Entry: 11/12/06 - My spot welding technique doesn't produce the prettiest welds but they are strong and after dressing with 4½" angle grinder, rust repair phase was done and paint prep phase begins!
I decided to strip the paint off the majority of the rear quarterpanel so I could spread a thin coat of filler over a larger area to take care of any door ding dents at the same time. I applied filler, block sanded, applied another coat, block sanded, many iterations while listening to the Seahawks win against their division rivals the Rams on the radio, so the afternoon went by quick. Once satisfied with how smooth the panel felt and the door gap was in the corner of the door opening, I gave the entire area a thick coat of Spies Hecker Priomat Primer 3255 self-etching primer and called it a day. I'm excited to start stripping the right door and working my way forward with the filler / block sanding work. I find this kind of work very enjoyable, especially since all the welding is done! Oh, that little piece of wood with the wood screw in it that is jammed into the weatherstrip channel just above where the door latch would be on the lockpost in the following photo is how I adjust the door opening. I can position the door perfectly by turning the wood screw in or out to the desired depth and then close the door against it.
Entry: 11/14/06 - Finishing the inside of the right rear quarterpanel was the task for the last couple days. Yesterday I duct-taped a 6" steel tube to the end of my 3M seam sealer cartridge in my caulk gun and reached way back into the "hole" where the rockerpanel and lockpost join and filled it to seal it from moisture. I made sure that there are no cavities back in there that will trap moisture. Once that area hardened-up, I started with the "faux factory undercoating" treatment to the rest of the lower lockpost.
I decided to mask off the upper part for now, leaving it stripped, just in case I need to weld-up any of the rotten areas surrounding the rear quarter window garnish mounting holes. I wouldn't want that new undercoating to catch fire and I'll come back and finish the top portion later. With a thick coat of Wurth High-Build Underseal, all the repairs to that area are hidden. Next step, finish hammer-and-dolly work on that right door, file the bottom edge to square-up the new sheetmetal formed over the lip and then filler and block sanding. I am very stoked with how the door gaps are looking already!
Entry: 11/17/06 - Over the last couple days, I've done the final fitting of the right door to the opening to get the bottom gap as close as possible. I also took hammer-and-dolly to the high and low spots and filed the edges on the new door skin lip at the bottom to a sharp corner like original. I'm happy with how everything looks on the car so today it was time to remove that door and strip the paint in preparation for filling and block sanding. I used the usual aircraft-style automotive paint stripper and once all the paint was gone, nothing but healthy steel... zero rust! I figured out I needed to stabilize the bare steel in cases I can't immediately prime it so I washed it using Eastwood Company's Metal Wash which etches the surface and prevents flash rusting for up to 3 weeks. As it sits tonight, it has a nice gray haze and no flash rust. A little more stripping left to do on the back and bottom inside frame and then it's time to start filling and block sanding to hide that weld seam and some door dings.
Entry: 11/18/06 - Today started with chemically stripping the inside of the door and then washing the whole thing thoroughly with hot water and dish soap to get rid of all traces of the chemical stripper. I used Eastwood Company's Metal Wash to keep any flash rusting from forming and let it dry over my garage heater. I decided to start with the inside of the door and finish with the outside since I still had some oxy/acetylene torch work to do to fix a "wallered-out" window frame adjusting hole (marked "A" in the photo), probably due to using too big of replacement machine screw or bolt getting repeatedly hammered from door slamming. Sure enough, when I started heating the damaged area to braze in some brass rod, lead body solder started letting loose around the top section of the door skin... good call to do the inside first. Once the brazing was complete and dressed to size (marked "B" in the following photo), I started filling and block sanding the entire inner door frame using Evercoat Rage Xtreme lightweight filler. Once all the sanding was completed, I primed the entire area using Spies Hecker Priomat Primer 3255 self-etching primer and verified the adjusting hole will be completely covered by the rubber plug used to fill it. I considered attempting to fix the "wallered-out" inner hole but figured that a larger washer would be a better use of my time.
The rust-thru hole repair welds done at the bottom inside edge of the door frame were filled and block sanded at the same time and as you can see in the following photo, everything looks nice and sanitary and the original drain holes are completely functional. Certainly good enough for a repair area that isn't seen without getting on the ground and looking upwards! I'm much more excited about starting the real visible filling and block sanding work on the outside of the door. Once the outside work is done, I'll seal the inside of the door with Wurth High-Build Underseal. I'm pretty stoked with how this once condemned door is turning out!
Entry: 11/19/06 - Today started with putting spot (glazing) putty on the sanding marks and shallow imperfections I could see in the fresh coat of primer on the inner door frame. I found a large dent on the front part of the door frame where I had primed it right after sandblasting it and recognized the perfect application for my stud welder. I was able to pull the entire dent out in an area where it was impossible to get in from behind it, better yet no filler was required, just a little spot putty to fill the grind marks from removing the stud.
After wrapping-up most of the detail finish work to the inner door frame, I turned the door over and started by scuffing the bare metal surface with a 50-grit sanding disk on my 4½" angle grinder to create the random pattern seen in the following photo. The autobody manuals I've studied advise this as the best approach to prep the surface to give the filler coat the best possible mechanical and chemical bond with the surface.
I got a pretty good start on filling and block sanding the entire outer door skin. I'm about 90% done using the Evercoat Rage Xtreme lightweight filler and 80-grit paper on my sanding board and can see the metal starting to "ghost" through in many points indicating a very thin coverage of filler. Next I'll start with the glazing putty and 180-grit paper to fill the sanding marks in preparation for high-build filler primer later. I'm very pleased with how it is turning out and have great confidence that I'll be able to read a newspaper in its reflection when wet!
Entry: 11/22/06 - I spent 8 hours today finishing up the pneumatic and hand longboard block sanding of the Evercoat Rage Xtreme lightweight filler with 80-grit sandpaper and then applying Evercoat Polyester Glazing Putty which is also a catalyst type putty but even lighter and easier to sand using 180-grit sandpaper in the pneumatic and hand longboards and foam rubber blocks. Once I could no longer "feel" high and low spots, it was time to spray on a light splatter coat of SEM Guide Coat and block sand. The guide coat stays on in the low areas and points out defects the naked eye and fingertip can't distinguish. Here's how it looked with all the block sanding finished after a couple rounds of guide coat sanding and filling.
Once I was finally happy with how it felt after all my block sanding, it was finally ready for a heavy coat of Spies Hecker Priomat Primer 3255 self-etching primer and it will be ready to bolt back on to the car when it dries overnight. Good enough for now, filler primer will take care of any sanding marks and pin holes I might have missed with the glazing putty. My next task is finishing up the rocker panel and making sure the gap where the door and rockerpanel meet looks factory original now that the door side of that gap is done.
Entry: 11/24/06 - Today's task was final filling and fitting of the roughed-in right door opening to the now completed door. I used the original rockerpanel as a guide to determine how "squared-off" the door opening was originally. The Dansk replacement rockerpanel pressing's edges are much "rounder" than originally found on my 912, so I had to build-up the door threshold with Evercoat Rage Xtreme lightweight filler>. I subscribe to the bodyshop theory that filler should only be applied to bare steel or itself (earlier applied filler) to insure the best possible chemical as well as mechanical bond to the surface, so I sanded off all the previously applied primer and scuffed the bare metal surfaces with a 50-grit sanding disk on my 4½" angle grinder and scuffed the previously applied filler with 80-grit sandpaper. I spread the filler flush with the bottom of the door and then block sanded it back to produce a beautiful, uniform 3mm gap all the way around. As it sits tonight, the filler work is all sanded into shape with 80-grit sandpaper and ready for glazing putty. The edge of the door opening is sharp, waiting for final rounding of the edge of the opening to match the original's radius. I thought it would be a good idea to let the filler cure nice and hard before rounding the edge with 220-grit sandpaper as the last step once all the glazing putty and guide coat block sanding work is finished. I will also test fit the rockerpanel deco strip to make sure it lays flush with the rockerpanel and everything looks perfect now, while it's easy to fix.
Entry: 11/26/06 - A milestone was accomplished today with the completion of the right door, rockerpanel and rear quarterpanel, now sitting all ready for high-build filler primer! I did a little more shaping of the area above the jack post before applying the Evercoat Polyester Glazing Putty and block sanding it out. Now it's time for a before and after photo, or better yet, photo at the point of greatest tear-down, prior to welding in all the new steel! I'm amazed at how much work I have invested into this car and the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction I'm getting out of this work. It's not about the value of the car I'm building, but rather how much I value the skills I'm developing. The finished car is a manifestation of my personal skills and time spent, not money spent purchasing somebody elses skills.
Here's the real money shot, a perfect 3mm door gap all the way around, on the side of the car that was involved in the collision! There is also no way a rust bubble will ever appear because there is no rust left in there, anywhere!
I also test fit the new rubber door threshold mat which I purchased from AppBiz.com which fits the opening very nicely. There are just a few small surface defects in the door threshold area the thick coat of Spies Hecker Priomat Primer 3255 self-etching primer have made visible but those can be filled with red-oxide glazing putty like I did on the inside of the door frame. Red-oxide putty is old school and shrinks too much over time to use on the outside bodywork but for inside areas that aren't really visible and limited in size, it's just the ticket because it's so easy to use.
Entry: 11/27/06 - Today's project was to continue working my way towards the rear of the car on the right rear quarterpanel. The area under the rear quarter window trim had some rot starting and I needed to determine the extent of the damage using my spot sandblasting gun. As you can see in the following photo, I was able to blast all the pits clean and only one small area actually had a couple rust pits deep enough to blow all the way through. Since it was so limited and well hidden under the trim piece, a simple patch using JB Magic Weld took care of the problem.
Once the holes were patched, I sanded down the quarterpanel between the window and the lower area I had already primed. I discovered that the car has never been repainted in this area, the paint is only one layer thick and in very good condition. I believe that original factory paint is the ideal surface to repaint and don't take the surface to bare metal if the paint isn't too thick, so I didn't remove all the paint on this section of the car. I'm hoping the roof is also the original factory paint so I can simply scuff it and prime it too. There were a couple minor dents I filled with Evercoat Polyester Glazing Putty as it is intended to stick to primer and paint. Once the dents were smoothed with 180-grit sandpaper and the paint on the upper lockpost scuffed with sandpaper, I primed the entire area with a thick coat of Spies Hecker Priomat Primer 3255 self-etching primer. I also drilled all the holes and installed the rockerpanel deco strip to make sure everything looks perfect long before the paint is applied. You can see the details of the lower lockpost work completed yesterday in the following photo:
Now that I'm certain that no welding will be required to fix the rot areas on the rear quarter window trim, I was able to start the "faux factory undercoating" on the upper lockpost and the pinch weld seam of the rear quarter window by fingertip dabbing 3M seam sealer on the areas that I had stripped the undercoating off of weeks earlier. Tomorrow I'll give this area a good thick coat of Wurth High-Build Underseal.
Entry: 11/28/06 - We are snowed-in and the roads so treacherous that there are at least 30 cars lined-up along the road up the hill below the house where they were abandoned during last evening's commute! The tow-trucks were busy all day today clearing the road for the onslaught of evening today's rush hour. The temperature never rose above 24 degrees and there is deep snow on the driveway so no turning the car around to hose out the right front wheelwell and fender in preparation for paint stripping! Instead I finished the undercoating on the underside of the right upper lockpost and quarter window area to complete the "faux factory undercoating" work there. The rest of the day was spent with red-oxide spot putty and 180-grit sandpaper, detail filling and sanding the right inner door and doorjab. This was a job I was planning to do later but given the cold temperatures, it was the perfect activity out in the garage today, standing about 4 feet from a space heater!
Entry: 11/29/06 - Yet another day of being snowed-in and well below freezing so more detail filling and sanding of the right inner door and doorjab. After a full day of work, I'm about 95% finished... still just a little more work on the bottom of the inner door frame and a couple defects on the doorjab. A bodyshop would have called it good enough yesterday, but I'm going for perfection here! Here's the completed lower lockpost, I took extra pains to retain the way the quarterpanel skin overlaps the lower lockpost and it turned out looking just like factory.
Here's the completed A-pillar, all the rust pits blasted, filled and blocked-out to look perfect. The lower corner rust patch work and repaired door check strap tab is undetectable and looks just like it should.
Here the completed latch end of the inner door frame. You can really see the new piece of steel and its flange across the top, attached to the bottom 2" inside of the door from this camera angle. The seam in the door skin about 2" from the bottom, yet is undetectable at the pinch joint at the rear, bottom edge of the door. The other undetectable repair is the "wallered-out" window frame bolt access hole that had been brazed back to round. I got lucky and caught the spotwelds where the front vertical window channel at the back of the wing vent were broken and might have caused a rattle, so I drilled them out and MIG welded them back up... usually I find this kind of stuff after the car is painted!
Finally the hinge end of the door where the collision had jammed the hinge post into the door and left a large dent between the window frame bolt access holes at the top. Everything looks perfect now, including a bit more filler where the top of the door meets the top of the fender!