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We've been working on Project Resolution now for a few months and we're finally at a point where we are ready to start going uphill making the car nice again. With the front end removed I was able to remove the inner fender "skirt" and assess the damage that was caused during the accident. So far it looks like the damage was just sheet metal related and the chassis itself is still intact and not tweaked from the accident. We now need to clamp all of the new body panels in place with clecos and test fit the hood and fenders to make sure that our gaps all line up correctly before we begin welding those pieces back in place. I know we will need to do a little bit of hammer and dolly work on the remaining sheet metal around the replacement panels, but it should all be straight forward.
While I was working on the front end removal the rest of our team has been working diligently removing all of the old red paint and uncovering the filler and previous owner repairs (yikes!). The roof is definitely much worse than we thought. It looks like someone used a "stone" style grinding disc or a cut off wheel to remove the old paint and there is a lot of deep gouges in the metal and some more hidden dents. We will have to take some serious time shaping the roof back to an acceptable point before we can make it shiny again.
Speaking of damage we've uncovered, the rear hatch had some minor paint pitting around the lower edges, but we wanted to investigate them further. We found some terminal rust in the hatch and that we needed to cut out of the lower edge. Nick has removed the worst rust and is currently making up patch panels to weld back in place with the MIG 135. We hope to have that minor body rust tackled quickly and continue getting the body ready for a skim coat of filler, primer, and finally a new coat of paint! We're still on the fence what color we want to paint the car, so if you have any suggestions feel free to drop us a comment with your opinion!
We plan to get all of the new body panels welded in place, the major body damage repaired, and all the rust repair done by the next update. July 13th for the Eastwood Summer Classic is getting closer everyday and we need to kick this project into high gear! Stay tuned!
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Since our last post we've been busy working on disassembling the car down to just a rolling shell. This meant we had to removed the entire drivetrain and start deciding if we were going to keep the original or get a replacement engine. The engine and transmission came out pretty easy when using the Folding Engine Hoist. We then separated the engine and transmission and put the engine on a Ford Small Block Rolling Engine Stand so we could easily move it around the shop.
Meanwhile, some of the other members of the team worked on sanding the fenders and doors down to bare metal using the Eastwood Stripping Discs and then sprayed them with Eastwood Fast Etch to keep them from flash rusting while they wait their turn for bodywork and shiny paint.
After looking over the engine we decided that this engine had been neglected for quite sometime and even the original waterpump was still on the engine! When Tim went to remove the bolts out of the waterpump just about every single one broke off. This is going to cause a lot more work as we now have to extract each broken bolt. This task will include removing the harmonic balancer on the crank and the timing chain cover to get to the bolts that broke. Let's hope this doesn't require some serious surgery!
Once we were tired of fighting with broken bolts we moved on to removing the front radiator support on the car. This is NOT an easy job even on the best day. First of all you have to drill out numerous spot welds and the number of spot welds on each side of the radiator support are not equal. It seems like the spot welder in the factory just did however many felt right that day.. or two guys were spot welding on each side and one did way more than the other. The other problem we had was that the car has been hit in the front and some of the metal was bent and damaged. We took turns drilling spot welds with the Eastwood Spot Weld Cutters and slowly we were able to peel the old radiator support off of the front of the car. We'll have to do some hammer and dolly work to the remaining parts on the front end, but so far the CJ Pony replacement radiator panel seems like it will fit pretty well.
Next up we will have to remove the damaged inner fender skirt panel and mock it all up to make sure the front sheet metal will sit correctly when we're done. Soon we'll be firing up the MIG 175 and the TIG 200 to weld these panels in place. Stay tuned, we're just getting warmed up!
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