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I plan to tell my body guy that as long as it looks like it could have happened from the factory in to outside, I'm cool with doing what is logical on the inside for strength and duration.

The car looks nice Terminator! Hope it lasts longer than you think!
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Discussion Starter #163
Yeah, that's my hope! I'll keep an eye on the trunk shock mounts and use that as my gauge to know when things are a bit too far.

I didn't hear from him over the weekend with my request for a final "it's done" total or ETA. I'll give him a call in the morning and see if he picks up...
 
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At least he's making some progress. Has he shown you other pictures or have you seen his work on your car and where it's been at throughout the whole ordeal? I know he didn't get started until April, but I'm just curious if he's shown you what he's working on, how he's doing the work, etc. either in pictures or in person and so that you know the work is quality work and not another mickey-mouse job like the last shop.
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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Well even if Mickey-moused at least there isn’t any old panel left sandwiched directly under the new like the last place did. I’d definitely like to see pics out of curiosity though.

One thing I think I can tell from the picture though, the rocker to quarter seam is gone, probably one continuous piece of metal now from quarter to the pinch weld

38919


Body guy must do a lot of old Mopars 🧐
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Discussion Starter #166
Nope, no photos. He kept telling me he's not technically inclined and has difficulty sending them to me. I'll ask again when I see the car in person.

And yeah, my eye was immediately drawn to the lack of the body seam there as well. Before it was just a load of body filler from the last guy which had a line cut in it.
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Discussion Starter #167
OK - I called and spoke with him this afternoon and he was just finishing up reassembly and detailing. I'll be going to get the car tomorrow afternoon. He said he did treat and coat as much of the corrosion as he could, despite not being able to complete the full originally-intended scope of the project to remove and replace the sections that were rotting.

Because the floor pan was starting to corrode along the original pinch weld seams - and large segments of it were just falling off after he removed the old rockers, he had to use flat bar stock to act as a solid anchoring point for the new rockers. We'll see if he has photos for me tomorrow, but I do know at least that most of the rot was restricted to the bottom half of the interior of the rockers, having been able to closely inspect it after he had me up in May when it turned from a "restore" to "damage control" job. My hope is it holds up for at least 4 or 5 more years...
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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Flatbar stock might outlast us 🤣 if the really bad rust is all cut out and you’re not driving it in the winter it will probably last a very long time. We all know the old moniker “rust never sleeps” but if you take away it’s food source it will sure be lethargic in its activities where it remains. There isn’t a car restoration in this world where there isn’t some surface rust inside an inaccessible box structure.

The lack of seam isn’t really a big deal, especially on a 96-7 where it frankly looks cluttered with the cladding. It’s trouble too, my car has more bubbling at that seam itself and the side of the rocker just below than the rocker bottoms probably because the factory seam sealer cracked from an old accident (there are plugged holes from where they pulled out the panel, visible from inside the speaker hole). If I had a similar fix performed it would bother me a little bit since it’s white and a 94-95 and consequently more obvious to us nerds, but it’s mostly OCD and the ADD would let me move on
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Discussion Starter #169 (Edited)
And here we have it, left and right sides. There are some obvious sections where the old inners had rotted away, that he removed. The rest was blasted, undercoated, then waxed.

Car feels fine on the road, though the trip home was not uneventful. The battery was almost 6 years old when I left the car in November and because it sat at the shop without a tender, at least one of the cells had died between then and now. I had hoped some time on the road would charge it enough to start after topping off at a gas station and being off for a few moments... but I was mistaken - I ended up having to have it jumped a 2nd time. While I was "stuck" at the gas station the guy on the other side of the pump started asking the "usual" MN12 questions - "Is that a 5.0 or a 3800?" and "What gears are in it?" - I guess despite the guy's obvious ignorance to the platform I was glad to see it get some attention after only being on the road for 5 minutes.

I was keeping an eye on the ECTs as I was cruising, curious to see how the larger Fluidyine radiator affected the setup - ambient temps were in the mid 80s and I had the A/C on - at 60 MPH it was hovering around 190 and at 70 it was staying right about 200. My thermostat is a 180.

In any case I went to a parts place to put a new battery in on the way home. I somehow lost the wheel lock (which I'm not sure I need anymore) so I need to wait for the replacement to arrive so I can address a minor LCA issue. I should probably also get some new front tires in the works... still, I'm glad to have it back.

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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I see what he did with the flatbar, that'll indeed outlast the car. There's a few things I'd do


#1 Drill drain holes(1/4" would do) on the bottoms of the rockers for water and condensation to escape(there may be some but I dont see any)

#2 Devise covers out of plastic sheet to cover or baffle the "openings" from the remaining inner rockers beside the tank to pevent water from getting in

#3 I'd paint the external pinch welds black. But that's just a personal peeve of mine when blackout areas are left body color.
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Discussion Starter #171
It's hard to tell if he was able to weld the rear areas where the original pinch seams were due to the extent of the existing rot, but I'll find out. If they're not I'm thinking that may be sufficient drainage. I was thinking about finding a way to cover up the holes.

On the FIL's car, a hole actually appeared in the floor pan behind the driver's seat and I was able to bend a sheet of aluminum to mate against the floor pan, which I then drilled/screwed to the floor pan then caulked the seam. It stayed dry and solid for a few years up until he stopped driving the car due to its own rust issues. Maybe I'll do something similar, though I won't have the flexibility of drilling and screwing them in place this time! I would probably benefit from leaving some access to the inner rockers though, so I can re-spray the wax he used periodically to keep everything inside coated.
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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My only concern with that drainage method is it might be as easy for debris and dirt to enter it as relatively clean moisture to exit it. I see what you mean, but the steel from the torque box doesn’t look that bad to weld to and its thicker than the inner/outer rocker sheetmetal, maybe they’re out of sight, above the unused plug weld holes. If that metal was bad too he could have cut it off and extended the flatbar all the way back to the wheel well, bead welded to the edge of the torquebox.
 
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