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fabrication of fresh air vent "piece"


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I am currently working on a 1971 Datsun 240z. The car was a Nevada car until one of the PO thought it'd be a good idea to take it out to Chicago. Unfortunately a lot of rust formed up in the fresh air vent rails but its mostly surface with a descent amount of shallow pitting (por-15 time). PO tried fixing the driver side corner where the firewall meets the A pillar but it all rusted so I had to take the rail off anyways. Any who, the situation I'm having right now is how to remanufacture a piece that is inside of the frame. I'm not sure what's the purpose of this piece other than maybe supporting the rail from torsional forces. Its a bit of a complex bend and not sure how to go about making this piece. Any advice or ideas would be appreciated.  

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6 minutes ago, rturbo 930 said:

Doesn't look that bad. Why not clean it up and reuse it?

You are correct it isn’t too bad. Just a pain to weld it up again because I drilled 5/16 holes through the spots welds through the frame and this piece so I would need some brass or copper as a back plate. Unfortunately not cheap. Was hoping because I have a bunch of 18 gauge laying around. But I am curious as to what’s the point of this piece as should more be added to the frame to beef it up. 

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2 hours ago, pamato said:

You need one of these...

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZG59SHV

I’ve seen people bend a copper or brass plate and use vise grips to hold it. I like the idea of using both my hands during welding so this tool looks helpful. Hopefully enough metal under all that rust 🤔

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So being the impatient person I am and not wanting to wait I just decided to have a crack at making it. 
 

Decided it was best to make it out of three pieces because I don’t have a sheet metal breaker and it has a curve to it. 
 

Here is the final result. Is it the best looking? No. Does it fit? Thankfully. Will it do the job? I can hope. 

 

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Edited by Alexander240z
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1 hour ago, Alexander240z said:

Fabrication is my last resort. Big fan of getting multiple panels of datsuns and sticking them together. I must have panels from 4 or 5 datsuns in my garage lol. 


I hear ya :) I have been doing so much rust repair over the past year and a half that I feel more comfortable fabricating from scratch now than re-fitting OEM steel. Sounds silly I suppose. I did enjoy it after getting good at it,  so I can’t say it makes complete sense. 
 

 

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15 hours ago, AydinZ71 said:


I hear ya :) I have been doing so much rust repair over the past year and a half that I feel more comfortable fabricating from scratch now than re-fitting OEM steel. Sounds silly I suppose. I did enjoy it after getting good at it,  so I can’t say it makes complete sense. 
 

 

I just find it easier because 9/10 it'll fit a lot better than anything I do. Just gotta make sure the metal you're putting back on it ain't rusty itself lol (forgot to do that for the rear hatch area 😅). Also I don't have a sheet metal brake so bending is a bit difficult with my vise. 

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Here is a tip on bending sheet metal: use a torch to warm it up (does not need to change color) and use a solid surface with a piece of structural steel on top to keep uniform pressure. Then just tap it with a hammer and she will bend :) 

 

i find the Datsun steel welds poorly. Combination of the cold gavlvonize coating they used, the impurities in the steel itself, and certainly the rust hidden between lap joints. 

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