Neil Fletcher Racing

The story of EIJ 5885

My New Project Mexico - Year 3 & 4

 or go to Year 1 or Year 2

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Year 3 and 4 have now been lumped together because there was so little work done over this period. Year 3 starts off in November 2009, and I'm still doing small repairs around the rear of the car as well as starting to cut out the back panel. 
2nd Nov 2009 288.JPG (86840 bytes) There's quite a bit of work to do round both rear wheel houses, this is the passenger side one.
2nd Nov 2009 291.JPG (79195 bytes) The oft use bit of card is pressed into service as a template, the metal patch is cut a bit bigger to allow for any shaping.
2nd Nov 2009 298.JPG (90007 bytes) It is hammered into rough shape over my 1/2 cwt weigh, I would buy an anvil but good ones are serious money - even at the auctions they fetch hundreds of quid.
2nd Nov 2009 299.JPG (87025 bytes) It is starting to look something like the thing.
2nd Nov 2009 300.JPG (75957 bytes) Once I'm happy with the shape it's tack welded in place.
2nd Nov 2009 301.JPG (91280 bytes) Then I weld all the way round the patch.
2nd Nov 2009 303.JPG (75648 bytes) And finally trim off all the excess metal.
2nd Nov 2009 302.JPG (89539 bytes) The same repair shown from the other side with all the welding ground down so that it all blends in nicely.
2nd Nov 2009 306.JPG (117218 bytes) While working in the wheel arch I try and remove some of the fibreglass that a previous owner has plastered down the outer wheelhouse - not an easy job.
10th Nov 2009 004.JPG (125198 bytes) Also looking down into the spare wheel well you can see how the seam has opened up with rust etc, I'm going to unstitch these seams, blast them and then reweld.
10th Nov 2009 005.JPG (103092 bytes) It's quite surprising how badly lined up some of these panels are, they're a good 1/4 inch out.
10th Nov 2009 007.JPG (73619 bytes) I start and grind out the welds with a carbide burr in a Die-grinder. I keep meaning to buy myself a new weld buster drill bit as the burr can be a bit untidy at times.
10th Nov 2009 008.JPG (92182 bytes) Because the panels are badly lined up some of the welds are just about catching the very edge of the outer quarter panel. 
10th Nov 2009 009.JPG (104911 bytes) The other side, the petrol tank well, is if anything even worse but in this case it's the outer panel which sits quite a bit lower than the boot floor.
10th Nov 2009 014.JPG (88187 bytes) At some time in the past this car was "rear ended" and the back panel was replaced with what I presume was a second hand one as it's the wrong one for a 73 car.
10th Nov 2009 015.JPG (101924 bytes) I'm going to replace this back panel, partly because of the fact that it's the wrong panel but also as you can see it's starting to rust badly in a couple of places.
10th Nov 2009 010.JPG (88642 bytes) A photo from below the boot floor and you can see the back lip of the boot floor is in poor condition and the two are only held together by a few spot of braze.
10th Nov 2009 011.JPG (94313 bytes) Once again the die-grinder comes into play and these few spots of braze are soon removed.
10th Nov 2009 012.JPG (83578 bytes) Looking down at this same join from above and you can see how badly it has been done.
10th Nov 2009 013.JPG (111700 bytes) A closer look shows the whole seam bulging quite badly.
10th Nov 2009 020.JPG (71686 bytes) This is the seam between back panel and rear quarter, it's a poor photo but you'll see I'm pulling out a massive run of seam sealer to reveal an awfully big gap and poorly fitted panel. 
10th Nov 2009 017.JPG (124314 bytes) This is the same seam from inside the boot, if you look closely you may just see 3 layers of metal, when the back panel had been replaced previously they hadn't even bother to clean up this lip properly and that middle layer of metal is original back panel.
10th Nov 2009 018.JPG (101252 bytes) A few spots of braze are removed round the centre brace and I'm ready to remove the back panel.
10th Nov 2009 021.JPG (107512 bytes) A few minutes later and it's removed and put into the stores - I'll not throw it away as you never know when it might come in useful as a repair panel on a rally car.
10th Nov 2009 022.JPG (104406 bytes) The white stuff that you can see is Isopon/fillers from the time the car was rear ended -to do a really classy job one who need to replace at least one and maybe both rear quarters but I think that's a bit outside my budget for what will be a purely road car.
24th Nov 09 002.JPG (93971 bytes) Once the back panel has been removed it's obvious that a few other repairs will be needed before fitting a new panel.
24th Nov 09 003.JPG (96625 bytes) Around where the centre brace meets the boot floor is particularly bad.
24th Nov 09 004.JPG (72182 bytes) As is the lip right across the rear edge of the boot floor.
24th Nov 09 005.JPG (80547 bytes) I'm also going to remove these small braces to see what horrors lurk underneath.
24th Nov 09 006.JPG (108987 bytes) And it's not good so I end up cutting away a bit of the boot floor at the ends of both chassis rails.
24th Nov 09 017.JPG (92684 bytes) A couple of patches are soon cut and trimmed to fit at both sides.
24th Nov 09 008.JPG (116381 bytes) At this stage I do a trial fit of the replacement back panel - for this car I'm just using an old repro one rather than one of my genuine ones.
24th Nov 09 009.JPG (99652 bytes) The drivers side all lines up fairly well on the first trial fit.
24th Nov 09 007.JPG (94018 bytes) Abut the other side will need a bit of work - probably not helped by accident damage to this rear quarter.
24th Nov 09 010.JPG (84781 bytes) Meanwhile I start to a few repairs that are needed round the boot floor, the area around the rear panel centre brace wasn't good, presumably damaged and bent in that accident so I cut this area out.
24th Nov 09 011.JPG (84552 bytes) As it's a fairly simple rectangular hole it doesn't take long to make a repair patch to fit.
24th Nov 09 012.JPG (87199 bytes) The boot floor is quite weak here as the whole lip across the back of it is rusty, so I clamp on a length of box iron to keep all in place while I tack the patch in place.
24th Nov 09 013.JPG (96207 bytes) With the patch welded in place I can start to grind the welds down flush.
24th Nov 09 019.JPG (95832 bytes) Then I need to make the little "D" shaped hole that the petrol tank breather/overflow pipe etc fits into.
24th Nov 09 014.JPG (74630 bytes) Going by the two holes near the front of the boot floor this car must have had a towbar fitted at some time in the past, I don't intend to fit a towbar so these holes will go.
24th Nov 09 015.JPG (81402 bytes) I welded up these holes by the usual method of holding a copper mallet under the hole and then filling it with weld as well as welding a couple of little stress cracks.
24th Nov 09 016.JPG (138174 bytes) This is the back edge of the boot floor which runs down into the tank well, as you can see this back edge will ned to be replaced.
24th Nov 09 020.JPG (128944 bytes) Even after cutting back the rusty part the remaining edge is so thin that when welding in the repair piece I manage to blow the odd little hole.
24th Nov 09 022.JPG (112787 bytes) I grind down the welds but I must remember to weld up those couple of little holes.
24th Nov 09 021.JPG (106550 bytes) The other side, the wheel well is just as bad. The little clip you see here are great for holding repair pieces as well as keeping a small gap to aid welding.
24th Nov 09 023.JPG (113080 bytes) This makes the welding reasonably easy, even if my welding is not always the best.
30th Dec 09 003.JPG (88064 bytes) The same repair shown from below.
December 2009, and I'm still working at the boot floor - putting on a new lip on the rear edge.
30th Dec 09 007.JPG (110841 bytes) Usually when I'm getting steel I get an 8 by 4 sheet, I then cut it in half, i.e. 4 by 4 to make it easier to manhandle about - at this stage of the restoration this is all that's left of a half sheet.
30th Dec 09 006.JPG (115004 bytes) I want to make the boot floor lip in one piece and as it's over 3 feet wide I need to get the other half of that sheet out of the stores/shed.
30th Dec 09 008.JPG (76749 bytes) I start to cut a 3/4 inch wide strip of the steel sheet but I soon hit a problem, my air shears give up the ghost.
2nd Nov 2009 305.JPG (73891 bytes) On further investigation it turns out that the bearing which the the cutter blade runs on has started to break up. Luckily I'm able to get a new bearing in our local bearing shop so I can get back to the cutting. 
30th Dec 09 010.JPG (98238 bytes) To keep the edge of the boot floor straight while I tack on the lip I use that same bit of box iron that you'll have seen earlier.
30th Dec 09 014.JPG (76088 bytes) Once tacked every couple of inches I can remove the bit of box iron and can then proceed and put on bigger runs of weld until it's all welded.
30th Dec 09 012.JPG (94644 bytes) While grinding off the excess weld there is often the odd missed bit that comes to light, these little bits are rewelded before going any further.
30th Dec 09 017.JPG (78816 bytes) Once that's all done I then give the edge a run with a Zip wheel in the grinder, this gives a smoother finish than a grinding disc and the whole thing looks very well.
30th Dec 09 019.JPG (97574 bytes) With the rear lip sorted I can now go ahead and finish off the trimming of those couple of patches that I made earlier.
30th Dec 09 020.JPG (57719 bytes) Just for a bit of a change I move to the front of the car to do some work. This is the hole where the reservoir for the hydraulic clutch sits. It has rusty badly at some time in the past and a washer has been welded in place to strengthen this area.
30th Dec 09 028.JPG (80130 bytes) It looks even worse from inside, I'm going to remove this completely and try and do a proper repair.
30th Dec 09 075.JPG (62604 bytes) First off I cut out all the bad area and clean up the sides of the hole.
30th Dec 09 078.JPG (73391 bytes) I soon have a little piece trimmed to fit in here, this patch is a bit thicker than the original metal so it shouldn't give any more bother.
30th Dec 09 079.JPG (64655 bytes) And it's not long before it's all welded in place.
30th Dec 09 030.JPG (108840 bytes) At the same time I'm also working at the driver's door post. First off I offer up the replacement door post to try and get an idea of how much I need to trim off both it and the car itself to get a good fit.
30th Dec 09 031.JPG (124043 bytes)  As you can see it takes a number of attempts at fitting, marking and trimming to get what I consider to be a reasonable fit - it always takes a little bit of effort to get these these as close as possible.
30th Dec 09 073.JPG (180941 bytes) While holding them in place may give you a rough idea of the fit it's also a good idea to screw them in place with a few self tappers before doing any final trimming.
30th Dec 09 074.JPG (111706 bytes) You do sometimes find that when a panel is screwed down tightly it can pull in different directions than when just held loosely in place.
That really was it for Year 3, about two months work in total. A combination of factors, after being made redundant my wife wanted a lot of building projects about the house and work outside sorting out. I was also working at an old tractor and the rally car and all this would mean that there was almost no work done to this project for the next 18 months or so. Year 4's work totaled about a weeks work - see below.
Olympus Photos 2011 030.JPG (125099 bytes) Over the summer of 2010 the car had been taken round to our farm and I had got some blasting done to her. when she came back home she gets put down in the shed while other things are worked on in the garage.
Olympus Photos 2011 032.JPG (132251 bytes) I always said the shed would be used purely for storage of cars and shells but it has got full of rubbish too and I've also ended up working in it at times. The trouble is everything gets covered in dust and dirt from cutting, grinding and welding etc.
Olympus Photos 2011 028.JPG (77911 bytes) As you'll have seen earlier there were a couple of areas in the boot which needed repair.
Olympus Photos 2011 029.JPG (78692 bytes) Where possible I had blasted as much of the internal sections of the chassis rails as was possible then painted with Etch primer and followed up with some Zinc Oxide primer.
Olympus Photos 2011 033.JPG (84747 bytes) Then it's just a matter of putting in and tacking the repair patch which I'd made when last working at the car almost a year previously.
Olympus Photos 2011 035.JPG (85024 bytes) Further forward there was also another repair needed, this one included one of those little raised bumps which goes over an area where a petrol pipe clip attaches to the chassis rail.
Olympus Photos 2011 036.JPG (99795 bytes) As you will see here the little raised bit was made as a separate piece and then welded into the main repair patch.
Olympus Photos 2011 084.JPG (109729 bytes) The other side of the floor also gets a small patch at the very rear.

Go to Year 5, or to see how it all started, go to Year 1 or  Year 2.

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