Cowl Rust Repair

1962 - 1965 Mopars

  1. Evan Frucht

    Evan Frucht Well-Known Member

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    began the dreaded task of replacing the rusted out portions of the cowl today. damage is localized underneath and around the wiper pivot area on each side, which is apparently very common issue on 1962-65 cars. The driver side interior (lower) cowl panel collected debris and there is no drain on that side (known flaw in early mopars) The rest of the body is rust free except parts of the floor pan because of this same issue, water leaking through the holes in the cowl.

    I'm going to incorporate a new design into the driver side cowl so that whatever gets in there will be able to drain. So that it won't rust out again.

    I will shape the panels for this repair form scratch: using hammers, dollys, wooden blocks, sand bags, and whatever other hand tools I can find. I have limited resources. I'm using 20 gage sheet steel. Cutting with snips and cutoff wheel on air tool. Also have a dremel with mini cut off wheels and carbide bits to get into tight spots (very helpful.) + Mig welder to finish it off.

    Thanks for viewing, hope this helps encourage people to tackle this stuff,...and I'm still learning BTW so call me out if I'm butchering it!
     
  2. Evan Frucht

    Evan Frucht Well-Known Member

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    The damage --- pasenger side

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    • Evan Frucht

      Evan Frucht Well-Known Member

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      • Glenwood

        Glenwood Well-Known Member

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        Deja vu! I'm surprised you are repairing with the windshield in place. There's a pretty good chance there is rust below the glass.
         
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        • rumcustom

          rumcustom Well-Known Member

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          Nice job using templates. Little by little you’ll get it done. Is 20ga heavy enough? I think 18 would be better if you can get it.
           
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          • Evan Frucht

            Evan Frucht Well-Known Member

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            I had the same concern but I already had a bunch of 20 gage around. I think originally it was all 19 gage. The 20 seems to be heavy duty enough. Alteast it "feels" substantial enough. I'm not sure but the thinner material maybe easier to shape as well which is a benifit. And as long as strength isnt compromised I'm cutting down on weight which is a plus, as insignificant that may be.
             
          • Evan Frucht

            Evan Frucht Well-Known Member

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            It's hard to see with pictures but I've inspected it fairly well and the windshield lip is good. I was able to push in the gasket enough to see the inner part if the lip to know the rust didn't reach there. I'm am doing this all in preparation to have the winshield replaced so I'll snap a shot when the windows out to show the condition of the rest of it better. The old windshield is helping protect the dash and stuff as an added benifit. Under normal circumstances the windshield would be removed for this job.
             
            Last edited: Dec 18, 2018
          • Evan Frucht

            Evan Frucht Well-Known Member

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            Other side is even worse underneath. Pictures are not on this phone but will post more tmrw.
             
          • miller

            miller Well-Known Member

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            I'll say good luck with it.

            For what it's worth...on my 64 Sport Fury, that sat in a corn field for several years. Yep, rusted under the cowl, mainly driver's side, typical. Once rust is there, it keeps working. I had my body down, as far as it could go, windshield out of course.
            Knowing it was ALL rusted under the cowl, not to mention the underside of the cowl itself, I removed the entire cowl.
            Guess it all depends on how far you want to go, and how long it will last. Admit, I had to sand blast any rust on mine...so be it...came out rust free.
            After doing the little actual patching, added a drain hole to both sides, treated the bare metal, and put a coat of rubberized undercoating on the 'low' areas. Was able to re-use the cowl, once it was cleaned up, and spot welded back into place.
             
          • Glenwood

            Glenwood Well-Known Member

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            I wish you luck too.
            It is difficult to assess how much rust lies below the cowl until it is removed. The rust through holes below are easy to see but difficult to patch and there will be pin holes and pitting you cannot easily see. The metal gets so thin that trying to weld new metal to it is nearly impossible.
            I could not see rust below my windshield seal either. The rust was actually just below the pinch welds which you cannot see until the glass is removed. Weld splatter on the glass was another concern, so I removed it as much as I dreaded it. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.
             
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            • bigaadams

              bigaadams Well-Known Member

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              Evan...I like that you are tackling this yourself, the photographed documentary will provide insight and instill in others the desire to tackle their own projects at a deeper level...keep at it...like eating an elephant, one bite at a time...
               
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              • Evan Frucht

                Evan Frucht Well-Known Member

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                Here is the the drivers side so far. I was hoping I wouldn't have to remove the fender, which really isn't a big deal anyway, but it turns out I did. After my first attempt cutting into the driver side damage I realized in needed to go bigger with my cut and remove the spot welds all the way on the far end of the cowl---because water had gotten trapped in the crease between the metal of the lower and upper cowl. I'm completely cutting out all damage on that side and making a new inner cowl section from scratch. then I'm going to repair and modify(so it will drain) the upper part of the cowl, probably replace sections of it, and then weld it back its the original spot. Hopefully I wont have to use filler! ok maybe a little,... anyway we'll see how I do

                in the first picture I just revealed the rust was bubbling up out of that area

                also what I don't have a picture of is how I used ductape wrapped around the area and then cut out with exacto to make a template that I could then just stick on my sheetmetal. not perfect, I still had to trim a bit but but it gets you pretty close and it also gave me a good general location for the wiper pivot hole on my new panel.

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                Last edited: Dec 18, 2018
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                • skicker

                  skicker Well-Known Member

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                  Using a bright light in the interior facing up (shining through your new patch) will make it easier when welding everything up and will show you any areas that need more attention...
                  Good job thus far...
                   
                • Evan Frucht

                  Evan Frucht Well-Known Member

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                  pictures showing a rigged up armature I came up with to help me make sure the wiper pivot bracket gets welded in the exact same spot as original. this is what I've done so far. going to continue work tmrw and post more progress.
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                  • miller

                    miller Well-Known Member

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                    Work looks good! :thumbsup:

                    Mine wasn't nearly that bad. Hard to believe, with the years it sat in the field. Guess I lucked out! The dang driver's side window had been down the whole time, too!
                    fyi...another hidden area for rust, is the lower windshield seam, under the rubber seal.
                     
                  • bigaadams

                    bigaadams Well-Known Member

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                    mine I suspect on one will be this bad...not so bad on the other car but I know repairs will be needed....these will be the last areas to address....thanks for the deep down and dirty pictures...rust repair usually never scares me...it is just a process of layer repair, but due to the involvement...I need to have it in an open bay in the shop when I do this segment not tucked away in the barn.
                     
                  • matthon

                    matthon Well-Known Member

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                    What welder are you using?

                    Is it just the driver side that doesn't have a drain?

                    Can one clean out that area, or drill a hole to make a drain, if only temporary?

                    When can you fix mine?
                     
                  • Evan Frucht

                    Evan Frucht Well-Known Member

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                    I'm using a miller MIG welder, will double check on the model number. its a decent quality welder but nothing super fancy. I think any functioning Mig welder with CO2 and argon mix would work fine for someone doing panel repair like this.

                    the whole drain system in the cowl did not work like they planned it too. from what I can tell they probably never really planned for water to get into that driver side area but it did. The cowl has a rubber drain flap on the passenger side in engine bay, not sure exactly why, or moreover it doesn't work that well! The design, I believe, was meant to direct water that entered the slotted area down through the center cowl where gravity would help it collect behind that "cowl drain flap."

                    yes you could drill and hole in a certain area and that would help clean out the area , and would drain it if water were to collect there. ill post a picture. it would be hidden by the fender so you wouldn't see it. When I make my drain its gonna be a little more that just a hole,... but a simple hole should work fine.

                    I'm in Los Angeles but come on down I'll help ya out !
                     
                  • Evan Frucht

                    Evan Frucht Well-Known Member

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                    yes, I have a picture on another device I've been waiting to post. its the first picture I took after cutting out the upper cowl on that side. is insane how much debris was stuck in that cavity. the whole rust situation and design flaw immediately became apparent to me
                     
                  • miller

                    miller Well-Known Member

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                    Yep. But, thing about it all, those designers never figured the cars being around this long, and highly desired! Is what it is.
                    Overall, I had to do all the normal 50 year old car stuff on mine. Trunk floor, floor pans, cowl area, rear wheel houses rear bottom, all heavy repair, or replace.
                    All up to the owner, just how bad he wants it. Mine is replacing my first car, a 63 SF got in 64, before I fill a hole in the ground.
                    Though, as mentioned, I took mine down completely, easier to work on, getting to all the rust. It's a real #, what rust will do to steel, as you see.

                    Tinker, tinker...
                     
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