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Floor repair- how to- 8 pics

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  • Floor repair- how to- 8 pics

    In the spirit of scba96's helpful how-to tech articles, I offer this:

    NOTE: This repair is for driver-quality repairs... for a show car, I'd get replacement panels from CE and section and butt-weld them; but this works just fine, and you'll never see 'em with the mats down!

    I welded these old-school (or, as my racing buddies call it, "woodchuck" welding); oxy-acetylene torch with #0 tip. I use only the best quality mild steel welding rod, which I get from my techs' uniform service. Strangely enough, they bend them into weird shapes and hang shirts on them [:0] so I have to straighten them out... but they're free! Mig-welding is practical only on totally clean, rust free metals; not the case in situations like this.

    Here's what the floors looked like at the beginning:

    The damage was limited to these areas, approx. 12"x18" each side, plus 2"-3" up the side pillar.

    I started by pounding with a hammer to loosen scale, followed by the shop-vac. I then trimmed back to solid metal with my trusty aviation snips. I use the LH (green handles) exclusively- they just seem to work the best for me no matter the situation. Even the straight blades don't work as well for me.

    Here are the repair areas trimmed and ready for patches:

    I hand cut and fit the patches using the same snips. I rough cut the size, then trimmed a little off at a time to fit first against the cowl/door post, then trim for length, then finally the interior edges, leaving about a 1" overlap. Once the fit was correct, I started the welding; some areas clamped, some just held down tight with a hammer head with my foot on it, or the handle against the metal and the head against my chest (I also use Clecos sometimes- great little tool that resembles reversible rivets!) I start by tacking the corners, then tacking midway between the corners, then halfway beween them, and so on until I was filling in the full length. If you try to run any length of weld on tin you'll get major warpage. Remember, heat control is absolutely key- especially with torch welding. I then cut, fit, and welded patches to re-tie the cowl/post area to the floor I wish I'd taken more pics of the process; but here are the panels completely welded in:

    Note that the welds are mostly steel; but in a few areas I used brass to fill where the base metal was a little weak, but I couldn't trim.

    I cleaned and vacuumed the whole floor again. Then it was time for the POR-15. I followed the directions carefully, then applied; here are the areas finished:

    I only used the POR-15 where there was rust; next step will be to apply silicone caulk over the welds to assure complete sealing, and rubberized undercoating over the rest of the floor; then install the new carpet and seats!!

    Time spent:

    Remove seat and deteriorated mats: 1.5 hrs.
    Clean and vacuum loose material: .5 hrs.
    Trim rusted metal: 20 min./side
    Cut and fit patch: 40 min./side
    Weld: 45 min./side


    Clean with Marine clean and flush with water: 20 min.
    Air dry: 2 hrs.
    Treat with Metal Ready and flush: 15 min.
    Air dry: 2 hrs.
    Brush paint POR-15: 40 min./coat x 2 coats
    Drying time between coats (60 degrees & sunny): 30 min.

    Robert K. Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)

  • #2
    Nice work, Robert. I'm sure those repairs will hold up OK.

    I still have my acetylene outfit, but I do all similar work with the MIG now. All that is required is to pass a grinder over the area to be welded and expose a LITTLE bright metal. Once the arc is struck, you can move it on into a rusted are with no trouble, provided all the loose scale has been removed. I use straight CO2 in my MIG welder, which is way cheaper than CO2/argon mix, and a bottle goes a lot further. Consumables costs going this way are WAY cheaper than acetylene welding. Acetylene is getting downright scary in price.

    BTW, another handy "clamp": #8 x 3/4 Tek screws. These are sheet metal screws with a self-drilling tip. Get 'em with a Robertson head, and get a Robertson tip for your cordless drill, and the screws will stay on the tip while you buzz them in or out. Use them as you would Clecos.

    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands


    • #3
      Thanks for your comments, Gord. Actually, my Marquette MIG has finally bit the dust after 22 years of mostly hard use; so I went with what I had. Still, for me, it's sometimes easier to use oxy/acetylene on scabby tin- although I did love the adjustable stitch setting on the MIG for tin, especially roof panels and quarters and the like. I usd to use straight Argon, but went to Stargon years ago; works great for me.

      Also, I do have and use the Tek screws; they work great also.

      At some point I'll get under there and wire brush and undercoat the repair area from the bottom... and if they "tin can" at all, I'll rivet the patches to the crossmember; being that I'll never let her see snow, these repairs will last longer than me! [8D]

      Robert K. Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
      Parish, central NY 13131