Repairs to Midlife's Rust, Part I
Below are some of the pictures I've performed to date (Dec. 30, 2002) of the repairs of rusty metal in Midlife.
First, is the passenger side rear floor panel, beside the inner wheel well. My suspicion is that most of the water damage came from either the fresh air vents of the fastback or a leaking rear window. From left to right are the original floor pan, the cut out section (which shows the pristeen looking inside of the frame rail, and the resulting patch using butt welds and plug welds along the frame flange:
Besides this section, the inner wheel well was kinda nasty looking as well. The repro outer wheel well was a poor fit to the covering flange, and even the alignment holes weren't even close to what was original! I had to make do and cover the flanged area as best as I could. Again, butt welds and plugs did the trick.
A friend from the local mustang club came over and we tackled the front seat frame rail together in one day. I still haven't patched the floor pan and toe board as yet, so don't be concerned about that. Here's a sequence of pictures. Note that the bottom flange from the true rail was rotted out and we had to patch in a piece to cover the full length of the true frame rail. I've since ground down all of the plug welds on the side and bottom of the seat frame rail. Surprisingly, although we did support the front of the engine compartment (4x4 and tranny jack), it wasn't really necessary. I still had in the export brace and crossmember, though.
After my friend showed me how relatively easy it was to tackle the driver's side frame rail, I decided to do the passenger side alone. I'll still need his help to hammer/dolly the floor pan flush to the rear part of the seat frame rail, but I do have it tacked in place. Upon removal of the seat rail, there was severe rust on the vertical frame rail, which I cleaned up and weld-plugged. The bottom flange was absolutely gone, so I also welded in a new piece there. Again, I didn't support the front of the car, as the doors, cross-member, export brace and rest of the unibody kept everything in alignment. I did check the measurements, however, and they were spot on!