Matt's Old

Fiddling with Rambler's since 1995

Rambler American Restoration

Driver's Side Quarter & Rocker Panels
Part 11 - Rocker Rust -- Happy Monday!
- OR -
I Never Thought I'd Be Happy
 I Had To Replace My Quarter Panel

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February 16, 2004

I had the day off of work today so I thought I'd tackle a seemingly easy job -- adjusting the door latch on the driver's side rear door. This is one of those jobs that shouldn't take all that long to do but ended up with me having to cut a very large hole in the quarter panel. Here's the full tale of woe:

On Rambler American's, the door catch is held on with three #4 Philips head screws and looks like this:

These screw's are typically a royal pain to get out but with the proper bit on a socket wrench, it's not that bad of a job. In this door's case, I ended up having to drill the heads off of two screws (use a 5/16" bit if you need to do this) which still wasn't that bad since the screws are soft and the heat and vibration generated from doing this generally lets you unscrew the remains pretty easily.

Where I ran into problems was after the screws were out. Immediately after removing the last screw, the L shaped plate they screw into dropped out of position. On a two door car, there's enough room to put the plate back in place but not on a 4 door or a wagon! The only way to gain access to this area of the car is to start cuttin'. So cut is what I did and I ended up making a hole this big:

As you can see from the chalk line, this is a few inches higher than I originally planned to cut but it will actually be okay since the wheel house is rusted worse than I guessed originally. I also found a hole (it's the dark spot in the middle of the area I cut out) that looks suspiciously like the end of a Philips head screw driver made it so I suppose I'm not the only one to have a bad day working in this area of the car. Anyway, here's what it looks like where this plate is supposed to live:

As you can see, there's a cage that holds the plate in place. The sides are welded into place but the bottom end is just bent over the plate. What happened is that the bottom of the cage was bent out far enough to let the plate fall. If this ever happens to you, you have my sympathies.

Up Next: Part 12 - Rocker Rust -- Drain Thingy

Last Updated 03/14/04 10:43:44 PM