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Getting started on my floor pans and torque boxes

Vtx531

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So it begins…

I ordered four floor pans and two full torque boxes today. Officially got started by removing all the carpet and center console.

Pics are pretty much before I started and not even close to the worst of it.

I‘m currently trying to remove the Herculiner that I sprayed on 15 years ago. What a pain in the ass! Highly recommend not spraying bedliner inside a Jeep! I tried paint stripper but it doesn’t seem to be doing much. The passenger side was pulling up easier in sheets but still not easy. Not sure how I’m going to go about removing it.

I made some progress but didn’t get any pics before it got dark outside. It appears that the front floorboards are solid except the entire length of where the torque box flange was spot welded. Also, the passenger side has rot-through where the muffler heat shield is located - must have had sand and mud trapped.

Thoroughly paying for it now for all the fun I had offroading when I was a teenager.

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Mike_H

Off-Camber is scary
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So it begins…

I ordered four floor pans and two full torque boxes today. Officially got started by removing all the carpet and center console.

Pics are pretty much before I started and not even close to the worst of it.

I‘m currently trying to remove the Herculiner that I sprayed on 15 years ago. What a pain in the ass! Highly recommend not spraying bedliner inside a Jeep! I tried paint stripper but it doesn’t seem to be doing much. The passenger side was pulling up easier in sheets but still not easy. Not sure how I’m going to go about removing it.

I made some progress but didn’t get any pics before it got dark outside. It appears that the front floorboards are solid except the entire length of where the torque box flange was spot welded. Also, the passenger side has rot-through where the muffler heat shield is located - must have had sand and mud trapped.

Thoroughly paying for it now for all the fun I had offroading when I was a teenager.

View attachment 276524

View attachment 276525
Just buy a new tub. 800 to 1000 dollars from baseline 4x4 in Albion, In. Only an hour and a half or so away from you.

Yes, it's more money, but you'll save SO much more in time.
 
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Vtx531

Vtx531

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A little more work this morning... Realized I don’t need to scrape the bedliner off the floor pans because I will be cutting them out anyways. Once I get the new panels, I should be able to trace them out and just go hard at the areas where I need to weld.

As far as a new tub, I want to keep everything as original as can be reasonably done. I’ve never swapped a tub but it seems like it would be just as many hours labor just in a different sense. I did go check out Baseline 4x4 last summer when I was driving though the area. Didn’t find what I was looking for though (an ecco wheel in good condition).

If it goes the way I have it planned in my head, it shouldn’t be too bad to drill out the spot welds for the torque boxes, cut out the old floors and spot weld in the new floors. So thankful the replacement parts are available or it would be a different story.

Now it someone could please manufacture replacement rocker panels that are actually a good match to the OEM with the proper lip at the bottom and correct flange/edges at the corners.

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I’m really not even sure how the body is holding on. I tried jacking it up underneath The torque box and somehow it lifted the whole Jeep up, not just the body. Maybe the two mounts up near the shocks are still good because none of the others one are.
 
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Vtx531

Vtx531

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Good progress today. I targeted work at the seams where the factory spot welds need to be drilled out. Jeep did not skimp out on the seam sealer! Geeze. Spent most of my time razor cutting out and scraping seam sealer so I can access the spot welds and see what I have to work with.

Strongly considering using pop rivets to install the new panels instead of plug welds. I think it would be a cleaner/neater installation and probably stronger as well. Plus everything can be painted prior to assembly and no burning the paint with the welder and creating corrosion hotspots between the metal lap joint layers.

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Vtx531

Vtx531

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I discovered that a 4.5” angle grinder with wire wheel makes quick work of removing the Herculiner. I worked more on removing seam sealer and bedliner as well as trying to reveal more of the spot welds that will need to be cut out.

Looks like I will need to drop the muffler and heat shield to gain access when I begin the actual cutting. I plan to do the driver side first though because that side is the worst. Front fenders will have to come off too. Roll bar needs to come out.

Leaning back to welding instead of riveting.

I need a new wire wheel because there is hardly anything left of the one I am using.

I’d like to unbolt the seats but I don’t think I would be able to get them back in due to the rust lol. So I’ll keep them in for now.

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Vtx531

Vtx531

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Removed the jack holder and did a bit of a misstep. Didn’t realize there were four welds. I thought only two. The other ones pulled out but bent up the bracket and I had to fix it and shape it back with a hammer. I thought removing that would be easy ha.

Bought some tools:
- 3/8“ x13” hf beltfile air sander. Tried it on two spot welds, didn’t work too great and the sanding belt seems worn out
- 1” side strike chisel from Walmart. Seemed to work good for separating seams
- 4.5” knotted wire wheel from HF. Didnt work with my 4.5” grinder. It expanded in diameter after first using it and was rubbing on the safety guard

The underside of the driver torque box is so rusty that I can’t tell where the spot welds are. Tried using a 3” cutting disc and a 4.5” grinding disc to get at them but not going well.

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Vtx531

Vtx531

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Broke out the spot weld cutter. That has always worked the best for me. I started removing spot welds on the torque box in the area underneath between the front and rear floor pans (yellow). Appears that whole area is also rotted and will need to be replaced. Which means removing the big center support piece (red).

Not surprisingly, this is turning into a bigger job. Good news is no need to remove all the spot welds in that location because it will all be cut out and replaced. They were difficult to access and nearly impossible to discern where located due to the severe rust. Other good news: they don’t make a patch for that area (yellow) but it looks like a flat piece of metal will fit Because the replacement floor pans have the curved parts.

Still waiting on parts to ship. Hate to put my Jeep out of service during nice weather in Sep and Oct. Estimating a two- three week job once I actually get going on it.

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Mike_H

Off-Camber is scary
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Couple of helpful hints. Get yourself a Blair roto-broach for cutting the spot welds. 3/8 does the trick on 95% of them. To remove the seam sealer, I found the easiest way was to heat it with a propane torch from the back side and scrape it out with a putty knife. The heat releases the bond and it peals right out.

Good luck!
 
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Vtx531

Vtx531

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Rear floor pans were delivered today

This mornings progress:
-Drilled out some of the torque box spot welds
-Removed fender (easier said than done!)

Discovered what I think is a bad seal job which may explain why my driver side rusted out so much worse. I broke off one of the bolts (first one) for the fender at the front before I realized I should have removed the headlights to spray liquid wrench and use heat.

As for the fender bolts into the tub...this was a great time to do that because I had the bottom opened up and could spray liquid wrench into the back of the bolts and heat. It looks like only the bottom one was rusted badly.

Fender moved
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See the gap at the corner where light shines through? I could be wrong but it looks like the sealer didn’t get into the corner like it was supposed to.
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The four bolts holding on the fender. Bottom one is rusty but top three look good and came out easily.
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Spot welds removed. It was hard to find them among the rust, bondo, etc (from an earlier bad attempt by me to fix the rocker rust)
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Vtx531

Vtx531

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End of the day:

I got the pan almost into position. I decided to buttweld the rear and right edges because it seems like that is how it is designed to go in. Still need to cut the right edge.

I had a hell of a time drilling the spot welds out at the front lip. Now the flange is mangled up and it’s going to be hard welding them together but at least zi can get clamps on that spot.

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Vtx531

Vtx531

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Well I’m a week into this so far.

Not a lot of progress today. I got the right side cut and did some test fit up. Told myself to cut it small and I can always grind off more… well, somehow the gap still turned out bigger than I wanted. Damn. Rethinking my decision to do the butt joint instead of lap joint but too late now. Hoping it will be okay.

I think I will do the plug welds along the left side flanges and then finesse the right side into lining up? Seems like if I do the right side first then it will be very hard to pull the flanges together tight on the left. Any advice here? I bought some #8 self tapping screws as I had read that is how you pull the flanges together for plug welding.

I put in an order for some .024 drive rollers and tips for my MIG machine. Still need to buy wire. How much mig wire will I need? 2lb? 10lb? Go with name brand or HF wire? I can’t start the welding until I get those final supplies but lots of prep work (grinding and smoothing) to do before that happens.

If anyone reading this sees me doing something “wrong“ or foresees any problems, please feel free to let me know

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Later in the day, I cut off some of the body mount bolts and bushings (pain in the A) and started cutting out spot welds for the rear floor pan.

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GASnBRASS

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I gotta commend you on putting in so much work into a basket case tub! Mine wasn't nearly as bad when I did torque boxes and a few patches.

As far as the floor pan patches, when I was researching to do mine most seemed to prefer butt welds for a cleaner look, and the lap welds can trap moisture. I butt welded mine, but obviously the torque boxes must be lap welded to the floor. I used a copper weld through spray on the lap welds and an auto body seam sealer on the outside when I was done. I'd say you are good to go with butt welds on the floor pans. If you can get some heavy duty magnets they can hold your panels in alignment and then spot weld it in places to hold it. Do short welds at different spots around the pan and give it time to cool so it doesn't warp.
 
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Vtx531

Vtx531

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I gotta commend you on putting in so much work into a basket case tub! Mine wasn't nearly as bad when I did torque boxes and a few patches.

As far as the floor pan patches, when I was researching to do mine most seemed to prefer butt welds for a cleaner look, and the lap welds can trap moisture. I butt welded mine, but obviously the torque boxes must be lap welded to the floor. I used a copper weld through spray on the lap welds and an auto body seam sealer on the outside when I was done. I'd say you are good to go with butt welds on the floor pans. If you can get some heavy duty magnets they can hold your panels in alignment and then spot weld it in places to hold it. Do short welds at different spots around the pan and give it time to cool so it doesn't warp.
Well thanks for that - it is a basket case for sure!

I spent all morning grinding, sanding, wire wheeling rust And trying to smooth out the places where spot welds were cut. Going to try and patch some areas. I worked on cutting out the center section between the front and rear floor pans that is bad.

Feels like I am just making a bigger mess and digging myself a bigger hole. It will be nice when I can start putting things back together instead of creating more and more destruction. Looks like a disaster right now and the thought of scrapping this Jeep has crossed my mind more than once. Will keep at it though…

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Vtx531

Vtx531

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Not going very well with the rear pan. It doesn’t seem to be fitting up well. The back corner was hard to fit, even trimming the new pan. And now the roll bar holes don’t seem to be lining up.

Seriously considering pulling the plug on this Jeep. I had it 20 years. It was my first car. But I’m just sick and tired of dealing with rust, broken bolts, things falling apart. Even if I get the floors done (they won’t be to my liking) then I still need to address the frame. Then the rusty front fenders. Then address the body work and paint. After all that, I’ll just have a patched up junker.

Got some serious thinking to do. :cry: I might be able to recoup some money by reselling the pans if I make a decision before I weld them in.

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GASnBRASS

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Not trying to be discouraging, just a realist, but looking through your pics there is ALOT of rust hiding everywhere. It "could" be salvaged, but you'd end up replacing nearly every panel on that tub. You'd almost have to acid dip the whole thing to get rid of it all and then go through and patch what's left. But at that point how "original" is it? How bad is the frame? If the body is that rusty I'd imagine the frame is not far behind. I had that herculiner stuff in my tub, and when I scraped it off I found all kinds of rust underneath cause the herc was actually full of tiny pinholes that let the water through.

I've been in that situation before. Had a '75 VW Scirocco that I loved and spent all kinds of time and money fixing up, but the deeper I dug the more problems I found. Poor collision repairs, rust, bondo over rust, wiring nightmares, bad 4th gear, worn out motor, everything rubber was rotten, and spare parts were nearly unobtanium. Got discouraged, tossed it into storage for 8 years, pulled it out thinking "I'll get 'er fixed up this time" and was reminded just how bad it was. Kept it around awhile longer cause there are so few left in the wild, and I really wanted to save it. Finally sent it down the road for maybe 10% of what I had into it to another VW guy who most likely parted it out. Sad day indeed.

I'm not sure if my long winded post is helpful or heart breaking, but you got 20 years out of that TJ which ain't bad in MI salt. If you write it off, maybe find a clean TJ the same year and use your's as spare parts? Sensors, wiring, engine, transmission, driveline, all that still has value.
 
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Vtx531

Vtx531

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I can relate to your story about putting it in storage. That thought crossed my mind as well.

I decided to keep pushing forward. Not ready to do something so permanent as to get rid of the Jeep but I can’t just let it sit in this condition either. Even a bad job with the floors is an improvement if I am able to drive it safely down the road. Carpet will cover everything anyways.

I mocked up the torque box and installed all the bolts that I could. They don’t line up perfect but I think it might be workable. Going to try and get everything positioned with sheet metal screws, then disassemble/grind the welding areas/zinc primer welding areas/drill plug weld holes.

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chimmike

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Seems like it would've been better to spray the herculiner on the outside of the jeep than the inside! LOL.

Work is looking great so far man. Keep it up!
 

GASnBRASS

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I forgot to mention, if you want to treat the rust rather than cut it out, get some Evaporust. It's not an acid, but a chelation fluid that will remove pitted rust without harming the base metal. Doesn't harm your skin, and about the consistency of water. But it works very slowly and needs to be kept wet. For small items I just leave them over night in a bucket of the stuff. For surface rust on otherwise sound panels I used a flap disc or sand paper to remove most of the rust and then soaked paper towels in evaporust and let them sit on the metal for a day or two, using a spray bottle every few hours to keep the towels wet. You can see the towels turn brown from the rust it leaches out and then you can wash off the evaporust and repaint or fix what's left. It works so well I threw all the phosphoric acid away.
 
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eastbloc

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faaaaaaaaaaaakkkk man.
Previous owner of mine did a beautification job with bondo over rust, sure did good enough to hide from a 1st time Jeep buyer and unsuspected dealership.
I have the same issue around driver side roll bar, was agitating surface with a wire wheel for bedliner job, and then a white dust started appearing from around that area. Out of confusion i started poking around with a screw driver and surprise ! Rest of the tub seems fine, so why exactly that corner is puzzling to me.

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