I spent a good chunk of Saturday making molten metal in my garage. The task was welding in the three patch panels that span the length of Lucy’s driver’s side floor. The first panel was to be welded from the inside to recreate the now mostly missing driver’s footwell. I first finished prepping the attaching surfaces (the perimeter of the patch and the adjoining areas of the existent, solid sheetmetal) by wire brushing off the POR-15 and exposing nice, bare, silver steel. Then, with .023 diameter wire in my Lincoln MIG welder, I tacked the panel into place. With each tack, I hammered the profile to match undulations in the floor. Once tacked in, I went back and laid in more weld between each tack to solidify the attachment. With that panel finished, I moved on to the patch under the rear seat. This one had many more bends to accommodate the curve of the rear firewall, so it took some extra relief cuts, but in the end it, too, succumbed satisfactorily to my tacking, hammering, and final beads of weld. That left the patch that spanned the area from under the driver’s seat to the rearmost patch. This one, sadly, had to be welded from the underside of the car. I used a couple jacks to hold the patch while I made molten metal around its perimeter. It took much wiggling, contortions, and swearing to squeeze under the car with my new welding helmet on, but I was able to get the piece put in place and welded in without too much angst.
Now is a good time to rave about the self-darkening welding helmet I recently got at Harbor-Freight. Over Christmas break I painted a car door for a work-buddy of mine and he thanked me by handing over a $50 gift certificate to one of my favorite toy (ahem, tool) stores. I used it to get their top-of-the-line helmet. It made working in the cramped confines under Lucy doable instead of impossible.
I’ll try to shoot some photos of my scraggly-looking welds tonight before I commence coating everything in primer and paint and hiding under carpet.
UPDATE: Here are the photos.