This will be the final update for year, believe or not I need a rest from looking at what is suppose to be a Mazda Rx3.... It looks like I wont reach my goal of having the front end painted this year
Not all is lost... I was hoping to complete front end repairs on the right side at over the weekend, it was too much work for a 3 day period. Funny how before I start I think, yeah thats achievable in that time frame
. There is always alot more more work than what you see before your eyes. Prep for welding was the big time killer as well as fixing the replacement kick panel. The time spent was worthwhile and made welding a breeze, there was lots of it as well !
About a month ago I went down to see Rick from Mazbitz for a replacement right kick panel and to grab the correct nuts and bolts for the engine compartment. Unfortunately he didnt have a complete kick panel and I didnt want him to destroy a hand full of good parts so I was happy with what he had even if it needed a little work. Its good to know that Im not the only Mazda nut case around, someone had bought the front cowl to fix there own car which is a big job as well.
I decided to redo the right kick panel as I wasnt entirely happy with the upper end fit. The left side was perfect, the right side always bugged me. Since I had to fix the front of the right sill it was the perfect opportunity to redo the repair except this time Im pleased with the result. Pulling off the kick panel also made the sill repair easier... a win win in my opinion ! What you see here is a solid 3 days work, had a good breakfast then worked solid through till around 5ish..... thats a lot of hours that photos dont show...
I had some spare sill off cuts lying around for the right side, no need to fabricate like the left one. unfortunately unpicking panels panels for use takes a loooooooooooong time. Take note of the second shot of pointy end of the sill panel. This ones clean, wait till you see the one of the car.
Kick panel removed and separating the front of the sill panel from the door frame. Note how clean it looks aside from a couple of pin holes. This is better than most cars !
Rust scale seeping out from where the 2 parts are separated. Front corner cut away.... lots of pitting, if your A pillars are rusted dont kid yourself, this is what you'll find in this lower corner section. I could have brazed it like most but dont want hassles once its painted... this car is for keeps.
Front of sill cut away, lots of crap in there that I'll blow out, mostly mud. The front of the sill, compare with the replacement.... There is basically no factory protection on these parts.
Another angle of the front sill and corner section... shocking I know, but most wouldnt bother. Made a nice home for some wasps nest !
Straightening out the pillar flange on my hundred thousand $ machine... Seriously though, tapping the flange straight which became not so straight during the kick panel removal process. Pic 2 dummy fitting the repaired kick panel... fits good, still needs a little tweaking.
The top section of the kick panel needs adjusting... the top is not straight from factory, it changes direction 3 times. As Im using new and old parts it was easier and cleaner to fabricate a new top section. Pic 2 cutting off the top with some tin snips.
Some replacement corners I have that will be used, dummy fitting the replacement sill section.
More trial fitting,measuring and marking of front sill.
Checking MIG nozzle access prior to cutting, no point in cutting in such a way then discovering you cant weld in position. Will weld a tiny section from inside the sill.... Pic 2 getting ready to blast the inside clean.
Stripped back the rest of sill, no nasty surprises. Only one little hole towards the back corner. Will weld this up and remove the little panel in the bottom rear corner of door jamb to ensure its all clean. Only coupes have this little panel. Rust repair I did on front right guard... not sure where the pic of the guard went showing it mostly repaired without all the bog ! Needs a little more work, almost there with the guard.
Right guard almost done, rusted in the same spot as the right side. Guards will be fitted to car to get gaps I want before fitting inner guard panels. 3 shrinks you see on the inside was part of the straightening process, mainly to remove excess metal that caused some "oil canning".
Finished plug welding the right rail to the floor, there are more plug welds than factory spot welds. They are approx 3/4 -> 1 inch apart. I like to run the MIG hot when plug welding to get good weld penetration and flat welds which means there isnt much grinding during the clean up stage. Area will get cleaned up so will look nicer. Pic 2, Inner sill blasted clean, no holes
Sill section blasted clean and treated.
Treated the inner and sealed sill...
Cleaned and sealed the inner panel, also blew out all the crap will compressed air. Pic 2 fabricating the top of the kick panel.
The fabrication process... youve seen it before here..
The end result, the little step.... Trail fitting for cutting..
The top has a shallow V so cut a slot, ready for trimming with tin snips. Pic 2 all clamped in place, looking really good with outer box cover
Cleaned up and treated the inside of the kick panel. Will get a good scrub with thinner and scuff pad prior to sealing. Pic 2 undid the tacks and started plug welding, The little flat face self tapper is used to keep the 2 panels together during welding. Once done will be removed and hole welded up.
You can see the top plug weld is just coming off cherry red. Pic 2 is of the reverse side, they are nice looking welds with penetration... this isnt going anywhere !
Priming the inside wheel arch flange before welding, marked out and cleaned up with spot weld drill bit where the plug welds will go. This was all marked out when previously dummy fitting panel.
There you go the bare metal lines up with the holes for plug welding... see what a little prep does, makes the job 10x easier. Pic 2 everything clamped into place, hydraulic ram used for hand pressure in center of kick panel to stop panel distorting.
The first of about 50 plug welds... so far so good. Pic 2 marking out for welding the top triangle pieces. The screw driver is used to punch down any small gaps before welding.
All done, you didnt expect a photo of each weld did you ! Pic 2 photos from inside the cabin... all very niiiiiiice
Small triangle piece is welded on, some idiot forgot to turn the gas on for the first one after a small break. Pic 2 showing off the welds on front door flange that holds kick panel.
More photos of completed work...
Next part begins........ front of sill is all prepared, a little more trimming and we're right to go..
Once welding is complete will clean up and blast welded areas, then shoot some fresh primer where needed. Then will brush welded seams with Sikaflex and we're done....... will look nice when finished. Oh yeah, plenty of fish oil or wax will be sprayed in these cavities to help repel any future moisture from attacking the metal.
Well thats all Im putting up for now, may need to cut down on the detail a little, takes too long to post up. Next post will be after car is painted and put together