Ar-Gone

Another busy week with the car–it’s exciting to see it start coming together after so long in the works.

Barney Rubble brakes go here.
Barney Rubble brakes go here.

I pulled the inner fender on the passenger side sometime mid-week to get to the old antenna. (It had broken off sometime in the distant past and had a cheap slip on mast that didn’t, technically, work.) One nut holding the fender on was badly frozen and eventually just snapped off after a 20 minute struggle involving a torch, lock pliers and swearing.

Behind the fender, when it was finally off, was the usual 5 pounds of debris and dirt–always nice to get that stuff cleaned out. A new antenna went in easily; I can look forward to more than a single lousy radio station once I get on the road again.

It was also take 2 for the floor pans: I cut out the passenger side. With a little experience, this process is far easier–it probably took half the time of the first. I was much more aggressive in cutting, leaving very little to grind out. I also acquired a “seam buster” tool that helped to cleanly break the old pan from the brace underneath, and in a fraction of the time.

Almost done with the pan. Rot on the transmission hump extends up above the replacement pan. Rats.
Almost done with the pan. Rot on the transmission hump extends up above the replacement pan. Rats.

The windshield leak, ultimately the cause of this problem, was worse on this side, and I was dismayed to see that the rot had crept up the side of the transmission tunnel. The replacement pan I have doesn’t cover this area, so I was forced to fabricate a piece to fit. I got some good advice on the type of sheet metal to use and how to form it. The rotten section still has some integrity, so I was able to use it as a form and pound a replacement into shape.

Welding, like the cutting, was faster and easier this time around, too. I’m still not happy with the looks of the welds, but they appear stronger and better than my first efforts on the other side–done with less effort, too. As I was wrapping up the last seam, the welding arc got erratic (well, more so than usual!) and hard to control. Upon investigation, I discovered that the argon / CO2 welding gas had run out.

So, tools down, commence happy hour. I should be able to finish the pan and fix the transmission tunnel on Tuesday. Looking to get the dashboard installed next weekend.

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