Sunday, November 29, 2009
Lots of research this month. After I cut out the upper portion of the drivers side B pillar I realised that I didn't have any good reference pictures of the B pillar's configuration. I finally posted a question to the National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS) asking for help after which I received several very helpful pictures. This is one of the pictures. You can see the drivers side B pillar in the center left of the picture. This was my template.
If you recall the B pillar looked like this before any restoration occurred. With the upper portion of the B pillar out of the car and on the bench I started to cut, form, bend, weld and grind. When welding 20 gauge sheet metal it can only be done with a string of tack welds. Any attempt to run a bead resulted in blow through. The tack welds might not be pretty but they're strong. The welding process also turned the malleable sheet metal nice and rigid. At this stage of fabrication the piece was becoming very stout.
Another picture of the same.
Before I capped this piece I did lots of grinding using a burr grinder. You can see the shavings in this picture. I also put a thin coat of JB Weld over the tack welds to fill in any nooks and crannies that might trap moisture.
In this picture a portion of the upper pillar has been capped. Again, lots of tack welds were used then ground flush.
After a coat of primer I set the piece on top of the lower B pillar and verified proper alignment. The next step will be to attach bonding strips to the assembly then bond the assembly to the body. The assembly will have to be welded in place before the bonding agent sets.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
It's been 1 month to the day since I last posted to this blog. I've been tooling up to do metal repairs and we now have a 220V MIG welder (thanks Dennis K. for doing the wiring) and a few nice air tools including several grinders, a nibbler, a flange and hole punch, and a shear. I decided to start working on the right B pillar which is located adjacent to and behind the passenger seat. The first picture you see is the area before I started repairs. What you see is an old repair that predates Dennis S. the previous owner and probably even the owner before him. Dennis disclosed these issues at the time of the sale so I've known that both the A and B pillars require work. Part of the fiberglass body had to be removed for access to the damaged area. In this picture I had already started to remove thinning rusted areas so I could understand the extent of the damage.
As I removed more rusted areas I found additional areas that needed attention. In this picture you can see another section of rusted metal back up and under the fender. This is a different piece than the one seen in the photo above.
All rusted, thinning, damaged areas were removed then cleaned up for fabrication and welding.
The inner most panel has been replaced as shown in this picture. It was butt welded in place using dozens of tack welds then ground flush.
Additional pieces were fabricated and welded. The piece I am holding is only 1/2 it's original thickness.
This is the B pillar in it's current condition. The fabricated piece you see directly under the fiberglass body has not yet been welded in place. It also requires bonding to the fiberglass. Everything is coming together nicely and I don't expect any big issues. This is tedious work though and I suspect all 4 pillars may end up taking most of winter weekends to complete. Check back periodically for updates and thanks for following along.