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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys-

I have a 57 4 door hardtop that was left to rot with LOTS of rust and I want to bring her back to life. I know the center pillars of the 4 door hardtops is the Achilles heel for these cars but both are rusted out at the base and no longer attached. Let’s just say I’m a sucker for a lost cause. I plan to replace the full floor pan and rockers but any advice on being able to reattach the center pillars?
I can post pics in the next few days. Thanks in advance!
-David
 

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Hey guys-

I have a 57 4 door hardtop that was left to rot with LOTS of rust and I want to bring her back to life. I know the center pillars of the 4 door hardtops is the Achilles heel for these cars but both are rusted out at the base and no longer attached. Let’s just say I’m a sucker for a lost cause. I plan to replace the full floor pan and rockers but any advice on being able to reattach the center pillars?
I can post pics in the next few days. Thanks in advance!
-David
i have the pillars if you need
 

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keep in mind that the floor pan in a 4drht is different than the other cars and the main brace under the pillars is different, you can replace the floor but the center brace has to be changed and the floor modified with a bfh and possible a torch depending on your metal skills.
 

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Sounds like a job to me. Good luck, Mike
 

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Hey guys-

I have a 57 4 door hardtop that was left to rot with LOTS of rust and I want to bring her back to life. I know the center pillars of the 4 door hardtops is the Achilles heel for these cars but both are rusted out at the base and no longer attached. Let’s just say I’m a sucker for a lost cause. I plan to replace the full floor pan and rockers but any advice on being able to reattach the center pillars?
I can post pics in the next few days. Thanks in advance!
-David
I also like the 4d ht very much and I'm constantly looking at them with the possibility of buying something when the right one jumps out at me. I received some advice a few years ago which was this: if there is any rust within 12" of the center pillar which I think is also called the "B" pillar, don't walk away; run. This is such an integral part of the car and has to be in perfect condition. I respect your position in re. to wanting to repair this, considering this part is rusted through, but I don't envy you. In the past, I became involved in some projects that I knew I shouldn't have, but did them anyway. So, I can relate to your desire. This forum will be a very valuable resource for you, should you proceed. Please post those pics when you can. Best wishes with your project, Carmine.
 

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The four door hardtop is the stepchild of the reproduction companies.
There are numerous parts that are not in reproduction.

I have a four door hardtop that I replaced the trunk floor and tail pan and just finished 1/2 of the cab floor with all new braces.
Also had to replace some of wheel well and some of the C pillar.

Several pieces where made by hand.

Welding the B pillar back in place took a long time.
The new floor braces and new rockers need to be welded in place.
Both the front and rear doors must be attached before welding B pillar.
Start with the gaps on the front door first then attempt to adjust the gaps on the rear door. After the gaps are correct then place a long straight edge from the font of the front door all the way back to rear quarter panel.

Use several Cleco fasteners to hold the B pillar in place before any welding.
I could not have done this by myself. It is a two person job.
 

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The four door hardtop is the stepchild of the reproduction companies.
There are numerous parts that are not in reproduction.

I have a four door hardtop that I replaced the trunk floor and tail pan and just finished 1/2 of the cab floor with all new braces.
Also had to replace some of wheel well and some of the C pillar.

Several pieces where made by hand.

Welding the B pillar back in place took a long time.
The new floor braces and new rockers need to be welded in place.
Both the front and rear doors must be attached before welding B pillar.
Start with the gaps on the front door first then attempt to adjust the gaps on the rear door. After the gaps are correct then place a long straight edge from the font of the front door all the way back to rear quarter panel.

Use several Cleco fasteners to hold the B pillar in place before any welding.
I could not have done this by myself. It is a two person job.
Hi Bill. Do you have any before/after pics you could share?? I'd love to see them, if possible, as others would also. Sounds like yours is coming along nicely. Thanks, Carmine.
 

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The four door hardtop is the stepchild of the reproduction companies.
There are numerous parts that are not in reproduction.
.............................................
Use several Cleco fasteners to hold the B pillar in place before any welding.
I could not have done this by myself. It is a two person job.


If you don't know what Cleco Fasteners are.

Cleco fasteners are an aviation tool that are extremely helpful for accurately
mounting one part on another.

Locating holes are drilled in the base part and matching holes are made in
the part to be mounted. The cleco fasteners are inserted though the
hole in the part to be mounted and into the hole in the base part and
clamp the two pieces together. They are easily removed to allow riveting,
or welding the two parts together


example





Install/Removal




Tool and clecos

 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the tips. Honestly I almost walked away but I fell for the old girl when I went to see her in person and immediately knew we were in it for the long haul.

I’ll post some pics later this week, I’m out of town for work the next few days. I live in Indianapolis and will probably try to find a good auto restoration shop to take this on, its too much for a bodywork novice. I’m solid with any mechanics but bodywork, metalwork, and welding just isn’t my forte.

Thanks,
David
 

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I can't wait to see pictures, this sounds like a great project.

Recently passed on a similar car, it was a mile from work and had sat there at least since the early 80's. Poor thing was just too rotted for me to attempt - it appeared the lower a-arms were rotted off the frame somehow.

Hope this isn't yours.....it just left here a couple of months ago on a flatbed. Did it make it to Indiana?







 

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This piece between doors is not reproduced at this time

This brace under the B pillar and inside the rockers is not reproduced.
Not hard to make but difficult to weld into place since it is in between the inner and outer rocker panels.

This piece is not reproduced either. It fits at the end of the rocker and the curve makes it difficult to make.

Here are two pieces that are reproduced which fit on top of rocker.
 

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Question on B Pilars

Hey guys I am in need of a B Pillar for a 1955 Bel Air Sedan 4 door. Do you know if 56 and 57 B Pillars are the same as a 55's? :gba:
 

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I just brought one of these 4 dr hardtops home Luckily the inner and outer rockers are in fairly good shape. May be the outer on the driver side needs a little attention. The C pillar above the roof belt line chrome pillar trim at the base. This car had a lot of rodents in it and we know what they do to roof channels
 

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im working on a 4dr ht to.

First I replace parts of the floor. Braised up everything and changed the rockers.
but the B-pilar is a pain in the ... (you know ;) ).
I forgot to braise it on the left side and it accidentally moved 2mm back which made the door 2mm to close to rear panel.
I have some small rust repairs left on trunk lid and on a some doors.

when its fixed i will reinstall everything and align it. before i take it apart again for painting.
 

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I also like the 4d ht very much and I'm constantly looking at them with the possibility of buying something when the right one jumps out at me. I received some advice a few years ago which was this: if there is any rust within 12" of the center pillar which I think is also called the "B" pillar, don't walk away; run. This is such an integral part of the car and has to be in perfect condition. I respect your position in re. to wanting to repair this, considering this part is rusted through, but I don't envy you. In the past, I became involved in some projects that I knew I shouldn't have, but did them anyway. So, I can relate to your desire. This forum will be a very valuable resource for you, should you proceed. Please post those pics when you can. Best wishes with your project, Carmine.
I have to agree with this. After seeing how structural the B pillar is one a 4drht I'd be really shy of one with rust in that area and rust in that area seems common. I wouldn't trust just anybody to rebuild that area either. My uncle has 2 57 4 dr hts he'll probably never do anything with. One is solid and one is roached.
 

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It can be done. It helps to be really, really good, or know someone who is.
In my case it was the latter. The guy who did mine got the doors all perfectly aligned first. Then he welded in bracing. He replaced the floor and rockers before taking the body off of the frame. In one pic you can see the center pillar completely suspended by the bracing. A good deal of the center brace was fabricated. The last pic shows the results. Once the floor was in and everything was solid, we took the body off and finished the rest of the body work.
The 4dr hard top floors and center brace were not being made when we did my car. The last time I looked, they were. Also the dog legs. I have do idea what the quality or availability is at this time. We adapted a 2dr hardtop floor and fabricated a good bit of the dog legs. Some sections of the old floor had to be cut out and spliced into the new floor to accommodate the center pillar and brace.
The end result is in my avatar.
 

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