A labour of love

More rear wheel arch fun

It’s been a bit of a dispriting time since my last post. Having cut the bulk of the old outer wheel arch off, I thought it would be a small matter of just cleaning things up a bit and then getting the new outer panel straight on, but as usual things were not so straightforward.

Drilling out the spot welds that previously held the two halves of the wheel arch together seemed to take an eternity, and having done that I decided that the leading edge of the inner arch was too far gone most of the way round anyway, so would need repairing before I could fit the outer section. It wasn’t so bad that it would be worth the immense hassle of replacing the whole inner arch, so I made up some patch sections for the affected areas and welded them in.

At this point I had also punched holes in preparation for plug welding in the new outer arch

The right-angled flange on the top of the inner arch which has the inner C-post panel spot welded to it was also beyond saving, so I cut it out and fabricated a new one. I extended it further out across the top of the arch to give a bit more strength in this area, and to make sure I had plenty of good solid metal to attach the new outer arch to.

And with that all done it was finally time to get the new outer arch in place. Here it is clamped in place for a test fitting, I’d also clamped in the replacement boot floor corner panel to help with positioning (as I mentioned before, it makes for an excellent reference point for several other panels). With this all held in place, I also put the full rear wing panel into position to check that the wheel arch flanges would meet correctly when I come to fit the wing properly later on.

So with everything measured up and test fitted I was confident enough to start welding the outer panel in, and after a couple of hours of plug welding and grinding back, here’s how it looks. I had just given the exposed areas a light coating of zinc-rich primer to keep it protected for now, I’ll be going back and fully protecting these areas with a suitable underbody paint once the repairs are all finished.

It’s been really motivating getting some new metal into the car again after a few weeks of just cutting out rusty bits, hopefully the next installment will see me getting the outer sill into place at last!

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