on the other.

I had to pull out the big pipe clamp and squeeze it together from both sides. (left)


Cross-member located and welded in.  You can see my measurements scrawled on the piece.  You can also see that I have the gas tank back in the car.  I used it and some bolts, to help insure that the back of the pan was exactly where it needed to be.

View from underneath.

Final fitting with clamps, clecos and screws.

Welded in.  You can just see where I had to split the tunnel in order to get it to fit.

Right side.

Left side.

Patch fitting.

Welding it in.  You can see how I would clamp/screw the pieces together.  I then would cut through both sides, and as I peeled the metal away, I would tack the sides together.  Made it very easy to keep it in place and to keep the gaps the proper distance apart.

All cuts complete and everything tacked together.

All welded in.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Seat Riser

After the floor was finished, it was just a matter of getting the seat riser welded in.  This is usually a pretty straight forward job.  Unfortunately for me, I had a small problem I didn't realize was there until I went to install it.  Apparently I was not paying as much attention to the floor install as I should have been.  It actually had a bit of a bow downward against the rocker right where the front of the riser is.  I didn't take any pictures of it, so I won't get into great detail.  I basically cut several of my welds (as in about 15) and proceeded to fix my error.  It really wasn't that far off and I could have reshaped the riser to fit, but I do feel that this was the better solution.  Now, let's get to the riser.

At this point it was a pretty simple process of matching the measurements of the drivers side, and some minor reshaping to fit the floor pan.  I proceeded to drill all my spot weld holes, and painted the underside with zero rust.  I then wire wheeled away the e-coat in the weld areas, and applied some weld thru primer.  After everything was dry, it was fitted, and clamped.  Once I was satisfied with the fit, I welded it into place.  After a little grinding, cleaning, and finally some painting, it is now what I can call finished.  Next up, I plan on replacing the transition pan.

Initial fitting.

Prepped, underside painted, and clamped/clecoed in place.

Welded and ground down.

The paint is still wet when I took the picture, that is why it looks blotchy.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Passenger toe board and floor

I have moved on to the toe board and the floor.  This post has been a couple of weeks in the making, I kinda didn't want to write anything until it was more or less finished.  Get everything in one go type thing.  Anyway, here it is.  After I had finished getting the torque box installed, it was time for the toe board.  Had some issues getting it in, but nothing that I couldn't figure out.  First thing to do was to cut it down and figure out how much was really needed.  Did a little trimming in the car, placed the toe board and made some rough cuts.  Slowly cut my way down until I had a patch for just the area I wanted to do.

I went to get it more permanently in place and noticed it wasn't lying flat to the torque box.  Turns out the rib on the right side was not exactly the same length as the one stamped in the torque box.  I made some relief cuts to the area and used my hammer to "massage" it into place.  Once I was happy with the fit, I drilled my holes for the welds and locked it into place.  After butt welding the seams, and fixing just a couple of those pesky pinholes, I welded up the relief cuts to finish sealing up the area on the torque box.  Not the prettiest grinding, but it will do.  I may revisit this later on.

With that done it was time to get the floor fit and in place.  After doing the driver side floor this one went in much easier.  First I trimmed off some of the crap that was the edges of the old floor, and then did a rough fit.  Little trimming of the floor itself for a closer fit, and then a little more trimming.  Drilled all my holes for the welds (seriously tedious, I'm thinking about finding a hole punch), and started spot welding it down around the rocker and the floor support.  Those are the areas that were pretty easy to see that it was where I wanted it.  I then pulled out the self tapping screws, clecos, and clamps.  

I basically went and screwed everything on the floor cross member down, while massaging it with my hammer.  I'm pretty sure that there isn't anybody doing these floors that hasn't had to resort to this method.  The radius on that part of the floor just isn't ideal.  After getting it flush to the cross member, I found a some buckling near the tunnel and had to cut it in order to get it to lay flat.  Next step was to screw/cleco the edge of the new floor to the edge of the tunnel in order to get a tight fit.  I then proceeded to cut through both pieces of metal to get a perfect gap for the butt welding.  Just trimmed a few inches at a time, peeled away the unwanted metal and then a few tacks here and there to hold it in place.  Wash, rinse, and repeat until I had done the entire edge from front to back.

I doubled checked the fit, and proceeded to jump around playing connect the dots on the edges, and filling in the spot welds everywhere else.  The result was a floor that went in much smoother and cleaner than the one I did on the driver's side.  Nothing like experience to make things easier.  I ran out of time, so I still need to grind it all down, but the floor is officially in.  No more Flintstones car for me!

Some judicious trimming.
Getting ready to weld it in.  If you look close on the right rib, you can see where I had to cut it in order to get it to fit in the similar area on the torque box.  It was just a little too long to settle down inside.

Welded in and ground down.

Definitely looks better after some paint.

Initial fitting of the floor.

Ugly mess has to go!

Bye, Bye!

Much better!

Don't need this part.


Working on the final fitting.

Got a few spot welds and a lot of screws.  You can see the buckling just at the tunnel.  Had to do a relief cut there.

Trimmed and tacked together.

Same thing, only at the back.

Played connect the dots.

Front all welded in.  Just need to get it ground down and cleaned up.