Rear fender support brackets
When I pulled the top and stock roll bar for the seam repair, the roll bar/tub bracket areas looked pretty good, until I looked at the driver's side front. Looked like 30 years of dirt under the mount and then I realized it was more than dirt. The 3 others look much better but I'll probably pull those tub/wheel cover brackets too just to fix whatever going on inside. Tried to fab a home-made patch from 18 ga. - a bit 1/2 donkey but it seems strong. All I have at this point is a hammer and a bench vise for sheet metal work. In future, if I can find an old junked wheel cover somewhere I may try to clean up the "quarter" end of the rib a little (new little patch). The bracket itself may need to be replaced on this mount (thinking CCOT) - the other 3 may be OK.
Support brackets in process (January 15, 2009)...
Started patching up the support brackets. The 14ga takes a little more effort of course - using an 1 1/2 inch steel bar to get the radius. Who knows if it's worth the trouble but I'll end up using the original supports anyway. The 14ga does seem to move around less when welding.
Patched bracket ad support plate - and the clean-up bracket mount area. Final welds on the wheel cover patch will be done when the bracket/plate are in place. Although this one was the only one rusted through, if this works out I'll plan to pull the 3 others and clean them up. Weld-thru primer on everything at this point.
Got the bracket/support pad bolted, jacked and clamped back into the original spot. Plug-welded everything back in. The top of the wheel cover was an 18ga to 14ga plug so stayed around a 14ga setting on the welder to get penetration. Inside the wheel well on the lower part of the bracket the plug welds had 18ga at the back so I kept the welder hot and backed those plugs with a copper plate. Seemed to work out OK - more grinding to add to the list.
That odd color on the steel is from a MetalReady prep before welding - I think it leaves some zinc on the steel. The POR15 people say it enhances welding/conductivity but I'm thinking it may not be the best stuff to breathe in while welding so I may stop doing it in future until I'm ready for paint. I think it helps the weld primer take hold.
September 1, 2009
I have all the other brackets (balance of 3) and jump seat plates removed, decided to rework/patch those too. Not as bad as #1 but I've decided to clean up the tub in as many places as possible. At this point I've rough patched/tacked the 3 remaining top wheel cover areas, done a little grinding and getting ready to finish weld patches and get the brackets welded back on. I feel like the red machinist's dye helps me control the grinder. Got a growing pile of small parts that are holding me up (need access to a sand blaster).