1968 Pontiac Firebird Front End Rebuild/Re-assembly

once the engine was back in, I turned to the front sheet metal re-assembly. This meant
Finally being able to bring all the front end sheet metal back into the garage from the
outdoor shed it had been resting patiently in for the last 3 years. It felt real good to bring
it all back inside and start the re-assembly of the front end. It looks like a car again

Below is what the inside of the front inner wheel tubs looked like. Decades old layers of
Undercoating and paint overspray. I started by spending a day scraping and grinding
away to remove "most" of the coating from one wheel tub.

My friend Stan the next day, suggested a trip for the tubs to the
machine shop caustic tank. What a great idea. Overnight
in the tank saved me about 6 hours of work and did a great job. I used the
glass bead cabinet to remove any rust and flakes the caustic did not.
the tubs hung out of the cabinet and it made a mess but it worked.

after tanking and blasting i could see what rust damage there was that needed
repairing. For being 40 years old they were not bad at all.

the same area on both tubs had rust-thru spots. I cut out the spots back to
clean metal and welded in fresh metal. the battery side had a lot of corrosion
on it, but not much rust-thru. I blasted that area really thoroughly and then
treated it with rust treatment to neutralize any microscopic rust still there
before painting.

there were also a few holes that had been drilled in the fenders along with a
bunch of staple holes where the old splash guards had been attached to the fenders.
I welded shut all those holes and grinded the metal smooth. Not sure if I will
re-attach new splash guards yet, But I know they will not be "stapled" on if I do.

this is the battery side tub coated with the Permatex Rust treatment before painting.

all clean and ready for paint

I sprayed the inside with 3 -4 coats of Rubberized asphalt undercoating and the
tops first with self-etching primer then 3 coats of Duplicolor Semi-gloss black
engine enamel.

the bumper mount horns I had blasted and coated with chassis-saver a long
time ago so I put them on first.

 

I had also blasted, coated, and re-installed the inner fender tub supports earlier.

then I removed the old rad support bushings and cleaned, Blasted, and painted the rad support.

With the rad support done and installed and the tubs cleaned and painted and the
fenders cleaned and ready to go I was able to reinstall the front fenders. I had
purchased a front-end sheet metal bolt replacements kit years earlier from a
supplier in calgary. I think it was mainly a camaro kit from Ricks First Gen, but it
seems to have most of the stuff I need in it so far. I tried putting the tubs on
first and then the fendersbut that did not work so I attached the fenders
to the tubs first then installed that as a unit and it worked very well. I had
tagged and bagged every front end bolt and shim set as I had removed it years
ago so With that as the base I was able to get the fenders fitted and the gaps
re-established. I had to add or remove shims here and there but the old shims
were 80% the same position. I had blasted the rust off all the old shims years
ago and put them back in their bags for the day...

then I started cleaning, blasting and painting all the other little front end
pieces that were to be installed:

the lower bumper brackets ..

the upper bumper reinforcement. (no before)

the battery tray was really corroded but I did blast it and powder coat the old one.
then saw a brand new repop at a swap meet for 10 bucks and bought it.

 

Go to Page 2 of Front end re-assembly. this one was getting too Big....

 

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