Thursday 6 September 2018

No Quarter

Close the door, put out the light. No, they won't be home tonight...

Ohh yes, the drivers side front quarter panel has now been removed! Here is a write up about how I undertook this procedure. Firstly, I need to give huge credit to Dan (aka 'Dodgerodder') over on the Samba forums, who's excellent approach to this particular task heavily influenced my own method. In fact, I literally 'carbon copied' what he did in some places. His thread can be viewed here and the panel removal begins on page 5.

To start I fabricated a jig that locates the position of the boltholes that house the petrol tank. This rigid brace helped to keep things in place whilst unpicking the panel, but I anticipate that it will be a valuable tool one I come to rebuild the front end (yes, you read that right. I am totally taking apart the front section of the car).

Built using 25mm angle iron and box section steel:

I added a couple of thick oversize nuts to act as spacers on the front bolts to prevent stress being added to the captive nuts once tightened as they do not sit in perfect horizontal alignment with the rear nuts:  

Bolted up and holding firm:

Next task was to make a seam picking tool to pry up the folded steel running up the gutter near the A-post. This was another one of Dodgerodder's ideas that I stole:

It is pretty easy to use, Simply pry up the lip of the gutter at the bottom a little until the tool slips in and then tap with a hammer all the way up the section: 

I did several passes apply a little outward pressure each time until the seam was fully open:

This gave me access to the rear vertical edge of the old quarter panel which was spot welded every 6 cm or so. I carefully ground these spot welds away using the Dremmel tool.

For the spot welds in the main panel I used a Sharpie to highlight there positions and then relied on my spot weld removal tool to drill out each one. This took a long time as there were an awful lot as you can tell from the pics below:

Eventually the panel came free. Patience really is key with this process: