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TITANIUM Motorsports "POS" Mustang Cobra Restoration Journal
#46: June 25th, 2011 - Stripping the Wheelwells and finding more Rust...
As I get closer to sending the car off for Soda Blasting, it is crunch-time and I need to decide what remaining aareas of the car do I strip to bare metal and what do I leave alone?
Also, If I do strip them, do I strip them myself, or have Blast Masters do it?
The wheelwell are one such area of the car. The factory coating looked to be in good condition, but how could I be sure it was not hiding anything?

I decided to bite the bullet and strip them myself. I picked up a bag of 50, 80 grit disc and hit the passenger side wheelwell first.

The passenger side came out really nice. No rust anywhere. I finished up the surface with a medium red disc on the die grinder and a coating of rust remover to keep the bare surface from rusting.

The drivers side was next on the hit list. Things were not so pretty here. A couple of issues. When the quarter panel was installed back in '97, they did a poor job of attaching the panel to the outer wheelwell. Some of the welds were barely there and bondo was holding most of it together. At the front lower edge, they were completely separated and  had a large gap between them for water and dirt to collect in. This led to the final problem. Rust.
The bottom edge where the quarter panel, wheelwell and rocker join together was rusted away.

After cleaning the entire wheelwell, I needed to clean out the dirt from in-between the panels and remove the rust using a grinding disc and the liquid rust remover. You can see the large gap between the panels in the pictures below.

Much of the dirt and build-up that caused the rust was also in the area just ahead of the wheelwell, where the air scoop for the rear tire is located. I spent several hours working on both sides of the car to clean out those areas and give them a coating of etching primer.

With that out of the way, I could begin reattaching the wheelwell to the quarter panel and rocker panel. I worked my way from top to bottom, welding the parts together as I went. The rocker trim panel mounting hole had been re-drilled in the wrong spot. I welded up that an the original hole, as it had been messed-up at some point in the past.
Finally, I cut out the rusted metal and fabricated a patch panel and welded it into place. A couple of more coats of etching primer and some seam sealer and it will be ready for a coating of Lizard Skin Sound Control.

BTW: Here is what the entire car currently looks like as of July 7th.

All images are property of Titanium Motorsports and may not be used without permission.
Last Modified: August 25th, 2011.