Chassis Rusted Metal Replacement
This chassis was between the proverbial “rock and a hard place!" When I got serious about doing a full on restoration of this car (I'd had it for a couple of years), I made some exploratory holes to search for rust in the chassis. A long story and several holes later, the results were promising, though not as good as I hoped (is it ever?).
The only rusted tubes I found were typical of this car: the outriggers and front/rear connecting tubes to the main rails. Luckily (one reason I got this car), it was only a problem at the ends, as all the other tubes were solid as can be! I cannot begin to describe the hours upon hours that I sat pondering what to do about the rusted tubes and how to go about repairing them with the body still on.
I read and sent many an email to other owners, trying to determine what it takes to remove the bonded-on body. In the end, it was clear that this was not something I wanted to do (as I did with my 2500M) if it could be avoided and I had the right facilities. If it was a true “body off” job, then it would have to wait another few years until I retired so I could do the car justice, as it was such a big job. So, more pondering was in order.
In the end, I formulated a plan that had a good chance of working, and it did! I bought a tool called a Fein Multimaster. Without this tool, replacing the rusted tubing would not have been possible. This tool can cut flush in any corner, cuts through the fibreglass with ease, and metal not too badly; In short, it is amazing.
As pictures are worth a thousand words, I’ll let them speak for what I did (click here). Essentially, I had a length of solid round steel, turned down on a lathe, that slid inside what was remaining of the non-rusted outrigger. For the side supporting tubes (front and rear), I slid a length of tubing into the non-rusted part of the tube further down than it needed to be, with a wire on the end to pull it into place. Once this short section was pushed into the tube out of sight, I pushed in the new solid outrigger and then pulled out of hiding the short piece just mentioned to mate with the outrigger. I then drilled holes in the original end tubes so it could be welded in place. Rust prime/paint the steel then glass back over.