Neil Fletcher Racing

The story of EIJ 5885

My New Project Mexico - Year 2

 or go to Year 1 or Year 3

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Click on any of the images below for a larger photo.

This is my latest AVO car which I lovingly call my "New Project Mexico".

Year 2 starts off in November 2008, and first off is sorting a seat crossmember for the driver's floor. 
4th Nov 08 39.JPG (111882 bytes) This is a Seat Crossmember in the vice and Iím going to remove the broken bolt. Iíll not be using this crossmember but, as youíll see later I do need the little bracket than the bolt goes down into.
4th Nov 08 40.JPG (118447 bytes) First I drill a hole down into the bolt, I drill far enough so that I think Iíve cleared where the nut would be.
4th Nov 08 41.JPG (115963 bytes) Next I turn the crossmember over and grip the end of the bolt in the Vice Grips. Now I slowly start to screw the remnants of the bolt out Ė well in actual fact Iím really screwing it on in.
4th Nov 08 43.JPG (101157 bytes) Once I have the bolt out I ascertain what thread it is a then run a tap down into the nut to clean up the threads.
4th Nov 08 42.JPG (97812 bytes) And just to make sure everything is ship shape I screw a bolt down into it.
4th Nov 08 44.JPG (98957 bytes) Here is that crossmember, the red one in the foreground along with the one Iím going to replace it with. The replacement is actually a Mk2 item and there are a few minor differences.
4th Nov 08 46.JPG (114694 bytes) The main difference is the position and type of seat mounting brackets, the Mk2 ones are further apart and have only one bolt instead of the three bolts of the Mk1 type. You will notice that the holes for the Mk1 style bracket are still in position in the Mk2 one.
4th Nov 08 48.JPG (95380 bytes) Here you have a better view of the ďone boltĒ mk2 type as I start to grind out the spot welds ready for removal of the bracket.
4th Nov 08 49.JPG (127637 bytes) A little levering with an old screwdriver soon sees the bracket on its way out, I donít want to damage the crossmember any more than is necessary.
4th Nov 08 51.JPG (69425 bytes) Sometimes the easiest way to tell where a spot weld is situated is to run the Angle Grinder lightly across the area and the spot weld shows up as a slightly lower spot.
4th Nov 08 52.JPG (106786 bytes) A little work soon has the original Mk1 brackets removed and here you can see the differences in both the Mk1 and Mk2 brackets.
4th Nov 08 53.JPG (104185 bytes) There were a couple of minor cracks to weld up in the replacement crossmember as well as the original holes for the Mk2 style brackets.
4th Nov 08 54.JPG (120795 bytes) Then it was a matter of smoothing off the welds, this is best done with a coarse Flap Wheel rather than the normal Grinding Wheel, for those than haven't see one, a Flap Wheel is just like lots of bits of sand paper stuck to a rigid backing wheel .
26th Nov 08 247.JPG (120185 bytes) Then it's just a matter of welding the Mk1 brackets into the mk2 crossmember and after grinding down the welds it's all ready to weld into the shell.
1st Jan 2009 026.JPG (97014 bytes) After doing all the changes and repairs it's now just a matter of spot welding it in place.
4th Nov 08 73.JPG (69314 bytes) Moving to underneath the floor, another job which gets done at the same time is welding the seat strengtheners which are under the floor, these strengthen the area around where the rear of the front seat bolts to the floor. 
4th Nov 08 74.JPG (75655 bytes) Once again the welds are smoothed off with the Flap Wheel.
1st Nov 08 293.JPG (118169 bytes) Leaving the floor for a while I moved to the front of the car, the next job I did was to cut off the lower part of the Front Panel.
1st Nov 08 295.JPG (109677 bytes) This allowed me to get at the Under Rad Crossmember. It was in a really bad state and would need to be completely replaced.
1st Nov 08 298.JPG (107173 bytes) The bottom bit of both Radiator Supports was completely gone as well, luckily the rest of the Rad Supports were in good condition so I would just be patching in the lower bit where it joined to the Under rad Panel.
1st Nov 08 299.JPG (103104 bytes) The other other side is, if anything, in an even worse state.
26th Nov 08 239.JPG (115306 bytes) I started be cutting off the rot and cleaning up and straightening the remaining edge.
26th Nov 08 241.JPG (96175 bytes) Next up I cut and shaped a little piece which I welded to the bottom of the Radiator Support, I also offered up the Anti Rollbar Mount and marked where the hole needed to go to allow it to bolt to the Under Rad Panel.
26th Nov 08 244.JPG (100537 bytes) With both sides done it was then time to offer up the new Under Rad Panel and weld it in place.
26th Nov 08 279.JPG (62048 bytes) The one other thing that had to be done was weld the bottom of the centre Support back onto the Under Rad Panel.
26th Nov 08 248.JPG (81375 bytes) Then I took another go at the bottom edge of the Inner Wings. The area just behind where the Bumper Iron goes was in really bad shape, first the rot is cut out - at this stage I'm not too worried about the rot you can see in the chassis leg as the complete leg will be replaced later.
26th Nov 08 250.JPG (60340 bytes) Next thing is to make a cardboard template roughly the same shape as the hole.
26th Nov 08 251.JPG (85849 bytes) Then transfer this to sheet metal, with a little gentle shaping, grinding and cutting of bolt holes I soon had a couple of patches which were a perfect fit.
26th Nov 08 259.JPG (87708 bytes) First they were tack welded in place.
26th Nov 08 262.JPG (86474 bytes) Then welded completely round three edges, the bottom edge would be spot welded to the Chassis Leg once it is replaced.
26th Nov 08 261.JPG (98254 bytes) And finally the welds were ground down until they were nearly smooth.
26th Nov 08 280.JPG (87441 bytes) From there I moved back up the inner wing to the strut towers, the welding of the Turret Sides etc at the Drivers side followed much the same pattern as the Passenger side which had been done a few months previously. 
26th Nov 08 282.JPG (83788 bytes) Once again the old bit of copper was used both as a heatsink and to try and stop the metal of the Inner Wing warping away from the Turret Side as I did the spot welds. 
26th Nov 08 281.JPG (77851 bytes) It was jammed in place by a couple of bits of wood and it was moved along for each separate spot weld.
December 2008 and I start to replace the middle and front chassis rails and repair various parts of the rear rails.
26th Nov 08 264.JPG (76026 bytes) With the front end looking a lot stronger and tidier it was time to move on to the Chassis Rails. Both centre and front rails would need to be replaced. I started by removing the skid at the Leaf Spring Hanger.
26th Nov 08 267.JPG (83161 bytes) The bit of the rear Chassis Rail just in front of the Spring Hanger was in a pretty bad state so I cut that section out completely.
26th Nov 08 265.JPG (99806 bytes) I used some 1.5mm sheet steel and started to make a complete new section to set in here. 
26th Nov 08 268.JPG (121893 bytes) I also needed to make sure it would fit inside the new Centre Section that I was going to fit and that they would mate up correctly.
26th Nov 08 269.JPG (125736 bytes) I also included a few extra strengthening pieces inside this section to add a bit of extra strength.
26th Nov 08 272.JPG (115993 bytes) The finished section is almost ready to weld in place.
26th Nov 08 283.JPG (65964 bytes) A series of holes is now drilled in the floor so that the new section can be spot welded in place.
26th Nov 08 275.JPG (97935 bytes) The shell is now turned right way up and the new section is held up into place while it is welded from above.
26th Nov 08 286.JPG (76716 bytes) Once it's welded it's given a coat of primer, as you can see the old Centre section has been completely removed and a series of holes has been drilled ready to weld the new section in place.
26th Nov 08 287.JPG (76869 bytes) And I do a couple of tack welds first just to hold it in place.
26th Nov 08 289.JPG (70840 bytes) To ensure that the chassis member was a tight fit to the floor I turned the shell the right way up and used a Hydraulic Jack to jack the chassis member tight up against the floor before welding all the rest of the spot welds from above. 
9th Dec 08 003.JPG (67210 bytes) That leaves just the welds where the two parts of the chassis overlap each other to be finished off.
9th Dec 08 004.JPG (107815 bytes) Next I moved rearward to the wheelhouse/tub area. A previous owner had done some fibreglassing here, he had taken a 6" nail and made a few extra holes to give the fibreglass a good grip. Of course the rust had just spread under the fibreglass, I really need to blast this area to see what is rot and what is just surface rust but I can still start with the Air Hacksaw and cut out the worst of it first.
9th Dec 08 005.JPG (78889 bytes) In the same area the bump Stop plate on the chassis leg would also need to be replaced as it was showing signs of serious rot.
9th Dec 08 012.JPG (87252 bytes) This bracket will need to be removed, I just know that the bit of the chassis leg hidden underneath won't be good. Once again a quick run with the grinder shows up the position of the spot welds.
9th Dec 08 015.JPG (99255 bytes) And that proves to be the case. Luckily it's just the outer leg which is bad, the inner one looks to be in reasonable condition. 
9th Dec 08 030.JPG (134628 bytes) Before cutting out the rusty bracket I had taken some cardboard and made a template of the bracket, I can now transfer the shape to a sheet of suitable 1.5mm steel and cut out a replacement. It is quite an intricate little shape with lots of folded-over edges. 
9th Dec 08 031.JPG (135728 bytes) After a little cutting and bending I soon have a reasonable shape starting to form. 
9th Dec 08 033.JPG (145529 bytes) A little extra time and effort is will worth it and it's not long before I have the bracket fully shaped, including all those little edge folds.
9th Dec 08 032.JPG (99140 bytes) And even if I do say so myself, it turns out to be a perfect fit - not that I'm ready to fit it yet, the chassis leg itself still needs to be repaired first.
9th Dec 08 006.JPG (99423 bytes) At the Spring Hanger itself there's a bit of light metal plate inside it which will need to be cut out and replaced. 
9th Dec 08 011.JPG (96739 bytes) Removing it completely reveals a couple of small holes where this inner bit was spot welded to the chassis leg itself.
19th Dec 08 002.JPG (84473 bytes) Using another Cornflake Packet, I soon have a template made for that inner bit of the Spring Hanger.
19th Dec 08 003.JPG (100970 bytes) I cut out the rough shape from some 1.2mm sheet steel, I'm going to leave the final rounding of corners etc until after I get a trial fit done.
19th Dec 08 007.JPG (129979 bytes) Compared to the bracket that I had to bend and shape for the Bump Stop this one is fairly straightforward to make with only a few simple bends in the vice.
19th Dec 08 008.JPG (91398 bytes) It's a tight fit but a couple of good taps with the hammer and it goes down into place.
19th Dec 08 009.JPG (108395 bytes) I didn't fit it at this stage as I still need to do a repair on the chassis leg itself as seen in the lower left of both this picture and the previous one.
9th Dec 08 007.JPG (83772 bytes) Never staying in one place too long I now move on back into the wheelhouse. Here I've cut out most of the rot round the front of the wheelhouse.
9th Dec 08 008.JPG (124404 bytes) Apart from the very outer edge which I'm cutting off most of the rest of the rust only looks like surface rust. Hopefully if I blast it and weld up the nail holes - as mentioned earlier, I'll not need to replace the whole Outer Wheelhouse.
9th Dec 08 009.JPG (102566 bytes) Unfortunately the back end of the Wheelhouse will also need a couple of patches set in to it.
9th Dec 08 019.JPG (96525 bytes) Here I'm cutting a shaping a bit of a patch for round the front edge of the Wheelhouse.
19th Dec 08 010.JPG (57814 bytes) Moving back to the front of the car for a while, I start to remove the N/S Front Chassis Leg.
19th Dec 08 011.JPG (49383 bytes) It's a matter of drilling out a whole row of spot welds along the top edge of the Chassis Rail where it's fixed to the Inner Wing. The ones along the bottom edge had already been removed when I patched the lower edge of the Inner Wing.
19th Dec 08 012.JPG (99420 bytes) Removal is then a matter of slowly prising the Chassis Rail away from the Inner Wing, there is still the odd small bit of weld to be ground off before it eventually comes away.
19th Dec 08 013.JPG (89591 bytes) Here you see some of those repairs I did to the bottom edge of the Inner Wing, all this will need cleaned and painted before I put the replacement Chassis Leg in place.
1st Jan 2009 062.JPG (119539 bytes) I had bought a pair of secondhand Chassis Legs for the front of the car. The N/S one only needed one small repair piece let into the front of it.
4th Feb 2009 001.JPG (103826 bytes) And with a little work it was soon ready to fit.
9th Dec 08 026.JPG (129077 bytes) On the other hand the O/S one was a different matter entirely. The rear end of it turns out to be in very bad shape indeed.
9th Dec 08 025.JPG (112577 bytes) At the rear end the Chassis Rail is made out of two separate halves, I start with some 1.5mm steel plate and replace the outer half/edge.
9th Dec 08 027.JPG (110201 bytes) With this piece replaced I can start to cut out the inner side and curved lower part of the leg.
9th Dec 08 029.JPG (122652 bytes) Then I start to cut and shape a piece for this half, it is a slightly more complicated shape.
22nd Dec 08 010.JPG (92729 bytes) And it needs to be cut and shaped up into an upward curve, then welded along the inside edge.
22nd Dec 08 008.JPG (96271 bytes) Before being welded along the outer edge, and then the excess weld is ground off to leave a nice curving shape.
22nd Dec 08 012.JPG (99332 bytes) After cutting off the old rusty bit the new part is offered up and tacked in place.
22nd Dec 08 014.JPG (89817 bytes) Once I'm happy that it is going to line up properly with the rest of the Chassis Rail I go ahead and weld the two bits together.
4th Feb 2009 002.JPG (138986 bytes) And here we have the finished item all ready to fit to the O/S of the car.
22nd Dec 08 015.JPG (79376 bytes) Back to fitting the N/S one to the shell and I start by putting a run of weld down where it overlaps the Centre Section.
22nd Dec 08 016.JPG (80293 bytes) With the back end tacked in place I can now start to weld the front end of it up in place. A few pairs of Vice Grips hold it all together.
22nd Dec 08 017.JPG (83112 bytes) There's a fair few holes along the Inner Wing to be spot welded up.
22nd Dec 08 018.JPG (93188 bytes) And from the Engine Bay side it's starting to look good again. 
22nd Dec 08 019.JPG (103618 bytes) The main thing is making sure that it's all a good tight fit against the Inner Wing.
1st Jan 2009 003.JPG (107194 bytes) This front Chassis Rail has been put in place with the car on axle stands, once it's well fixed and welded in place I can put the shell back on the spit and roll her over.
1st Jan 2009 001.JPG (93121 bytes) With her upside down I can now spot weld along the underside of the chassis rail where it mates up with the lip on the bottom of the Inner Wing.
1st Jan 2009 005.JPG (104639 bytes) Then it's just a matter of grinding off all the excess welds and the job is done and almost looks original.
January 2009 with the middle and front chassis rails on the passenger side just about finished I move the the drivers side which needs much the same work as well as doing some patching around the rear legs.
1st Jan 2009 006.JPG (70576 bytes) Next I moved back again to the O/S Chassis Leg and started by removing the strengthening plate at the Leaf Spring Hanger.
1st Jan 2009 008.JPG (91945 bytes) After grinding out all the spot welds removal is a fairly easy task.
1st Jan 2009 010.JPG (69345 bytes) While it looks rusty, the most of it is merely surface rust.
1st Jan 2009 028.JPG (82340 bytes) Unfortunately the same can't be said of the area where the Rear and Middle Leg overlap each other.
1st Jan 2009 027.JPG (105648 bytes) There's nothing for it but make up and weld in a new section just as I did at the other side of the car.
1st Jan 2009 031.JPG (72612 bytes) Before welding the new Middle Leg in place I need to add the strengthening plate around the Jack Hole - something which I neglected to do when fitting the nearside leg to the shell. The plate from the old leg isn't really worth removing and re-using as it's just to rusty and damaged.
1st Jan 2009 032.JPG (85489 bytes) But the plate from the previously removed N/S leg is just about useable. Unfortunately when I offer it up to the new repro leg a problem is clearly evident.
1st Jan 2009 033.JPG (75215 bytes) It is more obvious in this photo, the curled lower edge of the plate does normally sit a little below the level of the Chassis Leg, but not nearly as much as this. It turns out that the new repro Leg is actually a little bit shallower than the original one.
1st Jan 2009 030.JPG (97180 bytes) There's nothing for it but to make up my own plates to suit the repro legs, I use the old plate as a pattern.
1st Jan 2009 058.JPG (93435 bytes) Four spot welds, one in each corner and the plate is soon attached to the leg and once I have holes for Brake Pipe clips etc drilled the leg is ready to fit to the shell.
13th Jan 09 001.JPG (84360 bytes) This is the completed repair to the front part of the rear Chassis Rail where it overlaps, or should that be is overlapped by the centre section. You can also see the centre bit all drilled for spot welding and ready to fit.
13th Jan 09 004.JPG (68950 bytes) Next I offer up the centre section and make with pencil where it touches the floor, this gives me a rough idea of where to drill the floor panels for more spot welds.
13th Jan 09 009.JPG (84399 bytes) De-burring the edges of the spot weld holes with a Carbide Burr turning slowly in an Electric Drill, it's a little easier than the old method of using a larger drill bit turned by hand.
13th Jan 09 006.JPG (98865 bytes) One slight problem that I found when fitted both the centre sections of Chassis Rail was that they didn't quite meet up with the floor in the middle under the area of the seat crossmembers. 
The only thing that I could do was put some weights in the floor of the shell and then jack the Chassis rail hard up against the floor before welding.
13th Jan 09 019.JPG (99253 bytes) There's still the Driver's front rail to do but she's looking good underneath even if the centre sections had to be jacked up a little, it's certainly not noticeable in the finished product.
13th Jan 09 016.JPG (85249 bytes) Next I moved back along the chassis rail to where it goes over the axle. The area around the bump stop bracket needed some patchwork. A couple of patches of heavier steel are cut and shaped for the chassis rail.
13th Jan 09 017.JPG (94264 bytes) Also inside the car there was still a lot of work to be done to both the Inner Tub and Chassis rail area. I brushed some Etch Primer and then Zinc paint into the Chassis Rail, trouble is the etch Primer is like water and runs everywhere including down my arm. 
13th Jan 09 020.JPG (88501 bytes) I've now cut a patch to go right up under the crossmember here and started to tack it in place.
13th Jan 09 022.JPG (103359 bytes) It's soon welded in, including spot welded to the Chassis Rail and welded to the Inner Tub. Then grind down the welds with a flap wheel, I'm not being too particular as it'll all be hidden by the rear seat.
13th Jan 09 027.JPG (127153 bytes) Moving back under the car I also start to fit the skid to the leaf Spring Hanger. I found that these were so big/wide that they would almost go over the original skid and needed a really good squeeze in to get it to fit anything like properly. 
13th Jan 09 028.JPG (95009 bytes) A few spot welds down each side and then a few Mig runs round the back edges and it soon looks original again.
13th Jan 09 030.JPG (88166 bytes) This is the underside of that floor repair shown in the couple of photos above with the inside of the chassis rail once again painted.
13th Jan 09 029.JPG (99393 bytes) I then weld together and trial fit those two of pieces that I had cut a couple of days ago.
4th Feb 2009 003.JPG (100590 bytes) Once I'm happy with the fit I can then I start and weld them into position.
4th Feb 2009 006.JPG (90164 bytes) Now it's completely welded and the welds all fettled down with grinding and flap wheels.
4th Feb 2009 007.JPG (81775 bytes) Again I position that bump stop bracket I made a few weeks ago, just to check that it fits properly. I'm still not quite ready to weld it in position.
4th Feb 2009 008.JPG (98028 bytes) In the meantime I continue with the job of replacing the bottom inch or so of the inner tubs, just to make it a little easier I did this in section about 8 inches long. This made the pieces easier to shape for butt welding.
4th Feb 2009 009.JPG (89005 bytes) And here that section is welded in and all ready for grinding of the weld and final trimming down to shape.
4th Feb 2009 010.JPG (96011 bytes) This is the same area on the drivers side of the car and it is going to need similar repairs. The bump stop bracket wasn't quite as bad on this side but as I had already made a pair of replacements I am going ahead and removing the old one.
4th Feb 2009 012.JPG (105456 bytes) Once removed it does reveal a hole up into the boot area that will need to be repaired.
February 2009 I still have plenty of small repairs to do around the rear chassis legs but I also start onto the passenger door post.
4th Feb 2009 014.JPG (105767 bytes) At this stage I moved back to the area around the n/s door post. As you may remember from earlier photos the area of the bulkhead side was very bad where it met the A-post. The bottom 8 or 10 inches was very bad so I cut it out first.
4th Feb 2009 018.JPG (106547 bytes) First off I cut out the rot and than made a long repair piece to go from the side panel and mate up with the inner door post.
4th Feb 2009 019.JPG (109397 bytes) And a run of weld up the outside to the side panel.
4th Feb 2009 020.JPG (224548 bytes) And up the inside to the inner door post soon has the repair bit fixed in place.
4th Feb 2009 022.JPG (103565 bytes) As far as the top half was concerned I was going to leave well alone, but then I saw sense and decided to do the same repair job on it as well.
4th Feb 2009 090.JPG (184670 bytes)
3rd March 2009 046.JPG (86064 bytes) At this stage I moved back to that rear wheel arch again and continued to cut out the rusty inner edge section by section.
3rd March 2009 047.JPG (106177 bytes) Each time I would cut out a bit then using cardboard as a template I would cut a patch from metal.
3rd March 2009 049.JPG (109241 bytes) And then trim it away a little at a time until it was a perfect fit and ready for easy butt welding.
3rd March 2009 052.JPG (97458 bytes) There's still plenty of grinding to do until the welds are ground down almost flush - not that I'm really worried about the look of this area in behind the wheel but it's good practice for other more noticeable areas.
3rd March 2009 053.JPG (96317 bytes) Another little item that has proved very useful is these little clips which hold the patch in place and with the perfect gap for butt welding.
3rd March 2009 054.JPG (90377 bytes) Once you do a few short tack runs you can remove the clips.
3rd March 2009 055.JPG (103240 bytes) And then follow on with longer runs before grinding them down flush for a tidy job.
3rd March 2009 057.JPG (89982 bytes) Inside the boot there are also a few small areas which need some repair.
3rd March 2009 061.JPG (84172 bytes) Another patch gets cut and shaped but I'm not quite ready to weld it in place yet.
3rd March 2009 058.JPG (137981 bytes) Also inside the boot you can see there's still a fairly big hole at the rear of the wheel arch to fill up, meanwhile the screwdriver holds another patch in place.
3rd March 2009 059.JPG (104132 bytes) It's not going to be quite the same shape as original but at least it will all be nice new strong metal and that's the main thing.
3rd March 2009 060.JPG (110709 bytes) This lip is now almost complete but there's still plenty of other work to do in this area including replacing the complete outer lip which is rusted right through in places.
3rd March 2009 062.JPG (112999 bytes) On the other side of the car most of the same lip will need to be replaced.
March 2009 and I'm still doing lots of small work around the rear legs but towards the end of the month progress starts to get slower as other projects - mainly a new BDA engine and other repairs to the rally car start to take precedence.
3rd March 2009 063.JPG (92593 bytes) Meanwhile back at the drivers side rear chassis leg and another repair that needs to be done is this bit of the spring hanger. The skid plate had been removed a few weeks earlier.
3rd March 2009 064.JPG (98225 bytes) After cutting out the rot I shape a bit of thick steel plate and mark out where the hole needs to be cut in it.
3rd March 2009 067.JPG (120463 bytes) After cutting out the hole with a hole saw I use two sockets to shape the edges of the hole inwards.
3rd March 2009 068.JPG (96998 bytes) And here is it just set in place and ready for a couple of small tack welds.
3rd March 2009 069.JPG (102754 bytes) After tacking I place the replacement skid plate in place just to check that the two holes line up with each other.
3rd March 2009 072.JPG (99438 bytes) Once I'm happy with the positioning I can then go ahead and weld it completely up.
3rd March 2009 073.JPG (106311 bytes) And then it's just a matter of grinding all the welds down flush and that's another job all finished.
3rd March 2009 078.JPG (77291 bytes) While fitting the skid plate above to check that the holes lined up I also noticed that it was a rather poor fit. At the front end it was rather wider than the chassis rail that it was meant to fit over. To narrow it down I started and made a short cut with a cutting disc in the angle grinder.
3rd March 2009 084.JPG (132231 bytes) I then extended the cut to about half the length of the skid plate using a combination of the cutting disc and the air hacksaw.
3rd March 2009 087.JPG (105551 bytes) Then with it refitted and squeezed tight into place I tacked the end of it up.
3rd March 2009 088.JPG (139447 bytes) Then I was able to weld the full length of my cut.
3rd March 2009 089.JPG (129238 bytes) One other job to do was drilling a drain hole as per the original skid plate.
3rd March 2009 090.JPG (96091 bytes) Another little job that was missed earlier was fitting this little plate around the jack hole in the N/S centre chassis leg. At least when I was fitting the second leg to the car I remembered this little bit before fitting the leg in place.
3rd March 2009 075.JPG (83490 bytes) Another poorly fitted part was this tramp bar bracket, the little angle piece has already been removed because it was fairly rusty, but notice how big a gap there is between the bracket and the chassis leg.
3rd March 2009 077.JPG (73735 bytes) There's not much that I can do about the gap but at least I can make up a new angle piece that goes between bracket and chassis rail.
3rd March 2009 091.JPG (106981 bytes) As well as fitting that angle piece you can also see a repair that was needed further back on the outside edge of the chassis rail.
3rd March 2009 129.JPG (94767 bytes) It's funny how sometimes one small area can be very bad yet most of the metal around it is good. This is one small area of a rear wheelhouse, there is one 3 inch bit in the middle of the join between inner and outer wheelhouse which is completely rotten yet the rest is fine. First off is cutting all the rust from both layers.
3rd March 2009 130.JPG (108426 bytes) The top bit is part of both the outer wheelhouse and a structural member of the boot which goes right up to the parcel shelf, because of this it's hard to get the little grips in place that I usually hold repairs in place with while tack welding. In this case I tack an old piece of welding rod to the repair patch so that I can both position it and hold it while welding.
3rd March 2009 131.JPG (99645 bytes) Once welded I grind off the excess welds to get the repair as close as possible in shape to the original panel.
3rd March 2009 132.JPG (117803 bytes) Then with a fine burr in the die grinder I round off the radius between the wheelhouse and inner boot member.
3rd March 2009 133.JPG (124888 bytes) Another closer photo of the above work.
3rd March 2009 135.JPG (107741 bytes) And finally a shot from inside the boot. This repair now needs etch primed before covering it with the repair from the other half of the wheelhouse. I'll not be mixing up primer for this little repair so I move on to another area. 
3rd March 2009 147.JPG (111359 bytes) So I move on to the rear chassis leg, I must have missed taking any photos of the first part of the repair. Anyway all the rot has been cut out and one piece already welded in.
3rd March 2009 148.JPG (108980 bytes) For chassis repairs I use heavier gauge metal, between 1.6 and 2mm thick depending on just where is is. I'll use the heavier stuff around suspension mounts etc. Here the patch is already shaped and tacked in place, with the heavier gauge metal I leave a wider gap than usual to get good weld penetration - it means you don't need to be quite as fussy when shaping the repair piece.
3rd March 2009 150.JPG (97943 bytes) Then it's welded all the way round.
3rd March 2009 151.JPG (96573 bytes) I then take the angle grinder and use both grinding disc and flap wheel to finally shape the repair and give a good radius to match the original leg.
3rd March 2009 153.JPG (111989 bytes) And here you can see the various repairs to both the chassis leg and the inner edge of the wheelhouse - I'm not yet sure what I'll do about the outer edge of the wheelhouse where it meets the rear quarter.
3rd March 2009 092.JPG (113262 bytes) And here you can see a couple more small localised repairs that I've done previously.
3rd March 2009 154.JPG (67972 bytes) Moving on to the door posts, first the passenger side, I had previously decided that the rear part of the post was in very good condition so I'm only going to replace the front part. Here I offer up the front wing and mark it's rear edge on the post.
3rd March 2009 155.JPG (91765 bytes) First thing I did was weld in a couple of small bracing pieces from the inner hinge panel to the footwell side panel. This is to stop any possible movement as I cut away the front part of the door post.
3rd March 2009 156.JPG (111376 bytes) As above I do the same sort of thing at the bottom of the door post.
3rd March 2009 157.JPG (102480 bytes) Then I clean the cut metal back as close as I can to the blue marks that I had made earlier, this will mean the the final repair will be well hidden behind the rear edge of the front wing.
3rd March 2009 158.JPG (117358 bytes) Next I cut the repair panel to roughly the same profile as I've already cut the door post too. 
3rd March 2009 159.JPG (113456 bytes) At one stage I had wondered if it might have been a better idea to replace the whole post, it's a bit late to have second thoughts with the repair panel now completely cut in two.
3rd March 2009 160.JPG (163913 bytes) And then the bit I'm going to use is offered up to the post to get it finally trimmed into a profile that matches as closely as possible the remaining part of the post.
September 2009 and after a summer spent building BDAs and working at the rally car I finally get started back to this project.
14th Sept 2009 048.JPG (99937 bytes) The shell as she sits at the moment and I am ready to start fitting the driver's side front chassis leg which I repaired earlier.
24th Sept 2009 003.JPG (93933 bytes) First thing is to drill all the holes for the spot welds - the ones where the chassis legs overlap get elongated with a carbide burr in a die grinder.
24th Sept 2009 004.JPG (66027 bytes) With all the dozens of holes drilled it's time to offer the chassis leg up into place.
24th Sept 2009 006.JPG (65649 bytes) With the leg jacked up into place at the rear I start and fill some of the holes at the front end with spot welds.
24th Sept 2009 007.JPG (80314 bytes) And then I move on to welding up some of the rearmost holes.
24th Sept 2009 029.JPG (75941 bytes) Once started it doesn't take long to get all the spot welds done and I can then remount the shell on the spit for further work.
24th Sept 2009 015.JPG (95101 bytes) With the chassis leg in place I turn my attention back to the passenger side door post. Over the summer I had taken the shell round to my mum's and blasted and primed various areas, this was one of them.
24th Sept 2009 016.JPG (136356 bytes) If you remember from earlier I am only replacing the front part of the door post and here I have offered it up into place and started to weld across the top and bottom of it as well as a few tacks down the join.
24th Sept 2009 018.JPG (84219 bytes) Here I'm using a G-clamp and a piece of flat bar to keep the repair panel pressed tight to the hinge panel and lined up with the original part door post.
24th Sept 2009 019.JPG (94641 bytes) Then it's just a matter of putting down a number of short welds making sure to keep the two parts of the door post nicely lined up. You'll notice that I've left quite a gap between the two sides, I'm hoping that this will allow some weld penetration down into the hinge panel below.
24th Sept 2009 021.JPG (128424 bytes) Next I put longer runs of weld between these short spots to leave a complete weld.
24th Sept 2009 022.JPG (78272 bytes) And here I have started to grind off the excess weld to leave a nice flat surface for the front wing to mount to.
24th Sept 2009 023.JPG (124339 bytes) Now all I've left to do here is a run of spot welds into the row of holes that I've previously drilled down the front edge of the door post.
24th Sept 2009 031.JPG (77129 bytes) Another area which had already been prep'd and was then blasted and etch primer over the summer was the driver's side leaf spring hanger and it's associated strengthening plate.
24th Sept 2009 032.JPG (73172 bytes) With the already drilled plate clamped in place I run a cutting burr into each weld hole.
24th Sept 2009 033.JPG (77519 bytes) This has the effect of removing a little of the etch primer off the panel below. This will give the welding arc a quicker startup and better weld as it makes a "cold start" in each spot weld.
24th Sept 2009 034.JPG (60962 bytes) Then I start with these three welds - all these spot welds will later be ground down flush.
24th Sept 2009 036.JPG (70154 bytes) And then I continue on with the spot welds down each side of the strengthener and then do a few runs of weld round the rear edges to match as closely as possible the original weld patterns.
24th Sept 2009 037.JPG (62367 bytes) I had previously been setting short pieces into the inner wheelhouses, it had been easy job most of the way round the wheelhouse as there was only one skin but at the rear a number of panels meet where the bootfloor/wheelwell sweep down to meet the wheelhouse.
24th Sept 2009 038.JPG (81118 bytes) Rather than just doing a few spot welds which might leak any water throw up by the wheels I'm going to do continuous runs down here to join these two panels.
24th Sept 2009 040.JPG (62336 bytes) Years ago someone had decided to fibreglass the outer wheelhouses - even though they weren't than rusty. To give the fibreglass good key they had taken a six inch nail and made lots of little holes.
24th Sept 2009 043.JPG (58088 bytes) Thankfully the metal around these holes is reasonable sound so I'm able to fix them up with small puddles of weld.
24th Sept 2009 045.JPG (75399 bytes) Another little patch gets set into the bottom of the wheelwell.
October 2009 and it's time to replace the driver's side door post - it is bad.
1st Nov 2009 245.JPG (73838 bytes) But before doing that I set this repair piece into the area under the backseat on the driver's side.
1st Nov 2009 249.JPG (160323 bytes) This is really the front part of the bootfloor where it meets the main floor and is also spot welded to the chassis rail.
1st Nov 2009 250.JPG (132912 bytes) And now for the driver's door post, at first it doesn't look too bad in the photo but closer inspection will reveal that rust has got in between door post and the hinge panel.
1st Nov 2009 251.JPG (73877 bytes) At the top, both the door post and corner of the scuttle are completely eaten away.
1st Nov 2009 252.JPG (106876 bytes) Further down there are both holes and rust bulging out between the door post and the inner hinge panel.
1st Nov 2009 260.JPG (153229 bytes) First off I put in little bracing pieces as per the passenger door which had been done a few months ago.
1st Nov 2009 254.JPG (85015 bytes) Then I start to cut out all the rusty parts where the panels all meet at the front of the door post.
1st Nov 2009 256.JPG (81468 bytes) And I continue right down the full length of the door post.
1st Nov 2009 257.JPG (163821 bytes) Normally the inner door post and kick panel are two separate panels spot welded together but for simplicity I am going to patch and weld them together as one.
1st Nov 2009 258.JPG (99518 bytes) A closer look at the tack welds.
1st Nov 2009 259.JPG (150281 bytes) After tacking, all the tacks are joined together with continuous welds. 
1st Nov 2009 262.JPG (135447 bytes) Just to make the job a little easier I did the repair in two separate pieces.
1st Nov 2009 263.JPG (172303 bytes) With the inner post etc welded and strengthened I can now remove all the rusty remnants of the outer post. You can now clearly see those little bracing pieces which I welded in at the start of the job.
1st Nov 2009 264.JPG (97620 bytes) As you can now clearly see even the hinge panel is quite rusty. I intend to take the shell round to the farm and blast the hinge panel before deciding if it's feasible to repair it or if it will need replaced.
1st Nov 2009 265.JPG (69568 bytes) In the meantime I return to the bootfloor and weld in some repair pieces which I had made-up some months previously. I intend to get the complete rear end of the shell ready for blasting.
1st Nov 2009 267.JPG (73004 bytes) And at the rear of the wheelhouse another patch which had been made and shaped some months ago.  
1st Nov 2009 268.JPG (70835 bytes) Likewise up in the middle of the wheelhouse, this repair had been started some months ago.
1st Nov 2009 269.JPG (71618 bytes) And this little patch was the last piece of this particular bit of the jigsaw.
1st Nov 2009 270.JPG (109264 bytes) This is the rear corner of the bootfloor and petrol tank well. The rusty part has already been cut out.
1st Nov 2009 272.JPG (114097 bytes) And here is part off that bit that I had cut out.
1st Nov 2009 273.JPG (101607 bytes) The hardest part of making a repair piece like this is getting the shape of the double curvature just right. 
1st Nov 2009 276.JPG (95892 bytes) I'm going to make this repair in two separate pieces so I start off by cutting a piece of metal a bit bigger than required and use my old trusty 1/2 cwt weight and a dolly hammer to form the bends etc.
1st Nov 2009 274.JPG (77360 bytes) With patience time and effort I eventually get it formed to as close as possible to the original shape.
1st Nov 2009 275.JPG (80538 bytes) All it now needs is a little grinding round the edges and corners so that it will be a perfect fit into the hole.
1st Nov 2009 279.JPG (106768 bytes) Now I start to tack it in place, there's no room to use my little clips so I have a piece old welding wire tack to the patch so I can hold it in place. 
1st Nov 2009 282.JPG (117255 bytes) Then it's just a matter of welding up the join the whole way round.
1st Nov 2009 287.JPG (101850 bytes) Before grinding down the welds to almost flush with the surrounding area, eventually a very thin skim of filler will be used and once the bottom of the car is undersealed nothing will be visible at all.
1st Nov 2009 277.JPG (60669 bytes) While working in this area another little repair which needed doing was where the petrol pipe comes out through the floor, the damaged metal is cut out.
1st Nov 2009 278.JPG (49373 bytes) Then a simple repair piece is welded in place before marking it out for final shaping.
1st Nov 2009 286.JPG (94594 bytes) The same repair from inside the boot.

To see how it all started, go to Year 1 or go to Year 3 to see the next instalment.

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