1968 Pontiac Rear Quarter Install

This has been quite an undertaking for a novice! Only by adapting the attitude that there are other peolpe out there that have years of experience and asking them questions have I been able to complete what I have done so far. If you are going to try and do this kind of work on your own, and you never have before; leave your ego on the shelf and ask QUESTIONS! Let's take this one step further; if you got advice from pro's, USE IT!

I want to share with you a very important tool. There are many ways to take out a wheel housing, but the seasoned vets in the field claim that the right way to do it is to cut out the spot welds. Not all vets are going to give you everything they know. Most will give you the straight basics then let you go on your own. I bought what I thought to be spot weld cutters, at least that's what the package said they were. NOT! They were little instruments made to cut out my beer budget! They made a feeble attempt at cutting out a spot weld and I went through 5 of them in my first 12 welds. Considering there were approximately 60 or so yet to cut, the math was starting to wake me up. Each of these tools were $4.95 a pop! REGROUP!

Here is a picture of a life saver! This is machine tool steel and has the cutting head machined right into the end of it. It's about 3/8 inch in diameter, and it cut the entire wheel house out and it's ready for another one. Price - $10.

 

It is a Keysco Cutter. Their number is 1-800-253-9726. I got mine through O'Reileys.

Once the wheel house was out, the joy of fitting a reproduction wheel house was next. It really wasn't bad. Once I got it in place, the holes lined up, I double and triple checked EVERYTHING, then put the mig to it.

 

The quarter panel was not as difficult as I had imagined. By following the advice of pro's, it worked out pretty good. Lon Enstrom of Enstrom Body & Paint in Oakland, NE. has been really great! He has taken the time to answer my questions and has given me great advice. Along with his advice, I also had the good fortune of having another 30-year pro in body and restoration, Denny Ogden, put in his confirmation on what Lon had told me originally. Lon has done some pretty awsome rides to his credit that have taken many shows in the area.

I decided to bond the panel skin instead of welding it. After talking with the two previously mentioned, and doing even more research, I have discovered that the trend is sweeping the dealerships, and individual body shops alike. The bonding agents used are incredible! Better living through chemicals is definately applied to this theory! Since it's been used and delveloped for 10+ years, I did it. There are many diffierent brands of bonding agents out there, but the two I heard the most of was Fusor and Maxim. Fusor, I believe, is a 3M product, and Maxim is by Evercoat. I'll let you guess which one I used.

After getting the rest of the old quarter cut out, I placed the new skin on and marked it from the inside around from the cut of the open area with a soap stone. I took off the new skin and saw the marking, then measured out 1 inch and drew another to make my cut of the skin. The advice I got was to have a 3/4 inch lap over for the bonding agent application. I went an inch since it was my first time and came up with an inch pretty evenly around, however, there were areas about 3/4 inch and some 1 1/4 inch. So, the 1 inch theory saved my skin, so to speak.

I ground down the edge of the new skin to flatten it so when it went on, there would not be such a lip to work with in finishing. After cleaning both surfaces, I put the skin back up to double and triple check the fit. used a couple of vise grips, then proceeded to drill holes about every 3 inches around the edge. I used number 8 sheet metal screws and screwed them all in. Once the skin was completely screwed on, I double and triple checked the fit again, because the next step was bonding it and there's not return from that point. Everything looked good, so off it came, and the bonding agent went on, the skin went on, the screws went in, and I said good night.

The bonding agent has numerous variations that you can buy that will give you different apllication times. There are some that will set up in 15 minutes or less. Not for this rookie! I bought the 90 minute set up time so I had plenty of window to work in just in case. Once it was cured, I was told that I could leave the screws in and grind off the heads, or take them out. I did both. Some came out, and other would NOT come out. It really makes no difference. I got brave and used a little common sense that the screw holes would help adhere the body filler used to finish. What I used was Kitty Hair for the initial seam fill (what is in the picture) and then I will use regular body filler to finish.

 

And there it is. My first full quarter panel restoration. By the way, the wheel you see is a little invention of mine to move the body around in my garage. I took 3"x3"x1/4" angle iron and laid it over the rear springs and clamped them, then put 10" neumatic casters on. I did the same for the from by using the two body mounts in the firewall. $160 later, and I have my own body cart.

Hope there is some info here that helps you with yours!

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