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Old 08-15-2010, 08:48 PM
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Floorplan choice

I've recently picked up a 51 Chevy truck cab that my son & I are going to be building up into a custom hotrod.

It has some of the typical rust. One rear corner is shot and the other has some slight rust through. The bottom of the cowls are shot as well. The floor is there, but severely rusted and structurally unsound.

I can get all the replacement panels I need for about $900. The biggest chunk of that is $540 for the floorplan. Since my driver's door is not closing properly, I feel I should let someone with experience square the floor back up so everything lines back up.

I'm assuming that a good bodyman can build a new floorpan out of 16 gauge sheetmetal (with maybe some 1x1 tube reinforcement) for much less. I'm not going for an original restoration and it's going to be covered in carpet. So either way will work for me.

I know some people are concerned about doing a floorpan before placing the transmission. There's enough room where the transmission cover to adjust for the transmission placement, so I'm not concerned about that. So removing that, what is eveyone's opinion on replacement floorpans verses custom floors?
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:32 AM
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When I was building my '53 it took a lot of metal replacement. It had been a farm truck in the mid west (rust belt) so it was pretty well rusted out. I had to replace the firewall, all the floors, both lower "A" pillars, both rear cab corners, and a 2'x3' section of the rear cab wall behind the gas tank. The only commercial body panels I used were the cab corners and lower "A" pillars. Everything else I fabricated out of 14 and 16 gauge steel sheet.

Floors



Firewall



Cab after paint



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Old 08-16-2010, 10:21 AM
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Nice job on that 53. I couldn't tell from the picture, but did you buy the inner-to-outer cowl panels along with the outer cowl panels? Mine is an midwest farm truck too (41802 original miles).

My floor is rusted out enough that the mounts are displaced (especially on the driver's side). The lower A-pillars look decent as well as the rocker panels. There are a few spots on the bottom of the firewall that are rusted through for the first couple inches. I figured they could just be patched.

Any suggestions on supporting the cab while I try to square the body back out? I'm thinking that if I could get a brace in there between the A-pillars that the driver's door will straighten back out. Right now I have it sitting on a pair of wooden beams to get it up off my trailer enough to open the doors.

I'd rather do the work myself if I can. I'm new at cutting/welding metal but I have a buddy who is going to teach me. My only concern is getting the doors back into their proper place.

Eliminating the stamped inner cowls and floor plan would save over $600. I'm sure it can be done with just some normal sheet metal for less. Anyone have a guess at how much metal that will be?
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Old 08-16-2010, 02:53 PM
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With these old trucks you really need to set the cab down on the frame while you do any major structural work on the cab. Also a couple pictures of how the door is misaligned might help.
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Old 08-18-2010, 08:45 AM
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Nice work CL...I hate buying stuff too.
My floors or lack of them also needed replacing so I started by making the braces the rest was fairly simple but a truck would be even easier....I say ,make em yerself...
Oh, and what a great oppertunity to drop the body (channel it ) .....
just jack up the front pillar(or both)(you might have to draw them back together with a comealong too) until the door closes right ,weld in some temporary braces..
I have access to a press brake but any sheetmetal shop can bend up all your braces for 50.00 and the steel for the floors can be got cheap as 4'x5' cutoffs they have laying around in a pile...I like useing something called paint grip coated but any steel will do. I also use drill screws to hold everything together so it can be taken apart a few times until its just right...then weld it up....At most I have 150.00 in my floors including the trunk...
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Old 08-18-2010, 09:08 AM
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Can anyone get me the dimensions on the floorpan for a 47-54 Chevy truck? I'm wanting to get an idea of what the distance should be between the two A-pillars. My floor is a little warped so my driver's A-pillar is too far in. Since the rocker panels are strong enough to keep the door jam properly spaced, I should be able to reposition the A-pillar with a jack and a 2x4.

I think I'm going to end up doing this myself using 1x1 tubing for a subframe with 16ga sheet metal once I get the donor frame. Thinking of using 1x2 along the outside (to reinforce the rocker) and also across where the frame mounts would be. I think I might also drop the body an inch or two while I'm at it. I'm concerned with channeling too much since I don't want to lose legroom or have to relocate the gas tank. Also by doing it this way, I'm sure I'm getting into good metal on all the door pillars.


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Old 08-18-2010, 01:04 PM
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I got a 54 ,it'll take a day or two to get the measurements to ya..gives me a reason to visit my bro in law ,where I'm storing it...
I think you better X brace both door jambs to keep it from moving around ...did you look underneath to see if the mounts were shot???
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Old 08-18-2010, 02:06 PM
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As you can tell from the pictures above, most of the rust occurred around the front mounts. I have my wooden beams sitting across where the frame would have been.

Probably not a bad idea to x the door frames. Can I do that with just some cheap 1/2 square tube?
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Old 08-18-2010, 04:59 PM
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I welded 1/2" sq tube in mine, it worked great,or 3/4"electrical conduit,smash the ends flat and run a 10mm drill screw through it with one at the intersection of the X,instead of welding.that worked well too...
the pics clear up a lot ,I can see why the doors drop...
One good thing about fixing this kind of stuff,you cant screw it up ,you can only make it better... while your waiting for me to get those measurements check out the hinge pins and bushings for wear, its important they are tight...
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Old 08-18-2010, 05:41 PM
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you might also try cutting the floorpan out of some sort of modern production vehicle at the junkyard. the sheetmetal in recent cars & trucks will be ribbed which will add additional strength that you won't get out of a flat peice of sheet metal.

the floor pans will also be galvanized. this is good in the sense that the floorpans will not rust as easily. but bad in the sense that you'll have to grind off the paint & galvanized coating towards the edges where you'll be welding.
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Old 08-19-2010, 05:55 AM
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Also ,before you cut anything you have to make something to hold the cab up .I welded a 1"sq tube connecting the front and rear door openings then one connecting both front pillars and another connecting the rear pillars,essentially making a square ,then I added legs connecting the square to the frame (like a table) that held the car up and in place while I cut out the floor and built the frame for the floor...although my floor is flat steel right now its only drill screwed together and not welded ,it might have to come apart for seat braces or something...later on when everything is completly together I'll take it all apart and use my bead roller to put some beads in it and make it look a little more stock,then I'll weld it up tight...Now, when I went to drop the body I snugged a jack up to it and cut the legs the amount I wanted to drop it then lowered the jack and welded them back in place.here a few pics but you gotta look close at all the bracing I did ...your truck will be a lot easier...but basicly the same...the last pic shows how much dropping the body changed the whole look of the car ,these two cars are both 48 biz coupes
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Old 08-23-2010, 07:46 AM
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Centerline, I noticed you got rid of yourstraight axel and went with tube A arms and a rack without subframing ....is that a kit? can you get a better picture of it? thats what I want to do also ...
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Old 08-23-2010, 08:05 AM
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I got your measurements...
first, the bottom hinge has two bolts at the top and one bolt at the bottom ...right???? and the top hinge has one bolt at the top and two at the bottom....
So I measured from the inner most bolt on the bottom hinge set of two and went straight across to the same one on the opposite door and got 58 1/4" thaats center to center
on the top hinge the two bolts are on the bottom measuring straight across to the other side I got 58 5/8" center to center
then I made an X measurement going from drivers top (using all the same bolts) to pass bottom and got 59 1/2"
then drivers bottom to pass top and got 59 1/2" also ,this X measurement tells me its square,if the numbers were differnt somethings racked and would have to be lifted or dropped untill the numbers match...
the length of the floor between the front and back pillar is 32 3/4"
I was talking to my bro in law and he said those floor pans are pretty cheap so you should look into it ...it might be a lot easier for you being your first one....I took pics but they came out bad ...my camera'sbeen dropped one to many times...
On the good side ,Those rockers look very easy to replace...
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