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Project Marina, Even More Rust Repairs – Part 4

Winter sucks. Not only is it cold and dark, but it also makes working in the garage a somewhat unappealing prospect. That, and having other projects on the go, caused a bit of a slowdown with the Marina.

But finally, Lucas is gone, so no more time needed to be spent there, and we’re in spring now, so it’s getting warmer and lighter.

With that in mind, I took some time off work to finally dedicate some time to the Marina, as it’s been so good just sitting there waiting, while everything else gets the attention.

First though, let’s step back in time to June, which was the last time I worked on the Marina.

To finish off the door opening area of the sill I used a thin skim of filler just to even out the low spots where the plug welds are, and to tidy up the front edge of the sill where it meets the guard

The window opening also got a skim of filler to smooth out the work I had done there. That rear curve was a real pain to do.

You may have also spotted in that first photo that the floor pans were also seam-sealed. I did this to both the top, and under the car. It’s not the tidiest; it’s brush on and the goal was to get a good coating and not worry too much about how it looks since it will be covered by carpet anyway.

Once that was done, since I had managed to acquire a new bottle of gas for my welder, I got stuck into the rear valance again. As some context, I started this valance way back in January.

To get to the valance I first had to remove the tow bar. I don’t really want this car to be towing anything, so it’s unlikely this will go back on again. I’d previously removed the wiring and holes for that, too.

It looks like Old Mate took a few tries drilling the holes before getting it right…

But it came off after a bit of a fight

This gave me clear access to the valance. A quick whip over with the strippy wheel, and this is what I had. Damn.

It’s pretty well contained to the LH side though

Amongst the rust there are also some old holes for what I presume were a different screw pattern number plate. They will get filled too.

I started cutting

And found a couple of spots where the inner panel was rusted through too, so out that came

To be replaced with a couple of bits of nice fresh new metal, all folded up to suit

With the inner ground back, The first section of the outer went in. This little filler section was mainly to keep the upper section and lower lip in place so I didn’t lose the profile.

The real patching started with this random little hole off to the side

Which extended into filling the rest of the gaping hole with new metal

It’s not the prettiest, and to be honest the primer makes it look worse than it is, but its nothing a skim of bog won’t tidy up later

And that’s about where I ran out of welding gas.

So, six months later, more gas in hand, I got back into it. With a fresh new perspective, I cut the rest of the lower lip off (it wasn’t going to survive) and a new lower section was welded in place. This was also plug welded to the inner section I had previously replaced.

A couple of smaller holes on the RH side got the filling treatment

I folded this section up, stuck it in place with some magnets

And metal glued in

I cut out and welded up the other smaller patches, and once it was ground back a coat of epoxy primer protected it

I would’ve loved to have a new valance panel like the Brits have, but the shipping cost would be prohibitive, and they just aren’t available here. Instead, we’ll make do with what we have.

And that brings us up to date. Three months later, here we are.

The first job of the day for yesterday was to cut the rear quarter panel up again, as I just wasn’t happy with it. When I originally welded the new section in, I didn’t leave enough of a gap, and when I welded it it resulted in a pointed high spot where the two panels met. I tried to hammer it out, and made it better, but just moved that metal to somewhere else in the panel.

I also wasn’t happy with the gap between one small section of the quarter, and where it met the sill. The gap was larger than the rest of the panel. I tried to fix this with filler, but I wasn’t happy.

So I cut it.

I cut the bottom section out to fix the gap, and the big vertical cut released a lot of tension in the panel, allowing me to hammer it back into alignment. Opening this up also allowed me to tweak the arch section of the panel, which always sat slightly recessed from the sill.

Once it was all welded back in, it was much better. Theres still a lot of finishing work to be done, but I wont be contending with a massive high peak in the middle and a deep low at the end

I also completely finished the sill. There were some plug welds missing from the end, and I had to make and weld in a plate on the back of the sill to join it to the inner sill.

I seam sealed the gap, which in hindsight I shouldn’t have done until after using filler, but oh well

With that done, the next goal was to finally refit the passengers door. It has been off the car since December last year.

It’s almost a car again

The panel gap between the door and the new sill isn’t perfect, It’s a little tight at the front of the door, but it’s not touching, so it’s good enough. The door does need to come back a bit, but it’s maxed out on its adjustment. Looking at photos, it’s always been like that, so I’ll need to shim the hinges, or slot the mounting holes a bit. That’s a job for another time.

It does open and close lovely though, even with a test door seal in place.

The final task for the day was to give all the areas I had welded and seam-sealed a top coat of enamel paint. The floors were coated top and bottom

Yes, I would have rather had satin or matte, but they only had gloss. The carpet will cover it, and the underside will be undersealed anyway.

I also did the little strengthening ribs in the rear too, since this is where any water is likely to pool if it did get in.

The rear inner boot pocket I fixed got coated too. This will likely get over-coated in yellow at some point

With one full day’s work under my belt, I went into day two with a list of things I wanted to try to get done.

The first was to cut out and fix the seal lip on the boot opening. Most of this came off with the seal when I removed it.

I had been putting this job off as it looked complex, but it ended up being a lot easier than expected, just really time consuming.

I started by cutting out a small section and welding a patch in, just as a proof of concept, but it worked well, so off we went

I worked my way along, using scraps from the work bench. Measure the scrap against the body, cut the rust out, clean up and weld in.

And keep moving, patch by patch

I left the scrap bigger than I needed, so I could trim it size afterwards

There was one small spot where the actual vertical panel had a pinhole in it, so that was carefully cut out and a patch welded in there too

This corner section was interesting. I hand-shaped the replacement section until it perfectly matched the profile of the original, and then cut and welded it in.

The final section was welded in. Many hours later.

Yeah, there are still a couple of frilly areas, but it’s all under the seal and they were pretty solid otherwise, so I’m not worried.

After some touching up with the grinder, it all got a coat of epoxy primer

After spending so much time fixing that, I moved on to one of the other jobs I hate, filler.

The valance didn’t need too much, but the quarter is a bit wobbly and might need a couple of goes.

I’ll sand it back tomorrow and see how good I can get it. It’s not something I look forward to.

This has been a huge boost towards having the car on the road again. Other than some cosmetic work, like fixing the dent/rust in the boot lid, and fixing the heater box, this signals a huge milestone; all the welding is done.

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