I practiced some welding yesterday morning using 16 gauge sheet metal, which appears to be the same thickness as the replacement footwell panels. Some of the welds came out quite nice . . . others, well . . . they weren’t exactly confidence builders. My biggest concern, though, is burn through, where instead of joining the metal, it just melts away–trading one problem for another.
I had that happen a couple of times during practice, mostly because I worked the same spot too long. Going slow and moving around the perimeter as I work and all should be well. In any case, it’s time to stop practicing and start the metalwork. I expect to have it done by this time next week.
I also took some time to clean up the instrument cluster. On close examination, I found it was a fairly complex assembly, held together with tiny hex head screws and trimmed, in places, with black tape (to prevent light leaks). Inside, paint was flaking off, screws were missing and it was full of dirt.
The chrome on this piece was better than my original. Most of these have considerable pitting on the surface under the gauges, and this one was no exception. I don’t know why that is, but, fortunately, it’s in a fairly inconspicuous spot. The high-visibility items–the wide sweep of chrome under the light switch and the instrument pods themselves–cleaned up very nicely.