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Lower core / radiator support replacement Write Up

4543 Views 11 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  SupraFiend
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This is a write up everyone that has the battery tray, lower radiator support rust and broken toe arm mounts. This seems to be a common area to rust out.

One day i noticed this
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I got the lower radiator support from a member on here.

Step 1: disassemble the front end
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Then i examined all the rust and used a wire wheel to clean off the rust, along with naval jelly.
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Step 2: Scrape the seem sealer off
Step 3: Drill the spot welds off
I used a spot weld bit from harbor freight

More to come. Mods please feel free to move this if need be
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There are 26 spot welds
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Step 4: I used a wood chisel and a hammer to break the lower rad support free.
You can also used an air hammer or seam buster.
I did have to bend part of the sheet metal on the sides.
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Then I used the wire wheel and naval jelly on the frame rails and painted them.
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I've had terrible luck with the hf spot weld drill bit tool myself, at this point i center punch it, drill it with a small bit, then work my way up to bigger bits until it is broken. Luckily i haven't had to drill many out as my way is time consuming. If someone knows of a better spot weld bit worth buying i would be interested for sure.
http://www.harborfreight.com/3-8-eighth-inch-double-sided-rotary-spot-weld-cutter-95343.html
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I know most people dont have these items but.. I hate drilling metal if I dont have to.. IE, Welder set on high and mighty blast em out fast.. or a tig can blow them out.. Oxy acetylene torchs? plasma cutter? lol all uncommon items.. i guess drilling is about it otherwise..
I recently got an oxy acetylene setup and have not been inventive enough in using it apparently.

Did a little googling and found a decent couple pages to read on how to remove spot welds.
https://books.google.com/books?id=d...q=using welder to blow out spot welds&f=false

Looks like eastwood sells the drill bit type and hole saw type of bits, though no personal experience with any of these eastwood generally has high quality stuff...
http://www.eastwood.com/welders/spot-weld-cutters.html

Here are some fancy pro level ones with videos on usage as well
http://www.blairequipment.com/Spotweld_Cutters/Spotweld_Cutters.html
An old school body guy recommended this spot weld bit.
http://www.matcotools.com/catalog/product/C117X/SPOTWELD-CUTTER/

Here are different ways to drill out spot welds
http://autobodystore.com/forum/show...cs-quot-Spot-Welds-removing-a-welded-on-panel

I used a center punch and cutting oil on my harbor freight bit. Also i cut really slow and only 3 or 4 rotations at a time.
Yota - nice work on a big job. Looking forward to see your progress, and the final product. BTW I've found HF cutting tools below average.
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Step 5: Slide on new lower rad support for test fit.
I bolted the tc rod mounts to the new rad support and got the bolt holes centered perfectly. Then Clamped eat side where the spot welds were.
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Step 6: Weld one spot weld on each side top and bottom.
Then you can remove the clamps. Now you can spot weld them all in, but take your time and let each spot weld cool. This metal is thin and can disintegrate and possibly warp.
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Step 7: Spot weld both sides of this.
Note this is the piece i had to bend to slide the new lower rad support in place
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Step 8: Start seam sealing everything, prime and paint.
I used 3m seam sealer and krylon paint and prime.

Step 9: Reassemble front end
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Oh boy, this is a job I am too familiar with. Doing this to the 85 I have listed for sale right now, it will be the fourth car I've done this too. Although I've yet to cover it in any of my build threads unfortunately.

You're handling the lower rad support replacement properly but you've neglected the rail itself. Have a look inside it with a flashlight, you're not going to like what you see. I will be posting the repair to Canadian_psyko's LType pretty soon, it will cover doing this in a fashion that will guarantee the rust doesn't come back.

As for spot welds, yeah, don't cheap out on bits. I've probably drilled out over a 1000 spot welds by now on these cars. I keep using the ones my local parts store (Lordco) sells as its convenient and they stock them. I think they are KD brand? I'll have to check. They are ok. If I try not to overheat them too much I get somewhere over 50 holes drilled out with each side of each bit. But I friend sold me a weird expensive german brand auger with one bit once and that one bit lasted me an entire summer and probably tore through 300 spot welds before the teeth snapped off (they never even dulled like the KD ones). I've been meaning to order some but the convenience of local supply keeps winning (the replacement bits were 3x the cost too, but still worth it looking at the numbers).

Anyways, there is a very simple technique you guys are missing that will make drilling out spot welds much simpler. Go ahead and use a punch to punch the center marks as you have been, but follow that up with a pilot hole with a good small drill bit after. You don't have to go through it, just drill in about 1mm deep. Keeping the spot weld bits centered with just a punched hole is almost impossible, it's just an exercise in frustration. But a good pilot hole will make it easier to keep the bit centered and cut more effectively.
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What i wound up doing was putting a bunch of naval jelly into the rail. I thought about cutting the frame rail open, grinding all the rust out, spraying cold zinc inside, welding it back shut and then spraying wax inside from the whole.
I do something similar. I remove the rusty section of rail and then soak it in a vat of Metal Rescue/Evap-o rust for a week or two. Naval jelly works really slow, and doesn't convert either. I'll have my post up soon hopefully.
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