Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Moving forward

Over the past couple days I have been working to get the car ready to have both ends of the driver's side rockers welded up. I worked on the lip of the passenger side pans so the passenger side would sit correctly. I welded in a brace from the dash to the cv top frame connection point behind and inside of the driver's door opening so I could take out my door brace. Amazingly, the brace was perfectly snug when I removed it. That means the geometry of the opening did not change during the lifting, moving etc!

I reattached the drivers door to work on getting all the gaps correct. It took about 30 minutes to get everything close to where it should be. I need to insert the rubber shims at "point A" on the shock towers (both sides) to get the b pillar gap parallel to the edge of the door. I am hoping to get this done over the xmas holiday. I will also reattach the top frame before I do my welding. I want to be certain that everything fits perfectly before I make my repairs permanent!

Pics to follow

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I FINALLY got my first rocker welded in tonight. It's been a project 5 years in the making. I posted pics of my rocker removal on my old website somewhere around this time in 2003! I am glad I took the time to figure it all out and do it right. There were lots of measurements that needed to be correct and it's always better to back off and think before you fuse two pieces of metal together forever.

Here is the play by play: I called up my wife's Uncle Scott to see if he could help me out for a couple hours. I needed an extra set of hands, but I also needed an extra brain to help think through the challenges. Scott and I have done construction projects, brake jobs and weird projects together over the years, so I knew he was on the same wavelength... The stars were aligned and he didn't have any hockey games or dance recitals with the kids so he was able to help...

I put the skin in years ago (see my old website at the bottom of the blog) so I knew it was in the right spot. We fit up the stiffener after I had butchered up the top and bottom tabs to fit around the dents in the rocker skin. I tacked the two ends and the middle of the stiffener while the body was down on the pans. Then we lifted the back end and put a brick under the place where the rear seat touches the tranny tunnel. This gave enough clearance to set the inner rocker in place. We clamped the inner rocker in place, then pulled out the brick and set the car back down on the pans. I clamped the bottom edge of the rocker together and everthing lined up and looked perfect (seriously, less than a 1/16 of an inch off.) Since everything was good, I unclamped the inner rocker and we lifted the body back up... I pulled out the brick and we set the car back down. I then welded the bottom lip of the stiffener to the skin (see pic, then I laid down inside the car and welded the top lip to the skin (easier said than done.) Once the stiffener was solid, we picked the car back up and reinserted the brick, fit the inner rocker, then set the car back down again. We realized we needed to poke holes at the bottom of the skin for the plug welds, so we picked the car up again, removed the inner rocker and poked holes every inch and a half (yes we measured them so they'd be uniform.) Then we put the inner rocker back in, clamped it and lowered the body. I filled all the plug welds on the top lip (see pic). We then had a couple beers and I still haven't wiped the smile off my face!!!

I will fill in the plug welds on the bottom lip of the rocker this weekend, then mount the driver's side door to make sure the gaps are correct.

Final with inner rocker (heater channel)

Stiffener welded in

Just the skin

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Body finally meets chassis

I have been off the ghia for awhile. My aquaintance (the guy with the auto lift and huge workshop) and I never hooked up over the summer to work on the rockers. He is working on a cobra kit with his brother and he has been waist deep in that project since I asked about using his lift. I don't like to impose so I conceived and I am moving forward with plan B. It took awhile to figure out just how to be able to lift the body without a car lift. Thankfully, I have some thoughtful relatives!

My wife's grandfather lent me his cherry picker and two vehicle dollies. I bought two other dollies ($50 on sale at HF) so I have all four wheels with casters under them. I had 5 guys over on Sunday and we lifted the body off my cart and put it onto the rebuilt chassis. Hopefully with the cherry picker, I can lift the body from the front enough to get rocker pieces and parts in, set it back down for a fit and tack, then lift back up for finish welding.

I spent this evening grinding the edges of the new floor pans back so only a 1/4" lip sticks out. The pans had anywhere from 1/4" to over 3/4" of metal sticking out. The driver's side is ready to go now.

It actually sort of resembles a car again!
Chassis and body apart.