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11-12-2006 02:13 PM November 9, 2006
Because it was nice, the door went very well yesterday. I had time to take a stab at the passenger quarterpanel--which was much less nice to start with.

The second photo shows close up the area that had been badly worked after previous damage. I worked it as well as I could with the pick hammer and dolly, but it was stretched way out of shape, and my attempts to fix it made it worse.

I then decided to re-visit something I had tried years before without much success, heat-shrinking with a torch. I would touch the tiny light blue cone part of the flame to the metal for just an instant, until the metal quickly became cherry red. I used a dripping wet rag to quickly and forcefully push in the heated area, being careful not to burn myself with the steam. The metal would rise up so far and so fast that I was afraid I would make the panel far worse.

I hear sometimes it's 'better to be lucky than good', and it worked out well today. I put the cone on the highest part of the metal I wanted to shrink, and pushed it in with the wet rag, and it worked fantastic. The panel is much, much better than I started with. The black marks are Sharpie marker so I would know exactly where to heat. The small black spots are the specific area where I heated and then shrunk.

Down low where I welded the patch in, you can see the rust marks no doubt brought on by the funny blue Eastwood 'Play-Doh' stuff I used to prevent warping as I welded. the label says it has silica in it, and the rusty marks that appear leave no doubt about that. Still, I think it does as advertised, and will probably end up using it on the fenders when I get to those.

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  [Entry #139]

11-12-2006 02:01 PM November 8, 2006
How quickly the project car becomes a storage shelf! I buy and sell from home and have a million things going on at any one time, and I hate that it's been over one month since I've touched this project.

76 degrees and beautiful here in St. Louis today. I started the engine in my motorized storage shelf and pulled it forward, outside.

I stripped the paint from the passenger door with a 36 grit disc on my Ryobi. This door was super nice, no dents, no rust, no previous repairs, but it did have a whole bunch of accumulated parking lot dings from 30+ years of service, with original paint. It had one good-sized ding right at the lower curved body line.

I elected to cover the whole thing with a skim coat of bondo as mentioned in an earlier entry. I cheese-grated the filler, quickly approximated the shape with 36 grit paper on the DA sander. I then used more 36 grit on the inline airfile sander. Occasionally I would switch to the long sanding block and do it by hand. This allows me to go slow and know what's going on. It minimizes the times when I will be sanding away only to realize that I've gone way too far.

When I was 'finished', everything felt great except for the one big ding on the body line! The lower edge of the skim coat of filler was a little jagged, so I built up a little on the whole length of the body line, to make sure I could sand everything straight. While I was at it, I went ahead and worked the dent at the top rear corner of the fender.

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  [Entry #138]

10-06-2006 08:37 PM 4 October 2006 Chippin' Away Part II
This car was hit long ago in the rear end. Hence the bondo on both quarters, and the used-to-be-blue trunk lid. Whoever repaired it did not take the time to get the body lines and corners right. They attempted to build the corner back up with a large amount of filler. It looked wrong to me, so I used the die grinder to cut a slit all the way around the inside edge and underneath edge of this corner. I then used a big hammer, peices of wood, and a wrecking bar to put it over where I wanted it. I stopped and closed the trunklid frequently to check the alignment. Note the huge amount I had to move it. I then welded a thin strip of metal in to fill the gap.

On the garage TV, I watched the Cardinal game on the last day of the regular season, just like the home opener. They ended up clinching the division just 1/2 game ahead of the Astros, after being ahead 15 games just a few weeks ago.

After these photos, I test-fit the rear bumper, removed it, and slit the back edge of the quarterpanel, in the bumper cove, the same way as above. I pried the center out more than a half-inch, and welded it the same way. This was an all day project. I then ground off the whole back side of the quarter, to reveal yet another slab of bondo. The panel was badly worked, and is stretched out of shape a whole bunch. I'll be working it with the hammer and dolly for a long time.

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  [Entry #137]

10-06-2006 08:14 PM 3 October, 2006. Chippin' away at it.
1. I took my time and was careful, and this is probably the best patchpanel I've ever made.

2. Using the funny, salty blue Play-Doh from Eastwood, I tack welded around the edge of the patch.

3. Here it is ground clean. Despite my caution, it's still a little low in the center. I'm definitely not into the no-bondo minor leagues of auto body repair just yet. I watch "Overhaulin" and similar shows, read the car magazines, and one thing strikes me funny about those fabulous first class frame-off rotisserie restorations that people do. They do incredibly meticulous metalwork. The patches, replaced panels, the welds, they all look perfect. Always, always the theme throughout is how straight all the work is, and that no bondo will be necessary. Then, when the car is done, right before primer, they coat the entire car from top to bottom with-you guessed it-a skim coat of bondo!

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  [Entry #136]

10-01-2006 10:24 PM September 28, 2006, part 3
I figured it would be ok to use slightly thinner metal for the inside peices, to speed up the process a little. I used more of the trusty hail-damaged Silverado roof rescued from the bodyshop dumpster. I made several inner patch peices and welded them in. Note that I temporarily installed the trim peice to insure that I would get the exact angle on the inner panel's wheel lip edge.

Then using the heavier metal from the old quarterpanel, I formed the outer patch with my pick hammer, bench vise and this really cool 55 lb. anvil I recently picked up at Harbor Freight for 30 bucks! How did I make it this far in life without previously owning one of these? Though I may have gotten shafted a little. I had to put it on the scale--it only weighs 52 pounds!

This is what the floor looked like before I cleaned up my mess for the day. It was getting late and I don't like to hammer and grind after 10 PM because the neighbors are so close. So I didn't get the outer patch welded on. I know you professionals could probably finish this whole panel in a day, but this was a pretty productive day for me.

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  [Entry #135]

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