Wednesday 10 November 2021

Separating the wheel well

Although I would like to strip and paint more chassis related parts (namely the front beam), I need to accept that the UK weather is now less favourable - it has turned cold and wet, which doesn't make for the good painting conditions in the garage. I shall come back to that task when the northern hemisphere is pointing back towards the sun.

So, I have pivoted my attention to something different - the crusty wheel well that I previously removed from the car in one piece along with the adjoined petrol tank rails and washer recess panel:

I gently removed the paint from the area where a row of spot welds holds the pieces together along the seam:

Carefully drilling out the spots:

To do a neat job without distorting the flanges takes some time, but means less fettling and straightening down the line. I have found that a good approach is to drill a hole 70% the size of the spots to be removed. Then come in with the rotary multi tool with a small grinding/burr attachment and careful enlarge the holes to the exact profile of the spot welds. Also, working from one end to the other ensures that the spots come apart in sequence, which makes the separation easier. 

Eventually I had the old well wheel separated without any drama:

A reminder that even the most solid of cars is likely to have rust lurking in the untreated overlapping seams. Unfortunately it is inevitable unless the car has been kept in a vacuum since its date of manufacture:

I shall source a replacement panel for the wheel well section only. I will intend to clean up the rest and make an assessment. I am optimistic that only minor repairs will be required:

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