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03-08-2010 08:35 PM Trunk Part 15: tail lamp panels (3)
Tonight I continued on the disassembly of the rear end of the Impala. The goal was to finish cutting out the spot weld on the passenger side rear quarter (in the wheelhouse) and get the bottom 1/3 of the quarter cut out. I must be getting good at spot welds, because it only took me about an hour to free the quarter from the car.

PIC 1: Quarter panel has been cut off, exposing a little bit of the wheel house. I found some cancer that wasn't apparent early where the quarter panel drop down panel is welded to the wheelhouse. I'll have to address that before getting to far.

PIC 2: I've cut out the last body mount from the drip channel. The deck lid latch and bumpers were spotted to the drip channel in what seemed to be 100 place. I orginally was planning on drilling the spots out and saving them for later, but the drip channel is so flexible now that there are no supports, I was afraid I would twist the channel out of position and really have a mess. It was less traumatic to just cut them out.

PIC 3: I'm put in the new body brace onto the frame and place the quarter panel drop down in place with a couple of vice grips. Just to see how things are fitting...

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  [Entry #77]

03-06-2010 10:17 PM Trunk Part 14: Tail lamp panels (2)
I was considering not removing the tail lamp panels entirely and only cutting out the bottom 1/2 of the panel and butt weld that piece in from my replacement panel. I decided, as much as I hate cutting out spot welds, the correct thing to do would be replace the whole panel.

The panel wraps around and is spot welded in about 100 places inside the drip channel of the trunk.

PIC 1: I opted to cut out the tail lamp panel, following the quarter panel and the drip channel, which leaves me more room to work those spot welds.

I use a piece of steel rule (used for making trimming dies) to break any piece of the spot weld that I missed when I drill it out. The steel rule is tempered steel and much harder than the weld and surrounding metal. I fit the rule between the pieces, wack it with a hammer and VOILA, a nice clean break. The rule is only about .040 thick so I have much less distortion using this method over an air chisle or screwdriver

PIC 2: I've gone around the quarter panel with my cutter, and removed the remaining bits of the tail lamp panel. I've also cut the bottom 1/3 of the rear quarter away, which takes the quarter drop down panel with it. Now THAT is a big hole.

PIC 3: With the drivers side panel out, I can continue on cutting spot welds to remove the tail panel. This is a strip of metal that is welded into the drip channel and connects the two tail lamp panels.
What was left of the tail panel, came out without much of a fight, and I proceeded to cut the passenger side tail lamp panel out and cut out the spot welds.

I didn't cut the quarter out on this side, as I still have more spot welds to cut out. The quarter panel on the passenger side is still attached to the wheelhouse.

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  [Entry #76]

03-06-2010 10:07 PM Trunk Part 13 - Tail Lamp Panels
With the box braces complete, I'm now able to start on the final set of body mounts, which are in the rear trunk brace. Attached to this brace, are several components

1. trunk floor
2. quarter panel fillers
3. tail lamp panels
4. tail panel.

PIC 1: driver side panel

PIC 2: passenger side panel

PIC 3: just an overview of the mess I have to fix. I ran a piece 1x1 angle iron across the quarters as a quick brace. Once I remove the trunk brace from the quarters there really isn't much to keep all the metal in place. I figure its good insurance.

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  [Entry #75]

03-04-2010 09:33 PM Trunk Part 12 - box braces complete
Yeah, its been a while. In my last entry, I was building a patch panel for the top of the driver's side wheelhouse. I got the panel built, tacked it in and .... well, there it sat. I just didn't have the get up and go to finish welding it in. Welding upside down, crammed in the wheelhouse just didn't appeal to me all that much. Then summer came, lots to do... Fall came... Lots to do. Winter came......

I finally sucked up, welded it in (and it ain't pretty), but it'll work. I'm not going to take any shot of it. I ended up having to make the panel in a couple of pieces. The patch needed to be a compound curve and I don't have the tools at this point to make that.

Once the top of the wheelhouse was repaired, I finished fitting the back piece patch panels of the wheelhouse (where the quarter filler panels spot to) and got those all welded in. There was a LOT of panel fabrication going on over that past couple of weeks which is not terribly exciting so I didn't take any pictures....

I then proceeded to fix up the corner of the trunk deck. I used part of the deck that I cut out earlier and patched the lower 1/3 using new steel to create the lip that the trunk floor will ultimately get spotted to:

PIC 1: Passenger side trunk deck finally repaired

PIC 2: I then fit the drivers side box brace (after a good coat of SPI epoxy) and welded it in. The drivers side box brace welded in

PIC 3: The trunk deck all patched up. It looks pretty good. I need to do a little clean up where I did my plug welds and it is good to go.

I'll need a little filler to clean everything up and make it nice and smooth later on.

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  [Entry #74]

04-15-2009 08:00 PM Trunk - Part 11
PIC 1: This is the panel that I removed from the wheel house. Overall, this part I think is salvageable. The flange which held it to the wheel house is more or less wrecked, but I think I can fabricate a new one and get it plugged back into the wheel house

PIC 2: I've cut out the cancer out of the top of the wheel house. What a pain trying to squeeze into the wheel house. I'm wishing I had a rotisserie...

PIC 3: The start of the patch panel for the top of the wheel house. I'm not looking forward to welding this thing in...

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  [Entry #73]

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