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1970 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 - Quarter-Panel Replacement

We show you the at-home-way to re-skin the back half of a second-gen Camaro.

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We found that our trunk extension (trunk drop off) was beyond saving, so we used the chisel to quickly remove most of it and then came back to clean up the area. Where the trunk drop off meets the trunk floor is edge-welded, so cutting the welds with a cut off wheel and then prying it apart was the was to go.

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The drop off, quarter and lower valance all converge below the taillight panel and we used the air chisel to get the quarter and drop off panel remnants off the valance. The factory installs the taillight panel/lower valance last so we will no be able to weld the new quarter on like they did, but we have a cure for that.

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Another area of multiple panels converging in one area is at the bottom where the quarter meets the rocker. There is an inner brace for the striker pin that runs from the roof all the way down to the rocker. What makes this a pain to deal with is the quarter is sandwiched between the rocker and the brace, and the brace itself is in the way so you can't get a drill in there to cut out the spot welds. Also, you can see we have some rust on the brace that will need to be cut out and replaced.

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We used a cut off wheel to slice out this wedge shaped piece of the brace so we could access the spot welds.


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Here is the bottom piece of the brace coming off. We'll remake this out of some scrap metal before reattaching it to the brace. In this picture there is still a small strip of quarter-panel attached to the rocker that we need to remove. Once we did, the rocker was cleaned off with a grinder.

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The last area to clean up was the wheelwell and ours was pretty hacked up. At some point, the lip was cut and rolled for extra tire clearance, which just added to the difficulty of cleaning it up. We decided that we would need to replace the outer wheelwell thanks to these cuts along and, of course, the rust.

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So here is what we ordered from Auto Metal Direct, a full OE-style quarter-panel (PN 700-3570-L), outer wheelhouse (PN 770-3570-L), and a trunk floor extension (PN 840-3570-L). All the products set us back $444.85, not too shabby for what we got. The quarter is manufactured to OE specs, including thickness of metal, at the AMD facility on the company's own steel dies. Everything goes through a test fitting process before being approved for production, and all holes, contours, cut-outs, door jambs, etc., are included as original. We came to find out that the products fit great, not something you can't always say about aftermarket sheetmetal.

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Here are the supporting sundries we got from Summit Racing to help us properly install all the sheetmetal. We got weld through primer (PN SUM-SP1105), All-Metal for the roof-to-quarter seam (PN UCP-14060), Rage filler to finish the seam (PN FGE-100106), sandpaper 80, 180, 220, and 320 grit rolls for a long block (PN SUM-AB514C3SRP8S, SUM-AB514C3SRP1S, SUM-AB514C3SRP2S, and SUM-AB514C3SRP3S), Cleco pliers with pin kit to temporarily hold panels (PN SUM-G1850), Seam Sealer (PN TRM-8505), locking C-Clamps (PN VTR-PR6 and PN VTR-PR18), a set of Dent Fix Equipment 5/16-inch hole punch pliers (PN DF516), and lastly 3M Automix panel bonding adhesive (PN TRM-8115), and the proper applicator gun (PN TRM-8571). All these items set us back $416.25.

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Instead of replacing the entire outer wheelhouse, we are just going to use some of the new metal. We cut out just what we needed and then clamped it in place. Here our main helper for the job, Lucky Costa, is measuring the distance to make sure it's in the proper place. Once he had it in the proper position he scribed a line along the edge of the patch panel.

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We used a cut off wheel to slice off the original wheelhouse. This left us a perfect butt weld line to attach the patch. We laid down a few tack welds to hold the new piece in place.

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Then we test fit the trunk dropout. The angle of the patch at the back edge needed to be adjusted and these wide jaw flat pliers Lucky had made that a snap.

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After a little more adjusting of the edge, we finally had the drop out fitting perfectly, so we clamped it in place so we could start fitting the quarter-panel. Since the car is up on a lift, we reinstalled the rear tire and put the car back on the ground so there will be no chassis flex messing up our fit.

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The quarter-panel dropped right into place, so we clamped it along the perimeter (where we could) so Lucky could trim the top edge to mate up with our butt weld seam along the roof. We used a combination of clamps and Clecos to hold the quarter in place for the next step.

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Once that was trimmed and sitting flush, we installed the deck lid and made sure there was a good gap. We used screws in the trunk jam to hold the quarter in place since the Clecos stuck up and interfered with the deck lid. Once we were sure the quarter was fitted OK, we mapped out how we were going to affix it t. We will be plug welding most of it to emulate spot-welds the factory used, but some areas will receive a different treatment. The taillight panel will be edge welded and the rocker and lower valance areas will be affixed with panel bond.

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With everything fitted and marked, it was all removed so we could prepare the parts for welding. The Dent Fix Equipment 5/16-inch hole punch pliers made it a snap to make all our plug welding holes. This could have been done with a drill, but it would have taken a long time with the amount of holes needed.

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