'78 T/A Rust repair order - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board
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Old 03-09-2009, 11:37 AM
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'78 T/A Rust repair order

Hey All,

Well, I think I've put off bodywork on my car for as long as I can, so it's definitely time to start doing and stop thinking when it comes to eliminating the cancer. On Sat I was able to take the car out and about, and when getting into the car at one point my shin briefly rested on the rocker panel (by the door jamb), which promptly collapsed with a resounding *crunch* . I knew that I was gonna have to take care of the rust, but it's farther along than I realized.

So, what would be the best way to approach the repairs as far as order of operations? Should I start on the outside and work my way in, or start inside and work my way out?

There's a huge amount of repairs that will be needed. Initial list of patch panels are: front PS fender patch, both door skins, both rocker panels, both rear frame rails, both rear quarters, DS trunk dropoff, DS door jamb, and DS inner wheel well. This doesn't include the package tray (some previous owner torched 2 huge holes in it for a pair of subs), windshield corners, or tail panel since I've already got good OEM sheet metal for these sections, and I also have a lead on a [supposedly] good DS rear quarter. Thankfully the floor pans are still fairly solid - they did have some surface rust and slight pitting when I first got the car 8 years ago, but I had cleaned, treated, and painted the floor at that time.

I am a little hesitant to tackle all this cause my bodywork skills are quite amateurish at best, though I haven't had much exposure up till now (I did replace the driver's side rocker, cab corner and floor on my '79 Chevy truck, so I've got some experience). I also realize that it'll be real easy to screw things up, but I don't have the budget to pay a pro to do this. I was planning on starting on the front PS fender because that's a small repair and also because it'll be easy to replace the entire fender if I muck it up. Beyond that, I wouldn't know where to start, although I'm leaning towards the rockers and working towards the rear of the car (and finishing with the frame rails - by then I oughta have enough experience to tackle them).

So does that sound like an ok starter plan? Any pointers, or tips? I've got a nice stack of posts and threads that I've printed up for guidance, but has anyone else done one of these cars?

Thanks,
Mike

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Old 03-09-2009, 11:59 AM
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Just an idea, but it may just be cheaper, easier, and faster to get a rust free body shell fron the West coast. They're lucky witk all their rust free metal out there! Firebird and TA shells should be the same.


Jamie
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Old 03-09-2009, 12:48 PM
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That is exactly what I did with my nova..I added up the cost of 1/4 panels and floor pans ,a trunk pan,2 fenders and said screw it.I bought a 68 nova in pheonix for 2500 bux paid 900 to ship it to pittsburgh ..was worth every penny. NOT A SPECK of rust just some peeled clearcoat.
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Old 03-10-2009, 05:26 AM
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When I was younger and had more time on my hands, I'd take on projects like this. I spent a lot of time and money on fixing things that should have just been replaced. Think long and hard about making that kind of investment.
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:00 AM
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I was thinking about projects like yours when I was at the wrecking yard the other day. There are SO many nice cars at the wrecking yards around here. My God, cars that would be considered SUPER nice on the east coast, just thrown away. And as mentioned, shipping really isn't that bad. If you think about a plane ticket to come see it and shipping and the cost of the car it really isn't that much!

Give it a thought.

Brian
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Old 03-10-2009, 10:08 AM
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Yea, that's what I'm doing - thinking about what to do. I can only do one major upgrade this year (out of a choice of engine or body), but it looks like the bodywork is winning out. Finding a rust free shell is something I didn't consider, but that would be real nice - only thing is this is a legit W72 400-4spd car (which is one of the more desirable types from '78), so don't know if swapping shells would affect the potential value. Though I guess screwing up the patches could affect the value even more (not that I'm even considering selling it, but I'm trying to keep value in mind).

I currently have a budget of around 1k for this year - enough for the replacement panels, but don't know about a whole shell. Course if I was to go that route it could wait until next year while I save up the difference.
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Old 03-10-2009, 04:16 PM
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Not meaning to highjack but Hey brian! any chevy2 s in those yards out there?
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Old 03-10-2009, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
There are SO many nice cars at the wrecking yards around here. My God, cars that would be considered SUPER nice on the east coast, just thrown away.

Brian

And around here, a typical car on the street looks worse than what you have in your junkyards. 7 year old vehicles typically have serious cancer. And what's in the junkyard is JUNK for real. I looked for 4 months for a door for my Lincoln, always asked the dude how bad it was and they all said not too bad, and every one of them was way worse than the door I had. Typically you could pass a basketball through the sheet metal, not bad, huh? So I fixed the door I had with stainless steel. I had to make the bottom 8" of the door skin, turned out to be no biggie.
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Old 03-10-2009, 06:27 PM
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If you must do a frame off or full body restoration it goes about like this:
As each part is pulled it is cleaned and repaired and then put into epoxy primer and then set aside and tagged. work your way down until you have the tub or body shell on a jig or rotisserie and work that piece over until it is rust free. then start putting it all back together.. at his point you will be glad that all the parts removed earlier are clean repaired and ready to go on the car..

Drive train and interior are done as a separate issue..

Is it worth it?? well if the car in question is rare or of sentimental value then yes but only you can answer that question..

Lot of work to do all of that..

Sam
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