So a few weeks ago I discovered the body rot in the passenger side fender apron, and since then I've been pondering what to do about it, the options being:
1. roughly weld a piece of metal over the holes.
2. patch the panel using part of a replacement apron.
3. drill/cut out the entire panel and replace it.
Well, option one is tempting in a way because it would be quick and nobody's ever going to see it anyway, but I'm trying to do a good job with this project...and the disadvantage of option three is that I'll lose the VIN number - unless I graft it into the new panel - so I thought I'd have a go at option two. I started by cutting out a large chunk of the metal around the damaged areas - I made the cuts in areas where the panel was roughly flat to make the welding easier. The replacement panel I got was, just by chance, sold by Dynacorn
- and it was a very good fit. Apart from trimming up to fit the opening, I barely had to finish the patch at all.
|Dynacorn replacement body panel|
|Got the patch set in place with minimum fuss|
This is where things started to go wrong. I tried lots of different settings on my welder, and I tried a huge piece of copper as a heat sink, but whatever I tried, it all ended in holes: lots of holes burned through the metal. My progress as a welder has been helped along A LOT by a lesson from my friend Abe, but I still have a long way to go. I actually finished up welding in the entire patch, just for practice, but before I was even halfway done, I knew I'd be cutting it out again.
So I a few days later, and I went over to RPS
to pick up another fender apron...only they were unfortunately out of stock...this was a pain because I wanted the new apron in time for the weekend, but there are other parts stores close by so I tried calling a couple...eventually I called up Mostly Mustangs
in Oakland - their main business is repairs and modifications so they don't really sell parts, but they did have the right apron on hand and I made a deal which included the owner letting my into the shop after hours. So I had my new panel before the weekend....but hold on, not so fast. I didn't really look at the panel when I picked it up - I was too busy trying to keep my son away from the M&M's dispenser in the Mostly Mustangs
office - but when I examined it the next day I realized it wasn't a Dynacorn panel (if I'm honest, the "Scott Drake" sticker was a bit of a giveaway). Still unconcerned, I cut out the old panel and my awful patch, and then tried the new panel for fit...and man, it was soooo bad. I couldn't bring myself to even measure how far away it was. Instead I called up RPS, ordered another Dynacorn panel, and went to work on a different part of the car...a week or so later and work continued.
|I was disappointed by the amount of rust between panels - elsewhere on the car I can't get at it, and I don't like that at all! |
|Sprayed on some Zero Rust where the panels will overlap...shame Ford didn't!|
|Clamped, bolted and sheet-metal-screwed into place after minimal adjustment.|
|Spot welded the new metal into place.|
|All cleaned up..should have done it this way the first time.|