You've no doubt seen our announcement about our next project car-The Big Challenge. Well, we're officially underway with the monumental undertaking of sheetmetal replacement. After the car returned from Blast Off media blasting, we came to the conclusion that all the sheetmetal will need replaced, rebuilt, or rebent, except the roof and three of the four framerails. It's going to be a lot of work, but we don't want you guys reading this to be intimidated about taking on such a large task. If you think about every move before you move, you can get quality results when you do this at home.
We first began by replacing the main floorpan section. this single piece of sheetmetal runs from the firewall to the rear seat foot well area and is the largest piece of body support on the car, except for the roof, which we ain't touchin'. If you remember, the entire rear half of the car was rusty and needed replacement, so by making sure the floor section is properly attached to the framerails, the rocker panels, and the firewall, there will be some semblance of structural rigidity. with this much sheetmetal being removed, we have to brace and support the body in some way. in some of the photos, you'll see bracing welded into the door openings. there is also some bracing that you can't see at this time, but rest assured, bracing is needed.
After the one-piece floor section was replaced, we moved to the back of the car. Removing the rust was as easy as taking a reciprocating saw and cutting off the back half of the car just behind the Dutchman panel. Once all the remaining rust-I mean metal-was trimmed away, the trunk floor, along with the trunk extensions, drip gutters, tailpanel, and quarter-panels were then put in place.
So far, it's been a lot of work, but with the help of friends, we'll be burning the tires off this thing in no time.
The floor was basically a...
The floor was basically a few pieces of rusty metal and that's it. We first removed the main floor with a Blair Tools spot-weld cutter, a plasma cutter, and an air chisel.
With all the metal removed,...
With all the metal removed, we sandblasted the torsion bar crossmember, the front framerails, and the inner rocker areas, which actually turned out to be in decent shape. We then coated everything with KBS Coatings' RustSeal, which provides superior rust protection when coated directly over a minimally prepared surface. This proven three-step system includes: AquaKlean-a water-based cleaner/degreaser; RustBlast-a powerful water-based rust remover and zinc phosphate pre-primer and metal etch; and RustSeal-a one part, ready-to-use, high-solid content, rock-hard, paint-over-rust coating. RustSeal can be painted directly over rust to coat and seal the surface with a flexible, non-porous barrier to permanently seal out moisture and oxygen, which causes rust and corrosion.
We placed the new floorpan...
We placed the new floorpan in the body and positioned it as needed, and from underneath, painted the framerails and support brackets so we knew where to drill our holes for plug welding.