Once the vehicle was stripped of all components, the real rot was exposed! As the chassis is thin (2mm or so) box section mild steel, it is prone to rusting, especially in the lower sections where water and mud can collect and fester. My vehicle had its fair share of rusted areas (although I must admit, I have seen a lot worse!). It is essential that all the major rust areas are cut out, and replaced with new steel plate, to preserve the strength of the box-section design. It is also important that all these modifications are carried out prior to galvanising the chassis, else one cannot perform the modification later without compromising the integrity of the corrosion protection.
The first step was to cut as much of the rusted sections out as possible. Then, I took the chassis (and other key components such as the bulkhead) to be sandblasted. This exposed even more rot, which could then be further cut out. One of the benefits of cutting the chassis open before sandblasting was that one can sandblast inside the openings, and thus clean-up the internal steel somewhat prior to welding and galvanising.
Then began the long and laborious process of cutting steel plates to fit the various openings, and TIG welding them in place, and cleaning them up with an angle grinder. Now, in addition to my lack of spray-painting skills, I am also a lousy welder! So, there was much cursing and throwing of toys before the job was complete. However, the vast amount of welding required did improve my welding skills somewhat (not to mention the bright red "tan" I received on unprotected areas of my skin!).
I did make a few modifications to the chassis, such as bracing the bulkhead outriggers with a 45 degree angle iron, as I noticed all new chassis' seemed to have added that improvement. I also did repairs to the bulkhead (welding fatigue cracks, and replacing a nasty section of body putty in the one door pillar), as I was planning on having that galavanised as well (a contentious subject, but something I am glad I did with hindsight).
The galvanisers I decided upon had a minimum fee per job, which was way more than the mass of the chassis would have justified. I therefore decided to send as many components as I could to be galvanised, as they would essentially be done for "free". In the end, I delivered 126 individual parts to them, ranging from the chassis and bulkhead, down to handbrake brackets and washers! I was most worried about them losing such small components in their large baths and industrial-style processes, but to their credit, every single item turned up when the job was done...
Whilst the finish of the galvanising was far from pretty, I think the superior corrosion protection it affords outweighs the effort required to clean-up and prepare the finished items (well, that was what I was at least telling myself...).
Ever since I dreamed of undertaking such a restoration, I have wanted to post a picture of my galvanised chassis and associated components such as the one below. So, finally, here it is....!!