j) Bodywork

The body is not in bad shape.  There were some holes rotted thru the floor and some other small areas that will need to have the metal replaced but overall the car is in pretty good shape.

I started by flipping the body tub (the carcas) up side down and placing it onto a wood frame that I built over the rolling chassy.  This makes a sturdy platform that rolls.

Body sitting upside down on Chassy

The first step will be to remove all of the rust proofing.  I tried a couple different processes 1) heat gun and a scraper  2) Blow Torch and a scraper and 3) the BEST WAY an angle grinder with a cupped wire wheel.

Angle Grinder with wire cup wheel

Rear Section Before

Rear Section After

The removal of the undercoating on this rear fender section took 2 hours (not bad).  During the process of removing the rust proofing some small dents, dings, broken spot welds and rusted through sections became visible.

Fender Well Rot (will be easily repaired)

August 2nd 2010

The under coating is now gone and the Rust / Rot repair can begin.  From the looks of the rocker panels I think I will replace them as they would need to be removed to correctly repair the rotted sections so at this point it would make better sense to just replace them.  The other sections of rot are very small and easily managed.

Under Coating is Removed

Typical Rotted Section (will be repaired)

Rear Drivers Fender Well

Passengers Rear Fender Well

Passenger Side Rear Well

I’ve spent the past two weeks cutting away the rocker panels (new ones are on order) and cutting away the rusted sections around the fender wells (the rear section was the worst but not that bad.  I cut out new patches of sheet metal and welded them into the cut out areas then I ground them down a bit and top coated them with POR-15.

My welding skills got better as I went (the reason for the grinding).

This is a typical repair section.

Rear Panel BEFORE

Rear Panel AFTER

Rear Wheelwell BEFORE

Rear Wheelwell AFTER

Complete with POR-15

Next I focused on the Rocker Panels.  I cut away the old rusted sections using a air saw and a right angle grinder with a cut-off wheel.

The body is Upside Down

Inner Rocker Before Removal

Inner Rocker Removed

Here it was important to clean up all of the mating surfaces and to cut (modify) the replacement Inner Rocker for the best fit.  I drilled 3/16″ holes about 1 inch apart for spot welding and prepped the surface with weld-thru primer.

Inner Rocker Panel In Place

The next step was to re-manufacture the skirt (I did not replace the floors).  For this I purchased some steel sheet from a Box Store.

Inner Rocker Repaired

The next step was to clean up the welds and paint the inside Rocker Panels.  I did this using some POR-15 but I was careful not to coat the flanges that would need to be welded.  These areas I prepped with weld thru primer, this can be clearly seen in the next picture

The next step was to prepare the inside surface of the Outer Rocker panels & end caps.  Again I prepped the surface and painted them with POR-15 and priming the welding surfaces with weld thru primer.  I did not photograph this step.

Next I fit the new rocker panels and drilled a series of spot welding holes every 2 inches.  I clamped the rocker into place and also used some self tapping screws to help pull it in.

Once I was happy with the fit, I proceeded to weld it in.

Next I cleaned up all of the welds with an angle grinder.  I am real happy with how this came out.  I will finish the remaining door jamb, A & B Pillar welds when the body is right side up as it will be easier to gain access to these areas.

As soon as the temperature gets up above 60 I’ll be able to put a coat of POR-15 to the bottom pan, seam seal then top coat with truck bed-liner paint.

Update:  March – 2011.

I have completed the painting of the bottom of the car.  1)  Angle Grinder with a wire wheel to clean and scuff it up.  Then I wipped the entire bottom of the carcass with acetone.  After a thorough drying  I coated the entire underside with 2 coats of POR-15.  When that was dry I seam sealed all if the Joints and seams.  I used the stuff in a can and applied it with a putty knife (not a real neat job, in retrospect it was kind of sloppy).  The final layer was two coats of Rhino Liner (truck bed liner paint).

The next thing I did was bribe my sons friends with Pizza and Beer to help me flip the carcass back over and drop it back onto the Frame.

Please proceed to Bodywork-2 for further updates.

Published on July 8, 2010 at 8:40 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great site! I’m about at this point on my TR250, and I like the idea of flipping the body upside-down to work on it. A couple of questions:
    1) It looks like you built the wood frame to support it on either side of the doors. Did you do anything special to protect the panels that contact the wood?
    2) Any tips for a handful of guys trying to flip one of these? I’m thinking of doing it inside my garage, but the ceiling isn’t super high…

    Thanks and keep of the good work.

    • Bryan:
      I braced the door frames from twisting by welding in a piece of Uni-strut across the door opening. I did not pad the frame (maybe I should have) but the weight is distributed well and nothing has dented. To lift and flip the carcass I used myself and 3 other strong fellas (wear gloves).

      • Thanks. That helped a lot. Body off and differential mounts under repair…


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