March 2003 – Rack and very evil rust

Rack (15 March 2003)

It would be nice to have a “rotisserie” to mount the car body on. Such things are do-able, and I’ve seen them around, but I’ve not wanted to invest the time into building such a fancy rotating mount for the car. I suppose it would be nice, but we’ll flip this car over as need be. That said, I did need to create something to make it easier to move the body out of the way when we weren’t going to be working on it. I used lumber we had saved from an old chicken coop and four middle duty casters from the lumber yard to build a rolling rack. It stands about two feet high, and it carries the car quite high — perhaps a little too high. But it’ll do. And it was really nice to be able to roll the car body to the side to sweep the floor and clean up. It’ll practically be necessary once we need to move larger parts (like the bonnet) out of the garage to work on. The fact that it’s fairly high is also a nice feature, since I won’t have to be bending down all of the time to work on areas in the interior.

Aaron and I continued to disassemble the tubular steel frame, especially the right side suspension and frame pieces. We got everything apart, except for the lower wishbone and the torsion bar. these are still stubbornly affixed to the frame. The wishbone is free, but it is held to the frame by the torsion bar. I suspect that we’re either missing a piece to remove or the thing is just plain stuck. We ran into some difficulty removing a couple of the larger bolts, and we had to resort to heating up the nut after penetrating fluid failed to loosen things up. Heat worked like a charm. Thank goodness we have a pneumatic impact wrench!

Very Evil Rust (16 March 2003)

We did run into something I had dreaded, however.

I was thinking that the tubular steel frame was untouched by rust, but that proved not to be the case. When Aaron and I flipped over the frame assembly in order to get at some bolts more easily, we found two badly corroded areas on the left frame. One section near the picture frame (the central section the runs across the front, spanning the gap between the two side frames) was rusted through on the bottom. And a section below the battery area, on the underside of the tube, was rusted clear through. This damage wasn’t apparent from the top of the vehicle, though when everything was flipped over it was very easy to see.

I was hoping that I could avoid buying a new frame, since the things are pricey. But there is no way that I would attempt fixing this part. There is too much quite literally riding on it to test my skills. The tubular steel was also a very high tensile strength, and I simply do not have the tools to do the job. I think that the side frames cost around $ 750, and I should be needing to get one. The right side frame looks very good. I’ll know more about it after sandblasting it. I’m almost afraid to see what lies under the old paint.