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Discussion Starter #21 (Edited)
End of August 2016
Son-number-one helped me knock the rust off of the frame until he ground through the cord on his angle grinder. Once again reduced to one functioning grinder, I continued alone. I picked up some rectangular steel and a big hunk of pipe remnant to replace my cross member and trans mount. I was told that the original K member put a lot of stability into the frame and it made sense as there was now just the steering crossmember and the rear cross brace back by the bumper. I added fish plates to mount my new cross member. I've learned that the straight, vertical edge isn't the best technique but I think it will hold up in this low power cruiser.
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I swear it took a day just to cut those sections of pipe off.

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I ended up connecting those lower 4-link mounts to the crossmember but it wasn't done in these pics.
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I didn't have any headers yet and consequently, I didn't think much about the exhaust cutouts I built into the crossmember. If I had it to do over again, I would try to get them more lined up with the header downpipes and make a run back with less angles.

I finished the removable trans mount with a thick hunk of scrap that sits on top of the crossmember so I won't have to worry about shear forces on the bolts like my first attempt.
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Here you can see the sections of rectangular steel I added to tie the lower 4-link to the back of the crossmember.
I had a driveshaft made this year and during mock-up, I was able to fully articulate the rearend without any clearance issue on that crossmember. I still have that pipe chunk so I could add a half circle relief cutout if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Sept 2016
I finish welded everything on the suspension and new crossmember and shot some paint on it.
I lowered my old, blue body in the garage down to the floor so I could reuse my sawhorse to support the red body for the frame swap. I made sure the kids were in the house and used my cherry picker to hold the red body up in the air.
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It was like a 12-point turn but I finally got the modified frame underneath the red body.

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I lowered the body and discovered all the areas that I hadn't cut out of this body yet that held it a few inches off the frame. A few slices with the cutoff wheel got it down where it belonged. Then I reversed the whole procedure again and made a roller out of the old blue body.
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Discussion Starter #23
That was pretty much it for 2016. I didn't do much of anything with the 54' during 2017-2018.
Like Rupert Holmes said
I was tired of my lady. we'd been together too long. Like a worn out recording. Of a favorite song....

Anyway, this new beauty came into my life and completely sidetracked me for the next two years.
364 Nailhead, musty interior, what more could you want.

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Discussion Starter #24 (Edited)
While I didn't do any real work on my 54' during 2017-2018 I did use the time to build a detailed parts list for most of what I needed and shopped around to find the best prices between Summit, Speedway, Rockauto etc. It took quite a while because everything was mismatched.
Drum brake parts for a Nova rear end, disc brake parts for a Monte Carlo, Mustang gas tank, sending unit, filler neck, aluminum radiator, Camaro clutch and flywheel, wiring harness, clutch master and slave cyl, brake master, steering column, fuel lines, brake lines, throttle cable etc. etc. etc. I ordered my parts in the spring of 2019 along with an Eastwood bead roller and a shrinker/stretcher set.

I had also ordered a summit universal rod builder 2.5" exhaust kit and a couple cherry bombs back in 2018. I search craigslist and facebook regularly and found a couple sets of block hugger headers to try with my setup.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
March 2019
I got my 54 back in the garage, did some more body trimming for the wheels, frame and suspension. I hoisted the body back up onto the sawhorse and poorboy crane in the rear. Once the body is up, I screw a 2x4 to the uprights of the crane, though the rear wheel openings so the come-along isn't supporting the body by itself. In general, I make it a point to not hang out under jacked up cars or bodies but the 2x4 made me feel a little better.

I stuck a set of the block huggers on and started to build up the exhaust.
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I tried to use a chunk of PVC to figure out the up/down left/right angle without a bunch of trimming and fitting on the actual exhaust pipe. I guess it worked but after this connection, I just worked directly with the metal.
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The Buick reminds me of Brad's(Judge Rienhold's) car in the movie "Fast Times at Ridgemont High".

Liking the '54 build, that body style is growing on me as I get older, i didn't care for it when I was younger. I do like it a lot better than the Shoebox Fords.
I really dig the fastback Fleetline styling GM was doing '49-52....too bad they didn't do it '53-54
 

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Discussion Starter #27
The Buick reminds me of Brad's(Judge Rienhold's) car in the movie "Fast Times at Ridgemont High".

Liking the '54 build, that body style is growing on me as I get older, i didn't care for it when I was younger. I do like it a lot better than the Shoebox Fords.
I really dig the fastback Fleetline styling GM was doing '49-52....too bad they didn't do it '53-54
Yep, Brad had the same car in the flat top variety. I'm running into a problem where my taste in cars is expanding but my real estate is not:LOL:
 

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Discussion Starter #28
My bench vise is pretty small and wore out so I wasn't able to bend the steel I got for exhaust hangers. I made this jig out of scrap to bend up the hangers.
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Here you can get an idea of how I hung the exhaust.
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I'll most likely run the rest of the exhaust straight back and under the axle. Probably leave this section clamped together so I can potentially drop the rear exhaust with just two clamps in case I have to do anything with the rearend.
 

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Just looking at the pictures, it appears the drive shaft and rear cross member may want to occupy the same real estate with the air bags inflated. Is that just an optical illusion?

John
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Just looking at the pictures, it appears the drive shaft and rear cross member may want to occupy the same real estate with the air bags inflated. Is that just an optical illusion?

John
Hi John,
I had the same concern. I finally had a driveshaft made a couple of months ago and put it in place long enough to cycle the suspension. So far it clears with plenty of room but I have thought about putting a half chunk of pipe there for additional clearance. In case I do some Dukes of Hazard maneuvers or anything. I have a post that’s still waiting for moderator approval that shows a bit more detail on the crossmember and frame. I think I might be posting too many pictures or something. A couple posts have required approval while others haven’t. I think it would be smart to change the pinion seal while I can still access the rearend from above so I haven’t bolted the shaft in for good (or built the tunnel or mounted rear shocks or bought rear shocks..... haha). These are next up on my to do list so hopefully I’ll have it nailed down soon.
 

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That makes sense. I could tell from the things you are doing, you would not make that mistake but the picture sure makes it look possible.

Keep up the good work. 👍

John
 

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Discussion Starter #32
April 2019
With the frame work finished and the exhaust ran back as far as I dared without the gas tank in, I pulled the engine and trans for the 100th time. I had attempted to paint my stepfathers car the previous fall and consequently, my frame sat outside for a while and got a bit of surface rust. I went ahead and pulled the front end apart so I could clean and repaint everything. I also ran the rear brake line and fuel line.
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At this point I was able to get a good look at the rockers and body mounts. Not much left. Again, I felt stuck and kinda wanted to roll the whole thing into a lake.

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Discussion Starter #33
I wasn't in a position to buy all the rocker and brace replacement parts so I put the body back down and started cleaning up the firewall. Felt almost like I had done this before.
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Rolled it back outside to get a better look at it.

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Discussion Starter #34
Inspired by John Long's 53' convertible rust repair, I decided to attempt repairing the rockers and braces. I used some scrap pieces to try and cobble together a sheetmetal brake. It makes a better anvil but I was able to get some relatively straight bends with it. Here are a couple awful pictures of it. As usual, my workspace was filled with the garage's latest evictions. In this case, a stool and treadmill.
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Discussion Starter #35
I got some feedback that it would probably be best for me to attempt my repairs with the body bolted to the frame to try and keep everything straight. I decided that I would do the inner rockers in two pieces.

I bent a couple 90's and made a section of J channel. I cut a long, narrow pie into this to form the taper in the original piece.

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Discussion Starter #36
June 2019
I felt like I was getting my project back on track. I spent a couple hours measuring and making a template for the 2nd, passenger's side brace.

Huge thanks again to John Long for all the pictures and information he adds to his 53 convertible thread.

I'm a long ways off from John's level of craftsmanship but I'm hoping these pieces will hold my body on the frame better than the rust scraps I hacked out of the car.

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Discussion Starter #37
Hammer, weld, grind.....
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I really wasn't thinking ahead to the floor replacement but I did add a slice of heavy duty rectangular steel to my brace to get it up to the height of the floor and to add strength for when I bolted it down.

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It gets really ugly and Frankensteined from here. This red body came with a couple chunks of floorpan so I decided to use those. I also duplicated the rocker and brace repair on the driver's side. If I had it to do over again, I would probably cut the entire floor out and just form panels with some beadrolls in them instead of trying to stitch all this old steel together.

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Discussion Starter #38
I did the rocker and brace repair for the rears too but I didn't get pictures in progress. I also welded nuts onto the heavy duty steel of my braces so they could be bolted from the bottom like the original. Here is a pic from when I realized I had already covered all my work up.
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One more of my to-do's for this fall is to build some tunnels for the upper 4-link arms. I had thought about trying to make them removable but I'll probably just weld them in and make sure there is enough clearance to get the bolts out of the upper bar mounts.
 

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I don't know how tight your budget is Squint. Eckler's is now selling the complete floor pan assembly from toe boards to rear axle and including inner rockers and all body braces. They came out with it after I started mine but it sure is a money and time saver. I think the whole assembly is around
$900 bucks.

If you remember, I was blessed with the assembly from the axle back. It fit very well and was very nicely stamped.

What you are doing is cool and if you have the time and enjoy the journey, all is good. I just wanted to make sure you were aware of all your options.

John

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Discussion Starter #40 (Edited)
June 2019
I received my pile of parts from speedway, summit, rockauto. I used a dial indicator on the bellhousing and it was within tolerance for alignment with the crank. I'm a little concerned about the pilot bushing as the last 1/2" of gap didn't bolt up the easiest when I put the trans on. Got them bolted up and engine connected to trans for the first time.

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This was also when I discovered I had ordered the wrong starter. Turns out it is the correct starter for a different money pit I bought this year.

July 2019
Made up a little bracket to mount the clutch slave.
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