May 26, 2004

Front Fender Removal

Now it's time to remove the front fenders. After three different days of hitting the fender bolts with WD-40, it was time for them to come off. Before I started unbolting them, I wanted to remove the clamps on the headlight wires first. Since, there was no way they were going to fit through the holes in the headlight buckets:

So, I dragged out my trusty wire cutters again and cut off anything that would not fit through the hole in the fender:

This is what I ended up with:

After I pulled the wires through, it's time to remove the fender bolts. Here's where I screwed up. When I was spraying the bolt heads with WD-40, I should have been spraying the other side too. The threads that were accessible from inside the trunk. The bolts were threaded through the fenders, but didn't have nuts on the other side. No, on the other side were flat oblong shaped, threaded washer things that were welded to the inside of the trunk. There may be technical names for them, but they escape us right now. If we ever figure out the name, we will edit this post. Anyway, I dragged out the trusty compressor yet again and fastened the air impact socket wrench onto the end. All the bolts on the front fenders were 13mm. So, I hit the first bolt on the passenger side fender. This was located at the very front. When I hit it with the impact wrench, it turned and turned and turned and turned. But, the bolt wasn't coming undone. No, the little welded washer thing had detached from the car on the other side. So, I moved onto the other bolts which came undone. Now, I had a fender hanging on by one bolt:

So, I moved onto the other side. One bolt wouldn't budge and another one ended up with the washer thing detached. A third was near the floorpan of the driver's side, which was so rotted out, that it pulled out, bolt, washer thingy and all.

So, after trying everything we could think of to get the flat washer things off, we decided to hit the threads of the stubborn bolts with WD-40 from inside the trunk. And, we let them soak for a day. So, here's what we were left with:

Since we are most likely going to replace all the bolts. We decided to hit the one bolt on the passenger side with the good old reciprocating saw:

After about half a minute, the saw cut through the bolt and the passenger side fender gave way.

One the other side, one of the stubborn bolts gave way finally. But, the other two were constantly turning because one was still attached to one of those washer things that was constantly turning and the other was near the lower driver's side in the rotted metal. But, Mike noticed that the higher one was also mounted in rotted out metal and managed to just pull the fender off with the bolts still attached. He stuck his finger in the rotted out hole to show how badly it was rusted:

This is the hole down near the driver's side floor pan:

Mike also pulled away the nearly 40 year old rotten fender welt, which will obviously be replaced:

So, this is where we are now:

Posted by Valkyre at May 26, 2004 09:26 PM