Tuesday 29 March 2016

Quickie: Battery bracket & bolt

A while back I had the idea of reclaiming the old battery strap retaining bracket and securing bolt from the old scrapped pan half (drivers side). It has been discarded outside and thus exposed to the elements for some time, but the bracket and bolt were just about visible amongst the rust:

With the bracket cut from the pan I started blasting it clean. Promising start:

Drilled the spot welds out to free the piece I needed. Its not actually in bad condition:

Bottom of retaining bolt blasted revealing the original factory spot welds (faintly visible in this photo):

Blasted clean and those spot welds drilled out:

To be honest, I do not know why I am compelled to salvage these particular parts as the 12V battery that the car now has is too big for the original strap and bracket (which was designed to accommodate a 6V battery). However, I personally think its good that those original features have been considered and incorporated into the rebuild. It will ultimately help to retain some that original 60's stock character - even if the purpose is redundant. Further down the line I may try and create a new strap system to suit a 12V battery and that works with this stock bracket and resembles the look of the original. We will see.

With the exact placement worked out, I drilled a hole in the floorpan ready for locating the retaining bolt:

I plug welded it into place on the underside of the pan:

Ground the welds down for a smooth 'factory' finish:

I fixed the battery bracket into place using a triangular welding magnet. Also widened up the spot weld holes to 6mm, which I have found is the minimum width that I can get a decent plug weld from: 

Plugs added and good signs of penetration could be seen on the underside of the pan:

Finished up and given the customary lick of zinc primer:

All done and looking stock fresh:

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Quickie: brake pipe retaining tab

Thought I would throw out a bite-sized update in lieu of a more substantial post, as my garage time has been rather short of late...

As you may notice in the peripheral of the photos below (the last couple in particular), I have been laboriously cleaning up all the plug welds from around the edge of the pans recently. However, it is taking me quite a bit of time to do, so to break up the monotony I thought I would repair one of the little retaining tabs that fasten the brake pipe in place alongside the chassis tunnel. These were originally spot welded on and not really designed to withstand a lot of fatigue. So, it was no surprise that one of these pieces came off earlier on in the resto. Making a fresh one seemed to be the best way forward. I flattened the old original piece in a vice so I could take a few dimensions which I jotted down. I then cut a piece of fresh steel of the same thickness (old tab on the left, newly cut tab on the right):

Drilled an 8mm hole for plugging and bent up the bottom to allow for the brake pipe to slide underneath. This will eventually be bent back around the brake pipe once positioned. Gave it a lick of zinc primer:

To ensure a flush fit to the tunnel I gently curved the upper part of the piece by hand to match the contour of the tunnel. I then lined it up:

Finished off by plug welding into place, dressed the weld and coated with zinc primer (the usual process):

Friday 4 March 2016

Welding in the pan sections

I have been looking forward to this job for ages! This is the point where this abstract lump of metal starts to resemble a recognisable chassis again:

First task was to drill a couple of 10mm corresponding pedal bracket holes in the drivers side pan (the original holes appear to be 11mm, but I think the smaller hole looks neater). To get them in the right place I clamped the floor pan half into place and then sprayed a small amount of red primer through the tapped holes of the mount bracket. This gave me the markings I needed for my holes:

Next up I drilled out a series of holes spaced 25mm apart around the edges of the pans in preparation for plug welding. For the narrow areas (where the pan did closely follow the profile of the tunnel) I drilled 6mm holes and elsewhere I went with the standard 8mm:

Also added a few holes for plug welding the pan to the topside of the reinforcement plate, just as the original was attached: 

Then I cleaned up around the tunnel lip with the drill mounted wire brush and shot blast the small localised areas the drill could not reach. Once all traces of rust were eliminated I applied a liberal coat of zinc/weld-through primer.

On the passenger side pan I chiseled off the unneeded captive nut (which would have been used to mount the pedal adjuster on a later model LHD car) and then welded up the hole:

With the drivers side pan fitted up the best I could do, I began adding the plug welds. It was pretty slow going as I needed to scratch the primer out of each hole to be plugged with a scribing tool. Obviously the added benefit of taking time also ensures that heat doesn't build up to a point where things start to warp.

To ensure a tight fit I enlisted the help of a couple of friends (thanks Dangerman & Chimps) whenever I could grab either of them for an hour. They had the important task of standing on the inner lip edge of the pan ahead of where I was about to weld and would lean their weight on an inverted broom stick. This proved to be an effective way if getting a flush fit.

Drivers side pan in place:

Fortunately both of the pans pulled in tighter to the tunnel as I progressed, so the gap I was previously concerned about was less of an issue. In fact, it pulled so tight in places that I needed to rely on some hammer persuasion to keep things flat! 

Passenger side pan in:


Finally got it all mounted back on the rotisserie ready for clean-up and a few final touches: