i have finally gotten to the point where i am considering what to tackle first. i have stripped everything out of the inside. i have cleaned up the lower rotted body panels so i can see what needs to be done. i have gone over the underside pretty throughly. at this point, as i prepare my first big order, i am finalizing the first wave of activities. aside from the rocker panel work, i have decided that among the first things i intend to do is replace the body mount bushings.
using my copy of the Chassis Manual as a guide, i have located all 14 of the body mount points. (i even located the two "core support" bushings holding up the radiator.) the only issue that i am unsure of is #6
(using the numbering system i have seen referenced elsewhere, starting from the front, numbering back along the driver's side). this is the mount right behind the rear wheel well.
to understand the issue, i need to explain the differences between the sedan/coupe/convertable and the wagon. the first three have the gas filler under the read license plate. the wagon has it on the drivers side, behind the rear wheel, just like a lot of vehicles do now. while the passenger side wheel well looks just like you would expect, that long ago designer must have worried about access to all that fueling infrastructure, since the inside of the rear driver's side rear wheel well is strange. the curved part of the well runs up to about 12 o'clock from the front. then it continues flat across the top, allowing access to the filler and vent piping behind the quarter panel. there is a small skirt, starting at about 2 o'clock, extending down to about 4 o'clock. unfortunately, the brace coming down from the body to the flange welded to the frame sticks down to about 4:30.
i've attached three images. the outside image is taken from outside the wheel well, looking in. you can see the filler pipe on the upper right, and the shirt on the lower left. there in the middle you can see the bolt and bushings attached to the frame. dangling above it appears to be a three sided brace from the body above down to the frame. it looks like it was capped at the bottom, where it attached to the frame flange. the rear image is looking forward from behind the wheel, and the below image is looking up from underneath.
after looking at this on and off for several days, i have decided on my plan:
1) construct a new cap for the brace, with sides long enough to reach up the brace to where the metal is pretty intact.
2) buy a replacement wheel well, something like J112L from ames performance, and cut the right half off, and try to cut it down to allow me to bolt it into place in the well. this way, if that long ago designer was right, and i will need access into there, i can just unbolt the patch and there it is.
so, any comments?
do any of you have an opinion on what gauge sheet metal to make the new cap from? it looks like the same stuff the rest of the body is made from, but i dont know what that is, to be honest, and since i am attaching a new piece, it might be wise to make it stronger.
i assume i would need to weld it on, but might bolting it be better? i imagine that the shear forces on those welds might be substantial.
and, the most interesting question, how long do i make the finished brace? i mean, i see where it sits now, but is that right? how can i tell if that side is sagging? it doesn't look like it, and the #5
mount isn't that far away, and the #7
looks just like the one on the other side, so it doesn't seem to be suffering from extra load.
is reworking the wheel well stupid? would it just be smarter to make the skirt a little longer, or create another shield more local to the brace?
am i leaving anything obvious out?
thanx for reading this far.