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Discussion Starter #1
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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Shop Owner And Troll Hunter
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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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If you don't make mistakes. your not doing anything.

69 SS/RS full custom Camaro 98 ISCA Grand Champion
69 SS/RS BB Camaro wifes driver
66 Elcamino 350/all dz parts,ac,windows,loaded,my driver
69 SS Chevelle BB conv.fresh frame off
26 T sedan street rod
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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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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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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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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MARTINSR said:
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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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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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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Shop Owner And Troll Hunter
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A handy little tool,



 

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Hotrodders.com Moderator
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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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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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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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MARTINSR said:
"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,

troy-curt said:
A handy little tool,



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

MARTINSR said:
"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
 

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Shop Owner And Troll Hunter
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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

:D
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Holy smokes!!! I think my brain is smoking!!!

MARTINSR, you have given a lot of info in your post-Thank You!
I think I've got a good idea of what you are talking about. I really appreciate the tips, but still a little confused...

troy-curt, good idea on the bead-blast....duhh I don't know why I didn't think of that...

I noticed that one (MARTINSR) said to cut the hole first then tack it in and another (troy-curt) said to weld then cut out the hole... I am not a great welder, but I do take my time and tack about every 6 inches or so until I have a solid weld. I can see your point troy-curt, but how can I ensure that they are level and straight if I weld them before I cut the hole? Is my method of welding going to be okay to keep the metal from warping? Should I cool the metal between welds? I've done a lot of welding in floor pans and I have not had to much trouble with warpage with this method, but I would really notice any amount of warpage on the fender....

Thanks for the tips everyone!!!
 

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tyman00 said:
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.
Sort of. To be totally correct, those pictures are of frenched/tunneled lights. Frenched lights are frame-less or framed with body metal but no separate frame. By setting the lights deep into the body makes them also tunneled.

The orange truck picture was taken from page 8 of the Hot Rod Pictures section of this board. It can be accessed from the list at the top of this page. The feature is obsolete since it is an archive of cars featured in the also obsolete Hot Rod Of the Week feature. Still lots of neat cars shown there. Go look.

VWFan said:
Holy smokes!!! I think my brain is smoking!!!

MARTINSR, you have given a lot of info in your post-Thank You!
I think I've got a good idea of what you are talking about. I really appreciate the tips, but still a little confused...

troy-curt, good idea on the bead-blast....duhh I don't know why I didn't think of that...

I noticed that one (MARTINSR) said to cut the hole first then tack it in and another (troy-curt) said to weld then cut out the hole... I am not a great welder, but I do take my time and tack about every 6 inches or so until I have a solid weld. I can see your point troy-curt, but how can I ensure that they are level and straight if I weld them before I cut the hole? Is my method of welding going to be okay to keep the metal from warping? Should I cool the metal between welds? I've done a lot of welding in floor pans and I have not had to much trouble with warpage with this method, but I would really notice any amount of warpage on the fender....

Thanks for the tips everyone!!!
You can see how I did mine in my Journal. I cut the fender holes and light tub to shape then carefully spot tacked it in place as you suggest with many small tack welds until it was fully welded. Keep the tacks very small yet with good penetration and you won't have any warpage problems. I didn't need to do any body work to finish mine after they were welded and the welds ground to shape.
 

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Shop Owner And Troll Hunter
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Are you tunneling them or just welding the housing to the fenders? When Frenching there will not be any attaching hardware or trim on the outside or that shows.

Measure, fit---measure, fit etc....
The best I can remember, the VW fender is a compound curve, so warpage should not be any problem. Weld a tac and cool with air until you can touch it (like 30 seconds) side to side until it is a solid weld.

You will find that every one has there own way of doing things. You'll have to determine which way will work the best for you.

Troy

__________________
If you don't make mistakes. your not doing anything.

69 SS/RS full custom Camaro 98 ISCA Grand Champion
69 SS/RS BB Camaro wifes driver
66 Elcamino 350/all dz parts,ac,windows,loaded,my driver
69 SS Chevelle BB conv.fresh frame off
26 T sedan street rod
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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VWfan, I just feel the best way is to cut the hole, trim it, then weld the bucket in. You can put a nice bead around the edge with little or no filler. If you were to weld the bucket in first and then cut the hole, this would likely not be possible. That doesn't mean it is so bad, but it tells me "IF" it is more likely you could my way, that just seems like the "Bestest" way to do it. :)
 

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Shop Owner And Troll Hunter
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Martin,
Why couldn't you cut it after welding it in? Once the hole is cut there would be no adjusting.

How come every time I post in the body forum you post and say I'm wrong and your way is the best way or the only way??? Are you the only one that knows anything. If you haven't noticed, hardly anyone posts answers here any more. Just curious

Troy

__________________
If you don't make mistakes. your not doing anything.

69 SS/RS full custom Camaro 98 ISCA Grand Champion
69 SS/RS BB Camaro wifes driver
66 Elcamino 350/all dz parts,ac,windows,loaded,my driver
69 SS Chevelle BB conv.fresh frame off
26 T sedan street rod
 
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