A labour of love

Rear chassis leg repair part 1

Rear chassis leg repair part 1

With the sill area complete, today I turned my attention to the back corner of the car and started to tackle the end of the chassis leg / rear spring hanger section. I noticed when I was cutting out the old rear wing and rear valance end that this area was also going to need some serious attention. As you can see from the picture above, the chassis leg had been previously patched where it joins the rear valance, but the rot had seemingly continued to spread, and there were now some worrying holes directly around the spring hanger itself.

Initially I thought that the rot was limited to just the closing panel, which runs from the rear valance up to the wheel arch edge and is simply spot welded onto the main chassis rail. However on starting to cut it away it was evident that things inside were much worse, and some light prodding of the box section quickly poked further holes through the weakened metal.

I had already (optimistically) ordered just the closing panel, which is available as a Heritage part. Replacing just this would have been a simple case of drilling out the remaining spot welds, removing the leaf spring, and then welding in the new panel, but it was clear that I was going to have to make a more extensive repair to the whole box section.

The new Heritage panel alongside the old one for comparison

I duly placed an order for the end chassis leg repair section, which is only available as a Steelcraft part (MB57R). My intention is to use only as much of the repair panel as I need to replace the rusty metal, just to minimise the risk of any distortion/misalignment creeping into this area.

Whilst I wait for that part to arrive, I cracked on with removing some more of the surrounding metal to get better access to this area. First off, I cut out half of the old boot floor, which will make it very easy to get to the internal side of the chassis leg, and then I started removing the boot load cover supporting panel (which had rusted out at the bottom and was already due for replacement).

The bracket which holds this panel onto the top of the chassis leg had also pretty much rusted away, so I just drilled the spot welds out of the top of the leg and removed it all together – I will have to fabricate a new bracket later on when I fit the new panel. With that piece out of the way and everything cleaned up with a flap disc things are not looking too bad overall, so I’m thinking I may need to only use around an 8-10 inch slice of the chassis leg repair section around the spring hanger mounting.

Next jobs will be to remove the remnants of the boot floor in this area, and then start drilling out the old closing panel in preparation for getting the new parts fitted.

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