The wife helped me push the car out of the garage and turn it around the other day. Now, the front is easily accessible like the back was.
I've gotten far enough into the front to know that it's going to be considerably harder than the back was. (more on the details later) It will be the same type of work, though... cutting and welding and lining things up... right now I'm searching for the right parts before I do any cutting...
I can't wait to get this body work stuff all finished, so I can move on to the tranny, the motor, the top, the interior, the paint, the trim, the under carriage, and everything else... it can be a bit overwhelming when you think of a project like this as a whole! So... I don't do that anymore. :) One step at a time....
OK, I finally got in some of the parts I was waiting for, AND got some time to work on her. I made some good progress this last week. Check it out...
Caution: I'm not one for preaching safety, but a little won't hurt here... Especially for you novices like myself... when cutting and grinding, where eye protection! It only takes one little piece of hot metal to ruin your day. I also where ear plugs because I like to continuing hearing. When welding, be sure to wear good, thick welding gloves. I have the kind that go almost up to the elbow. And the old advice about having a fire extinguisher handy is a really good idea - Not necessarily for the little fires that you can just pat out with your gloves. I'm talking about the larger ones that might take you by surprise. That one time out of one hundred - where you get some splatter - that lands a few feet away - on some old cardboard box - that you'd spilled gasoline on a few days ago - tucked in tightly with several other old cardboard boxes - sitting underneath your wooden workbench - that is attached to the studs of your dining room wall...
It's the unexpected that can burn down your house! So, do yourself a favor and be prepared! OK, I feel better. :)
Note: I was very happy to have this front piece to work with, but because it was an after market piece, it was much harder to work with than my original rear clip was! I just didn't fit like an original part, duh, I know. I was able to modify it here and there to make it look more like an original. And, it will work great for my project.
The amount of time it took me to fit up and weld this front piece...10 hours. The temperature inside the garage while working...120. The intensity of pain in my lower back after hunching over all day...9. The number of times I hit my head on the hood while welding and grinding...47. The ice cold Budweisers waiting patiently in my garage fridge...priceless. : )
A picture is worth a thousand words. Isn't this type of thing so common on the older models?
The rusted and bent up bumper bracket holes, and the dinged up bottom. Yuck. I am not going to try to fix this one... I plan to get a good replacement for it, but haven't started searching yet. I know some folks even make the cheapies work out great. We'll see. The less cutting and welding the better - I'm not fond of either one.
First: Above, center - a shot of the old front piece sitting on the ground after I had cut it off the car.
Second: Above, right - This is just as I was starting the cutting to remove it. This picture really shows how nasty that old front area really was!
Third: Directly above, left - The beginning of the first cut, along with my cut line down the side.
Fourth: Directly above, right - Just another shot of the old apron.
Just another shot of the front area after I had made my first welds...
Just another shot of the front - with the hood closed. The hood itself seems to be ok, as does it's alignment.
OK, the back is done...time to get started on the front...
A few more shots (above) of the whole thing up to this point, followed by two shots of my garage and work area. It's nice to have it looking like an actual car sitting in there, rather than a hunk of old parts and junk.
If you don't recognize this part of the car right away, it's the trunk area between the gas tank and the radio. Why are there big holes here? Good question.
What do you call a really dumb person? Let's see...rocket scientist? wingnut? doorknob? cheese steak? mudflap? rock? intellectually challenged? idiot? forest? meatball? I don't know which is best, but some would have to apply the fellow who cut holes somewhat resembling circles into the bottom panel of the trunk. I can only assume for speakers... perhaps way back when, when hi-fi was brand new, this person had a need for stereo in his cool vert... don't know. I hate to speculate about this. It makes my brain hurt.
Anyway, I thought, "Do I leave the holes, and cover them with carpet? No, I can't do that. But how in the hell am I going to cut out pieces of metal to fit those terrible holes? It can't be done. Ahh... cut out more the car - into squares - a shape I can fabricate to fit it there. But what type of metal do I get?" I wanted to get the same thickness and strength. I ended up ordering a couple of after market inner wheel-well pieces. The were only $15 bucks a piece (I think that's what they were - cheap anyway), and I knew they had some flat surfaces on them large enough for what I needed to do.
So, I made my patterns, cut the car, and cut my metal to fit. Great. But...my pieces are flat and the car has those strengthening pleats running from top to bottom. Do I just weld them in flat? No, they wouldn't look right. Cover them up with carpet? Then what's the point? I ended up being able to bend simulated pleats into them (not easy), and then welded them in. My bends were not perfect, but close enough to work with.
It's a Baja part 2, Yikes! This picture above still scares me to look at it. It makes me think, "What the hell am I getting into here? What have I done? Can I really fix that?" Things of that nature. You might notice little tags here and there, mainly attached to the wires. This was before I decided to install a new harness. It'll all be coming out sometime soon, so my little tags were nothing more than a good thought. Also, it is pretty dirty and grimy under the gas tank. Although this will not be a show car, I do intend to clean all that up before it goes back together for good.
Although I will be keeping the left front fender, I wanted to take it off now, too, to have a look. I found some body filler on the top of the left front quarter panel... strange... the inside wall of the trunk looks ok. Oh well, another present to open on another day. : )
Wow, it's starting to look like a car again... a straight car! I love these "after" pictures. When I was finished, I pushed her out of the garage so I could clean up a bit, then pushed her back in.
I knew I needed to replace the front right fender, so I started there. Just recently, I received my "new" right front fender. I bought it from Wolfsburg West. It was one they called "original quality" for around $140. Looks great, but I won't be putting in on for a while. For now, it rests in the back seat.
Well well... look what I found underneath about 37 years of road grime. Perhaps the original color.? No. The original color was "Yukon Yellow." I learned that by obtaining the car's "birth certificate" from the Stiftung AutoMuseum in Germany.
This is where I was checking the hood alignment with the front nose...looks OK so far... I had the hood sand blasted some time ago with the other stuff. It revealed some filler from some time ago. Don't let that fool you - it's just a thin layer. This original hood is in great shape!
So, I've got some finishing touches (cosmetic) on both the front and the back to complete, then I'll get her ready for a massive sand blasting. I plan to have it blasted inside and out before I take it to the body shop. For those of you out there looking to have some sand blasting done, make sure you take your car to someone who knows what they're doing! Sand blasting can ruin your car. I'm mainly talking about the flat body pieces like the doors and outer panels. The wrong type of blasting material and/or the wrong technique can warp those panels from heat. Not good. Be careful.
More updates of the finished body work coming soon...
Here's a shot of the new front piece after I shot some primer here and there. Although, it's not a great picture (kind of fuzzy), it does tell a lot about the new piece. Note the three holes in the back wall of the spare tire well. The bigger one on the right is to accept the brake fluid resevoir (I'm a big fan of stopping), and the two on the left are for the little nubs on the bottom of the windshield washer fluid tank. I had to drill these out myself. This piece did not come with them. You might also notice the little plate that covers the access to the steering box there on the right... it did not come with that either. I took that piece off my old front nose, removed the cruddy yellow paint, cut a hole for it to slide into, drilled a hole for the anchor screw, and installed in into this new piece. Again, it did not come that way.
Trivia question...do you know why there is a similar access panel on the left side of the front clip (looking from the front) that gives access to nothing at all?
In the middle, on top, there is a mark where I removed a tab of some kind. It was obviously something that was intended to help hold the gas tank in place. On the 64's, though, it's not needed, so I took it off and will completely smooth down the metal there before paint.