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Project Lucas, Rust Repairs

It’ll be of no surprise to anyone that I have just dug deep and cracked on with this. With no choice in the matter, I had to fix it. I want my garage back for the daily.

Before going too much further, I started with finishing the fuel tank work.

I bought some 1/2″ Gates fuel hose to replace the perished breather (this is surprisingly hard to find; I ended up locating it tucked away down the back of a local Repco storeroom)

And then rolled under the car and used an underbody sealer to coat the areas I had cleaned back and sealed. There were no signs of moisture around the repairs, so hopefully they have sealed properly.

The repairs arent as invisible as I would have liked, but it is what it is. As long as it keeps the fuel in the tank, I’m happy.

Now, with that done and the car back on the ground, it was time to strip the front interior out and see what I was dealing with.

The driver’s seat was already out, so I popped that onto the back seat and moved onto the center console. This is held in with a few screws in various places. There are two inside the cassette holder at the rear

Two at the front edges, one on either side

And finally, the most annoying two; the two behind the trip computer control panel. Rover could have made this so the faceplate remained attached during removal, but they didn’t.

When you pull on the front it will come away from the main unit, and allow all the buttons and slider to fly freely away, so keep tabs on them. With the faceplate off, the main unit can be levered out and unplugged

I don’t know if you need to, but I removed the radio and the two screws on either side of it

The wiring for the radio is both amazing and annoying. It’s amazing because someone has gone to the effort of wiring it up with what appears to be a parallel connector

But annoying because they have removed the standard plugs. I will keep this radio because it is awesome and period correct.

Now pull up on the shifter surround and remove it, along with the cigar lighter and fader

Now the center console should lift up and away. There will still be wiring to the rear cigar lighter, so unplug that too

The heater control is in dire need of a clean. I need to work out how to remove this so I can glue the radio surround section back on

Now I could remove the passengers seat and start work on removing the carpet.

Each side, on the tunnel, has a bracket off the rear of the seat rail mount. This needs to be removed

Don’t forget to remove the two screws from the bottom of the B pillar trim, and remove the inner rear door scuff plates too

Now with lots of tugging and yanking, the carpet should come out. Be careful if it’s stuck to the various bits of sound deadening, you don’t want to rip the carpet.

I removed the underlay mats from both sides too. The drivers’ side was still soaking wet near the tunnel; it’s crazy.

Now, a closer look at the floor.

It’s not that much worse than what I had expected. it’s pretty well localised to the outside of the floor pan, which is good.

It did look a bit worse once I took a wire wheel to it though…

Which ended up with me using my new toy and cutting some great big holes in the floor

I like the air body saw. It’s not as quick as a grinder, but it produces minimal heat and zero sparks, which is what I wanted. It does confirm though, that I can’t draw or cut a straight line if my life depended on it.

Some cutting, bashing and hole punching resulted in the first patch

I chose to lap weld these patches in. It’s not as seamless as a nice butt weld, but it takes a lot less work to do.

Second patch in, lightly tickled with a grinder and given a coat of primer

And finally, I seam sealed both sides of the repair

Tomorrow, once the sealer is dry, I will give it a good couple of coats of paint and underseal, and then its job done. It’s not in the photos, but I have treated the surface rust at the front of the footwell too, so the whole lot will get painted.

I won’t lie, I know it’s not the best welding or the cleanest repair, but I’m just thankful to have the skills to even do the repair. If I had come across this rust a year or two ago, before I had done any welding on the Marina, I would have really struggled. My karma and conscience wouldn’t let me just cover the rust up, so I probably would have had to have it taken to a workshop and fixed at great expense.

With any luck, once the interior is back together, and some fuel is in the tank, I might be able to take it for a WOF check and see what it fails on… Stay tuned.

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