Chassis & Floor Pans


I started to remove the under seal from the car after she was put on a rotisserie 29th March 2014. Since then I have been scraping away and trying to get back to the bare metal.

29/3/2014

The rotisserie is in three sections, the two ends and a large centre bar to keep the ends from moving apart. We started at the back and checked the brackets lined up with the rear bumper holes, the bolts were passed through the holes and tightened up hard to the frame.

We then moved to the front and lined up again where the bumper irons are attached. Here we had a problem. One of the bolts was sheered into the nut on the chassis rail so it couldn’t be bolted in correctly. I looks like that there were previous attempts to remove it as well which didn’t go well should we say! Eventually the guys managed to get the bracket in place and found that there needed to be a longer steel bar made as the bracket was catching the front rail. A thick piece of steel was cut into lengths and drilled out to match the holes and was welded to the brackets on the front of the unit.

With the car still on axle stands the hard work was then to line up the car and balance it close to the centre point in order to make it easier to roll. With so many adjustments on the rotisserie it takes some serious working out. You have to make sure it’s high enough that when it rolls over the chassis does not hit the rails and the roof is also clear. Once the adjustments were close enough the whole thing was bolted up tight and the centre rail double checked. The pneumatic pumps at the end of the units lifted the car into the air and off the axle stands. Slowly she was turned over and the underside was exposed for the world to see. It’s one thing to look underneath on a ramp, but on its side it reveals a whole lot more, the parts I thought would be OK need looking at again now they are in the broad light of day, well under heavy strip lights anyway.

With the car rotated and exposed, every little hole or rust spot was picked up. Discussions were made about what will be replaced in what order once all the bare metal was exposed.

What was Adam’s parting shot to me before I left on Saturday evening? “Now the hard work begins.” I honestly thought it already had.

Update – 5/4/2014

The stripper I used some stuff called Starchem – Synstrip. This has been given quite a few reviews on how good it is. The old school strippers like Nitromors has had an ingredient change due to new laws or health and safety for what ever reason. This stuff is one of the few old school strippers left out there that you can get your hands on. Professional use only with disclaimers all over it on the label. It took notice and used goggles, face mask and gloves.

Anyway the car was given a good slap of the mixture on the under seal and it was obvious it was attacking not just paint but under seal, tar and any other stuff sprayed on it. It was going to be a long day, the first attempt removed a lot, the second exposed the base paints and we were almost there with the third. Why take it all off? Well, we wanted to see what was under the sealers to see what work need to be done or what filler needed to be removed. So a tip is – don’t buy a car that looks great as it could be covering a multitude of sins. It’s better to see bare metal and you know exactly where you are. I exposed a bit of filler around the welds, nothing to bad as it was just to smooth it all out. There was some real good clean metal by the tunnel gearbox area and a little surface rust on the rear panels by the fuel tank partition. The work was slow, made my arms ache and Adam gave me hand towards the end of the day too. What a difference it has made already. I will start on the other areas next week if I have recovered enough by then. Hopefully there will be a lot more bare metal all round next time. The process is apply the liquid, let it bubble up, scrap it off, add more, rub it in with wire wool, scrap it all off and repeat. The pictures I took after each treatment, you can’t really see a huge difference between the sessions, start and finish there is a difference.

After the first session:

After the second session:

After the third session and the end of the day, we rubbed the chemicals down with thinners to see the bare metals. The surface rust will be attacked again with a little aggression where I can. Anything that looks bad – we will replace and patch properly.

Update – 12/4/2014

This was very much more of the same. I applied a little more stripper this time and layered it on. That seemed to be the best technique rather than standing there scrapping and rubbing. I applied enough to removed the layers, then cleaned up, then applied some more. and so on until I go to the metal.  The first set here was of the top parts of the floor pans mostly cleaned. then I started on the bottom section. After what seemed like hours it started to show some metal.

This is the bottom section stripped.

Once I had got to almost bare metal the final part was to work towards the fire wall. It was at the cross strengthening bar I spotted a few small holes where the welding wasn’t done correctly. and a few rust holes has appeared.

Adam came in to use some tools on the rust to see what was lurking around. So he done a few test patches to see what she looked like. We found a few parts of filler in the chassis that will be sorted out and the other stuff we sort of knew about.

With the majority of the floor cleaned up I wiped it clean and she got sprayed it with Gibbs Brand to stop the rust coming back.

Update – 21/4/2014

Same principle here to remove the under seal and paint. I scraped of as much as I could and then applied the paint stripper, scraped, wire wool and then thinners to clean up. Repeat as often as you need to see the shiny metal again.

Left Side of Shell clean up:

Right hand side clean up:

Update – 26/4/2014

The days work was to remove the engine bay paint and gunge. There was some under seal in there too so it was more of the same, wire wool was the number one tool this time as the scraper would not be able to get into the small places. The right inner wing has had a repair of an ugly plate under the battery tray, we will look at the replacing the wing if the plate turns out to be welded to thin metal. I worked from the fire wall anti-clockwise to the point where I started more or less.

Update: 5/5/2014

As well as the underside we got to work on the outside of the wings and the front of the car. We found some original factory markings of the car for the spec. Quite a rare find.

Once the horrible rubbing down to bare metal had been done we got to work on smoothing out the poor welding. This was done with a angle grinder with a grinder and flap wheel attached.

Update: 12/5/2014

This was more of the same, grinding, and getting the poor welds as flat as possible.

Update 9/6/2014

With all the underside and the engine bay now bare metalled we can look at what is needed to remove the bad and add the good metal. It was decided that the sills would be rubbed down to bare metal as well and remove the sill clips. This was done by drilling of the top of the rivet heads and tap the rest of it through. Previously the welding had been rubbed down and now we can add the filler to smooth some areas over that needed redoing.

Updated over a number of weeks beginning of June:

The filler was rubbed down and smoothed over and final layer added to fill any of the low spots.

The application of Red Oxide was preceded by another final angle grinder rub down of any loose and surface mounted rust. I started from the front, working backwards to the trunk area that would need to have some floor panel work replaced.

The metal had to be grease free, no loose flakes a clean as possible to have a fighting chance of the Red Oxide doing its job properly.  Here is a collection of the front section being rubbed down and ready for the Red Oxide application.

I started on the inner fender panels outside and worked my way inside. The inner fire wall, each side of the car taking around a day to complete each allocated section.

This is the left side outer section of the engine bay.

This is the inner section of the engine bay around the shock towers. Note the paint has stopped below the top as the suspension strut will be removed, welded up and sealed as there will be an export brace fitted instead.

The suspension brace being removed with a drill and then the rust was ground off in order for the rest of the inner section to be painted.

The top of the shock towers rubbed down and filled ready for painting. Some of the panels were not painted deliberately as the panels were going to be replaced such as the battery panel that had rotted through.

Working around the inside of the of the engine bay would lead me up to the fire wall and onto the tunnel to the floor pans. The front chassis legs were damaged and needed to be replaced as well so they were helped to be come off by angle grinder taking the poor welding down to nothing and and lever them off. They were replaced, welded in place by some great welding and then painted over. The holes in the flooring by the handbrake mounts were filled and welded up, after the stupid and weak pop rivets were removed.

The Chassis legs were welded into place with spot welds how they should be and not the terrible welding that had been done before. The welding inside the car was done brilliantly and very neatly too.

The next few days of work were just working towards the back of the car after the engine bay had been completed.

The rear chassis legs were rotten at the point where the leaf springs attached the bushes at the back. These failed the last MOT test in the year 2000 and has been of the road since. The legs were cut of at a good sections and replacements were welded in place. This then allowed the Trunk drop sides to be welded into place and create the solid area for the suspension springs as well as the trunk floor.

With the new chassis legs in place the trunk drop sides could be welded in place. To see the Trunk being restored click here for the quick link.

The main sections had been completed so the replacement parts could be welded into place back at the front end of the car.

The outer wheel arches are part of the rear quarter panel work that is covered under another section.

 

 

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