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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #126  
Old 05-26-2013, 06:59 AM
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akibo akibo is offline
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No updates for days :S I'm starting to get withdrawal symptoms :P
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  #127  
Old 05-26-2013, 07:52 AM
07lilredwagon 07lilredwagon is offline
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more coming soon....I tackled the rear section below the tail lights and really took myself to school on shaping the metal and getting things to fit....I had good success....but I can tell you this....when you shape metal, the more time you take up front getting things as close as possible to the right shape, the better!....I tried two ways to get pieces to fit...carefully shaping them ahead of time...which worked great, and getting the parts close, but doing the final shaping and trimming after I started tacking it in place....the second way just does not work very well!....well, I got it to work.....but it took much longer to get good results.

I ended up making the pieces as big as possible, but the complex curves forced me to piece in about 6 pieces or so...my skills and available tools also limited me.....but in the end, I did get done....AND I can still get in behind there with primer and undercoat.

One note that Im sure you guys will pick up on....why not just replace with a new or used panel?....well, budget was the first reason, and the second reason was that I wanted to learn how to patch in a section of a car that was challenging in shape and making sure adjacent panels still lined up and fit well...the trunk has to close and line up with this whole panel around the bottom corners and the entire bottom edge. I had to rebuild the whole gasket flange and drip edge...

pics tonight!...and thanks for checking in!

JP
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  #128  
Old 05-27-2013, 07:05 AM
07lilredwagon 07lilredwagon is offline
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Its been a little while, but I got a lot of work done over the weekend....

the elephant in the trailer...that rusted out area under the tail lights and trunk, was screaming "fix me" so it was time to start learning how to form sheet metal...well "learn" is subjective...but I did manage to learn alot about how sheet metal works when you try to bend it and its limitations, ect....

I also did not cut myself on any new metal!...that is a new miracle.

Now, before any of you say, "Why didnt you just replace the panel with a new one?"....well...two reasons...I need to get good at this stuff....and this was a challenge....and then there was the budget.....There is very little left in that department, so there we are. (that just sounded like 3 reasons, but who's counting?)

I first cut out more of the rear section and cleaned up any interior rust as best I could with grinders, files, sandpaper, wire brushes, ect....(I was trying to keep debris out of the lower section of those two panels where they disappear out of sight and then come together with a long series of welds and folded seams.....I figure the debris will just accelerate any rusting that might occur there)

Once that was done, I started figuring out how to piece together new metal to fill the voids. It went better than expected...but slow...very slow...learning and doing are two different things...but, they say you learn BY doing..who knows.

I dont have any pics of the pieces going in...I was in production mode...but here are some pics as it is now. I still have a lot of finishing to do, but the metal is close to the right shape for the most part...

The trunk seals and latches and the metal along the drip edge follows the line of the bottom of the trunk......Im happy with that....



this side is still a bit rough, but it shows some of the process...I wish every weld was smooth and flat, and I wish all my weld lines were actually straight, or close to straight, but....that said, weld penetration is MUCH better...the welds are strong and now if I make a bad weld it is because I hang on too long in one area and burn through...(trust me, I would rather have that than a cold weld that pops apart!)



I was trying to show the weatherstripping lip that I rebuilt here in the corner...it bends and blends on its way down to the bottom edge which runs all the way along the width of the trunk....in many areas I had to rebuild both edges...the one from the inner part of the trunk, and the new one....(no wonder this took so long!)



The only hole left!....and now that looks easy!....

I started here. that top piece was the first one welded in. plug welded and then seam welded...it should stay put!...heh, heh..



A little redundant looking, but I began finishing the area behind the bumper supports...they will get wire brushed and undercoated as they are CRUSTY....but the panel looks pretty good.



Now, on to the front edge....Here is my tonneau cover's frame on the leading edge of the trailer. This will hinge right where you see it....I will have to figure out some hidden hinges for it and may or may not be able to use those 68 mustang hinges I bought....we will see...

I had to shorten the width by an inch here so it just lined up the the fold on the outside of the top of the doors. I have to bring it in another 2" over the length of the doors as these cars are streamlined and taper in towards the back. Ill be fitting the top with new snaps temporarily then getting an upholsterer to make me a nice new top this summer!...!:



Now the parcel shelf is another elephant in the trailer. it steps up quite a bit. I think I have it figured out...but how this will look in the end is up in the air!

more curved metal and drip edges, and rain gutters, and a curved trailing edge on the tonneau......Here you can just make out the parcel shelf out of focus...who cares about that....look at that wagon through the raised trunk!
:thumsup:




Door handles:...filled in...thats about it...they will open from the inside only. unless I want to get fancy and put some actuators in there that pop the doors open with a key fob!......

quite a bit of bondo on this side....it was still pushed in more than a 1/4 inch from a previous hit...and the body shop did not get it straight...but it worked and looked okay.....I straightened it back out from the inside with various tools and the good ole persuader hammer....



template




Whew!...thats about it for now...more work today finishing up the rear panel and getting the doors rain gutters in place, the parcel shelf cut and filled, ect....


thanks for checking in!

JP
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  #129  
Old 05-27-2013, 08:23 AM
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dc_wright dc_wright is offline
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Looks like it's shaping up! Don't know if you have a sheet metal brake but small ones are pretty cheap and invaluable for making intricate bends required.
Loving this project!
When I was in late teens early twenties my best friend and I had a body shop and we specialized in rust repairs. My friends dad had a salvage yard which is where our shop was located and we had the luxury of being able to go out into the yard and find a section of sheet metal close to the form we needed that we could cut out of a donor car and then weld/braze into the car under repair. Bravo to you for taking on the challenge of forming your own!
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  #130  
Old 05-27-2013, 07:31 PM
07lilredwagon 07lilredwagon is offline
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Thanks, DC

must have been nice to have that yard handy...A side benefit of doing this project is that I have been using any and all metal that I have found around the garage, house, ect....

JP
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  #131  
Old 05-29-2013, 03:08 PM
07lilredwagon 07lilredwagon is offline
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Feeling very accomplished today...I was able to figure out the parcel shelf dilemma where it runs under the tonneau cover. The shelf will have to meet the elevated level of the trunk at some point and I wanted to do this with SOME style....

So I cut and bent and measured and templated and cut some more to come up with this:



I pie cut the back of the frame on the tonneau cover every 3" and bent it to match the curvature of the trunk. I got a bit lucky in that the parcel shelf is at the same height as the top of the doors.

up top, I followed the curvature of the trunk across the tops of the fenders and ended at the tops of the doors. The piece that is angled that runs from the trunk to the parcel shelf will be a challenge...but it is doable.

am I using aluminum and bonding everything together? steel sheet and welding?...not sure yet...

the other thing I worked out is how the drip rail will run. this was very challenging for my little brain to wrap around. I have to channel water from around the trunk area and tonneau to just behind the doors where the natural water channel runs...This took a lot of pondering..but I finally figured it out.....

anyway...I have planned the front panel and will be using aluminum panel bonded to square tubing. this whole assembly will be bonded to the front B pillars just in front of the doors and inside the seam welds.....

thanks for looking!

JP
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  #132  
Old 06-10-2013, 07:23 PM
07lilredwagon 07lilredwagon is offline
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Been busy working on getting the details buttoned up and learning more and more about welding...this time around I seem to have overcome some obstacles with regard to thicker steel....in short, trial and error combined with tips and tricks, techniques and material prep helped the most.

The tonneau cover frame is all one piece now...a big item to cross off the list. I was also able to use my buddies shop to build and bend the front panel of the trailer in once piece.....I have access to a metal brake and work tables there too and its nice and clean....unlike the garage at home where the trailer IS the work table sometimes!!!....

I re-welded some of my earlier attempts...grinding out welds that were too cold and did not penetrate the metal enough and replaced them with much hotter (flux core) welds.....its a whole different set up with the machine...and I ran several test "sculptures" in order to get my technique acceptable.

here is my "sculpture"...complete with "Mr Bill" face welded into the 3/16" steel.....







This one is where the tongue exits the body of the trailer....I ground out the old weld, like i said before, and dug a ditch with the grinder which I then welded into. I know the weld will hold now!....(for those that know or care....I used an uphill upside down "V" technique as I was welding an inside corner and the inverted V was the way to go...machine on 10 for power and 5 for wire speed...030 flux core)



Ill get more pics once I get these welds done...Ive had these panels on and off so many times Ive lost count!

A bit of fun, here.....I cut the outer roof away from the frame and turned it upside down and damn if it was not close to the right shape...(I have a deep need to recycle stuff, I guess!)

I could not figure out how to shape this piece in one piece, so I decided to cut it into two workable pieces and join them later.......this way the parcel shelf is nice and flat...and the rear panel elevates easily with a gentle compound curve up to the trunk.



Heres the "drivers" side door that only needs one more skim coat of bondo and then it will be nice and smooth again:



well thats about it for now...

thanks for looking!

JP
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  #133  
Old 06-13-2013, 11:12 AM
07lilredwagon 07lilredwagon is offline
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The parcel shelf from hell.....

I found that doing this in once piece was a pretty ambitious task...so we got away with 4 pieces...two wings a shelf and the curved piece at the top....It will be welded together, flattened and shaped as best I can, then welded to the car....

its beginning to take shape up there.....



Wing pieces shaped and cut pretty tightly...




Inner drip rail in position....



Believe it or not...all this metal is from the donor car!...upside down roof panels, door window track from inside the door panel, ect...of course, some of the metal is from a washing machine...lol....hey, dont poke fun....free metal is free metal....

a little more smoothing on the back section. it looks kinda rough, but its really starting to smooth out....I would say the thickest section of bondo is 1/8 or so....



Window motor assembly....so guess how Im going to raise and lower the tonneau?
(no pistons to deal with, no reaching way out to close the top....a limit switch at the top and bottom of travel should do it....)



keep going JP!

JP
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  #134  
Old 06-14-2013, 11:22 AM
07lilredwagon 07lilredwagon is offline
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More work last night....YAWN!

actually got a fair amount of things crossed off the list, or at least started.....

Decided to add triangular gussets to the tongue....better safe than sorry....it adds weight to the tongue, but.....



Close up of the welds:ground an angle on all the edges and cut grooves in the tongue for good weld penetration.. I made 3 passes and ended up with these results, which are my best efforts yet!. ill be tying them into the rocker boxes later on.....(then I went back and redid a few previous welds on the tongue...now Im confident that its going to hold up!)




I found some nice E46 side marker lights on ebay....gotta love the internet. I had to tape the shape for the bulb housing on the door then drill many small holes around the perimeter and then file smooth...they fit like a glove but took a while...



Okay, now on to the fun part....This now reminds me of the game Mousetrap....it kinda looks like the contraption that drops the cage on the mouse at the end...... I sourced some bicycle parts, sheet metal, and the most fun bits, a chain guard from a little kids bike and one training wheel...(yes, I broke up the set!)






parcel shelf tonight!

JP
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  #135  
Old 06-17-2013, 06:36 AM
07lilredwagon 07lilredwagon is offline
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front panel in place.....working out the hinge placement for the tonneau next....rewworked the lifting arm configuration....It needs to lift more from the middle of the top...


JP
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  #136  
Old 06-18-2013, 12:46 AM
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drive by72 drive by72 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 07lilredwagon View Post
More work last night....YAWN!

actually got a fair amount of things crossed off the list, or at least started.....

Decided to add triangular gussets to the tongue....better safe than sorry....it adds weight to the tongue, but.....



Close up of the welds:ground an angle on all the edges and cut grooves in the tongue for good weld penetration.. I made 3 passes and ended up with these results, which are my best efforts yet!. ill be tying them into the rocker boxes later on.....(then I went back and redid a few previous welds on the tongue...now Im confident that its going to hold up!)





JP
I am extremely pleased to see your progress, JP

Those are some good looking beads, and using a flux process seems to have really helped you get the penetration you were looking for. Dont forget, if you arent so sure on the original weld, you can stitch the weld on either side. While it is not always necessary, there will be no doubt the joint is strong.

I'm excited to see this thing get wrapped up, and you've got a PM sir!
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  #137  
Old 06-18-2013, 12:04 PM
07lilredwagon 07lilredwagon is offline
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thanks, Chad!

Got my top motor brackets built....primed and painted...putting in tonight. I also got the front framework primed, so the front panel can now be put in place....

The holes for the tops hinges have been drilled already, so once I get that front panel glued and riveted in place Ill be many steps closer to seeing if this top will really go up and down with a window motor!.....right now, it goes up and down really fast....Ill be putting a curved ramp of sorts on rails that run the length of the tops frame....This will affect how fast the top goes up and also how high it goes!.....

wish me luck..Ill post pics later...


JP
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  #138  
Old 06-19-2013, 07:42 PM
07lilredwagon 07lilredwagon is offline
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Okay...so I got the bracket welded up for the motor and figured out the geometry for the lift arm....(I think!) Right now it will open to almost 80 degrees, which should be fine....


Got the front end all ground down and primed, so now I can finish up the wiring for the motor, button up last minute details and then put the front panel back in place



The next big elephant to tackle was the rear parcel shelf area...and I began tacking together the shelf pieces that took eons to cut and shape...but they are all but finished except for last minute trimming...



You can really see it taking shape here...passenger side....I have begun grinding down some welds to see if I like the curvature, ect....(too late now anyway!) and it looks nice to me....



Painted the motor frame and lift arm.....aligned the arm by shimming the two front bolts by almost 5/8"......



In other big news..I dropped the wheels off to get new tires on two of them, and the best old tire will be used as a spare.....


more later this week!

thanks for looking

JP
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  #139  
Old 06-19-2013, 07:48 PM
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drivinfaster drivinfaster is offline
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diggin the epicness of this!!

i vote gotta get a pic in the calendar for this for sure!!





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  #140  
Old 07-04-2013, 06:49 PM
07lilredwagon 07lilredwagon is offline
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So a whirlwind of activity on the trailer....I had to button things up the best I could as we were scheduled to go on vacation and I needed the trailer to get all our camping gear up to camp....

So, I prioritized....I decided to focus on the rain gutters and keeping the contents of the trailer as dry as possible. (In the end it worked great... the trailer floor was bone dry and it POURED for most of the 5 hour trip)

Ill let the pics do the talking...but here we are ready to leave:



You can see from this rear 3/4 view I was able to get the tail lights in and working, the bumper supports sanded and painted and undercoated so the bumper could go on...finished the rough sanding on the area below the trunk lid, smoothed out the door handle area to an almost finished level and fit the tonneau cover temporarily for the trip. The cover would later take mucho duct taping to hold it from flopping in the breeze and leaking and potentially getting damaged....



The front panel went on well, but needed several rivets to get it to sit snug against the door pillar. I bonded it, bolted through it for hinges on the tonneau, and used some giant rivets along the bottom edges....



The trailer hitch, wiring and plug all took time to finish....not perfect yet, but I like the safety cables as opposed to chains. I also used wiring harness looms to protect the wiring and it also looks nice and tidy.

I wired the top motor to a switch (sunroof motor switch) and installed the battery for both a counter weight for better tongue weight and also so I didnt have to deal with running power off the car.

The tongue weight was about 25lbs when all was said and done...but then I forgot a few things and had to put them up front....adding a few more pounds....though the wagon did not even sag at all when I put the trailer on the hitch!...amazing.

The front corners will have to be done later....finishing up the body work, running a channel for the tonneau top to be lifted by and a few other items are still left to do...but at least it is looking like the vision I had in the beginning...

Thanks to you forum members for encouraging me along the way.....now the final push!

JP
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  #141  
Old 07-04-2013, 06:56 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Outstanding work! I can't wait to see the finished trailer. It's nearly there.

Your estimate of 25 pound tongue weight (plus whatever you added) troubles me. What's your estimate on the total weight of the trailer? Your tongue weight should be 10-15% of the total weight of the trailer with load or you risk handling/towing problems. I know the thing's got to weigh more than 250 pounds.
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  #142  
Old 07-04-2013, 07:13 PM
07lilredwagon 07lilredwagon is offline
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Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
Outstanding work! I can't wait to see the finished trailer. It's nearly there.

Your estimate of 25 pound tongue weight (plus whatever you added) troubles me. What's your estimate on the total weight of the trailer? Your tongue weight should be 10-15% of the total weight of the trailer with load or you risk handling/towing problems. I know the thing's got to weigh more than 250 pounds.
My estimate when all was said and done was somewhere in the 40-50lb range...800lb trailer......

I have to say, the trailer handled amazingly well all the way up to NH....that car suspension with sway bar is so "un trailer like" it is almost unbelievable. Most trailers bounce around a bit due to the lack of shocks..but the "Billies" did a great job of keeping the thing planted and the new tires tracked extremely well. no wagging, no bouncing, good tongue weight for the car.....

I was expecting the thing to be a bit quirky, to be honest....home built and all...but it was extremely well behaved....I mean...it is a Bimmer...or since it has two wheels, is it now a Beemer?



JP
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  #143  
Old 07-04-2013, 07:38 PM
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dc_wright dc_wright is offline
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This is an awesome project! Hope you make it to BFE so we can see it first hand........
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  #144  
Old 10-14-2013, 07:11 PM
07lilredwagon 07lilredwagon is offline
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I will have a few pics to show you guys soon....Ive been making some steady progress on the trailer though life has definitely gotten in the way of any serious progress!

I was able to get some bedliner on the inner doors and floor boards, run my marker lights permanently, reinforce the tonneau cover frame where it was flexing, got the cover to sit nice and flush with the doors and cut grooves in the door panels for the top latching mechanism to lock in place. (now the top does not want to open up on the highway!)

Today, I went down to my buddies sign shop and fabricated a trailer wiring plug mount under the bumper that ties in with the receiver hitch. I bent one piece of aluminum and made a box for the plug with an arm that attaches to the hitch...once its painted you will barely be able to see it!...It, of course, took way longer than anticipated.

hope all is well!

JP
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  #145  
Old 10-14-2013, 07:23 PM
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We were looking for you at BFE and hoping you could make it, but stuff (life) certainly does happen!
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  #146  
Old 10-15-2013, 05:51 AM
07lilredwagon 07lilredwagon is offline
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Originally Posted by dc_wright View Post
We were looking for you at BFE and hoping you could make it, but stuff (life) certainly does happen!
We have family down that way so maybe next year when there is not the mad rush to get a project done!...would love to see the crew from Bimmerfest!

JP
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  #147  
Old 10-15-2013, 10:04 AM
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E36 Phantom E36 Phantom is offline
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Re: E36 trailer project

Quote:
Originally Posted by 07lilredwagon View Post
I mean...it is a Bimmer...or since it has two wheels, is it now a Beemer?



JP
Hahahaha......a very thought provoking question. Amazing to see it hooked up to a car and driving, what a sense of accomplishment!

I agree that your tongue is too light. Put it on a scale and weigh it. You may need to find a way to lighten the rear or add a bit of material up front. 5% isn't totally awful but it should be a bit more.

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  #148  
Old 10-21-2013, 06:49 AM
07lilredwagon 07lilredwagon is offline
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So here are those pics I promised you guys....

First one is the reinforcement I added to the tonneau frame: (Ill be adding a liner underneath to clean that area up...)


the next one shows where I needed to notch out the rain gutter a bit so the top would sit nice and flush..I also added grooves in the inner door panel so the top now locks onto the body...this helps on the highway especially when the top wants to lift up!....



Here is the interior light....it pulls out about 6 feet and reels back in...pretty cool!



finally, I built a plug housing for the trailer hook up from aluminum sheeting...now I dont have to route the wiring between the rear hatch door and the bumper which really did a number on the paintwork on the bumper!



thanks for looking!

JP
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  #149  
Old 10-21-2013, 07:41 AM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
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lol nice...



just a comment... some of your welds are a little cold... watch that penatration
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  #150  
Old 10-22-2013, 06:35 AM
07lilredwagon 07lilredwagon is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: NY
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 172
Mein Auto: 07 e91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Burning2nd View Post
lol nice...



just a comment... some of your welds are a little cold... watch that penatration

I do seem to get better as I go along...best advice so far: "Turn up the heat, then play with wire speed"

Ill keep at it.....thanks

JP
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