Like many other vehicles that have found their way to Auto Resto, this project was started by others but became far too complicated and never completed.
The front suspension and differential were removed and the vehicle was mounted on a bespoke rotisserie. The extreme nature of the repairs was so extensive that we had to start by sandblasting the entire body to bare metal and it was then etch primed to protect it against atmospheric conditions.
The vehicle was then assessed to identify the areas affected by corrosion fatigue and an itemised repair schedule was compiled.
RHR Chassis Section
Following the abrasive cleaning process, the vehicle body restoration commenced on the under-body section. This section of the vehicle is very important and forms the foundation of a sound restoration process.
As illustrated above, the wheel well area adjoining the rear portion of the chassis (rear suspension support reinforcement) had been repaired by re-plated over the problem area and overlapping onto the reinforcement channel. The overlapping plate was removed to expose the underlying damage.
The rear suspension support reinforcement section was also removed to allow access to underlying corrosion damage.
This is the rear suspension support reinforcement section which was removed from the vehicle and subsequently rebuilt before being reunited with the vehicle. Multiple overlapping steel plates are used to create the suspension reinforcement structure.
This photo illustrates the RHS chassis channel with excessive corrosion build-up internally. The chassis channel was there after removed and used as pattern from which a new channel section was fabricated.
To the left of the photo the new steel fabrication section of the rear suspension support reinforcement. At the top of the photo the internal sil panel corrosion damage is exposed before repair.
The RHS chassis channel section has been fabricated (NEW) and aligned for correct fitting. Not visible in this photo, the channel fabrication has been flared at the end section, as the original interfaces the rear suspension support reinforcement.
The NEW chassis channel section was extended through to the front sub-frame.
Right Hand Side – Floor Pans
The previous repairs performed on this vehicle were of substandard quality. As illustrated below, a steel plate was welded over the top of the corrosion affected areas.
Clearly visible in the photograph above is the extent of the corrosion damage. The multiple layers of overlapping plates to form the interface structure. The complexity of the repair is broken down into manageable sections from the inside out.
Following the removal of the rear suspension support reinforcement, it further exposed underlying issues not previously visible. Even with the best intentions allowing for the unexpected, we sometimes find a can of worms.
Following the removal of substandard repairs, the rear floor pan section has been fabricated, the defect area removed and the new section is fuse welded in place.
Next the finishing end panel of the rear suspension support reinforcement channel has been welded in position.
Following the removal of the chassis channel, the area was re-blasted to remove residual contaminants and etch primed. Next the front floor pan section was fabricated, aligned and the damaged area removed.
The floor pan section was fabricated as an exact duplication of the original to include the identical swage configuration.
The floor pan section was then fuse welded in position without overlapping sections. The result is a seamless integration which is unidentifiable even to a trained eye. Next the chassis channel was aligned and pilot holes drilled in preparation for the spot welding process.
Radiator Support & X-Member
As illustrated in the previous sections, the front radiator support (cross member) had been repaired by plating over the top of the underlying corrosion issue.
As can be seen in the photo above, the previous repair panel has been removed and its clearly visible that it too is starting to corrode. The underlying surface of the X-member is full of corrosion perforations and severely fatigued at the chassis ends interface.
This photo illustrates the extent of the corrosion perforations beneath the previous repair panel.
Again it a process of investigation by removing one layer at a time, cleaning and duplicating the replacement section.
The end of the chassis channel is now completely visible and also the corrosion damage. Both chassis end sections were re-fabricated and fuse welded before the cross member was installed.
This photo illustrates the right-hand chassis channel end section, re-fabricated and fuse welded. The replacement end section includes the captive nut provision, to fix the bumper bracket to.
The the left-hand chassis channel end section was much weaker and needed a larger section to be replaced. The captive nut inside the section is clearly visible in this photo.
As illustrated above, the front radiator support cross member section was completely re-fabricated.
This photo illustrates the conclusion of the X-Member repair section including the fender support panels.
The X-Member forms an integral part of the front end support for the fenders, chassis and suspension components. Corrosion fatigue of this section contributes to multiple issues including panel misalignment and compromising the suspension performance.
Sil Panel and Pillar Sections
The next stage of repairs involves removing the sil panels to gain access to the internal sections and sandblasting the internal corrosion.
Right Hand Side
This photo illustrates the external section of the sil panel cut away to allow access to the internal section. The internal section has been sandblasted and repaired.
Following the repairs to the internal sil panel section, the pillars were assessed and corroded sections removed. The photo exhibits the lower sections of the A & B pillars trimmed away.
The newly fabricated sil panel is trial fitted and aligned before the repairs to the lower pillar sections.
The lower B-Pillar section fabricated and fuse welded in position. The radius section is contoured to the rear door frame and ensures that the cabin is sealed from the elements.
This photo illustrates the completion of the lower B-Pillar section. The base radius has been contoured to the front door frame and seamlessly fuse welded.
The right hand side (RHS) fender section has been removed to allow access to the lower A-Pillar and sil panel end.
This photo illustrates the completion of the fabricated sections, the lower A-Pillar, sil panel end and the internal box section which have been permanently welded.
To be continued……..