In sanding down the passenger's side quarter panel I came across more bad news. Excessive filler and body damage meant this quarter was going to need to be replaced too.
|The wheel house and quarter was flattened here and lost its contour. It was reshaped with a half inch of filler.|
Not wanting to go through the nightmare of replacing a full quarter this time, I opted to only replace a quarter skin. All spot welds along the lip of the wheelhouse, along the bottom of the drop downs, above the rocker, inside the door jamb, and on the back where the quarter meets the tail light panel were ground away with a cut off wheel or a spot weld cutter, taking care to leave the mating surface perfectly intact.
Two strips of painters tape were then striped down the side following the body line to give me a cutting guide 2" beneath the body line. Once the cut was made, the quarter skin was easily removed.
|The damage to the rear of the quarter is apparent in this picture. My cutting line was masked off with tape.|
|I cut along the line with a cut off wheel and popped the quarter skin off.|
|The inside metal was then stripped with a wire wheel, degreased, primed with etching primer, and painted with chassis saver. Paint will be removed from surfaces where welds will go.|
The test fit of the skin was a nightmare. The skin was almost 1/2" too long and the skin was nowhere close to even matching up with the drop down behind the tire. It was so bad I actually laughed out loud to myself when I was trying to fit it. Not only this, but the back of the skin is not stamped where the rear valance should fit in. There was no way in the world this skin was ever going to work without serious cutting and rewelding. Oddly enough, the wheel well radius of the skin and wheel house was a near perfect match. So I scrapped that $80 skin and ordered a full quarter from CJ.
If you are replacing a skin, my advice from this point forward is always going to buy a full quarter and cut it down to a skin. The full quarters are manufactured better with thicker metal, and they are a more accurate reproduction. In general they are just built better and fit better. I took my full quarter, drilled out the spot welds in the rear, and cut the entire panel one inch below the body line.
|To make a skin out of a full quarter, the end of the panel here was removed.|
|I taped off the top of the panel and cut along the body line.|
|I traced a black line along the edge of the quarter wheel well on the lip of the outer wheel house. The edge of the lip to the black line is how far out the wheel house needs to be pulled out.|
|The panel was then mounted and screwed into place. The top was also screwed about every 15".|
Because I want to 'do it right,' I'll be butt welding the new panel to the old panel, eliminating the need to have an overlap. I've heard this is very difficult to do, but given my success in replacing the sail panel, I felt I was up to it as I've become very confident in my welding skillz.
I cut right along the top of the new panel, using it as a guide to finish cutting the old panel since I had intentionally left excess. A cut off wheel works best for this. Cutting right along the new panel resulted in a perfect match of the new panel to the old panel. The strip of excess that falls off the old panel is then pulled out from the inside.
|I installed panel clamps to hold the panels flush so I can start tack welding.|
|Finally, after several days of welding, the welds are complete and the quarter panel is completely installed.|
|Unfortunately, try as I might, I still ended up getting some very bad warpage even though I precariously took deliberate measures to avoid it. I'll have to stretch this metal with on-dolly hammering.|
|My repairs to the wheel house made it line up perfectly with the wheel opening in the quarter panel. Then I made my plug welds.|
|I had also punched holes along the drop down to make plug welds here.|
|...and made my plug welds in the door jamb.|
|And the completed project. If you're a hippy, you'll see orbs in this picture. If you're normal like me, you just see light reflections from suspended dust in the air.|
All in all, it came out very good and my old body teacher Kirk was highly impressed, and then was even more impressed when he realized I butt-welded the entire thing. I still wasn't without some nasty, nasty warpage that was quite discouraging, but I guess that's another day's project.