Entry: 10/28/06 - The first step in the attachment of the outer rockerpanels is test fitting the front fender to determine the location of the gap of leading edge of the rockerpanel where it meets the rear edge of the fender. Before I could test fit the fender, I needed to use my propane torch, scraper and wire brush to remove the dried fender sealing tape from the mating surfaces. I was delighted to find that this used right fender, from the extremely rusty '68 912 donor front clip, was actually more solid than the left one, upon which I had to do extensive patching of the fender flange. There are a couple rotten areas on the fender flange that will require some small patches but no major fabrication effort. The lower rockerpanel area looks like it would be a good idea to cut out the rusty inner section to see how close to bubbling though the rust is on the outer surface. From the looks of it, I would speculate that it is going to need to be patched to the same extent as the left one was, just to insure no future rust bubbles in that problematic area.
Once the front fender was bolted on securely, it was time to test fit the door. The sheetmetal gods were smiling on me, check out the uniform gaps on the front and rear of the door, showing that there was no body sag whatsoever during my longitudinal channel reconstruction! I may need to shim the door hinges with a 1mm spacer to achieve a uniform 3mm gap front and rear as now it appears to be 4mm in the rear and 2mm in the front. The hood to fender gap is a uniform 3mm all the way down, thanks to some subtle coercion from sledge hammer and a wood block of 2x4! The outer rockerpanel pressing is held to the weatherstrip channel with three sheetmetal screws and the wood supports press it flush with the inner rockerpanel. It's already a uniform gap at the bottom of the door, once again thanks to the trusty sledge hammer and wood block treatment.
Entry: 11/3/06 - The task for the day was trimming down and fitting the replacement pressing for the lower lockpost. As you can see in the following photo, the work was completed quite quickly, tonight the lower lockpost pressing is held in place with #6 sheetmetal screws and the old rear quarter panel is clamped into place for a test fitting. Everything looks good for disassembly, punching plug-weld holes and prepping the weld surfaces for final welding. I am amazed at how quickly this stuff goes the second time now that the learning curve has been scaled!
Entry: 11/4/06 - Today I punched the plug-weld holes in the outer rockerpanel and welded it in. I decided to strip the outside of the rockerpanel to bare metal so I can use body filler on the area where the lower lockpost and outer rockerpanel join and then prime it with a better choice for bare metal, a self-etching primer. I made a small mistake on the other side by priming the exposed metal on the external sheetmetal in zinc weld-thru primer and I will be needing to strip all that back to bare metal because body filler won't stick to the zinc! No big deal since I'm planning on stripping the remaining paint on the doors and quarterpanels anyway but glad I caught it now before I made too much more work for myself. Hard to believe, there's only a small amount of welding left in the rust repair phase of this project, the lockpost, rear quarterpanel and maybe a little patch on the front fender!
Entry: 11/6/06 - Today's task was grinding all the plug-welds on the outer rockerpanel and preparing the ones that are visible on the lower edge and floor to inner rockerpanel spotweld flange for paint. I gave the plug-welds a thin skim coat of filler to smooth out the irregularities and grind marks and sanded them down. The final step was using the correct type of self-etching primer, Spies Hecker Priomat Primer 3255 self-etching primer. As you can see in the following photo, things look nice and smooth and almost ready for paint. After the car is painted, the rockerpanel will be masked-off right at the bend even with the top of the jack tube and painted with the slightly textured, matt-black Wurth Stone Guard to contrast the Bahama Yellow paint. I can picture it in my mind now, add the new aluminum rocker trim strip I already bought from Stoddards and it will look very crisp and finished!
Entry: 11/8/06 - The installation of the lower lockpost was today's task. Before any welding could take place, I was determined to get all the cracked and dried-out factory undercoating scraped out of the right rear wheelwell and any rust found under it treated with a coat of SEM Rust Seal. As you can see in the following photo, all the undercoating on the upper lockpost, the area under the rear quarter window pinch-weld seam and the area under the chrome rear quarter window garnish has been scraped-off. There is some rust to deal with around the rear quarter window garnish mounting holes what will need to be addressed by spot sandblasting and MIG welding in new steel from the outside of the car when I get to that point in the project but not really a major issue since most of it is hidden hidden under the garnish.
I also stripped and wire-brushed to bare metal where the lower lockpost welds were to be done. I did some final fitting and adjusting of the lower lockpost replacement pressing and finished the pre-welding "layup" work using #6 machine screws and nuts, #6 sheetmetal screws plus a few ViseGrips to hold it solidly in place. Everything was ready to fire-up the MIG welder in the following photo:
Welding went very quickly and once completed, I dressed the welds with my 4½" angle grinder and applied a thin coat of filler to hide the weld seams. The last step was a coat of Spies Hecker Priomat Primer 3255 self-etching primer, to see where more work will be required. I also applied a liberal coat of seam sealer inside the lower lockpost area where it meets the outer rockerpanel to seal that problematic area from future rust. A liberal coat of Wurth High-Build Underseal will also be sprayed up into that area after the rear quarterpanel is welded in.
Entry: 11/9/06 - Wrapping-up the work on the right A-pillar and fender mounting bulkhead was the focus of today's efforts. First thing I wanted to fix was the "wallered-out" door stay tab by using my oxy/acetylene torch and steel welding rod to weld the original hole (vorher in the following photo) closed from the top and bottom. Then some work with my carbide-tipped Dremel tool bits re-bore the hole back to its original size and location (nachher in the following photo):
With the torch work finished, I could now wire-brush and sand all the flash rust from the bare steel of the stripped A-pillar in preparation for filling the welds that patched the rust at the bottom corner of the door opening and the seam across the bottom of the fender mounting bulkhead. I like using the Evercoat Rage Xtreme lightweight filler as it sets-up quickly and sands easily. Once the filler work was done it was time for a nice thick coat of Spies Hecker Priomat Primer 3255 self-etching primer so I could see the areas still needing some filler work. I am planning on running a bead of 3M seam sealer to seal the open seam on the backside of the finder mounting bulkhead, but not until everything is ready for Bahama Yellow paint. For now, the next step is re-hanging the door so I can use its lower back corner as a guide to measure the gap between it and the the remaining panel fabrication work on the rear quarterpanel.
Entry: 11/10/06 - Today's goal was get the final sheetmetal patch for the right rear quarterpanel, above the jack post fabricated. To do that as precise as humanly possible, I needed to re-hang the right front fender, this time installing a new fender bead between cowl and fender, to make sure the spacing was exact. Well while I was working there, I figured it was time to re-gap the door to accommodate the replacement '68 fender. The fender and door nearly touched at the gap right before it met the vent window frame (labeled "Vorher" in the photo below). Close study made me suspect the door side of the gap was heavily body soldered and wouldn't you know, it was and a few minutes of Dremel tool and jeweler's filing later, I've got a door gap (labeled "Nachher" in the photo below) that looks almost exactly the same as the factory one on my '74 911 (labeled "Beispiel" in the photo below):
I spent several hours fitting the door to the opening and once satisfied with the gaps all the way around, I cut the rotten area out of the old rear quarterpanel and fabricated the new patch to replace it from a sheet of 20-gauge sheet stock. As you can see in the following photo, the "layup" work on the new patch is complete and it fits great and soon it will be welded in! I started hammer-and-dolly work on the right door at the end of the day to get the door gap at the bottom uniform all along the new outer rockerpanel pressing and it looks like I'm going to need minimal filler to make it perfect!
Entry: 11/12/06 - Today the rust repair phase of the project is complete! I began the day by taking everything back apart and media blasting the patch to remove the flash rust that had formed on my sheet of 20-gauge metal and the zinc primer off the old rear quarter panel piece to prepare it to take filler. I gave the back side of the patch a thick coat of 3M zinc primer just to seal it from flash rusting. As you can see in the following photo, my patch really does model the original, rotten piece very closely:
Welding the right rear quarterpanel was a very slow and methodical process of making spotwelds slowly and well spread out so the panels wouldn't expand from the heat and warp. Eventually all the gaps were filled and it ended-up looking like this: