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Technical 1939 Mercury Build

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by swissmike, Jun 28, 2015.

  1. swissmike
    Joined: Oct 22, 2003
    Posts: 1,269

    swissmike
    Member

    [​IMG]

    I have had this car for a couple of years and finally stared to dig in. The car is a NY native and has some lower rust as can be expected.
     
  2. swissmike
    Joined: Oct 22, 2003
    Posts: 1,269

    swissmike
    Member

    The first post was short but this is the first time posting using the app and still trying to figure out all the ins and outs.

    Anyway, here's the good and bad: the car is complete with all trim and interior pieces; it had a later flathead and the previous owner had started a "restoration" consisting of fiberglass mat, riveted galvanized sheet metal and bondo. The floors and rockers are rough and need to be replaced, as well as where the body was joined with the floor. Lower sheet metal needs patches here and there, but upper metal is fairly solid with exception of gutters, which will have to go.


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  3. swissmike
    Joined: Oct 22, 2003
    Posts: 1,269

    swissmike
    Member

    Plan for the car is a early style custom, with chop, lowering, retaining most of the trim and use of a '49 331 Cadillac mated to the stock Ford box and banjo rear. Hubs and breaks will be changed for repro Lincoln units.

    Trial fitting the 331 with Hurst style motor mounts off Ebay. This must be one of the easier swaps out there...

    [​IMG]

    Even stock radiator clears nicely.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. swissmike
    Joined: Oct 22, 2003
    Posts: 1,269

    swissmike
    Member

    First order of business was to cut the body off the frame and floor. The trunk area was so rusted out that that there was not much to cut.

    [​IMG]

    I reinforced the body with 1" square tubing before cutting the floor.

    Once everything is removed from the body, the shell probably only weighs a couple of hundred pounds. I still had a wooden dolly I built for a roadster build and made a few mods to accept the Merc body.

    [​IMG]

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    This operation was not well planned ahead and I had to scrounge up whatever I had to keep the body high enough to roll the chassis out from underneath.
     
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  5. swissmike
    Joined: Oct 22, 2003
    Posts: 1,269

    swissmike
    Member

    Here is the missing picture showing how the body was lifted using the cherry picker. I just manually lifted the rear and set it in saw horses.

    [​IMG]

    Body resting safely on the dolly. Now it's time to replace the floor...
     
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  6. swissmike
    Joined: Oct 22, 2003
    Posts: 1,269

    swissmike
    Member

    The only piece of the floor which will be used is the seat riser up to the center of the rear end hump. Unfortunately nobody makes replacement panels for Mercs so this will take some fabricating. Actually, Bradley makes some panels missing most of the important features and they are made to use the stock driveshaft tunnel, requiring a lot of welding and resulting in a weaker structure than a floor pan extending the full width.

    I decided to come up with a way to shape the driveshaft tunnel without the need for a break or other heavy equipment using stuff I mostly had around the shop.

    First was taking measurements of the tunnel in the rear...

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    And front...

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    Making a little sketch...

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    After transferring the measurements onto the 18 gauge sheet, I drilled 1/4" holes at 8" distance and screwed on some boards.
    I set up a piece of 3" PVC sewer pipe to be used for shaping the tunnel. The important thing was to mark the center line of the tunnel and on the pipe and register the two elements using two self tapping screws.
    Now just apply some brute force and complete the bend. The two boards keep the sides of the tunnel straight and even and allow some clamps to be used as well.

    [​IMG]

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    Rather self explanatory stuff...

    Now comes the tricky part: bending the 90 degree bends.
     
  7. Neat,and cool project.
     
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  8. 1-SHOT
    Joined: Sep 23, 2014
    Posts: 1,526

    1-SHOT
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I always like the way you are creative in making do with what got. Frank
     
  9. swissmike
    Joined: Oct 22, 2003
    Posts: 1,269

    swissmike
    Member

    To make the bends I used a 4' section of angle iron 2.5" x 3/16" with the holes drilled in the exact locations to match the boards and sheet metal. Also used is a length of tubing or pipe with the same hole pattern.

    [​IMG]

    Assemble using long carriage bolts and nuts...

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    Gradually tighten bolts until the desired bend is reached. Going a little over to compensate for spring back.

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    Leaves a perfect bend once screws are removed. Second side...

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. swissmike
    Joined: Oct 22, 2003
    Posts: 1,269

    swissmike
    Member

    I was surprised how well the curvatures matched. The paper traces were taken from the new floor piece.

    Rear...

    [​IMG]

    Front..

    [​IMG]
     
  11. 1-SHOT
    Joined: Sep 23, 2014
    Posts: 1,526

    1-SHOT
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

  12. swissmike
    Joined: Oct 22, 2003
    Posts: 1,269

    swissmike
    Member

    Next is tamping the beads in the floor. I wanted to retain the crosswise pattern of the ribs which does not allow for a bead roller, so I made a manual stamping die to form the beads. Now this is not something I had tried before, but was fairly confident could work.

    [​IMG]

    The male die is a block of stainless I found and machined, then polished; the female die is made of 3/8"X1" bars tacked to a plate. The width between the bars is a tad more than the width of the bead and two times the sheet metal thickness. The two flats on the male die keep the material flat once the die is fully seated. After the first bead, I realized the die was a little too deep and required too much effort and was deeper than the stock Ford pattern, although the depth varied greatly throughout the stock floor. I ground a bit off the top and also shaped it into more of a V-shape, requiring less stretching of the metal.

    The lower die is located by a 1/8" dowel at the upper end. This allows registering using a small hole in the panel at the distal side of the bead. The other side of the lower die is just visually lined up with the sharpie line on the metal.

    First only light blows are used. It takes a little practice get a straight bead. Moving the die less than half the length with every blow helps.

    [​IMG]

    After a couple of passes with increased force and the bead is complete. I used grease on the panel. It might have helped with tool wear.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2015
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  13. swissmike
    Joined: Oct 22, 2003
    Posts: 1,269

    swissmike
    Member

    Finished bead...

    [​IMG]

    It's impossible to keep the edges of the panel completely flat. The ends over the bead create distortion, although I managed to do a little better on the second side of the panel. The first side took me a solid 4 hours of beating the panel. I realized that keeping the panel in contact with the lower die was important, else the energy of the blow didn't go into forming the metal, but to just make a lot of noise. I ended up standing on the panel with my foot following the stamping die as closely as possible.

    First side stamped. Note the distortion. The 90 degree intersections were problem areas. That's where the notches in the lower die came into play. The intersections have to be only lightly formed in the first direction, else the metal is too stretched and cold worked that it won't form in the other direction. That's where I had to anneal the metal after finding out.

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    After some hammer and dolly work as well as shrinker use on the edge of the panel it is looking decent. On to the other side. I decided to simplify the rib design to create less intersections. There is no functional difference.

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    I could have spent a lot more time smoothing out the beads but I decided to call it good enough. It's only a floor panel...
    There are still more features such as recessed bolt holes, etc which I need to stamp, but first I will form the front half of the panel.
     
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  14. swissmike
    Joined: Oct 22, 2003
    Posts: 1,269

    swissmike
    Member

    Same technique was used on this panel. This only took me about an hour this time around.

    [​IMG]

    Tracing a pattern for the panel...

    [​IMG]

    That's where I will switch to real time progress updates. Please be patient...
     
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  15. rustryder
    Joined: Apr 12, 2009
    Posts: 187

    rustryder
    Member
    from Dinuba ca

    more please,loving it
     
  16. RainierHooker
    Joined: Dec 20, 2011
    Posts: 1,994

    RainierHooker
    Member
    from Tacoma, WA

    Im in. Can't wait to see where this goes...
     
  17. Sledge
    Joined: Feb 5, 2008
    Posts: 1,712

    Sledge
    Member
    from Nor Cal

    Awesome! lookin good so far Mike
     
    swissmike likes this.
  18. Damned amazing and good fit.
     
  19. swissmike
    Joined: Oct 22, 2003
    Posts: 1,269

    swissmike
    Member

    Thanks for the encouragement!
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  20. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,288

    Hamtown Al
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Great work! Patience is a virtue... wish I had more! Thanks for sharing the what and how.
    Keep workin'
    Al
     
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  21. williebill
    Joined: Mar 1, 2004
    Posts: 2,402

    williebill
    Member

    Looks great so far. Thanks for posting, love those Mercs
     
  22. Nice work and car. Thanks for the instructional set-up of your posts, very informative.

    -Chris
     
  23. Swissy, you are one crafty Sumbitch. ;) Necessity is the mother of invention when you are out in the middle of nowhere and by ones self. Really wish you weren't so far away. Would love to swing by after dinner and help out or just supply some much needed cold beer. Subscribed.
    JT
     
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  24. Kiwi 4d
    Joined: Sep 16, 2006
    Posts: 2,495

    Kiwi 4d
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    What do you mean call it good enough? It's an amazing bit of home built flooring. Am sure subscribed to this thread and hope to learn more from your skills.
     
  25. 40fordtudor
    Joined: Jan 3, 2010
    Posts: 2,503

    40fordtudor
    Member

    "Bob Drake on line 1---something about "do you need a job" or something like that.
     
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  26. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,660

    The 39 guy
    Member

    Great Project! I liked your step by step explanation of the floor panel projects. I will have to subscribe to this thread. I think I will learn much from you over the course of your build..
     
  27. 40FORDPU
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 2,516

    40FORDPU
    Member
    from Yelm, Wa
    1. Northwest HAMBers

    Your creativity/skills are something to be proud of..nice work!
     
  28. ... too damned cool. Pfftt, more like wow !
     
  29. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 41,051

    porknbeaner
    Member

    Well lower rust is way better then higher rust. ;)

    The floor is tits man. I'll have to watch this thread. Even with no external mods those old mercs were nice cars and I think you found why a Fordillac was so popular its like the cad mill was made for it.

    looks good so far. Smart work. :cool:
     
  30. barobert
    Joined: Apr 14, 2010
    Posts: 99

    barobert
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Hallo Mike
    Di bodä hesch würkläch super gmacht, mach witär so.
    Viu Grüss Nöru
     
    SicSpeed likes this.

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