One of the things that I looked for on the web before I started the restoration was info from others on how they did their restoration, the details of cutting, welding, body repair etc. I found a lot of sites with pictures but not a lot of detail. I bought some books which helped but still was not what I was looking for. So I decided to post the info on the web that I learned, gathered for other to use. So here it is.
Before this restoration I had welded in high school 20 some years ago and a little bit in the intervening years on my own. It was all ARC welding no MIG or TIG. So I did some research and it looked like MIG welding was what I wanted to use. It is the easiest and most versatile way to weld and easy for the hobbies. I looked at welders by many makers and in price ranges from $200 to $700. Ultimately I decided on this welder from Harbor Freight
My step brother is a welder and I he help me figure out what size welder I needed. Based on the thickness of the shocktower metal and frame rails (these are the thickest parts I would be welding) he told me I would need a welder with a rating of between 115 and 125 amps. This welder can do 120 amps. It was on sale on the web site for $199. I also bought the no question return/repair plan for an extra $20 for a year. I read a lot of reviews and forum postings about most major brands and how the cheaper welders would not hold up, break, shutdown from over heating and I have found through my experience that this is mostly bullshit.
I practiced with this welder A LOT before I did the welds on the car at all power settings and not once did it overheat and shutdown. I saw on many forums about how hard it was to make a good bead with inexpensive welders, but the fact is that I didn’t have any problems. Also almost all of the welds on the mustang are SPOT welds anyway, so all this talk about how you have to be an expert at welding beads does not apply anyway.
The welder comes with a 4 pound spool of flux wire which I practiced with, once I got used to it I was impressed with the welds I could make with it, and the fact that I did not have to use any gas for the welding. I did go out and buy a bottle of Argon/CO2 gas and a regulator though. The gas was and bottle were $80 (now only $20 for a refill) and the regulator was $30. Welding with Gas was different than with the flux wire but it was not that much different. All of my welds on the car so far are with gas.
One of the biggest welding challenges I have found is spot welding different thickness metals. The welds on where the shock tower (thick metal) join the inner fender (thin metal) were hard. When you are welding thick to thin metal with a bead you set the power to that needed for the thicker metal and let the bead flow into the thinner metal. In a spot weld the MIG tip is placed in the center of the location and you basically hold it there until you get a nice puddle of metal. But at the high power setting and with the thin metal I would invariably burn a hole in the thinner metal. To solve this problem I would drill the spot where the weld would be out in the thicker metal, not all the way through but far enough where I could use a little lower power setting. This works well and solves the problem. I will post pictures of the process soon
Metal work, cutting grinding etc.
Harbor Freaght has great tools that are cheap. I bought a 4 1/2 inch cutter/grinder for $14
Basically I used this cuttoff wheel, a sawsall, and an air hammer to take off all the parts I needed.
The air hammer was $9.99 and is not the most powerful but serves the purpose. You have to be careful as it can take off the metal you want to keep, but it is great at breaking through tough spot welds that don’t want to let go.
How NOT to buy a classic mustang!!!!
Click here – They shoot horses don’t they?
Rust Repair The best way I found to remove rust is to remove it and put new metal in! Of course this can be painful and expensive so if you have metal that is basically sound but rusted I found that Eastwoods OxiSolv Gel did a great job. This is a gel that you paint on the rusted metal, leave it alone for about 2-4 hours and then wash it off. What happens is that the rust is changed to zinc and actually forms a protective layer. It is not cheap but it really does the job. What I did is if I need to keep a rusted part I would first coat it with OxiSolv, and then prime and paint it.