Desperate Repairs

When times are hard, it’s sometimes necessary to repair that which you would otherwise replace. Times are indeed hard for everyone at present, but that’s not the reason for attempting this ridiculous repair on a recent acquisition, a 1989 Hyundai Pony pickup. I could have stretched to a new wing for it but… this truck just isn’t worth spending £166.85 on! The truck is rotten everywhere else, and I’ve yet to decide if I’ll repair it come MOT time or not, so I’d rather not spend any more money on it than I have to. My time …well that’s a different story. I’m happy to spend time chopping and welding. Those keen on performing less than worthwhile repairs on worthless cars read on…

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Violet SSS Project – Windscreen Surround

I had been hoping that I wouldn’t have to remove the glass from this car, as the front and rear screens are bonded in. There was only one tiny rust hole just above the screen on the right hand side, but closer examination with a torch revealed there was rust visible under the bonding inside the screen, so unfortunately it had to come out. With the stock original glass, it’s not to much of a trauma to get the screen out, but this car has had the original glass replaced with a laminated screen. These are a lot harder to remove without breaking them, especially as it seems many glass fitters tent to go overboard with the adhesive, making it harder to cut through. I only have one spare screen and I wouldn’t expect to have much joy finding a new one, so I really needed to remove this one without cracking it!

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Violet SSS Project – Rear Valance

This was a pretty simple and straightforward panel replacement. The new valance is Nissan part number 79121-K2430. The original valance wasn’t actually rusty, but it was badly damaged in two places, and there were signs of rust starting in the seam where it’s attached to the boot floor and back panel. The first job was to remove it, which was done by drilling out the spot welds from below, across the horizontal seam, and by using a die grinder on the vertical seams at the ends. The spot welds on the horizontal seam were drilled right through the three layers….

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Violet SSS Project – Rear Wheel Arch (LH)

The left rear quarter is the area of the body that needs the most attention, as not only do I have the rusty wheel arch, sill and lower rear corner to deal with, bit it’s also somewhat dented too. Some of the dents were straightened by hand whist doing the rust repairs but a lot of careful prep is going to be needed to make this part of the car look good under black paint. Before I could think about that though, I had the rust to deal with. The left rear wheel arch only looked a little bit worse than the right to begin with, but actually turned out to need considerably more work. As on the right hand side, I had a new inner arch panel (part # 76713-K0130) and a rear quarter from a late 710 saloon (part # 78113-N7430) to help make the repairs, but even with these to help me, a fair bit of fabrication was still needed…

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Violet SSS Project – Sill (LH)

The left hand sill structure actually looked quite solid, in fact along its full length it didn’t have any rust holes at all. The only visible rust was in the area where the bottom edge of the front wing attaches. Despite the apparently good condition, I was going to replace it anyway, as I had on hand a genuine replacement sill (part # 76413-K1330) and it’s the only way I could be sure of eliminating future rust issues. I started by chopping the main section of the sill away using an air chisel, leaving the spot-welded seams in place. Once off, the inside of the sill showed plenty of surface rust and and the front of the inner sill required exactly the same type of repair as I had previously completed on the right hand side…

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Violet SSS Project – Welding and more Welding

Having completed the right hand side of the car, it’s time to tackle the rust on the other side. This is no doubt going to entail pretty much the same work as doing the right side, so I’ll probably gloss over some of the details and just provide the pictures and note any differences in the work required. At first glance it seems that the inner wing and upper strengthener are maybe a little better than the previous side, but this doesn’t make a lot of difference really as it’s the same amount of work to repair what rust is there. The sill isn’t as rusty, but the left rear arch is considerably worse than the right, requiring the entire edge to be replaced all the way around. The inner sill areas by the rear cross-member mount is much worse too, so there’ll be some fabrication needed there. I’ll be working my way along the car in the same manner as I did the first side, so I start with the inner wing strengthener…

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Violet SSS Project – Front Inner Wing (RH)

The final area to tackle on this side of the car is the front inner wing. Initial inspection only revealed rust in the most common area for these cars to go, the bottom of the strut tower just above the chassis leg, but once the underseal was scraped off from the inner wing, there were definitely a few more suspicious looking areas. The bottom couple of inches of the inner wing panel overlaps the chassis rail on 710s, so that whole area is double skinned. Any moisture coming down the inner wing in the engine bay runs straight into this seam, as it’s not sealed, so rust can build up in there, rotting the section from the inside out. Not wishing to take any chances of future rust developing, I figured it was time to chop the lot out and replace it.

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Violet SSS Project – Rear Quarter & Sill End (RH)

After all the work of getting the rear wheel arch into shape, it was nice to move onto something a little more straight forward (well… relatively). I figured the lower rear corner should be fairly simple, as I had a donor panel for a late 710 saloon (part # 78112-N7430), which I could chop up to supply the necessary repair sections. The saloon is actually a tiny bit different to the hardtop in this area but thankfully not enough to render the panel unusable. As it turned out the lower corner was relatively simple but the second job of the day, repairing the sill end closing panel, certainly wasn’t!

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Violet SSS Project – Rear Wheel Arch (RH)

The fourth day of welding and things start to get a bit more tricky here. Up until now I’ve had a decent number of replacement panels to use but I’ve got less to help me tackle the rear arch repairs, other that one very useful part… a new outer section of the inner arch assembly (part # 76712-K0130). Having this piece at least helps me to reconstruct the outer arch to the right radius, as well as providing the lower rear closing section at the rear of the arch. That part would be pretty hard to fabricate, much like the sill end closing panel (which I’ll tackle on Day 5). Amazingly this inner arch section is the same on both the hardtop and the four door saloon. It would have been nice to have new rear quarters for the hardtop but they seem to be totally unobtainable, however I did have some saloon rear quarters out of which I cut the lower rear corner and some of the arch lip.

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Violet SSS Project – Sill (RH)

Day three and it’s time to tackle the right hand sill, which has clearly had some pretty poor repairs in the past. As I had a complete genuine replacement sill for this side (part # 76412-K1330), I elected to do this job the hard way and fit the entire panel in one piece. The original sill panel extends up inside the rear quarter and around the lower ‘A’ post, where it’s integrated with the other panels making up those structures. Where the upper seams are welded, there are a total of three layers. At the rear, inside the rear quarter, the sill, inner sill and rear inner side panel (where the window lifter is mounted) are all joined as one with the sill panel being the outer one of the three layers. At the front end, the inner A post and inner sill panels sandwich the outer sill between them at the seam, making the sill quite hard to remove. Removing and replacing the full sill requires a fair bit of care and patience, as you have to pick apart a fair amount of the cars structure around these areas, but it is possible with time and some care.

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