Thursday, July 25, 2013

Frame rail installed and floor fitting part 1

Things are really starting to look better on the car.  There is actual progress that I can really see, and it makes me feel so much better about the project.

So I  was finally happy with the location of the frame rail and got it welded in.  After all is said and done it actually fit rather well.  I then proceeded to start on the floor and started fitting it.  I set it down inside the car, and then I couldn't help myself but to sit in the car.  I actually just sat there for quite a few minutes and just enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment it gave me.  Doing the driver's side floor is a major milestone for the car.  It was the first thing I tore out when I started working on the car, and it means quite a bit to me to see it getting this far.  At this point my wife came out to check on me, and saw me there and she started grinning too.  We both kind of had a moment with the car.  She is my biggest supporter, by the way.  She never complains about all the time I spend working on the car and enjoys seeing it come together.  I am truly lucky I think.  :D

Anyway, I pulled it and trimmed the transmission tunnel in order to get rid of all the nasty holes left from where one of the previous owners tried to rivet in his own horrible floor pans.  I trimmed the front part of the new pan since I don't need the toe board piece that was there and stuck in for fitting.  I ran into the same issue that Dennis did about having the pan not match up to the tunnel support. You can see his post here.  Lots of effort is being put into making that area flush.  At this point I had run out of time, so it will continue in the next exciting installment!

Cleaned up the flash rust that formed during the fitting process.

Painted it with Zero Rust for it's protection.  Major improvement from the lack of anything from the factory on the original rail.

Fits right in place of the old rail.

Nice and flush, should make doing the trunk easy.

There is a 3/8" gap on the floor behind the box.  I actually discovered that the part is a little longer in the front of the rail.  The important thing to remember is that all the spring mounting points line up right where they should be according to the measurements I took from the old rail.  So no worries, that will be easy to fill when I get to patching that part of the floor.

Transition pan before welding.  I unfortunately found a whole lot more problems while trying to get this welded in.  All along the rail area the metal ended up being way to thin due to the rust that had developed.  It seemed all right when I had cleaned it up originally, there weren't any holes that I hadn't at least patched a couple of weeks ago.  Every time I tried to strike an arc to weld it to the rail, it was instant blow through, even on the lowest setting.  I have come to the conclusion that I will need to replace the entire transition pan.  It seems in similar condition on the other side and there is a lot of rot to patch down under the floor.  With this and all the cracks I tried to fix, I feel like the best thing to do structurally is to replace it with new metal.  Kinda of sucks since I spent all that time fabricating and welding in patches.  Oh well, time to save up for a new one.

Welded to the rocker.

Ground down.

Painted over the welds.

Welds ground down underneath.  you'll notice that I added a couple extra welds vs the factory.


Initial floor drop-in, front.  No more Flintstones car! 

Initial drop-in, rear.

Area to be trimmed.  I didn't like the idea of trying to fill in all the holes.  If I am going to be butt welding the whole thing, I might as well make sure I don't have to fight the holes while I'm at it.

Trimmed front.

Trimmed rear.

The fitting process begins.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

It's been a while...

I know it has been a while since I last made an entry, but I have been working on the car.  For the most part it just seems like everything I have been doing has taken time.  That and the weather (it's been over 100 degrees around here lately, and it has rained hard for the last three days) has kept things from making what seems like a lot of progress.  Never the less, progress has been made.

I fixed a lot of the cracks in the transition pan, cleaned up some pieces from the old frame rail that were rusty, welded them to the new rail, fabbed up some pieces I didn't have, took lots of measurements, fit and refit and measured and tweaked the frame rail.  At this point I feel like I am just about ready to get this thing permanently attached to the car.

If you remember from an earlier post, this was quite a mess.  As you can see, I got it sorted out and welded up.

More fixed cracks.

Still more cracks.  There are a few more that I didn't fix due to the fact that they crossed over some  of the welds for the shock mount.  I didn't want to weld the pan more firmly to a piece that will be getting replaced.

After many measurements, I determined that these were where the holes needed to be drilled at.  They are for  the exhaust, and for the tie down bracket.

Holes drilled out with my spiffy new step bits.  Gotta love those things.

Another spot where an exhaust bracket attaches to  the rail.  This one will have a  threaded reinforcement  plate welded behind it.

Reinforcement plate for the tie down bracket.  This was fun to make using nothing but hand tools.  I wonder how much a small metal brake costs?

Added the support tubing, and bolted it in place for welding.

A look inside at the bracket and tubing.

Painted and shiny!

Tie down bracket after soaking in molasses/water and scrubbing with a brush  every couple of days to remove loose crud.

Bumpstop and reinforcement bracket.  I had to cut apart the bumpstop in order to make sure I got all the crud out of the corners.  Making it fit back together was fun, lots of work with the hammer/dollies and clamps.

Finished bracket bolted to the rail to check proper fitment.

Bumpstop welded  to the rail.  I haven't installed a new rubber piece yet.  That will wait til later.

Exhaust reinforcement plate welded into the rail.