The roof of the 1972 Nova project is finally wrapping up, so I decided to tackle the rocker panel next. It was rough. Like… really rough. The outer rocker panel was missing, along with the lower fender mount and the inner bracing that keeps everything structurally sound. Repairing it was not the easiest thing that I have ever done.
The first step was to cut away all of the rotted metal until you find a solid base to work with. Then, since nobody makes replacement metal for this area, I had to fabricate my own. I started with the inner bracing since that was the deepest part. This piece was more complicated than I expected, because it is actually the lowest portion of the inner kick panel. (Think about that for a moment.) That interior kick panel metal goes down through the floor pan, and into the rocker where all of these different pieces meet up in harmony. To get the rusty section out, I had to cut a section out of the newly replaced interior floor pan, along with all the metal on the outside. Once I had it out, I grabbed some flat metal and started fabricating the piece that I needed. Since nobody likes reading, here is the story in the form of pictures. Enjoy, and leave some comments so that I know somebody is here besides me.
Two weeks ago, I repaired the rear section of the “new” roof on the 1972 Nova project. This past weekend, I focused on the front passenger A-pillar, because like the rear, it was also trash. I began by cutting the rotted metal out with the cut off wheel. I then bent a piece of steel at a 90 degree angle with a hammer & vice. From there, I shrank the metal, which caused it to beautifully curve. Then it was just a matter of MIG welding it to the existing roof and a-pillar, and grinding it smooth. Once I am totally happy with it, I’ll soak the inside of it with some type of coating to prevent rust. After all, that’s what got us here in the first place.
Also – If you are enjoying this build, hating this build, have a question, or want to just shoot the breeze with us, leave a comment below. Without comments, we never know if this sort of topic is loved or hated!
The last time that we had talked about the 1972 Nova project was when I had cut off the old roof skin, and rested the “new” one in its place. Since then, I welded the skin into its new home, and began repairing the sections of it that were rotted. Now, before I go any further, you might be saying “You replaced a rotted roof skin with a rotted roof skin? What the what?!” And the answer is yes. Yes I did. See, people in New England can’t have nice things because of rust. The “new” roof was “very solid” (for New England metal) except for the whole rear section where the glass sits. Water had clearly pooled there for quite a while and destroyed all the metal in that area. BUT. Replacing that section was about one thousand times easier than replacing the entire middle of the old roof. So that’s what I did.
Once the back of the roof was somewhat together, I decided to see how terrible the front sheetmetal was going to fit. That process would have gone really well if the mounts for the lower fender bolts still existed. Sadly they did not. So, I now I have to make those. Great.
Today it was above freezing in the garage, so I decided that it would be a great time to finally finish the 1972 Nova inner wheel house that I had started several weeks ago. We left off in the last post with the repair panel about 95% made. So today I just had to clean the surrounding areas up and prepare the new panel to be welded in. Easy enough right? I started by hitting all of the surrounding metal with the abrasive Roloc discs attached to the angle grinder. This removed all of the old paints, primers, and seam sealer from the “hot zone”. I like to also chip off any nearby undercoating too because that stuff burns fast, and stinks like you wouldn’t even believe. It’s probably not so great to inhale either. Once clean, I tack’ed the new panel in place with a few spot welds, double checked everything, and then spot & stitch welded it into its new home. Then I ground the visible welds down, and snapped off a few pictures.
Next, I’m going to clean this whole area really well, and give it a good soaking in black POR-15. Sadly, I will have to wait for a warmer day because I don’t have heat in my garage, and POR-15 doesn’t flow or dry really well when it’s sub-40 degrees F. Boooo Winter! Let’s all cross our fingers and hope that we get a warm day this week. If we do, I may be able to tackle the quarter panel next weekend!
Making this post allows me to be accountable for work getting done or not getting done on his car. If you fail to see updates on a regular basis, please kick me, and we will pick up the pace. Ideally we want it to move under its own power in 2010.
Yea, about that. We did work on it some more after that, but then some life happened again, and progress was delayed. My bad. I take the full blame. Guess what though… It just arrived at my house, so I can no longer escape it. I don’t even think I am allowed to return it to the owner unless it looks like a completely sinister tire shredding hell ride. Anything less will be unacceptable. So, let’s try this again, and shoot for 2012. Oh, and if 2012 turns into a zombie apocalypse, we will turn it into a tank or something.
Lots of work ahead of me this winter. Fingers crossed for a warm winter in New England. Yeaaa…
Seriously. If you guys don’t see updates on this every couple weeks at the least, please don’t hesitate to kick me.