Obstacles are nothing new when it comes to auto projects, and we knew we would be facing more than a few with our latest build. Of course we looked for the most unmolested and complete car we could find and after a few weeks, we found one in pretty good shape—minus the floor boards. They were in desperate need of some TLC, and we knew we had a diamond in the rough on our hands as the average builder would be reluctant to tackle the car’s “Fred Flintstone” floorboards. After a thorough examination, we realized that we only needed to repair the front floorboard and at that; only small sections needed to be replaced.

The first thing we did when we got the car home was to call our friends at Original Parts Group Inc. or OPGI of Seal Beach, California. They have seriously invested into a market that was completely neglected in the past, and with their knowledge of Cadillacs, they turned us onto their front floorboard patch panels. The metal patch panels were the same thickness as the factory floorboards. Once the metal work was completed, it would be protected by using some of Eastwood’s specialty coatings. This project was definitely an ideal project for the above average builder who had some welding skills, so it’s not a shock that novice builders didn’t snatch up the project car before we did.

Today’s tech focuses on work that can be done in a day or a weekend. Projects like this one are always good for those who like a little challenge, so if you have the time and skills, today’s tech might be something that interests you. Now let us show you how we repaired the floorboards of project Coupe DeVillain.

<strong>1</strong>. With sheet metal in hand, we got ready to get our project started.<strong>2</strong>. This was most likely why this Cadillac hadn't sold.<strong>3</strong>. To have room while working on the car's floors the front seat was removed.<strong>4</strong>. With nothing covering the factory floorboards, they were checked to make sure that they were thick enough.<strong>5</strong>. After determining which area was rotten, we were ready to mark the section that was going to be cut out.<strong>6</strong>. There are a few ways to cut out metal; we choose to use a Makita grinder equipped with cut off wheel.<strong>7</strong>. Some of the factory spot welds needed to be removed to allow the old sheet metal to be removed. By doing this, we can attach the new sheet metal without anything getting in the way.<strong>8</strong>. On this side, we used Eastwood's self-etching weld through prime before welding the panel in place. It can be sprayed after the weld but we wanted to test out this primer firsthand.<strong>9</strong>. The OPGI replacement floor was ready to be trimmed to fit our section.<strong>10</strong>. Jason broke out his new Miller plasma cutter and started to cut to fit.<strong>11</strong> This panel was fitted and trimmed several times before it was made to fit properly.<strong>12</strong>. Jason measured the panel so he could transfer the info onto the metal panel.<strong>13</strong>. This panel was marked and ready to be trimmed to fit.<strong>14</strong>. Once the panel was trimmed, it was spot-welded in place.<strong>15</strong>. Jason started to stitch weld the panel in place.<strong>16</strong>. With one-inch beads throughout the floorboards, this patch panel was not going anywhere.<strong>17</strong>. The bare metal was prepared for the seam sealer that was going to be applied.<strong>18</strong>. We used the 3M seam sealer to keep the moisture out of the cab.<strong>19</strong>. With a new spreader, the sealer spread evenly.<strong>20</strong>. The patch panel was left to dry from the seam sealer before adding a protective coat of paint.<strong>21</strong>. The passenger side floorboards were also replaced and were done using the same steps as shown earlier.<strong>22</strong>. With all the sections cleaned, the floors were ready to be replaced.<strong>23</strong>. The floor was all test fitted before it was welded on.<strong>24</strong>. Once welded and sealed, it received a paint coating to protect it from the rust elements.<strong>25</strong>. Even from the bottom, you can see the perfect fit of the OPGI replacement floorboards.<strong>26</strong>. The whole interior of the car was protected using Eastwood's rust encapsulator designed to keep the rust from resurfacing.<strong>27</strong>. These floorboards were ready for the next step as they were completely coated to protect them from the environment.

Axalta Paint Tip of the Month

Here’s the Hot Tech tip of the month brought to you by Axalta Coatings Systems and All American Body Shop in San Diego, CA. When painting Cromax Pro in the hot desert or in low humidity conditions, the Painter should always pick the right Spray Gun tip size for the conditions he is painting in. Proper maintenance of a Spray Gun is essential for a flawless paintjob. What works well under one humidity condition may not work as easily under another extreme condition either. The proper spray gun and set ups are critical to a flawless finish and you should always make sure to test your Spray Guns pattern prior to applying paint on the vehicle. For more paint technical advice please feel free to contact the product specialist, Steven Chaparro/Axalta Coatings systems. Steven.C.Chaparro@dupont#65CBDC.com.