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09-13-2006 12:34 AM The Green Cutlass
I joked about not posting again for 6 months because this quarter was taking so long, but I've managed a little progress.

This is the outer wheelhouse looking from underneath. Super-crude work with home-made patch panels, and pieces of a dented front fender left over from the convertible project. I still have the lower piece to fit and install, but the rest of the welding on this panel is done. No tack welds in the middle of the panel, it's all solid bead.

Including the back edge. I also attached the bottom trunk floor connecting panel. One difficult part about butt-welding as opposed to lap welding on the exterior finished panels is how many places I ground through the edge as I ground off the weld bead.

Is this a ray of heavenly sunlight indicating God's divine blessing for the near-completion of this quarterpanel installation? It could be, but as I welded inside the wheelhouse, I managed to fill the car's interior with this funny, hanging, slow-moving weld-smoke. So peaceful....

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  [Entry #129]

09-03-2006 10:42 AM More on the '63.
Not that rusty gas is this car's only problem....

When I bought it the seller told me 'it runs'. What that meant in reality was it runs if you pour gas into the float bowl vent in the carburetor, and 'runs' being defined by idling only. He also forgot to mention other trivial details like 'no exhaust system', etc. But it had manifolds installed on it, mismatched, one 1970s back outlet style, which was cracked, and one of the proper ram horn original style. He included an extra pair of originals, and I installed these, and peiced together some rusty pipes so I can at least run the engine and move the car around.

Cousin John is a little camera-shy. He and I did some basic stuff this evening like set the timing, check the dwell, etc. At least now I won't have to run it with the bleach-bottle gas tank.

The last photo is man's best friend, my own little lightning machine.

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  [Entry #128]

09-03-2006 10:33 AM Other Goings-On
Or, why the '63 project is going nowhere. I mean that both literally and figuratively. It has been sitting outside at my cousin John's house about 30 miles away since I bought it. It runs, but is not really drivable due to all its problems. John is taking a break from his '69 Firebird project, and yesterday helped me work on the '63.

Last weekend we pulled the gas tank, as I knew it was full of rust and sludge. It turned out to have lots of rust holes in the top. I cut an exploratory hole to look inside. Curious minds want to know. Much worse than I thought and obviously not worth saving.

I did lots of online shopping around, and found the cheapest tank on ebay, so I bought it for about $135 including shipping. I painted it with Rust Oleum black, to preserve the new tank. At Lowe's I bought new galvanized carriage bolts and nuts to install it. John has a very nice garage with a large level floor, and installation went off without a hitch.

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  [Entry #127]

09-02-2006 10:37 PM More Quarterpanel Work
Finally back at it. I used the die grinder to cut this slit in the top of my quarterpanel, just under the crown.

I used this thin strip of sheetmetal and made a measuring device out of it. Kind of a guage to check the fit on the other side. I bent it so it would fit comfortably on the passenger side, and then transferred that information to the panel I am working on. The masking tape shows were the exact inside edge of the panel is, and the hump shows how far out, and up, the crown needs to be.

Using a piece of wood and a hammer, I knocked the crown up this much higher to get it symmetrical with the passenger side, and now I have this monster gap to fill.....

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  [Entry #126]

07-16-2006 06:55 PM Back to the Cutlass Part II.
Parallel welds. I also made a couple of relief cuts in the wheelwell, so the bottom of the panel would bend the way I wanted it. I used the trim piece as reference and dry fit it frequently to check. I've completed a ton of welds down here now. At least it's still fairly straight. I'll be grinding for the rest of my middle age, but I won't have to bury it under an inch of bondo.

It was 98 degrees here in St. Louis today. I listened to the Cardinals-Dodgers game, and welded, welded, welded. Drank tons of water and soda.

Problem number 2: I can't say I wasn't warned. I was told the upper body line is never in the right place on these Taiwan quarterpanels. (and neither is anything else) I thought it would be neat to hide the seam up on top, and the repair would be invisible in the trunk. I got it to line up well up near the rear glass, and all went well until I noticed about 16 inches of the upper body line, the crown, is down too low. The white line that appears to be a reflection is actually a paint-pen mark made by me. It shows where I will have to cut the panel, and knock the crown upwards if I ever want it to look right. I don't want my next 35 entries to be about this one quarterpanel, so I may not post again until May or June or so.

The larger white marks are where I used little strips of metal shaped over the old panel, to use as reference so I could get the crown to be the same width as the passenger side. That idea worked very well, and I would do it again.

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  [Entry #125]

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