Endurance racing with very cheap cars has a tragic pandemic that has affected every mechanic and driver, cancer. This is cancer of the chassis, more commonly known as rust. It is the bane of every person who spins wrenches on one of these crappy race cars. It makes almost every facet of working on these cars a huge pain in the ass. Broken bolts, rounded nuts, seized parts, and keeping your tetanus shot up to date are just a few examples of such frustrations.
Luckily for cars, there is a cure for this blight. A sawzall, some new metal, and a welder make a potent combination for dealing with this issue. Here’s how I cured a portion of the floor on our Chevette racer. As shown in the fuel cell installation, I basically suck at metal working and don’t have anything beyond basic hand tools for metal work, so I made the repair panel as simple as possible. I didn’t want complicated bends (read: any) so I cut out enough of the floor to allow me to use a flat piece of metal to create the patch.
After that, I used an air powered tin snip to roughly shape the 18 gauge sheet metal to fit the newly created hole.
Once the patch was roughly shaped the process of test fitting, cutting, and test fitting again ensued. It started to take form and fit the remaining section of the floor pan nicely. It’s important that the fit is as good as possible as huge gaps in the floor would let dirt, oil, debris, and small animals into the cabin which are things nobody wants.
The patch panel was tacked in place after things started fitting better. It’s important to tack things into place so you can see how the final piece will work and you can change things before they become permanently attached to the car. Chopping out something you spent a couple of hours on is a mistake you only make
once a couple times.
Once things were held in place and fitment seemed ideal, it was a simple matter of finishing up the welding on the patch panel to make it a permanent fixture of the car.
With this repair completed and our subframe connector in place, the car is on its way to being ready to have a roll cage installed. All of the work that has been done on the passenger side needs to be replicated on the driver’s side and then the foundation for the main structure of a roll cage installation will be complete.