I've been on here off and on for over 3 years now, but never posted any kind of thread, and only some limited pics (usually in someone else's thread). I figured maybe I should start a new thread just for my own car, even though I haven't really done a lot to it over the 8 1/2 years I've owned it, besides doing rust repair work and driving it, along with some maintenance. When I first got it, I was mostly using it as a winter car, as it had the usual "salt belt" rust. But after a while, I found I liked the little beasty, and as I kept repairing the rust, it just kept going and going like the Energizer Bunny. I ended going to Texas for business back in late 2013, and picked up a set of front fenders for it. They were off a Gold Prizm, which seemed odd after talking with Prizdog, as he commented that my Teal (Dark Turquoise Metallic) Prizm was odd. While a little bumped and bruised, they were rust free, which IS what I wanted. And yes, that Gold Prizm was very picked over and was basically a skeleton (especially after I got the fenders off it). Once I got back, I swapped out the fenders, and faked up some rocker skins out of some screen door metal I had laying around here. That's the thing about this car, I've been patching it together with whatever I can find ever since my son owned it, when we re-skinned the lower part of both front doors with metal from a GM hood, and made new wheel well arches from a Chevy Astro fender.
Over the years the front end got rebuilt, in that my son (the PO) replaced the front struts and front hub bearings (well I helped him do that), but later on, I did ball joints, calipers and rotors, tie rod ends, along with brake hoses. About 4 or 5 years ago, I did the rear struts, and sway bar links, along with doing the rear brakes. I also for a time ended up going with 15 inch rims on it (for summer use), so it got 95 Land Cruiser lug studs installed in the rear (44.5mm long) and 10 mm spacers, to push the 15 x 6.5 wide rims with 40mm offset out and away from the struts (I have a thread on that on page 30 or so in this forum). Yes, eventually the rims and tires (195-55-15's) will go back on it again, as I like the look of them on it. Here's some pics of it with them.
Fast forward almost another 4 years, and I'm rebuilding the rockers. This time I'm using the top cap sections from a Chevy S-10 pick up box fro the outer skin metal. I cut it 64 inches , so I could trim it if needed. Here's a before pic.
This was before I started cutting into it. Boy, did I open up a can of worms once I opened it up. I say that because I knew there was some rust in there (from 4 years ago), but I didn't realize the support structure was going as well. Here's a couple of pics after opening it up.
Not very good, and pretty bad when you get more toward the rear of the car. So I cut and cleaned up as best as I could to find out what was left that was still solid.
This had just become a much bigger project that originally planned. Needless to say, I was this far in, and it still needed to fix it. So I studied what I had to work with, went out back and brought some metal up, to see if it would work, and started working on a plan, only to revise it twice, while sitting there staring at it while drinking a beer. I knew I needed to add some strength back in, but I also needed to add a lip for the rocker skin to attach to. Remember, whatever I do on this side, I need to do on the other side as well.
I separated the outer skin from the inner skin of the bed rail metal, as the outer portion was going to be the outer rocker skin. I needed to bend the lip 180* so it would give me the bottom lip, then it was just a matter of shaping the metal into what I could use. The outer part would be the easy part of the job, but I still needed to do the inner. For that I used a piece of thick (16 gauge) metal that was 4 inches wide, and had a 1/2" lip bent on both edges forming a "U" kind of shape. This would give me something to tie the rear control arm bracket to, and also tie it to the floor, along with the metal around the lower seat belt mount (all strong sections). After that, I cut a pocket out of piece of perforated angle iron (I can't remember what it's real name is) checked the fit, then figured out where I wanted to bend a lip (for the outer skin mounting lip) in it. Please note, that I don't have a press brake, or anything like that. I just have a 5" vice, a 4.5 inch angle grinder (Dewalt) that I use with a Metabo cutting blade, and an old Black and Decker 4.5 inch grinder that I use grinding discs on. I also have a HF 90* die grinder with Roloc style discs, and a 30 year old Mig welder w/gas. Anyway, here's some pics of the "new" structure part that doesn't get seen.
Needless to say, this took longer to figure out, than build it. It does what I want, which was help tie both ends back together, but adds strength at the same time. Plus, with the lip at the bottom, I have a place to attach the rocker skin. I added the small boxed section at the rear to give me something to plate to (above and behind). Now it was time to bend up the long piece of metal, and tack it into place. First 1 bend, then a 2nd got the upper part done. A couple of test fits later, and a trim of about an inch off the top and it was ready to be tacked.
Then it was a matter of finish welding it, and re-making the rear corner and fender section. This was mostly cut and weld patch pieces to make up the parts of it. Once that was done, it was a matter of grinding down the welds, adding a little All Metal, then sealing it up in epoxy primer. Here's a shot of that.
After being welded and ground, it got primed off.
Then it got 2 coats of paint, followed by 2 coats of clear.
Then yesterday, I put the doors back on, and turned the car around so I could set up for doing the passenger side. My son thought it looked pretty good, until I pushed on it it and poked a hole right thru the skin. I already knew it was pretty thin, as I rolled my fingers up, and pushed right thru the bottom of the skin. No need for a screw driver or a hammer, as it's gone as well. Didn't get anything done on it though, as I was helping him diagnose a no start problem on his 98 Civic (we had just rebuilt the engine in it, and never fired it off yet). He was looking over my repairs pretty hard, as he needs to do something along the same lines for the rear of his Civic.
Anyway, I'm done with the left side, and I'll probably take shots of the right side while I'm in there.
Sorry about the links, as I'm not really computer savy as I work with my hands.