Friday, February 28, 2014

Rocker and Frame Rail, Oh My!

So in this latest installment, we go through the removal of the last bit of the inner side rocker, fixing some more rust cancer and removing that poor excuse for a frame rail.  How that thing ever managed to hold the car up is beyond me.

So first things first.  I separated the last piece of the inner side rocker from the rest of the car.  It was little more challenging than the rest of the piece due to it being sandwiched between the rocker and the torque box.  After some awkward positions and various tools, I had it removed.

I then started stripping back the paint from the myriad holes that were in the rocker from the molding and several rivets.  During this process I found another cancerous area at the back of the rocker.  I cut it out and fixed it the same way that I did with the ones up front.  While I had the welder out I then proceeded to fill in all those pesky holes.  I don't plan on putting the molding back on the car, so I really don't need them.

After that was complete, I stripped away the rest of the paint and proceeded to clean it up.  I then applied a coat of Zero Rust.  It definitely looks much better now.

Next on the list was getting that frame rail out of the car as I have a new one on the way.  It should be here next week.  So I dug into it, wire wheeled all the paint, bondo, seam sealer, rust, and dirt away from the spot welds.  After much drilling, cutting, prying, twisting, hammering and cussing, I finally found all the little areas where it was hanging on and removed it permanently from the car.  On an aside, I finally picked up a Blair Premium Spot Weld Cutter.  This thing cuts like a dream.  If I had been using one of the Harbor Freight ones still, I think I would have already destroyed it.  With any luck this will last me through the rest of the car.  It seems very durable and has taken quite a bit of abuse already.

After looking at the sorry state of the rail, and demolishing another rodent home inside of it, I did a test fit of the new inner side rocker.  It seems to fit almost perfectly, and I shouldn't have to do very much if anything before I weld it in.

Last bit of the inner side rocker removed!

Uh oh, found some more cancer.


Pesky little holes.

Holes are now gone.


Back half.

Boy does that look good.

I think I found them all...but there were some hidden under the floor pan.

Ugly rust at the back.

Eviction notice.  This one was in the shock mount under the transition pan.

It's out!  You can just see the other home in the front of the rail.  Pretty much rotted out that front piece of the rail.  If it wasn't for that, I might have been able to save the torque box.  Problem is, I can't buy just that piece of the rail.  The next problem is that I need the middle section and back section replaced.  Makes more sense to just do the whole thing instead of trying to mess with it.

Cracked almost clean through right at the top of the arch.

I knew this was going to be bad.  Doctor, what's the verdict?  I am afraid the cancer has spread to far.  Our only choice is to amputate.  

It fit really well out of the box.  This should be a piece of cake to install.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Working on the rocker

I know it has been a while since my last post.  I have been working on the car when the weather is agreeable, and my time coincides.  Unfortunately it usually only translates to a couple of hours at a time.

So if I remember right, I was last working on the frame rail.  Next on the list was to get working on the rocker since it will need to be in better shape before I think about installing a torque box and floor pans.  I decided the best thing to do would be to remove the entire inner side and replace it.  With that out of the way it would make it easier to deal with the problems that I know was there and some I was sure to find.

I cut all the welds and took it back to the rear torque box and trimmed it there for the time being.  I will finish pulling it off and install the new piece after I remove the rear frame rail.  That's right, the other rail needs to go and be replaced.  It has actually broken in half just under the transition pan, and it seems to have just as much rot as the driver's side.  At least I was able to save one out of four rails, right?

Anyway, I removed the front piece of the rocker due to rot, and made some patches for some small places in the rocker itself.  Next on the list will be to get the front piece welded in and treat the inner part of the rocker for rust before I think of closing it up.

I have a few pics as this was over several weeks.  Definitely did not have enough time on the car for my liking.

Pulling it apart.  Yep that was the home to some four legged vermin.
Looks like he was bunking with a friend, this was just a little farther down.

Metal taken off and the homes demolished.

Removal of the front piece.  Ended up being easier to take it out in pieces.

Cowl side panel seems to be in pretty good shape.

Found some extra vent holes from rust.  Cut this out and fabbed up a patch.

View from the inside.

Tacked in place.  I actually just got the basic curve shape into the piece, welded the bottom to the car, and then slowly tacked it up the sides as I formed the patch into position.

After I ground it down, some more holes made themselves visible.

Cut them out and fixed it the same way.


More rot cut away.  I rebuilt this in two pieces.  In order to keep the flange straight, I clamped a piece of flat stock along the flange and clamped the patch to that.

Finished.  There is supposed to be notch there, I will cut it out later.

Fitting the front piece.  Ran out of time to weld it in.  Don't know when I will get to it as it has been snowing all week.