Bad welding, loose ends, and the countdown

This was a period of mostly loose ends.  I had run my main harness through the giant hole in the firewall where the heater core used to be.  Now that everything was run I didn’t want to unplug everything, pull all the wiring back, and then run it through a grommet.  That would have been the right thing to do.  But that’s not what I did.  I took an old rubber mat, chopped it up, and then pop-riveted it to two pieces of sheet metal and then assembled them around the harness and screwed them to them firewall.  I threw split loom at everything in the engine bay.  Good enough for burnouts.

I also took the opportunity to install hall effect sensors to set up traction control.  In the rear I glued two magnets to the back of the differential pinion and welded a little bracket next to it to hold the sensor.  Up front I glued five magnets straight out from the lug holes and welded my sensor bracket onto the steering knuckle.  Well, I tried to weld the bracket onto the steering knuckle.  I welded it once and it fell off on its own.  I welded it a second time, then gently bent it into position only to have it come off in my hand.  Then I got junior to weld it and it stayed.  I should point out that he used my el-cheapo flux core welder.  This is significant in that it proves that the operator makes a difference and also proves that I can’t blame my welder for my bad welds.  Seeing as how this is my blog I suppose I can blame whatever I want, so bad welder it must be.

I also patched the giant hole in the floor.  I had tried doing this earlier unsuccessfully.  My failure the first time was not cutting out a large enough section.  If there is a enough rust to eat through your floor in one section then you can safely assume that the surrounding sections are also pretty lean.  I assumed that I wanted to make the job as easy as possible so I cut out a tiny section.  Then I proceeded to burn holes everywhere with the welder.  Then I gave up.

When attacking the problem the second time after watching YouTube I came at it from a different direction.  I laid a piece of cardboard into the space and made corner cuts to fold the piece into the space.  I transferred the cuts to a piece of sheet metal and folded it to fit.  I set it in place and massaged it with my Mattox hammer and dolly set from (you guessed it) Harbor Freight.  Then, with it snugly in place, I marked the perimeter with my sharpie and cut away the rust damaged area, leaving about a 1/4″ overlap between the existing floor and my replacement piece.  I fired up my trusty flux core welder and began stitching it all together.

This was all running up to The Big Reveal where I was going to triumphantly show the car off to the world, the hot rod shop, the parents, etc.  I was working feverishly on the car after work, and on this particular evening was still working as 11:00PM came and went.  I parked the car in the driveway, ready for the big show tomorrow morning.



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