Thursday 19 July 2018

Converting the Klassic Fab firewall panel to RHD

With renewed vigor I have been cracking on with the adaptions to the replacement firewall panel. First of all I welded up the unneeded (on a '65) holes:

The central rounded pressing (shown above, that was formerly a hole) is the primary difference when compared to the original '65 panel, which resembles a protruding bulbous nose. I am not too fussed about this detail as trying to recreate it with my humble tools and limited knowledge would be an impossibility. Oh, and before you suggest it; no, unfortunately I cannot simply cut the original section out of the old and weld it into the new panel because the steel is a different thickness. Not to worry, I like how it now looks.

Next I had to consider how best to convert the panel to work for a RHD car. More specifically, the flanged hole that the steering column passes through needed moving over to the other side. My initial idea was to cut a hole and bend up a circular flange by hand. In fact, I had a brief practice at doing exactly that with some steel offcut of the same thickness. It didn't turn out all that badly considering it was all done quickly by hand tools:

However, I grew a little concerned that this would not be adequate as this section houses a rubber grommet which surrounds the steering column and keeps the elements out. If it was not perfectly round and smooth it could be susceptible to water ingress and then the inevitable arrival of rust! I shelved that idea and reverted to an approach that I felt more comfortable with; welding!

I removed the circular-flange-thingy off of the mexi bulkhead panel:

Trimmed it down to match the correct thickness of my original part:

Then drilled out a large hole in the KF panel:

and opened it up to the required size using the power file:

I think you can see where this is heading:

All tacked into place with alignment looking spot on, ready for the rest of the welding:

And here we have it:

After some careful grinding and finishing:

The backside had good penetration, but decided to grind as flat as I could so that the grommet would bed in correctly:

Test fit of the grommet confirmed that it was spot on:

Blanking of the left section was a lot more of a straight forward task. Here is the before:

The during:

And the after:

To finish up I had to drill a hole to the right of the steering column where a couple of wires pass through a grommet:

Took a bit of work, but I am pleased with the finished result:


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  2. You are certainly getting a lot of practice with metal-working! Nice!

    1. I enjoy working with my hands and really engage with the process. I think that helps the quality of the outcome massively because a good repair is simply the result of time and care.