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Projects A Speedster Comes Out of the Weeds—Build Thread

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by ClarkH, Dec 25, 2015.

  1. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 2,119

    31Apickup
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  2. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 904

    ClarkH
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    Thank you! I look foreward to taking you up on that. Someday...
     
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  3. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,398

    Squablow
    Member

    Is there any way to cut the handles off of those clasps and replace them with a flat finger-pull? The latches themselves aren't so bad looking but the thick handles really stick out. They look like they could handle 20x the load that's probably on them.
     
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  4. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 904

    ClarkH
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    I agree, they're overkill and kind of stick out. Although with the seat installed, they dissappear. I also consiered using 4 hood hold down latches. That would more correct, but might be "fussy," because they would have to pull against each other. Although now I come to think of it, I could just use two hood lateches on one side, and put fixed rings on the other side that attach to the hooks.
     
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  6. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 904

    ClarkH
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    Thanks; just looked and so they are. Des-ta-co 331-SS. I think they were all of $4 at a building salvage yard.
     
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  7. Nice work, Clark. Thanks for keeping us posted.
     
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  8. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 904

    ClarkH
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Here’s another Quarantine Project in Progress: Headlights.

    I have never been happy with my headlight mounts. They are an adaptation of the homemade mounts that came with the car, and don’t work well.
    CurrentHeadlightConfiguration.JPG

    The lights are difficult to align and don’t stay in adjustment long. Any time I drive it, the car ends up all googly-eyed—one light pointing slightly up, the other slightly sideways. I don’t drive at night and most folks don’t notice, but it bugs me; seems like I fiddle with them whenever I stop.

    I’ve been keeping my eye out for a solution, and it presented itself in February at the Puyallup Early Bird Swap Meet (ah, remember swap meets?), where I scored this Tilt-Ray setup for a whopping $12. Off a truck, I’m guessing.

    Bar-as-found.JPG

    Ignore the bar and headlights, it's the mounts that caught my attention. Each is a collar that clamps to the bar, allowing the individual bucket to rotate up or down as a unit, as well as pivot on a horizontal axis. Some of you guys are probably familiar with this setup, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it. I presume this is where the name Tilt-Ray originated.

    Bar-dissassembled.JPG

    Bar-how-it-fits.JPG

    That tensioning “bolt” runs through the mount and has internal female threads into which the bolt at the base of the headlight threads. Nice, positive attachment that also serves to tighten the clamp on the clamp bar. Here they are, mocked up after three weeks soaking in molasses. (Not shown is the double-concave spacer, which fortunately I do have.)

    Mounts-after-molasses.JPG
    How-it-fits closeup.JPG

    So my thinking is to create a bracket for the shock tower that incorporates a short piece of tubing to which these clamp-mounts can be affixed. A little bit of rummaging in my scrap pile turned up a piece of tubing that was close to what I needed, and after grinding it down about 1/16 of an inch (i.e. 1/32 all around) it fits perfect.

    raw tubing.JPG
    tubing-after-grinding.JPG

    For the bracket itself, I have an odd plan. More rooting around turned up a likely donor in the form of this old battery tray, which is now taking its turn in the molasses bath.

    BattBoxDonor.JPG

    Since I can’t draw a picture that’s worth a damn—Mr. Wade, my old technical drawing instructor whom I’ve mentioned before, could attest to that—I must I leave you all to ponder exactly what it is I have in mind.

    That’s where I am now, and I’ll give a headlight progress update once the bracket donor is sufficiently de-rusted.
     
  9. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 904

    ClarkH
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    Well to recap, I’m currently waiting on decent weather to paint the rear firewall, which here in the Pacific Northwest could take a while. And I’m waiting on molasses to de-rust my headlight bracket “donor”, and that process is slow as… well, you know…

    So I’ve moved on to a project that’s been in the works a long time: Splash Aprons. And I’ll tell you in advance this is turning into another of those hit-and-miss operations any other damn fool would just keep to himself. But you’re used to this sort of thing from me by now, so no holding back.

    This car came with home-made splash aprons from its original build. They were fairly well made at one time but decades of abuse were showing. A couple years ago I repaired them as best I could—beat the dents out and patched a big hole—and made some new extensions for the front. I did a post on that project back in December 2017.

    mocked up 2.jpg

    Finally, last September, I took advantage of the last 65 degree+ day of the year to paint them using the remainder of the dark blue I’d used on my hood panels.

    Splash-apron-paint.JPG

    Despite being a quick-and-dirty gravel driveway job, the paint came out pretty decent. And that’s a problem, because the darn things have plagued me ever since. When they were raw metal I just stacked them together on a shelf and didn’t give them a second thought. Once painted, they preyed on my mind; I kept them wrapped on a bench top, and I knew it was just a matter of time before I did something stupid to screw up the paint.

    Nevertheless, I kept putting off installation because I knew it would be complex. These are designed to slip between the body and frame. So installation means separating the body from the chassis—a time-consuming operation would involve removing part of the floor and loosening all the body bolts and related connections, many of which are very hard to access.

    But right now, a time-consuming job is kind of what the doctor ordered. So I’m giving it a go.

    Here’s a look at the starting point:

    Splash-apron-before.JPG

    In true hot-rodder fashion I tried the hopeless shortcut first: removed the bolts holding the body to the left side of the chassis, wiped the apron with Gibbs, and tried to worm the splash apron in between the body and the top of the welting. Well, that didn't work. This is as far as I got; can’t go further without lifting the body:
    Splash-apron-fitting.JPG

    So I spent yesterday getting started on the “right” way. i.e. uncoupling or loosen every hard connection (steering column, seat braces, ground wires, etc.) But all the while I kept wondering how the body would react to being lifted as a whole. How will my humble floor welds fare trying to support the weight of the entire body? This body is all one piece, and I kept imagining it getting sprung at the door openings. And what if I don't like the look of the things once they’re in there? Am I going to do this all over again to remove them?

    That’s when it hit me. I channeled my inner @porknbeaner and realized, just like his recent thread warns, I was over thinking this. Just because the guy who built this car in the early ‘50s sandwiched the apron lips between body and frame doesn’t mean I have to. I can just cut the damn lips off and make some brackets to bolt them to the outside of the frame. Easy to install, and easy to remove later, in case I don’t like them or want to replace them with nicer louvered ones (a project for the next pandemic).

    That’s where I’m at now, plotting out where exactly to cut these apron tops and how the support brackets will work. Kind of a shame I had to do all that removal work before I could get to this point, but sometimes that’s how my mind "works."

    And besides, it gave me something to do. I’ll keep you posted.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2020
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  10. sliceddeuce
    Joined: Aug 15, 2017
    Posts: 2,982

    sliceddeuce
    Member

  11. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 904

    ClarkH
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    The splash apron project is coming along. I started with the driver’s side because it’s the harder of the two and it’s alignment needs to take the steering components into consideration. I made a template out of cardboard and trimmed the splash apron to fit the curvature of the frame. The car already has a pair of homemade body mounts that affix to the frame in place of the running board brackets.

    bracket.JPG

    It was relative straightforward to remove these, insert the upper edge of the apron, and clamp into place. The brackets had welting on them which I replaced with that old hockey player’s friend, friction tape. This allowed for the additional material sandwiched in there--the mount bolts wouldn’t align otherwise.

    That got the aprons roughly into place, and next I had to stabilize them. The aprons already had four bolt holes in each side, so I proceeded to make a pair of brackets that would lock into them.

    I wanted to use 1/8th bar stock for this, but the smallest I had was 1.5” wide, double what I needed. So I split it using a jigsaw and carefully filed all the edges smooth. That was probably the most tedious part of the entire exercise.

    bar stock.JPG

    I wanted the brackets to be firm but not rigid, and also to be somewhat adjustable. So I put a big curve into each support, and then welded and drilled tabs that correspond to the existing holes in the frame.

    bending.JPG

    first welds.JPG

    I then added a pair of bars that each span a pair of existing holes in the apron. Installed and clamped everything, then tacked it lying under the car (everyone knows how fun that is). Put a big piece of copper between the bracket and apron so I wouldn’t cook the paint. Then removed, welded them up and painted them.

    second welds.JPG

    painted.JPG

    When I got it all together, I was pleased at how solid it ended up. I was concerned it might be floppy. It isn't. After the stay-at-home order is lifted, I may replace the exposed fasteners with something more subtle--maybe black oxide or painted blue. On the other hand, I have exposed stainless elsewhere, and it kind of works.

    installed.JPG

    As a finishing touch, I used some new rubber trim I got at the last Puyallup Swap meet to put a nice clean edge on the exposed portion. Put another section at the rear; it’s out of sight, but should help reduce rattles.

    trim.JPG

    That’s where I'm at now. I’ve moved onto installing the passenger side, and when that’s done I’ll tackle the forward apron extensions.

    Regarding those extensions, I can see there is a blister in my future. I made the forward extensions two years ago, and that was before I retrofitted an F1 steering box. The F1 sector extends further outside the frame, so I will need a relief hole in the forward extension to allow for it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2020
  12. rwrj
    Joined: Jan 30, 2009
    Posts: 625

    rwrj
    Member
    from SW Ga

    How did I miss all of this? Really nice work on all of it, especially the windshield. I enjoyed catching up.
     
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  13. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 904

    ClarkH
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    Right side done! Installation was much easier second time around, so long as you don’t count the three times I banged my head on an exhaust clamp bolt. On to the front extensions.

    right-side.JPG
     
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  14. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,656

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    You know, I'm not a big fan of the splash guard look, and I thought you were making a mistake installing them, but I have to admit, that looks good, you did the right thing there.
     
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  15. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,398

    Squablow
    Member

    I really like the aprons! I think I asked once before, but were you planning to put the moldings back on, that were on there when you found the car? Or replace them with something similar, or just no moldings? Just curious.
     
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  16. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 904

    ClarkH
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    Thank you @Blues4U and @Squablow. I like them too. And truth be told, going in I wasn't really sure I would, so I've been putting it off. But with the crazy state of thing right now, I figured giving them a try would cost me nothing but time, and I've got plenty of that on my hands. And now I'm glad I did it--they add a little bulk and make the car look a littel more complete to my eye.

    As for adornment, I'm open to suggestions. The cool thing to do would have been to louver them. But I questioned whether the battered and repaired material was up to it, and now it's water under the bridge. I still have the chrome trim spears from when I found it that you mention, Squablow. My gut says they wouldn't look right for the period, but no harm mocking them up just to see. There are also louver inserts, but I haven't seen any that look right for this application. The ones I've seen remind me too much of the cheap plastic chrome inserts on Bayliner boats of the 1980s.

    I'm also thinking of redirecting the exhaust so it exits through a hole in the apron on the right side, just ahead of the rear wheel. I've seen that done and it looks cool. It would also get the tailpipe away from the fuel pump, which I'd like to do.
     
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  17. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,398

    Squablow
    Member

    I look forward to seeing what they look like fully assembled. The aprons work well to make the rear fenders "fit". I would like to see what the moldings look like, even if they're just taped on for a mock-up picture. But maybe the aprons don't need anything.
     
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  18. Jeez we get locked up for a few months and you went for it! I reserve judgement for in person. but looks good from here.
     
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  19. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 904

    ClarkH
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    Right front extension is in place. I started on the easy side this time. I like the overall upsweep.
    rt-apron1.JPG
    rt-apron2.JPG

    Next up, the tricky left side. Here’s a picture of the challenge—interference with steering sector.

    lft-apron-issue.JPG
     
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  20. Thor1
    Joined: Jun 6, 2005
    Posts: 1,420

    Thor1
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    Clark,

    I was initially undecided about the aprons but by adding the front extensions I really am liking them now! The front apron extensions really add some nice shape to the profile of your car, and they clean up the transition from the bodywork to the chassis. I think it was a great choice to install them. I can't wait to see the finished look. Great work!

    Steve
     
  21. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 904

    ClarkH
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    Thanks Steve. Like I said, I was initially undecided as well. I appreciate the comment about improved transition; I agree, it looks like a more complete car, less like a body plopped on top of a slighlty incorrect frame.
     
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  22. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 904

    ClarkH
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    Got after the left extension yesterday. At first I was concerned about the size of the relief needed to allow for the steering sector and the fasteners holding the pitman arm. But after some careful measurement, I determined I could reduce the size of the hole by removing the thick lock washer from the shaft, thereby moving the nut inward.

    Now I only had to allow for the sector shaft itself:

    removed-washer.JPG

    relief-hole.JPG

    Does anybody see any reason why I can’t just use Locktite on that nut? I can’t envision it coming loose spontaneously. And besides, the pitman arm has a taper fit—it won’t come off without a puller.
     
  23. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,656

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    How about a lock nut?
     
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  24. Clark could you have just put a bubble there?
     
  25. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 904

    ClarkH
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    Hadn't thought of that. Was thinking I'd maybe add a thin star-type lock washer later, but now you mention it a lock nut might be better. This is predicated on access to a fastern supplier, which is probablby a month away.


    Thanks Bob. Yeah, I'm planning on covering this with something. Problem is that making the hole larger to allow for the nut brings the hole into the curved area. Harder to cover cleanly.
     
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  26. I didn't say to put the nut on just cover the threads so they don't get dirt or messed up.
     
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  27. The aprons look great! You might look into aluminum fence post caps as a suitable "bubble."

    Edit**- a firewall wire cover from a '40 ford might cover that as well?
     
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  28. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 904

    ClarkH
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    Ah, got it!

    Thanks! Yeah, the hunt is on for a suitable cover. This the sort of thing I'd love scouring swap meets for under normal circumstances. My preference would be something chrome/nickel/stainless, or else something I could paint. The hole is 1 1/8” diameter and the protrusion is just 1/4". So it doesn’t need to be big.

    I’m considering taking a page from @rwrj's Shade Tree thread. He's a wizard at adpting brass marine stuff. Hunting through my boxes of stuff I found this:

    pull.JPG
    It's a fush-mount pull from a boat. If I remove the handle and flip it, it would cover everything.

    pull-in-place.JPG

    I’d want to file off the lettering and see if it will take a polish. Still, not sure about brass or whether I should stick with my chrome theme. I’ll ponder.
     
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  29. You know i can make you a bubble out of aluminum and we can polish it, right?

    Sent from my SM-G965U using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  30. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 904

    ClarkH
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    Well, I know now! Let's do it. Dividends from Matt's new shop!
     
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