Patching Rear Partition Panel
Before welding the donor spring support and shock mounting section in place, it was necessary to replace some additional rot in the rear partition panel where the wheel housing was spot welded to the panel. The first photo shows what I cut out. I did almost all of the cutting for these repairs with a 1 mm (.045″) cutting disc in my angle grinder. To read all about the rest of the wheel housing repair, please continue reading.
I cut a matching section from a donor panel because it had the matching wheel housing contour and was already drilled for plug welding. The following sequence of photos shows first, fitting the donor section using butt weld clamps; second, spot welding the section in place; and lastly, the section welded in place, after grinding the weld.
Repairing the Rest of the Wheel Housing
I was now ready to install the donor spring support and shock support section of the wheel housing. Using butt-splice clamps and a magnet as shown, I tack welded the new section in place. After double checking fit, I completed the welding. The rear partition was pulled tight to the new section with sheet metal screws and then pocket welded where it was originally spot welded. Most of the new section was butt welded, however, three non-curved parts were flanged and overlapped for additional strength. There still remained a small section of the rear partition to be filled. This small section was tied to the wheel housing and to the valance. After careful measuring and fitting as shown, I was able to weld this small section in place. Next up, there was a small piece of the valance that needed replacing. This piece was a little tricky so I made a paper template first as shown. Once I was satisfied with the template, I marked and cut replacement metal and fitted it with vise grips as shown in the second photo. I was able to form the piece more accurately after tack welding it in place, before completing the welds. You might notice that there is a gap along the fender line that needs work, but this will be fixed when the car is on a rotisserie. At this point, the left, rear wheel housing repairs are just about complete. The photo shows the final result from the underside. I am leaving the beads as shown for additional strength. They won’t be visible unless inspecting the car from underneath, and even then, after undercoating, should not be objectionable. There is still some work to be done here, but it can wait until the car is on the rotisserie when it will be much easier. This photo shows the work from the inside. I ground the most visible of the welds. The resultant shiny metal was difficult to photograph. It’s better than the photo shows but there are some small imperfections. I think I’ll try my hand at leading/tinning before painting.
At this point, I am pretty happy with the results—except for how long it took me to get here. But, I will be spending much more time on this now, and the right side is in much better shape and will require much less work. I hope to be back soon with photos of that work.