Big update... spent a few hours today. I've decided there's no other choice but to cut out the whole inner rocker & rear frame rail, drill out all the spot welds, get the new one in as quickly as possible, clamp it all up... and then figure out what else needs to be patched around it, before welding it all up. I'll explain...
The problem is, the piece is huge. And, attached to everything. The inner rocker starts in the middle of the door, runs all the way back to where the rear suspension bolts up... and then flips over, turns into the frame rail, and runs back to the very rear corner of the car.
As an assembly, it's welded to;
- the front inner rocker
- the floor
- the outer rocker
- the inner rocker reinforcement
- a small rear stiffening piece
- the web piece that runs up to the inner wheelwell
- the inner wheelwell
- the outer wheelwell
- the rear floorpanel
- the rear crossbeam
- the rear clip
and probably some other things I'm missing. There's just no way to do it in small bits; I'd wreck it, trying to split it up into components and doing it piece by piece. So everything has to come apart, so it can go in in one shot. *BUT* the lower four inches of the inner wheelwell is pretty rotten, so I have to replace that. Weeell, let's get the frame rail clamped in place first, and *then* we'll worry about that.
Chopped out the inner rocker reinforcement. I'll make a new one... it was pretty far gone. Especially near those two bumps (drain?) It was a bit of a b1tch to get out... in the end it came out in pieces.
At the rear, the corner *looked* fine, but it feels like filler. Sure enough a little work with a wire brush...
Shows that someone has been there before. Well you know that's coming off...
Actually doesn't look toooo bad underneath. I'll do a little localized patching there with sheet metal... and get the outer corner patch, probably from rabbitparts.com, I'm pretty sure they carry one.
Of course, all the spot welds needed drilling out, I'm guessing 150-200 or so...
And as before, I find that chopping out as much of the piece itself, and then splitting the seams / welds with a hammer and cold chisel, works best. So here's the result at the end of the day...
Whew!! Still have some little bits to chop off... and I have to figure out how I'm going to get it under the rear crossbeam. I think I may have to chop off the outside 1" of it, put the new piece in place and then re-weld the endpiece... Unless anyone has a better idea?
And just for kicks, here's yours truly, at the end of a long garage session. No, that's not a beard... just dirt.
And since I've never brought it up, I'll add, to anyone doing this sort of stuff... be safe. I *always* have heavy gloves and safety glasses on... a dual-canister respirator when grinding or spraying anything nasty, and especially when sandblasting... Welding helmet, long sleeves, blah blah blah. No car is worth getting silicosis, or tetanus, or losing your vision with a metal sliver in the eye. Play nice.