Convertible drip pans
Despite looking like swiss cheese, this is one of the drip pans on my car. On a mustang this pan sits under the quarter panel and deck filler panel seam. I guess that ford was worried about the seam leaking and the pan was supposed to catch any water and channel it away from the trunk. Based on the photo on the right, Id say mine were doing their job… At least for while.
The sad thing is that no one makes this part. If you remember a few posts ago on the deck filler panel removal, I showed pictures of my patching the drivers side. The drivers side only had a few small holes and I was able to cut out the bad area and glue in a patch panel. As you can see, when I exposed the passenger side, it is much worse and the same tactic will not work.
It’s time to get more tools out and make my own drip pans. I decided that if I have to make one, It is pretty much just as easy and fast to make two, so that means removing both the driver’s and passenger side. the photo on the right shows the area that I cut out. This pan is a complex part, since it also forms part of the bottom of the convertible drain area. Since that area was not rusted out, I decided to leave it alone and just cut out the drip pan that was in the trunk area.
With the pan cut out, I made a cardboard template, you can see in the first two photos, I added extra material to compensate for the rusted out areas, and to create a set of tabs that I could use to attach the new part to the car. you can see in the last photo a test fit. I also did some trimming to get a good fit. the nice part of this template, is that I can flip it over and use it to make the other side. It’s very handy that cars have symerity 🙂
Next I needed to create the side wall for the drip pan. To do this, I cut a 2″ wide strip of 20 gauge metal. Then using a metal break, I bent it at 90 degrees halfway down the long side. Now comes the magic part. I placed the metal angle on the cardboard template, and marked the beginning and end of the curved area (Photo #2 above). Then using a metal shrinker I was able to create the gentle curve needed to match the original part. I made the curve in small steps and kept checking against the template until it was perfect fit. See Photo # 3 above.
Metal shrinker and stretchers, which you can buy from Eastwood, or Harbor freight, essentially grips the metal and either pushes it together, or pulls it apart by a very small amount. So by repeating the stretching/shrinking you are able to create a curve. It takes some practice, so if you do try, get a few scrap pieces first and create some curves. The shrinker is good for inside radius curves, since it scrunches the metal together. While the stretcher is good for outside radius curves, because it pulls the metal apart. Be careful with the stretcher if you do too much in one area you can make the metal very thin, or even tear it.
Now that the mock-up looks good I transferred the cardboard template to 20 gauge sheet metal. I then cut out the parts, and assembled them with clecos and clamps. I put the new quarter on the car and temporarily clamped it into place. As you can see the photos 4 and 5, I then clamped the new drip pan into place and did some final bending and tweaking to get a good fit. I used a bead roller (Shown on the right) to recreate the three stiffening beads that were in the original part. Photo 6 shows the new part next to the old one. I did the same mock-up and fit on both sides. Once I was happy I started to permanently assemble them.
To help prevent warping and allow for the curve I needed, I decided to spot weld the lip and the bottom pan together. After grinding the spot welds smooth, I then applied Fusor 019 brushable seam sealer to prevent water from getting in and leaking into the trunk.
After the seam sealer cured, I applied two coats of eastwood’s rust encapsulating black paint. I like this paint as it applies very easily, and will adhere to rusty metal (remove any loose scale) and new metal. it dries to a tough surface. See photos above.
Next I ground the overlapping tabs back down to bare metal (Yes I probably should have masked them off). I also ground the area on the convertible drain rail to bare metal. Then using the Fusor 108b I coated the parts, and clamped them together. Once it had cured, I drilled holes just through the new metal at each of the ends. Then welded the hole up to create a spot weld on each end to help ensure it would not come loose (Photo #4 above).
To make sure water does not get in the new seam, I also covered the area with seam sealer, this also helped to create a path for the water to flow (Photos 1,2). Now that the new drip pans are installed, I finished wire wheeling any remaining surface rust, then masked the area off, and painted the whole assembly with Eastwood’s rust encapsulator.
I’m glad to have the job done, and am very happy with how they turned out. Next time I start working on the trunk drop downs.