Upper Cowl Removal

As I mentioned in the last post, I started to remove the upper cowl so that I could do some rust repair on the lower cowl and upper firewall area. I was struggling with whether I should do this now or not since it seemed like it’d be a pretty involved, time-consuming thing. But I figured I’d probably regret it later if I didn’t since now is about the best time to do it with the front end so far apart for everything else.

So I got the upper cowl completely off earlier today. So overall that took me a couple (partial) Saturdays plus a little bit of time during the week to get it off—kind of slow, but it made it eventually. It was somewhere around 100-110 spot welds that I had to drill out, plus the ones for the fender apron extensions, and I also had to double drill some of them where I didn’t get the full weld the first time. Of course I also had to pull the export brace since it bolts through the cowl and firewall. For the spot welds, I decided to upgrade to the nicer-style Blair cutter as I see it recommended frequently. It did generally work a little nicer than the cheap Harbor Freight one that I normally use, but I found using a mix of the two styles to work the best, as I felt the HF one actually worked a little better on occasion and was a little quicker. I also found a “Seam Buster Chisel” on Amazon that has an edge along the side as well as on the end. That turned out to be extremely helpful since I could just keep sliding it along the seam, redrill a weld if needed, and keep moving.

The lower cowl actually looks pretty good. It’s certainly better than I expected to find, and I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say that about something on this car. So it’ll probably come back to bite me somehow. There’s just a couple little holes at the bottom of the hats which must be where it’s been leaking from and the flange where it joins the firewall is shot in a few places. That’s the main things I’m seeing so far. Not too terrible. The upper cowl will need some patches too.

Oh and I did put some really basic bracing in place before I removed the cowl (I just copied what I saw on somebody else’s car), but I’m not sure if it’s actually needed or not. The car is sitting on jack stands at the rear torque boxes, at the rear axle (just holding the axle, not the car—I didn’t want to leave it just hanging from the springs), and under the front part of the rockers. Then I put scissor jacks under the front frame to support the weight of the front end metal.

Driver's side fender apron extension removed
DS fender apron extension off
Passenger's side fender apron extension removed
PS fender apron extension off
Spot weld removal tools
What I mainly used for the spot welds
Upper cowl
Upper cowl off
Upper cowl underside
Underside of upper cowl
Upper cowl removed
Upper cowl removed
Upper cowl removed, from the other side
Upper cowl removed, from other side
Upper cowl removed, overall
Upper cowl removed, overall
Passenger's side lower cowl rust
PS lower cowl hat and flange rust
Driver's side lower cowl rust
DS lower cowl hat and flange rust