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wbrian63

USA
901 Posts

Posted - 06/09/2014 :  00:00:47  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
An on to the "fun part" - the driver's sill area.

In previous postings, I noted that the front of the sill area was severely rusted - Severely...

This is a view looking rearward inside the front fender well:


And a quarter view looking forward at the point where the front jack port would be attached.


A lot of structure had to come out to get back to clean stable steel:


There was even rust in the floor pan, most likely where water had been trapped under the sound mat. This view from below shows where the spot welds were removed on the structural "beam" to allow the floor to be cut away from above:


Same area, as viewed from above:


In the front part of the foot well, exploration with a pick revealed fairly substantial rust behind the structural channel that runs from below the fuse box:


And the same area, viewed from inside the car:


A flat patch was formed to cover the hole in the bottom of the floor pan:


And a single long piece to cover the hole in the inner sill from the leading edge of the foot well rearwards:


Carefully butt welded into place:


And the welds ground down:


In the above picture you can see an area where there are no welds. This is a channel that is used to pass wires and the vacuum lock hoses from the A-pillar down into the edge of the floor. On the passenger side, I formed this channel with a lot of persuading from a body hammer, and it is less than ideal in shape.

I decided on the driver's side to get the major panel welded in place, then form a separate piece to duplicate the channel, cut away the major panel and weld the channel piece into position - like so:




There was so much damage to the upper portion of the sill behind the front fender that it was easier to cut the entire section out up to the A-pillar attachment and weld a piece from the replacement sill into position. I cut away a section of good body to allow me to get into the A-pillar and remove the spot welds that held the upper sill in place, and also to provide access for rosebud welding the sill section into place.


This is a "mostly finished" shot of the repaired section of front inner sill and foot well:


Remember the rust I found in the rear fender well?


This is what it looked like when I found the extent of the rust and cut it free:


Having learned my lesson on the passenger side, I'm working one side (the inner fender) first, leaving the chassis side in place as a positioning reference point - with my limited metal-forming skills, it's easier to put the metal back in sections:


The metal behind the rear jack point is complete cactus, so I'm patching in that as well. This is a small rust-through point just in front of the well where the rear cross-member bolts to the chassis:


Cut away with a pneumatic hack saw:




Shape of cutaway traced onto a new piece of metal:


Carefully shaped and welded into position, all welds ground smooth:


Hopefully, I'll finish up the patching for the chassis behind the rear jack point and into the fender well this week. Then a little more inner fender work and I can start fitting the sill into place...

Onward through the fog...

W. Brian Fogarty

'02 S55 AMG (W220)
'92 300SE (W140) - sold
'76 450SEL 6.9 Euro #1164 - parted & gone
'76 450SEL 6.9 Euro #521

"Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people, and most of them seemed to come from Texas..." Casino Royale, Chapter VII
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wbrian63

USA
901 Posts

Posted - 06/14/2014 :  07:29:48  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
As noted in previous posts, the inner chassis where the rear jack point mounts on the driver's side was completely cactus.



The picture above doesn't look "that bad", but once I removed the jack point, more damage was revealed. While not a direct shot, at the far left-hand edge of this picture, you can see the holes through the metal where the right flange of the jack point would attach. These were hidden by the jack point itself. The surrounding metal was nearly just as bad. The open hole in this picture corresponds to the black grommet in the previous picture, location-wise.



Fortunately, this section of the chassis is a nice flat section of metal. I produced a patch panel, complete with grommet hole and a horizontal bend at the bottom to meet up with the floor pan, and welded it in place:



While the image appears as if the lower flange isn't co-linear with the rest of the chassis, this is an image distortion - I made sure to use a straight-edge to align the patch with the adjoining section of sill.

The rusted metal to the right of the new patch is part of the inner chassis behind the fenderwell. That will be removed in the next step.

First step was to rotate the chassis on the rotisserie so that the driver's side was "down" and I could look directly down at the repair area from above. Took some time to clean all of the undercoat away from the repair area, then figured out what shape the repair would need to take. You can see the back side of the jack point repair on the right side of this image:



Quick work with my trusty pneumatic hack-saw and the rust was gone:


An here is the cut-away piece to be used as reference:


My skillset and toolset are not up to the task of forming the repair patch in a single section of metal, so I broke the replacement patch into sections:



With the first piece, I was able to form the curve at the bottom where it arcs to meet the welding flange. Then I added a small pie-shaped piece:



The 3rd piece in the patch isn't flat where it arcs to meet the welding flange, so I formed the top section with the curve first, then cut away the back side of the curve so it would sit straight across the arcing weld flange. Then I added a flat piece and stitched the two together to form a single piece:



The last section was formed the same as the previous. This joins on the right edge to the jack point repair shown earlier in this posting:


And all cleaned up:


You may notice in these pictures that the inner fenderwell patches have a matte gray appearance. I finally figured out the methods required to utilize weld-through primer.

The idea behind weld-through primer is that it can stand up to the temperature of welding without burning away.

While working on the passenger side, I tried to use this paint on surfaces where I was needing to rosebud weld to meeting parts together. The problem was that in my ignorance, I assumed the phrase "weld-through" meant I could literally "weld through" the primer when joining the parts. Not so, grasshopper... Possibly this would be true when using a high amp setting on the welder, but for this thin work, I've got my trusty Hobart 187 turned down to 1 and the welding attempts resulted in a lot of popping, snapping and generally crappy weld quality.

Reading online I discovered the trick is to clean the primer away from the "behind" piece before you attempt to weld. The author of the thread I was reading had a great method that I'll share here. He uses a 1/4" drill for the hole. Then, once the pieces are mated and clamped for welding, he takes a modified D drill (.242 diameter) and cleans out the primer from the hole. The modification is simple - he blunts the tip on a bench grinder to where the drill looks more like an end-mill. He described a method to restore the cutting edge if the bit isn't effective, but I've not needed to do this with my drill.

Method works a treat and now I can fully prime all the repair patches that are installed on the car.

With the exception of making the flange pieces for the front and rear of the inner sill to join to the outer sill and constructing and installing the jack points, this concludes the work required to install the driver's side outer sill.

While had the car up "on edge" to do the passenger sill, I discovered two areas on the driver's floor pan that have rusted through. In the next posting, I go through the steps required to repair those areas.

W. Brian Fogarty

'02 S55 AMG (W220)
'92 300SE (W140) - sold
'76 450SEL 6.9 Euro #1164 - parted & gone
'76 450SEL 6.9 Euro #521

"Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people, and most of them seemed to come from Texas..." Casino Royale, Chapter VII
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wbrian63

USA
901 Posts

Posted - 06/14/2014 :  07:52:11  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The floor pan under the rear seat on the driver's side had rusted through. I'm completely confused as to how this could have happened other than possibly a leaking sunroof hose, as the one installed currently appears to have a non-standard design.

Anyway - as with most rust, it didn't appear that bad from the surface. This was after the first cleaning:


A little tapping around the edge of the cleaned area revealed more punky areas:


Again, no way for me to form the patch as a single piece of metal, so I planned to break the repair into 3 pieces. The top would deal with the angled area adjacent to the grommet hole. The middle would be the easy piece, just one flat piece formed to the curve of the floor pan. The last piece would deal with the balance of the rust.

This is what it looks like from inside the car. It's interesting to see how a flash picture can reveal some details while hiding others:


Same area - no flash, but back-lit from below the floor pan:


I used the existing material to help me form the patch. That is to say I didn't cut any old stuff out until I was almost ready to fit the patch pieces. The first piece bends in three planes, so I took my time to shape it to fit. Then I scribed around the patch with a carbide pen and removed the material with the pneumatic hack saw.

In order to be able to hold the patch piece in place for fine tuning the hole size and then for initial welding, I tacked a tab of metal onto the piece. This I did after the 10th or so time the patch piece fell through the hole and into the car necessitating cussing prior to retrieval...

One thing I've discovered with this process is butt welding two pieces of flat metal together goes very smoothly unless one of the mating pieces hides rust. The moment the circuit is made to tack the edges together, the rusty metal literally evaporates and you're left with a "half tack". This is true even when one side of the piece has been ground down to nice shiny metal.

And so this is how I discovered that the cutout area for the first patch was not large enough and there was nearly rusted through areas surrounding the grommet hole. You can see these new holes above the first welded patch:


Same picture - with a flash:


After I added the third piece, I went back and added three more small pieces to remove and replace the rusty metal around the grommet hole.

And here's the finished product:


W. Brian Fogarty

'02 S55 AMG (W220)
'92 300SE (W140) - sold
'76 450SEL 6.9 Euro #1164 - parted & gone
'76 450SEL 6.9 Euro #521

"Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people, and most of them seemed to come from Texas..." Casino Royale, Chapter VII
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wbrian63

USA
901 Posts

Posted - 06/27/2014 :  20:22:47  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The floor pan under the driver's seat ended up being far more involved than I had expected. (Isn't that the way it always is with rust?)

I thought I had a picture of how I discovered the rust as a small bubble in the undercoat where the left frame rail terminates into the floor pan under the driver's seat, but I think that pic was on the camera I left sitting on the truck bumper some time ago...

One thing was obvious - I was going to have to remove the cross member that sits under the driver's seat from sill to transmission tunnel in order to gain access to the floor pan for a full cut-and-remove session.

This is all that was visible on the rearward edge of the cross member:


The sound deadening material came out in bits and pieces, but it wasn't very well secured so the total removal effort was measured in minutes, not hours.


With the cross member out, I removed a test section of floor pan to see how badly rusted the frame rail was - results were encouraging. The "T" at the end was badly pitted, but still viable. Sprayed liberally with rust conversion spray and later with weld-through primer, it would be usable.



With a "Sharpie" in hand and with much trepidation, I traced the edges of the pan to create a cutout line. Then drilled holes at the intersections and removed the panel with my trusty pneumatic hack saw:


Funny how the shape of the hole in black line doesn't look nearly as big as the finished product...

I determined the boundary of how far I was going to need to cut by finding the edge of the badly pitted metal. I decided I needed to cut out a major section when moderate probing with my welding pick opened up all of the holes circled on this photo:


What was curious was there was almost no rust in the areas where the beads were concave and would have collected and held water. The rust-through areas were on the flats and along the tops the convex beads. Strange...

I started out with a flat sheet cut to approximately the right shape with a bend in it to match the rough contour of the floor pan:


Then I added beads where they belonged with this tool:


It did an acceptable job of creating the beads needed to stiffen the panel. They weren't as wide as the factory beads, so where the new panel intersected the original panel I had to do some material massaging to make the edges meet.

The biggest problem with this tool is there is no way to start a bead in the middle of a panel, so several of the stopped beads had to be started at the edge and then the edge had to be flattened out to remove the bead. This creates a bow in the panel because forming the bead stretches the metal and it doesn't shrink back to original size when you pound the bead flat on an anvil. Still made it work.

I started with one panel and ended up cutting it into two pieces to make it fit. There was just too much fiddling with the larger panel to make everything work.



The hole in the front (left side of picture) needs to become an inverted channel to mate with the frame rail underneath. The right side of the panel, adjacent to the welded seam will need to be cut away and a new piece formed to join to the channel that runs into the rear floor board.

Here's the panel fully welded in before more modifications to deal with the left and right areas. You can see the seam as a series of dots in the upper quadrant of the picture - I didn't weld it up because most of that metal will be cut away in a later step:


I forgot to take pictures as I removed and replaced the pan to intersect with the frame rail, but the process started off with a piece formed to match the channel:


Here are the steps for fixing the right side of the pan. First, form a piece to intersect with the channel:


Then use that to cut a hole in the floor pan:




Tack the patch into place:


"Connect the dots" and grind everything smooth:


Here's the view from below. I ground away all of the welding pips that appeared from below and filled in a few areas that needed it:


Like most things with this restoration, I hadn't planned on doing this much work. Because of the unexpected amount of rust found in this floor pan (entered into the floor pan from the badly rusted front foot well at the sill behind the front tire), I now will remove the sound deadening on the passenger floor pan, as well as strip all of the undercoat from the bottom of the car.

I've gone this far over the edge - might as well complete the jump...

Next will be to weld the cross member under the seat back into place and then fit the jack points and drivers outer sill.

Thanks for reading...

W. Brian Fogarty

'02 S55 AMG (W220)
'92 300SE (W140) - sold
'76 450SEL 6.9 Euro #1164 - parted & gone
'76 450SEL 6.9 Euro #521

"Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people, and most of them seemed to come from Texas..." Casino Royale, Chapter VII
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wbrian63

USA
901 Posts

Posted - 07/31/2014 :  20:30:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The saying "Time flies when you're having fun" - it also apparently flies when you're welding stuff...

The driver's sill is in and done. The front section was not as easy to do as the passenger side because I'd left very little of the original good sill to match the new sill, but I managed to get it done and it's good and tight, both structurally sound and water tight, which is equally important.

At the rear of the sill where the sill meets the driver's rear fenderwell, the remaining exterior metal was too thin to successfully reattach via rosebud welds, so I had to cut that part away:


I was careful to leave the outside edge of the body where it forms the door frame. It was structurally sound and will prevent me from having to reconstruct the arc and the radius of the edge which would necessitate reinstalling the rear door to guide the shape of the new parts:


The replacement piece wraps into the fenderwell where it meets the edge of the sill. All done, welded in place and ready for the next step:


The front of the sill has a plate that comes from MB and is welded in to close the hole between the inner rocker and the outer sill. The rear of the sill has no such part - the cover is formed by the inner fender structure, which I doubt is still available from MB and even if it is would cost a king's ransom. So there's a hole to be filled. Apologies for the out-of-focus picture:


I approached this effort differently than the passenger side. I formed the first part of the patch out of an angle-bent section that I put through the shrinker to get it to mostly conform to the curve of the sill:


Shrinking metal, especially of the thickness of these replacement parts is difficult. Eventually, you just can't gather the metal enough and the shrinking stops. At the end (bottom) of the curve, the radius tightens up where the sill intersects the inner rocker. To match this curve closely, I cut away thin sections of the part with my pneumatic hack saw, then closed the kerfs up by bending the part and tacking the metal back together. This is the side that will face the inside of the fenderwell. I tacked the "fingers" of the piece together on the other side first, then finished the work on this face:


The end result is pretty enough - I'm trying to avoid leaving small gaps in the metal where moisture can lodge and start rust. All of this will be covered in seam sealer and rock chip coatings, so the unevenness of the final surface is not much of a concern.


This out of focus picture shows the piece in place before I finished up the kerfed surface. I made sure the piece was the right shape and length before I spent the 1 hour-plus closing up all the kerfs.


Once that piece was tacked into place, it was a simple matter to cut out and fit a pie-shaped piece to close in the hole:


Lots of small welds and grinding and we have a finished product:


I got the washers welded up around the jack points tonight, and tomorrow I'm going to start on this little surprise.


I had thought all the major rust had been found, but when I was buttoning up the sill work, I happened to push against this area of the fenderwell while positioning myself for a weld, and the metal gave under my push. A little exploratory surgery reveals what appears to be the start of a repair that was abandoned.

When I got the undercoat removed, all the cuts in the inner fender were filled with latex caulk...


I've already been through one 10 pound spool of .024 welding wire. Hope I don't burn through another before I run out of rust to repair...

Thanks for reading.

W. Brian Fogarty

'02 S55 AMG (W220)
'92 300SE (W140) - sold
'76 450SEL 6.9 Euro #1164 - parted & gone
'76 450SEL 6.9 Euro #521

"Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people, and most of them seemed to come from Texas..." Casino Royale, Chapter VII

Edited by - wbrian63 on 07/31/2014 20:33:17
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Martin L

Australia
343 Posts

Posted - 07/31/2014 :  23:17:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you for sharing this with us Brian.

300SEL 6.3 #6481
420SEL W126
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wbrian63

USA
901 Posts

Posted - 08/13/2014 :  09:56:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It is becoming increasingly difficult to keep my spirits up regarding the amount of work that I still face before I can even hope to start putting things back ON the car...

In my last installment, I showed some rather grizzly rust/abuse in the driver's rear fenderwell adjacent to the attachment point for the rear sway bar.

Given the "surprise" that greeted me with this discovery, I've decided to stop any rust re-work and concentrate on removal of as much of the undercoat/stone chip as I can. Some of it will be very difficult to get at given the location on the chassis. Some of it will be inaccessible because of how the rotisserie attaches to the car.

Rest assured, I will persevere.

So, given that new goal, I started work on the coating in the driver's rear fenderwell. There is a combination of dirt, which covers a tar-like undercoat, which covers the stone chip. To keep the amount of dirt falling on me to a minimum, I started with a "manual" wire brush.




The plan was to work on the vertical sections of the fenderwell, then rotate the car to where "up" was "down" and continue the work.

The method remained the same - heat gun set to 1100F, a sharp 1/2" wood chisel and a safety knife. I cut hash marks into the coatings down to metal creating an approximate 1" x 1" grid pattern. Then I heat several of the grids to soften the stone chip and attack with the chisel.

It is slow, dreadful work.

But there is a reason for this - as seen in this picture:


Near the center of the image, you'll see a rust spot. This isn't something that will have to be repaired via cut-and-replace, but if it had been left covered, it would eventually have resulted in more damage.

Most of the W116 chassis is assembled with spot welders. There are a few places I'm finding where they used what I call "rosebud" welds. The outer panel has a small hole in it where it meets the inner panel. The welds are done manually starting with the arc in the middle of the hole through to the inner panel, and "swirling" out to join the outer panel to the inner panel. You can see several of those welds below the rust spot. This rust spot is a place where the rosebud weld was not performed. There's a neat 3/16" or so hole in the outer panel - too neat and to close to the other welds to be anything other than a missed weld.

I removed as much of the undercoat as I could, then cleaned up the metal with 3M abrasive roloc discs to bare metal. Then I flipped the car over about 215 degrees to where the fenderwell is now "down" and I could continue with the work.

I should note that the work that preceded the flip took about 4 hours.

And so the work begins again. No need to scrub off the dirt with a wire brush when all the work is down hill.


Even though the work is below me, it's more difficult than the previous work, because it's in a "bowl". This makes the chisel work more difficult as I can't get a proper angle on the tool against the metal to remove the undercoat without digging into the underlying metal. Much slower going here.

This little section probably took 30-45 minutes:


And another 30-45 minutes for this:


And 15 minutes for the balance:


What? 15 minutes for all that? How can this be?

Well, in a bit of frustration, I posted a question on GarageJournal.com, where I'm also a member (same name as here). There are many members there that have restored cars, I figured someone might have a suggestion.

I indicated that I wasn't interested in any sort of chemical strippers, and media blasting was also not an option. Several suggestions came in for twisted wire cups in a right-angle grinder. Possibly an option, but a really nasty, dirty option.

Then someone posted a link to a thread on PelincanParts.com where someone was restoring a 70's era Porsche 911. Another German car with a similar problem of rust lurking under the PVC stone chip. The solution was there - and this is the solution:


Something that's been sitting in a tool box not 15 feet from where I've been suffering and toiling to liberate #521 from its PVC prison.

I won't say that it cuts through the stone chip like a hot knife through butter. It's more like a room temp spoon through ice cream, but it beats the living hell out of my previous methods. Plus, the health benefits are bound to be better, as there's no heat involved and therefore no chance of out-gassing from the tar undercoat and stone chip.

So, I got the fender cleaned out post-haste, and this is what I found:








Apparently, the outer lip of the driver's fender has been replaced at some point, and I'm guessing these nicks and tears in the inner fender are from the gorilla body men. There's obviously rust that will have to be cut out and replacement panels created and installed.

Sigh...

This is where the back edge of the rear fender meets the "well" panel in the trunk. I originally assumed that I would just remove the bad and replace with good...


As I cleaned the underside of the well panel, I discovered rust inside the seam where the well panel is (in this case) brazed to the side of the trunk frame.


This is what happens when water gets in the trunk and sits in the wells. It seeps into the seams and causes rust.

It doesn't look like the well panel will have to be replaced, but I'll know more when I remove it. Doesn't look like that's too hard a job - but I've said that before.

Yesterday, I continued with the stone chip removal. Starting about 4:00 pm, I completed all of this work by 6:45 pm. The work area was from around the rear subframe mount all the way forward to the front cross-member mount. The rusty area is the new panel I fabbed in to replace the rusted floor pan under the driver's seat.


And yes - I've got some crush-type damage to deal with adjacent to the subframe mount and also on the front subframe...

More sigh...

At least I can put the chisel and heat gun away...

Thanks for reading.

Hopefully my next post will have a picture of the naked underside of a W116 for your viewing pleasure

W. Brian Fogarty

'07 Lexus LS460L
'76 450SEL 6.9 Euro #521
'02 S55 AMG (W220) - sold
'92 300SE (W140) - sold
'76 450SEL 6.9 Euro #1164 - parted & gone

"Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people, and most of them seemed to come from Texas..." Casino Royale, Chapter VII
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Caracas100

Venezuela
63 Posts

Posted - 08/13/2014 :  11:19:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Amazing effort, chapeau!
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bigblockbenz

USA
379 Posts

Posted - 08/13/2014 :  21:19:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
X2...yes, amazing effort Brian.
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wbrian63

USA
901 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2014 :  20:25:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for all the encouragement. Time for an update...

As I noted previously, I've grown tired of discovering all the little surprises this car seems to have lurking under the covers, so I'm working on stripping the entire underneath of the car, back to bare metal or close to it, anyway.

I took vacation from Aug 18 thru Aug 22 and can happily report much progress in this effort, although typically not as much as I'd hoped.

The driver's side is stripped, and doing so revealed some rust in the area where the spare tire well attaches to the bottom of the trunk. Fortunately, this is just surface rust:





None of this was visible prior to removing the dirt and undercoat.

With some scrubbing with a wire brush on a right-angle grinder, the rust is largely removed. What remains can be dealt with using a rust-converting paint or spray.



You know I love Mercedes, but sometimes I truly am amazed that these cars have lasted as long as they have. Take as a case in point the pivot housing for the parking brake cable. The bar that accepts the cable from the parking brake pedal in the cabin and also the pair of cables that mate up with the parking brakes at each rear tire pivots here and slides on a mating flange on the other side of the drive shaft tunnel.

This heavy duty housing is welded to the tunnel, but obviously is suffering from some surface rust:


Based on the amount of surface rust found around the perimeter, I'm considering cutting the welds loose and removing the housing from the car so whatever is hiding beneath can be properly addressed.

As I was grinding away the rust found near the spare tire well, I discovered a new surprise. This car has had rather extensive repairs done to the rear. If you look closely, you can see tabs of metal beneath the upper layer of metal. These tabs are what remains of the original upper layer, having been cut away most likely with a pneumatic chisel (a true butcher's tool).



The hacks that did the work didn't even bother to grind away the remnants of the original parts, they just slapped the new part on top.

Further evidence of shoddy repairs are evidenced by the gap behind this part where it should mate tightly to the vertical panel that forms the vertical edge of the inside of the wells on either side of the trunk:



When I used a bunch of shop rags and some mineral spirits to clean away the dirt, rust preventative and oil, the original primer black parts are revealed:



This explains the cuts I found above the sway bar on the driver's rear fenderwell:



These were made during the repair attempt by someone that didn't know what needed to be removed and what should have been left alone.

There's a matching set of cuts in the same place on in the passenger rear fenderwell - hidden by sealer:





The good news is that I'm 95% done with stripping the underneath of the car - here's the passenger side almost done:


I've still got to deal with the passenger rear fenderwell, and the underside of the trunk well on the passenger side - then I'll know for sure what needs fixing.

I'll have to deal with the inner edges of the rear fenderwells - what I can see on the passenger side is similar to the carnage that I found on the driver side. I'll have to repair the cuts to the body around the sway bar supports on the driver and passenger side. I'll also have to repair the driver side rear inner fender where it meets the trunk well - and likely a similar repair on the passenger side.

I had a friend from the next-door body shop drop by yesterday to see the progress. He suggested using a twisted wire cup brush rather than the scraper with the multi tool. He gave a demonstration with one from his tool kit, and the progress one can make is astounding. Likewise, the amount of mess that one creates is astounding, so even though the progress is slower, I stuck with the scraper.



The cup brush will come in handy with the final cleanup where I can't gain access with the right-angle grinders and roloc disks, and I've already used it in that fashion with good results.

I asked him about what to do with the seams and crevices found throughout the engine compartment. Most of the are "clean", but they harbor large amounts of oily residue, which will play havoc with paint when the time comes. His suggestion was "a wire brush and gasoline."

All I could think was "boom"...

I for sure have to do something to clean out these pesky areas so that I can get a good result with paint. Maybe a steam cleaner is a good investment...

Thanks for reading.

W. Brian Fogarty

'07 Lexus LS460L
'76 450SEL 6.9 Euro #521
'02 S55 AMG (W220) - sold
'92 300SE (W140) - sold
'76 450SEL 6.9 Euro #1164 - parted & gone

"Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people, and most of them seemed to come from Texas..." Casino Royale, Chapter VII
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cth350

USA
1528 Posts

Posted - 08/24/2014 :  11:01:08  Show Profile  Visit cth350's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Brian, great work. And kerosene & wire brush is certainly better than gasoline. -cth
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wbrian63

USA
901 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2014 :  09:25:54  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Progress this week has been delayed a bit. I spent a couple of days installing a refrigerated air dryer. My Quincy air compressor had of late been producing (so it seemed) as much water as air, despite my attempts to drain the lines on a fairly regular basis.

At every point in the air system in my shop, where a line turns up to go to a hose reel, there's a corresponding down leg with a drain at the bottom. This works fine to capture small amounts of condensation, but when I'm using high-draw tools like air grinders, the air flow is rapid enough that the moisture stays in the flow until it gets to the point of usage. Obviously, this isn't good for the tools, nor is it good to spray bare metal with a light misting of water.

I tripped across a thread on GarageJournal.com where someone was showing off their compressor installation, and in the pictures there they referenced a refrigerated air dryer they'd purchased from Harbor Freight. I had always assumed that a refrigerated air dryer was going to be outside my budget, but when "Harbor Freight" was mentioned, I figured it was worth a look.

For those not in the US, Harbor Freight is a retailer of mostly Chinese-manufactured tools and supplies. Some of their stuff works wonderfully for the prices paid - some not so much.

Anyway - I did a little checking and the unit seems to have favorable reviews. Most of the negative stuff was from damage in shipping and general issues with the cabinet assembly, so I figured it was worth a try.

Harbor Freight is also famous for its 20% off coupons, and using one of those, I was able to get the unit delivered to my home for about $375.

I built a frame to hang it on the wall outside the closet where the compressor lives.


Here's the control panel:


My compressor is rated for 15.6CFM at 90PSI, so this unit has ample capacity.

One problem with the installation is deciding to use diagonal supports from above means I can't reinstall the side panels, which must be removed to wire the unit in for operation... Looks like a bit of a redesign is in order.

Anyway - initial testing reveals good results. After draining all of the lines in the system as best I could, I've used a right-angle grinder for 30+ minutes and have had zero visible moisture at the point of use.

I think that's a good thing.

Now for 6.9 pictures.

The last part of my "strip the chassis" task is the inside of the passenger rear fender well, and that effort is proceeding nicely, with the expected amount of rust being revealed.

There are a couple of 1" diameter areas like this that show serious pitting, but no structural compromise. Obviously the inner lip of the inner fender is garbage and will have to be re-done.


The trailing edge of the inner fender is also cactus where it links up with the trunk side well panel. Not as bad as the driver's side, but we're looking at replacement yet again.


And more of the carnage that is the outer lip of the inner fender...


Thanks for reading

W. Brian Fogarty

'07 Lexus LS460L
'76 450SEL 6.9 Euro #521
'02 S55 AMG (W220) - sold
'92 300SE (W140) - sold
'76 450SEL 6.9 Euro #1164 - parted & gone

"Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people, and most of them seemed to come from Texas..." Casino Royale, Chapter VII
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wbrian63

USA
901 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2014 :  09:27:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just realized it's been over one year since I started on this 3-month project...

W. Brian Fogarty

'07 Lexus LS460L
'76 450SEL 6.9 Euro #521
'02 S55 AMG (W220) - sold
'92 300SE (W140) - sold
'76 450SEL 6.9 Euro #1164 - parted & gone

"Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people, and most of them seemed to come from Texas..." Casino Royale, Chapter VII
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Be Free

USA
41 Posts

Posted - 09/02/2014 :  20:03:22  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
great year of drama in Texas. Cheers!

Your work on this lucky car is an inspiration and your writing, photography, tools and ideas should be published.

A friend has recently said that he was at the end of his patience with his W116 and was going to sell it. I showed him your writeup and at the end of the day he said that he had a better understanding of all of our journey and would not be selling the car.

Keep it up.

Thank you. Happy Anniversary!
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wbrian63

USA
901 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2014 :  06:39:57  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks - I am nearing the end of the journey to remove all of the undercoat from the car. The passenger rear fenderwell is the last stop, with a side-trip to the side well of the trunk thrown in for good measure.

Then I can see what I'm truly facing regarding rust abatement. The trailing edges of the rear fenderwells won't be very hard to do at all - the unknown is how badly affected the adjoining trunk well floor pieces are. If they're in bad shape, I'll have to remove them as well - doable, just more time.

The true "fun" will be dealing with the lip of the inner fender material where it meets the outer body of the car.

It's for certain that this car has been repaired after a fairly serious rear-end collision at some point in its life. I've found the weld points where the rear quarters are lap-welded at about 10 o'clock on the fender arch. I expect when I remove the paint on the C-pillars, I'll discover a similar repair.

The problem is that in removing the rear clip, the monkeys that did the work used a pneumatic hammer to shear the parts apart, which left tabs of metal from the original body in place where they cut around the spot welds. Rather than taking the 20 minutes to grind those tabs away before reinstalling the new pieces, they left them in place. That means there's no way to get the new panels to sit exactly where they were meant to, plus it guarantees a gap between the new panels and in some places those gaps will allow water to get in.

In this picture, the "blobs" that appear along the edge of the fender are actually welds where they've attached the outer to the inner fender.


These gaps are typical of what I'm facing:


Gravity being our friend, when the car is driven on a wet road, the road spray will find it's way into these gaps and seek the lowest part of the assembly via surface tension. On the forward half of the wheel arch, that means the sills. On the rearward half of the wheel arch, that means the seam bewteen the inner fender and the trunk side well floor, and the well itself.

"Fortunately" the repair pieces don't show, so as long as they're solidly constructed and properly placed, I should have good service for as long as I care to be the custodian of the car. The inner lips of the fender can be formed fairly easily by a L-shaped piece of metal properly arched to match the curve of the fender using the shrinker/stretcher tool in stretch mode. Stretching metal is far easier than shrinking it, especially with the gauge material I'm using to match the OEM stuff.

While the calendar has been ticking away for a year, I have to remind myself that I lost about 2 months at the beginning of the year when I had bi-lateral achilles' tendon surgery, so I've really only been "at it" for 10 months... Still a lot longer than I'd planned.

W. Brian Fogarty

'07 Lexus LS460L
'76 450SEL 6.9 Euro #521
'02 S55 AMG (W220) - sold
'92 300SE (W140) - sold
'76 450SEL 6.9 Euro #1164 - parted & gone

"Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people, and most of them seemed to come from Texas..." Casino Royale, Chapter VII

Edited by - wbrian63 on 09/03/2014 06:41:05
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