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Time for some rust repair on the Tahoe.

n8in8or

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I got the panel seam ground down today. I started with the 4-1/2” flap wheel as before, but then used a 3” flap wheel on an angle die grinder to finish it. When I was scrounging in my abrasives drawer I found those 3” discs which I had totally forgotten about purchasing months ago! They worked a ton better for finishing than the Roloc discs. Of course the HF die grinder died just a couple minutes in so I had to run out and get another one so that used up some of my project time today.

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Last thing I did was add the flange to the driver side panel. The flanger is definitely warping the panel so that sucks, but I still think it’s the best way for me to tackle the job.

Here’s a before pic of the panel:

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And here’s after:

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Will L.

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Funny thing about the die grinders- snapon had good ones, but usually a tad cheaper and better was the ingersol rand ones. Mac, matco, cornwell usually had the ir ones as their beat options. But the harbor frieght ones-which were always dirt cheap- about 25% of them were amazing and had about 70% power of snappy or ir and lasted as long. If you got a good one from hf, ya knew it right away and they lasted almost as ling as the ir which cost 2.5 as the hf.

Love those flappers too. It used to be for years that 3m branded roloc was the best- so much so all the competition had to really step up their game. I love it when quaility is what pushes the competition between brands.

My rule with metal- 1/16” thick and up. All that thin stuff kills me.
 

n8in8or

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Funny thing about the die grinders- snapon had good ones, but usually a tad cheaper and better was the ingersol rand ones. Mac, matco, cornwell usually had the ir ones as their beat options. But the harbor frieght ones-which were always dirt cheap- about 25% of them were amazing and had about 70% power of snappy or ir and lasted as long. If you got a good one from hf, ya knew it right away and they lasted almost as ling as the ir which cost 2.5 as the hf.

Love those flappers too. It used to be for years that 3m branded roloc was the best- so much so all the competition had to really step up their game. I love it when quaility is what pushes the competition between brands.

My rule with metal- 1/16” thick and up. All that thin stuff kills me.
There’s definitely a cost v quality balance eith the HF ones. The one that broke today was probably 5 years old and cost $20 to replace so that’s ok with me. The new one look an feels better than the old one.

Yeah, I don’t really enjoy thin sheet metal, but I’m not paying someone to do work I’m capable of doing so I’m forced to deal with it.
 

n8in8or

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Today I got the driver side wheel arch fitted and installed. First thing I did was a series of relief cuts based on AK’s suggestion. I think it helped. While the cuts themselves didn’t straighten the panel, they did allow it to move around more freely so it would follow the patch panel. I was able to straighten a little just with my hands.

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I did the same Cleco spacing as I did on the passenger side and there is a relief cut in between each Cleco along the top. I didn’t do any cuts on the verticals because those didn’t distort like the horizontal did.

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Then I put tacks on either side of each Cleco, spacing my tacks out as I went to keep heat spread and dispersed. This side turned out much better than the passenger side.

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After that I just continued to go around the seam and add tacks in between the other tacks. Everything stayed pretty straight so I’m really happy with the results so far. Next up will be basically connecting all of the tacks, but this is it for today. Happy New Year!!

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n8in8or

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Today was the last day of vacation, so I figured that the best use of the day was to not keep welding and grinding on the wheel arch, but instead to work on the trickiest panel on the truck: the back corner of the driver side quarter panel. They don’t make a patch panel for 2 door Tahoes so I had to find another solution. Luckily last fall I found a reasonably rust-free panel at the junkyard and cut that out. The inner was great which was a huge help, but after sandblasting I found enough rust in the outer panel that I couldn’t use it as-is.

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So today I decided to start repairing the repair panel. It took 6 hours and 3 panels to make 1 good panel, but I’m super pleased with the results. In the end I have a panel that is rust-free and also shouldn’t need much filler at all to get it smooth enough for paint. Though there isn’t a ton to show for it, it felt like a day well spent!

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n8in8or

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I don’t have any time to do any work to the Hoe tonight, but I will be working on it in my mind. Last night after I went inside I started thinking about the fuel door opening. I have to replace at least some of the quarter around the opening.

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So now I need to decide how much. The patch panel as-is only does part of the opening due to me not having enough forethought when I cut it out at the junkyard.

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I have another cut that I could graft to the panel and then redo the entire opening. I think that will be the smarter way, but I’m not 100% decided yet....

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Whichever way I go, I wouldn’t extend so far to the left - I would keep that seam at the wheel arch’s current seam that I have tacked, I’ll just have to cut the tacks. I think that will make for a cleaner blend of panels. My main decision is how high to go......
 

n8in8or

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Well I started extending the patch panel. It feels a little insane to be thinking about cutting that much more metal out, but one of the voices in my head is telling me that I’ll have a better shot at it turning out right if I go this route....hopefully I’m listening to the right voice. FYI, that angle cut is just there because of an earlier cut - it will be squared off before I’m done.

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n8in8or

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Not a ton of progress this weekend. I did get the patch panel extension done.

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I also got the old panel cut out.

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Doing this revealed how rusty and weak the inner panel is. So I need to cut some of that out and scab in part of the inner panel that came from one of my previous junkyard body cuts.

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n8in8or

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Probably seems never ending for finding more rust
It does. This is the last panel so I thought I was done exposing more rust. I new that inner panel had rust holes, but I didn’t realize how flimsy and weak it was so now I need to fix it. This is the last major patch to do though so this should be it for surprises!
 

n8in8or

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Got the inner panel patched up tonight. This is the stuff I hate the most: welding metal that was thin to start with, but then made thinner still by rust and rust removal to metal that has undergone the same thinning. You start chasing holes and making patches from just the wire filler. Ah well, it’s a hidden repair and it’s done now. So now I can move on to the real work once again. Oh and I found out the hard way that the inner panel for a 4 door is different from a 2 door so I had to adjust for that too.....

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n8in8or

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is the back coated with the weld thru primer? If it is curious as to how impermeable it is
Yeah I coated it with the weld-through primer. It’s a zinc-rich primer so it should be a good coating. I’m going to be shooting cavity wax in all of the cavities once I’m done painting so that should give me 2 solid layers of protection. I can always use a camera scope to look inside the cavities in the future to see how they hold up. I’m figuring on some additional cavity wax applications in the future as well just to make sure. Of course the truck will be seeing an easier life after it’s back on the road....I will have a new daily driver and won’t be subjecting the Hoe to salt too often going forward.
 

n8in8or

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The panel is in place, ready to weld. Good thing I got the family pack of Clecos! :D

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This is going to be fun..... And note the cutting I had to do vertically to get the opening right. Too bad I cut too much horizontally. I’ll need to do some creative filling here, which is complicated by the two profiles not lining up. Lots of pry-weld, pry-weld, hammer-weld, hammer-weld.....

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