Thursday, October 29, 2009

Skin back on drivers side rear quarter

The day started by cutting out a 12" section of the wheel well at the bottom rear. I was going to wait to do this until later, but since I had a big hole in the side of the car, I decided it would be easier to reach now. That took a couple hours to get fit up, then about a half hour to weld up. As I was welding, I noticed about 3 places where the former body guy overlapped panels, so I spent about an hour cutting out lapped pieces and cleaning up the rusty areas under them.

Now that the wheel well is in good shape it was time to weld in the first of the skin patches. I started at the back by fitting up and tacking in the biggest piece. Since the piece was long and thin, I welded in 4-5 tacks, then hit them with compressed air to cool them off. I also was very careful to move around the panel as evenly as possible.

With the big piece welded in, I moved on to the arch. It was cut in two so I welded it together on the bench and ground everything down. I rolled it a couple times on the e-wheel to give it some shape and then went to fit it up... Wouldn't you know, it was about 1/8" too wide at the gap. Seeing that it was sticking at the lip, I cut the panel back in half and allowed the cut to be a bit pie shaped. That split the difference and I was happy with the fit.

Just a note... It's really hard to hammer and dolley on the arch piece. There is a close off piece at the fire wall that you can't get your hands behind. There is a gap just big enough to get a pry bar into, so I used one of those to push out on the low spots while I hammered on the skin on the high spots.

After I ground down the welds, I decided to start cutting out the trashed out engine bay. I have a lot of clean up to do, but the major sections have been cut out. I'm going to try to get some paint on the bare front end tomorrow, but if it's too wet or too cold, I will start the clean up on the engine bay supports.
This is a view from the rear tail light on the driver's side. You can see the patch to the wheel well just inside the hole in the quarter panel.
First quarter skin patch tacked up.
All the pieces welded in. Man, that took forever to weld. I bet there is 6 feet worth of tacks.
Everything ground down. MUCH nicer than the recessed and putty filled patches that were there.
Engine bay. Can you tell it had been wrecked?
Engine bay mostly removed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More work on the ghia's driver's side rear arch

Back to flying solo again today. It's killing me that I have a big hole in my rear quarter, so I decided to address that area today. First mission was to cut apart the vertical weld that was lapped about 2" over and get the metal straight, then reweld it. I borrowed a body saw from my wife's grandpa and that did a great job with the accuracy of the cut. It also kept the cut thin enough that the welding went off without needing to fill a bunch of blow out.

After the vertical weld was straight, I saw the piece we welded in yesterday needed a bit of reshaping to make everything tight where the skin will weld up. I spent about 2 hours going back and forth beating and fitting the arch until everything looked tight. As I was doing that, I noticed the forward piece that we though was good, actually needed help. I cut out another 10-12 inches and fit up a repair panel. As I was welding that in, I noticed a 1/4" crack above the patch. After hitting the crack with a steel brush, it opened into a dime sized hole, and had about 6 smaller friends show up for the party!!! I then cut out the hole and his friends and welded in a patch.

In the process of making the arch pieces, I realized that I could hammer the lips out against a form, but then I had to shrink the lips to get shape into the arch. I decided to split a bolt and use it as a shrinking fork. It worked like a charm. I could make tucks, then hammer them out against a wood block, then finish with a steel dolley.

I made a fairly large patch for the rear section of the quarter panel. I used the same wood form to fold the lip. I had to shrink it just a bit, then hit the panel lightly with the english wheel to give it some shape.

My wife's grandmother was in town (other side of the family), so we went out to eat. After that I caught game 1 of the world series, then snuck into the garage to apply a quick coat of POR-15 to the inner well so I could get the skin welded on in the morning.
Vertical weld cut, hammer worked, then rewelded.
Wheel arch form cut from 3/4 shelving material. This is the rear skin patch being fabbed.
Bolt used for making shrinking tucks.
Second inner arch patch welded in and other patch cut out ready to weld.
Patch made up for the rear section of the quarter panel
Inner well POR-15'ed

Vacation lends time to work on Karmann Ghia again

I'm on vacation this week (it was a use it or lose it situation) so I am finally back on the ghia project! I asked my wife's grandpa Cecil if he wanted to help work on the car and he generously accepted. Cecil was a machinist for TWA for about 30 years and he's tackled an insane number of projects that require custom fab of sheetmetal, chassis mods, engines etc., etc., so I was happy to have him on board for just about anything. My dad also wanted to get involved, but he hasn't done much bodywork in the past... I haven't had much help over the years, so I had to think of how all of us could work and not be tripping over each other and we also needed to have enough tools to go around.

Before everyone arrived, I moved the car into position, cleaned up the floor and started grinding bondo out of the d.s. rear quarter. When all the crap work that had been done to the quarter was exposed, I cleaned up and got the tools all ready.

After we got done with small talk, the faces got serious and my dad quickly volunteered to organize or clean up my garage since he could see the car was going to be crowded. How perfect! I needed some shelves installed and I knew he'd bang them out perfectly. I decided to take the front end since it was custom work and the idea was just in my head. I showed Cecil the driver's side rear arch and asked if he'd be happy working on that.

With the work assigned, we all started tearing into the jobs at hand. We marked out the arch and Cecil started cutting away the sheetmetal. I cleaned up the heater vent opening and made my patch for filling it in. Dad was well on his way with the shelves.

When Cecil got the arch cut out we did some detective work and found a Tabco panel was at the back of the repair, the original car was the next layer and a donor car was the third layer. The last body guy overlapped all the panels about 2", beat them into submission, welded them together, then put about a 1/4" of bondo on top to finish everything off nice and smooth. We also found that he beat the tar out of the inner wheel well since things didn't line up for him.

Cecil set about making a new outer lip for the inner wheel well. He cut a piece of 3/4" press board to the curve of the opening, then bent the lip over the edge of the press board. He checked it for fit inside the arch sheetmetal and everything looked good. After some fitting we tacked it up and found there was a twist in it and spent about 30 minutes getting it straightend back out. I finish welded it after Cecil went home for the night.
Driver side arch with some bondo removed
Arch cleaned up. Look at the crap welding job
Arch cut out and Cecil working on seperating the three sheets of steel.
Front end patch
My dad installing shelves
New lip on inner wheel well. (sorry the pic is dark)