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FatHarris - tales of a motoring moron ***Weekend roundup 8/7***


fatharris

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Beat:

Whilst I've been pulling my hair out keeping 4 of my cars ticking over, Tony had the unenviable task of getting one back on the road.

Surprisingly, Japanese cars have a reputation to rust, who knew? 

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Unperturbed, he waved his sparkly stick and made it good again:

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He then filled in the holes from removing the boot rack, which wasn't really to my taste:

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He also dismantled and cleaned the brake calipers so the car could move and stop freely.

Next up, things were masked off:

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Prepped:

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Primed:

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And given a fresh coat of paint:

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He also applied some black vinyl at my request because I'd seen it on another Beat and it looked class. Still unsure how it looks on a yellow one, maybe it needs to be matt/satin black?

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At this point, following discussions with Alex, we decided the best thing to do would be for me to buy him out of his half of the project, he's still getting a lend of it for a bit though :)

With all that done, it was time to think about the MOT. Only thing was, it had not had a cambelt change in at least 8 years, and I was a bloody terrified of the thing snapping during the emissions test. Luckily, I had a weekend free, and @twosmoke300 doesn't need much provocation to have a few beers away and he very kindly agreed to take his technical skills on the road and help me (Read: do all the work) on a timing belt change. Alex had sourced me the majority of a timing belt kit a while ago (Belt, tensioner pulley and spring) which would be enough to keep the engine safe for the foreseeable.

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Look at him, handsome bugger.  Face for radio and all that.

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After a couple of hours, it was discovered that the idler pulley was very grumbly, and we didn't have one to hand. To make matters worse, the water pump has a small weep, and isn't available in this country, so at some point, this will all be coming apart again to rectify all these.

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Once it was all bolted up together and a new battery fitted, it fired up, running rich. A re-seating of the temperature sender cured the fault and we ran the car up to temperature with no issues. Happy it was working as advertised, an oil change was carried out. Many thanks to Phill for his help on this one, he saved my bacon with this one!

That was last weekend. 

On Thursday, Tony took the Beat for its first drive on the road for over 7 years.

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A man in overalls put it in the air and tapped it with a hammer:

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And it PASSED!

We had planned for me to collect the Beat this coming Sunday, but I got too excited. With insurance sorted (at EIGHT pounds a month FC!) and tax paid, we went 75 miles up the line, said our thanks, and collected the Beat.

My boy has been absolutely obsessed with the Beat ever since we got it, so it only seemed right for him to be my  co-pilot for our first drive.

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He smiles weird.

We set off and OH MY WORD, this little car is a frantic little buzzy thing. I'd never driven it before so I wasn't sure what to expect, but a rainy, dark drive through unfamiliar roads was a baptism by fire. Did I like it?

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I bloody loved it. The sense of occasion you get from a hard 2nd gear pull is wonderful. The idler pulley noise is noticeable though and needs rectifying. It's also extremely loud in the cabin, so I'll be looking at dynamat on the panels to take the edge off.

But the steering, oh, the steering. It's so bloody fast that it only needs the tiniest of movements to change direction. It's not power assisted, and it really doesn't need it either.

I've been using it to commute to work for the past couple of days as I need to finish the BX's rear welding to get it out and under a cover, and it never fails to make me smile. Next on the list is a new roof, as the old one has shrunken to the point of being almost completely useless. Thankfully today was a quiet day at work, so I hid the Beat in a hard shelter to hide away from the storm.

Spot the difference!

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So what's next for the Beat?

It is desperately in need of a good full service, which requires a few bits being shipped from voerseas.

Clutch fluid needs changing as the top of the pedal is slack

Roof needs changing. Badly.

The paint job is definitely a ten-footer, and needs some fettling/sanding to make a little better and a few bits of overspray need cleaning up.

New pads and discs would help the pedal feel

New water pump and idler pulley

New stereo install

More undersealing and rustproofing

Soundproofing!

Either way though, it'll be getting parked up for a bit to wait out for the winter/salt period to be over. It will be getting used though, don't you worry about that!

 

Massive thanks to the following people, without which this would not have been possible:

Mark - for calling me when he heard of a cheap Beat for sale and transporting it down from Coventry

Alex - For going half in on the project with me 

Phill - For being a top friend/drinking buddy/pisstaker

Tony - For all of his hard work bringing the Beat from the brink

and of course, my wife Emily - For tolerating all of the stupid car-related shit I've done over the years, including bartering a Mini that was technically yours. Love you ❤️

 

And that's you all up to date, hope the pictures made up for the inane ramblings, despite barely being home this year, it's been incredibly busy!

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That is quite a collection you have there. Just think, all of them together are cheaper than a modern drearybox on the monthly rental contract. [At least that's what I tell the wife when she moans about how much I've spent on the Landrover, Jag, Renault...]

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That is quite a collection you have there. Just think, all of them together are cheaper than a modern drearybox on the monthly rental contract. [At least that's what I tell the wife when she moans about how much I've spent on the Landrover, Jag, Renault...]
You'd be right there.

Most expensive car was Herman at £1000 in 2014, cheapest was the Laguna at £250 in 2019. Both have been written off and I've been given cheques for more than I paid for them, so at this point they're costing me very little to keep

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@fatharrisyou kindly omitted the bum clenching moment when you fired it up and it was back firing and running like shit after the belt change .

Luckily it was just my paint dots on the ht leads smudged and one and two were the wrong way round .

Took a few minutes for me to unpucker tho .

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[mention=18190]fatharris[/mention]you kindly omitted the bum clenching moment when you fired it up and it was back firing and running like shit after the belt change .
Luckily it was just my paint dots on the ht leads smudged and one and two were the wrong way round .
Took a few minutes for me to unpucker tho .
Actually forgot about that!



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A very small break in the weather allowed me the opportunity to wash the Beat, dry it and stick it under the cover.

It still drives lovely but there's a lot more emergent work becoming apparent the longer I look over it and the first thing for me to do is stop driving it in moist conditions.

In the coming days, another break in weather will give me the opportunity to park it elsewhere on the driveway but we washed the car cover this morning, stretched it out in the living room to dry and there's a dehumidifier running inside the car with the windows cracked open very slightly.

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A late finish on the night shift this week, plus a very tantrum-y three year old meant I was late to bed this morning and late to rise, but I was feeling pretty motivated to get something done.

And I did.

Spent a whilst lining this up, bending it slightly for the edges to meet in the right places.

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Finally, finally got the welder settings correct after many months of faffing about and attached the rear panel

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Again, not the cleanest or nearest, but it's survived the hammer check.

Feeling slightly buoyed by this, I went on to properly secure the other two repair panels I tacked in weeks/months ago.

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Tomorrow, I'll take the flap disc to it to reduce the overall weld height, then I'll look to repair the bumper mounting bar before welding that back in.

Overall, I'm chuffed. Hopefully I find the motivation to carry on. I will need to remember to re-weld the exhaust hangar bracket back on though

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  • fatharris changed the title to FatHarris' Life of Shite ***WELDING STUFF***

Had a couple of quiet hours today waiting to catch up with a friend I haven't seen in nine years, so I took the exhaust hangar bracket that fell off the rotten boot corner months ago:

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Cut off the globs of weld, gave it a blast with the air file and a coat of zinc primer, ready to be welded back on. I'll be fitting the backbox in place to ensure the hangar is welded in the correct position.

No point making a new one up as I don't have any bar that size (or indeed, any bar ) and it's got all the correct required bends in it.

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Also, remember this crusty boi?

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Well, I've chopped the rotten section off from that removed section, drilled out the spot welds at the end and hammered it flat to make a template up to cut out.

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In the immediate sort term, the bending of the metal in the narrow spaces is going to be an issue as I only have a bench vice and a piece of angle iron that I've been using.

How do other people bend metal on a budget?

Speaking of budget, MrsH made our Christmas wreath today on a budget of zero pounds, using plants around our garden and some of my spare garden wire. Clever girl

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Another couple of hours free today.

Finished trimming the corner of the bumper bar to shape:

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Marked out the folding lines:

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Thankfully, I had some angle iron that was the same dimensions as the tight spaces that needed bending, so it folded over with a hammer nicely:

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Offered it up to the area (it still needs filing down), but roughly we're there with a bit of fettling:

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Coated it in zinc primer for the night before I weld the corner edge tabs together.

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It's taking shape.

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Not much spare time in between working night shifts and getting tested today for the spicy cold (results pending) but I did grind back some of the welds that would be in my way for the bumper bar to go on.

Quick coat of weld through primer for the rear panel and a section of the original bumper bar and tomorrow I'll etch prime the non-welded bits.

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Got a text at 3am this morning to tell us that our lad has the spicy cold, so we've been instructed to isolate even though double jabbed.

Whilst I'm prisoner in my own home, may as well crack on.

Got the original bumper bar section all held in place and roughly level:

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All welded up:

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It is bloody cold in the garage at the moment, but at least I've a chair:

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Did some trimming, filing and some bending to make it a better fit, clamped it in place:

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Laid down the first couple of tacks and...

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....bugger. Last bottle too, typically.

So, tools downed for the night and the fire lit in the living room, I'll grind back the first set of welds tomorrow and see what's what.

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A friend sorted me out with some gas via a COVID-safe drop off

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Fixed the welder adter it went wibble:

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And welded in the panel. Not too chuffed with the results tbh, but it was getting pretty dark and that area of the garage isn't well lit. It's not falling off and tomorrow I'll look to tidy up a few welds

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Not really had much effort to do stuff at the moment, blame COVID on my part.

I did hang the bumper back in to make sure that it still fitted after all the work on the bumper bar.

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Did a bit of grinding of the welds

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Looked into the OSR rust to see how bad that was after a wire brushing. Not too bad.
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A couple of pinholes in the weld that just look to be welding blow through, but the other stuff appears to have just been caused by the welding on the inside face, but seems happy enough with the hammer test.

First things first was to weld up the blown through holes (shown with a torch to highlight them)

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Didn't get an after shot.

Also, revisited this mess and welded it up a bit better. After shots to follow

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And that's it for a few more days until I feel a bit better.

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I learned very quickly not to catch your belly in the tin snips handles when chopping - holy shit did that hurt.

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I did that too a couple of days ago!! Man! It hurts! I thought I was the only uncarefull one 😀

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Finally, COVID symptoms subsided enough for me to do a little bit of work on the BX today.

Have this wee hole to deal with.

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Wire brush attachment to get rid of the excess paint very quickly revealed another adjacent hole.

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The previous repairs on this boot floor must have been heavily flapdisced down as the metal is v.thin in places.

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Ah well, it's only a tiny hole, so surely just a tiny patch?

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Having knocked up the world's tiniest patch, I got it in place:

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And promptly made a bloody meal of it.

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Never mind, attempt 2 - I cut a bit more out to see if the thin metal thickens up elsewhere:

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Popped it in place aaand...

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Balls. Attempt three next (told you they did too much flap discing!)

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VERY thin in places as it was blowing like mad, but I got it all the way round eventually. Bit of a grind to remove the height of the welds:

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Then onto the original small hole:

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Again, thin metal was my enemy here, but I managed to flood the holes with pools of weld

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Quick grind down and that's all good!

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Oh, and to make my day worse, I spotted this on the MX5s chassis rail.

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Bollocks.

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Not much achieved recently, I did get the etch primer down though:

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In doing so, I found a couple of pinholes that need filling with weld so that will happen soon, along with mounting up the exhaust for the hanger to be welded back on.

I managed to pick up some seam sealer and stone chip paint so I can proceed with finishing that corner off as well.

Started the BX up for the first time in months as well just to make sure it still ran - it did, so there's a win

Other than that, I took the cover off the Beat in a rare opportunity of dry weather and went to get my flu jab.

Naturally, the car park was totally empty when I pulled in and within ten minutes, people chose to park in the adjacent spot

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Then, I picked up the boy and we went for a drive around the North Cornwall costal roads just to perk ourselves up for Christmas.

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It was actually nice to see a few people smiling and waving - the Beat is such a happy car!

Once home, I washed and dried the Beat, set up the dehumidifier inside the car and got the cover back on it - that will do for a while.

As there was some left over, practically unused car wash solution in the bucket, I gave Herman a going over too. Sure it'll look fantastic* when the sun rises.

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Merry Xmas to all!

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Okay, I'm starting to get the impression that this project isn't going to be as straightforward as I anticipated (duh).

Started wirebrushing the primer off the pinholes in preparation for filling them with weld:

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Which got sorted quickly enough:

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One after shot of another one (forgot to take a before shot)

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And one tiny pinhole became much, much larger after a few seconds on the drill-mounted brush:

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Annoyingly and unsurprisingly, the surrounding metal was also tinfoil-thin and kept blowing, a legacy of the previous repairs carried out by one of the previous garages.

Looks shite, but I eventually managed to keep blowing through until I found thick enough metal for it to stay:

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Got another pinhole that enlarged with a wirebrush, but that's the other side of the boot floor and I haven't subjected myself to that side yet.

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As an added heartache, whilst checking the underside of that wleding to make sure it didn't look awful underneath, I noticed a crusty section of the boot floor forward of the subframe, which looked absolutely perfect when viewed from above.

A quick tap with a round file (closest tool to hand) suggested otherwise.

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That's going to require some remedial work but I'm not sure to what depth.

Either way, I hung the back box in position with a trolley jack:

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Filled the pigeon up with laxatives, and pulled the trigger:

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Quick mount of the rear bumper to make sure it'll be all right, and I think we've gotten away with that!

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What a ballache though, I was tempted to remove the rear subframe for access but I simply don't have the room to store it and all of this work was meant to enable it to go outside and let the Beat weather out the winter inside the garage.

Ah well.

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In some of those areas it looks like you'd be better off just biting the bullet and replacing larger sections than messing about with those tiny little patches? If a brush mounted on a drill can wear thru like that then it's definitely pretty bloody thin!

As others have said, you've deffo got the fab skillz :-) 

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In some of those areas it looks like you'd be better off just biting the bullet and replacing larger sections than messing about with those tiny little patches? If a brush mounted on a drill can wear thru like that then it's definitely pretty bloody thin!
As others have said, you've deffo got the fab skillz :-) 
In all reality, a replacement bootfloor panel would have been the preferred option, especially at £162 from Chevronics, but they've been out of stock for months, and I still feel out of my depth cutting into the panels. The other issue is the chassis rails run underneath and I'm trying to minimise disturbance around those areas.

You are totally right though, faffing around with these tiny patches is doing nothing for my sanity, but because this boot floor has been welded and flap disced to death by a garage in the past, I'm a bit hesitant to find out how bad it really is because if I find myself totally overwhelmed then I'll just end up putting tools down and abandoning the project altogether, a conclusion I have done twice before. Determined not to do it again though!

I think a couple of days away to re-evaluate isn't the worst idea in the world though, especially as it gives me a chance to consider where I go with it next. Ideally, I'd get the garage space back, but I know the subframe would be better coming out for better access, but then the danger is finding the rear subframe mounts rotten and then I'm really out of my depth.

We shall see!
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13 minutes ago, fatharris said:

In all reality, a replacement bootfloor panel would have been the preferred option, especially at £162 from Chevronics, but they've been out of stock for months, and I still feel out of my depth cutting into the panels. The other issue is the chassis rails run underneath and I'm trying to minimise disturbance around those areas.

You are totally right though, faffing around with these tiny patches is doing nothing for my sanity, but because this boot floor has been welded and flap disced to death by a garage in the past, I'm a bit hesitant to find out how bad it really is because if I find myself totally overwhelmed then I'll just end up putting tools down and abandoning the project altogether, a conclusion I have done twice before. Determined not to do it again though!

I think a couple of days away to re-evaluate isn't the worst idea in the world though, especially as it gives me a chance to consider where I go with it next. Ideally, I'd get the garage space back, but I know the subframe would be better coming out for better access, but then the danger is finding the rear subframe mounts rotten and then I'm really out of my depth.

We shall see!

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If the chassis rails are sound I wouldn't worry about it. The main thing is to cut it back to sound metal and make it easier on yourself in the long run. I'm no expert on cars but if you go steady at it and don't keep all the heat in one area you can keep warping to a minimum. That's 7' of weld and I managed to do it without a ripple, I did both sides of that van too... Cutting on a corner helps too. The pinholes couldn't be helped sadly as I had to do the job outside and it was blowing a gale.

You've got the skills so chop chop :-)  Stab, stab, stab with a screwdriver, hit it with a small hammer, find out where you've got good metal and go for it.

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tmp-cam-1399741157.thumb.jpg.08255b54f1f4587285cbf42d29de0320.jpg
tmp-cam-1601118737.thumb.jpg.fa44cfe1077819672eab5cb93fe75b95.jpg
If the chassis rails are sound I wouldn't worry about it. The main thing is to cut it back to sound metal and make it easier on yourself in the long run. I'm no expert on cars but if you go steady at it and don't keep all the heat in one area you can keep warping to a minimum. That's 7' of weld and I managed to do it without a ripple, I did both sides of that van too... Cutting on a corner helps too. The pinholes couldn't be helped sadly as I had to do the job outside and it was blowing a gale.
You've got the skills so chop chop :-)  Stab, stab, stab with a screwdriver, hit it with a small hammer, find out where you've got good metal and go for it.
Sadly, the chassis rails are not sound
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1 hour ago, fatharris said:

Sadly, the chassis rails are not sound emoji24.png

Maybe start there then? 

There's a ZX on page 1 and 2 of that thread I saved a while back, it's still running now. Is it worse than that one was?

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Maybe start there then? 
There's a ZX on page 1 and 2 of that thread I saved a while back, it's still running now. Is it worse than that one was?
I say chassis rails, I mean the reinforcement rails that run under the boot floor - they've been patched and bodged over the years, with grot found running under sections that attach to other sections. Whoever replaced the boot floor sections last time did minimal rust protection so they're starting to go again. Couple that with the fact they REALLY wanted to ground out the entirety of the welds means this is a not very fun battle to fight

Sounds weird saying it like that, I'll get some photos up when I get in the garage next.
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12 minutes ago, fatharris said:

I say chassis rails, I mean the reinforcement rails that run under the boot floor - they've been patched and bodged over the years, with grot found running under sections that attach to other sections. Whoever replaced the boot floor sections last time did minimal rust protection so they're starting to go again. Couple that with the fact they REALLY wanted to ground out the entirety of the welds means this is a not very fun battle to fight emoji1787.png

Sounds weird saying it like that, I'll get some photos up when I get in the garage next.

OK, hence the whole buying a new boot floor? Sounds like you're better off cutting the whole lot out and doing it from above then?

Yep, linishing disks are wonderful things but they can be a bit* aggressive in the wrong hands.

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