Slowed down somewhat over the Christmas to spend time with my family, although once the kids left I was hard at it again.
Fully stripped both quarterpanels/rockers of paint and body filler.
Discovered that I had done lots of body work on it 30 years ago and had covered up lots of dents and a little rust on both sides. The driver's side had been creased almost its whole length. Additionally, I had also used a dent puller and punched over 150 1/8" holes in both quarters plus the passenger side rocker. Not knowing any better at that time I covered it all in Bondo. Still, today the quarters are very sound and replacement seems excessive given the current use of the car.
My plan was to weld up all the drilled holes, replace the rusted sections with fresh metal, properly fill in the ornament holes, and massage all damaged areas until only a skim coat of body filler was required. I also wanted to open up the wheelwheels at the front so I can install a 28" drag slick in the future. The wheelwell "flairs" had previously been pushed out 3/4" and the lips were previously rolled for wide tires.
Here you can see the small rust holes on the wheel well that survived just fine being Bondo covered and some of the drilled holes that I needed to deal with on the rocker:
One of the worse dents that I welded up, and then hammered/dollied into submission:
Filling in the quarter panel chrome ornament holes were next on my list of repairs-and yes I had felt the need to drill holes there in the past to help the Bondo stick:
I cut out a small piece of metal the size of the hole and then attached it to some brazing rod. The brazing rod served as a handle to allow placement and then I mig tacking of the patch:
Modifying the front of the wheel well wasn't too bad. Cutting it out it also totally eliminated one rust area. First I studied the area and decided that I could remove 3/4" from the lower front and yet be able to blend it nicely back into the original wheel well curve. I made a few marks and then free handed the shape with a Sharpy:
I then took a deep breath, broke out the air powered hack saw and went to town removing the section:
Next I tacked the edge of the outer quarterpanel to the inner section of the wheel well. I then copied N20Mike's idea by using 3/32" welding rod and attaching it to the cut area to create a nice uniform bead:
The above pic shows that the numerous 1/8" rocker holes were migged shut.
Look closely at the top of the above pic and you can see where the welding rod meets the original lipping. After I tweaked it to my liking, I solidly welded the rod to the quarter panel on both the in and outside. A small patch was cut to fix the old rust area shown above.
Here is the quarter after a all the welding and messaging:
I am quite impressed with how uniform the wheelwells look after opening them up. Careful planning plus clenching my teeth just so when sawing certainly paid off.
Next came a good sanding of the metal and then a skim coating of body filler. Body filler has come a long way from when the Bondo brand was popular. A good modern body filler is easy to apply (with less pin holes) and much easier to sand. I initially started to use the common Chromolite brand, but decided that it was worth the extra $$ for my favorite "Rage Gold". It sands much quicker and the extra cost is justified due to using less DA/sandpaper plus the greatly decreased sanding time:
Also shown above is the 2 part glaze that I use. A 2 part epoxy sets up fast, plus lessens the chance of interaction between it and the topcoats. Both of these are "premium products" and normally won't be found in a "production" body shop which often use the cheaper products as a cost savings.
The quarter panel flairs need blended so that the widening won't be readily apparent in the final product. Although it looks like I used a lot of body filler, it was actually applied very thin to smooth out the numerous damaged spots. Overall, I used barely a quart total on both quarters and of course much of that gets sanded off. The more that I studied the quarters, the more small light parking lot like dents I found on both sides of the car. Since the are easy to locate in this stage, I prefer to fill them now instead of later doing it with glazing and primer.
Here are the panels in their near final form, nearly ready to be cleaned and taped up for primer:
(Above you can see that much of the sanded filler ends up on the floor.)