Repairing the wheel well, again

If you have been following along, you may remember (Unless your memory is like mine and you have CRS, “Can’t Remember Sh!t” )  I repaired this wheel well back in August 2012.  The good news is I’m now replacing the whole outer portion with new metal.

But first I wanted to clean out the rocker panels, since I have good access to them right now.  To get then clean, I made a air blow gun with a really long nozzle to reach all the way in the rockers.  To make the long nozzle air gun, I used the following parts:

  • Harbor Freight Air Gun Item # 68257, which cost all of $4
  • 1/4″ plastic hose 25′ again about $4
  • 1/4″ brass fitting to adapt pipe threads to the hose
  • 1/4″ brass barbed fitting, which I cut the barbed end off to make a nozzle

The pictures below show the assembly of the extra long air gun.

I inserted the hose into the rockers and then pressed the trigger.  Hold the hose as the air pressure is enough to make the tubing back itself out of the rocker.  I got a lot of blasting media and some other crud, but no rust (Whew).  As you can see the last photos the inside areas are clean and looks solid.  I also like that I could see the welds where I attached the inner rocker to the torque boxes.  It never hurts to double check all your welds.

With the rockers clean, I started working on fitting the new outer fender well.

Fender well trimmed

Fender well trimmed

Using my favorite tool the plasma cutter, I removed most of the out fender.  I left a section on the top to allow for overlap between the new fender, and the old.  This is to help me not have to beat the parts flat on the top the way ford did.  I’m glad that the fenders are not bespoke to the convertible, but I find it amazing that in 1969, Ford had some guy who’s job it was to bang the fender wells flat on convertibles to make room for the top.

With the old well out of the way, I then ground down any remaining edge from cutting to provide a smooth surface to attach the new part.  I used Lord’s Fusor adhesive to hold the inner and outer fender well parts together.  The original parts, per the Ford manual require a continuous fusion weld, since I cannot recreate this, the modern replacement is to use an adhesive.  I have used Lord’s fusor 108b, before, see the blog post on Repairing the cowl

In the pictures above, you can see that I test fit the quarter panel to make sure the wheel well is aligned.  Once I was happy with everything, I marked the new wheel well, and sanded the e-coat off af any area I was going to glue.  I also cleaned the sanded areas with lacquer thinner to remove any residue oil or dirt.  I then applied a generous bead for the Fusor 108B and clamped the parts together.  I also used sheet metal screws to hold the top overlapping section together.  Once the glue had hardened I removed them and welded up the holes.  When I get further along, I plan to use seam sealer on the inner portion of the wheel around the joints, just to be sure.

Next Time I’ll start patching all the little rust holes in the trunk.