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1976 Wagoon (710)


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Interesting you say that Mike. I have a friend (who is pretty talented at metal and body work) who asks, "How do I tell anyone how to do that? You just have to get some metal and start beating and hammering on it.".


I took his advice, bought a sheet of metal and started at it. The best motivator for me (to learn) was to cut the bad metal out leaving a hole that needed attention. At that point I had no choice but to figure it out if I wanted that hole to get fixed!

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Dude! Your patches are UNREAL. I wish I could manipulate metal like that.. my 610 needs some patches bad. Real bad.


I like that, "Sail to a distant land and burn the ships once we reach shore" attitude. Sink or swim is a great motivator to learn. I'm inspired.

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Thanks for the compliments!   I am really appreciative of the feedback!  It is a great motivation for me.


The patches are far from perfect (I have a long way to go for that) and lord knows that there is no shortage of practice on this car, but each one gets easier to make, both in terms of the time it takes to make them and how long it takes to solve how to make them (this part is usually the most time consuming).  I am really fascinated by working with and shaping metal.


My goal is to have a car that I will be able to drive and tinker with for a long time to come, without it falling to pieces.  I live on a gravel road, so having a show car is not an option.  I want to have a reliable, unique (I'm pretty sure that I have the only one in Manitoba), fun to drive car that looks decent, not perfect. I think all of those things are totally possible.  


Until next time!

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  • 1 month later...

Finally, I managed to get in the shop for the first time in a few weeks.  Summer holidays are in full swing and I plan to spend a lot of hours on the car.  That, of course, will be mixed in with the "honey-do" list that waits for summer.


I started work on a patch for the bottom of the rear corner and managed to get it to fit today.  I forgot to take a picture of the patch before I welded it in.  But I did take a picture of it welded in.


This is what I started with.



This is what it looks like now.  (You can see in the picture that I also welded in a piece to the inner part of the panel.) 







So the next patch to make was the longish piece of the body panel.  Here are two shots from different angles.  There is still some fine tuning needed before being welded in.





Once this is done, it's time to weld in the pieces that I made previously and have yet to get them welded in.  


As always, thanks for looking in!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Progress welding in patches and doing rust repair in the rocker areas is taking a lot of time.  There certainly isn't anything glamourous about any of this step in the process.  I finished welding the patches on the passenger side rocker today.  I have to say that I am glad that I can stand and work for a while.  Without a lift, I have spent a LOT of time sitting on the concrete floor getting the patches to fit right.  In the process, I found more rust that needed repair so took care of that while I was at it.  One thing the welder is good at is finding shitty metal!


I knew I had rust under the rear liftgate window seal.  After I took the window out, this is what I found.





So, I took it out.





It goes without saying, that there are a few hours of work here.  Getting closer to body work and paint!


Thanks for checking it out!

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I tackled the patches on the liftgate sill.  There are 2 "steps" in the profile and I needed to find a way to make the steps and have the radius of those curves match the factory ones.  I had an old bedrail that I cut some pieces out of.  (HARD steel that stuff is.  Wrecked my horizontal band saw blade trying to cut it!) Then I put it in the vice like this.


I used the vice grips to tighten up the ends.  I could push the metal over with my hands and then I used a nylon headed hammer to finish the bend.  As dumb luck would have it, the radius on the bed rails was very, very close to the radius needed for the patch!  I couldn't use my hands to bend the shortest step as the metal wouldn't bend straight.  So I used another piece of angle to help me.


It bent the short step far enough that I could fit an edge of the dolly along the fold to flatten it out.


The finished patch.  I made one larger piece with the "brake" and then cut it into two patches instead of trying to make two separate ones.  (I only took pictures of one.)


Set into the hole.  


I have started to tack both pieces in.  In between tacks, I assessed what needs to be done to fix the passenger side fender.  I removed a fender and the valance from a parts car I have (a four door) and compared it to the fender that was on the wagon.  So.....some comparison pictures.


This one has a pretty good dent!



The other one has a pretty good area of rot.  This fender also has some rotten areas (as in see through) along the top edge of the wheel well. 




The areas that are the worst are the bottom rear of the fender.  Both fenders are rotten! One is "slightly" worse than the other.


The good one.



The bad one.



Initially I was planning to repair the fender with the rotten front area.  I was going to cut the bottom off the dented fender and use it to replace the rusted area.  But, when I saw the see through areas along the wheel well I was faced with a dilemma.  What fender would be the best base to start from?  I have decided to use the dented one (the dent will need a little hammer and dolly work but it should come out ok) and rebuild the bottom rear of the fender.  That should be fun!  At least there is a somewhat decent one I can use for a pattern.


As an aside, I removed the front valance from the parts car and it is MINT!  Now I don't need to fix the other one.  That is great news!


This is the one I removed from the wagon.  The rusty area on the left side of the picture (although not clear in the picture) is swiss cheese.



This is the same area on the one I took from the 4 door.



Moving forward!  


Thanks for looking in!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Started dismantling the two fenders to make one "good" one from them.  I the lower portion of the inner fender support and removed two small areas of rust and made patches and welded them in.  Here is what the piece looked like. 




After the piece was welded in.  The rusty piece that I removed is sitting beside.....pretty rotten.




The lower portion of the fender was also removed to be replaced with a patch.  There is a shadow in the picture that makes the "step" in the fender look a lot deeper.  In fact, the "step" is bigger than the original, but not as bad as that shadow shows.  The new with the old.  (The rag is wet to act like a heat sink.)




I'm not as far along as I'd hoped to be by the end of the summer, but, I'm still moving forward.  


Thanks for looking in!

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Dead pics.  just when I get to the end...  You are knee deep in the same creek as me.  I am doing all of the same spots you are right now.  I'm really starting to wonder if sitting down with Nissan and convincing them to start re-production of the 510 would take less time.  But we are learning skills, and will surely care for every car better after this...

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Continued welding the lower panel onto the fender tonight.  While I was waiting for the welds to cool, I thought I would tackle the driver's side lower rear door skin.  I noticed a while ago that it was quite pocked and rusty.  I figured I'd fix it now and not later.  Good plan apparently, the bottom of the door frame is see through as well.  Rust, the gift that keeps on giving.  


I knew about having to fix the door skin, but finding that much rust on the frame was mildly discouraging.  Oh well.....nothing much I can do except fix it!  





Soon enough I will be finished welding sheet metal!  Woot!

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  • 1 month later...

Well, it's been a while since I have been able to get any amount of time in the shop.  I've been getting stuff finished on the house that I started in the summer and getting ready for winter.  Now that most of that stuff is done it's back at it.  


I finished welding the bottom patch of the passenger side fender in place.  You can't see it in the pics here, but there is a slight twist in the patch which I will will have to correct when I hang the fender back on the car.


Here is the fender support.


The twist can be found on the front (towards the front of the car) of the patch.  I think that it might be caused by the repair of the fender support.  My guess is that it was not exactly the same as the one that I cut out.  I have found that using pieces from a parts car, shows how different the same parts are from car to car.


Sorry for the poor quality of this picture.  It gives an idea of the shape.



I have started on the drivers side rear door repair.  More updates to come as I progress on that.


Thanks for looking in!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for the words of encouragement!


Winter arrived here today and now anything that needed to be done in the yard can wait until spring!  The snow signals that it is time to "get into the shop" and get this thing done.


I had a small setback the other day doing some welding.  As I pushed the helmet up, I was a little too vigourous and knocked it off my head.  Not normally a big deal, but, as luck would have it I left my oil tray on the floor with oil in it from my last oil change and the helmet hit that tray dead centre.  I probably couldn't have done that if i had tried!  What a mess! (Lesson learned.....must clean up when done an oil change.)  I managed to take it apart and get the oil out of most of it and it still works!  For how long, who knows?


Alright, on with an update.  A few posts back there is a picture of the rust on the door that was somewhat discouraging.  I removed the rust.  (The paper is there for contrast.)




Here is the patch that needs to be welded in.



Ready for Zero Rust.



Zero Rusted! (I just noticed that the paper should have been moved to see the edge, but you can kind of see the edge.)



Now I can turn the door over and start on the door skin.  Most of the lower portion of the door skin will be replaced.


As always, thanks for taking the time to check in on the build.

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As a teenager I dealt with similar rust on my Z. I thought I would be smart and use aluminum in place of steel and rivet it to the steel. Looked great for a couple of years. Then I sold the car. I bet it was an unwelcome discovery at some point for the next owner... Oh well, they paid $100 bucks for a straight, mostly clean car with a blown head gasket. They can't complain. And at least I had the balls to try. About time to do this on my wagon. I'll go with steel and a welder this bout. Yours is looking great! What Gauge is that inner steel?

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I'm using 22 gauge for the inner door (it's what I have).  Probably could be 20 and I think 18 would be too thick (although it could be done.)  It amazes me how much more rigid the steel gets when it is welded into place.  When the door skin is replaced and folded over it should be really strong.

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How flipping cool is that? Order parts from a great guy, and he not only sends you the parts, he shows you how they are made! As always, an excellent explanation.


Thanks Mike! That's awesome! Soon enough the struts will be put together, the rear suspension reinstalled and then.......I will have a rolling car again.

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