We were all set to finish the Art Morrison Enterprises rollbar kit in our ’68 Nova project car, counting the few days more it would be to have the interior completely finished for the summer cruise season, when we were dealt a cruel surprise by a previous owner: a driver-side floorpan full of rust. You’d think this would be easy enough to spot when buying a car, but our intrepid seller had artfully covered the rot with a thin layer of fiberglass, mudded it in with body filler, then camouflaged it with a can of truck bedliner to look like factory sealant. When the crew at Outlaw Motorsports used a grinder to smooth the surface in preparation for welding the rollbar mounting plates, the building filled with the acrid smoke of burning Bondo faster than you could say caveat emptor.
We were lucky to have Outlaw Motorsports to help us with the ’68 Nova’s floor patch panel
The ironic thing is that the subterfuge of cloaking the hack job easily took as much time as fixing it the right way, which is what Outlaw Motorsports in Riverside, California, chose to do. The correct fix is to cut out the offending rust area, and replace it with a new patch panel, and that will be our mission here. Outlaw Motorsports is a direct dealer for Dynacorn sheetmetal for muscle cars, so it was only natural to check them first. We needed a partial left-hand floorpan, PN 1635, for ’68-74 Nova (actually called a “full” pan, but it’s really only for half the car). It was in stock at a nearby warehouse, the price was right at just $56, and they could deliver it the next day. We can count the times that’s ever happened before on just one hand. When we got our Dynacorn floorpan, it looked like a dead ringer for the stock one, and the fit ended up being very good with little massaging required. In fact, the whole operation took just three hours. If you want to see the video showing the entire operation, just go to www.YouTube.com/PopularHotRodding and look for “Project Nova—Floor Patch Panel Repair.”
Thankfully, Dynacorn manufactures replacement floor panels for our Nova, and this one (PN
The fact that our Nova already had the interior out did make things easier, and Outlaw’s Ron Aschtgen says for a job like this he normally charges between $200 and $300, including the floorpan. If you want to do the job yourself, you’ll be happy to learn that it’s an easy one—perfect for the beginner wanting to get his or her hands dirty with a fun welding job. You will need a few choice tools beyond the norm, most importantly a good MIG welder. We used a Miller Electric Millermatic 211 with AutoSet. This unit was designed for beginner and pro alike; its dual-voltage MVP plug allows use on both household 120V power and 230 V. The Millermatic 211 even detects the voltage without any action required on the user’s part. Miller also has the normal controls pros expect, like those for wire speed and amperage, but the novice will appreciate the 211’s ability to adjust power and wire feed settings automatically by just telling it the material thickness and weld wire diameter. An anti-spatter feature also reduces slag and spit on start-up. It’s the perfect mate for your home garage or pro fab shop. Besides a welder, you’ll also need a cutoff wheel, air saw, high-speed grinder, metal snips, dead blow hammer, chisel, air chisel, prybar, spot-weld cutter, and drill (or spot-weld hole punch).
The floorpan overlaps with the firewall pan, and these spot welds need to be drilled out w
With this job out of the way, we believe we’ve finally eradicated the last of the rust from Project Nova. Now we can get on with the business of installing our Auto Meter Elite Series gauges, Dynamat sound deadener, carpet kit, and a custom fabricated package tray from Outlaw Motorsports. We’ll bring that to you in the coming months. Then we tackle the tune-up with a serious session on the chassis dyno. We can almost taste victory, and it’s all due to the multifaceted folks at Outlaw Motorsports!
This handy body shop tool punches 5/16-inch diameter holes with ease, but you can use a dr
After all four corners of the patch panel have been tack welded in place, and the spot wel
It’s best to remove the entire cancerous section in one piece so it can be laid over the n
Aschtgen is in the final stages of fitting the panel. Note that the only side not trimmed
You don’t want to go blazing along your weld seam when dealing with thin metal—18 gauge, i
Here’s the same area after Aschtgen has butt-welded the length along the driver-seat seam.
Working along the trans tunnel, you can get a better idea of how Aschtgen likes to cut awa
And let’s not forget about the constant process of grinding that’s needed to prepare all t
With the excess overlap cut and trimmed off, the seam at the trans tunnel can be periodica
Here Aschtgen uses the hammer to get the two edges to mate evenly. (Remember that the patc
After all the welds are completed, you’ll want to grind down the welds in areas that aren’
Wanna see more? Check out the “Project Nova—Floor Patch Panel Repair” video on YouTube.com
|What To Get
|Dynacorn floorpan full, LH ’68-74
|Extreme Chassis Black aerosol
|Millermatic 211 Auto-Set MIG