Footwell Repair Part 3: Floor Panel Repair, Welding (Post #662) 7/13/2024

We got a big break in the weather. A cold front hit and we got a lovely lightning show along with the fireworks. And we got some cooler weather. The shop wasn’t crazy hot today and won’t be all weekend. So I’m going to take advantage of it and get some work done.

In this post my goal was to get the floor pan welded up. I first had to fix a small patch to the bottom corner. I made a template and got the steel cut. It welded up pretty well. I was pretty happy with the results.

Then I started on the floor panel. I first drilled some holes for the plug welds. This reinforced my need for a drill press. I really want a drill press.

Due to the odd shape of the floor. My panel does not fit very well. Off camera I tried several things to get the panel to line up and contour to the floor. I didn’t have much success. And getting the panel to stay put while I welded, well, I was trying to hold it and weld it. I struggled greatly.

So I decided to put a few self-tapping screws in the panel. These held the panel as expected. I put my hand-made plug weld bit to good use and started welding. I had some success all across the bottom. I didn’t have much luck with the welds near the transmission tunnel but I did finally get some welds to stick.

At this point I realized my welding helmet stopped darkening. This could have gone really badly for me. I did weld two plugs without darkening. I’m glad I noticed, because that kind of eye damage is the real deal.

At this point I’m going to used the self tapping screws to pull the two panels together. I’ll make the plug welds in the holes and then pull the self tapping screws and fill those with welds. At least I have a plan and I am relatively confident this will work.

I’ll then fill the gap on the bottom side with seal sealer. Paint everything with a couple more coats and then I’ll seal it all up with rattle can truck bed liner.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Footwell Repair Part 2: Floor Panel Repair, Well Sort Of (Post #661) 7/6/2024

What a day.

I started out with all the intention I could muster to complete the floor pan. Unfortunately Fate had another plan for the day.

My plan started out solid. Paint the panels and while it dried see if I could get the Scion started and moved. The Scion as you may (or may not) remember is my son’s first car and he was still driving it until he was rear-ended by a mid-90s model Chevy pickup. The truck was moving at 35-40mph when he hit Rooster sitting still in bumper to bumper traffic. The pickup was completely disabled. The Scion had it’s rear tucked under and was touching the tires.

The though was it wouldn’t take that long to get the wheel wells pushed off the tires. I was wrong. The more I fought with it the hotter the day got and I finally reached my limit. So I went inside to cool off. I was watching the Germany-Denmark match when I got a call from Mrs. Okierover telling me the Honda Pilot with all of the grandchildren in tow would not start.

There is a whole long drama about a forgotten cell phone and a melt down of worry and a lot of really important details about how the battery got run down were left out. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Here we go.

  • Grandchild #1 left her cell phone at bathroom break an hour back up the road.
  • My oldest son who was following along in his car take said grand back to her phone.
  • Grandchild #2 melts down with worry.
  • Mrs. Okierover tells him to go sit in the car and calm down.
  • Grandchild #2 thinks he starts the car but places it in accessory mode and proceeds to sit in the car for more than 30 minutes.
  • Dead battery.
  • Not confident of the traveler’s ability to purchase and install a new battery I begin googling likely reasons of dead battery not aware of the 30 minute accessory episode.
  • Eventually Answers Online mechanic calls wife and diagnoses dead battery.
  • Oldest son returns and we attempt to jump battery.
  • Battery is buried under the air intake and only the positive is visible.
  • Plastic parts removed we finally ground to an engine lift point.
  • Car is started.

I learned a lot watching Law and Order: Criminal Intent and I use all those skills to interrogate everyone after they all arrive home. I had the battery tested and it was good, just needed a charge. I also watched a video about placing a new mount which is easy to reach for jumping. So I installed that M6 1.0 bolt and marked it for future reference.

So long story longer, the day was a complete loss. The following day I did get the Scion sorted out and back to running thanks to a sawzall (aka reciprocating saw), a floor jack, a 4 pound hammer, and gravity.

Next week end we’ll get more done ON THE BIG WHITE BUS…hopefully.

Happy Independence Day.

Thanks for reading, like and subscribe, and Happy Rovering.

Footwell Repair Part 12: Wheel Well Panel Assembly (Post #659) 6/23/2024

It was a rare week that allowed me to work on the Big White Bus two days in a row. I was able to install the panel I built from the last video and post. I was also channeling my inner Christopher Walken from The Dearhunter (1978) wearing a bandana with my hair doing it’s own thing up there.

I started the day by painting the panel. The humidity and the heat kept the paint from drying quickly. So while I waited I checked out a package I ordered from eBay. I watched a video by Steve Winkelman where he had a ┬áCamp Chef Griddle on top his Coleman 425C camp stove. I HAVE A Coleman 425C! So I ordered one. I got it for something like $25.00(US). It was a steal and accomplishes a goal I’ve had. I don’t need a Blackstone…I just needed to find a griddle that fit. What luck!!!

Camp Chef Griddle FTW!!!!

It needs some clean up and will need to be re-seasoned. It came with a bag with a zipper, but the zipper was crunched. So I split the zipper with a box knife. This is going to be awesome to make fajitas on and breakfast and burritos and….

I also learned this week that I’m going to need to replace the hubs on my F150. On the advise of a friend at work, I ordered some Timkin hubs and I’ll need to replace the brake discs and pads.

My plan was to weld the panel into place with plug welds. I saw a video on Eastman where they painted everything up and then used a special drill bit to take the paint off on JUST the part you are going to weld.

I thought this was a good chance to practice for the rear floor panel. So I took a broken drill bit and ground it down to mimic the tool. Good news, it works great! Bad news, I had no way to hold these panels together while I welded them. So I decided to punt on the welding and went to the hardware store and bought some stainless steel self-tapping screws.

So the paint finally dried (enough) and I began installing the panel. I had some trouble with the holding of the panel and the driving of the screws. See my 5/16th driver didn’t have a magnet so the screw continued to fall out. It was very frustrating.

I put it together and then realized I hadn’t installed the seam sealer. So I had to take it all apart and do it twice. Also I got the seam sealer ALL over me. I had to clean up with mineral spirits.

I have the panel in place. I’m not happy with it. I also took a few minutes to look at putting all this back together. I may or may not have forgotten where everything goes. Soooooo… This is going to take a little while to get this back together. Lots of trial and error.

That’s about it. I’m going get the floor put together THEN I’m going to reassemble everything. I’m hoping this coming Saturday I’ll be able to start the floor. The shape of the panel is going to be big challenge.

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Footwell Repair Part 11: Wheel Well Panel (Post #658) 6/19/2024

In this post I talk about making my replacement panel for the front passenger side wheel well. I went to Chickasha Industrial and bought a piece of scrap 20 gauge. It will be just the right amount for the fender and the floor panel. Happy I didn’t have to buy a giant sheet.

I started by making my measurements and then checking them again. After I finished that I checked the measurements again. In the video I show how I needed to have a trapezoid shape. And after typing trapezoid in this post I realize I have spelled it wrong in this post, which is being exported as I type up this post. Oh well…..

I referenced “Mephisto’s Trapezoid” from the 1981 Pee Wee Herman – Live at the Roxy show which was on HBO. It’s one of my favorite shows to watch and was the inspiration for Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Captain Carl, played by the amazing Phil Hartman, tells his story to Pee Wee about getting lost in Mephisto’s Trapezoid. Comedic genius.

I cut the steel and then measured again. I made some bends to get the inner edge and the back lip right. After getting the panel made I could tell I needed to make some adjustments to the fender well too. So I did some hammer and dolly work and got everything sorted. I also had to adjust my panel after I got everything sorted. No biggy.

I dry fitted the panel at least six times. I’m pretty sure I can get it into place with just a few plug welds. I’m going to try my hand tomorrow at modifying a broken drill bit to make a plug weld bit. If that doesn’t produce results I’ll probably run to a welding shop and see what I can find. The gist of this is you can paint everything and seal it with whatever then remove just the part of the paint you need to weld.

This is a giant experiment because the entire floor pan in the back is going to be done this way. The holes are there and all I’ll need to do is get the Z bar in place and make a crap ton of plug welds. Then I can get the entire seam sealed with bedliner and or whatever.

That’s pretty much it for now.

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Footwell Repair Part 7: Building an “L” for the Bulkhead (Post #654) 5/19/2024

Part 7 should have been titled, “How the hell are we going to make an L that has a big bend in it?!?” I have been thinking about this solution for two weeks on and off in my spare brain idling time.

Today’s video is me actually experimenting with bending the metal and making a sample piece. I’m pretty sure I know what I’m going to and how I’m going to put this thing together. The next step is to cut the strip I’m going to use for the L piece and hammer it into shape. I’ll need to do some additional measuring and mental gymnastics to sort out how I’m going to weld all this up so it doesn’t leak and dare I say it, “it doesn’t rust” or “rust much”.

1820’s Cherokee

I also mention that I went to the 200th Anniversary of Fort Towson. You can google about Fort Towson that was once known as the Chateau on the Prairie. It must have been a wonderful sight to behold with it’s limestone walled buildings and it’s blue roofs.

Life on the prairie in this time was hard. Like real hard. Death was ever present and it was not uncommon for a soldier to arrive and be dead within a year. They grew much of their own food and getting supplies from the east was inconsistent.

As a living historian, I portray a Cherokee for this period in Oklahoma history. This was the time when the creator of the Cherokee syllabary Sequoyah lived. The fur trade in “Indian Territory” pre-dates the mountain man era of the fur trade popularized in several movies like Jeremiah Johnson (1972) and The Mountain Men (1980).

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Next week will be more metal bending and welding of the support into place to get ready for putting in the floor.

Footwell Repair Part 3: Investi-Disassembly (Post #651) 4/12/2024

thumbnail Footwell Part 3

Will this ever end?

I think I know the answer to that. But I have to show my exasperation. This rust find is possibly the worst thing ever. It’s in the most terrible of locations.

Mrs. Okierover said, “Maybe you should call it Rusty Rover instead of Okierover.”
She’s not wrong.

Every where there’s red its rusted through.

It’s as bad as you can imagine. There are at least four different panels converge in this area to form the firewall, fender well, and the foot well.

There are a LOT of peripherals that run through there too. Including the fuel lines which I may have nicked when I was air chiseling the panels out. If you’ve followed the blog for very long (at least since 2010) you’ve seen The Evil German Dude and I attempt to fix the floor pan when it rusted out.

We had fun, but we failed to keep the water out and our work finally failed. I had an ongoing issue with water getting in and wetting the fargin’ OPEN CELL floor pads under the carpets. The carpets too we constantly wet. I found the place where water was getting in making the carpet wet. It was through the firewall at the corner where it married up to the side wall.

As you will see in the video, this rust is bad. Real bad. The repair is going to be really difficult and probably beyond my skill set. That being said, I have to fix it myself. There is no money to send it off. The body work itself would likely cost more than the entire vehicle is worth.

I’ve still got a LOT of work to do. I need to find a solution. It will probably be welding several panels together. I’ll need to study it more to make my mind up.

I stared at it at least an hour while I shot the video. Still struggled to sort out a concrete idea.

I am going back out the weekend this is published as OkieF150. We are going to the 200th Celebration of Fort Gibson. Fort Gibson is the oldest town in Oklahoma. Way back when it was still Indian Territory the United States needed a fort to protect the trade from this area.

We are going to make a weekend out of it and I’m hoping we can get some fishing in while we are at it. This will be the last overlanding trip for this year as I will be spending every weekend for the rest of the year trying to sort out all these issues.

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Thanks for reading, and Happy Rovering.