Update #13 - Rust investigation #
There’s some rust just below the wind-screen. Today I’m removing the paint to see how extensive it is.
This is a notorious problem area on these cars. The vent here is for fresh cabin air. There’s an inner skin below the vent which stretches almost the full width of the car. There are circular openings in the inner skin at the outer edges of the foot wells on both sides. To stop rain water leaking into the foot well, there is an up-stand (cowl) around the openings. Of course, leaves and crap collect around these cowls and eventually rot them out. Then you start getting rain water on your feet and rust in your floor pan.
My cowls are definitely toast.
You can see the outer skin has some pretty substantial rust holes. You can buy replacement sheet metal for this whole area - the whole ‘cowl tank’. But this part is pretty expensive to get in Europe. So, I think I’m going to have a go at repairing this first. Worst case scenario is that I screw up the cowl tank and need to replace it anyway.
Either way, it’s a fairly big job to repair this problem, so I’m considering what I can do while I’m at it to reduce the chance of this area getting rotted out again. This car lives in a pretty damp climate after all.
You can buy a cover for the vent that you attach/detach as needed. It’s fairly easy to screw on when the car is parked to keep detritus from collecting. But it seems clunky. Another alternative is to just delete the fresh air vent entirely by welding in some sheet metal. With this approach, the air intake is greatly reduced, but not zero. There are drains for rain water behind the fender and they let in a little air.
I went at some of the rusty bits with a screwdriver and it turns out the inner skin of the tank has rotted out in this area too.