Friday, June 24, 2011

'Swiss Support'

Give me a toe board on Rye and hold the swiss!
You can see right threw the bottom of this front sub. Most of that remaining material at the bottom can be poked threw with your finger, so it needed to be replaced.
After getting the cowl back from the blaster, a few things were revealed. Namely the swiss that was the front sub on the drivers' side. There were actually chunks missing complete. Luckily, I had also brought them the drivers side front sub to clean up too!
The first thing was to remove the cowl side, which also had a fair amount of rust and swiss to it. There is an area that these model A's just get rusted out, right behind that support triangle shape. It must just collect dust, dirt and water back there. But instead of trying to fix the immediate rust I could find, I figured I'd just replace the panel and fix the front sub too.
Here you can see my fresh cut 16 gauge replacement panel I cut on the "beverly" shear before tacking into place.
The rear section of the front sub/toe sub also didn't survive mead blasting so I grafted in the old sport coupe piece to the it so there is something to bit on to between the sub rails and the cowl section. You can also see the tear repair on that tow board triangle support and my pattern that I used to cut.

The welds and clean up aren't pretty by a long shot, but certainly better than what it was and still all original 80+ year old stuff. Besides, it probably won't see the light of day.

Lastly, and the most fun, was the discovery of the production date on the cowl:
It was hard to make out the model year in this picture, so I did a quick render so you can see it on the lower half. So, tomorrow is the cowl/gas tank birthday! 83 year young!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Got some help from Iraq

Still piecing this body together here. Some old parts came back from the media blasters yesterday and I also got some help from my buddy/club brother Eric, freshly back from Iraq.
Above you can see the split from the factory pressing on the Drivers side rear quarter got touched up, rewelded and ground back to shape.
Eric came up with this idea to make plates from the door screws that will be welded into place on the cowl pillars. All of them are tapped, but some of them still need to be fitted inside the posts.
Most of the cowl now looks like it's brand new! Unfortunately, other areas are gonna need a lot more attention now. Cutting and fitting new sub rail extensions on the driver's side to take care of the swiss cheese-ness.

Hey! Looky what I didn't realize I still needed for sheet metal… Yeah, it's called a "sill plate", not a rocker like it was thought. It's made up of two separate panels that fit together. Time to get out the check book again. FUDGE!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I'm no engineer, but….

I guess I fall more under the artist category than engineer, fabricator or builder - but though I often only have to draw finished ideas of the outside, I think it's a healthy exercise to be able to show some real, practical thought into how things are actually going to built. Ignore my 10 minute sketch/doodle lines and such… this was really for my brain to relax.

Taking a break on the body assembly while I wait for the cowl to come back from the media blasters, I got to thinking about my rear end and how it will sit.
When I purchased the rear end I was told it came from a 1948 Ford truck. It's a banjo rear, so will go with that for the example sake. Now, I know I want to do a bit of a kick up on the rear so it's not completely looking like a cat in heat with the buggy spring.

I picked up a medium arch buggy spring for a model A which if memory serves it has a 10" rise. With the stock model A frame it would probably look a little goofy with the rear high up so I know a kick up is in order. Whether it will be 4" or 6" I don't know just yet. I have to see the way things sit before moving too far along.

In this blurry cell phone shot you can see the rear cross member sits directly centered over the wheel well of the rear quarter panel. Knowing the mounts on the '48 Ford rear end are sitting 7" off the center, toward the rear, it means I have to move/add/raise the rear of the frame. The other option that I've read about is to make the mounts sit top dead nuts over the axle itself which sounds like many folks do. My fear in doing this is actually a couple of factors: welding to the old tubes on the axle can warp them or ruin them completely, then it's back to the parts hunt. Secondly, I'll have to still do the kick up in the rear, probably higher as the weld on spring perches are now on top of the axle, making the damn thing sit even higher yet, where the stock perches of the '48 axle sit level with the tubes themselves. I'm estimating the difference being 4-5"s overall in height.

So my mental plan is to keep the stock perches in use (unless someone has some logic that I can see that changes my mind) and while doing the kick up, also lengthen the chassis by 7" so the wheels/tires sit right in the middle of the rear quarter panels so it looks just right. My diagram that's at the top is sloppy, but I drew it up quick before my 2 year old got ahold of it and destroyed it or drew on top. I think the general idea should work. The only thing I now see that I didn't doodle in are the radius rods which should help with the offset of the spring location and of course the shocks too.

If the plan goes well, the rear cross member should be sitting right in front of the rearward trunk braces so the body will sit still looking stock with only big mods happening to the sub rails/trunk scoop area to compensate for the kick up and movement from the stock location.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Nip and Tuck on a 80 year old.

It's been a long road even up to this point and the end is still nowhere in site. I often get myself down when working on this roadster project dubbed " The Gow Cart" (psst. that's "Gow" as in Tow, or snow… not as in How)

I've come to some realizations on the sport coupe verse roadster body language. They are pretty much completely different cars. Yes, many folks have told me in the past, but I thought I could pull a fast one and merge the two together… boy, I was wrong. I've seen a few decent jobs doing these cross overs, but I really have my heart set on the look of the roadster, so that's the way it's now going.

So little of my sport coupe body remains going onto the gow cart. Realistically it's really pieces of it being merged into the project. The toe board sub rail area is one, the horizontal sub rail braces is another. I'm hoping now to salvage the trunk drip rails and a few odds and ends here and there for patches and braces. It's being cannibalized to feed the cart.

As of the end of Sins of Steel I started to assemble the body, building on the frame this time after many folks urged me to do so (I'm kinda done with trial and error that I have been doing)
Here are some quick peeks inside the speed barn at the progress (In reverse order, unfortunately)

The new patch cowl side in. Those just don't snap in like legos either. Below you can see the remaining portion of the sport coupe trunk inner that I need to remove yet.

The inside of the cowl patch and new/old toe board sub

Drivers side cowl. It's going to be blasted and see what's left of it before moving forward.

A little clean up here. Lots of clamps as my helping hands.

The firewall got stripped . Lots of holes yet to patch up.

This was the mock up. There is a bit of overhang on the patch near the bottom. About an eighth inch or so needs moving.

Old and the new together here. When it's all cleaned up it should look like one.

A bit more trimming involved to get it to fit in place.

The toe board merger between the sport coupe and the roadster.

Testing out the two pieces before trimming and welding it in.

The fresh stamped pieces are going to require some work. Just placed in here with a few tack welds and clamps.

Pins and screwdrivers are keeping the body in place on the rails.

Here is the first side going in for a test. There was still a lot of trimming to make it this far from the stamping.

Look at all that overhang. The sub rails sit back quite a ways

Here's where I started a week ago. I wish I could say I worked for a week on it, but realistically it was only for a few hours on a few days.