December 2009

Finally, I have started to work on the outer body sheet metal pieces. This seems to be more difficult and require precise metal forming and shaping techniques on all visible surfaces.

Doors repair

Drivers and passengers doors bottom pieces were very rusty. Unfortunately there are no aftermarket doors available for 71-73 Mustangs. So the repair was the only choice. I made the repair of complete bottom of doors and complete replacement af outer sheet metal in apx. 5 inch height.

As a first step, I decided to repair the hinges. For 3 hinges I just used a new replacement pin and bushing kits and scrap the old ones. The drivers bottom hinge suffered for excessive wear and I need to have machined an oversized bronze bushing. The hinges are repaired and ready to mount onto the doors.
Before cutting any sheetmetal I made a template of the bottom door radius. I used a soft wood used for aircraft models . I put an 300 grit sandpaper over the door radius and sand the wood piece over and copy the original radius. The wood is very soft and easily sandable to make the contours quickly. I let my metal fabrication company to cut and bend lower piece of door in length of 135 cm from 1mm steel. I used a long table and bend the outer bottom patch to proper radius. I used a wood template created in previous step to check the progress continuously. Than I used a hammer , round dolly and big block of wood and trim the radius to proper shape.
Here is the fabricated door base patch according to rusted original. As a first metal work, I started to patch the front and rear door pieces. This is how it looks before.
The rear side was no better. I radically cut and remove rusty pieces.
...and form and shape the small pieces of steel. Weld it together and finally grind and smooth the welds. and paint with a cheap rattle can primer to protect for rust temporary.
I repaired rear piece in similar way. Next, I grind the bottom door flange and cut the old door base.
This is entire view of the doors after radical surgery of bottom part. I trimmed the bottom patch and using the method of cutting through old and new steel and tack welded it.
I decided to weld outer patch with the door mount to the car. Teh reason is to properly align the body lines gaps. I trimmed the door with the body to match approximately rocker to door gap 1/4 " and back door to B pillar for apx. 3/16". I cut the old part of outer cover and installed the new trimmed new one with proper gap. The gap varies as the rocker doesn't seems to be pretty straight even from manufacturing, si I need to make some compromise there.
I used a masking tape to mark the cutting line and cut through old and new metal. This method seems to be not a perfect one, as the doors line do not hold the straight shape and bend inside for abut 10-20 mm in the middle. I was advised to make a flange and put the old and new sheet metal over, however I do not know if this would even help for that door length.
So the next try. I search for another alternatives, how to do it. I cut the freshly tack welded piece and make the next one. I welded a strong steel profile to reinforce the door and keep it straight and repeat procedure with cutting. I also do not forget to make the flanges on the new steel.
I used a dolly and hammer and shape the missing flange at rear and front of replacement patch. I am posting also few pictures of passenger door repairs here as well. The same repair procedure was used.
and continuing with repair. ...

Fender aprons and radiator support

Front fender aprons were somehow damaged by somebody and drastically deformed.I do not know why somebody do it this way. Also the radiator support was rusty at bottom and deformed at top

First of all I made a complete measurement of the entire engine bays. The diagonal dimensions are extremely useful to be sure all shape will be welded in square.

First, I decided to cut rear aprons holding the hood hinges. I have to make small patches in the top of shock towers first.
The new rear aprons form Mustang unlimited. These one are Canadian made with no e-coat used. This seems to be made from thicker steel gauge, however the overall cutting is not so precise and I have to form it a little at the connection to firewall. I clamped the aprons and try to match with previously measured distance between L a R hinge nuts.
I tack welded the aprons just a little in the corners and trial fit the hood and fenders. I see the left hinge was too much turned inside. I removed the rear welds and using a big clap and heavy force bend the entire apron outside. Once decided it fits fine I fully welded the aprons with new set of plug welds.
There are small apron extension welded to rear aprons and cowl panel which were removed about a year ago before sandblasting. These are poorly designed and were pretty rusty. I have spend couple of hours to repair it. A few patches were needed.
And finishing the welds to be like a new. Now lets move to the front end. Removing of front aprons and radiator support was a way of minutes.
This is the old radiator support. Really there is no question of replacement especially if replacement panels are available for nice price. The front aprons were Taiwanese origin. However these look more precise molded but thinner steel. Here are all pieces clamped in place.
We spend couple of hours of matching the correct dimensions diagonally and horizontally. Again I tried to align fenders and hood before final welding for proper gaps. I tack welded just in few places to hold the shape and test the panel alignment.
This is with the hood and fenders installed temporary . Finally this looks like a car, right ? I am pretty satisfied how the panels are aligned.

So that's it for now and wait for next month articles releases.