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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 3:43 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 589
Location: Australia
Continuing where I left off...

Another shot, not the best photo but turning out really well. Its not finished yet but Im very happy with how its turning out. Even the underside looks good ! The trim now fits 110% as it should. Once Ive completed welding I'll use a flap disk to clean it all up. I have access to the rear side which will be treated again, sealed, then waxed to permanently keep moisture out. Pic 2 Ive given it a quick sand. The area will be blasted and sealed.
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An underside shot, not too bad.... will be cleaned up and sealed. Anyway its alot better than what it was. Pic 2 is the opposite side, this was sandblasted and sealed. If it wasnt for the blasting you'd never know there was rust there and it would have eventually affected the seal under the rear screen. Very minor minor welding, no patching required to get it right. Ive circled in black the area where the corrosion was. This was taken back to white metal.
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Well thats it for the bottom left corner patching... moving onto the beaver and left quarter

Sh!thouse beaver to quarter lines. Everytime I see someone post up photos of expensive built 808's or Rx3's and I cant see these lines I have a good chuckle to myself because I pretty much know what I'll find in this area. If only the owners would let me poke around with a screw driver ! Someones run an abrasive over the join and beveled the edge somewhat. Pic 2, ive unpicked the rear of the beaver in order to fabricate a repair section to get my lines back.
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You may be thinking Why Ive moved onto this area.... well the boot is pretty good and almost ready for epoxy aside from welding a couple of small holes. Its pointless sealing the boot until the beaver and the back of the quarters are all repaired otherwise I'll be cleaning up burnt epoxy from the boot from the welding. I'd rather do it once. Im yet to decide how much of the rear outer and inner quarter panels Im going to be chopping.... The other thought going through my head is how my repairs compare to a bodyshop, being a hobbyist I really have nothing to compare to................. This build is becoming a bit of a joke, I wonder if there is anything that wont need any work :shock:

On a bright note, Ive taken delivery of my first lot of parts from Mazda Japan, all $850 worth... ouch !! I got a delivery of trimmings and engine parts to get the motor rebuild underway, yes this will have a 10a Rotary. A second order went in today for more stuff, so I have stuff coming from both Japan and from around Australia. Hopefully one more order I should have everything required.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 11:45 pm 
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You can never go into too much detail on this forum :)

The effort and care you put into your work is phenomenal. I'd say it's right up there with pro jobs. Keep it up!

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:28 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 589
Location: Australia
Thanks for the encouraging comments everyone.

Restoremaz I dont envy anyone having to replace rails, front skirts etc. As I found out and as you already knew, its a huge job to ensure everything fits right. Aside from sourcing the parts and the hours spent preping everything before the first tack is made, I lost count of the hours spent pulling off doors, guards, bonnet and the nosecone, trying to align all gaps right and to have all the body lines match up as well as having everything "square" according to factory body measurements. I can tell you now, sometimes its better just not knowing whats actually involved until its too late :lol:

This weeks update, questionable professional work....

Ok, as we've already discovered whoever made and installed the patch did some ordinary work. This may be acceptable to on an old run-a-round bomb, but in my eyes this is a classic JDM sports car of the 70's. The Mazda Rx3 had huge race track success both in its time and to this day. Unfortunately this has led to genuine cars becoming rare. At one point I was looking at importing an example through a good friend of mine who imports JDM cars and parts and quickly informed me that these cars in Japan now had "cult" status which meant I'd be paying a substantial amount to get anything from Japan. Their 70's/80's success has also made them scarce in Australia.... young kids of today still drool over these cars even though they were born well after manufacturing ceased.

Ive cut away part of the beaver panel and peeled back the upper section. There was surface rust between to lap join which would be common on any JDM car of this period. This is why its important to keep 70's JDM cars dry and not wash them with a hose. Some of you will understand this when you look into how they are constructed and how not all areas were primed from the factory. The second photo shows that the previous repairer that installed the patch, cut away most of the rust and damage, tapped it down and then welded directly over the top ! (I think this is common practice in some shops)
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Pic one, it should clean up OK from the sandblasting however the lower section of the inner panel will need to be replaced. The metal is pitted somewhat in areas. From previous experience Im not going to waste my time trying to fix it by welding up the holes. I'll cut out and replace the affected areas. The next pic is the sedan skin that I picked up that will be modified to fit the coupe. It mostly wears the original paint and has a few filled dents that will be hand finished back to shape without filler. This is the same panel that was used for the rear windscreen repair. I'll be using about 70% of the panel.
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Next photo, to do the job right and tie in all rear end repairs I need to clean up the underside and epoxy the tyre well, boot floor and the inner lower quarter panels. I went bought a heap of steel to make a car rotisserie so it wont be back breaking work. Cost of the steel was about A$350, split that between a friend that also needs one and Im only looking at A$175 each. I looked at buying one but didnt want to spend A$1200 + on a pre built unit. Second shot, the panel has a little rust as all these old Mazda's do, but is generally very good. This will be stripped and blasted to remove the rust.
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This was a surprise find, the dog leg of the sedan will be reworked to replace the fibreglass in the left rear quarter in front on the rear wheel. The shape looks perfect and has made the job alot easier. I just need to make a bit of wheel arch and the entire lower quarter section (in front of rear wheel, left side). Pic 2 marking to cut roughly to size.
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Inner and outer panels carefully separated. I'll be using both. Rust will be sandblasted, the inner has a hole that will be repaired as this will form the repair for the lower section on the car. Why fabricate when I have it !
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Look at the shape of the factory wheel tub above and compare with whats been done to the car. A big hack job... but it gets worse ! BTW the inner panel replacement is very good, just a little surface rust and a hole at the back. Pic 2, beautiful fit, I wont be touching this until the inner panel is repaired. But lines are nice and crisp is all areas. Looks better already. Just goes to show you what can be hidden in old cars. Expect the worst then you cant be disappointed :lol:
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This explains the weird shape of the previous replacement patch, the inner panel has been chopped and modified which you cant tell becasue its rusty from not being sealed. The customer would never see it ! This is why I saved the wheel tub, I'll be replacing about 30% around the perimeter of the inner wheel arch. Basically I'll cut where these hacks havent touched the metal. The photo above shows you how much out the the previous repair was.
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Thats it for now... My leaving comment is that Im lucky the right side area looks alot better, although I havent cut it yet.... :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 2:07 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
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Location: Australia
Continuing where I left off....

After the panel is unpicked I decided to start on the skin. Big hole ! Pic 2, a flat sheet of steel that Im measuring up for the job.
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We no longer have a flat sheet of steel, its now a curved bit of steel. :lol: Bending it around a dolly. Pic 2, checking the profile.
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The curved bit of steel has now been stretched in the center to form the corner/ curve. This was done over an old tree stump. Pic 2, ironing out and shaping the corner section from the stretch marks.
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Checking the profile over the rust hole. Almost there. Pic 2, hard to see but you can see the steel patch now fits snuggley over the hole.
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Rechecking the profile, Im now satisfied. Pic 2, marking where the patch will fit. I'll cut the panel and then trace the profile against the patch... easy !
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Rust has been cutout. Pic 2, you can see the rust patch fits nicely in the new patch. The curve was done on purpose, this reduces the concentration of heat from welding meaning no holes !
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Dumby fitting patch... nice :lol: Pic 2, before I can start welding I'll give the area a quick sandblast. Its a good chance to get rid of the other surface rust to see the true condition of the panel.
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Sandblasted, inside and out. A few minor holes I didnt know about. Most of them are small enough to weld up. I'll sandblast and paint strip the entire panel prior to fitting of course. Now ready to weld...
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A close up of some holes I never suspected. Sandblasting never fails to find them ! Pic, 2 welded in place using an oxy torch. Turned out nice.
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The completed weld on the inside. You cant weld up in one hit otherwise the whole panel and patch will warp with the oxy. You start with tacks, then small welds. Inbetween the tacks and small welds you need to stop and work the metal over a dolly to stretch back the metal to its original shape. The welding process shrinks the metal which is why we do this when using an oxy.
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This patch took approx 3 hours. It will be cleaned up, sandblasted and sealed prior to fitting. Now some of you will ask why not use a MIG, well you could.... but everytime I do panel work I have these 2 little voices in my head (my old mentors who were coach builders), having a go at me for looking at the MIG.... :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 2:52 am 
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3 hours? Would have taken me 3 months!

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:43 am 

Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 9:22 pm
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Location: Japan
ben wrote:
3 hours? Would have taken me 3 months!


Thats what I was thinking!


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 3:33 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 589
Location: Australia
Come on guys, 3 months ! No one can be that slow, if I were to work at the pace I'd never finish it in this life time. You'll find once you learn a handful of skills you can apply the basics to do most of the repairs. The most important thing is to think before you start.

This weeks update isnt that exciting. I was hoping to complete the inner quarter panel, repaired, undercoated and sealed. It never happened, I simply "wasnt in the mood" this week :lol: Repairing that area requires a bit of enthusiasm to be right...

This is how it started.. Ive cut the quarter panel until I found clean untouched metal. Pic 2, is the remaining piece of damaged/ rusty wheel arch that I removed from the wheel tub area. The replacement patch is incomparably better. The rest of the wheel arch is pretty good... although there isnt much of it left !
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Here is the previous owners repair that I'll have to repair. They cut a hole in the wheel tub to push out the badly damaged wheel arch. Refer to page one to see the what the arch looked like before I removed it. The cut out section will be repaired and welded back in place. I'll cover this in a future update. Need to do it first ! The wheel tub hole will be welded up of course. The black marker circles are dents that I need to work out. Pic 2, the replacement inner panel patch.
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Drilled out the spot welds. This area has had a poor rust patch previously. Its been tapped down over the rust hole and welded over with a plate. Pic 2, the pile of damage, poor repairs and rusty metal is piling up. I reckon I could have filled a bin with what Ive removed to date.
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Ive started trimming down the inner panel (Wheel tub) to graft the new tub as required. Still more to cut out. Pic 2, now that Ive cut out the flange area of the wheel tub, its actually worse than what I previously thought.
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This is the other side of the wheel tub cutout, horrible. Pic 2, this is where my enthusiasm ran out of puff. Id be asking to much if the wheel tubs were the same, I prefer to do it tough, I knew the replacement tub section was to good to be true... uuuuuuhhhhhh ! The shape is right, its just that the flange is too big. Not all is lost, I have several options.

1.cut down the flange and run it through a swage and jenny machine (in the US the're called Lancaster machines) to form a new smaller flange.
2. Run it through an english wheel with a tipping wheel fitted. Similar method to point 1.
3. Cut the flange down and reweld in the correct spot.
4. make a buck out of hardwood and tap a new flange over the buck.

All methods require measuring and dumby fiiting of the exterior patch panel. Since I dont have access to either machines in point 1 or 2, I'll be going for option 3, option 4 is to much work for me !
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Since I stopped with the wheel tub I though I'd finish the panel that sits between the boot and rear screen. Pic one, you can see I've drilled holes where the plug welds will go, its been cleaned up blasted where required and sealed. The last pic for now.. Ive dumby fitted the panel, marked the parcel shelf where the plug welds go, removed the primer in that area, and finially sealed the entire flange in Zinc rich weld through primer.
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Im tipping next update the above panel should be fitted, and the wheel tub may be completed if I have a spare half a day. It still needs a little trimming, pretty straight forward I hope. I can see my goal of having all body work done (welding, patching, straightening panels) by end of the year slowly slipping away. Finishing off and priming the roof, rear quarters, boot and beaver panel is proably more realistic :cry:


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:43 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 1:21 pm
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Location: Finland
Amazing job. Keep up the good work!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:18 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
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Location: Australia
Here is another update. I couldnt wait till the weekend with all the prep Ive done for fitting this panel so did it today. Spent 3 1/2 hours today plug welding and grinding. All in all it was enjoyable and for once Im putting something back on the car rather than cutting it off.

First pic I use a porta power to gently support the rear of the panel while welding. It gets a little too hot to hold with your fingers ! When plug welding you want no air gap between both panels. If there are air gaps you end up making holes. Pic 2, plug welding progressing very well.
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A close up of some of the welds. Im really happy for once. Plug welding is easy, plug welding is awkward in some spots which is where you can mess things up.
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More progress shots of the opposite side.
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Here Ive started to grind down the welds which doesnt take long because the welds where nice and clean. You'll notice I've have to bend one of the flanges to make access for the MIG nozzle. This will be bent back to shape when completed.
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More photos including from the reverse side. A huge diffence when you compare the before photos.
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Finally finished, nice fit nice work ! The right trim fits snuggly.
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The left trim fits as it should as well, prior to this the left trim would not have fitted.
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Thats it ! That means the weekend can be spent doing something else on the car. The spring hooks (torsion rods) will now fit, the stainless trims will now fit, and there is no rust in that part of the car. I'll blast the flange areas, seam seal the inside and outside to keep moisture out and re prime as well. The area has been flooded with rust converter to keep it nice and clean...... till next time...


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:59 pm 
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got no words for this....................respect :tu: :tu: :tu:


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 6:55 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
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Location: Australia
This next couple of updates will concentrate on the quarter panel inards. Alot of people repair rusty rear quarter panels on Mazda Rx3's and 808's but have you ever stopped to think what the inner panel is like. If the outside quarter panel is going to rust then surely the inner panel will be rusty as well, after all both panels meet in the middle and make up a cavity.

First pic, this is the inner panel (part of) that meets the lower rear outside quarter panel. This one is off a sedan that has been blasted clean. Pic 2 is the same area on the coupe (still on the car). This has had a rust patch welded over the top of a rust hole and rusted up again. This will be chopped out.
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Another plan down the tube, and back to the drawing board. The little triangular wing on the sedan is smaller than that of the coupe. I could modify this one or start from fresh sheet metal. The later option is less work. The sedan stamping is alot larger than the coupe, this made the decision to fabricate easy. Where do you get good rust free coupe parts from ? When you find them let me know !
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Rust chopped out, you can clearly see how bad the inner panel was. Its hard to believe that they welded the new patch on top of the bottom panel edge. Thats the long rusty bit in the picture. That part would snap off with out too much effort. A patch over rust... I suppose to a degree you get what you pay for, it all can look shiny on the outside but what's underneath ?
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Another shot of rusty metal that was removed... a previous repair ! Pic 2, cutting back to clean metal in preparation for some new metal.
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I made a template using the right side of the car which appears at this stage to be in good factory condition. A sheet of paper is pressed against the panel to mark an accurate impression that is traced over. You can see the differences between coupe and sedan.
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Traced onto clean sheetmetal, cutout and ready for folding. Just remember to bend the opposite way to the right side of the car !
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Dumby fitting into place, this area is made of 2 panels. I'll fix one then undercoat, then fix the the one that goes over the top, then blast and seal both. Pic 2, sandblasted the panel, sooo much better. I may even be able to salvage the rear of the inner panel taking another look which is promising.
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Before any welding takes place I need to ensure it all fits right. That means both inner sections, the modified sedan wheel tub, and the outside quarter panel where my shiney paint work will go ! Here Ive masked up around the wheel tub flange and cut along the line with the dremel. The off cut will be measured up, dumby fitted with the outside quarter panel, cut down further and then welded in place, blasted and sealed.
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Last couple of pics, dumby fitting everything trying to get a good fit. You'll notice that the bottom on the inner panel was trimmed down, this is where the big long thin rusty piece went.
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If you havent guessed this is going to take more than 5 minutes to get right before the first tack is made. :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:07 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
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Location: Australia
More reading for you guys.

Pic 1, the new patch is welded on, turned out very good. Pic 2, decided not to repair this bit... marked to be cut out and replaced with cleaner metal. This section was badly pitted and would be difficult to weld up all the pin holes.
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Cut off, you can see how bad it is.
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If you hold it up to light it looks like swiss cheese. Pic 2 straightened out to make a replacement. This has been further damaged by previous repairer.
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Making the patch from flat sheet metal. I basically beat it to stretch the metal over a piece of wood. Its roughed out them gradually worked smooth and finally cut to shape.
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You can see the edges starting to curve because the center is stretched. The other project I have on the go is making a rotisserie. I need it in order to finish the rear off.
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Patch starting to take shape.
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Making the indentation and working the patch a little more. Alot of trial and fit goes on that you dont see.
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Finally done, nice fit. Yes the bottom still needs to be cut. Pic 2, a shot inside the cavity. The inner panel still needs to be fitted. Looking good though.
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Last couple of shots, dumby fitting outside quarter. Yes rear of patch still needs trimming. Will be done later on. You can see were I plan to cut the beaver further to get back my factory lines. Pic 2 started welding, still needs further welding around the indentation. Will clean up and post further photos when bottom flange and second skin and tub are repaired.
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All will be blasted, treated and primed. Will do the inside once rotisserie is completed.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 1:25 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
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I'll sneak in some teaser shots of future updates...

Project is pretty much waiting for me to finish off the rotisserie, 70% done. Getting ready to make the patch for top right corner. Yet to be blasted and prep'd.
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Top right rear windscreen patch fabricated out of a flat sheet of steel. Took about 15min to make, yes this is one piece.. no welds. Pic 2 making a template from a spare panel to fix the left quarter wheel arch.
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Left rear quarter between door jamb and rear wheel. Making a profile template for the patch panel. Again taken from a spare quarter panel. Here is the replacement patch, made the appropriate flange and curve profile using template.
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Another shot of the patch. Will need to be cut in half (right quarter is pretty good, no need to go to this extent there) and transpose the wheel arch onto the edge using wheel arch templates. Ive decided to replace from the door jamb to the front of the rear wheel just under the factory crease if I can make the wheel arch 100%. I want to make the panel from one piece rather than use the sedan section as previously suggested. Time will tell if I pull it off, Im up for a good challenge :lol:
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Thats all I'll sneak in for now... pretty much waiting for the rotisserie to be finished. Im aiming to have from back of rear wheels to beaver all done before end of year.... Alot of work to get to that point. (Maybe even get some colour in the boot)


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2009 6:31 pm 
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Amazing that you're doing all this work without a stretcher/shrinker or air hammer

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:56 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
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Everything so far has been done with basic hand tools,a MIG and a Oxy torch at home except for the top left rear windscreen corner patch which was done with a shrinker at a college. I could probably do it using a hammer and 2 elongated cone like forks however it would have taken significantly longer.

A couple of friends asked me to enrol in a metal course at a local college after work to give them a hand with some of their stuff. We basically enrolled in order to use some of the fancier gear to help speed up the restorations. I actually dont have that much to make but will use the time to make the remaining patches even if I only rough them out there. I prefer to do the more detailed stuff at home next to the car. One of the more interesting jobs I have will be to make the wheel arch on the last 2 photos in my previous post. This will be done at home, Ive come up with a couple of ideas on how to manufacture that part ... but time will tell if they are good ideas. I want to get the factory line between the sill and the beginning of the quarter panel looking how it did when the car rolled out of the factory which means Im making from the wheel arch to the rear door jamb right up to the quarter panel crease.

My car is now left with typical 30yr old Japanese rust spots, none of which are major once I finish the rear quarter panel. The car has some typical minor rust in the A pilar corners which have been repaired with filler and brazing rod. I hope to have the patches made for both sides by the end of the week.

Ive never used an air hammer (planishing hammer), a big hammer, timber stump or sand bag, and a dolly accomplish the same thing at 1000th of the cost. Im not someone who gets carried away with fancy tools, this car is being built to a budget ! Im inspiried by looking at metal work carried out by some guys located in Thailand who do impressive fabrication work using basic tools. Ive learnt a few things just by looking through their stuff.

Im more than happy to post more up when I progress a little further :)


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 11:35 pm 
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gypsy wrote:
Im inspiried by looking at metal work carried out by some guys located in Thailand who do impressive fabrication work using basic tools. Ive learnt a few things just by looking through their stuff.

Im more than happy to post more up when I progress a little further :)


Well carry on then! :)

Remember, to do metalworking Thai style you must do it wearing flipflops.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 4:05 am 

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More patching.... I thought I would have been finished all this sometime ago, what can I say other than I must be slowwwww ! Im currently alternating between the roof, boot floor and rear quarters depending on how much noise Ive been making. Im trying hard not to annoy my neighbours. Roof is almost done, when finished I'll put up more photos. Its probably one of the quieter tasks.

Preparing for the patch. The filler (bondo) has been knocked out. Part of the channel is tripple skinned if you look closely. Ive started cutting the outer panel only. The previous people have used a grinding disk when filling down the filler so the outer skin is a little thin in parts which will make the repair a little harder than expected.
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Making the patch was the easy bit, making it fit was the hard bit ! Second pic, preparing the corner for the patch. The inner panels are surprisingly pretty good aside from a couple of minor holes which wont affect anything. Trying to repair these will cause more damage than good, a pointless exercise unless I remove the entire quarter panel.
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Dumby fitting the patch, pic 2 knocking out the edge to form the factory indentation that will support the corner stainless trim.
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More trial and trimming, must have gone back and forth 20 times. Also dumby fitting of stainless trim prior to tacking in place. Pic 2 the entire area has been sand blasted, including inside the roof. Its all clean now !
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Treating the metal with deoxidine prior to sealing. Pic 2 you can see the factory corner support bit/ thingy that I was trying to form previously. (right side). This supports the stainless corner trim.
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Welded in, trimmed and the entire upper flange channel sandblasted. The inside was zinced and sealed prior to welding.
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Another angle and sealed with a product from KBS Coatings called rust seal. Thought Id try the product around where the windscreens are glued in place. This stuff is similar to POR-15. Will need to be scuffed prior to priming.
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Thats all for now, I thought it would have turned out a little nicer but it's still pretty good. Took me about 5 hours to do that little corner ! The inside will be sprayed with cavity wax to keep the moisture out. The patch will be coated in fibreglass resin in parts to help match the shape of the right side as well as ensuring moisture is kept out. This will be done prior to spraying the primer. Next I'll rub back and finish the roof and remove the remaining imperfections and then give it a coat of epoxy primer. I'll be glad when I put away the blasting gun, makes a big mess everytime it comes out... more to follow... eventually :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 3:03 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
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Location: Australia
Thanks Dave, I now even backup the photos I post so that missing pics can be easily reposted :oops: Tried moving everything to photobucket, gave up in the end... was too hard for a tech head like me :lol:

It'll be good to see this car finished back in pristine condition after major reconstructive surgery... its been unregistered for close to 18 years, it was recovered out of a paddock in rural Victoria by the previous owners who were attempting to turn it into a drag car. I look forward to the day I can start installing all my new/ restored parts into the shell. I think South Australia and Victoria are a haven for finding these old Jap cars.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:34 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 1:25 am
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You could start a Car Domain site up - good place to store your pic's!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:16 am 

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Thanks for the suggestion RE10, I'll look into it..

I was hoping to prime the roof this week but doesnt look like its going to happen. Ive spent some time knocking out a few more dents from the roof but whats now holding me back is the front windscreen channel and lower A pillars. The roof has 2 minor ripples left that Ive got as good as I can get. One coat of polysurfacer should sort it out. Its one of those panels where you spend hours on end chasing your repairs. I'll spend a little more time and that should be it.

To sort out the front windscreen channel I had to sort out through a pile of trims that came with the car, Its a bit of a mixture of parts but I managed to make a complete front set. Unfortunately Im missing one piece for the rear. Pic 2, I think this bit is off a sedan because its slightly longer, the top bit needs to be manoeuvred a little to fit right. I'll do this before sending off for repair/ polishing. Cheaper and easier than tracking a coupe piece !

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I'll need to cut it a little at the bottom, aside from that it looks identical to the right side. Pic 2 a bad previous A pilar repair. If you own a Mazda 808 or Rx3 that doesnt have rust in these areas you are extremely lucky. This is a poorly constructed area from Mazda, the innards left the factory in bare steel... get your car wet over 10years and I guarantee it will rust in these spots. Yes, Ive knocked the filler out. Im also checking the profile with the trim... fits OK ! Its too late to check the profile after the body work is completed
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This is how the left side corner should fit, shouldnt be hard to sort out. Pic 2, see what I mean... the trim was never going to fit. Its common to see 808's and Rx3's with poor fitting trims which is why people tent to glue them on. Well what do you expect when you load these areas with filler !
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Missing the top piece, hoping I can use a sedan piece. Pic 2 marking out to start the repair. You can see the factory brazing and someone else poor repair... brazing and filler....
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Scoping out the area. After a bit of looking and poking I realised that the inner A pilar is the same as the outer A pilar with a recess to fit the scuttle panel. The brazing is simply used to join these two parts together. The hole is from me tearing off the old repair. Amazingly the inside of the A Pillar is clean suggesting that it rusted from the outside in... probably due to the stainless trim wearing through the paint work. Pic 2, the repair is 1cm in spots... its suppose to be sheetmetal thin. Using brazing as a repair technique in poor practice in my opinion, brazing requires corrosive paste to etch the metal so that the brazing rod will stick. Chances are that if you use this technique 1. You'll have more rust... 2. The chloride in the brazing paste will affect the paint causing it to bubble with time. To fix this, I'll need to enlarge the hole and repair the lower A Pillar then repair the scuttle panel. The entire area will be blasted and sealed with primer. I think it'll be more time consuming than difficult.
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The A pillars need to be repaired right for my trims to fit... not sure how long repairing these areas is going to take but once done the body work will have been completed from the roof down to the bottoms of the pillars. Its going slowly however at least its progressing in the right direction.

Pic 2, I decided that although the surrounding metal was clean, to get the best repair possible I had to remove clean metal as well. Im unpicking part of the scuttle panel to give me more access with the MIG nozzle as well as allowing me to clean up the area and seal it.

This pilar was off a 8/10 808 that had a big rear ender. The pilar has been previously repaired, you can see how the structure is put together. Irrespective of what the outside looks like there is bound to be rust on the inside. I'll be coating with wax or fish oil once my repairs are done. Most of it is surface rust. Pic 2 unpicking the rain channel so that I can use part of the pilar to repair mine.
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Carefully dissecting the pillar so that repairs can begin. Its not as bad as it looks, there is only one small section of pitted metal that I'll need to repair. The rest of the metal is clean including inside the pillar (very mild surface rust). Ive removed filler, brazing, and rusty metal from the area. These photos show that the internal A pillar is a continuation of the external pillar (its the same piece of metal with a recess where the scuttle panel is brazed)
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I decided that although the surrounding metal was clean, to get the best repair possible I had to remove clean metal as well. Im unpicking part of the scuttle panel to give me more access with the MIG nozzle as well as allowing me to clean up the area and seal it better. Pic 2 Ive finished cutting now to give it a quick blast.
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Plugging the hole so I dont fill the pillars with blast grit. Pic 2 doesnt look so bad now. If you look closely blasting revealed an additional 3 holes (you can only see 2) all located around the windscreen channel seat.
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All 3 holes welded up with an oxy. After blasting the area has been treated and will be coated with primer prior to welding up. The insides will be treated with wax or fish oil as well. Pic 2 making a template for the replacement metal.
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You can clearly see how a little rust can become a big job to fix right. More to follow..........


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