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Old 02-22-2008, 10:16 AM
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Fabricating Trans Tunnel ?

I've got most of the trunk, tubs, and floor roughed in but will soon have to tackle the trans tunnel. This is the first sheet metal work I've done so my skill is limited. What do you guys think is the best way to handle this task. I plan on riveting the sheet metal in most of the car but the trans tunnel, I'm guessing, will probably have to be made from several pieces and welded together.
I'm using 18 gauge sheet metal for the tunnel and will have to hand form them as I don't have a roll. I formed the drive shaft tunnel on a city light pole across the street and was hoping I could do the same with the trans tunnel sections.
How much do you think it will distort welding the sections together? Also, what do you think would be the best method for attachment it to the floor?
Included a few pics of what I have so far.
Thanks.

Ed
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:10 AM
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Looks like you've done a fair amount of welding already without problems. If you had a sheet metal shop roll a piece on a bias you could get that trans tunnel in one piece with careful trimming and placement. Do it like you probably did the tubs, make a cardboard template. Welding MIG wire feed you know the tricks, short runs, push the wire instead of dragging, let it cool between runs, you should be ok. TIG, even easier. I did my front cover in two pieces so I could get at bolts, you could use dzus fasteners as well. Plenty of options.
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:47 AM
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From the pictures you are ok on the fab part. Just make sure you have enough room for feet and pedals.

Dzus fasteners work great. Maybe get a Cleco set to pin things together first.

There are other fasteners that feature blind nuts that you can use.

Try
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Old 02-22-2008, 12:17 PM
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68novaSS,
I'll probably weld everything in place because this is a street rod and it will have a full interior as well as a console, carpet and lots of insulation so I won't have easy access to the tunnel when it's finished. Even if the sheet metal distorts a little, I guess it won't matter much because it will all be covered anyway.

bentwings,
I do have a cleco set and they work great, just need to get more clamps.
You're right about the pedals. It may be a bit tight for the throttle pedal but I think I'll be ok. May have to get narrower seats though, not much clearance between the drive shaft tunnel and seat

Thanks.
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Old 02-22-2008, 01:26 PM
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If you can get some poster board somewhere a good large piece or two you can bend a template and then cut your piece of metal using that as a pattern..bending the metal around a pipe or post works well..just leave a bit of trim for your self..

Sam
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Old 02-22-2008, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by americanLT1
bentwings,
I do have a cleco set and they work great, just need to get more clamps.
You're right about the pedals. It may be a bit tight for the throttle pedal but I think I'll be ok. May have to get narrower seats though, not much clearance between the drive shaft tunnel and seat

Thanks.
On the seats take a look at the seats from a jeep cherokee..the mounts for those are narrow at the bottom to clear the tunnel on those..Might give you an idea of what to do on seat mounts..

Sam
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Old 02-22-2008, 01:54 PM
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I hope those panels are not welded in yet.

If so, you are in for ONE NOISEY ride. All that tinwork needs to be beadrolled or the panels will oilcan.

If you are welded, you are commited. You MAY be able to form a hat channel underneath and plug weld it to the large floor panels. Use a high quality spray on noise dampner underneath after installing the channel, then do the top with that rolled stuff that sticks like rubber roofing material.

Otherwise, you wont hear yourself think.
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Old 02-22-2008, 01:58 PM
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It will be hard to make it in one piece,I would make it into about three pieces.Make your templates out of poster board,It's not to hard to make,Just take a little time,
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Old 02-24-2008, 06:29 AM
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You might try rolling a panel over your leg while sitting down, or over a padded tube to get a conical roll. Takes a bit of practice but is much more controllable than bending over a pipe. The trick is to slide the metal a little while pressing down, and do it in multiple passes. I've attached two pictures of roll forming this way.

John
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:40 PM
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Could you panel bond it, or maybe bend up some 1'' x 1'' pieces shaped like a V and panel bond that to the panels.

Rob

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Old 02-25-2008, 12:18 AM
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I want to be like John Kelly when I grow up... (honest )...I usually glue or tape a bunch of strips of 3/4" - 1" square wood over the top of the trans at the highest points,,this gives me a space that is the thickness of the clearance I want to maintain. Then I lay a piece of poster board over the top of the trans, trimming as I go until I have it laid down tight over the boards and fitting nicely at the firewall, floor and rear tunnel. Now I have a template.

Trim out your steel or aluminum to the template and bend it over whatever you can find, knee , lamppost, table edge....

I usually leave the ends a little long, sometimes a bit is lost in the translation.

Or you can make a wooden station form, and bend the tunnel over it.
I make cardboard templates over the trans, then wooden stations get cut from the templates, then nailed to a base board, then bend the steel over it.


This tunnel I made from 18 g so I bent the sheet for it on a bender that I made from a scrap of 2" roll bar tubing and some 1X2 rectangle tubing..I did the major bends then tweaked it till it fit my stations.


I beat up the pie cut end some on a sand bag and a trailer ball clamped in a vise to get the ends curved like that.





Hope this helps,

mikey,
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Old 02-25-2008, 06:42 AM
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Lots of good info here. Thanks guys I appreciate it.

When I first started the sheet metal, I was using poster board from a local arts and crafts shop and it was a bit thin so it didn't keep it's shape well on larger pieces. I went to a upholstery supply shop and picked up some board, not sure what the proper name is, they come in sheets about 2' X 3' and are at least double the thickness of poster board and they are only $1.00 a sheet. It keeps it's shape well and I could bend it in my brake.
I think I will make the trans tunnel in at least three pieces and make a removable section around the shifter to help with transmission removal.

Jeff, I haven't permanently installed any of the metal yet and your right about some of the panels being a bit flimsy
I have a bead roller and played with it a bit this weekend on some scrap to see how much it distorts the metal. I think I'll wait till I have some help to bead roll my finished pieces.
This car has a lot of frame under it so there are quite a few attachment points and I was hoping that would help give the sheet metal the strength needed.

Good idea with the template Mikey.

What are your opinions on riveting instead of welding on this floor?

Thanks for the input guys.

Ed
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Old 02-25-2008, 07:10 AM
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I hesitate to include this since it is fairly crude metal work compared to Mikey's tunnel and the methods offered by other posters. I also purposely made the top of my trans tunnel flat - for later use as a console/cup holder etc. You will also note from the pictures that as others have suggested, I had to sort of zig and zag with the tunnel shape in order to allow enough foot room for pedal operation.

My floor panels are welded to 1x1 bracing on the under side (to prevent oil can) and I made the trans and drive shaft tunnels separate and removable. You can see the entire fabrication here , here , and here .

Attaching trans tunnel to firewall and floor:



Floor panels being welded in:



Forming up the trans tunnel:



And the drive shaft tunnel:

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Old 02-25-2008, 08:31 AM
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You are too humble Dewey, you build entire cars from scratch, and spend less than a decade building them, ..and drive them, and they are anything but crude.

AmericanLT1-
Rivets are ok if you don't mind ugliness on the underside. I have found the double thickness poster board at picture framing shops, they call it "Matte" board.

Later, mikey
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Old 02-25-2008, 09:27 AM
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Good point mikey,
I didn't think about the rivets from underside.
Maybe I can weld the visible seams and rivet at the frame rails.

Lookin' good Dewey.
You'll be finished way before me.

Ed
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