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-   -   53 Belair conv rust repair (https://www.hotrodders.com/forum/53-belair-conv-rust-repair-233635.html)

John long 06-04-2013 08:26 PM

53 Belair conv rust repair
 
I just brought home a 1953 Chevy convertible Monday that is 100% there. 100% there except for the bottom 6 inches that is. I have always built rusty cars no one else wanted but have tried to do a quality job of repairing them on a budget.

The key wordhere is budget. I admit to being frugal but friends all say I am cheap. Whatever, for me to be able to enjoy this hobby I must be able to build the car and have my money invested, not just spent

The cost of replacement floor pans, floor braces, inner rockers, outer rockers, lower quarter panels, tow boards, trunk pan, rear pan extension, tail pan, and rear splash apron is well over 3000 dollars. That is money that will buy front suspension, rear axle, and good buildable engine. Maybe even a complete parts car.

I have basic sheet metal tools but nothing exotic. Small 3' brake, Shrinker/stretcher jaws, home made slip roll, and a home made english wheel and 110v mig welder.

My purpose here is to show the new hot rodder who is apprehensive about what he can do what is possible with a little time and patience and not much money.

Below is the patient. She has stage four cancer but we are going to try to save her. If we don't who will? :mwink:

http://i1062.photobucket.com/albums/...ps3c8fe257.jpg

http://i1062.photobucket.com/albums/...pscefc1359.jpg


http://i1062.photobucket.com/albums/...ps61229529.jpg

So far I have stripped the inside, removed the front fenders and adjusted the doors. If the body shifts or moves during the build process I want to know it before everything gets welded together. Frequently checking door gaps will let me make sure it has not moved.

http://i1062.photobucket.com/albums/...psb1870170.jpg


Tomorrow I plan to cut the toe boards loose from the front floor brace and expose the brace. The first job will be to remove the brace and reproduce it.

I hope you guys follow along and feel free to comment share thoughts, opinions, etc.

http://i1062.photobucket.com/albums/...psefd99f05.jpg

Too Many Projects 06-04-2013 08:32 PM

I'm now subscribed to this thread...:cool:
Any way to weld tube braces from the dash to rear wheel wells or door pillars to prevent the body from flexing ??

John long 06-04-2013 08:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Too Many Projects (Post 1681960)
I'm now subscribed to this thread...:cool:
Any way to weld tube braces from the dash to rear wheel wells or door pillars to prevent the body from flexing ??

I will do that down the road. First I will build all 4 braces and the floor pan assembly. By having the doors on I can check them to see if the body tries to move. Then I will brace the car well before I unbolt it from the frame so it doesn't fold up or move on me. Also, I will pretty much have the entire assembly made along with inner rockers before I join them to the car to limit the effect of shrinkage when it is welded up. That way any stresses on the floor pan will not transmitted to the body.

John

MARTINSR 06-04-2013 10:10 PM

Going to be a good project. :D

Brian

deadbodyman 06-05-2013 06:07 AM

Looks like the kind of car I always fall for...Well, mabee a LITTLE nicer at least the car dont drop 2" when you open the door...The only thing more fun than doing this kind of work is WATCHING someone else do this kind of work. Thanks John I was getting a bit bored.....:thumbup:

boatbob2 06-05-2013 10:05 AM

Bracing the body.....
 
IF possible,I would save the trans tunnel,and make the front floor in 2 pieces welded to that tunnel.USE 5/8 in re-bar welded in, to X the body so it doesn't flex,front to rear,and side to side,IF the rockers need replacing those re-bars will need help to insure it doesn't move around,4 or 6 jack stands should help,looks like a very interesting project...;)

Ratdoggy 06-05-2013 01:05 PM

I'd brace it after I got the doors square. That is going to move all over the place when you cut out the floors. That's my 2 cents.

496CHEVY3100 06-05-2013 03:31 PM

John I didn't notice a cherry picker do you need to use on to set the engine out or will you leave it in to keep ride height level, great project .

John long 06-05-2013 08:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ratdoggy (Post 1682153)
I'd brace it after I got the doors square. That is going to move all over the place when you cut out the floors. That's my 2 cents.

Since this is a convertible there is no broblem with it moving at this point. If I am not able to get to all the damage in the bottom of the cowl I may even pop the windshield, pull the cowl assembly off and turn it upside down. after the braces and the lower structure is repaired I could reinstall it. Shim it. Hang the doors back and then tie it into the rockers. We will see how it goes. Unlike a sedan you don't have to worry about it shrinking. Until it is tied into the rockers it is a seperate unit from the rear body section.

Obviously It must be braced very well before it can be taken of the frame. When it is ready, I will cross brace it horizontally and vertically.

Quote:

Originally Posted by 496CHEVY3100 (Post 1682202)
John I didn't notice a cherry picker do you need to use on to set the engine out or will you leave it in to keep ride height level, great project .

I do David. Thanks. The truth of the matter is I couldn't wait to see how bad this thing was and have the cart befor the horse a bit. I also need to protect the windshield. A grinder will ruin a windshield in a heartbeat from a lot further away than you would think.

John long 06-05-2013 09:14 PM

I still have not decided for sure whether I am going to pull the cowl of the car. I did get the two front RH braces out of her today.

The good news is the A pillar support is in excellent shape. I took some patience to get the floor board loose from it since it is sandwiched between the frame support and the a pillar support.

Here is a shot of they A pillar support that I was able to leave in tact.

http://i1062.photobucket.com/albums/...ps48bbde5b.jpg

These are two braces I removed and will have to reproduce. The long one is not repopped as far As I know. The shorter one (second picture) is, but 2 of them are 140 dollars. Let's see what I can do.


http://i1062.photobucket.com/albums/...ps6089f0ad.jpg

http://i1062.photobucket.com/albums/...psfa26cd43.jpg

The bad news is the lower A pillar structure is gone. I will have to remove part of the outer skin to get to the inner structure. Both sides are so bad I don't have a really good pattern. Of course the key is building it in such a way it is strong, looks factory. provides lower attachment point for the front fender and provides a strong connection for inner and outer rockers.

This picture is hard to visualize. You can see the corner of the door. The area to the right and down from the door is the bottom of the A pillar.... Or lack there of.

Turn the picture about 45 degrees to the right and it is easier to understand it.

http://i1062.photobucket.com/albums/...ps32bc2ee4.jpg

Too Many Projects 06-05-2013 09:35 PM

.....http://www.smileyvault.com/albums/us...ce-popcorn.gif

Might want to find a cheap 4 door for cowl/pillar parts

John long 06-05-2013 09:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Too Many Projects (Post 1682287)
.....http://www.smileyvault.com/albums/us...ce-popcorn.gif

Might want to find a cheap 4 door for cowl/pillar parts

That is very good advice. I am looking for a picture that shows it now. There are several builds on the hamb.

This thread and project is about the budget build so I probably will go anead and fabricate them. That doesn't mean it is the smart thing though.:D

John L

496CHEVY3100 06-05-2013 09:59 PM

John when I was restoring 55-57 chevys ,I ordered from a place in Florida ,Titusville,, Classic Chevy International,, if I remember correct ,they have ANY and Every part for tri fives ,they were starting Late and great chevy for 58 -64 but now the have 52-54 parts ,They offer Ne as well as Good used parts ,might want to check it out.:D

John long 06-05-2013 10:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 496CHEVY3100 (Post 1682298)
John when I was restoring 55-57 chevys ,I ordered from a place in Florida ,Titusville if I remember correct ,they have ANY and Every part for tri fives ,they were starting Late and great chevy for 58 -64 but now the have 52-54 parts ,They offer Ne as well as Good used parts ,might want to check it out.:D

Thanks. I may decide I need to go that route. We will see when I get this opened up. I had to go get my Bead roller tonight. I had loaned it to my nephew awhile back. It was hard to quit and climb into the shower this afternoon.

John

NEW INTERIORS 06-05-2013 11:07 PM

Always great to see another one getting saved... Looking forward to seeing it come together... I know how you are feeling...:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

Too Many Projects 06-06-2013 06:41 AM

John, I respect that you want to meet the challenge of fabricating as much as possible and as "frugally" as you can. The area where that toe board, cowl, pillar, rocker, etc. etc. come together is critical to the overall alignment of the surrounding panels and structural integrity. I had the same scenario when I got into my '67 GTO. There are 7 LAYERS of metal all joined in that area. I took the "easy" way out and bought cut offs from donor cars. Makes the rest of the job much easier to work from.

The background somewhat hides details but the pillar piece on the left is what I cut out and the right is a mint donor from Oklahoma.
http://i1357.photobucket.com/albums/...ps0fd45e85.jpg

This is what I cut out to get to good metal. You can see what is left of the frame under the floor. It was completely rusted off.
http://i1357.photobucket.com/albums/...ps8235bec2.jpg

With one, intact piece, I was able to move on to the body mount and outer rocker replacements. I staggered the cut to avoid one straight weld line inside and out. I felt this would provide more strength and minimize warpage from welding. I did this to both sides.
http://i1357.photobucket.com/albums/...ps906dc7f6.jpg

OK, no more "unsolicited advice " from me, unless you ask...http://emoticon.activeboard.com/5071...KN0QBQS6TGPG2&

John long 06-06-2013 07:13 AM

I appreciate all advice and opinions. putting a new post on certainly would work well but that is not easy either. You have to find a REALLY GOOD one, cut it off, cut yours off and then you still have to open yours up to weld it in so that it has strength.

If I had a good one in my hand I probably would use it but I am not going to go looking for a 60 year old lower A pillar that is rock solid. Hey, this is the part I like, unlike most people.

My friends like to do the Fab work or build engines. I like the metal work. I know I am strange.

As far as unsolicited advice goes, I did solicit it at the beginning of this thread. I promise not to be offended by those who dissagree with what I am doing and I hope no one is upset if I truck along following my vision of what I want to do. Having fun is what this hobby is all about. :thumbup:

John

John long 06-06-2013 08:15 PM

I trimmed the front rh A pillar until I got to solid metal. It is in pretty good shape from here up. As you can see from the pictures I have made my first piece. It still has to be scribed trimmed and welded. I will not trim the bottom to length until it is welded in. That way I can know it will fit after I make the piece it joins. Also, larger pieces will not get as hot and when you are welding so difficult angles it will not blow through quite as easily.

I also ordered a set of outer rockers today. They are not too expensive and it will help me to position the inner rockers in the right space. I started another post concerning the odd way GM built the rockers but did not get any replies.

John

http://i1062.photobucket.com/albums/...ps2d203b47.jpg

http://i1062.photobucket.com/albums/...ps936ca397.jpg

MARTINSR 06-06-2013 08:55 PM

Oh yeah, you have some work to do! I have been thinking about how I am going to handle the rust in my trucks cab........I feel a lot better now. Take some photos a little further back from where you took that last photo. I see the door hinge up there so I have an idea of where you are but would like a little better grasp of it.

Brian

John long 06-06-2013 09:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MARTINSR (Post 1682540)
Oh yeah, you have some work to do! I have been thinking about how I am going to handle the rust in my trucks cab........I feel a lot better now. Take some photos a little further back from where you took that last photo. I see the door hinge up there so I have an idea of where you are but would like a little better grasp of it.

Brian

Here you go.

http://i1062.photobucket.com/albums/...ps809778aa.jpg

http://i1062.photobucket.com/albums/...psab1ad8bc.jpg

http://i1062.photobucket.com/albums/...psfbc2e434.jpg

MARTINSR 06-06-2013 09:17 PM

Hot damn, you are getting into that! I like how you have the car on jack stands, something often missed by people, good thinking.

Remember to protect my radio and dash knobs from welding and grinding sparks. :D

Brian

John long 06-06-2013 09:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MARTINSR (Post 1682544)

Remember to protect my radio and dash knobs from welding and grinding sparks. :D

Brian

LOL ......Not to mention my windshield. :)

PM me your address and phone if you don't mind me having it.

John L

John long 06-08-2013 06:15 PM

Did not accomplish a lot but my A pillar grew a couple of inches today. Still have more to weld at the front.

Amazon says mymPlasma Cutter will be here wednesday. :thumbup:

http://i1062.photobucket.com/albums/...ps23102fe9.jpg

Too Many Projects 06-08-2013 06:28 PM

You're gonna love a plasma...:D
I wear safety sunglasses with mine to reduce eye strain from the light. Many people don't wear anything and it doesn't seem to bother them, but I get an area of out of focus like a weld flash after a while without them.

John long 06-08-2013 06:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Too Many Projects (Post 1682914)
You're gonna love a plasma...:D
I wear safety sunglasses with mine to reduce eye strain from the light. Many people don't wear anything and it doesn't seem to bother them, but I get an area of out of focus like a weld flash after a while without them.

LOL. They do cut rust don't they?:D

Too Many Projects 06-08-2013 06:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John long (Post 1682921)
LOL. They do cut rust don't they?:D

Lots of spatter when you stray from rusty metal to pure rust. Be careful...;)

camaroman7d 06-08-2013 10:48 PM

John,

I don't have any helpful advice. I just want to tip my hat to you for even thinking about saving that car. As long as you enjoy it, that's all that matters.

deadbodyman 06-09-2013 07:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by camaroman7d (Post 1682982)
John,

I don't have any helpful advice. I just want to tip my hat to you for even thinking about saving that car. As long as you enjoy it, that's all that matters.

I couldnt have said it any better...working with this stuff is a challenge few are up to..welcome to the club...
Are you planning on any changes or modifications like ,taillights ,body drops suspension etc...

carolinacustoms 06-09-2013 09:10 AM

Looks like a lot of work ahead John, but I'm sure you can handle it. I look forward to the continued updates of the build. Kinda looks like a 68 Camaro we are working on, we are using the factory fire wall, EVERYTHING else will be replaced :pain:

Kelly

John long 06-09-2013 01:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by deadbodyman (Post 1683031)
I couldnt have said it any better...working with this stuff is a challenge few are up to..welcome to the club...
Are you planning on any changes or modifications like ,taillights ,body drops suspension etc...

It will probably be a mild custom painted red with white cove. I hope to make it a big block 4 speed car. Nosed, decked, lowered with skirts. PS PB Air etc. My intent was to subframe it but I keep reading posts that talk about what a nightmare it is to subframe these cars. I don't really want to spend 2500 dollars for a new mustang II set up. Not sure at this point how to best handle the front suspension. S10 was my original choice but there may be better ways. In the old days a lot of people used Cavalier racks on the origional suspension. Ball bearing wheel bearings with a bit block sounds a little iffy to me though. I just don't know.

If you look closely at my pictures it will occur to you, I have lots of time to decide. :drunk:

Quote:

Originally Posted by carolinacustoms (Post 1683068)
Looks like a lot of work ahead John, but I'm sure you can handle it. I look forward to the continued updates of the build. Kinda looks like a 68 Camaro we are working on, we are using the factory fire wall, EVERYTHING else will be replaced :pain:

Kelly

Do you need the rear steer subframe? :D

Thanks for the interest and support guys.

John

NEW INTERIORS 06-09-2013 03:41 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by John long (Post 1683164)
It will probably be a mild custom painted red with white cove. I hope to make it a big block 4 speed car. Nosed, decked, lowered with skirts. PS PB Air etc. My intent was to subframe it but I keep reading posts that talk about what a nightmare it is to subframe these cars. I don't really want to spend 2500 dollars for a new mustang II set up. Not sure at this point how to best handle the front suspension. S10 was my original choice but there may be better ways. In the old days a lot of people used Cavalier racks on the origional suspension. Ball bearing wheel bearings with a bit block sounds a little iffy to me though. I just don't know.

If you look closely at my pictures it will occur to you, I have lots of time to decide. :drunk:



Do you need the rear steer subframe? :D

Thanks for the interest and support guys.

John

Great job so far..:thumbup:
I think you been hearing about clip's from all the wrong people..:D
They work great when done right,,, And isn't as hard as some make it sound,, And usually the bad you hear about them is from the people that couldn't do it right in the first place..

I was thinking of mounting one like this in my 50 coupe...I think it would work fine..

https://www.hotrodders.com/forum/atta...1&d=1370814017

John long 06-09-2013 05:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NEW INTERIORS (Post 1683181)
Great job so far..:thumbup:
I think you been hearing about clip's from all the wrong people..:D
They work great when done right,,, And isn't as hard as some make it sound,, And usually the bad you hear about them is from the people that couldn't do it right in the first place..

I was thinking of mounting one like this in my 50 coupe...I think it would work fine..

https://www.hotrodders.com/forum/atta...1&d=1370814017

That is a really neat way to handle a narrow front end. I would consider doing something like that if it solved the brake problem, the wheel bearing probLem And the obsolete suspension in general.

Don't get me wrong, even though I am usually a Ford guy, I remember the Chevies of these years drove better than the Fords. I also remember that Corvette used this exact front end until 1962.

These front ends have ball bearings, kingpins and hydraulic shocks. I would like to get rid of all of it at the same time.

John long 06-09-2013 05:43 PM

Just a follow up to above. I am a big fan of GM subframes. I have done 2 of them and ended up with cars that drove and road great for very little money. The thing I don't want is a car whit the front wheels sticking out to far.

I hope to find some pictures of 49-54 chevies with S10 frame clips. They are good and narrow if I can deal with the front steer. M2 crossmembers work well but are pricey. Remember I am very, very frugal. :mwink:

John L

496CHEVY3100 06-09-2013 05:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John long (Post 1683210)
Just a follow up to above. I am a big fan of GM subframes. I have done 2 of them and ended up with cars that drove and road great for very little money. The thing I don't want is a car whit the front wheels sticking out to far.

I hope to find some pictures of 49-54 chevies with S10 frame clips. They are good and narrow if I can deal with the front steer. M2 crossmembers work well but are pricey. Remember I am very, very frugal. :mwink:

John L

John ,I don't know the frame width on the 53 car but a 53 truck a Pacer ,(did I say that ) is as close to a direct bolt in you can get it has I think 8 bolts then you set complete cradle out with ps pdisc rack $ pinion sway bars shocks all in ! unit just bolt it under I will go measure my frame width if you need me to ,,also the change narrows front track width 1 inch if that matters.:thumbup::thumbup:

John long 06-09-2013 06:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 496CHEVY3100 (Post 1683216)
John ,I don't know the frame width on the 53 car but a 53 truck a Pacer ,(did I say that ) is as close to a direct bolt in you can get it has I think 8 bolts then you set complete cradle out with ps pdisc rack $ pinion sway bars shocks all in ! unit just bolt it under I will go measure my frame width if you need me to ,,also the change narrows front track width 1 inch if that matters.:thumbup::thumbup:

LOL. just how plentiful are Pacer front ends? Seriously there some of the old technology really did work.

This a couple of years premature but here is what I am thinking.

When I built my Merc and put it on the '69 Skylark frame I had to deal with the front steer. I did it by making mounting pads that sat on the modified front frame horns. That eliminated the need for the radiator support. I used (I think) a '71 impala cross flow radiator. I could mount the front fenders and shim each side individually making front end alignment a breeze. I had a radiator that was factory matched to the 402 I was running and lastly, I fabricated all my inner fenders, splash panels, lower fender braces, radiator mounts.

Think about it. NO RUSTY SHEET METAL to deal with. I will see if I can come up with a picture of the Merc under the hood. I just don't know yet if there is enough room in front of the wheels to make the S10 clip work. Anyway I have lots of nights to think about this as sleep sneaks up on me. Thanks David.

John

Too Many Projects 06-09-2013 06:16 PM

Chassis engineering crossmember..has optional mounts. This is $640 and accepts all stock MII front parts. If you have a source for a scrapped MII and can get the rest for cheap, this might be an option. The only issue is it doesn't work with power rack, only manual. They also have a complete tubular arm, disc brake kit to complete this but it's another $1500

http://cdn2.bigcommerce.com/server13....1280.1280.jpg

John long 06-09-2013 06:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Too Many Projects (Post 1683224)
Chassis engineering crossmember..has optional mounts. This is $640 and accepts all stock MII front parts. If you have a source for a scrapped MII and can get the rest for cheap, this might be an option. The only issue is it doesn't work with power rack, only manual. They also have a complete tubular arm, disc brake kit to complete this but it's another $1500

I definitely is an option. I very well may end up doing that......

John

NEW INTERIORS 06-09-2013 06:29 PM

I was going to use the monte carlo front clip which is the same as a s10 just a little wider,,, But the front steering box would have been in the front pan infront of the rad..I read a few guy's on the hamb said they did it with the s10 clip and worked out nice.. I did a few clips with s10's and the steering box was always the problem... I did re-clip the front of a s10 race truck with a rack & pinion mounted in front instead of the box..Worked out great..

My coupe I sold a while back,, I just went install a Progressive Automotive
Mustang II on it... Worked out great... Very nice front end..


What's great about these cars is.. Once you unbolt the front end and take it out,,, It's ready for any mustang II kit... Very nice frame rails to work with..

deadbodyman 06-09-2013 06:38 PM

I think I'd use a subframe too those crossmembers with all the goodies are great time savers and look really cool but when labor is free,times not an issue and moneys tight, subframe it...I used a camaro subframe with 12" impalia rotors and Aframes and a 2000 camaro pwr rack (front steer) all from parts cars and cheap cheap, cheap,,,bagged it too.. the air bags were a buy i get i free so they turned out about 25.00 ea ....I dont see why it would be any harder than any other car..as long as the track width is close a little narrower would be better IMO...looks better when they're sittin on the ground....:mwink:

NEW INTERIORS 06-09-2013 06:43 PM

They have been done with camaro clip's,, But you can't turn when they are on the ground... The camaro clip's are to wide,,, The monte carlo front ends are not as wide... The s10 is a good clip if your ready to deal with the steering box...


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