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Customs 1937 Dodge, Ol Bessie Is Coming Home

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Sharps40, Apr 29, 2015.

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  1. Mudgy
    Joined: Dec 4, 2010
    Posts: 231

    Mudgy
    Member

    Nice! That center piece looks in good nick. I've spotted one on fleabay for stupid money, guess that's why it's still on there.

    Cheers, Mudgy
     
  2. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    Progress report. Dad went to the shop, met with the boss.

    Ol Bessy is next in line for the paint booth for final prime and I'm not sure from the conversation if it'll get color at that time or after the engine and suspension is installed. But, coordinating the final preparation of the roof line to clean out the last little flaws and then in for seal and off to suspension and drive line.

    Meantime, a better engine and trans was located and purchased. This one is under 100K miles and is also a 5.3L Vortec with 4L60E Auto OD and all the wiring, brain, PS pump, etc. Looking it over now to make sure its right and ready then it'll get cleaned up for the install.

    Dad talked with the boss about the maiden voyage.....cross country in Ol Bessy with Mom, Dad and GoodWife. We're ready. Not sure we'll have it by Christmas but perhaps by spring! Boss knows we're getting anxious.

    He has a 38 Chevy back in the shop for tune up. They built it....it just completed its maiden voyage. Cross country, 3 month duration. Don't know that our first trip will be that long but it'll be great with all of us camping across the USA!
     
  3. Mudgy
    Joined: Dec 4, 2010
    Posts: 231

    Mudgy
    Member

    Nice to know you're approaching the pointy end mate
     
  4. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    Sure seems like a long ass time though its only been about 14 months. Ah well, meanwhile we'll sell the house and get established in the retirement property with a good garage and hunting season started yesterday so at least I got some things to keep my mind occupied while I wait.
     
  5. Mudgy
    Joined: Dec 4, 2010
    Posts: 231

    Mudgy
    Member

    Hi Sharps, what's been going on mate?
     
  6. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    Just waiting. Lots of parts came in, but coordinating the paint booth has been the hold up. Lots of little jobs that keep the shop running day to day. Dad is supposed to visit this week and check up.
     
  7. Mudgy
    Joined: Dec 4, 2010
    Posts: 231

    Mudgy
    Member

    Hi Sharps,
    What's been happening?

    Hope you and your Dad are doing OK

    Cheers, Mudgy
     
  8. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    Sorry, Dad just called....he's been visiting the shop couple three times last month and this month, kinda nudging.

    I'm going up over new years week to sit with the shop manager. Motor/trans is in the bay. Plan is to move it to the suspension and drive line bay and set the full suspension and power train. With luck, it'll be going that way by the time I get there and can snatch up some of the old suspension components to bring home/sell/trade.

    We'll see. Too slow to suit me but he's had it 2o odd years so I guess its my turn to be patient.
     
    Stu D Baker likes this.
  9. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    Dad and I went down to see Ol Bessy on Friday morning.
    When we walked in they had just completed shooting epoxy on all the doors/fenders, hood, grill shell and trunk and then moved them out of the booth.
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    The car had been final stripped and rolled into the booth about an hour before we arrived. I was able to snap a few photos.
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  10. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    Went down and talked with Jim about the schedule, costs, drive line, paint, suspension.....
    Came back up an hour later to start going through all the parts and getting the trim sorted out for polishing and....
    She was fully epoxied!:donk The body work is officially DONE!
    Next step is over to the mech side for suspension and drive line!
    [​IMG]
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    kiwijeff likes this.
  11. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    Got the keyboard fixed and now I can type.

    Dad saved these parts car parts 21 years ago. As such, we have a full set of stainless and chrome trim for Ol Bessy and a few spares. Just gotta get busy cleaning it up.

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    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
  12. woodbutcher
    Joined: Apr 25, 2012
    Posts: 3,227

    woodbutcher
    Member

    :D Hi Sharps40.Things are looking good.Please keep the updates coming.
    Good luck.Have fun.Be safe.
    Leo
     
  13. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    Howdy!

    Started...polish.

    Hood.....strip.....

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    Ram....started...

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    [​IMG]
     
  14. BuiltFerComfort
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 1,620

    BuiltFerComfort
    Member

    Maybe fill pits on ram with allmetal and powdercoat?
     
  15. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    I have two. This is the original (on the blue towel). Was thinking of filling some pits with clear epoxy, buffing back and then perhaps a clear acrylic top. The other one, on the hood from the parts car purchased many years ago, is in a bit better shape. Havn't removed or cleaned it yet. Perhaps it'll buff up as is as it has spots but many fewer pits. Its possible the better one could go out for spray chrome to. Have not decided.
     
  16. BuiltFerComfort
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 1,620

    BuiltFerComfort
    Member

    Allmetal has enough metal it it so that electrostatic charge for powdercoat will stick, regular epoxy doesn't. Try that on the worse one.

    Try just buffing the better one.
     
  17. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    Cleaned the worse one tonight and put on a layer of cyanoglue. will try to build it up on a spot and buff it back to see if it fills the pits. Sticks to chrome like crazy!!! Its the devel buffin it back level with 0000 steel wool! Might be a fair filler or even top coat.
     
  18. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    May not look like much but all the screws came out. No broken trim. A few heads drilled and twisted out with a grabit but every one of the fragile 80 year old pot metal d-ring screws that surround the steel and stainless grill louvers came out with no damage to heads, threads or retention clips. Wew! Thank you PB blaster! (and dry Raleigh parts car!!)

    This is antique gold. 80 years old. of all the pieces shown I can get all but the D-rings at a reasonable price (well, expensive reasonable) but the only set of d-rings for sale nation wide over the last 10 months are NOS and priced over $2500!

    So....to the recovery. Two hours careful work and I've now got a full set of trim, stainless and chromed potmetal, to start polishing and restoring. Straightened the D-rings and the grill tonight on removal. Just waitin for buffing supplies to arrive....lowes and TSC no longer carry that stuff....so, had to go to Amazon.

    I see many hours of work ahead on the grill louvers. I'm gonna spend most of it watching the rust float off the metal in a bath of steel cleaner for firearms. Gentle, no attack on the base steel and not much more than a few hours soak ought to have the carbon steel bits ready for a final wash, dry and prime......modern chemistry is way good.

    [​IMG]

    This will be spare trim for the headlight stands. I already have a full set from the original car.

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    The grill sides. Straightened em before the photo....very light bend was all that was needed. I have a better center piece so after straightning this one, I'll likely cut it down and use the lower section to fill the hole where the crank hole cover was lost long ago.

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    The pot metal d-rings. Got them straightened while still screwed to the grill shell, they just has a very gentle bend....probably somebody tapped something with the nose of the car once. Then took them off. Probably get a polish and perhaps a clear coat.

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    Some more gold....every screw and clip from the pot metal d-rings was recovered. I'll de rust them in solution and use again. Every thread in both d-rings is perfect. With care, this set can go back onto Old Bessy's nose with original hardware and stay there for another 80 years.

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  19. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    Cleaning up the pair of Ram hood ornaments. Old Bessy's original Ram in the background, heavily pitted. The ram from the Raleigh parts car bought in 1991 in the foreground, less pitted.

    [​IMG]

    I may have discovered a top coat that will make one or both look fine, fill the pitts against further weathering and leave the surface feel dead smooth.

    Locktight, Ultragel super glue. I use it on grips as a finish. tuff as nails and solvent and heat resistant and sticks to about anything.

    Here the parts car ram has been cleaned only. Less pitting but still some holes to fill. The chrome is thin at 80 so it got a buff at 3000 rpm with a loose muslin wheel with a brass polishing compound followed by red rouge. It looks grand as can be for 80....another good reason to buy cars and parts from the south and south west....less rot.

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    Here is Old Bessy's ram, polished with 0000 steel wool only. Much more heavily pitted on this original Maryland Car and part.

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    Here is the tail of Old Bessy's ram. Looks ruff up close. But its had three coats of ultra gel super glue, each dry coat cut back with 0000 steel wool. Final finish was a vigorous buffing with the loose muslin wheel and red rouge. Its smooth as a baby's backside. Shines like a diamond in a goats backside. And a test with 0000 wool indicates that the heat and action of buffing did not remove the super glue top coat....merely polished it dead smooth and leveled out the pits. So, a very tenacious top coat that I could coat the entire chromed piece with to make it shine and feel much smoother. And, I'm sure, sealing up the surface does for the zinc casting what it does for wood gun grips, seals it against future rot from the elements.

    [​IMG]

    I'll have to glue up the entire surface of Old Bessy's ram and level and buff it out and we'll see what happens. But for now, I think the Raleigh parts car Ram may be the one that gets put pack on Old Bessy's hood after paint. Its in a bit better shape after 80 years.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    One complete set of stainless trim (Old Bessy's original) is cleaned and polished. Fully 70% of the brightwork on this car is on the hood.

    Another set from the Raleigh parts car to remove and polish. Then I'll select the best bits for Old Bessy and likely sell or trade the rest.

    Laid out in the order the parts go on the hood and gull wings, drivers eye view.

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    Same order, looking from the front of the car to the windshield.

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    A few up close. Not to shabby for 80 years old.

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  21. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    Fortunately, almost all of Old Bessy's exterior bright work is stainless steel, even the grill teeth and bumper bolts are capped in stainless steel. Chrome outside is limited to bumpers, bumperettes, hood ornament, door and hood handles, grill surround, trunk handle and trunk hinges.

    But....Old Bessy is now ready for full dress. Finished the body stainless. 4 bumper bolts found to go with the 4 from the Plymouth parts car, so both bumpers will be capped properly. The rear quarter trim, the back door trim and the front door trim. All polished and in good nick. I was missing one short section of rear door trim....so, I cut and crimped a longer section of spare front door trim to make one from scratch. Thank heavens Ma Dodge used stainless trim, ya can't crimp chrome!

    Left over to sell is a full 9 piece set of stainless for the hood and a full set of front door trim.

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  22. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    Did some more experimenting on some scraps of pitted plated potmetal.
    Its about impossible to flow any kind of paint into the pits. there is always an air bubble.

    As for the superglue finish. Three thin coats seems to fill most pits and produces a fine smooth finish when buffed.
    Red rouge on a medium muslin wheel at 3000 rpm with plenty of force and bringing the part up to ouch temperature won't remove all the superglue finish or even, seemingly, burn it off. It does a wonderful job smoothing the superglue finish like glass and bringing up a very nice shine.

    Neither will white (stainless coloring compound) nor orange (brass cutting compound) reliably remove the finish. In fact, where it breaks through the finish, and with much difficulty, it removes the chrome exposing the copper much faster than it removes the superglue finish.

    Car starting fluid will soften the finish so that it becomes moderately difficult to remove with 0000 steel wool but as soon as the fluid flashes off, the finish hardens again. Its then easier to flake/peel the finish with a thumbnail.

    About the only reliable way I found to remove the superglue finish is to bring it to Really Ouch temperature with a heat gun and then work the glue off with a brass scraper or thumbnail if you can stand the heat.

    Seems pretty durable.
     
  23. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    Email to Dad, 18 Jan 17

    Dad,

    I recently sent you photos of all of Old Bessy's stainless trim cleaned and polished, ready to reinstall. As you are aware, all but two of those pieces are original to her. One piece of cowl trim coming from the Raleigh parts car purchased and towed to PA in 1991. The other piece was made for the back door from a spare long section for a front door that I'd bought recently.

    As for the grill, have not started derusting it. It seems solid but is heavily rusted at the joints. It will be getting a long soak to clear the rust....we'll see if it comes back out as a grill or just stainless steel trim teeth. Not sure if the grill will get a 2 week vinegar soak or if I'll use CLR or rust and blue remover. Vinegar would likely be the most gentle but the slowest.

    After a 72 hour soak in white vinegar, the irreplaceable (as far as I know) clips that hold the D-shaped chrome potmetal surrounds on the grill shell are nearly done. As you can see, 99% of the 80 year accumulation of rust is removed from these parts and they can be reused.

    These are looking fine and in a couple more days I'll get the clips dried and painted for reinstallation on the D-surrounds.

    [​IMG]

    Here the remainder of the batch in the vinegar.

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    As for the D-surrounds. They are 80 year old chromed potmetal. The years have not treated them well at all. Overall, I'd say that 50%+ of the show surface consists of pitted chrome, cracks, splits and deep intrusions into the base zinc. Given the fine condition of the remainder of Old Bessy's trim, both stainless and chrome, I'm hesitant to place these original pieces back on the Grill shell. For now, I'll be working on bending up some aluminum bar stock on a simple pin bender in an attempt to make polished aluminum D-surrounds for the grill shell. Should that work out well (at $1 per foot for aluminum, its good for practice) then I may well make up Old Bessy new D-surrounds from half oval stainless steel. I'll know a bit more in a few days. There is a revolver to work on and some more hunting to do.....both have a bit of priority this weekend.

    Here the D-surrounds. One cleaned, one with 80 years of patina.

    [​IMG]

    And there, this is actually the best condition portion I could find on either of the D-surrounds.

    [​IMG]
     
  24. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    Dads return email...

    Richard...I cannot fully appreciate all the work and care. Do what you think best on the D pieces....I am sure they will look great when done up in aluminum. I showed Jim the picture s yesterday. I also stressed with him how excited you were that the primer was applied while you were there. He said the blue corvette will be out of the bay soon and the Dodge would be next in for the frame work. Moving onward..
     
  25. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    Checking to see what I can do for the D-Surrounds on the nose of the grill. The potmetal is in poor condition and no way I can afford to have it plated. So. Aluminum flat bar, 1/8"x1/2"x8'. $20 from lowes.

    Cold bending with Caveman Skills. Propane torch nearby if needed. Decided to use a form, cut slightly tight, for each outside curve and try the cold bend first. They are not tight bends/folds so I was not worried about cracking....warping was more of a concern. But, I used many headed nails as the bends progressed to hold the edges down and lots of clamps and I got good flat bends with both pieces nearly perfect.

    To the outside curves. A form cut small for the upper outer curve....nails and clamps and bumping and pulling like one is using a pin bender.

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    First fit on the upper outer curve....

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    Bumping my way around another tight cut form and a bit at a time to bring the bottom curves into place....

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    Both outer pieces roughed in and it looks not too bad....

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    And here again, with the original potmetal chrome trim pieces on either side of the new aluminum surrounds....

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    Both left and right sides are very nearly perfectly the same....I'm pleased....

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    And a quick touch on the buffer with aluminum/stainless coloring paste.....it'll need a bit of light sanding but the polish comes up nicely...

    [​IMG]

    Whadda know.....I'm a TinSmith!
     
  26. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    So, hunted in the morning. Spent 9 to 3 working on the gently curved center pieces and the passenger side. Drivers side left to do, then polish and clear and I'll know if its a keeper. Well, if Dad likes it too, it'll be a keeper. If not, I still have the original D-surrounds.

    A quick test fit after finishing the mounting and trimming of the outer loops. No interference with the grill from the hold down clamps (strips of 1.5" long 1/8" thick aluminum, like big rectangular washers). And with this in hand, I can move forward.

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    Fitting up the center strips. They look straight, but like the rest of the grill trim, they are curved at the top on bottom, both inward and toward the rear of the car. I focused on the inward curves with a number of fit checks. The 1/8" aluminum will follow the curves to the rear easily enough with just the screw clamps. So, just more time with the edge of the strap nailed down and bumping it gently along a curved form screwed to the work table.

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    I don't weld. Steel or aluminum. Its enough to know how to silver solder and after 30 years I still struggle with that. So, wood working skills. Secure the ends, one under the other, with half lap joints. Half laps were not quite enough so the upper and lower ends of the outer curve also received an S-bend right at the edges of the center piece. Here, the bottom joint on the Passenger Side.

    [​IMG]

    And up top, again the Passenger Side, a similar lap joint with an S-Bend to retain the top end of the center piece. Just a bit of buffing to go on this side. But for now, it'll be time enough to have a Mexican Coke (tastes better, real sugar), a cigar, an action movie and go get some cold medicine for GoodWife. Plus some dinner....hunted and got to work on the grill so have not eaten a bit since last night! Cigars and coffee keep me going in the shop. Fuels the creative movements.

    [​IMG]
     
  27. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    Another good few hours this morning. Got the aluminum grill surround complete rough in. Final tweaks and some polishing is next.

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    And....started knocking the loose rust off the grill sections to see if there is enough metal left to restore or if not, replace. So far, the DS grill looks good and solid.

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    After knocking off as much loose rust as I can get to (probably still need to soak both shells in a rust remover) I knocked the unavoidable scuffs off the stainless steel bright work on each grill bar and then polished the top one. Looks like this 80 year old stainless will come back to life pretty well.

    [​IMG]
     
  28. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    Tonights email to Dad.

    Dad, the D-surrounds are coming along. If you like them, we'll deliver to the shop that has Old Bessy for use instead of the original pot metal surrounds.

    Not nearly enough surface preparation....just a quick scuff on the Drivers Side center piece to remove some marks. 120 through 400 grit. Then a quick kiss with red rouge on a medium cotton flap wheel. It sure looks a bit like chrome to me. In fact, it makes a pretty good mirror judging from the photos I took.

    What do you think? Continue with home spun D-surrounds or put on the pot metal originals? (The aluminum would make it a modified car and the purists would get gassy but maybe we don't care?)

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  29. BuiltFerComfort
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 1,620

    BuiltFerComfort
    Member

    If'n it t'were me... I'd work a lot more on those half-lap joints (unless it's a work in progress picture - in which case nevermind). Try to get the two pieces level.
     
  30. Sharps40
    Joined: Apr 28, 2015
    Posts: 887

    Sharps40

    If I were you I'd have you do it. Doin the best I can with zero experience in metal work and no tools more complicated than c clamps and a hammer.

    But, I'm prepared to live with it as my best and first ever effort, specially if Dad likes it, its his car first afterall!

    My theme on the car is for Dad and hinges around what a young man could have done on his own back in 1957. Dad set the tone by indicating he always wanted, blue metallic paint, v8 and chrome steel wheels, blue dot tail lamps, decent upholstery and maybe some freshening of the wood grain. He's kindly opted to have it grow a nice automatic and air conditioning and a modern suspension so it could be driven a lot in comfort.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
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