Trunk Floor & Wheel Wells:
The trunk floor had some bad spots from rain water leaking into the trunk. I considered patching the floor with some sheetmetal, but decided to intall a new trunk floor instead. While looking for information online, I ran across www.bigblockdart.com. They had some interesting articles about relocating the springs and widening the wheelwells. The spring relocation kit has been around for many years, but I hadn't really thought about it until I read the article on the web site. I decided to widen the wheelwells right away, since it would be much easier to do at the same time as the trunk floor.
The trunk floor was from Year One and is the one-piece unit. It fits in the trunk opening just fine. They make a two-piece trunk floor, but that's just more welding! I also got the trunk floor extensions, which bend down and weld to the bottom of the quarter panel. These were much more difficult to put in than the trunk floor.
I removed the factory body sealer with a wire brush. It turns out that undercoating comes off well with a torch, but body sealer does not. Next, I drilled the factory welds carefully, so I didn't go through the lower layer of steel. Then a little pop with a chisel broke the weld. An air chisel would be quicker, but would chew up the sheet metal a little bit.
Here I have the trunk floor removed and part of the trunk floor extension. The wheel well is stock.
In this photo, I have cut the wheelwell apart, trimmed the floor and the flange on the framerail, then tack welded the wheel well to the side of the frame rail. A couple spacers hold the gap.
Here there are some markings with measurements from the floor. I found this was the easiest way to get the wheel well positioned at the right height.
Here the trunk floor is being trimmed to fit. Holes were drilled for plug welds.
Here are the filler pieces welded in place. I used three pieces, then welded the butt joints between them. Easier than trying to fit one piece in there.
Welds on the inside seams as well. These were ground down until flush or below.
Here you can see that I used a bent piece of sheetmetal to go between the wheel well and the floor.
The trunk floor has no hole for the gas filler, no brackets for the gas tank, no holes for body plugs, etc. I didn't make a hole just to put a plug in it, but I did cut the brackets out of my old trunk floor. The old trunk floor also provided a template for the filler neck hole.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. I painted the bottom side of the trunk floor before installing it because there are places that are hard to paint afterward. I knew I would have to touch up the paint after welding. In hindsight, I would just stick a paint brush full of Rust Encapsulator in the tight spots, followed with some Chassis Black. If the spot is hard to get at to paint, nobody will ever see it anyway - even me. Anyway, here is the painted trunk floor.
Also pre-painted the frame rails.
A test fit.
Welded in place. For plug welds, you need to start the weld in the center to get good penetration into the lower piece of steel. Then make a swirl until you meet the edge of the drilled hole in the top piece. Some of mine popped and I had to re-do them because the weld didn't stick to the bottom piece.
Welding in the filler pieces between the trunk floor and the wheel well.
Filler pieces are done and trunk floor extension is in place. Those are hard to get installed because you have to cut some of them away so they will slide into place from the bottom. Maybe they should have been installed first? That would make the trunk floor difficult, though.
Here I am applying "short strand" body filler. It has fiber glass strands in it. The short strand sands smooth enough that you can prime it and paint it. The "long strand" needs a top coat of plain filler to smooth it out.
Got the trunk to the "good enough" point. Then I sprayed it with epoxy primer. Enough bodywork in the trunk already! It will stay this way until I paint trunk, door jambs, etc. The epoxy primer is Omni AU, which is made by PPG. It doesn't sand as well as lacquer primer, but fills scratches very well. It needs a scuffing before paint.
Here's the end result. I plan to buy a spare tire well cover and trunk mat.