First thing to repair on the Eliminator is the rear frame rail. Is there a good quality repro out there or should I drill out all the spot welds and use a used one? The used one is in nice shape with no rust.
Followed Brian’s advice and put the car up jack stands. The stands are on top of large 12 X 18 concrete blocks to get added height. Spent most of the day getting the car perfectly level side to side while being supported by 8 jack stands. Sears has 3 ton stands on sale for 23 bucks.
Can’t have enough jack stands I always say.
I would use a good used one, but its a lot of work to get one off and keep it in good condition for re-use. How much of it are you going to replace, the whole rail torque box to rear of car? Is the rail bent or is it a rust issue? If its a rust issue I would assume you are doing trunk floors also. I know your doing quarter skins right.
The quarters I have are complete from a few inches into the door rocker area, a few inches up the C pillar and include the trunk floor all the way to the gas cap area. Inner and outer wheel houses are there and intact and the entire rear frame section is there too. Actually the best way to describe the part is that it is the ENTIRE rear quarter of the car except for the roof. I wish I could put on the entire piece but think that aligning that huge piece would be near to impossible. It would be welded to the eliminator at the C pillar and in the area in front of and behind the gas tank.
I should replace the entire rear frame section including the rail torque box.
My thought process was to:
Block up the Eliminator and remove the rear frame rail
Remove the frame rail from my replacement quarter and install it in the Eliminator using wood jigs and temporary welded in metal to get it aligned correctly
Remove the bad quarter, inner and outer wheel houses, trunk floor and trunk drop offs and install the replacement quarter. The welds that I drilled out when removing the good frame rail would be used align the replacement quarter since at many spots the welds would be re done in the same places.
If I were you I would support the car well and have it leveled at four points on your rockers, then support two more places on the rear frame rails and at least one place front of the rockers. More up front if your going to replace any frame or torque boxes up front. Make these adjustable for a good solid platform if possible (I made all my jacks adjustable and bolted them to the floor).
Prep your new sheet metal by removing the quarter, trunk floor and inner fender wells at the spot welds. I would leave this intact as much as possible, there are a lot of welds that can stay intact. By the time you get this piece off intact and ready to install you will be ready to disassemble the eliminator.
Then remove the quarter, trunk floor and fender wells on the eliminator. Most of the welds on the rear rail are attached to the trunk floor anyway so get all this off and out of your way. This stuff comes off easy because you dont need it. You can cut the metal out of the way and remove welds and prep seams at the same time.
Now your ready to replace that frame rail, it will be wide open like you need it. If its an R code you will have a lot more connections to deal with with the upper and lower staggered shock crossmembers to deal with along with the normal front shock crossmember.
Hope that helps, I have some good pics of my parts car coming apart and of how I supported my car to do this type of work. I can help you with some stuff with pics if you need. Its a heck of a lot of work but I seem to enjoy it. I think you said you were going to do both sides, one side at a time. I would do them both together. How do your tail panels look both upper and lower?? How does the filler panel look between the back window and trunk??
The eliminator is in the garage and leveled supported in the spots you suggest. My jack stands aren’t adjustable so wood shims were used for final leveling. With just the shell of the car supported by 8 jack stands I don’t think the wood will compress but I’ll keep the level on the car during the whole process.
The quarter sections that I have were cut off the parts car with a sawzall. I’m not sure where I would drill out the spot welds.
The tail panels have rust where the trunk floor and quarters attach. In reality, I’d like to remove the entire back section of the eliminator and replace it, with the exception possibly of the one good frame rail on the passenger side.
At one point I was considering making a wood 2 x 6 jig that would fit under the rear frame rail front to back and side to side. Then I’d remove the entire rear section of the car and replace it with the two parts car sections.
I’d love to see your pictures.
Oh one more thing. This is a documented, vin verified on the shock towers, matching Marti Report car. It is an R code SCJ and Drag Pack but it does not have staggered shocks.
With the last line of your post Paul, what you need to do is obvious, change as little of the original car as possible. That meaning the best thing to do is to drill out all of the spot welds of the frame rail which needs to be changed, remove it, and then same on the parts car piece which includes the good OEM rail. Then install good frame rail where bad rail used to be.
BTW, If it ends up being too much work or is too daunting I’ll give you a few bucks for it all to take it off your hands and to help you out.
So Bob, are you ready for a new ECI project? Missing the dust and rust, weld splatter on the flesh, grinding sparks in the eyes, wrestling with the pieces to make them fit? We all knew it was only a matter of time.
That meaning the best thing to do is to drill out all of the spot welds of the frame rail which needs to be changed, remove it, and then same on the parts car piece which includes the good OEM rail. Then install good frame rail where bad rail used to be.
Bob if I drill out the spot welds on the frame rail that needs to be changed and install the good frame rail, since I need to replace the trunk floor I’ll be re welding the parts car frame rail back to the parts car trunk floor. I guess that would be ok though because it would help with alignment.
Sorry I’m not ready to give this project up yet. For years I’ve told everyone that I only need one more Cougar to complete my collection. I’ll be working on this one for the next 15 years.
Yes, I agree. The ends of the rail are going to be hard to align if the rail is still attached to the trunk floor. However, I am not too proud to consult with Tom at KTL for anything like this, he is always willing and able to help.
I’ll give Tom a call. He really helped me identify the correct ram air set up.
I’m thinking now I may weld in the “new” frame rail and align it to where the original is. Then I’ll make up a heavy wood fixture to hold it in place that will be bolted to the floor (thanks ccarney for the idea). Then I’ll be able to line up the new quarter/wheel house/trunk floor section to it.
Got them! Amazing shots and detail. Did you use a die grinder on all the spot welds or did you drill some out?
Thanks a million!
I use a lot of different tools. I have some Blair bits and the die grinder, drill bits and files. I like the die grinder when I need to save the metal below.
Spot weld drill (looks like small hole saw) is indispensible.
How long do the spot weld drills last before the go dull? I was going to use regular drill bits that I can easily resharpen.
The bits are double sided and I did my ENTIRE car with two of them (and that was many, MANY hundreds of spot welds drilled). Recommend the type with a non-drill bit pilot (drill your own 1/8" hole in the center of the spot welds first). I used the type with a bit and quickly went to a broken bit stub in favor of the drill bit as they wear out/break. With regular drill bits you will tend to blow right through, the spot weld bit generally leaves what’s underneath intact (save for the 1/8" pilot hole).
What brand do you recommend? Do you have a link to their website?
Thanks! Got them both on order!