Entry: 5/9/07 - Today was the first full day of work on the 912 project since before my wife Anne passed away on 4/23/07. My heart longed to hear the intercom ring and that familiar voice asking what we should have for dinner as was always our daily routine. The intercom has been switched off, but even in its silence, it reminds me of the happiness sharing my life with Anne gave me. So, I can spend my time indulging in self pity or I can move forward with life and honor her memory by focusing the angst of loss and loneliness into beautiful automotive art... I choose to get busy and keep moving forward! Over the last couple days, I've finished the few remaining spot putty and block sanding repairs on the left side of the car as well as draining the molasses and water solution out of the fuel tank, rinsing it with hot water and swishing it with Eastwood Metal Wash. All the rust scales inside the fuel tank were eaten away by the molasses and only some minor pits remain in the clean steel. Today it was time to turn the car around on the lift and get started on the right side final pass, bodywork on the rear deck lid and test fitting of the the bumper and rear panel. As you can see in the following photo, there are a few areas circled in white chalk and the fuel tank sits ready for sandblasting.
I removed the rear deck lid and stripped it using my standard aircraft style paint stripper, followed by hot soapy scrub down and then a bath in Eastwoods Metal Wash to prevent any flash rusting. There is some minor impact damage to the rear latch sill so I've started straightening it with hammer and dolly and will use the stud welder to even the surfaces out prior to filler and block sanding work. I've purchased a new repro rear panel (the piece the license plate mounts on) and nice straight used rear bumpers so some thorough test fitting and adjusting will be required. There seems to be a bit of a bend to the tip of the left rear fender just above the tail light that will probably require welding a piece onto the car to pull it back out with using a slide hammer and then cutting the piece back off, too early to say yet.
Entry: 5/10/07 - This day belonged to the rear deck lid which when I look at the photos I took when I first acquired the car, had a significant wrinkle in the lower edge just below the 'H' in the "PORSCHE" nameplate. It is also quite obvious from the photo that the deck lid is pushed to the left quite a bit, that left corner above the taillight is definitely going to need a bit of attention to move it back out about 3 to 4 mm according to my rough measurements.
First task of the day was to get out the hammer and dolly and get that bottom edge of the deck lid beat back into perfect alignment. The studwelder made quick work of pulling the low spot back up, actually I used two pulls with two studs to get the surface slightly higher than desired before beating it back flush with the body hammer. I used the spot sandblaster to remove any surface rust that had formed under the "PORSCHE" nameplate (that is what those light gray circles are on the sheetmetal).
Since there were some slight impressions (dents) from some hammerhead pressing on deck lid under the "PORSCHE" nameplate with their fingers to latch it, I had to spread a pretty wide area of Evercoat Rage Xtreme lightweight filler over that section. Anybody who has been around air-cooled Porsches knows you close the rear deck lid by pressing on the center of the grill with one hand, releasing the lid with the other hand when it is open only about 3" and doing it with a sharp snap! Here's how it looked after shaping with an 80-grit sanding board and feathering with 150-grit paper on my random orbital disk sander.
I used a wire brush on my electric drill to remove all the old paint remaining in the area under the grill and the random orbital disk sander with 150-grit paper to prep the rest of the surface for primer. A couple thick coats of Spies Hecker Priomat Primer 3255 self-etching primer and the deck lid is finished. Once the primer cures and I prep the area directly behind the rear window, I'll mount the deck lid and adjust it so I can use the gaps to gauge the work required on that problem area over the left taillight.
Entry: 5/16/07 - Over the last couple days I've been working on straightening the sheetmetal around the rear deck lid latch. I have it pretty close to straight and the short lip around the circular opening is just about back to original size and position. Now all I need to do is use a very thin layer of filler to hide the hammer marks left from all the adjustments I've had to make to it. I also used my standard aircraft type paint stripper to remove all the paint on the rear latch sill and expose the deep dents left from where the bumperettes were shoved into the box channel across the back of the car. I used some carpenter string to check the straightness of the rear panel and it is perfectly parallel all the way across the back, and the damage to the tip of the left rear fender just above the taillight is very obvious. I detect massive amounts of lead body solder around the damaged area so I'm going to have to be very careful with welding in this area so I don't melt it.
I used my studwelder to weld studs into the deepest part of the dents and then used a small slide hammer to pull out the dents caused by the bumperettes. Next I welded up some holes left when I pulled the studs off and applied filler and spot putty to the damaged area. Once the spot putty cures it will be given the final block sanding. I need to figure out how I'm going to pull out the bend in the tip of that left rear fender next.
Entry: 5/20/07 - Over the last couple days, I've been working on the area around the hole for the rear deck lid latch in the rear latch sill. I've finished all the hammer and forming work and filled the area with filler and glazing putty. Today it was time to address that bent tip on the rear edge of the left rear fender just above the tail light. First task was removing the minimal amount of the lead body solder around the area I would need to weld, this was accomplished using my plumbers propane torch to melt it and wire brush on my hand drill to remove the "tinning" solder that remained. Once the area was cleaned down to the bare steel, I fashioned a small metal tab out of 20-gauge sheetmetal with a lip on the rear edge to use as a pulling point using a ViseGrip attachment on my 5 lb. slide hammer. As you can see in the following photo, the lead solder has been carefully melted away from the back edge and the pulling tab has been MIG welded to the trailing edge. While I had the welder out, I also patched a rotten area in the taillight bucket wall where wet dirt had accumulated inside the left inner captive nut mounting tab by welding some new steel in behind it, just below where I removed all the body solder in the following photo.
The following photo shows how the ViseGrip plier attached to the pulling tab and the accessory that allows the slide hammer to thread into the ViseGrip, installed to replace the jaw adjusting screw.
The following photo shows the 5 lb. slide hammer screwed into the accessory on the ViseGrip plier and how the slide weight is "hammered" against the stop at the end of the slide bar. I was able to pull the trailing edge and tip of the fender back out about 2 mm and it matches the undamaged right side measurements. Once happy with where everything ended-up, I got out the Dremel tool with a cut-off disc and removed the pulling tab and then used my 4½" disk grinder to grind down the weld bead to flush with the original sheetmetal.
I finished the first pass on block sanding the filler and glazing putty around the latch hole on the rear latch sill so I gave it and a small dent repair a coat of primer to see how close the glazing putty work is to being complete. I'll need to reinstall the rear deck lid next to determine what additional work needs to be done on that slide-hammered area on the left fender by using the rear deck lid's gap and profile as the guide. I really think it's very close now and I can start test fitting the rear center panel and two rear bumpers with their new chrome bumperettes very soon. It was kind of fun to get out the welder again today after a couple months of doing filler and block sanding work!
Entry: 5/23/07 - One little problem area remained before I could test mount the rear deck lid, a small crack in the body solder in the upper right corner of the engine compartment opening had me concerned. Why the body solder cracked is a mystery but leaving it cracked wasn't a good idea, nor simply filling the crack with filler because sure enough a rust bubble would probably form there eventually. I used the cutting disc attachment on my Dremel tool to clear away the body solder to expose a gap between the sheetmetal panels, perhaps not enough lead solder was used to span the gap and that's why it was cracked? All I know is that I didn't see any rust so all I needed to do was put a MIG weld bead in there to span the gap and it would be solid forever.
Since the fender has been undercoated on the other side, I had to be real careful with the MIG welder, making small individual spot weld puddles and immediately cooling them using compressed air to keep heat from building up and melting any of the surrounding lead body solder or igniting the fresh Wurth high-build underseal in the proximity of the weld on the underside. I added only as much new steel to span the gap as was necessary and luckily got good penetration with my welds and didn't burn-thru anywhere.
A little dressing with the cutting disc attachment on my Dremel tool and the area was roughly shaped to where only a thin layer of Evercoat Rage Xtreme lightweight filler would be required to hide the grinding marks on the welds.
I removed as little of the original paint as was necessary to feather the edges between the repair area and the filler patch and applied two coats of filler. The first coat was applied by fingertip and shaped using 80-grit sandpaper while the material was still just setting up, getting as close to the final shape as I could without regard to deep scratch marks from the coarse grit of the sandpaper. The second coat was again applied using my fingertip (with a rubber glove on, of course), this time pressing it deeply into the scratch marks so that it only needs a light sanding with 320-grit sandpaper to make the final smooth surface once it hardens completely overnight. I applied a large area of red-oxide glazing putty over the bare metal area on the outer fender and will feather it into the original paint once it also cures overnight. Nothing else stands in the way of test fitting the rear deck lid and finishing that left fender area above the taillight next.
Entry: 5/24/07 - Today's objective was wrapping-up all the finish work that needed to be done before test fitting the rear deck lid. A little sanding with 150-grit followed by 320-grit sandpaper on the filler I applied to the upper right corner of the engine compartment opening yesterday and a coat of primer wrapped that area up in short order. Next I mounted and adjusted the rear deck lid, using a couple washers between the hinge and lid to achieve the proper gap and height at the top edge. Here's a photo of the area I repaired using the MIG welder yesterday, the gap isn't perfectly uniform but is perfectly acceptable since there are some minor variations in this area from the factory.
Once I had the rear deck lid properly adjusted, it was time to apply the filler to that problem area over the left taillight. I scuffed the area using the 50-grit disc on my 4½" angle grinder and then applied a very thin layer of Evercoat Rage Xtreme lightweight filler which I shaped while the filler was soft, just setting up, using a sanding board with 80-grit paper. A second layer of filler was applied to fill the sanding marks and final shaping was done with a 150-grit disc on my pneumatic random-orbital sander. A coat of primer later and you see what is captured by the photograph, a perfect 4 mm hood gap all the way down and the bottom edges lining up.
Comparing the previous photo of my repaired area to the undamaged factory gap and edges in the following photograph of the right side, I think I achieved a nearly perfect repair on that left side... OUCH! Shoulder cramp from patting myself on the back! So now the rear deck lid is mounted and I have just a few more details to wrap up on the rear latch sill before giving it the final primer. I'll be test mounting the rear bumpers and rear center panel very soon! I'm still tracking to the mid-June date with the paint booth and see no problems making that deadline at this pace. I also find the time spent doing this work is very helpful in reflecting on the loss of my wife. The thing I'm really having problems accepting is that we will never be able to sit together as old people and reminisce about this time or that time, with her filling in or correcting the gaps caused my lapses and the loss of those 25 years of stories that don't need to be retold but rather just reference by, "remember the time..." are gone forever like digital photos on a hard disk that crashed without a backup.
Entry: 5/26/07 - Just a little more detail block sanding on the red oxide spot putty on that rear latch sill and it was ready for a couple thick coats of primer. I am extremely pleased with how all the impact damage has pulled out and the rust holes welded back up, nobody would ever believe that this section of the car has been reworked. Now I've just got to let the primer cure before fitting the new reproduction rear center panel and the bumpers. I'm sure everything will need a little tweaking but now is the time to get the fit perfect, before painting it!
Entry: 5/28/07 - The initial test fitting of the rear bumpers and center panel turned out much better than I had expected. I still have the slightest of downward cant to the right rear bumper and will need to remove and further adjust it (read: bend the mounting brackets) but overall everything fit quite well, especially the reproduction center panel. I ran into problems with the new repro rear bumperettes (all chrome, no rubber impact strip as original) I purchased from Stoddards not fitting on the mounting brackets. To get around the problem, I reinstalled the OEM bumperettes that came on the car with the rubber impact strip and they slid right on with no problem, allowing me to reach the objective of accomplishing this first test fit. It will take some adjustment work to get the repro bumperettes to fit but they will eventually, first I needed to make sure everything else lined-up OK. I am very happy with how the entire rear end turned out and see very little work remaining before the car is ready for paint.