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Man - that really works. So should we expect to witness hearing your music thumping along before we see you pull up? It really does look like it belongs! JR
 

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Discussion Starter #102
Man - that really works. So should we expect to witness hearing your music thumping along before we see you pull up? It really does look like it belongs! JR
Thanks, JR! I asked my wife, Andrea, what she wants to see in the hardtop. First thing she said is it needs to have a killer stereo system. Okay, done! I'll be depending on her input, as well as her support, throughout the entire build. I'm very lucky that I've got a wife that's a "car guy".
I don't know if the bass will be enough to drown out the blower whine, but yeah, you'll hear me comin'! Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #103
Started tackling the tail pan yesterday. This is new territory for me, and I'm trying not to make more of a job out of it than need be. The rear edge of the trunk floor is also pretty crispy, so that will be replaced as well. There's a brace that runs underneath them both that I'll need to save, so I'm chopping out the upper pieces in sections. I can already see that there's been some previous damage repaired sometime in the past, and that definitely needs to be tidied up. It's going fairly well so far, but those corners are going to be more difficult. The spot welds I'm about to drill out will have to be done from underneath, and that means me laying on my back, with all the swarf and other junk landing on me. Not looking forward to it, but here goes.
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Discussion Starter #104
Well that was fun. The brace is out and on the bench, and I'm going to start straightening it out and cleaning it up. I'm also going to hammer & dolly the trunk sides back into something resembling a smooth edge. They got pretty messed up during that last disassembly process. Some of the spot welds separated easily, others...not so much. Then there were all those sneaky spot welds that weren't obvious along the seams, and only showed up when I was trying to break the sections apart. Plus I got tricked by the "ghost" spot welds that got drilled, only to realize they were just indents and nothing more. Stay tuned!
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Discussion Starter #105
I got the corners straightened and cleaned up, and prepped (as best I could) where the tail pan attaches to. There was quite a bit of brazing rod and lead on one side, and I dug it out with the cone shaped rotary file. The brace was bent up and dented in several areas, which was fairly easy to fix. That welded seam in the middle was so terrible I just cut right through it, ground off the massive amounts of weld bead, and worked the metal on each piece until they matched with each other. Tomorrow I'll weld them back together as nicely as I can, and see if I can the pieces installed back in the car. There was quite an interesting assortment of junk trapped inside the tail pan. Must have made a bunch of mystery rattles for the previous owner. It's Miller time.
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Discussion Starter #106
Yesterday I started off by cleaning the rust from the replacement panels. They've been sitting in the trunk of the hardtop for over 30 years, and as with everything else, moisture has taken it's toll. I also cleaned off the edge of the trunk floor where I'll be welding. I did a test fit of the trunk piece, and it's not bad, but sure didn't line up like a factory one. That didn't really surprise me, but I know it's going to take some creative tweaking to make it work.
That brace with the crummy weld joint gave me quite a workout. I should mention that at some time in the past, this car must have been hit really hard in the passenger quarter panel. The entire side has been replaced with a huge section from another hardtop. Whoever did the repair made the splice through the trunk floor, the rear shelf, the rear window pillar, up the rear seat support, along the floor next to the wheel well, and forward to about 6" past the door opening, where it made a 90 degree turn out and through the rocker sill. All of this was gas welded, inside and out. Must have taken a month! So the brace is 2/3 original, and 1/3 from the donor car, and (Surprise!) they're not the same width, and the flanges aren't the same either. So I had to slightly flare one end and blend them together as best I could. I added a small re-enforcement piece (cut from square tubing) under the joint, to help keep the pieces lined up and give it a bit more strength. Once it was tacked together, I drilled holes along both flanges, and plug welded it to the trunk patch. The joint isn't perfect, but a skim coat of filler should be all that's needed to make it good. This took me to the end of my working day, as I'd promised to take my wife for a drive.
Today I'll be fine tuning the fit where the trunk floor meets the patch panel, and hopefully get this assembly welded in!
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Looks fantastic Dave. So - looks like you're eliminating the spare tire well...are you planning on a fuel cell or a tank underneath?
JR
 

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Discussion Starter #108
Looks fantastic Dave. So - looks like you're eliminating the spare tire well...are you planning on a fuel cell or a tank underneath?
JR
Thanks JR. I'm going to splice two stock tanks together, same as we did on project Snobad, and on "Quicky", my old hardtop from back in the '70's.
 

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Discussion Starter #109
The trunk piece is partially welded in, but I'm still making adjustments at the corners. The trunk lid didn't fit very well before I started, and I'm trying to see if I can improve it. It's surprising how much things can move around with just a few welds missing.
And speaking of welds, I was about to trim the edges of the trunk floor to butt the two pieces together, and was griping to myself that the stampings weren't going to line up. It suddenly occurred to me that the patch piece was designed to overlap the old floor, and that's why the stamping was different. Sometimes I wonder if I should be allowed to own sharp tools.
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Discussion Starter #110
Almost done! Still have to do a couple more welds from underneath, and I have to clean up and re-attach the striker plate mount. The tail pan had to be tweaked a bit, but otherwise went on way easier than the rest. The driver side had some previous butchery that needed to be tuned up to correct the fitment, and that took most of the time. But I'm very pleased with the results. If I haven't already said this before, hats off to the guys who do this stuff for a living. What a ton of fussy, messy, noisy work!!
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Discussion Starter #111
Striker plate & the alignment tab are welded on. That's about as far as I'm going to go in this area until after the body is back off and is on the rotisserie.
The trunk fit, as I mentioned before, is horrible. I know it's going to take some serious surgery to remedy it, but I was at a loss as to where to even begin. So I called up Brad (the guy who did the bodywork on my panel truck) to come over and have a look at the problem. A couple of simple measurements with a tape measure identified the major issue; the side to side spacing between the quarter panels is only 1/8" wider that the trunk lid itself. He also figures that the lid is twisted, which doesn't surprise me. It would appear that the driver side quarter panel has been messed with, which is causing most of the problem. Brad also wants me to confirm that the frame itself is square and level to factory specs. It's not the original frame that came with the car, and it's been modified quite a bit, so that's definitely something I need to check. He thinks we may be able to open the gap up with a porta-power, but it's more likely I'm going to have to make a few cuts in the top of the quarter panel to get things moved. All of this will have to wait until the body is back off the frame, so I switched to the next task.
I'm installing a 2nd folding taillight on the passenger side, so I cut out the old support bracket. There was a really crummy repair at the top of the quarter panel where it looks like there used to be an antenna. With the bracket out of the way, I've got good access to get inside there, so I've cut away all the ugly repair. I'll patch this first, then install the new taillight bracket. While I had my spot weld cutter out, I also cut off the bumper jack bracket. That's all for today.
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Sure hope you had the trunk lid on while all this was being done, so you could make any adjustments as you went. If not......oh well begin again. I have had to repair to many that were done wrong......

Mikey
 

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Discussion Starter #113
Sure hope you had the trunk lid on while all this was being done, so you could make any adjustments as you went. If not......oh well begin again. I have had to repair to many that were done wrong......

Mikey
Yes, Mikey, the trunk lid was on. I tried to adjust the gaps as I went along, but couldn't make things any better.
 

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Discussion Starter #114
This certainly isn't my first patch panel or weld, but it's still a first for me. It's the first time I've done it on a large, exposed surface, that won't be covered by leather or some other trim. Gotta leave the nest sometime, right? While it's not perfect, I am satisfied with it. Even though I allowed lots of time for cooling off between tack welds, the little patch sunk more than I'd anticipated. I'll bump it up a bit, and a thin skim coat of filler should make it disappear. I've got two more small areas to do; a dime sized hole in the driver side dog leg, and a larger one on the passenger side. I'll probably leave those until the body is on the rotisserie. My days working on the hardtop are going to be interrupted shortly, as real work is going to be coming in very soon.
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Discussion Starter #116
I'm back to working on the flip front end. There's a dozen or more different issues that I need to resolve before I yank the body off the frame again. I'm trying to tackle them one by one, but as they all interconnect, I seem to be bouncing all over the place.
The three main concerns are:
1. Engineering a simple and effective electrical tilt mechanism.
I veered from my original thoughts of having twin linear actuators, and instead I've purchased a 3 ton electric scissor jack that I think might do the trick as a single lift at the center. It also has a remote control feature, which is pretty cool. I know that both the jack, and what ultimately connects it to the front end, will need to pivot as the front end opens and closes. Exactly where the attachment points will be, and how this connecter device will end up looking is unknown. It's going to take some experimentation, that's for sure. I've started making up a VERY crude assembly of door hinges and metal plates, so I can at least get the mechanism set into position. Once I've determined that it will actually work, I'll fabricate a permanent, heavy duty version, that doesn't look like it was made by a 4th grader.

2. Insuring that the front end goes up and down and lines up perfectly without contact or damage to the paint.
The fenders need something that will positively locate them at the rear. The idea of a tapered guide pin on the firewall was what I came up with many years ago, but that's as far as I got. In a bag of spare parts for the panel truck, there were some some bullet shaped lug nuts. They are just slightly smaller than the hole in the fender mounting bracket. Hmm. But what could I mount them to? Those extra fenders I cut up a while back were the answer. They have the same brackets still on them, and if they were turned 90 degrees, they'd reach the firewall. I cut them off the fenders, and a quick hand-test fit showed they would work, with a bit of trimming. Sooner than cut and re-weld them, I straightened out the rear flange, and folded it shorter. The lug nuts were cut down so they could be bolted to the bracket, and there's just enough play that they can be adjusted slightly if need be. I'll put a thin band of nylon around the holes in the fenders, which will prevent any rattles or chips.

3. The whole assembly is rigid enough to maintain it's shape for a long, long time.
The front end sheet metal needs to be fully aligned (which is what I'm working on now) before I begin to install the bracing. Manually lifting the front end has thrown everything out of whack, and there's a surprising amount of flex in all that front end. The driver side gap is already good, but the passenger side is way out. I have to loosen off all the bolts on the inner fenders and the rad support to allow it to drop down to where it should be. Once I have everything squared away, those brackets I made will be Cleco'd on next, and the fenders shimmed to the correct height. With the front end snugged down and locked in place, I'll start making up the bracing using 1/2" EMT tubing. That should be fun.

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Discussion Starter #117
Frustrating afternoon. Those bullet pins are not a complete fail, but they need to be re-worked. The angle the front end moves up comes in a lot quicker than I figured, and the holes start to grab on the lug nut almost instantly. I may be able to remedy the problem by tilting the studs, but not certain at this point.
I simply could not get the sheet metal aligned without drama. Every person on this forum knows how difficult the job can be. Without any way to bolt down the backs of those fenders, they just kept wandering off target. I finally broke down and loosened off nearly every bolt on each side, then holding the fenders in position with 1/8" wooden spacers in the gaps, tack welded the corners to the cowl. I double checked the gaps, and made sure both doors opened without binding, then I went around and tightened everything up.
I started to make up some of the bracing, and quickly realized that I'm missing some very critical pieces. Without a radiator or blower drive, I'm just guessing at how much clearance I have to leave around things. It'll be a while before I purchase either one, so for now I'm going to build a temporary system. I'll fit it where I think it will go, and hopefully it'll be close. It should give me all the support I want, and again, hopefully, the fenders won't go "Sproing!" when I cut through the welds.

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Challenges...lots of challenges and nothing impossible. Keep up the great work, Dave, looking forward to the finished product.
 

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Dave , been following the whole time. You are a very Crafty Fabricator & Welder.
For a “ Glue Sprayer “ 😁.
Thanks for posting updates .
Stretch
 

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Discussion Starter #120
VERY happy today!!! Tube framework is bolted in, and the front end is really rigid. There's still a tiny bit of flexing when it's opened up, but that mostly appears to be where the rad support bolts to the frame. I'll remove the rubber shim and replace it with a steel spacer when I'm back at it tomorrow. Fitting that curved piece in the center was challenging. I've welded it in at the top, but I'll definitely be calling in my buddy with the TIG welder to do the finish weld on the side that'll be showing. Miller time!!

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