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hinges56 05-14-2012 04:33 PM

56 belair rusted cowl
Has anyone had this problem before? The inside cowl drain trough was completely clogged with debris so it rusted through the cowl panel behind the front fender. The lower part was clogged full of sand so it did the same thing and rusted the lower door hinge support as well. On the passenger side I welded a new piece for the hinge support and a patch for the cowl that was rusted. Now that I'm looking at the drivers side, I'm wondering if I should have taken the whole cowl side panel off to seal around everything inside? Would this cause engine fumes or even a draft to enter [IMG][/IMG] [IMG][/IMG] [IMG][/IMG] the inside of the car?

hinges56 05-16-2012 01:10 AM

Depressing update!
It looks like I'm the only one with this mess! Not only did the cowl trough drain rust, the metal between the drain and the inside of the car is rusted out. The first time I washed the car, the floor board would have been soaked!If you look at the top of the pic you can see the trough that catches the water from the cowl area and then the water runs down and out the bottom, or in my case, onto my feet on the floor board. I have my work cut out for me now. [IMG][/IMG]

MARTINSR 05-16-2012 12:05 PM

It isn't that you are the only guy, I can guarantee you are not, but the others simply haven't seen your post.

Many cars will have problems like this, my car had similar rusted holes, just in a different area of the cowl being it isn't a 56 Chevy. But I took each piece and repaired them, cutting out and replacing the rusted metal with "new", or in my case some of it was from a parts car that wasn't rusted.

Keep us posted on how you are doing it they are a cool car and worth saving.


AutoGear 05-16-2012 02:24 PM

My dad has a 55 chevy. Same problem as yours only maybe not so bad in some places and worse in others. He basically replaced the firewall and rebuilt the bracing, drains etc. If I remember correctly, he opened up the cowl and treated the rust inside completely, which is the only real answer. Take pics, measurements and make templates. Split the work into smaller pieces and when you get tired or frustrated, work on something else.

He was supposed to do a 1yr clean up and go; ended up with new partial floorpan, trunk floor patch, quarter panel, inner and outer rockers, both rear wheel houses, new brace for the rear shocks and plenty more. It took 5yrs. Best info aside from the above is get yourself a woulda saved our backs and been much much faster, and you can sell it when you're dont and recoup most of the money

ogre 05-16-2012 02:54 PM

this happens to the 55-59 chevy trucks all the time
i recommend to the truck guys to shave the cowl vent
cab corners, hinge pockets, firewall, inner cowl and floors
all rust out from the cowl filling with junk and not draining

shaved cowl vent is easy on the trucks

malc 05-16-2012 03:05 PM

Might find replacement cowl parts here, Danchuk Manufacturing 1955-1956-1957 Classic Chevy Parts

John long 05-16-2012 03:41 PM

Hey Hinges. Welcome to the wonderful world of street ridding! Remember now. You are doing this for fun. I started building cars in the 70's, Had very little money but lots of determination. My friends still kid me about the junk I have built. That includes a 55 Chevy I paid $650 dollars for and brought a $25,000 bid in Atlanta.

There is nothing there you can't fix if you are determined and want to do it. I believe the key is, you have to enjoy the garage time and the feeling of accomplishment you get when you bring something back from the dead. When I build a car, I focus on one task. That way I get to feel warm and fuzzy when it is complete and I am ready to move on to the next.

If the cowl is going to be the big challenge, find out how far you need to trim back to get to solid metal. Take lots of pictures and measurements. Open the panel up tp where you can access the inner most piece that needs to be replaced. Work your way out and you will eventually have a rock solid cowl. Post pictures as you go. It will help to know the rest of us are impressed and are rooting you on. The satisfaction you get if you do well can not be measured. Good luck.
John L

hinges56 05-19-2012 02:09 PM

Thanks for all your support. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed on my last post so your support did help! The metal around the hinge bracket, the cowl drain, the metal behind the drain and the cowl outer cover all have to be replaced. The cowl cover came today but the rest I had to be make. [IMG][/IMG] [IMG][/IMG] [IMG][/IMG]

John long 05-20-2012 03:04 PM

Now that is what it's all about. I just got back from the Good-Guys show in Nashville. Lots of really great 100,000 dollar cars. What you just did is more interesting than anything I saw this weekend. Great job. I hope you keep us updated on your progress. You have to be really pleased and enjoying a great feeling of accomplishment. :thumbup:

John L

hinges56 06-09-2012 11:34 AM

two pinholes turned out to be real bad!
All done with the exception of installing the cowl cover. I think the drain itself was the hardest to make. I have surface rust in the cowl below the window that I have to take care of before I install the cowl cover. About the time I think I'm getting the rust under control, More rust pops up! Two pinholes that I poked with a ice pick in the top of the rear quarter panel turned out to be real bad! I cut out the inner fender to get access to it. It's still hard to get to and there's the undercoating that is a real *****! After removing some of the undercoating, I see that the rust is real bad! I'm trying to remember how fun this is. I'll post more pics soon.

hinges56 06-11-2012 02:10 PM

new pics
[IMG][/IMG] [IMG][/IMG] These are pics of the completed cowl drain and lower door hinge mount. I should have used a smaller brush for the seam sealer because got a little carried away with it! I think I have to drill holes in the cowl cover for spot welds in order to fasten the drain flange to it because when the cover goes on,there's no more access to it. Before, when i did the passenger side repair, I wasn't aware that the hinge mount was suppose to have a cover on it because all of it was rusted away! I'll have to try to fish one up from the bottom drain hole or Ill be cutting another hole in the finished cowl cover to put it in. :spank:

John long 06-11-2012 07:46 PM

Wow. The before and after pics tell the story. Congratulations on some real progress. :)

John L

tech69 06-11-2012 11:30 PM

nice work. Keep plugging away!

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