Install the new rear quarters

After many months since I first discovered rust in the rear quarters, way back in November 2012.  I finally have the rear of the car in good shape, and can finally install the new quarter panels!

This is a big step, as everything has to be in correct alignment or the add up of errors will lead to the trunk not fitting, or worse…

To begin I rough assembled the quarter panels and the new deck filler panel.  I took measurements from the front of the door, where the cowl is welded in.  There is a stamped hole I used.  I also check the door gap (I aligned the doors while the old quarters were still on) to make sure it was consistent with the original quarters.  Next I did a cross measurement (an X) between the trunk corners to make sure everything was square.

Mind the gap:
GapOnce the quarters were aligned so that the door gaps and wheel wells, etc. looked good, I could not get the bottom edge to set on the rocker.  I spent a quite bit of time trying to pull, and move the panel to close this gap, and keep everything else in alignment.  After a conversation with my friend who is mentoring me on the finer art of auto body repair, we decided the best course of action was to fill the gap, as the panel hangs correctly everywhere else, aligns with the top of the door, and the middle sight line that runs the length of the car.  The gap is about an 1/8″ (2/16″) which in theory is within tolerance (Ford calls for 3/16″ max), and Ford would have most likely clamped it and spot welded it in.  However if you’ve been reading my blog, you know I am a wee bit anal about this stuff 😉  Since the gap is about 1/8″, i used some 3/4″ by 1/8″ steel stock to make a filler part.

First I drilled guide holes, that will later allow me to attach the filler part.  Picture 3 shows the 3/4×1/8 steel part cut to fit.  the notches in the front and rear are to clear the door jamb and the rear wheel well.  The last picture shows the final test fit.  The gap is nice a tight

Next up is some final prep and clean up.

The first thing I did was weld up the gap where the convertible brace and drain are assembled.  The brace is made of three parts that ford spot welded together.  To help cut down on flex I welded the three parts together.  Any area where the quarter panel was to attach was ground to bare metal (On the car and the quarter panels).  I drilled a few 1/8″ alignment holes to allow an accurate refitting for the final time.  I also sprayed the wheel well arches in weld through primer as I will not be attaching them to the quarter yet.  I may have to roll the wheel well lips to clear my wheel and tire choices, so final attachment between wheel well and quarter will wait until later.

Bonding time:
_MG_0401The final install is pretty much the same as the trial fit, except this time all the areas have Fusor 108B on them.  As you can see in the picture on the left, I bonded the top, the door jamb and the bottom seam between the door and the wheel well.  I did not bond the rear to the trunk drop off at this time as it will give me a bit of adjustment room when fitting the rear tail light panel.  While the panel was still loose and before the Fusor set up, I took measurements to make sure that the quarters were installed in the right place. The Fusor 108B calls for a clamp about every 4″, so I used every clamp I had, and 1/4″ bolts in the trim holes, as well as some self tapping screws in the door jamb area and some pop rivets to hold the lower seam between the door and wheel well in place.

Once the Fusor had set up, I removed all the clamps, and took a drill to clean out the self tapping screw holes and welded them closed.  This is one of the big benefits of the Fusor, you can weld, or spot weld through it.  I keep a damp rag, and a spray bottle of water near by to cool down my welds right away as too much heat will weaken the joint and could cause a fire.

Here are some final shots of the areas that were clamped:

Whew.  It’s a great feeling to have that completed.  Next time I have to make my own Trunk corner as they are not available for the convertible or coupe, only the fast backs.

I wish you very happy holiday!  and good fortune in 2014!