Sunday 25 March 2018

Front valance removal and clean up

I have been struggling on with that double smile bulkhead panel, but it has been fighting me every step of the way. So in the interest of my own sanity I have turned my attention to something else. The front valance will do just fine...

I had to cut away some patchwork crap on the drivers side to free the valance from the quarter panel:

Located and drilled out the spot welds on both edges:

Then I had to grind back the small welds at the top edges and also on the guide tube:

Following that I started drilling out the spot welds along the bottom edge inside the spare wheel well:

After a bit of faffing the valance came off without too much drama:

Wasn't sure if the valance was salvageable at this point as there were a few 'Oouch!' areas:

Figured that it couldn't hurt to have a go at straightening it out a bit. If it appears to be too far gone after clean up I could always get a new Autocraft valance, which is a very accurate reproduction indeed. Anyway, I started sand blasting a few areas, knocked out a few dents and carefully removed the crusty weather strip. As a test of my panel beating skills I had a go at reshaping the nasty bit of damage at the bottom of the 'finger' as seen above. Really took my time and progressive reversed the damage. I have to say that reading 'The Key to Metal Bumping' (by Frank T. Sargent) has equipped me with some good procedural strategies for tackling damaged areas like this. It is well worth a read, especially if, like me, you have no previous training in panel beating. I was pleased as punch with my result:

I then roughly got the bottom edge back into shape using cheapo repro panel I have laying around as a guide:

There are obviously some repairs that need to be made where the steel has rusted through in areas, but I am confident that I will be able to save this panel and proudly retain yet more original steel: