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Old 10-23-2004, 06:02 PM
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help with frenching taillights

I did a search on this, but did not find much.

I am doing frenched taillights on my 69 Bug and I have a decent set up for the lights and the buckets they will sit in, but I am having trouble with one little thing.... Should I trace the bucket onto the fender and cut it out completely then weld the bucket in or should I cut slits and bend the pie shapes into the bucket, weld, grind, fill, and shape.

This is the first time I have ever attempted this type of body work, so any help would be appreciated. The surface is not flat, so I want to make sure I don't end up with a hole that is not the same shape and size as the bucket.

I am using the part that usually sets the taillight out from the fender as my bucket as I figured that this would be the right shape to match the fender contours. I simply modified the brackets that hold the lens etc. and instead of sticking out they will sink in. I think I am on the right track with my idea, but I am having trouble figuring out how to actually do it.

Another question is since the buckets were originally chromed, what is the best way to get the chrome off to ensure a good weld and a surface that will hold paint well?

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Old 10-23-2004, 06:19 PM
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If you can get to the under side of the fender, I would weld the housing on then cut it out from the under side with a air hacksaw.
You would get less warpage that way.

Try bead blasting the chrome of.

Troy

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Old 10-23-2004, 11:55 PM
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This is how I would go about this. I would bolt the taillamp in as usual, and trace around the bucket with scriber. I would then cut out the hole about an eigth inch INSIDE the line to make the hole a that much smaller and leave the "fine tuning" until later.

You will need to trim off the last eigth inch of the bucket being it has a tiny lip and mounting flange. I would trim it RIGHT on the edge by grinding the corner of that edge until it is gone. I am talking at a 45 degree to the 90 degree edge, effectivly cutting off the edge and the ring with mounting flanges will come right off.

Then, you will be installing the right tail lamp on the left side and visi-versi. Because they will be installed backwards and if you didn't do that they would angle in instead of being straight back.

Next, hold them inside where you want them, being careful not to have them turned or something, maybe you could mark the very top or something so you will always know where you are as you tack them in.

At that point, I have taped something like that in, or simply held it with one hand while tacking with the mig with the other. Or best yet have someone hold it for you along with a piece or two of tape. This kind of thing is pretty hard to clamp some how, so these tips may be the only way to do it. Nothing else pops into my head right now. If I was standing there doing it, I am sure there is something else to do but that is all I have to offer right now.

By the way, with the fenders bolted on the car you can check to see how straight they are by doing the following:

You can put a straight edge laying on the bottom of the bucket and "hanging" off the back of the car and hold it there while a friend measures the distance from this straight edge down to the bottom of the fender. This will tell you the exact angle the tail lamp is at, make the two match. Now, if you want to go a little further, (I am pretty anal) you could make a "jig" out of a flat piece of metal and a rod. Weld the rod to the a piece of metal that will bolt into the where the lens goes. This rod and metal would have to be PERFECTLY at right angle with one another. You would make two of these and bolt them to each bucket with the tail lamps tack welded in the fenders and the fenders mounted to the car sitting perfectly level.

You would then have these rods sticking out the back of the car and you could see if they were level, in or out on either side. You could literally make them perfect this way. Nothing would blow this more than having one taillamp aiming to the left and the other aiming to the left as well! But if you mark the fender as I said, it will be pretty darn close.

I would tack it in, before or after triming the hole perfect, I am not sure. If you are able to tack it in pretty good and then trim with some good left and right cut tin snips that would probably be the best for you. Even if the tacks are a little funky, after you trim the rest and get those areas welded well, you can grind the tacks off and re-do that area to perfection.

If you fit this thing real nice, a little bead all the way around (a little at a time as to not over heat and warp) will be the way.

I have done things like that where a nice detailed grinding is all you need to finish.

I have a "Basics" on frenched antenna if you want it. I did a zillion frenched antennas on Bugs to perfect a pretty good procedure if I must say so myself.
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Old 10-23-2004, 11:59 PM
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See page 10 of my Project Journal.
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Old 10-24-2004, 12:16 AM
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Very cool Willy's the angle finder is great way to do that. That is one tool everyone needs in the garage. The more you use it the more ways you think of new things to use it for. I have used it for frenched antenna but never even thought of it for the tail lamps for some reason, very cool.
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Old 10-24-2004, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by MARTINSR
Very cool Willy's the angle finder is great way to do that. That is one tool everyone needs in the garage. The more you use it the more ways you think of new things to use it for. I have used it for frenched antenna but never even thought of it for the tail lamps for some reason, very cool.
What is an angle finder????
Please explain

Simo,,..
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Old 10-24-2004, 12:51 PM
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"Angle finder" (click here)

Proper name is a "Protractor". But commonly called an "angle finder" because, well, it provides you with the angle something is at in relation to the earth.

It is a very valuable tool and can be used in many places while building a car as Willy's proves. It has a magnetic base to mount it to anything metal along the bottom as he displays here or on the front of it you can see as well to mount it to something vertical. The dial on the side is weighted at the bottom so what every position you mount the tool the dial will rotate telling you the degree that mounting surface is at.
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Old 10-24-2004, 07:22 PM
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A handy little tool,



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Old 10-24-2004, 11:35 PM
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I'm going to french 39 Ford taillights into my 36 Ford fenders. Any hints on what to use for the housing? Dan
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Old 10-24-2004, 11:54 PM
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Dinger, just make them from scratch or visit a few street rod sites and find who sells premade ones. I am thinking Speedway has them.
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Old 10-25-2004, 11:03 AM
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Could someone explain exactly what "Frenching Taillights" is?
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Old 10-25-2004, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by MARTINSR
"Angle finder" (click here)

Proper name is a "Protractor". But commonly called an "angle finder" because, well, it provides you with the angle something is at in relation to the earth.

It is a very valuable tool and can be used in many places while building a car as Willy's proves. It has a magnetic base to mount it to anything metal along the bottom as he displays here or on the front of it you can see as well to mount it to something vertical. The dial on the side is weighted at the bottom so what every position you mount the tool the dial will rotate telling you the degree that mounting surface is at.
thanks,, i now understand,

Quote:
Originally posted by troy-curt
A handy little tool,



Thanks Troy ,,
wow that is some accurate lookin angle gauges.
Simo

[QUOTE]Originally posted by MARTINSR
"Angle finder" (click here)

Proper name is a "Protractor". But commonly called an "angle finder" because, well, it provides you with the angle something is at in relation to the earth.

It is a very valuable tool and can be used in many places while building a car as Willy's proves. It has a magnetic base to mount it to anything metal along the bottom as he displays here or on the front of it you can see as well to mount it to something vertical. The dial on the side is weighted at the bottom so what every position you mount the tool the dial will rotate telling you the degree that mounting surface is at.
[/QU

MARTINSR,,
My computer is in a good mood
I got thse pics, wow ,,,wow ,,they make sense ..

Thanks very much
Simo

Last edited by Simo; 10-25-2004 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 10-25-2004, 11:50 AM
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This is a stock side marker on the front fender of a 69 camaro.

This is a frenched side marker on the front fender of a 69 camaro.




Here's another one stock on a 69 chevelle.



Troy


Last edited by troy-curt; 10-25-2004 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 10-25-2004, 02:54 PM
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Frenched tail lights


Frenched headlights
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Old 10-25-2004, 03:41 PM
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So a frenched light is a light that does not go outside the contour of your body??

By the way, who's chevy is that? I love that truck, we are working on one this winter. Seeing makes me anxious for winter.

Last edited by tyman00; 10-25-2004 at 03:52 PM.
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