DarrylD's Porsche 912 Project Page - Phase 3: Final Fitting & Mounting of Front Fenders

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Entry: 1/3/07 - Today was spent patching the floor of the right fender turnsignal bucket and horn grill opening using JB Weld and aluminum window screen to reinforce the rotten bottoms of the drainage channels at the front edge that have been blasted and rust treated. Once all the JB Weld work was done, I started preparing the cowl area on the car for primer and mounting the fender. The flange areas on the fender were given a liberal coat of Eastwood's Rust Encapsulator to seal the area and prep it for primer and paint when the door jabs are painted. Next, I'll patch the fender undercoating using my "faux factory undercoating" technique and give it all a fresh coat of Wurth high-build undercoating. I'm working my way towards mounting the fenders first and then completing filler and block sanding the right rockerpanel area.

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Entry: 1/4/07 - Today's activities focused on getting closer to permanent mounting of the front fenders. Yesterday I stripped the paint off the cowl areas where the fenders mount. Today it was time to spot sandblast the surface rust and shoot it with a thick coat of Spies Hecker Priomat Primer 3255 self-etching primer which will be followed with a coat of Eastwood's Rust Encapsulator at the point where the flanges meet between the fender mounting bulkhead and the door opening. My spot sandblasting gun comes with several different shaped rubber caps that allow me to adapt it to the various corners and edges.

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Once the sandblasting and prep work was done on the cowl areas on both sides and I finished spraying on the primer, my attention turned to patching the undercoating under the right fender. I used my "faux factory undercoating" technique once again to patch the stripped areas in the original factory undercoating that I had to remove to make my patch welds. Any loose undercoating had been scraped off and the surface rust treated with rust converter as I was doing the welding work.

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Finally, I was able to recycle the masking materials used on the cowl priming to mask off the right fender for a thick coat of Wurth high-build underseal to clean-up the Bahama Yellow overspray on the old undercoating and hide the patches made using the "faux factory undercoating" technique. Once the fresh undercoating dries, the fender will be ready for mounting. I will be needing to apply seam sealer to the A-piller seams before mounting the fenders since I had removed all the original factory seam sealer as part of the restoration. Things are progressing very nicely.

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Entry: 1/6/07 - Today the final test fit of the right fender was the objective. Tools of such a task include dead blow hammer, pry bars, wood blocks, screw jacks and 5 lb. slide hammer. This is a task where patience is key in bending the steel to my will to form it to the door and cowl of a different car than it was formed to at the factory. The addition of new steel patches along the flanges distorts the form slightly too so a little effort is required to get it to align perfectly. Notice in the following photo, the bottom of the fender now holds the contour of the rockerpanel perfectly with a new flange welded to it at the bottom!

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I got out the Dremmel tool and carved the final shape to the trailing edge of the fender to match what it should look like if the factory did it. As you can see in the following photo, the '68 fender didn't fit the gap at all in the before (vorher) marked photo. The after (nachher) shot shows that my welding extra material on the trailing edge and carving it to the desired shape has it matching the one on my '74 911 almost exactly... OH YEAH BABY!!! I still need to take sandpaper and feather the original paint as it goes up the windshield pillar, which explains the rough edge covered by red-oxide colored primer in the "nachher" photo.

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Finally, the gap between the hood and fender is right at 3 mm, or close enough for now and final fitting will pound out that last half millimeter! You can clearly see my JB Weld patch work to the floor of the turnsignal bucket and horn grill opening in the following photo. This side is ready for final mounting! The left side gets a little more complicated with the fuel fill tube, which I blasted and painted today in preparation for final fitting on that side.

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Entry: 1/9/07 - Preparing for final attachment of the left fender was the focus of todays efforts. Since I've already test fit this fender, the next step is applying the sealing ribbon to its mating surfaces and bolting it into place permanently. The complicating part is that the fuel filler tube and the new rubber fuel filler sleeve (part number 901.201.591.20) with its overflow drain tube must all be installed beforehand. The original fuel filler tube was still in fantastic shape, with only a few worn and rusted areas around the gas cap end so I limited my media blasting and repainting to just that area, preserving as much of the original finish as I could, including the original factory trunk carpet glue residue! The little metal cup that attaches the overflow tube to the rubber sleeve needed to be media blasted and reinforced using JB Weld in order to save it. A coat of gloss black Rustoleum paint on that little metal cup needs to dry before I can assemble the fuel filler assembly and attach the fender. I also masked-off the area inside the fuel fill door on the fender and gave it a heavy coat of matt-black aerosol Eastwoods Rust Encapsulator as the finish coat. A thick coat of Eastwood Rust Encapsulator was brushed on the cowl above the A-pillar where the fender flange meets with it to seal the metal under the plastic bead that will be sandwiched there. Lastly a bead of seam sealing caulk was applied across the top of the A-pillar and down the inside of the fender mounting bulkhead where it meets the cowl. As you can see in the following photo, everything is ready for assembly once the paint and seam sealer have cured overnight.

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Entry: 1/10/07 - Today's objective was to perform the final mounting of the left fender. First task to accomplish it was install the fuel filler assembly and there is a definite sequence of assembly to do it. First thing is install the little metal cup that attaches the overflow tube into the rubber fuel filler sleeve. Next, heating the plastic overflow tube with my propane torch softened the it enough to slip it over the little metal cup and then I simply inserted the overflow tube into the metal clips down the front of the fender mounting flange as I positioned the rubber fuel filler sleeve into the hole in the cowl. There is a good sized lip on the rubber fuel filler sleeve that forms a large grommet when the filler tube is inserted and the filler tube will only fit the hole when the lip is seated correctly in the cowl hole. I used plenty of glycerine to lube the filler tube and it slid right in the rubber sleeve and through the inner foam seal on the trunk side of the cowl. The old, rusty gas cap is temporarily sealing the fuel filler tube from dust and dirt entering it. I rolled the outer lip of the rubber fuel filler sleeve back so I wouldn't interfere with installation of the fender.

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Next step was applying the seal to the fender flanges. I have purchased a 5 meter length of the factory Terostat fender sealing ribbon and found it didn't look anything like the original sealing material I scraped off, which looked more like the 3M strip caulk I've used on car projects for years but it isn't shaped like a ribbon. Well, I got creative and put 3 strips at a time on a sheet of wax paper, folding the wax paper so it covered the top and bottom. Then I took it over to my shop press and flattened it between two flat pieces of plate steel so it turned out about 1/16" thick and 3/4" wide. There you go, instant vintage Porsche fender sealing ribbon, "faux sealing ribbon" may be a more accurate description. Regardless, I stuck it to the cowl and attached the fender and seated the rubber fuel filler sleeve in the grooved ring on the fender.

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The fender went on quite easily and with a little adjustment with the screw jack, wood blocks and dead-blow hammer, fits quite nicely. Finally I installed the already finished left door to take a look at the gaps. All the gaps look like they did on the last last test-fit so we're good to go, I think I'll start with the rocker and rear quarterpanel filler and block sanding work next and come back to the fenders.

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Entry: 1/30/07 - Completing preparations for permanent mounting of the right fender were the objective today. After removing the door and fender, the first issue to deal with was adding a very small amount of filler to square up the door lip edge in the area of the sill that is blocked with the door installed. I didn't remove the door when I did the filler work on this side, so I had to go back and finish this small area. After sanding and a coat of primer, I got out the 3M seam sealing caulk and ran a bead across the top of the A-pillar and down the inside of the fender mounting bulkhead. Last task for the day was a coat of Eastwood's Rust Encapsulator across the top of the fender mating surface of the cowl above the A-pillar. This evening, everything sits ready to mount the fender tomorrow.

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Entry: 1/31/07 - The right fender was permanently attached today. I used the same technique of flattening the 3M strip caulk into ribbons as done on the left side and everything bolted into place without much drama. There is a slight upward cant at the outside of the fender in the forward section by the turnsignal and the horn grill is about 3 mm off sitting perfectly horizontal but I'm able to flex it into place by simply grabbing the lower fender lip next to the turnsignal bucket by hand and pushing down. I held off on doing any permanent bending until I had the front bumper ready for test fitting, then I will clamp a chain to the outside edge of the fender between the turnsignal bucket and wheel arch to the 4-post lift and use a jack to raise the car until everything lines up. It will be perfect when I get done, just best not to guess at the correct alignment and wait until I see how the bumper fits first. I went ahead and media blasted the front bumper brackets in preparation for that step.

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Entry: 2/1/07 - Today it was time to deal with the problem area under the headlight on the left fender. I discovered filler in this area back when I stripped the fender and once it was all stripped-off I found a where some collision damage had been repaired. The stretched metal in the area forced the hood gap to narrow down from a factory spec 4 mm down the hood to 2 mm for the last 6" as it met the horn grill. I attempted to fix the area using hammer and dolly but couldn't get the stretched metal to behave. So, what do you do but cut out a strip of metal parallel to the hood gap, carefully form the correct gap by pushing the cut edges closer together with dead-blow hammer and wood block, force a 4 mm piece of wood into the hood gap to hold it in place so welding heat doesn't expand the metal and narrow the hood gap and finally tack weld the cut back shut. This fender has turned out to be one of my most heroic efforts to save with all the patching I've done on the flange, top of the cowl and bottom of the rocker area. Once more, welding has saved what should have been junked if a better one could have been found. In this photo, you can see the cut has been tack welded to insure the 4 mm hood gap.

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As I welded up the cut, I blew compressed air up into the back side to cool the weld and extinguish any burning undercoating. Welding actually went very quickly and after a little hammer and dolly work, dressing the weld with the grinding disc on my 4" angle grinder and then changing the pad on the angle grinder to scuff the rest of the surface with the 50-grit sanding disc, the surface was ready for Evercoat Rage Xtreme lightweight filler.

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The first coat of filler went on pretty easily and once set-up but not hard, I took my 80-grit sanding board to the area to do the initial shaping of the contours. A second coat will be required to cover the area a little higher up the hood gap where I used a cold chisel to create a shallow bend to flex as I beat an extra mm wider hood gap to smooth out the transition from where I cut and welded down lower. The photo below shows how it sits tonight with the horn grill in place, a perfect 4 mm gap all the way along that edge. Once again, when fixing a collision damaged car, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to make it look perfect.

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Entry: 2/3/07 - Today's objective was to put the second coat of Evercoat Rage Xtreme lightweight filler on the area under the left headlight and block sand it out. This layer filled low spots under the headlight and the shallow trough I made above the cut parallel to the trunk gap. I finished block sanding and it's ready for a little glazing putty and primer.

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I also finished filling and block sanding on the patch just behind the fuel filler door, where I cut out and patched an 'L' shaped rotten section at the top of the fender mounting flange with new sheetmetal last spring. A little glazing putty and final block sanding and this area will be ready for primer too. Getting the necessary work completed so I can prime this fender is my goal for tomorrow.

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Entry: 2/4/07 - Today's tasks began with applying a thin coat of Evercoat Polyester Glazing Putty over all the filler and block sanding. I also sanded all the bare metal with 320-grit sandpaper to scuff the surface to promote adhesion of the primer. Once satisfied with how everything looked, I masked the edges and wiped the surface with a lint-free towel soaked in PrepSol solvent, followed by a tack rag to remove any debris from the surface. A couple thick coats of Spies Hecker Priomat Primer 3255 self-etching primer was applied before I ran upstairs to watch the kick-off of the Superbowl. The primer exposed some shallow dents that will be needing some attention with a dolly on the back side or glazing putty and block sanding. I can also see where a little more adjustment is needed at the door to fender gap, hard to see until the solid color allows me to use the light to cast shadows. Nothing that a little patience and leverage can't line right up now that I can see all the details clearly.

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I'm very pleased with how the repair under the headlight turned out, no further work required here. I'll move on to the right fender so I can get a coat of primer on that bare metal ASAP and then come back for a second pass over the left one. I figure at least 100 hours of labor once high-build filler primer and block sanding begins. The majority of the cost and quality of a paint job is attention to detail in what I'm doing right now, which requires dicipline not to rush as I get closer to painting. Once I get the right fender primed, I can test mount the front bumper and do all the necessary adjustments to the fenders.

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Entry: 2/6/07 - Today's objective was to get the minimal amount of filler and block sanding work completed on the right fender and give it a coat of primer. First thing was to apply a thin coat of Evercoat Rage Xtreme lightweight filler over the welding done to "backdate" the '68 fender, closing the front side marker holes and headlight unit mounting tabs inside the headlight bucket. I also applied filler over the rust pits blasted out from under the front edge of the headlight bucket. There was also a small amount of filler placed on the bottom end of the fender where it meets the rockerpanel to fill some rust pits patch welds. Things progressed quite quickly and before long I had all the bare metal sanded with 320-grit sandpaper to scuff the surface to promote adhesion of the primer and the edges masked off.

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I wiped the surface with a lint-free towel soaked in PrepSol solvent, followed by a tack rag to remove any debris from the surface. A couple thick coats of Spies Hecker Priomat Primer 3255 self-etching primer was applied and here's how it sits tonight with the masking removed. Now I'm ready to test mount that front bumper and make sure everything still lines up ok after all the flange patching. I am pretty confident it will but quality work requires that I make no assumptions and find and fix the problems before painting, not afterwards!

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