Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Yes I'm still alive

It's been quite some time (over a month and a half) since I've posted, but rest assured I am still here. Work on the Spit is somewhat like life, frustrating at times. Work has consumed much of my time lately, reducing my opportunities to even see my car. Also, a special super secret project for the BMCNO club has also sapped my short time work, usually devoted to cleaning and fine tuning parts at the house.

I have three weeks vacation to burn before the end of the year (use it or loose it), and I recently took one week off to work on the car. The next series of posts will cover that work. I've been waiting for the person I had lined up to do the metalwork and welding to do the job, and he just hasn't. I told him that I would continue on and work on it till he found the time and that the work (and pay) would decrease as I got more done. He really is a good guy, helping and giving pointers along the way, so in no way am I complaining...

Well, I finally got to the shop on Monday, primed for a week of... Waiting for the work to be done? Not to allow such triviality stop me, I decided to press onward into uncharted territory. Out came the cut off wheel and I started cutting donor metal to replace the rotten parts.

I would like to take a little time to thank the poor Kia that donated one of it's fenders to my car. Yes it's an odd match but it was damaged in the front and the rear of the fender was in good shape and had relatively flat sections. The word Kia derives from Korean words meaning roughly “to arise to the world from Asia.” So relatively speaking, it arose from Asia to bring life to a 40 year old piece of Briton.

Donor Metal - Kia Fender

Several sections were cut out to be beaten into filler material. Two sections, lower left and lower right, were for the rear fenders. The left was for a patch for the driver side front, and the top left was for patching the sill, where the metal was rusting through. The top right little bit was to make-up the passenger rear fender. The cut off wheel frustrates me at times, sometimes, I can't get it to do what I need, other times I can slice through it like butter.

Driver Side Patch
After cutting out the piece, I proceeded with a rubber mallet to beat the bends into the metal into the approximate shape of the missing piece. I used the replacement fender to make sure that it would fit somewhat to the outer shape. It was sorta interesting in that I had really nothing to beat it on. A conveniently placed I-beam holding up a billboard at the shop provided the flat metal to whack it on.

Passenger Side Patch
Emboldened by my success on the driver side, the passenger side went just as easily. I misjudged the height needed to make a full repair and would have to make a make-up piece to cover a bit more of the rotten metal (It looked thick enough, but it really had been eaten away by rust to be almost paper thin.) But within an hour, I had both pieces beaten to a basic fit shape.

The plan is to next strip the paint where the welding will be and prime it with weld-through primer. This #$@% is expensive, close to $17 per can, though I think I will only need one. But it is a small price to pay to make sure that none of the metal begins corroding at what surely will be somewhat less than factory welds and matching. Once on the car, I plan to beat them from their basic shape to fine tune the shape and position.

As life usually is, this whole exercise proved to be very easy and anticlimactic. The metal seemed to bend easily to my desires and was quickly completed, nothing like I anticipated. I guess some of my father's sheet metal skills rubbed off on me after all.

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