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Body Wood in an A-V8?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Rehpotsirhcj, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. For all the model A guys: My coupe is currently a pile of body panels and I've been comtemplating replacing all of the wood framing with steel. Seems like it would be stronger and quiter, and maybe cheaper than replacing all of the wood with a prefab kit. How many have gone this route? A few photos would be exceptional.

    thanks,

    Chris
     
  2. I've been thinking about this a lot myself lately. I'm planning on using all the stock wood and using some strategically placed square tube to make the body a little bit sturdier. I think the biggest thing you could do would be a x behind the front seat under the rear window. One reason to keep the wood is that it is needed to attach the interior to.
     
  3. Right, all the wood in mine, what's left of it, is toast. I thought maybe just welding the panels rather than the 1000 little nails and perhaps installing just the top wood for the fabric roof insert. I've heard of if being done, in fact I think there was someone at Billetproof who had...wish I'd snaped a photo.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2010
  4. At least you have a Ford and not a Willys Whippet as any structural steel in the doors and body dont exist. I am replacing all my wood with metal as there was very little left.
     
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  5. djust
    Joined: May 31, 2006
    Posts: 1,230

    djust
    Member
    from Oklahoma

    I replaced all the wood in my 29 Sedan with tubing.
    It was a lot of work but the body is really stout now.
    Make sure you have all the pillars where you want and your doors lined up
    because there is no tweeking the body to make the doors fit anymore afterward.
     
  6. Terry O
    Joined: Oct 12, 2004
    Posts: 1,060

    Terry O
    Member

    CCHR replaced most of the original wood with steel on my Vicky. Some good pics in the build thread below my signature might help you out.

    The two posted pictures right here are of Dave's (Druss) vicky just to show how much wood is in one of these babies.

    The wood is what provides the structural strength for the body. You can't just weld body panels together. Wood needs to be replaced with new or fabricated steel or you have a tin bag.

    Terry
     

    Attached Files:


  7. That's one impressive build thread Terry, thanks very much.
    So much for my theory that replacing the wood structure with metal tubing would make for an easier and/or cheaper build. I still like the idea though, and yours looks great.

    Your subrails were wood too? My coupe body was really rough (most of the lower portions rusted or rotted away) so I dont know yet how the body panels should be fixed to the subframe. feels like I'm putting together a puzzle without a photo to go by, and without knowing if I have all the peices.
     
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  8. Bib Overalls
    Joined: Aug 3, 2001
    Posts: 4,071

    Bib Overalls
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I built a bulkhead behind the seat in my Model A. Basically a frame with a sheet metal covering. It certainly ads a lot of strength an resistance to twist. Some of the wood in the body can be replaced with steel. Particularly the door jams. But you still need wood around the quarter and rear windows so the garnish moldings can be tacked in place. The same for the roof insert. I bought a kit from Ford Wood. All of the Model A parts houses offer kits.
     
  9. Vergil
    Joined: Dec 10, 2005
    Posts: 785

    Vergil
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I also built a bulkhead in my coupe for support and it helps to have something between me and the fuel tank. All new wood and a rigid frame plus bulkhead makes it pretty tight.

    Vergil

    [​IMG]
     
  10. CRguy
    Joined: Dec 27, 2010
    Posts: 33

    CRguy
    Member
    from SW WA

    I'm looking at replacing some of the wood in my '29 Tudor. I see several dealers offer kits, but they may be made by the same few manufacturers? I looked at Ford Wood in Utah. Did your wood fit and look good? Any other recommendations?

    Thanks,
    Mel
     
  11. Doug B
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 478

    Doug B
    Member

    Vergil, Got any build pics of your bulkhead? Or a shot from inside the car showing how it meets the body? I am at that point right now,and I need some direction. Thanks
     
  12. I replaced all of the wood in my 34 Chevy, Chevy has more wood than anyone I think. I have a 4' brake, 30" shear and a shrinker/stretcher, I had 18 gauge steel sheared 3" x 48" and I bent it lengthwise 90 degrees with 1 1/2" legs. I had no wood so I was on my own but I used my shrinker/stretcher and made my curves and welded them in. I did buy a Model A wood kit for the top so I had something to tack too and it worked well. It is not hard to replace the wood with steel just takes time. You can have a sheetmetal shop shear and bend for you and keep some 3" x 48" peices you will need them, you should be able to get by with one sheet of metal. Sorry no pictures.
     
  13. flthd31
    Joined: Aug 5, 2007
    Posts: 561

    flthd31
    Member

    If your body is all apart in loose panels (mine was too) then you would greatly benefit by using the body wood. Put the body wood up first then hang the panels on the wood. This is how Henry built them originally. Pull all the nails from the door frame post and door top and mount the post and the door top brace to the cowl...then add the wood. If you want to replace the door post wood, now is the time as it is held in place by screws that are under the side sheet metal. this wood doesn't really add any structural strength...it's mainly for tacking upholstery to.
    If the bottom of your side panels are rotted off like most, this method will give you some reference on how high they should be. There really isn't a whole lot of wood in a model A coupe. The pic I've attached shows all if it except the window wood. After you get the body together and the door hung and trued-up, you can then chop it if you like. Bracing under the rear window like Vergil shows is a must but don't do it until after your doors and deck lid are on the car and the car is on the frame...especially the deck lid. This bracing can really help you align the deck lid.

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  14. ezdusit
    Joined: May 10, 2008
    Posts: 246

    ezdusit
    Member

    On my '32 Plymouth roadster, I decided to stay with the wood. I did this for two reasons. First, if anyone ever decides to restore the car back to original, it will be possible. Secondly, I'm trying to build a car like I might have in high school if I could have afforded a hot rod in high school (1956-58). I probably wouldn't have been able to do a steel structure back then, but I would have been able to rework the wood. We're making s-l-o-o-ow progress.
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Michael Pukash
    Joined: Mar 1, 2006
    Posts: 256

    Michael Pukash
    Member

    Wow! Thanks flthd31,that's the best pictures I've seen of a 31 build. Really helps when your building out of several baskets.
     
  16. Vergil
    Joined: Dec 10, 2005
    Posts: 785

    Vergil
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Very nice work Ezdusit, I can see the hours spent on it.

    Flthd31 - great pictures, wish I would have had them during my build, thanks for sharing.

    Doug I didn't take any pictures of the structure but here are a few pictures after it was installed. It is removeable but it would be a chore, mounts welded to body structure and then bolted to the mounts. The lower portion is hinged for access to fuel, vacuum and wiring behind the fuel tank. Then box is the glove box, pictures doesn't help much but the best I can come up with. In the third picture you can see a little of the tubing going up to top support and brace.

    Vergil


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


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    [​IMG]
     
  17. DirtyThirty
    Joined: Mar 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,396

    DirtyThirty
    Member
    from nowhere...

    This is something I was thinking about, too, but, then I decided I liked the "traditional" feel of the wood, and figured I'd keep it. I guess...
    I am not sure what the interior panels, as mentioned above, would be attached to, in the case of replacement of the wood with metal, though I'm sure you could figure something out, but, I think it would probably be more complicated than the original concept.
    Does anyone have a good idea for getting those screws in the door pillar out, if you are missing the old wood and need to replace it, but don't really want to tear your outer sheet metal off ?
     
  18. richard lechner
    Joined: May 18, 2010
    Posts: 20

    richard lechner
    Member
    from Ct

    I have the body off the frame on my 37 packard 115C business coupe the wood is all very sound, how do I restore the wood? Thinking of several coats of stain to soak in and then clear polyurethane or paint. Any thoughts ? Thanks, Richard
     
  19. Doug B
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 478

    Doug B
    Member

    Vergil, thanks for the photos...most helpful.

    Flthd31...also some great pics there.
     
  20. Thanks so much for the photos guys. Actually seeing the kit installed helpes a great deal. There's less far fewer peices there than I thought there would be. I'm after traditonal too, and was thinking I'd more likely weld something together than mess with woodwork in my school days. But I'm thinking now that I'll go the with the wood kit afterall.

    Chris
     
  21. I think the wood kits look great. Steel may be stronger, but how cool is all that new wood.
    Maybe a little ot, but ive got a bit to replace in my 30 A colonial cab.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  22. Reindeer
    Joined: Mar 3, 2005
    Posts: 224

    Reindeer
    Member
    from Finland

    The pictures of top wood help me a lot to assemble my coupe later. I don't have any wood or many brackets left on mine so I didn't even know what I need. Now I know better. I'd like to see also the side and rear window area wood assembly pics if anyone has.
     
  23. That's some really nice looking work Dave, it looks hell for stout. Thank you for the photos. I have 3/4 of my steel subrails (see attached photo), but I wasn't sure if they'd have had wood too or not. Thanks again for answering some basic questions, really helps.
     

    Attached Files:

  24. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,911

    need louvers ?
    Member

    I'll render a couple of opinions, 'cause I've done this both ways. When I get to do my '30 coupe, it will be in all metal. I have done two or three cars over the years with wood, and the one thing that made me nuts is the constant re-tightening of the wood screws and bolts to keep it from squeaking like a barn full of mice... If you do opt for a wood kit, please drive it for a bit until without trim so the wood kinda "sets" and finds it's place. I know that sounds ridiculous, but for the first miles you putting on the car, the heat and cooling cycles plus the vibration of everything that makes a car go continously loosens the screws. It would suck to have to rip out a new, fresh trim job to kill a squeak that there is no other way to kill. And, it doesn't seem to matter if you use glue to secure the screws either.
    As far as doing things in metal, one of the first things people think of is how do I hang the trim panels? That's what trim clips like a modern car are for. Surrounds for the quarter windows and rear window? Make them out of 14 ga. and drill and tap for machine screws. My car will have a filled top so that I can "unitize" the whole thing, but I'll go back and make a faux top insert that will screw in from the bottom of the top to keep the appearance of a soft top. Welding everything and doing it all in steel not only makes the whole deal stronger, but also gives you the oportunity to tighten up all the gaps and such to help control wind leaks and the sounds they generate too. One last thing about the bulkhead a couple of guys have shown - that is one of the best things you can do to an A in my opinion, not only because of the stiffness it afords, but if you ever entertain the thought of A/C, (and I get nailed on this every time here, but in Phoenix, Az. if your building a car without it, your building a car you don't drive!) the bulkhead also healps seal the cab from air escaping via the lack of a trunk seal on A coupes. Without it, at highway speeds, the cooling system is worthless. Just some thoughts...
     
  25. nunattax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2011
    Posts: 2,248

    nunattax
    Member

    steel doesnt smell as good as wood
     
  26. rob bob
    Joined: Aug 18, 2011
    Posts: 446

    rob bob
    Member
    from Canyon TX

    Can you replace the wood with the body still assembled an in one piece?
     

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