Wednesday 8 March 2017

Removal of front bulkhead

Time to get the old unsightly bulkhead out:

Located and drilled out a ton of spot welds up the side of the front quarter panel:

The other side needed some angle grinder action at the bottom to remove an old repair patch that was in the way:

I was then able to get at the last few spot welds hidden behind:

I used a piece of sandpaper to lightly rub along the top edge, which made the spot welds easier to identify:

I used a small 3.5mm bit and drilled through both panels. My thinking was that this would help with realignment later using Cleco fasteners to line up the holes and pull the seams snugly together:

The ends of petrol tank support rails were brazed to the bulkhead and I ground these back using the Dremmel tool and used a flathead screwdriver to gently separate:

On the inside of the car (underneath the dash) I used the heatgun to soften up the old seam sealer. Once heated it all scrapped off very easily and the panel started to loosen:

Patience was key at this point. I took my time redrilling certain holes a fraction larger if it seemed to be holding things up and delicately kept on wiggling the panel. I didn't want to apply too much force or I would have risked bending either the bulkhead or lip of the top panel out of shape. Once loosened I found the panel needed tapping backwards (i.e: towards the inside of the car) and away from the tank support brackets. The top lip of the bulkhead tucks up behind them in an awkward fashion, but eventually it came free without drama:

Clearly the bulkhead panel is in need of substantial work to make it straight again, but to better assess the overall condition I decided to separated the two sections. Drilled another bunch of spot welds:

Hey presto:

I shot blasted a few key areas in my cabinet and found that a fair amount of both sections are still usable:

Therefore, I will attempted to repair using sections from a repro panel and if that doesn't work, or it looks substandard in any way, then I can always resort to plan B and source a genuine Mexi replacement bulkhead (which will work, but looks vastly different to my mid 60's panel).

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