Author Topic: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)  (Read 31382 times)

formula jg

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 660
...and I need all the help I can get from you guys.
 
Gas tank is out, really good shape so I'm cleaning and painting it. I ordered a new 2-line sending unit from Rockauto which their catalog had as fitting my '79 but ended up returning it because the supply line was towards passenger side which is actually for a Chevy engine optioned Firebird. My original was the 3-line sending unit put haven't used the return line since my mech. fuel pump doesn't have the return feature.

http://
 
Tail lights, wiring harness and bumper are off revealing the ugly truth about the lower section of inner and outer panel. Upper section is in great condition but based on my zero auto body and welding skills it may be less difficult to replace it all in lieu of trying to section the lower half (I could be wrong).

http://
 
[imghttp://http://

http://

http://

http://

After removing the wire harness and examining the original panel vs new panel I noticed the upper part of these panels are welded together along the trunk seal channel. That area of my original panel is in primo condition and painted to match the car's exterior see attached pics.

http://

http://
Do you think its more difficult and more work to separate both new and original trunk seal channels from their respective main tail panels and attach the new main panel (less the trunk seal channel) to the original trunk seal channel or remove and replace the entire original panel?



Grand73Am

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 9859
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2016, 11:38:34 AM »
Now's a good time to learn some body and welding skills  :) . You're going to need them.

It would be much easier to only repair the rusted areas and leave the upper part of the panel alone. Removing the entire panel and hoping you get it all lined back up squarely with the quarters and trunklid would be more difficult and require more body skills than just patching up those few rusted areas, plus you still have to weld it anyway.

From what I see, you only have 3 areas that need patching. So, you don't even have to replace the entire lower part of the panel. I'd just cut out those rusted places, and use the cutout metal as templates to use as guides for cutting out patch panels from your new panel. Cut the new metal patches larger than the cut out holes so you can trim them to fit as perfectly as possible before welding.
Steve F.

formula jg

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 660
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2016, 06:12:57 AM »
The entire inner panel is rusted and has to be replaced so if I decide to section this area the minimum to be cut out is about 1/2 the panel (just below the gas filler neck opening.

Anyone try acetone to remove seam sealer?
If not, what do you recommend besides grinding and creating a lot of dust and debris?

79merlin

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 484
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2016, 06:51:15 AM »
I used a wire brush on my angle grinder to remove the seam sealer. worked great, but yea a lot of dust was created. I agree with Grand that you are far better off only replacing the areas where the rust is a problem, and not having to mess with lining up with everything up top. In theory you could maybe try this instead of welding.
http://www.eastwood.com/ew-no-weld-panel-repair-kit.html

I have never tried it, and have no first hand knowledge, but it looks like it gets some good reviews... Perhaps someone will come along shortly and speak to if that is an option for the specific area you are working on...

If you decide to weld in the repair:
I can tell you that with zero welding skills the first patch will be rough, but by the time you get to the second and 3rd you will feel like a pro. Also remember that when welding the grinder can resolve most mistakes, and a copper backer will help prevent blow-through. I knew nothing about welding a few months ago. I am now just about finished replacing my passenger side floor pan, and have no worries about doing the drivers side and trunk floor. I am no expert, but I can attest to the fact that anybody can learn it. Add to that the fact that your problem areas (like mine) will be hidden when the car if finished, so you don't have to be a welding guru to get a quality repair done.

formula jg

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 660
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2016, 07:36:14 AM »
Thanks for the link, I would like to hear from anyone that's actually used because it would be a great alternative for me.

When it comes time to welding this thing I'm hoping I can convince a friend of my with lots of experience to help me out (but not guarantee as he is a single dad with 6 six kids so needless to say very little spare time). 

You guys both mentioned the same thing about the challenges of lining things up and I know this area of the car is an intersection of a lot of panels ie. trunk, trunk drop-off, frame rails, quarter panel, etc... However none of those areas are being replaced so I presumed that when it comes time to fitting the new panels I wouldn't need to mess with all new reference points, or maybe I'm missing something?

Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2016, 07:36:14 AM »

Grand73Am

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 9859
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2016, 07:57:21 AM »
To remove the old seam sealer, I suggest a propane torch to soften it while scraping it off. Comes off easily that way. Of course be sure that all flammables are removed from the area. The remaining residue should clean off with some acetone and coarse steel wool. Other solvents work too. I use lacquer thinner, since I always have some of that around for paint cleanup. The wire brush on the angle grinder or sander machine would further clean up the areas.
Steve F.

formula jg

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 660
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2016, 08:17:35 AM »
Propane torch, great suggestion, thank you.

Black Sheep

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 789
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2016, 02:28:53 PM »
Section just the bottom half.  Easier for a person with "limited" skills.  Your repair will be hidden by the taillights and bumper.  If you go to replace the whole panel, you will have to make the repair look factory, as it will be seen everytime you open the trunk.  Plus, it will have to be painted the color of the car.  Also, reproduction body panels are never an absolute correct, drop in and everything lines up deal.  Hell, I've had NOS factory parts that had to be modified to even fit the car.

Until you get more skill, just repair the bottom half.  Weld it, dress the welds, rattle can some black on it and be done.
455 Olds/Th350,3.90
11.05
121 mph
1.46 60'
3125lbs.

Ford5of5

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1098
  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2016, 11:54:05 AM »
I just removed my tail panel yesterday. IMO, this is one of the easier panels to remove. The spot welds can be seen/found fairly easy. Just a guesstimate, but there was maybe 60 spot welds. Use a good quality 1/8" drill bit (Dewalt, Milwakee, Vermont American) to drill out the centers and a cheap Harbor Freight spot weld cutter along with cutting oil. I had the panel out in 2 hours. Probably could have had it out in 1 hour if it not for the beer breaks. Hey, it was Saturday night!

My observations so far:
-use a heat gun and scraper to remove old seam sealer. Just soften it up, maybe 5 seconds of heat is all that's needed to make it scrape off real easy.
-the AMD replacement that I received is 1/32" shorter in width and all light mounting holes appear to be in the proper places. Some of the angle brackets for the light harness are off by 1/4", some are dead on but I don't think it matters.
-I'm pretty sure if the outer panel is sorta bad than the inner panel is probably completely gone, like mine.
-There are at least 2 spot welds holding the quarter gutter to the tail panel gutter on each side. There were 4 spot welds on one side and 5 on the other where the quarter, tailpanel, and quarter extensions overlap in the truck area.

Here's some pics:




I was planning on cutting and replacing bad sections like other suggested but as you have noticed, you need to cut out such a large portion to replace that inner pan that you might as well just replace the whole thing. So far, the AMD panel seems like a very accurate reproduction, let's hope!

My question is, does anyone know what that red stuff is? Is that a special seam sealer for overlapped welds? Do I need to use it? Where do I get it and what is it called?
« Last Edit: November 20, 2016, 12:14:13 PM by Ford5of5 »

formula jg

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 660
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2016, 05:47:35 PM »
I really hope you continue to post here with pics, tips and progress updates it's very helpful not to mention encouraging for me.

This weekend I decided to prep and paint the tank and bumper brackets to give me time to put together a plan of attack on the panel.  Now that's done and next weekend I'll hit the seam sealer and possibly start on the spot weld removal. 

Any idea what could have caused this bumper washer to crack like this:



Do you have any feedback on the following:

"Do you think its more difficult and more work to separate both new and original trunk seal channels from their respective main tail panels and attach the new main panel (less the trunk seal channel) to the original trunk seal channel or remove and replace the entire original panel?"


Ford5of5

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1098
  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2016, 06:09:10 PM »

"Do you think its more difficult and more work to separate both new and original trunk seal channels from their respective main tail panels and attach the new main panel (less the trunk seal channel) to the original trunk seal channel or remove and replace the entire original panel?"

I think it's all a matter of opinion. To me, it could be difficult to remove the channel from the new tail panel only because of the odd angle you would be working. In the end, in seems like popping welds is just as much work as lining up the panel. Of course, if you bought a bad repro then you need to do whatever to make it fit.

That washer may have cracked from age, rot, collision or too much torque.

formula jg

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 660
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2016, 05:15:53 PM »
I'm C-Clamp shopping but there are so many different sizes and seeing it's gonna take quite a few of these to hold the panel in place the cost could really add up.
If someone can narrow down the sizes I might need it would help keep some funds in my pocket.

http://www.ebay.com/bhp/locking-c-clamp

Ford5of5

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1098
  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2016, 06:11:21 PM »
You really only need a few clamps. If you were a professional welder, then you would need several clamps of each size. IMO, go to Harbor Freight and buy 1 medium size c clamp, one spot welding clamp, and a few spring clamps. That'll get you started for the most part. This way you try out what works best for you and either buy more HF clamps or a better quality set. One or two of the really large c-clamps may come in handy for the tail panel, but I'm really not sure. Don't forget, self drilling sheet metal screws can be very helpful in this scenario.

These are the clamps I have:
http://www.harborfreight.com/hand-tools/clamps/6-inch-swivel-pad-lock-grip-pliers-39534.html     (1)
http://www.harborfreight.com/hand-tools/clamps/2-inch-capacity-steel-spring-clamp-39529.html    (2)
http://www.harborfreight.com/hand-tools/clamps/1-34-in-nylon-spring-clamp-69291.html               (2)
http://www.power-tec.co.uk/product/91360                                                                                        (1)

Have you decided if you're going to remove the entire panel or just patch the bottom yet? So far, I've mocked up my new AMD panel and the fit seems pretty darn good. There'll most likely be some metal that needs to be moved around I'm thinking. In my situation, parts of the trunk pan, frame rail, and bumper tabs need to be replaced and both tail panels are in the way. Put that all together and complete removal makes sense. If you don't have as much rot as I do it may make more sense for to only cut out the rotted sections like others have suggested.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2016, 06:34:51 PM by Ford5of5 »

formula jg

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 660
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2016, 07:48:22 PM »
That last link with the Power Clamp is sweet.
No HF here in Canada, a C-Clamp locking plier is $20-25 CND. It doesn't look like HF offers international shipping I have to shop around online might find a Black Friday deal.

I'll have a better idea once I start grinding down some spot welds and cleaning up the original panel a bit to see what I find. As it sits now it appears the trunk pan, trunk drop offs, frame rails all look good.

Since the inner panel is badly rusted I would half to cut at least the lower half off.  If I go this route does the new panel overlay just above the point that I cut off or would I need to cut the new outer panel to butt up to the original along the cut line (that seems like a lot of tweaking to get it to butt just right for a stitch weld)?

Ford5of5

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1098
  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2016, 08:39:35 PM »
Butt weld vs lap weld is an argument for the ages. LOL!

A lap weld could work, but you should use a flanging tool so the panels sit flush. My preference is for butt welding only because it eliminates a factor that causes rust. In our scenario, I would use a butt weld because I think it would be easier than trying to flange the odd shape of the tail panel.

I think I heard someone say Princess Tools is Canada's version of Harbor Freight. For something like a clamp, I'd buy cheapo stuff all day long. For a tool that I'm going to use on a daily basis I'd buy a quality brand name. The clamp from the last link is sometimes called a spot weld clamp and I got my set from Harbor Freight but couldn't find it listed on their website. They work great for spot welds.

It sounds like I'm back tracking a bit, but if you can get away with just cutting the lower section and butt welding your life will be a lot easier. I would have gone that route if I didn't need the space to stuff my fat behind in the trunk! :lol:

Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2016, 08:39:35 PM »

formula jg

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 660
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2016, 06:24:12 PM »
After spending the afternoon removing the seam sealer and grinding the original panel along the quarters up to the trunk I now have a new found respect for you guys that make it seem easy.

I'm leaning towards replacing the entire panel except for the trunk gasket rail but this may change as the project progresses. My only concern is possible warpage of this narrow strip of metal when it comes time to weld the new panel to it.

The drilling can't start till I get the Blair spot weld drill bits that were ordered a few days ago, but plenty of work that needs to get done before then.

There's a couple of areas I'm stractching my head over how they're attached to the panel. It's where the frame rails meet the back side of the outer panel? I think the tabs at the end of these frame rails have a bead of weld on the backside and if so what's a good method to separate the panel from them?
« Last Edit: November 28, 2016, 08:39:08 AM by formula jg »

Ford5of5

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1098
  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2016, 09:18:03 PM »
i'm not certain, but I think some of the welds go through all three panels. So, you may get all the welds holding on the outer panel but may need to go deeper to get the inner panel.  The gas tank brackets are welded to the inner tail panel. The vast majority of my inner panel no longer exists so I will just be grinding the remainder from the brackets. Often, it's easier to cut most of the panel away and then go after the  spot welds.

formula jg

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 660
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2016, 09:03:16 AM »
As I scrap away the seam sealer I'm really starting to see some of the hind details and slight variations between original and new panel. I see your new panel has details mine doesn't like the half circle relief cut approx. 6" down from the top corners, my panel is from FB Central (made in Taiwan):



I found C-clamps at a reasonable price online and noticed they come with or without swivel ends, what do you recommend for this job?

Greenbird76

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 524
  • LEAN MEAN AND GREEN!!!
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2016, 09:45:54 AM »
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=54404.msg492540#msg492540

I'm sorry I have not been able to respond to your latest email.  Try this link above.  It discusses my tail swap.  I posted many times in the past regarding the swap.  I used vice grip clamps and cheap clamps from harborfreight and tried to get the ones with the stiffest springs I could find.  As someone posted previously, the vice grip ones are so expensive.  I still use the cheap spring loaded ones for all my welding projects.  As I stated to you earlier, I found it easier to separate everything and want to be 100% positive all rust was gone eliminated and would not return.  I spent countless hours researching and practicing my welding before even touching the car.  Glad I did it then because I would not have the time right now!
« Last Edit: November 28, 2016, 09:49:26 AM by Greenbird76 »
BUILT THE WAY GRAMMA WISHES SHE COULD HAVE ORDERED IT!!
LEAN MEAN AND GREEN!!!!

formula jg

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 660
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2016, 10:21:55 AM »
Hey Ron, like I said earlier, total respect for you guys that do this kinda of work.

Did you use C-clamps with or without the swivel ends?


formula jg

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 660
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2016, 12:17:22 PM »
5 of 5, would you mind taking a couple of close up pics at the trunk corner, right where the panel comes up to start forming the trunk seal. A pic of the corner which remains attached to the car and another pic of the original panel at that same corner.

thx.

Ford5of5

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1098
  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2016, 03:55:10 PM »
I'll try to get some pics up for you later tonight. I think the panel you bought is a Goodmark product. I bought the AMD panel last year, stored it and forgot about it. Then I bought the same panel you did a few months ago. It has a CHL label one side and another label on the other side that says GDK on it; I'm not 100% sure that its a Goodmark though. So, I have both panels and the AMD fits a lot better than the Goodmark. The Goodmark panel, on my car, would need a little adjustment to fit were as the AMD panel just sits in nicely. It's not a big deal, just food for thought when buying panels.

formula jg

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 660
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2016, 05:42:02 PM »
Tried searching Goodmarks website but couldn't find tail panels for '79 Firebird (just to compare it to mine).

My panels came with a black paint does it have to be removed entirely or just the areas that will be spot welded?
« Last Edit: November 29, 2016, 08:08:25 AM by formula jg »

Greenbird76

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 524
  • LEAN MEAN AND GREEN!!!
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #23 on: November 30, 2016, 09:17:15 AM »
Did some online digging and came up with this book.  Really detailed and they actually have most of the common rear body panel replacements posted in this article outlined for our cars.  I wish I knew about this when I did mine. 
http://www.cartechbooks.com/techtips/pontiac-trans-am-firebird-body-panels-guide-70-81/
BUILT THE WAY GRAMMA WISHES SHE COULD HAVE ORDERED IT!!
LEAN MEAN AND GREEN!!!!

formula jg

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 660
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #24 on: November 30, 2016, 11:20:44 AM »
I printed that online book about a year ago and have read through it several times. It inspired me to do this job but now that I'm actually doing it, I look to you guys for guidance and inspiration cause there's an intimidation factor that comes with this repair that no book can really walk you through it live. Thanks for posting the link, I didn't think to do it.

NOT A TA

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3209
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #25 on: November 30, 2016, 12:13:22 PM »
Once you get started, just keep plugging away at it. Don't try to rush things because that's how you burn up drill bits or get hurt. Make sure you have appropriate safety equipment on  for particular tasks. Face shield, breathing mask, gloves, hearing protection. Panel replacement is more time consuming than a lot of people think and I use a lot more tools than you'd think. Currently doing full trunk pan, frame rails, inner splash pan, trunk drop offs, and torque boxes on 67 Camaro.

John Paige
Lab-14.com

formula jg

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 660
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #26 on: November 30, 2016, 12:50:13 PM »
RESPECT!

Ford5of5

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1098
  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #27 on: November 30, 2016, 03:50:24 PM »
JG, I been trying upload photos but PhotoBucket has been giving me log-in problems for the last few days. For what I think you're asking, the quarter gutters have about a 1" piece that sits in the tail panel gutter and gets 2 spot welds. The tail panel itself, sits underneath the tail light extension, sort of like a sandwich with the quarter on top, tail light extension in the middle and the tail panel on the bottom.

This stuff only looks hard because you haven't done it before. You want to see some awesome work, look up members Jack and Doright. Jack's got an uncle that can do some cool work with a gas torch and Doright, he's so stubborn that the metal bends to whatever shape it needs to be all on its own. LOL! These guys are just 2 examples of people doing amazing stuff with a hammer and torch, there's many here on TAC.

Also, remember that the guys that put your car together weren't engineers or carriage makers. You're going to find a panel here and there that dosnt look just right. It may have been adjusted with a hammer. They worked on a line, which means total time crunch, just get the part attached and move to the next one. Speed was the order of the day. Whoever did the seam sealing on my '79 apparently had stock in the sealer company, I'm finding blobs of it all over the place and in some seams it sits close to an 1" high. It certainly wasnt the previous owner because it looks like he used aluminum gutter seal as a seam sealer, it doesn't work by the way,lol. The factory sealer in my '72 was done in a much neater fashion and not dripped all over the place.

In my situation, I'm going to tack my tail panel in and then put in my tail lights and probably rear rear bumper back on to make final adjustments. Look at the bumper holes before you pull your panel. They probably arnt lined up "perfectly". Not a problem, just use a file when it comes time to install the bumper.

formula jg

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 660
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #28 on: December 02, 2016, 12:34:19 PM »
You can forward pics to my email. The Blair spot weld cutter came in and tomorrow got a little sealer left to remove and start on the spot welds.

As I mentioned earlier I'm leaning towards replacing entire panel up to the trunk gutter seal. I would leave the original gutter in place and weld the repop panel to it (remove the gutter from the new panel first of course). But before I get to removing the spot welds along the gutter I need to know which side to drill out the spot welds from on both the new and original panel, any suggestions??

Ford5of5

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1098
  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #29 on: December 02, 2016, 01:43:32 PM »
Hmm, I wish I thought of just removing the gutter, that was the only part not rusted! LOL I don't have the panel in front of me so I don't know which panel would be best to drill out. Generally, I try to remove the spot weld on the thinner piece of metal so I can put my new welds into the thicker piece. It's one of those things were pre-planning can save you a bunch of time and pain. I try not to use the holes left by drilling out the spot welds when I can; it may be just me but I tend to have better luck with making nice looking 3/16 or 1/4" spot welds and get a lot of burn through when trying to fill 5/16". I do use the holes left by the weld cutter, as is necessary at times. I tried to include enough pics so you can get an idea of where the welds are.


formula jg

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 660
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #30 on: December 02, 2016, 02:12:59 PM »
This is awesome with you doing the same job at the same time, the pics really take some of the edge off any potential surprises.

I gotta ask about that area where the trunk pan looks like it was sandwiched between trunk bracket (inside trunk) and outer panel, does the inner panel also slide in between there?

Ford5of5

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1098
  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #31 on: December 02, 2016, 02:26:51 PM »
The trunk pan is sandwiched between the upper bumper bracket and outer tail panel. The inner tail panel is sandwiched between the lower bumper bracket/frame-rail and outer panel.

Some of the spot-welds got really crazy in the upper and lower bumper brackets. You'd expect maybe 2 or 4 per bolt hole. One of them had 6 lined up in a row and I think 2 of them only had one weld. Of course, some of those welds could have rotted away! lol

formula jg

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 660
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #32 on: December 03, 2016, 08:16:49 PM »
That helps cause I couldn't determine how it was layered through all the rust in that area.

Couple of questions:

a.  How does the trunk lock rod and spring get assembled (it came apart as I was removing the seam sealer today).



b.  I rec'd these tail light retainer gaskets and not sure if or where the white ones are installed, my originals only used the black rubber ones.



Started drilling 5 down and ??? to go:




Ford5of5

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1098
  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #33 on: December 03, 2016, 08:25:17 PM »
I think the black rubber ones go outside. Mine had all black ones outside and I only found one white one on the interior. I don't know if it was factory, but mine were smothered in some kind of sealer, looks different than seam sealer.

I was looking at the gutter today and it doesn't look like it can removed and reinstalled without a lot of work. I just finished replacing my driver side frame rail and inner tail panel. I'm gonna try to finish up the outer tail panel tomorrow and get it back on the rotisserie so I can get the floor painted up.


formula jg

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 660
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #34 on: December 03, 2016, 09:50:34 PM »
Correction, I just had a closer look the black rubber on the inside and white on the outside my bad.

The gutter news is a little discouraging. To me it looks like once the welds along the gutter are removed the old panel will separate leaving half the original gutter in place. The new panel would slide up to it on the inside without disturbing the corners of the gutter.

Do you think there is more envolved with this proceedure
« Last Edit: December 03, 2016, 11:26:41 PM by formula jg »

Ford5of5

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1098
  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #35 on: December 04, 2016, 03:42:06 AM »
If you try separating the gutter, just take a few minutes to think about it first. It seems like more work than necessary. But what I'm concerned about is if you're gonna being to just slide it in. I really don't know. I had to bend a portion of the tail light extensions in order to manipulate the panel at an odd angle. The lock-cage gets hung up on the trunk hump; taking that out would have made things marginally easier but then I would need to weld it back on. Now, all I need to do is tap those bent extensions back, much easier. It seems to me that it would be easier to section out just the area below the lights and butt weld it back together.

Here's some pics of the lock and my panel mocked up for welding.

formula jg

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 660
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #36 on: December 04, 2016, 07:09:15 PM »
Awesome close up pics of the lock, I had no problem after seeing those (never would of figured it out).
Your just motoring along there good thing this isn't a race cause your kicking my ass.

Did your new panel come with the lock-cage on it?

Mine did not so I have to re&re the original lock-cage. I have to rethink sectioning the panel in lieu of replacing it.

Got a few questions about sectioning:

a.  How do I determine my cut line?
b.  How do you transpose the the cut line to the new panel?
c.  What happens at the area around the tank filler neck, does the cut line go through the center of that opening or do you cut below the bottom of the opening(can't see the latter happening because the inner panel comes right up to the bottom of the filler neck opening, right?)?
d.  How accurate does the grafting have to be (in my minds eye it seems like a lot of work to cut and past the lower section but what do I know I've never done it)?

Got all but a few spot welds removed on the lower half so its time to decide.





Ford5of5

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1098
  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #37 on: December 05, 2016, 02:51:19 AM »
Win the race! I already finished and stripped the paint off the inner trunk, replaced an inner panel and a frame rail to boot. :lol: :lol: In all honesty, this stuff is easier than you think. You'll pick up speed after a few panels. A friend of mine once told me Math isn't hard, the people around you are just telling that it's hard and you're believing them. That was in 7th grade and he was so right.

Yes, my panel came with the lock cage already attached. When buying panels, you really need to look at part numbers and descriptions. For instance, there are at least 3 full floor pans for these cars. They come in varying degrees of "completeness". I'd imagine these cages rarely fail, so no biggie. Also, it's a little easier to fit the panel without it, although I just banged metal out of the way and then banged it back when I was done. Both ways work!

A. I'd literally free-hand it, only with a Sharpy first. Use your left hand on the inside of the panel and place your right hand on the outside of the panel. You should be able to get a feel for where your fingers are on either side. Once you have an idea of where your fingers are you can use them as a frame of reference for drawing a line. Another way would be to drill a series of hole, above the trunk pan and at any changes in direction. Then, use those holes to draw a line. Another way to do it would be to cut off small sections at a time until you're clear of rust. It all depends on how far you want to go.

B. Cut the new panel longer/wider than it needs to be by about an inch. You want to sorta craw up on the final cut. Also, your going to need a second attachment point to help you place the panel in the correct position. In my mind, that would be the bottom inner panel, where it connects to the out panel. Place the new-cut panel in position on top of whats left of the old panel and draw a line. You can either recut the older panel or the new one. It's a good idea to cut a little oversized and then grind to final fit. Again, you wanna crawl up on the final cut.

C. You are correct about the inner panel. I would try to make the cut above the trunk pan by about half an inch and cut through the almost center of the filler neck. If you cut through the trunk pan, just weld it back up.

D. If you don't replace the section that holds the tail lights then you can almost put this in sideways! :shock: If the bumper bolt openings are off, then grind them bigger after the panel is in place.

Going by your pictures and what I just did to my car I would replace the entire panel, but that's me. Problem is, this isn't the best panel for a person to learn about panel placement. I had to grind away the corners of the new panel's outer gutter to get it sit where I wanted. In reality, as long as the gutter is placed correctly, all your holes can off by a little and you can just just adjust them with a file. All of the cuts you're going to make into adjacent panels will be hidden by the trunk lid, tail lights and bumper, for the most part.

I'm too tired to write any more. Here's some pics, first one is what I'd do if I was gonna replace just the lower half. The second is just an alternate way of doing it. The second way is probably easier and plus, you already drilled the spot welds

formula jg

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 660
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #38 on: December 05, 2016, 09:59:33 AM »
Thanks for taking all the time with my many questions, the last thing I want is to have a shop to fix or finish what I started.  Believe me I'm no stranger to having to do things 2 or 3 times to get it right but this really isn't one that I want to have that happen.

In your mock pic I don't see any clamps (except maybe behind the filler door).  How do you mock it up so that you can test fit the tail lights and also be able to shift things slightly if you need to realign the lights or brackets or whatever else?
« Last Edit: December 05, 2016, 11:50:59 AM by formula jg »

Ford5of5

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1098
  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #39 on: December 05, 2016, 11:11:33 AM »
I used a c clamp in the filler neck area and then 2 locking clamps along the bottom edge where it meets the inner panel. Held it all in fine. If you do a total panel removal, tack weld a few supports to hold the right and left gutter in place; do this even if you leave the tail-panel gutter in place, just in case. Whenever you're in doubt, use a brace. They will float a little, may 3/8" up and down.

Don't sweat this, it isn't that bad. Mine is off by a 1/16" here and there. There is a bit of adjustment in the tail-light and bumper holes and again a file can be used to get you that little bit extra adjustment.

Re: Project Rear Tail Panel replacement has officially started (Pics Included)
« Reply #39 on: December 05, 2016, 11:11:33 AM »
You can help support TAC!