Trunk Replacement


After opening up the places where rust was obvious, the clear first step was to locate a replacement trunk floor and wheel wells.  Unlike Chevelles, many parts are not available for 69 Impalas including wheel wells, trunk braces and trunk extensions.  I located a replacement trunk at Hidden Valley Auto Parts and had it shipped.  This included the entire bottom third of the car.  This was a full width section including wheel wells, trunk floor and braces back to the trunk lip at the back.

The In addition to the trunk replacement, the general approach is to cut out any remaining rusted areas and weld new metal in place.  When this was not possible (parts of the rocker panel and inside the lower cowl areas), I cleaned it up as well as possible, used Rass-O'-Nil rust converter and painted with either epoxy paint or Zero-Rust

The wheel wells and associated quarter areas were patched in the original "restoration"  by pop riveting slotted sheet metal reinforcement and body filler.  It held up for about 7 years and probably would have lasted longer except other rust holes let water into the area IMG42-800.JPG (81907 bytes)
Photo by J Pulli
I decided to cut from the seam under the rear seat to the lip at the back of the car where the trunk lid seals.  This gives clearly delineated cut points for both the donor car and the crap that needed to come out. Img27-600.JPG (43732 bytes)
An inside view of the trunk section showing the seams that were cut. It is incredible how many spot welds there are in this thing and how hard it is to get them apart without damaging the metal you want to keep.  I did pick up a spot weld drilling bit at a local body shop supply store but still had to rely on a grinder to get most of the welds off. Img25-600.JPG (44363 bytes)

The new trunk went in without too much trouble. When removing the spot welds to prepare the pieces, some areas were deformed and required some hammering to get them back in place.  The metal was joined by "spot welding" with a MIG welder.  Sometimes this was at an edge, sometimes through holes drilled in one piece.  Spot welding through a hole requires a hole that is at least 1/4" in diameter MINIMUM, preferably 5/16, particularly on thin metal.  Otherwise the top layer of metal absorbs all the heat and you do not get good penetration on the back layer.

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New trunk in, ready for fitting the quarter panels. IMGP0255-1000.JPG (169662 bytes)