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Strip Down & Rust Removal

Patching Holes Sheet Metal Repair

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Leaf Spring
Relocation

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Dodge Dart Restoration Resources


 

1970 Dodge Dart Restoration
& Race Car Project
Sheet Metal Repair & Rust Removal



I've been using a Lincoln 175 220v MIG welder for my sheet metal work. I've been very pleased with it's performance. Before starting on this project I had very little welding experience. I have learned a lot of tricks and feel I have become pretty good at it.

One of the best tips I have is to use a thin copper sheet behind any small holes you want to fill with a weld. The weld will not stick to the copper, and will help keep you from burning through the metal.

 


Over the past 37 years there must have been three sets of seats in the car.


Some of the holes were torn. The only answer was to replace the holey metal.


Boxed in section of subfloor. The area had been cut out for
collector clearance with the fenderwell headers.


Underside of the repaired
section.


After repairs.


One patch on the tunnel
and one on the floor.

Inner fender after filling holes and stripping paint
This inner fender looked like Swiss cheese before I filled in all the holes.


Drivers side mirror
mounting point


Rusted and torn metal


Marked out the cut


I formed a piece of metal to match the shape of the door. You can use a steel pipe to use as a form for bending the metal.


Removed bad section with
cutoff wheel


Patch tacked in place.
Hammer patch to align perfectly.


Jump around the patch so no one area gets too hot. On a patch this small it's a good idea to let the whole area cool after a few spot welds.


Welds smoothed with cutoff wheel and 24 grit discs.


Finished patch.


 My neighbor had a glass shop come out to replace the windshield on his truck. I stopped by asked the installer if he would remove the glass from the Dart for me. He did the job for $25 and most importantly didn't mess up the trim.


With the windshield removed
I was able to pull the dash to gain
better access to the firewall.


Pheww! Finally clean and ready for epoxy primer.

.



I found this fiberglass six-pack hood for $100 on Craig's list. Exactly what I was looking for, for an unbelievable price!
 


November 23, 2007

2 coats of epoxy primer is on and first coat of Evercoat Rage Extreme has been applied.


Blasted rear filler panel.


Time to replace the rust with steel. Rust isn't too bad for an Northeast Coast car.

 

This is where work stopped on this car.  I found another Dart in much better shape, that was already stripped to bare metal.


Stock firewall


Patched firewall


Filled unwanted holes in fenders


Filled windshield wiper holes


Interior view of firewall


Roof has been stripped. Dark area is surface rust from original vinyl top.


Cleaned out the junction between the roof and quarter panel with sand blaster.


Epoxy primed firewall

 


Location of "hidden VIN"
The stamp is VERY light. Sandblasting brought it right out. Scraping or wire wheeling would most likely have destroyed it.


I built a jig to roll the car around on. It makes things much easier!

 

 

And

Now

For

Something

Completely

Different

While I was making good progress with the '70 Dart, there was still a LOT to do. As I stripped the car down to bare metal I found lot's of hidden problems. Worst of all, the car needed a new rear suspension. What was in there was a hack job. The 4 link was one of the reasons I had bought this car, I didn't expect to have to replace it from scratch. A leaf spring relocation kit had also been installed at one time. It was also installed poorly and couldn't be used as is. I began to  feel that I wouldn't make my two year deadline with this car, but I kept plugging away. Until... ...While picking up a 440 block that I found on Craig's list, I found a 1973 Valiant in the guys garage. The car had been entirely media blasted, inside, out, and underneath. The car had practically no rust. Media blasting had revealed a section of small pinholes in one of the floor pans. Except for the 2x3 frame connectors which were installed the car was unmolested and completely stock. Best of all the price. Only $500, which included a $500 Art Morrison roll cage kit, 4 new tires, and aluminum wheels. I have spent the last few weeks getting the "new" car to the point that I had taken the first car. That is, I filled in the firewall holes, windshield wiper holes, cut the fenderwells for the Hooker Super Comp headers, and patched the floor pan. I also filled in the seams between the quarters and sail panel and at the cowl and A-pillar as well. The car is just about ready to be entirely primed. I  just need  to give it a good cleaning before it gets sprayed.

As for the '70. I covered the car in primer and wheeled it to the backyard on it's jig. I hope to finish the body once I'm done with this project.

 


From Dart-less, to two Dart's in six months