Entry: 9/1/06 - One of my theories for keeping car restoration a fun hobby and the quality of my work high is to take periodic breaks from it so it doesn't become a "job." So now after a nice summer hiatus from the 912 project, spent boating and fishing on Puget Sound and working on home maintenance projects, I'm stoked to do some more bodywork. The rainy season looms in the near future so the 912 is back on the lift and work has started again! I've stripped the passenger side door to the shell and in the process discovered that the window glass in the driver's side is GREEN (tinted) so the search is on for the correct, untinted one. While it might look worse, the rust in the bottom of the passenger door is about the same as the driver door so I'll cut 2" off the bottom of the door skin and graft that much of the replacement panel into the bottom of the door skin with the goal of keeping them both somewhat uniform. I've also removed the deco strips off the front and rear bumpers and hope to strip the paint and sand blast the rust off them over the next few days. It feels good to be working on the 912 again and I'm feeling pretty confident I can repeat the quality of work already done on the drivers side of the car here on the passenger side. I realize exactly how much work lies in front of me since I'll be doing a mirror image of work already completed on the other side.
Entry: 9/3/06 - The bottom 2" of the passenger door skin have been removed to see what kind of mess lies behind it. To my surprise, the inner door frame is quite solid with the worst rot at the very front edge. For some random reason the rust was attacking the outer door skin, just the opposite of the driver's side where the door skin looked solid but there was a bunch of rot on the inside frame. I'll be sandblasting the rust spots on the lower edge of this door in addition to the bumpers sometime later this week. This door will be about half the effort to patch as the driver's door was, and it looked more corroded from the outside... go figure!
Entry: 9/5/06 - Perfect sand blasting weather today! Mid-70's and low humidity with a light breeze towards the greenbelt and away from the house made for a very productive day. I was able to complete blasting on the passenger door and found the rust was not deep at all so patching the inner frame is going to take a minimal effort, much better than the driver's side was. I also blasted the door hinges and made sure to give them a good thick coat of red-oxide colored primer to protect them from rust.
Entry: 9/8/06 - Today's task was cutting down and fitting the patch panel to replace the bottom 2" of the passenger side's door skin. I used my pneumatic flanging tool to make a 3/8" flange across the top of the patch panel to tuck the patch panel under the seam where it meets the original door skin and I'll lay the weld bead in that gap. I tried a new technique on the rear lower corner of the door patch panel, I straightened the rear bottom and cut "darts" into the lip that folds over the inner door frame once the welding is completed. This side should go much easier with all that I learned from doing the driver's side door.
Entry: 9/9/06 - Finishing the passenger door rust repair was today's project. Everything was pretty much ready to begin welding this morning so I started with patching the rot holes left after sand blasting in the bottom of the inner door frame. The rot holes were filled with weld beads by backing them with a piece of copper tubing pounded flat and bent to match the radius of the lower door frame edge. Since the molten steel MIG welder wire doesn't stick to the copper the rot hole is filled with a minimal amount of grinding on the bottom side. I also cut a small piece of 18-gauge sheetmetal to cover the holes in the inner door frame just under the lower hinge and welded it into place. After dressing the welds with my 4½" disc grinder and Dremel tool, I gave them a quick shot of 3M weld-thru primer and moved on to the door skin patch.
Welding in the patch for the bottom 2" of door skin required making dozens of tack welds to keep the door skin from warping. First I started out with 5 tack welds to hold the patch in place and then made successive iterations placing a tack weld half way between the previous series of tack welds until I ended up with about ½" between each tack weld. Finally I connected each of the gaps with a ½" continuous weld bead to end-up with a completed weld as shown in the following picture.
Once the door skin patch was welded in and the weld dressed with my 4½" disc grinder, it was time to fold the lip of the new door skin patch over the inner door frame. I started out with a body hammer to get the initial bend of the lip and worked it into final position using various pliers I've modified to crimp the edge of the door skin without damaging the sheetmetal. Finally I welded-up the "darts" I cut into the lip at the rear corner of the door, dressed the welds, and gave it a coat of 3M weld-thru primer to declare it ready for filler!