By now everyone who visits this site on a regular basis should be well familiar with our own Dr. Cyclone, Tom Wilson. He is the master patch panel wizard for the 68/69 Cyclones. One of his more recent creations is the trunk lid patch panel. If you have a 68/69 Ford Torino, Talladega or 68/69 Mercury Cyclone, Spoiler or Spoiler II you know the likelihood of having rust in your trunk lid is about as likely as celebrating Independence Day on the 4th of July! In the past we have shown you the fine Dr.’s trunk lid and other patch panels but we have never shown you the step by step process.
It just so happens that Mike Bowers (you will remember him as the current owner of the Skip MacFarland drag race Talladega) was in need of a trunk lid and decided to use one of Dr. Tom’s patch panels. He agreed to share his story with us. If you don’t remember the Skip MacFarland Talladega maybe this will help; it is the Talladega that ended up with a Torino front end because the drag strip said it was too fast and was not a production car! They insisted Skip remove the Talladega nose and replace it with the standard Fairlane/Torino items if he wanted to continue racing.
Mike Bowers acquired the Talladega several years ago and has been working on it steadily to remove a lot of rust damage. The car is getting closer to completion but still needs a lot of work. We will certainly give you a full report once he has it completed but for now let’s take a look at the trunk repair.
Here are some photos and instructions Mike provided on how he used the Dr.’s patch panel to repair his trunk lid. This is Part 1 of a three part series.
Begin by cutting below the radius bend on the trunk lid, then cut the lower edge to remove the flange where it is turned under and remove the flange.
Cut some alignment tabs and tack weld them in place. Note. there was some bondo that was used by the factory to seal the flange, make sure you remove yours. The better the tabs fit to the shape of the flange the easier it will be to align the new panel.
The lower panel Tom supplies is long enough to go to the latch but because I didn’t need to replace that big of area I cut it down. Place the new flange over the old one. While pressing in, scribe a line (I used a sharpie). Remove the new panel and cut the rusty panel ON the line.
Align the new panel, clamp it, then tack weld it in place. Use a wide blade flat screw driver to help align the two panels by pushing down on the high spots to align and tack weld it. Note, you don’t want the panels touching. However, neither do you want a large gap. If they are touching it will cause the seam to either bow in, out or warp the panel.
Start welding from the center out. I like to go from center to one end and then center to the other. I do a series of spot welds overlapping each other cooling them with air after every one too three spots as I go. Be sure the panels don’t draw together (they will) just trim the metal back to a gap. Take your time; if you get frustrated stop. Make sure you are not overheating the panel or leaving holes. Don’t worry about what the welds look like, they get ground off anyway.
Your welder needs to be set where the weld penetrates through but not hot enough to burn a hole.
To be continued.