Kerry's '73 Restoration - Part Four

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Well, it's time to start on the body. First thing I did was pull the front bumper, grill and hood. This dang thing is heavy. I bet the hood weighs 100 lbs and the bumper/grill assembly must be at least 150! Good thing my son was around or I would have had to get creative, probably using an engine hoist with some rope to carry the weight. Slow and cumbersome but preferable to dropping something and denting it or even worse denting me.

The bumper on these beasts is held on by 8 bolts. Two each on the frame and one that angles over just below the turn signal. When it still would not come off, I got my flashlight out and looked for the hidden bolts because there is always at least one...and there it is, behind the turn signal light. Up at the top in the photo in the center. You really have to get down below it to see it. If you are observant, you will notice in this photo that the whole fender assembly is shoved over to the right about 1/2 inch

By the way, the absolute BEST way to keep track of small parts is to put them in zip lock bags and write on them with a permanent marker. Works great and is cheap. I found a bunch of zip locks at a salvage tool place for little of nothing.

baggie.jpg (33k)

It's raining so I pulled in the 'new' fender in the shop so it would dry off and I could get a look at it. Hummmm it looks pretty bad when you look at it from the bottom. There is quite a bit cancer down low behind the wheel well. On the other hand, the original fender is very solid except for damage in front of the wheel well.

rot.jpg (33k)

My original idea was to just swap the fender but as I look at it it seems better to cut off the part I need and weld it in. Here you can see what I wanted to do. The black line is where the rough cut will be. The photo doesn't look straight but it was.

cutfront.jpg (33k)

There are several ways to cut a fender off:

- Torch like I used in the junk yard...lots of heat, warpage, and uneven edges

- Cut off disk in a air powered die grinder...good but very slow, even with lots of air.

- Sawsall or saber well but can warp the metal and also has problems with bracing and compound curves.

- will die of old age and the rust will overtake the car before you finish the cut.

- Cut off disk for a small solution I've found. The Home Depot has a 10 pack of blades for my 4 inch grinder for 5 bucks. Buy several packs, they don't last long but they sure make the cuts fast.

grinder.jpg (33k)

Note how think the disk is...about 1/16 inch. You can see a sheet of plastic covering the engine compartment. These things throw A LOT of sparks. Safety glasses are a MUST. DON'T be stupid! You can get cheap goggles for a buck a pair if you look around. When I find some on sale I buy a dozen or so. They keep. Don't EVER think that you'll do without because it's just a small cut. Those are the ones that cost you your eye!

I also have some cut off disks for my 4 1/2 inch grinder but they are nearly 1/8 inch thick and do not cut anywhere as fast. Also very handy is a sheet metal cutter in an air hammer. I used this to make the rough cut and also to pry the inner panels apart so I could cut the spot welds off with the cut off wheel.

airchisel.jpg (33k)

After an hour or so I had the cut made. I decided to leave the inner bracing because it was much more solid than the donor fender which was rusty. I just cut the spot welds out. I also used the cut off wheel to cut about 1/4 inch down inside the fender lip. I'll cut the replacement part to slip right in . When welded and some filler it will be perfect. Below is the cut off front piece.

cutoff1.jpg (33k)

No going back now!

Next Chapter...

Kerry's '73 Restoration Saga Main...

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