Monday 15 July 2013

Shiny, shiny metal!

I have to dedicate the next couple of weeks to some personal work, so my garage time is going to be severely restricted. So, I thought I would go for a 'quick win' and strip back the entire underside of the chassis before I slack off. This knotted angle grinder wire wheel was the best method that I found for taking off the thick underseal crust:

An interesting view of my workspace filled with a dense atmosphere of dust. I really like the shards of ethereal light hitting the pan! I decided to set-up a better system for dust extraction at this point as my satuarated mask could only take so much:

After a few hours of messy but fun (honestly) work I had everything stripped and thankfully it all appears to be rather solid:

However, I did come across some ugly welding on both sides of the transmission mount. Although this part of the car will never be seen I will probably clean this area up nonetheless - after all, I will always know that it is there!:  

The only area that is a little shabby is just at the front by the Napoleon's Hat. Nothing too major - just some pitting and a few pinholes: 

Looking fresh after a lick of metal primer:

Friday 12 July 2013

Bump n' Grind n' Prime

Nothing major to report this week, just been doing a lot of precision grinding to clean up the excess metal from around the bottom of the frame head. Those old seam welds certainly take some time to grind flat! I then wire wheeled the whole area back to bare metal using a combination of drill attachments. Here is the result of my careful labour:

A close-up of the front lip after grinding the welds down so that the steel is back to original thickness:

I grabbed an old spray can of metal primer off the shelf and gave it a liberal coat to prevent any surface rust creeping in whilst I strip and repair the rest of the chassis. I will eventually clean off this paint and replace with something more appropriate - It should do fine for now though:

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Bottom plate removal

Using a wire wheel attached to an angle grinder I cleaned off most of the dirt and surface rust from the frame head. This allowed me to see what I was really dealing with in terms of the metal work condition. Thankfully the frame head looked fairly solid despite being pitted in places. The same could not be said for the bottom plate which was in a sorry state. I agonised for a while as to whether I should try to patch it up or simply cut it out and replace with a repro panel. I choose to cut it out and replace as it was the more thorough option. The added advantage is that with it gone I will have better access to the front of the chassis tunnel. In the near future I intend to clean out all the accumulated rust flakes, dirt and grease from the inside the tunnel and then treat it with Waxoyl or similar to seal evering up. Anyway, I started by cutting around the spot welds:

I then switched to the angle grinder and ground down the seam welds along the front edge. It was quite a long process, but I was deliberately going slow to ensure that I did not damage any metal that I wanted to save:

For the smaller areas and tight corners I used a Dremmel, which I found to be surprising capable:

Here is the bottom plate starting to come free. Note the area at the top of the image that I separated by 'thinning' the metal of the unwanted bottom plate until it could easily be broken free:

So, after a few evenings of intensive cutting and grinding the bottom plate was off:

A comparison between the old panel and the repro one that will eventually be welded in:

I have heard other people mention that taking off the bottom plate is no easy task and they were certainly right! It takes a lot of persistence and at times I felt frustrated, but I resisted the urge to cut corners (both metaphorically and literally in this case!). I am feeling pretty good about the result as none of the metal that I am trying to save was damaged by the clumsy use of power tools. Slow and steady wins the race! 

Now I need to grind down the rough edges, clean everything up and straighten up those flanges....