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1961 Impala 2 door hard top mild custom

 
Old 11-27-2016, 08:01 AM
  #41  
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I had to laugh at a a couple of your pics only because about 3/4 of my build was swept into a dust pan, feel your pain there. Nice progress
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Old 11-27-2016, 08:21 AM
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oh man you guys MO guys know my oregon pain.

love that '61 body style. GM killed it '60-61-62 with those lines.
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Old 11-27-2016, 06:18 PM
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Thanks guys. There are some days I wonder if they even used salt water at the car wash.



The maximum length I can fit in my brake is 36 inches, but my brake can’t reliably bend 16 gauge steel in a 36 inch length. To bend material that thick in that type of length requires a press brake I can’t afford, sadly don’t have space for and realistically would rarely use.

I marked the piece where the bends need to be, sliced the panel with the cut off wheel and bent it in the brake. I’ll stitch the seams to return the strength once I know the dimensions are where I need them to be.












What I am duplicating is this piece that is hidden between the outer rocker / quarter and the inner rocker. The image below is my open quarter panel area on the driver’s side.




Today’s adventure prize was the can tab I discovered many years ago sandwiched between the panels on the driver’s side. This is a close up of the lower right area in the photo above.




When I had the metal sheared, I gave them a dimension that included three bends for about 23 inches. The remaining 5 feet or so of the panel does not have this bend. Using my band saw, I trimmed the panels to alleviate the excess material. I almost made the 36 inches but popped the blade off track with mere millimeters to go. Hahaha This was literally the worst thing that happened all evening and I just laughed.






Notes on panel fitment.




Using a magnetic clamp to help with adding a flange I couldn’t bend with the brake due to material thickness.




Temporarily installed using sheet metal screws after the flange was added with tack welds.




Finished panel welding and smoothed. Too bad no one will see this part again a few days from now.

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Old 11-27-2016, 11:09 PM
  #44  
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This sessionís project moves us from the previous task of creating and fitting the rearward passengerís side middle rocker to the passengerís front section of the middle rocker. I spent a lot of time looking at differing angles on the structure to analyze how it goes together. You need to be really careful when you cut something like this apart because itís a very important part of the structure. It also houses a good deal of information on how to rebuild or repair the area if youíre careful. This area has several layers that interlock to form the inner rocker, the middle rocker that Iím fabricating, the outer rocker skin (part you see), the front door mount / A piller support and toe board support.

Here we are facing forward looking at the passengerís side middle rocker support from the inside of the vehicle. There isnít a lot of structure left in this area. This would explain my poor door gap on the passengerís door. At this point, think of the A pillar as a telephone pole in sandÖ









I know it doesnít look like much, but there is just enough material here to make templates from if Iím smart about cutting it apart. Hopefully I can even reuse some of it, weíll see.











Good news, this bit looks like I can re-use the complicated part and only fabricate the large flat face. At a minimum, I have a good source for a template. My plan is to run it through the blast cabinet and cut out the perimeter then only replace the flat inner. Re-using the perimeter will save me fabrication time as that shape is fairly complex in 16 gauge steel with the tools I have at hand.





This part came off nicely. Overall itís pretty shot, but there is enough to measure the metal thickness with my sheet metal gauge and make a template for a new part. This bit looks complex, but itís actually a series of brakes. Of course I donít have a heavy duty press brake, but Iíll use the method I shared earlier to get the metal to cooperate. This requires three operations which takes a bit longer, but delivers the same result if youíre patient. The hardest bit will be making the recess for the bolt in the base on a bend, but I have a plan for that.







From the piece I just showed a smaller bit was able to be removed and reused. This part holds the threaded clip for the bottom of the fender and is third from the right in this image.





After some time in the blast cabinet, both parts cleaned up well. The blast cabinet has confirmed my opinion about the top piece. It is completely repairable if I trim the flat bit about 1/8 of an inch from the edge and replace it with new metal.



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Old 11-28-2016, 01:53 PM
  #45  
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I feel for you on all that rust repair...
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Old 11-28-2016, 07:20 PM
  #46  
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I enjoy watching your work. Been subbed to this thread for a while now. Keep it up! Gotta ask one question...Does that muffler have a FORD emblem stamped on it?
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Old 11-28-2016, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by dp121 View Post
I enjoy watching your work. Been subbed to this thread for a while now. Keep it up! Gotta ask one question...Does that muffler have a FORD emblem stamped on it?
Thanks guys!

Good eyes. I bought those Mustang mufflers at a swap meet for $15 with plans to toss them on my 5.3 Thunderbird (see my signature) but I miscalculated and they were about an inch and a half too long to fit the chassis. I had these and some used Flowmasters in the spare parts bin looking for a home and this project needed mufflers just to get it rolling. I'm not a Flowmaster fan on LSx engines so I tried these. I'll probably run Magnaflows, Dynomax or something similar when I actually run full exhaust. I have an LS6 Trans Am with a 3" hooker Aero Chamber that sounds awesome, but I'm not sure I want that aggressive of a sound for this car. Although, when I used to drive it 20 years ago I had glass packs and a 4 speed...
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Old 11-28-2016, 08:49 PM
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This session was very productive even though I wasn’t able to spend much time in the shop. I had about an hour total, but I was able to partially repair part of an important piece. This is proof that even a short bit of work is progress towards the long term goal.


The piece I media blasted last night marked for the metal I’m going to replace.




The piece I need to repair and the first patch cut out for it.




Patch panel fitment. Everything fits fairly well, so let’s weld it up.




The patch welded in and awaiting the next section which will bridge it and the middle rocker section I built a few days ago together.

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Old 11-28-2016, 09:07 PM
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Next task was to fabricate the brace where the bottom of the fender bolts to the body of the vehicle. This piece is a corner stone of the area that also ties in the inner rocker structure, outer rocker, firewall and A pillar.

I started by making a template of what was left of the original. Unfortunately my camera had condensation on the outside of the lens from moving to the shop from the air conditioned house. I didnít notice this until afterward so the first few photos are an unusable grey blur.

After the template was created, I cut it out and added notes on where and how the bends should go.





Laying out the template on the steel.





Template rough cut out with the plasma cutter.





Cleaned up on the band saw.





After a bit of time in the sheet metal brake.













It fits just like the original. :biggrin:







Iíll probably make the dimple for the fender bolt clearance and fabricate the close out that goes in the end during the next session.
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Old 11-28-2016, 11:12 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by gofastwclass View Post
Unfortunately my camera had condensation on the outside of the lens from moving to the shop from the air conditioned house.
You still have your A/C on?????
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Old 11-28-2016, 11:24 PM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by ls1nova71 View Post
You still have your A/C on?????
Hell no I don't have the AC on! I may be crazy but I'm not THAT crazy.... well, maybe.

As I said in the first post, I started the thread on a different site that is more restoration based and not custom based. I've been copying and pasting (and poorly editing) text and image links from that site (PITA) to here. The dudes are cool there, but I figured more custom people could learn from my build if I posted here too.
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Old 11-28-2016, 11:43 PM
  #52  
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Nice job on the patch! it came out great.
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Old 11-29-2016, 06:16 PM
  #53  
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Thanks again guys.

This sessionís goal: create the dimple for the brace I started making last time. Of course being short on time, I started working and didnít take a ton of pictures. Sorry about that.

Anyway, I took a flat bit of scrap 16 gauge and pounded on it until I made this.






Looking at the brace and marking where I want my dimple to land.




After a few trips to the bench grinder to get the best possible fit and a handful of tack welds.




Finished welding and ground the welds smooth so it looks like one piece. Compare to the remains of the original, I think weíre pretty close.





Back side of both pieces, you can see the weld penetration from this angle.

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Old 11-29-2016, 06:22 PM
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I did some test fitting of the inner rocker structure, but nothing photo worthy was accomplished on that front. Basically place the inner structure on the car, make some marks, remove it, trim, refit, mark, remove, trimÖ repeat as necessary. With a six foot piece of metal under a vehicle this takes a lot of clamps, patience and half of forever when working alone. If the fabrication gnomes would ever show up this would go much faster, those lazy buggers. Hahaha

I created the closeout for the end of the brace Iím making. This final bit completes the fabrication for the brace. Now I need to finish fabricating the center rocker and install the inner rocker Iíve been fitting. I want the inner rocker mocked in place before I install the middle rocker as it welds to the inner in a few spots.



This is the part Iím duplicating.




As usual, I started with a template which I turned into a flat drawing of the part on a bit of scrap 16 gauge.




Cut out on the band saw.




Bent on the sheet metal brake.




Test fitÖ looks pretty good.



Pulled tight with self tappers and compared to the original.






Welded in.





Maybe I can actually get something welded to the car at some point in the next session. Hahaha

Thanks for viewing.
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Old 11-30-2016, 06:30 AM
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A few more hours in the shop netted a nearly completed inner brace structure. I also had the ability to mock up for fit this bit, the fender (a-pillar) brace and the inner rocker. Everything fit like it was made for the carÖ I wonder why. Hahaha


Inner rocker temporarily installed for fit.



Close up.








I nearly finished fabricating the inner support you will never see. The dashes are weld penetration marks to reinforce the area I took metal from to create the bends on the long section.

Bottom:




Top:




Weld detail after a bit of love from the grinder:





Itís difficult to see, but I installed the inner rocker, middle rocker and fender support pieces for mockup. Happily everything fit as it was designed.



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Old 11-30-2016, 10:14 PM
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This sessionís progress was mainly drilling a bunch of holes to use for plug welds between the panels. Between this and prepping the metal in areas Iím not going to be able to paint later didnít yield many interesting photos.

I finally removed the bondo-ed hack job called an outer rocker. You really need to see this in person to get the full artistic effect of this masterpiece. The top and bottom are factory sheet metal while the middle has been cut out with what looks to be an air chisel. Then a random bit of poorly fitting incorrect gauge steel was semi-welded across the gap. Zero attention was paid to the contour of the original panel so Bondo Bob was enlisted to build another sculpture. The minimum thickness on the plastic filler was about 3mm or 4mm (.118Ē to .157Ē) and going much higher. To add the final bit of insult to the injury, the artists appear to have used either low quality steel or left the back side completely unprotected.







Apparently I braced the car well. When I cut the rocker panel out, the bit wasnít even under tension and dropped straight to the floor without persuasion.


I installed the inner, outer skin and middle support and held them in temporarily with sheet metal screws. Itís amazing how rigid the car has become just with the sheet metal screws holding things together. Everything looks good except the outer skin which isnít quite where I need it to be and requires some adjusting before I weld it solid.





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Old 11-30-2016, 10:42 PM
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There was a good bit of progress this session and I did take some photos. Much of what was accomplished were not photo worthy activities.

Things I accomplished that didnít make the photos:
I inspected the driverís side of the rockers in preparation for installing the floor.
I determined the driverís side inner rocker should be removed as originally planned. The outer and middle structure will remain in place.
Removed the passenger hinge pins for measurements as they had a bit of slop. Ordered four door hinge pins for both doors.



I drilled what seemed like a thousand spot welds to separate the floor halves and cross braces leaving the short braces intact.









Front full length brace.





I coated all the seams with copper based weld through primer.





I made some nuts for inside the floor braces for my soon to be fabricated convertible body mounts. After some thought I decided to weld the nuts to washers for load distribution and weld that assembly to the floor. If I were to do caged nuts I would need to make the square nuts and cages as hex nuts donít work well for that purpose. Not a big deal but I didnít have any metal in the scrap pile thick enough to drill and thread for this purpose. I also donít see a huge benefit outside some minor adjustment that I donít really need since Iím making my own mounts using these as the locators.







Weld penetration from the back side.





Finished product with weld through primer on the edges.





First cut on the driverís sideÖ





Inside one of the floor braces beneath the driverís seat. This brace is completely filled with crud Ė no wonder the lower areas of so many of these cars are rusting from the inside out.






Success! In less than an hoursí time, the driverís side inner structure came out as one piece Ė much faster than the passengerís side. Itís amazing how fast you can move when youíve done something before.






Happily this is surface rust only that came right off with the wire wheel.

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Old 12-01-2016, 05:39 PM
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A lot of nice work you've done there. Very interesting to watch this go together.
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Old 12-01-2016, 06:23 PM
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Keep the info coming I'm learning a lot. I'm glad my 62 wagon only needed a little floor work and had good rockers. I'm fixing to pull the body to freshen up the frame and put it on the rotisserie to do the underside of the body.
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Old 12-01-2016, 07:57 PM
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Thanks guys.

This car will eventually be on a rotisserie, but I needed it stable enough to get there first. I've done a couple cars on a home made rotisserie and it's so much better than lying on your back.
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