Saturday 26 November 2016

Rear valance removal

To start proper repair work on my bumper hangers I needed to detach the rear valance/apron. To begin with I removed the (incorrect) patch panel that had been welded over the top of the original (same old story as before!):

I then removed the buckled engine tray on the passenger side (L/H):

Removing the rear valance basically involves locating and drilling out all the factory spot welds. There are quite a few down the side lips. Most need drilling, but a few had already broken off, having weakened from corrosion:

A few more spot welds inside the engine bay on the upper protruding taps and down the inner flange: 

I then needed to grind a couple of small solid welds on the top edge of the lip:

Same procedure on the other side as you would expect:

And away it comes:

The valance hasn't faired well. The left hand side of the outer skin is misshapen from the rear end shunt (although this doesn't really show in the photos, but it is very obvious in real life). Additionally, the inner reinforcement section has a lot of corrosion and rust holes. It would take a lot of work to get this section anywhere near good again:

I will keep hold of it for reference, but ultimately replace it with a high quality BBT reproduction.

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Salvaging an engine bay side tray

The time has come for me to start getting serious with the shell. I decided to set to work on the drivers (right) side rear of the car, just because I had the best assess to this section in its current orientation. First job was to get rid of the incorrect bumper hanger that had been welded straight over the original:

Presumably when the original bumper mount had rotted out to the point where it was ineffective this later model repair panel was just slapped over the top. I will never understand why garages never seem to cut out the old rusty area first; patching over the top just becomes a hot spot for further corrosion to form and spread with vigour! I guess it comes down to saving time and doing the minimum possible to keep the car on the road for the short-term. After all, the previous owners were most likely just using the car as a cheap daily driver with no concept that it will one day be regarded as a cherished classic and subsequently undergo a major restoration. I remind myself not to judge them too harshly for not future proofing and opting for low cost repairs. I now regard these typical slap-dash patches as the 'standard practice' which kept the car roadworthy in the past and thus saved it from the scrapyard. To me they are like old scars from a previous hardworking life and their ubiquity doesn't really vex me as much as it used to...

Anyway, I ground off the welds and peeled off the nasty panel:

Next task was to remove the engine side tray located on the inside edge of the above rear quarter:

Removal would obviously enable me to recondition this part easier, but also give me better access to eventually repair the bumper hanger section correctly.

It is worth mentioning that the side tray on the other (L/H) side is not worth saving as it is completely buckled from a rear end shunt (which the original owner explained was caused by a mini sliding on an icy road and crashing into the back of poor Gretch!). As you may have noticed from the previous post, I have got a Hooky replacement tray for that side, which is so accurate that it will be near impossible to know the difference once it is in situ.

I hit the outer area with the drill mounted wire brush to locate the position of the engine bay spot welds and marked them up with a permanent marker (kind of hard to see in the picture below, but they are marked in red):

Having centre punched each of the spots I used my dedicated spot cutting drill bit so that I did not damage the lip of the engine tray behind, which I was trying to keep intact.There were also a few spot welds that I drilled out at the bottom of the firewall from behind:

After switching to the Dremmel tool to cut a few little additional weld blobs that were holding it in place, I managed to remove the side tray without any drama:

Rusty R/H tray compared to the new Hooky L/H tray:

I cleaned off the flaky loose crud and then shot blast the entire thing:

Needs a few repairs and flanges straightening, but it seems solid enough to reuse:

Wednesday 16 November 2016

More Hooky's panels!

Some fresh new Hooky's panels have just landed on my doorstep, so it's time for me to really get going on the major shell repairs:

  • Engine Bay Side Tray
  • Rear Bumper Mount (LH)
  • Rear Bumper Mount (RH)

As I have no doubt mentioned before, the quality of Steve Hook's panels are outstanding! If only he made every body component that I will need to complete this resto...