After weeks away from it, I went back to work on the middle row install.
I determined I needed to cut the wheel wells wider and deeper to get the seats to the right angle.
I started by removing the old seat back lock mechanism as the puma seats don't need them and the seats rub against them.
Then I mapped out a larger opening since the plate under the wheel arch that holds the old seat back latch is now or of the way.
I figured I would go as wide as I could, so a cut at 8" and fold at 9" looks like it wild be about the limit.
I used the new puma seat angle pad to try to determine the proper angle to cut. It looks like 2" down is perfect, but I opted to go 1.5" below the little flat edge on the wheel arch which is pretty close.
There is a strut on the underside of the tub at this point and it needs to get trimmed back to fold all the metal.
This looks to be the right cut out for the angles and the seat bases to clear. Keep in mind that I cut smaller than the final opening and bent the remaining parts to make the proper opening and have material to attach to.
This is the other side with the proper marks.
To get the existing metal to bend properly, I did a lite score with the 1/8" cutting wheel on the grinder which made for a straight bend with a hand brake tool.
Now that I had the material cut out, I needed to fill in the holes. I determined that a 12" x 12" piece of marital would work perfectly and ordered 2 pieces of
.064 aluminum sheet from amazon for $11 a piece delivered
I mapped out the bends I would need to make up the panel. Keep in mind the the bends add to the size if you bend on the lines, so I did it a little undersized. The final panel needed to be 9" wide and 11.25" tall, so I laid it out at 8.75 x 11.125 and it came out perfect.
One side needs a 1" down leg for attachment and the other is a 2.25" up leg to fill in the big angle hole. The pieces need to be mirror images for the opposite sides.
I took them to a buddies who does sheet metal duct work and we used his press brake to make the bends.
I set them in place to mark the angle of the old tub to trim. Keep in mind that I needed to trim some metal from the struts in the tub to get the 1" down leg that in toward the center of the truck to fit in the hole properly.
A few cuts and some clean up grinding and it fits like a glove.
I opted to use pop rivets to lock it in place.
Just drilled the 3/16" holes and popped them in. Is best to do one at a time as the affixing of the panel can cause the parts to shift and if you drill more than one hole at a time the rivets may not fit. I used 3/16" or 5mm rivets and you will need both 1/8" and 1/4" deep bodies ad some parts of the tub are double thick walls.
After the panels were affixed, I used body seam sealer to get everything water tight. I went a little over board, but I don't want any leaks with the carpet interior and the wheel really throws the water into this area when at speed.
I seam sealed the underside as well.
After the seam sealer dried, I re-glued /carpet back on the new arches.
The angles and the panels really turned it great and everything clears and looks and works as it should.
I'm really pleased with the end result and I hope my trial and error and notes can help someone else do this.
Next week be mounting the center seat attachment point.