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Finally: Full Restomod


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I pretty much gave up trying to use continuous beads when welding very thin metal, and use a series of connected spot welds.  With such thin metal, you still get ample penetration, and for me (limited

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I have the floor cut back to the first cross rail, formed and rebuilt the mating firewall flange behind the fender and have the bottom of the frame (that was warped and rotted) cut out and a 1/8" piece formed to be welded in tomorrow hopefully. Pictures on that progress to come this afternoon.

 

Does anyone have any pointers for replacing the floor panels? Currently, I am thinking I will just cut out the entire frame and floor as I have new frame rails and floor pans to go in but I am somewhat concerned about keeping the chassis straight, albeit, there is almost no weight in the car at this point.

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You think so? Definitely not too little heat as I was having a hell of a time keeping it from punching holes through the thin metal. I am using my large welder with large diameter wire so it does build up rather quickly and most of that is single spot welding so it may appear to have a globular appearance, except for the 1/8" frame plates in the 2nd post.

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Welded in a large cross  bar per Seattlejester's suggestion (thanks) and finished cutting out the floor and the middle seat rail. Proceeded to cut and grind and clean up metal to prep for welding. Ran myself clean out of grinding and cutting discs so the project will have to wait for a day or two while I wait for a 100pc shipment of grinder tools and a steel wire bell brush to come in. Looks like my floor pans got a little surface rust on them after being stored in a box for nearly 5 years!

 

Having to take a break from the Z gave me some time to move my hot tub into the car port for some much needed relief from the 100+ degree weather up here.

 

On a side note, anyone ever heard of swapping a Volvo IRS rear diff into a Z car? Appearently they had a number of years with Eaton G80 locking diffs that were supposed to be pretty stout (paired behind a 300+ftlbs T6 and their 4.4L ferarri V8s). Wrecked volvo S80s are plentiful in my area, significantly more so than LSD R200s and their donors.

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Well I am back at the repairs. I have never spot welded thin sheet metal before. Using some tips from a friend of mine who is a certified body mechanic. He recommended using self drilling sheet metal screws to hold the panels in intimate contact. He also said I over did it with the number of spot welds but I think it came out relatively OK for a first attempt, driver's side will be much nicer after using the passenger side as practice.

Items left for Passenger side: finish closing up the rear seam. Weld in the new seat cross rails. Weld in the underfloor mount. Weld in the cutout under the support cross bar. Weld in the firewall patch panel. Oh, and I just ran out of shielding gas.

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So I did some more prep work this weekend, welded in a square tube for the forward seat cross bar, will need to fabricate side skirts for it to connect it to the middle of the floor.

Also did some more spot welds along the right side of the floor, I have about 8in of spot welds to finish that side up.

Cut out the temporary cross member I had welded in and prepared the floor frame rail with spot weld holes and paint for welding this week.

Ended the weekend running 8/3 romex for the hot tub.

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  • 2 months later...
On 8/5/2019 at 7:11 PM, LLave said:

I found it helpful to go down to .023 wire, it helped me control the amount of filler in my mig welds on sheetmetal. 

 

Yeah, I really need to pick up a 2nd and 3rd tank for my setup, or a splitter valve. I have a 140A Hobart that is setup for .023" and a 250A MP eastwood setup for .045" but I have to swap the gas lines and power cables around whenever I want to switch between the two. For most of the sheet metal work, I am running at 15V with a decent wire feed speed on the MP250. Definitely achieves clean penetration (using root flux where possible, or aluminum backing plates to keep the root clean) but builds the spots fast and I have to let the pool cool down between spot welds or I will punch through.

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Just finished the passenger side this weekend. I dont have pictures of the floor support frame but I plug welded thru the frame into the underside of the floor. Used a floor jack and some blocks to keep the frame in intimate contact with the floor the whole time. Floor support is welded to the rear and the front frames. Welded in the patch panel for the firewall and fabricated the fender well patch around where the battery used to be. Certainly wont pass for factory but it is more solid than it has been in 10+ years. I tried to fab the curving piece out of a single panel but I just couldnt get it to both curve and twist the way I needed it to so after a couple failed attempts, I just gave up and welded it in. About 4x more weld joints than I wanted but I can finally spin the car around and get cracking on the driver side.

 

Fortunately that side just needs the floor pan.

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No pictures for this update.

Last night, I welded in the rear seat cross member. Making the main tube out of 1.5" square tube, .083ish wall thickness I believe. Kind of heavy compared to factory but it should be nice and secure. I am now trying to figure out how to turn the shell around so I can get working on the driver side floor. My shoppe may be just large enough to turn it 90 degrees and do the work with it sideways...if I move some cabinets around a bit.

 

Interesting side question, does any one know how much these cars weigh with an empty engine bay and stripped interior? I need to yank the old drive shaft out before I move it around.

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So I ground off the old motor mounts, spun the car around so I could get at the driver side which looked far more solid than the passenger side. I may not even have to replace the floor under the seat rails! However, I noticed a smooth section inside the wheel well on the side of the frame. Tapped on it with a hammer and it felt very soft, tapped a little more an it start popping out, grabbed onto it with some pliers aaand, its a pair of aluminum sheets rivetted over an 8 inch hole in the side of the frame! woohoo. Why did people think that was an appropriate repair?

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Took a break from trying to clean out the old frame rail and what not and went ahead and started fabricating Brian Laine's engine cross member. My angle channel is a little heavier than his, .250" thick, using 2"x2"x1/8" wall thickness square tubing. The motor mount straps are 5/16"x3" plate which I cut and welded rather than try to fold them to size in our 50 ton press.

 

I have not done a ton of welding with my eastwood 250i at 24+ volts. It seems to me that the .045" wire is not really capable of standing up to amperage levels over 200. Even with wire feed over 400IPM, it still felt like the wire was exploding during the weld, resulting in alot of spatter.

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