The Project Dixie thread!

richiep

Club Member
Also pulled the trigger on eBay a few days ago on this:
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Corsa B-based power column. I used to have the parts to make one of these, before I got competent welding and making stuff (!) and I ended up selling it with the idea of buying something complete down the line. I was expecting something 4-figures and was actually planning to just fit a standard column to the car in the meantime, but then this came along and the eBay offer was so cheap, I couldn’t pass. The little controller unit with this kit can be changed for different setups, e.g. ones with a knob for steering assistance adjustment, LEDs for assistance indication etc. I might play with that aspect down the road.
 

richiep

Club Member
So, that door is still a pain in my rear. I stripped it back and then did set about leading the handle area:
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Got the area looking good:
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Phosphate treated the outer skin and was getting ready for priming, but then got the straight edge out to recheck and came to the conclusion there was no way the escutcheon position was satisfactory. Still pushed in at the back by 3-4mm and there’s no way I was about to use a ton more lead and filler to fix that.

So, I had to get inventive. The escutcheon itself is a very strong pressing, and the knock-on effect is that it makes it very difficult to work the surrounding metal. Too much rigidity. Of course, some strategic cutting releases that...
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This allowed me to pull the escutcheon and sheet metal up to where it should be relative to a straight edge.
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Then some very slow, careful tacking:
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I left it at there after a few more tacks. In the next day or two I will complete the welding, grind back, and then re-lead that area. Then finally epoxy it before filler stages. More work than I’d hoped but I had to get it to where I was happy.
 

arcdef

Club Member
Also pulled the trigger on eBay a few days ago on this:
Corsa B-based power column. I used to have the parts to make one of these, before I got competent welding and making stuff (!) and I ended up selling it with the idea of buying something complete down the line. I was expecting something 4-figures and was actually planning to just fit a standard column to the car in the meantime, but then this came along and the eBay offer was so cheap, I couldn’t pass. The little controller unit with this kit can be changed for different setups, e.g. ones with a knob for steering assistance adjustment, LEDs for assistance indication etc. I might play with that aspect down the road.

Was this a one-off kit or produced by a company?
 

richiep

Club Member
Rich, did you consider a door skin or even another door?
Yes, but frankly I didn’t need/can’t afford to drop 700quid on a new pattern one or another old one with its own set of issues. Plus, look at the rest of the door - apart from the dent and the bottom corner repair, it is very good. No other rust or issues. By the time I’ve finished, you won’t be able to tell that there’s been any surgery done on it.
 

richiep

Club Member
Was this a one-off kit or produced by a company?
No info on its origin, but I suspect it might be a Dave Jarman one. I know he’s done ones in the past (Datsun Dave’s RB Z has one fitted). It’s built to a professional standard anyway. Feels super sturdy. Weighs a ton though!

It’s not one of the ones you see listed from the US for instance as they use other (some say inferior) motor systems and look like they are made from chocolate. The Corsa B is a very popular U.K./Euro-centric choice for something like this.

At some point before fitting I might reverse-engineer it as I have 2-3 standard columns lying around. Could be a good skill/piece of knowledge to have...
 

richiep

Club Member
Nearly there with the door now. Handle escutcheon sorted, new lead loading done:
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After light treatment with the Rustbuster Phoskleen B:
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Door is now epoxy primed and ready for skimming and sanding etc. Inside weld bead around the escutcheon needs tidying up and sealing just to protect it, but I won’t be overly obsessing about something inside the door never to be seen again!

Getting bored with the doors now though. Cant wait to finish the bodywork stage on them, so I can move onto the bonnet. Once that is done, car is ready for tinted Raptor underneath, high build primer on exterior, and associated sanding.

It’ll be a relief when I can finally ship it off for final painting. Maybe give me a small window to completely gut the garage and blow out every last crevice and part. SO much dust... I can then change gear to focus on Z mechanicals and also the twin cam engine for the Celica.
 
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Rob Gaskin

Treasurer
Staff member
Site Administrator
Hi Rich, before you go to paint it may be worth trial-fitting the door handle?

Good work.
 

richiep

Club Member
Hi Rich, before you go to paint it may be worth trial-fitting the door handle?

Good work.
Will do. It should be fine though as the escutcheon itself hasn’t deformed in any way. My biggest concern was the small piece of swage line between the handle and the door edge. That was ruined by the dent and the subsequent work, although cutting it, rewelding, and then leading sorted it nicely. Once skimmed and sanded it should be near perfect hopefully.
 

IbanezDan51

Club Member
Sure you know this as youve got another car for comparison... but the factory swage line between the rear door handle and rear quarter isn't very pronounced/sharp. Your first picture in the post above looks sharp but the latter one looks much better.

Great work so far. Great eye for detail - my favourite build here!
 

richiep

Club Member
Yeah, the line was quite sharp based on the leading process, I.e. filing to a defined line. It is also the effect of the lighting in that first shot. I did soften it somewhat and it will be blended further under filler and high build. I’ll match it to the other door and it’s original line.
 

richiep

Club Member
Things have been slow recently, not least because we went to the US for half-term, which went from a week to two weeks as myself, my wife, and daughter #1 all went down with COVID while there. Kerry’s brother and his wife, who we stay with over there, also then caught it. So, not exactly what we needed. Plus, I have to admit getting dejected with progress overall. I’ve had enough of the mess in the garage and want to get the last few jobs done on the shell and panels so that I can actually start planning when it goes off for paint. That’s also so I can spend some time doing some stuff to the Celica - I need the change of scene.

Anyway, the door shells outer skins are both done and in epoxy. I ran out of paint to do the door backs, so moved on to the bonnet today. It’s a replacement for the original- which was damaged and full of filler - and is overall over good. However, some primer on the front middle made me suspect a repair in that area, so I expected to find something when I hit it with the strip disc. Sure enough, it had suffered a smallish dent at some point, which had been pulled out with stud welding - but rather “agriculturally”. I considered cutting a piece out and welding in new metal, but that risked more hassle and warpage; plus the metal was sound, just rather bumpy. Instead of banging a load of fibreglass and filler over it, I decided I rather lead it and have solid metal in there. You can always see when bonnets have a bunch of filler in the tip.
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After filing:
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Needs Rustbuster Phos-kleen B now and then epoxy, etc.
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