FEELING ALRIGHT

I was feeling alright but now I’m not feeling too good myself. I had this entire post written up and then somehow I managed to delete the whole thing. So this is my second attempt. At least I’m feeling alright about the mustang.

As we last saw it the quarter panel patch had been tack-welded in place. I’m happy to report that the welding is now complete.

Now before you look at those welds and say, “That doesn’t look like the nice welds they do on TV. Chip Foose’s welds look way better.” let’s remember a few things. First, this isn’t reality TV. This is reality, reality. Secondly, I don’t have a super expensive TIG welder, I just have a MIG. But the main reason the welds look so sloppy is because of the process. You can’t just start at one end and lay a nice continuous bead all the way down the seam. If you did the panel would be ruined due to warpage from the heat. So you have to weld one little spot, move to the middle and weld another spot, move to the end and then go back in between. It’s a long tedious process but it works and it does leave you with a messy weld. But that’s OK. It’ll get cleaned up with the grinder later.

The next step was to patch the massive hole in the center section of the trunk. I didn’t have a piece of sheet metal long enough to cover the whole thing so I did it in two pieces and then butt-welded them together. It wasn’t too difficult and it turned out fine.

Here is the center section welded into place.

This is the center section cleaned up and ready for epoxy primer. Can you tell what else is different in this picture?

The next task was to patch up a small hole in the  inner wheel well. It was a pretty simple fix.  I just cut a patch and welded it in place inside the wheel well.

I'll have to go back in after it's in primer and clean it up with some body filler.

Then there was the hole at the bottom of the wheel well that needed patching. This one was a little tricky due to the contours and the limited working space.

It’s the same process of making the cardboard templates and then cutting out and forming the metal to fit. The contour on this one was such that I needed to make the patch in two pieces. (Only the first is shown in the photos.

This is the view from inside the quarter panel.

This is the view from inside the wheel well where I would be working on it.

Here is the metal cut for the upper section of the patch.

This is the patch formed to fit inside the wheel well.

At this point the patch doesn’t have to fit perfectly. It just needs to fit well and be able to be clamped in place to get the welding started.

The patch is clamped in place and ready for welding to begin.

Once the patch was in place I started welding on the right and worked my way to the left. I was able to make adjustments with the body hammer as I went to get a great fit. The only difficult part was working in the confined space. The welds on the inside left had to be made blind as there wasn’t room for my head and helmet and welder in the wheel well. I had to set the gun in position and then back out of the wheel well and pull the trigger and weld by sound. It worked but of course my aim was off a few times so it’s a bit messy on that side.

This is the patch after completion and primer. I will have to go back and clean it up more before the entire wheel well is cleaned and then painted and undercoated.

It looks pretty good on the inside. I'll be going over all the seams with seam sealer to ensure everything is water tight.

With the trunk all patched up it was time to get it ready for a final coat of epoxy primer. After grinding all the welds, and sanding and cleaning all the surfaces it was ready for primer.

The first step was to take a brush and go over and into all the seams. There are a lot of patches with flanges and they all need to be primed as well as possible to prevent rust later. All the seams will also get filled with seam sealer before painting. I will do everything I can to see that this restoration lasts as long as possible.

Shooting the epoxy primer was pretty straight forward except for the part where I got it all over in the hair on the back of my head. (That stuff is tough to get out of hair.)

Don’t even ask how I did it. It just happens. Hey, it’s not as bad as being on fire.

Anyway, I got it all shot and it’s looking nice.

The remaining task for the weekend was to get the tail light panel welded in place. After a shower, a little rest, and  a Caroline Special hamburger I got back in the garage and went to work. An hour and half later and no accidents and the panel was on.

Here's the panel clamped and ready for welding.

It's starting to look like a car again.

The tail light panel is welded in place.

So there we have it folks. It’s lookin good and I’m feelin’ alright.

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