Big predicament, to slice or repair?

More of an art than a science - discuss metalworking and welding here.



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2020 8:19 pm
Short story sweet -

86 Grand National - my baby. has seen better days. Passenger rear quarter panel major impact 10 years ago, crappy repair done. Needs at minimum quarter replacement, body is slightly tweaked in back and buckled/creased the floorpan about halfway through. A Pillars rotted, roof rotted not terribly can possibly be fixed, floor and rockers are good, frame is excellent, firewall good, everything else good.

Regal donor car - floor rotted severely, rear half in decent shape, rot around windshields, rot in the roof and A pillars but not as severe (from what I can see) much better than my car.

A - swap floor pans, clean rust around the nasty areas the best I can on the donor car and use the shell?

B - Cut the car into bits, somehow take the rear half with the roof/A pillars and graft them onto my existing shell.

Pictures attatched of the donor car, floor is baaaaaad. Didnt know until it was too late.

All I want is a nice driver. I have more time than money, have mechanical skills and some welding experience, and passionate about my car.
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Last edited by akra86 on Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:56 pm, edited 3 times in total.



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:26 pm
More pictures. Sorry if theyre turned sideways!
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:29 am
My opinion, only. I would look for a better start. Unless you are very well versed in welding, fabricating, and doing bodywork, and have the place and equipment, forget it. I know body men who are good, that might tackle the job, if they had lots of free time on their hands, and a place to work on it for along time. But most prefer to start with a better foundation. They are around, just have to search drier areas of the country, and transport the car to you.



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:10 am
I completely understand, I did NOT know the car was this nasty, i pulled the carpet when I bought it and said “floorpan”, everything else looked pretty solid.

Im disappointed, and sick of my car waiting for some love. The quarters are still in much better shape than mine, along with the trunk floor. Essentially the car from the door jambs back besides the floor is OK.

I would like to use it. A clean rust free roller is going to cost me big money, that right now I dont have. I would love to at least use the rear tub off of this car, and cut around the inner wheel wells to the rocker panel, and unbolt the rear from the chassis and clean it. The roof and A-pillars can wait for now.



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2020 12:34 pm
Can it be saved? ya sure ANYTHING can be! should it be? eh only you can answer that!
The floor and the roof look to be the worst of it plus that pic with the wires that doesn't look good.

If you could get it Media blasted you'd be able to get a better look at things.
That roof would bother me the most! It doesn't look good on the interior side.
Cars rust from inside out! And that roof skin has seen better days!
It would be best to reskin that roof all together!
The floor looks like typical rust repair stuff.
I am sure this car is Bad in other areas as well, Trunk, Trunk drop offs, Wheel wells quarters???? body mounts etc. You need to understand differences in rust, Surface rust Heavy pitting rust and total Flinston, anything with Heavy pitting rust should be cut out and new metal welded in period!!!!
Treatment is usually futile and will return in short periods of time! Light rust can be Blasted and treated easily.

If you cant hire media blasting out to be done you'll need to find a Pressure pot blaster and some Crushed Glass and get to work.
Most of that Rust will clean up with Glass Blast and then a Phosphoric Acid Bath. that white paint makes it look worse than it is.

If you go this rout keep in mind the use of Phosphoric acid is controversial and is not easy to use correctly!!!! It has to be used correctly or you will have problems with your Paint.
This is advanced stuff in my opinion!
Most people don't use it correctly and have had problems with paint down the road later. It can and will come back to Haunt you! Even those of us that are experienced have had problems with its use!!!! so you have been warned!!!!

Also keep in mind that welding over metal that's been treated with Acid is also difficult as there are chemical reactions going on that leave residues on the metal that welding no matter the process used Mig Tig or Gas doesn't like.
Unless it has all been cleaned sufficiently on both sides of the metal to remove all traces of it. (ask me how I know)
For this reason I prefer to blast first do all my metal repairs i.e. welding and patching then do Acid baths then clean the metal then Paint.

Its not a fun process its not a fast process and its not a cheap process.
Prices of Glass Blast run me in my area about $14 a 50lb bag Phosphoric acid maybe $15 a Gallon BUT You need a LOT of PHYSICAL HELP using it correctly 3-4 people ALL with the knowledge that once its applied to the metal not one square inch of it can dry out! IT MUST BE KEPT WET with the acid and it must be scrubbed in with Scotch brite pads from the time its applied till its time to rinse it off.

I only use strait phosphoric acid in heavy rust areas then retreat with a Cold Galvanizing treatments made by Dupont, Axalta and PPG. none of it can be used on Heavy Pitted rust!
Regardless of manufactures claims regardless of what you may read It does not soak in to pits no matter what you read! no matter what you believe heavy pitting HAS to be blasted clean! Rust is too tight and packed into pits for the acid to soak into it!
All traces of rust or black pot marks must be blasted clean to clean metal! and even then If you look at the heavy blasted Pits with a strong magnifying glass or a Microscope you will see ultra tiny black pitting in the pit itself these are what the Rust treatment or COLD GALVANIZING is for! there so small it cant be seen by the naked eye and are to small for the Blast media to reach. If you don't get this out or treated it the rust will return!

Blasting CAN & WILL warp your metal if your air pressure is to hi or you use too heavy a Blast media, or you concentrate on any one area for too long. Blasting Big panels such as skins, Hood, Roof, Trunk lid, fenders, quarters is a No no always sand with a DA or a stripping pad don't Blast exterior metal insides are another story but keep it to a Minimum and tred lightly. You can damage the panel just as easily on the inside as doing the outside.

The Trick to all of this is when to say enough is enough! how far do you go?
Personally I only try to save Junk I like a lot, Junk I am in love with and am going to keep forever, Or something I know dang well I can sell and get my money back out of.

Your lucky in the fact that almost every part of that cars body is available from one source or another even if you cant save a piece you can find it some where.

To do this car You'll need a Good compressor not some small POS, but at least a 5 hp 15+ CFM min. even that's too small!
You'll also need Body saw, Electric Receipt saw, Drill, Drill bits, Carbide Hi speed files, 2 inch Sanding disks + arbors, strait and 90 degree Die grinders, 4 inch cutting wheels and arbor, Mig welder and a Gas welder set up and or a Tig welder, Body hammers & dollies. Sheet metal screws or Clecos, DA Sanders, Pressure pot blaster, Paint spray equipment plus hand tools and many more plus a place to work! a project like this can take a guy many years to tackle!

Check out My Firebird thread I think its been going for 6-7 years now and its still not done! I only work on it in my spare time as it has a very low priority in my shop.
(I am getting close to posting a update on it,) I been busy on it lately. (NOT! LOL!)
Dennis Barnett
A&P Mechanic, FCC General radio Telephone Operator
Line Maintenance A&P Mechanic and MOC Tech specialist.



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2020 12:47 pm
akra86 wrote: The quarters are still in much better shape than mine, along with the trunk floor. Essentially the car from the door jambs back besides the floor is OK.


Till its Stripped to bare metal inside and out you don't know what you have!!!!
It could be Bashed in and pulled out by a slide hammer and filled with Bondo, You don't know how many times I have ran into this thinking I have a good panel to work with.

I would rather deal with a Rusty panel that needs patched than to run into collision damage that has been repaired by a Slide hammer and filled with Filler. (Caved and paved)
Dennis Barnett
A&P Mechanic, FCC General radio Telephone Operator
Line Maintenance A&P Mechanic and MOC Tech specialist.



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2020 1:06 pm
Floor
http://www.autometaldirect.com/product_ ... BvEALw_wcB

Finding a whole roof skin may be a little harder than I thought it doesn't look like yours is a T top? most Grand nationals where T top cars I thought?
Other models like the Regal are the same as far as donor parts go.

If this a Clone type of thing you need to take that into consideration as well, Clones don't bring the same level of resale value that a Geni does.
take my Firebird as an example its a base model Esprit I am building into a Trans am clone Its always gonna be a non matching numbers custom Esprit when its done no matter what I do to it it will never be an actual TA and never demand the same money a legit TA Geni does.

You just have to decide how far you wanna go with it how close to perfect you wanna get it, whats gonna be good enough for you? and then have at it! Its your car.
These cars are strong collectors items always have been and are still going up in value and sought after. I have had friends with them and more than one has been stolen!
In the end Its all up to you and your skills what your willing to learn and spend on it.
Last edited by Doright on Fri Dec 04, 2020 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Dennis Barnett
A&P Mechanic, FCC General radio Telephone Operator
Line Maintenance A&P Mechanic and MOC Tech specialist.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2020 1:11 pm
I agree that this will be a ton of work and it's going to take equipment, space and proficiency in welding and metal working.

Anything can be done but whether the time, effort and money spent is worth it, only you can decide.

I did a 1965 Buick Special Convertible for a guy (in the projects section) that should have been hauled off to the scrap yard but he insisted. You can look through that thread and see the issues I faced. Note: I am still updating the photos on that thread since photobucket betrayed me.
1968 Coronet R/T


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2020 3:44 pm
I come at things like this from a slightly different angle than a lot of guys....if you haven't noticed by just "how" they talk these guys^^^^^^^^^yes, I'm talking about the metal wizard guys above.....know their stuff even when just starting these projects and even THEY occasionally run into a lot more than they planned. I don't mind some welding but I have maybe 3 bays max. to work on projects and yours looks like 2 to 3 years of just metal working which is just too long to take up a bay for me. I like to get stuff done in a year maybe 2 years total max. and drive it for awhile, sell it and move on. I mean, if this is like a "forever" car keeper for you and you plan to learn a lot more about welding/panel replacement maybe it is worth it to you. Personally, me....I'd move on to something in better shape....
Metal, wood, fiberglass, we work it all... www.furniturephysicians.com We can restore the irreplaceable!



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2020 1:46 am
Taking your advice and listening to others, Im going to take the quarter panel and trunk pan / taillight housing section off this rustbucket and use it for my car and fix it piece by piece. The rear section of this car really isnt too bad, its the center thats ugly. On the GN, Quarter and trunk sections first, then work on the roof and A pillars later on when my skills improve. My car is not too bad, and Im going to make it happen!

Practiced my spot weld cutting and studying how the quarter is molded to the body with the driver side first. The one I really need is the passenger side. Where the roof overlaps the quarter panel is VERY tricky! I plan on having the quarter installed on my car in the next couple of months. Pretty cool watching the lead melt! I believe the hardest part for me will be setting up the body filler again once I have the quarter panel installed, I dont plan on using lead.

Picture of the car and the garage Im doing it in! Also a picture of the GN when I slapped the front bumper on it to get advice from a classic car resto shop down the road. Just a young man with ambition. Any advice for getting panels off of the body without mangling the pinch welds would be great!

To the post above, it is actually a factory sunroof car.
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