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Projects 1939 Ford Convertible Sedan Resurrection

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by The 39 guy, Sep 6, 2020.

  1. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 2,164


    Thanks for your idea of using the Drake bolt on hinge parts . I think that might work on my truck bottom hinges and I'm dreading that mess. Nice work on a very difficult repair.
    loudbang and The 39 guy like this.
  2. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,299

    The 39 guy

    Thanks mgstumpy I have used them in the past . I have not had much success with them. first reason is that they make more of a gap than I like to use between the butt weld and then they are difficult to remove. getting the panels even is also something I have struggled with use these clamps.

    Thanks Joel, The Drake part would not be too difficult to copy. I was glad I had this one on hand and only had to make the bushings and buy some longer screws to make it work in this reverse application.

    More brass had to go so I could plug weld the support bracket.
    You can see it was brass all the way through.

    Filled in the holes I made earlier and started welding the 5 pieces we fabricated to connect
    the jamb to the bottom of the door.

    Made a triangulated brace to strengthen the 90 degree corner.
    These pieces were tacked together inside the door frame before removing it for final
    I used the sheet metal screws to clamp the corner bracket in place.

    Trial fit on the car again. Fits good, ready to weld.
    You can see the small patch installed top right.
    I removed the screws one at a time and replaced them with plug welds.
    Metal finished.
    There, another sub project finished. One more project to go before we can put that
    door skin on.
  3. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,299

    The 39 guy

    Well we made some progress on the door skin today.
    I showed you the donor skin a couple of posts ago. This area was folded in about a 1/2"
    It was easy to flatten out but it had some cracks that needed welding.

    I actually did finish this weld . I didn't get carried away though. A little bondo will finish
    We treated the back side with the Eastwood rust converter.
    I painted the inside with some Rustoleum last night.
    Well I couldn't put it off anymore so started tacking the patch in today.
    We tried to weld the patch in with the door laying flat. That didn't work because the door
    skin kept sagging and accessing both sides of the weld joint was difficult. So we made a jig
    to hold the door vertical. This allowed us old men to easily reach both sides of door for
    hammer welding.
    Don is working the hammer and dolly and I am welding. I don't know how anyone can
    do the welding and hammering by themselves........ . In this picture it looks like the weld
    area is low but it really isn't. Hopefully we can finish this weld tomorrow.
    mgtstumpy, Squablow, 40FORDPU and 7 others like this.
  4. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 2,164


    I think you guys have saved the door. Nice work.
    loudbang likes this.
  5. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,299

    The 39 guy

    I am certain we will be able to use the door but I sure don't like the shrinkage we are seeing. We are moving slowly. The tacks are showing a heat ring of less than 1/2 inch . We are hammering on dolly while the weld is still slightly red. It is pretty frustrating. Tomorrow we are going to try welding on the inside of the door to finish the weld. Maybe that will take some of the dip out of the seam.............
    40LUV and loudbang like this.
  6. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 18,291


    As you know, every weld shrinks the metal. And a MIG weld is hard, so it's tough to smack it and give it a bit of stretch back. If it really won't shape up in certain spots, you could take your torch tip and heat just the weld up to red hot again to soften it, and smack it then. The heat should soften it make it more malleable, and maybe it won't crack. I only do straightening on sheetmetal after I have ground the bead down fairly flat with the edge of a cutoff wheel.

    I don't think welding the other side will make much difference.
    joel, Weedburner 40, loudbang and 3 others like this.
  7. okiedokie
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 4,563

    from Ok

    As usual, inspirational workmanship with outstanding presentation.
  8. i.rant
    Joined: Nov 23, 2009
    Posts: 3,773

    1. 1940 Ford

    ^^^^^^^^^ X2 Well put Joe.
    okiedokie likes this.
  9. b-bop
    Joined: May 19, 2008
    Posts: 954


    Wow, just read the thread start to finish. Not only great work but the time you spend documenting the process for the rest of us is exceptional. Will be awesome seeing it driving down the road.
    36 ROKIT and i.rant like this.
  10. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,299

    The 39 guy

    Alchemy, you were right. It made no difference to weld on the other side. We eventually got the metal to acceptable level of finish to cover it with a skim coat of bondo.... I will show some of the technique in todays post.

    Thank you gentlemen!

    It's been a busy month. we moved onto gapping the doors and a few other sub projects. Lets start with drivers door.

    We used the stud welder to do some shrinking of the weld . We spent a lot of tome chasing
    the oil canning that occurred as the weld cooled. The door looked like it had the measles by
    the time we were done. We got some help from Mike the painter too. In the end I would say
    I am not happy with the finish but it will clean up with skim coat of bondo. It does look much
    better than what we started with.


    We moved on to tightening up the door gap. 1/8" welding rod was used to close the gap.

    Getting it tacked on is a challenge.
    The top of the door required two pieces of rod to close up a huge gap.
    A couple of hundred spot welds later the top side is welded on.
    Looking at the back side after some initial grinding you can see the second piece of rod.
    You can see the back side of the door is shown before welding.
    The gaps a lot tighter now. We use a paint stick to set the gap. It is about .111" thick.
    b-bop, mgtstumpy, Squablow and 3 others like this.
  11. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,299

    The 39 guy

    Time for a little back door work.

    Try as we might this is the best fit of the rear door and quarter panel we could get.
    The fit was the worst at the bottom.
    More 1/8 " rod. It is interesting how easy this rod is to bend around a corner when it is
    warm from spot welding.



    We decided to use some 16 ga. steel for the largest part of the gap. It matches the thickness
    of the folded over door skin pretty well. I saw this trick on a TV show called Iron Resurrection.
    Rather than use a larger piece of flat steel sheet we cut off a narrow piece and shaped it on the
    shrinker stretcher.

    The metal strip changed shape as it was tacked down a little plier work brought it back to
    the shape of the door.




    Now to connect the spots. A lot of time was given between welds to keep from

    After a couple of days work it came out pretty well.


    I am glad that is done.
    Dan Hay, mgtstumpy, Squablow and 12 others like this.
  12. I see some of that in my future.:oops:
  13. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,299

    The 39 guy

    There is even more fun to be had with closed car doors . You have to do them around the whole perimeter.

    So in between spot weld passes on the doors we needed some sub projects to work on. So we worked on the B pillar support system.
    As with all things on this car I took this system apart a long time ago ( and took no pictures) so I had this pile of parts to sort through and figure out how they went together.
    First item was the forward facing brace for the B pillar. The bottom foot of these supports
    was pretty rusty so we made some new ones.
    Far as I can tell these only had one bolt that went through the floor and frame.
    Boy that looks ugly... I didn't get a pic of this piece smoothed out.
    The bolts for this are carriage type so I drilled out a 5/16" hole and then filed it to square
    with that little square file. Didn't take too long to file it.
    The vertical section has 4 bolts that go through the wood spacer into the steel B Pillar.
    The wood adapters are an interesting piece. Well built and sturdy. Fortunately they held
    up pretty well. They did suffer some damage from the disassembly process. They also
    had a lot of tacks in them because they attach upholstery to them.
    I must have used a chisel to take the tin off of this thing. Made some pretty big divets.
    Working with the epoxy putty was like working bondo. It took two or three applications
    to fill the damaged areas.
    I chose to fill the holes and repair the ripped out sections with epoxy fillers.
    I used PC Woody for most of the repairs. the Gorilla 5 minute epoxy was used where the
    ends were split. I have never seen this 5 minute stuff set up in less that 30 minutes!I usually
    give it overnight to cure. It doe appear to shrink some.
    So once the wood pieces were repaired we could move onto the steel structure.
    The toe board (That's what I call it anyway) was in need of repair in several places.

    I made a pattern up for this foot brace support.
    Don was able to fab up a couple of new pieces for this that are extremely accurate.
    Pretty healthy dent here. The holes are from the steel road signs the PO attached to
    this piece to connect to even more road signs that made up the floor.
    Managed to beat that dent out .
    I missed a few photo opportunities during this rebuild process. So we will have to settle
    for a few shots of the assembly just screwed and clamped together.

    There is another steel sheet that will be tacked or screwed across the wood center support.
    The foot of the toe board was replaced with a 20 gauge piece. It was offset where it interfaces
    with the original piece of the toe board. That way the repair should not show through
    the insulation and carpet.
    This Support is also a wall. I am concerned that the people in the back seat. That will
    probably be me in the not to distant future, will need a heat source of their own. So we
    have been working on a plan for a second heater that will just feed the back seat area.
    I have four seat heaters for this car but I would like to have something to warm my legs
    and feet. We are currently assembling the front seat assembly so we can put the seat in
    and determine how much room we have to make that heater happen.
    Well we are almost up to date. Stay tuned.

    Attached Files:

    Dan Hay, Squablow, 36 ROKIT and 11 others like this.
  14. As usual Sam...very nice work and repair, and well documented. I like seat heaters in open cars and warm air blowing on the backseat passengers feet and legs will be a welcome addition.

    So technical question, what brand of product box are you using for your patterns? I've been using Shreddies boxes and sometimes find my pieces don't fit as well as I think they should. ;)
    The 39 guy likes this.
  15. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,299

    The 39 guy

    Thanks Tim, Just in case you are half serious about the patterns,it depends on the thickness of the metal I will be using for the part I want to make. Most 18 and 20 ga. pieces can be duplicated with soda can boxes. I have made good use of my Rodders Journal envelopes over the years also.

    I made that last pattern and handed off to to Don and was very happy that he was able to duplicate the parts need exactly ( the first time). He is getting pretty good at this sheet metal shaping stuff.

    I worked on door gaps this week along with some restoration of the front seat frame parts. I will cover that later.

    The big news for this week is the arrival of my brand new rear fenders that I purchased from Dennis Carpenter last week after years of consideration. The fenders I had were pretty lumpy, Repairable? Yes but I decided to take the easy way out this time. They are very expensive and the shipping from the East Coast to West Coast was outrageous!
    I was very concerned about the packaging of the fenders considering the expense and fragility
    of the sheet metal parts. I was assured that they were well packaged and placed on a pallet.
    So after 10 days in route the finally arrived. The driver went to the front of the trailer and
    tried to move the box and pallet toward the tail gate. Since the box was no longer strapped to the
    the pallet this was difficult . Since he knew I was watching him he abandoned the pallet and moved
    the boxes easily to the end of the trailer by hand. Despite the clear marking on the boxes they had
    removed the boxes from the pallet so they could put them on top of other freight. Fortunately
    there was no damage to the fenders:)

    You should always inspect sheet metal parts before you let the driver leave. When I told him I was
    going to inspect the contents he said he had to take a picture first. Fortunately I did not have to file
    a claim despite them not following the instructions for handling. My son tells me the drivers have
    to honor your wish to inspect the freight. My driver was very cooperative.
    The fenders are painted with a silver coating . One is quite shinny and smooth, the other less so.
    So far the only flaw I see is two small dents just above the gas cap hole. You can't see
    them in this picture and they will be easy to fix and some marks from the cardboard
    packaging. I was not impressed with the protective packaging they used but the parts
    got here in one piece.




    I hope to try them on this week and will let you know how they fit.
    Dan Hay, b-bop, mgtstumpy and 8 others like this.
  16. 40FORDPU
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 3,399

    from Yelm, Wa
    1. Northwest HAMBers

    Those fenders will be a time saver, and of course there's still resale value on your old unused fenders, to help offset the cost.
    Your build is an inspiration.
    The 39 guy and 36 ROKIT like this.
  17. Rramjet1
    Joined: Mar 13, 2018
    Posts: 216


    Really coming along Sam. Can’t wait to see it in person.
    The 39 guy and 36 ROKIT like this.
  18. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,687

    from Minn. uSA

    Don't know what you have planned for the rear-seat htrs, but since it's mostly for the feet & legs, if you can find or make, htr cores small enough, they might fit into the toe boards. Otherwise, consider what Stude did - underseat heaters. Blew out towards the heels, on the passenger side. I would alter that concept to use 2 smaller htr systems, w/individual temp n fan controls. I don't think that a large core will be needed. It's possible that a decent-sized computer fan would blow enough air. Might take a bit of searching, esp for one that is or can be 2-3 speed controlled. No arguing over whose feet are frying or freezing... :D . Looks like there might(?) be enough room under the seat riser, or cut into the floor if/as needed. Just don't take the easy way out, & pull air from under the car, as your filter & core will plug so fast you'll be amazed, won't even have time to dream-up new cuss-words. New-car concept, but worth it. & iirc, Chrysler used dbl htr cores in 48, at least in the Windsor convert I had - although they were in the kick panels & didn't heat as well as they could've. For a little extra, there's always the lap-robe which'll hold in heat very well. Just need to add a lap-robe bar on the back the the front seat. :) .
  19. Bjorn in Sweden
    Joined: Jun 10, 2022
    Posts: 1

    Bjorn in Sweden

    Hello, so glad I found you. I just became owner of a 39 convertible sedan and read your postings with great interest! Thank you for sharing! Bjorn
  20. nor6304
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 317

    from Indiana

    Really nice work Thank you for posting Enjoy watching your work
    The 39 guy likes this.
  21. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,299

    The 39 guy

    Yes they are a time saver, I still may use the others on my other 39.

    Thanks John! Hope you have fun at Deuce Days!

    Thanks for the ideas Marcus ! The more I look into this the more I think that just installing a duct through the wall and a fan to move the warm air from the floor into the toe area of the back seat is the way to go, along with the blanket of course.
    I did locate a underseat heater from a 48 Chevrolet which looks like it might work well though. Unfortunately I passed on buying while waiting for a friend to find his. I still have some time to solve this problem though and will keep investigating.

    Hello Bjorn, welcome aboard! Best of luck with your Sedan Convertible. Can you PM me some pictures?

    nor6304, Thanks for watching.

    I have been busy with a lot of other things lately but I'll post a little today. I decided to restore the front seat awhile back. As with most things on the car I didn't take any pictures when I tore it down for storage many years ago. Fortunately I did bag and tag the parts and order what parts I could.
    I enjoy learning about Fords methods of building this car. These side panels were interesting.
    The wood and steel were in pretty bad shape but construction methods are there allowing
    me to put it together correctly and maybe help the upholstery guy out in the futrure.
    This is a flap that appears to act as a filler between the seat back and the B pillar.

    New sides came with holes but no T nuts.
    Fortunately the local hardware store stocks T nuts. I decided to countersink the holes
    so the flanges would be flush with the surface. that should allow the outside upholstery
    surface to be smooth. That's the plan anyway.
    I used a forstner (Spelling?) bit to countersink the holes.
    These corner pieces come with a tack strip to attach a piece of fabric between the seat back
    and the B pillar support. This tack strip was worn out so it had to go.
    The strip was tacked in pretty tight. Craftsman and a 1/4" nut came to my aid though
    and it came out fairly easy.
    Clean and ready for paint.

    This is where the corner goes.

    The seat back wasn't in too bad of shape. I did replace most of the T nuts.


    The top edge center tac area was pretty chewed up so I rebuilt it with PC Woody .

    After some bead blasting of the steel parts I did a test fit on the old base.
    Minwax poly was used on the wood parts.
    The seat bottom also needed new T Nuts.
    A test fit of the seat runners on the new base indicated that new base had the mounting holes
    for the bases closer together that the original base (figures). This caused the slide mechanism
    to bind.So the shaft that joins the two sidestogether had to be shortened.
    IMG_6761R copy.jpg
    I cut the shaft in half and then shortened it about 3/16". I found this spacer/coupling in
    the parts bin and it fit perfectly. Drilled some plug weld holes in it.
    It was a little tricky getting the shaft straight enough for welding but these aluminum
    wedges did the trick.
    Works now.
    IMG_6780R copy.jpg
    If you look to the left side of the picture you can see that the old base had a notch for
    the upholstery to be tacked to. The new one did not.
    So another sub project is born.... I was able to use a router for some of it but I hand
    chiseled the corners.
    As usual picture heavy content so I think I'll have to continue this seat project in another post.
    Hope you all are having a good summer!

    Attached Files:

  22. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,299

    The 39 guy

    More on the seat project.

    IMG_6779R copy.jpg
    Had to make this piece twice. the first time we copied the rusty parts that came with the seat.
    We could not get the formed steel piece that goes between the seat base and the seat back
    to fit. So we had to make them a little taller the second time.
    Test fit
    After a test fit in the car to determine where to drill the holes for mounting and where
    to cut out the steel panel for for seat belts.
    IMG_6790R copy.jpg
    After a lot of searching and giving up that search I finally stumbled across the retracting

    I also found these needle bearing gizmos(right arrow). we were wondering why the seat
    didn't slide very well before we found these . Works great now.
    One of my friends wife sewed up some new sheaths for the springs. made this little
    tool from welding rod to stretch the springs.


    The needle bearings run on these 1/4" pins

    I saw a notch seat back . I decided Ford must have hung the back rest spring there so I
    bent some hanger brackets from 18 gauge steel.

    Since Ford didn't offer seat belts back in the day we had to figure out where to make some
    holes for them. I folded over the top and bottom edged to make a smooth surface for the belts
    to pass through. I think I will use some plastic edging material on the sides.

    I bought these springs along time ago through Mac's (I think)


    So there we go the seat is basically finished.
    mvee33, simplestone, The37Kid and 6 others like this.
  23. ronzmtrwrx
    Joined: Sep 9, 2008
    Posts: 888


    And some people wonder why it takes so long to build a car. :D The seat is beautiful.
  24. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,687

    from Minn. uSA

    Thanks for all the pics n comments. Will help later on.
    The 39 guy likes this.
  25. I am really enjoying watching how you're tackling all this. Great patient work.:)
    The 39 guy likes this.
  26. neilswheels
    Joined: Aug 26, 2006
    Posts: 1,035

    from England

    more great work
    The 39 guy likes this.

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