Slow progress is still progress....
I still didn't get my shear/nibbler things in the mail, but I didn't want to waste the weekend by not working on the truck.
I was able to start cutting on my loose front fender that was in the my previous post. I was able to get the front section done by using only a jig saw, a cut off wheel, and a cordless drill.
I was able to get the section out cleanly without too much fuss. I was able to use the marker light hole to start the vertical cuts.
Once I made a few small holes to form a slot to start the jig saw I as able to make the horizontal cut along the top cleanly. A small slice up on the 'do not remove' section that has the reference bolt for the inner fender, and I was able to remove the panel.
Magnets are your friend! Ace hardware has a nice selection. I picked up a bunch for like $5-8. They allow you to re-install the panel in the position it needs to be in for welding. They also allow you to see the lineup before you weld and work on any problem areas.
This morning I got everything into the garage. I was so not working on the living room floor last night with the SO being out of town I got the low edge of the fender off. That required the cut off wheel on the grinder to work through a double thick area where there is a stiffing bracket along the front lower edge. Here is the panel in its new position, this time with the edges sanded down to bare metal for the welding. A worn down flap wheel on the grinder and a light touch works great for that! I had to fix a few areas that where off a little bit, but the magnets really make it easy to do modifications like that. I had to clean up one corner with a file and smooth out the horizontal line. I got it pretty dang close with the jig saw!
Here is the panel tack welded into place. I use .025 wire for this with c25. The secret is taking your time and moving around on the panel as much as you can. You don't want to try and run a bead on butt welded sheet metal!
I try and move at least 6" or move between tacks. This seems to keep the metal cooler and helps oil canning and down pull. I would rather have it low than high though.
After I got the panel welded in enough. IE I needed to move on before I burned through in any more places. I had a few thin sections that had about a 1/16" gap that where being a pain. I couldn't find my copper/brass backing plate anywhere, so I decided to work on the low edge of the fender.
I didn't want to just leave a cut edge on the lower part of the fender. I wanted a nice smooth edge. I started by cutting the corner with a pair of tin snips.
After that with a pair of flange pliers I was able to work the edge over with a little help from a hammer and a block. In the front portion I had to feather cut the edge because to the compound angle. I had to make some little pie cuts with the tin snips to get everything to line up ok. I made a few little mistakes but it turned out pretty well. This will all be behind the new front bumper anyways. All the little pie cuts and tabs will get welded together also. This detail made the front fender a lot more rigid after I cut it all apart.
So here is how far I got today. The front panel is back in and the lower edge is turned over. I was able to get the rear section started, but I really need the nibblers to do that section. I also need to make the patch panels for the lengthened section in front and weld that in.
This is the most complex body work on the truck. The front fenders are mostly a pain, but I think it will be worth it in the end. The rear should be cake compared to this! In the front I will also be modifying the inner fender to match the outer fender...kinda. It will not really be sectioned like the front, but modified a bit along the outer bolt edge where the it joins the outer fender.
When its all said and done it should look very stock and most people should miss the modification all together. I think they will catch the lower front of the fender being cut off, but the opening being longer....people aren't going to see that one right away.....