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Is there meant to be a rubber stopper in this hole?

I think there is - one of these?

Yes. But IMO they need gluing in place as they are so easily flicked off when getting in or out of the car as clothing catches on them.

Great work BTW, especially your metal shaping skills. A real credit to you.

Edited by gilltech
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8 minutes ago, gilltech said:

Yes. But IMO they need gluing in place as they are so easily flicked off when getting in or out of the car as clothing catches on them.

Great work BTW, especially your metal shaping skills. A real credit to you.

Great tip! Glue it I will!

And thanks for the encouragement! I'm definitely aiming for quality over speed; if I was being paid for the job, I'd be flat broke by now!

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1 hour ago, 240ZBUILTBYME said:

Are you writing as you go or are you writing retrospectively?

Retrospectively - playing catchup. I think I might just go fast forward for a couple of chapters, if only so that I can get some feedback on some of my current difficult areas that I'm working on!

In terms of progress, I think I am about 11 months ahead of you but way less organised! (plus I've been racing mountain bikes and helping my brother build his house extensions).

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Chapter 8 - The Guards of the Galaxy

Last chapter we tackled the RH rocker panel and rear dog leg. This chapter, I'm going to tackle the hatch and both guards. Why? Because I'm sick of doing side-situps; I now have the neck of a formula 1 driver!

 

In between racing mountain bikes with my son, interviewing for and getting a new job, driving down to Canberra to help my bro build his house extensions, and being a dad, I've been working on Zee.

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My Son and I racing in 38 degree heat in Canberra.

 

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Some pitted surface rust, and some holy surface rust.

 

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A previous repair. kind of.

 

The rear hatch had rust holes in the back and in the bottom corners where the window goes. And a bit underneath. So I tackled those with mixed success.

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A bit of stretching coupled with some Fitze.

 

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Such a nice fit!

 

The window corners went pretty well.

 

The underneath went kind of average. While the rust is repaired, there was a bit of distortion. And the top was ok, however I don't think I went far enough. I have repaired the rust, but the overall shape was (and still is) a bit rubbish as it dips down a bit where the latch button is. I think I need to cut out that section over the latch button and all around it - basically the height and width of the bracket underneath it. I'll come back to that I think...

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OK from a rust perspective, still more work to do from a shaping perspective.

 

I also need to work out what shape that is meant to be; is it meant to be flat or slightly curved when looking side on? I'm guessing its meant to be slightly curved - like the edges are??

 

I then thought I would move onto the front right hand guard. I literally told my wife this would be a small patch and take an hour and a half to fix. Funny me. Once I had stripped back the paint and bog, it revealed the shonky job that was done before-hand - someone had literally jammed in a chunk of steel behind the rust and bogged over everything. And I thought the Bog Monster was a fictional character!

 

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As it turned out, I had to remake the bracket/brace thing (the thing that bolts onto the rocker panel plus has the skin folded onto it). I drilled out the spot welds and it came off pretty easily. Problem is that the bottom section was so bad I had no idea what it should look like, so I just made something that I thought was fairly close. I also made a new bottom section of the skin, welded it all on, folded it back onto the "bracket thing" and test fitted it to the guard.

 

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Change in method - I'm attempting the "Rob's Shed" tight fit method.

 

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And it worked out pretty well. Its way straighter than it looks - no daylight under a long ruler.

 

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Sideways, Mr Squiggle! The bracket-thing sits flush up against the car, and wraps around the rocker (on the right).

 

To my dismay, it just wouldn't fit. I had neglected to realise that this "bracket thing" also acts like a seal and sits perfectly flush against the side of the car and the rocker panel. Bugger. So I had to undo my rosette welds, pull it apart again and make another one. Version 2 worked perfectly after a while.

 

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When I moved to the other side, it was much easier. I repeated the process - replaced parts of the "bracket thing", replaced the bottom of the skin, put it all back together and test fitted. This panel was also a bit funky in other parts - it had a bunch of dings, high spots and low spots. With the help of a hammer, dolly, a heating disc, some texta and soapy water, I brought it all back into "skim coat of bog" category. There was also a rusty strip along the top that I had to cut out and replace.

 

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As straight as an arrow ... after the arrow was driven over by an entire regiment of an army.

 

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A longer new piece than the other side, also using the "tight" method of butt welding

 

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And also worked out pretty well.

 

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The rusty top bit that fit into the rusty engine bay area. Notice that blue filler there - that's the original filler that blocks the fender mirror holes. I'm getting rid of that too...

 

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New piece in place. As good as new, and in a place where no-one will see anyway. But I'll know...

 

While I was over this left side, I also fixed up the front of the rocker panel in a similar way to the other side, but for a different reason - both bolts were snapped off inside and fused solid. I drilled one out - perfectly drilling through the centre of the bolt, but the other had rust around the captive nut, so I just replaced the bottom section.

 

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No I don't have a rotisserie. I took this photo upside down so I could see the bolt holes underneath.

 

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And repaired. There's still some surface rust with light pitting there - not sure how to 100% get rid of that.

 

Lesson's learnt this time around:

1. I'm liking the method of having no gaps when butt welding, but it requires solid steel to weld to otherwise I can't get the heat up enough to penetrate both metals without blowing through the old metal.

2. When distortion occurs, its usually from the weld itself shrinking. Get a hammer and dolly and squish that weld and the distortion will disappear

3. Keep on top of distortions and misfits. Don't think "I'll keep welding for now and fix it later" because the fixing will become harder and harder the more weld you lay down (which kind of reinforces the wrong shape). Fix the distortions immediately and there will be less to do in the end.

4. Keep learning!

 

So, this was a bit of a "fast forward" chapter. Next I'll tackle part of the roof, and discuss why its only "part" done (spoiler: Lurch has convinced me to go further down the rabbit hole). And then, onto the firewall, under the cowl, and the battery tray area.

 

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Edited by MikeFarkas
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Just now, CBR Jeff said:

Willow this weekend?

Jeff

I think so! I will enter tomorrow and probably do the 50km. My good bike is getting a fork and shock service (which gets sent down to Melbourne) so I'll be doing it on my old 29er hard tail. Also not 100% sure if I should enter my son too, given he's in year 11 and they get even more homework. We'll see tomorrow night!

Are you going to head out?

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I'm having coffee with Bob from RT in the morning and will probably  give a hand organising things on Sunday but know more tomorrow. If I'm coming out ill chase you up.

I haven't raced for some time just enjoy social riding, particularly going down hill :-), organising events and officiating.

Jeff

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4 hours ago, MikeFarkas said:

Retrospectively - playing catchup. I think I might just go fast forward for a couple of chapters, if only so that I can get some feedback on some of my current difficult areas that I'm working on!

In terms of progress, I think I am about 11 months ahead of you but way less organised! (plus I've been racing mountain bikes and helping my brother build his house extensions).

Nice work, you’ve documented it well, I was hoping you were going to say retrospectively! otherwise your speed of progress is somewhat ridiculous! Lol

i don’t think I will make as quick progress as you are, your metal work skills are quite amazing considering you haven’t done this before, well at least you made it sound like you hadn’t. 

ryan

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Chapter 9 - Roofus Interruptus

 

Last chapter we went in fast forward to cover the half-done rear hatch, and the fully done front guards. This chapter, I want to cover an area that I have been too afraid to do since the beginning - the upper corner of the windscreen and roof.

 

Why have I been too afraid to tackle this? Well, when I took the sunroof out (yep - I've got one of those...) I noticed that the roof itself was paper thin! Welding onto this was going to be nigh impossible, and unfortunately I had a repair to do...

 

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However, I thought my skills had improved enough to give this a fairly solid crack. The question was around what technique was I going to use??

 

Looking at this part of the roof section, there are angles going in every dimension:

  1. The part that the windscreen rubber attaches to gently arcs downward.
  2. The next, horizontal part, got marginally thinner and also gently arched backwards, but forward again right at the corner.
  3. The top corner also gently arc's backwards, but also slightly downwards.
  4. The roof skin bit also changed its shallowness the closer to the edge it got.

 

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And, this was super visible, so getting it wrong would make Zee look like Frankensteiness.

 

Once again, after assuming foetal position again for a while, I figured I should be able to create the patch without needing to cut into the roof. This was perfect, because it allowed me to have several attempts at the patch if I needed to, which took that part out of the "how to stuff up your car" equation.

 

I used what I call "the Fitze method". Rather than trying to bend the piece in all of those dimensions (I just don't have that kind of skill ... yet), I decided it would be easier to make it out of 3 pieces - 1 for bottom, one of the vertical part, and one for the top. I started with the bottom, making a piece that slotted in perfectly over the existing spot-welded piece. I clamped it in place. Next was the vertical piece. I massaged it with a flap disk until it perfectly mated with the bottom bit, and then flexed it backward so it fit perfectly with the existing roof. This piece extends way past the roofline, but that is fine. I then created the roof patch, which I painstaking mated perfectly with the horizontal piece, and also clamped it in place.

 

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Like a diamond in the rough, it looked ugly but had the right angles to work with. I tacked it with the welder in many places (while clamped), then pulled it off and welded all of the corners a la Fitze method, and ground them back to the shape I wanted.

 

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The top edge is currently way to sharp, but its easier to make blunt than it is to sharpen...

 

Next step was to cut the roof. I didn't need to go back very far, maybe 3/4 of an inch, but wanted to go along far enough that I had good metal to work with.  Once that was done, I took a photo, then nuked the insides with S50 Cavity Wax (I'd run out of Eastwood Internal Frame Coating).

 

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pre-nuke

 

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Post nuke. That cavity wax gets into everywhere!!

 

Once done, it was time to cut back my patch, then carefully massage it until it slotted in perfectly flush.

 

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Welding was done very slowly. Literally 2 spots at a time, then let cool until I could hold my hand on it. Then another 2 spots. I kept doing that until complete, then just as carefully flapped back the welds and dressed with anti-ox to stop from surface rusting.

 

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I think it came up well, and I was super proud of myself! I even "showed it off" to the Aussie Z facebook group.

 

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Front all finished (except for the corner welds which need cleaning up)

 

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Side View.

 

Its at that point that Lurch noticed the high amount of surface rust under the roof skin, and strongly suggested I take the roof skin off. I spent a day in complete denial, and then relented because he was right - unless I deal with the cancer lurking under the roof skin, its just going to come back again.

 

At which point, I enthusiastically moved onto the battery tray area!

 

While that is the truth (the part about moving onto the battery tray), I'm actually procrastinating on the roof. I will do it, but I need to decide whether I want to keep the sunroof or not. If I don't want to keep the sunroof, then I have 2 choices:

  1. See if I can source another roof skin off a good quality parts car. (unlikely??)
  2. Create a patch for the sunroof hole, and bond it in place. (its way too thin to weld, and metal bonding is meant to be just as good these days).

 

Or, I embrace the 70's, grow a mow, wear some vinyl, and keep the sunroof. Arg. Decisions decisions...

 

So, next chapter my son and I get the Engine and Gearbox out (making the exact same mistake as Ryan did with the engine leveler) and then I find more rust with the added challenge that its kinda hard to get at.

 

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5 hours ago, MikeFarkas said:

So, next chapter my son and I get the Engine and Gearbox out (making the exact same mistake as Ryan did with the engine leveler) and then I find more rust with the added challenge that its kinda hard to get at.

Great work on the roof patch. Looks like your roof is much like mine, probably less rusty. Mine has surface rust hiding between the frame and skin too, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a spare replacement skin in decent enough condition. 

Hahahaha it’s such a silly mistake, and once you make it you’re like “how could I have been so dumb!?” I guarantee neither of us will make that mistake again...

Ryan 

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9 hours ago, 240ZBUILTBYME said:

Can anyone comment on whether that join that mike is working on, is the join of the roof skin to A pillar skin is meant to be lead filled? Or welded together? 
 

Its a bit hard to tell, but that last picture ("Side View") has a slightly different hew on the pillar and up the side. I was being super careful when I welded near there not to get that hot enough to melt, because I didn't want to have to do any lead work. Unfortunately, I think I am now committed to taking the roof skin off so I will be doing the lead-work anyway.

I guess the next question is: does it need to be lead? Are there "flexible bondo" options that would achieve the same (or better) results??

Edited by MikeFarkas
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