14 Jul 2013
Cowls almost done

I hope you wanted to see pictures, because I have several.  This is a couple of weekends worth of updates because I didn't post the stuff from last week.
Coated the inside of the driver's cowl with Nason Chassis Black in preparation for installing the cover.
Cover installed.
Passenger side seems to fit really well out of the box.
Of course, first there's the rust to take care of.
Here I've cut the rusted out portions away, as well as a square that was rusted through the inner panel.
Inner panel square repair complete.
Everywhere that there was rust here, I found the expanding foam that I'm now going to call "rustfoam".

Folks, please don't use this stuff on your car.
Coated the inside of the pass cowl with POR-15.

I found a post on Chevelle Tech from 2002 talking about POR-15 where I shared the suggestion the POR rep had given about putting a couple of screws in the lid rather than opening the can.  In that post, I mention that it had been 2 years since she'd told me that... which puts this can of POR-15 at 13 years old.  Guess her suggestion works, although if I'd been opening the cans I'd have bought quite a bit more since then.
I'd mentioned the vacuum hose for the cowl flap thing.  Here's the hose with grommet.
Here, in the shadow, is the hole that grommet goes into.
Driver's side primed and seam-sealed.
They say that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in something.  Obviously I've spent quite a bit less than that welding - my welds are ugly and have huge beads... but I get good penetration and they do hold the metal together.

So the realization that I had here is: it doesn't matter.  They're fine being ugly.  I don't even have to grind the beads down much, here.
Alternate view.
I am also apparently not good at applying seam sealer.  However, I appear to have had practice doing finger-painting.
I did coat the inside of the panel with Chassis Black before doing these welds.
Weld beads smoothed a little.
Seam sealer applied.  Guess on this side I'm seam sealing before priming.
Moving on to the interior.. yes, I will need to replace the rear part of the pass pan.  I've got serious rust around the drain plug thing.
Additionally, there are some holes forward of there.
Behind the brace on the back wall: A pile of seam sealer covering a mound of Rustfoam.
The big mound here next to all the rust holes: More Rustfoam.
Here is where the Rustfoam was on the front - you can tell where it was because there's no metal there now.
Cut out the rust.
Cut cut cut.
Ok, rust cut out.  Make a patch.
Coat the patch with something on the outside so it won't rust.  Stop rust repair here so paint can dry.
Some additional rust found on the rear kickpanel thing.
Seems to go through to the door jamb.
The vacuum-operated flappy thing from the pass kickpanel has tested successfully - vacuum makes it open, lack of vacuum makes it close.
Similarly, the flap-thing from the cowl moves with vacuum. 

Vacuum applied:
Vacuum released.
The Harbor Freight wheel dollies appear to give about 2 1/4" additional clearance from the ground.
This means that my 9.5" crossmember clearance is actually 7 1/4" from the ground.. found a couple of posts on Pro-Touring.com where people are talking about 3-4" crossmember height... no wonder my UCAs are hitting the frame - my ride height is way too high!

The spring adjusters are set to halfway already - guessing I need to cut the top portion of the adjusters down by about 2.5-3 inches when I pull the front suspension all back apart.
And, of course, it wouldn't be a day with the El Camino if I didn't find some more rust (beyond the door jamb and rear pass pan) - this is driver's side behind the rear window.
Looks like the dome light also needs to be replaced (not particularly surprising)
Still need to seam-seal the cowl panels from inside, and paint the insides.   Then pass front floor repair, and other rust repair.

Go back to the previous day (24 Jun 2013)