Register now to get rid of these ads!

Technical Bodywork on '51 Belair

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by StefanS, Nov 25, 2020.

  1. StefanS
    Joined: Oct 7, 2013
    Posts: 1,079

    StefanS
    Member
    from Maryland

    Alright cruise in season's over, time to get to work. My car needs inner rockers, maybe outer rockers, front floor pans, maybe floor braces, rear quarters over the wheel openings and possibly rear wheel housings.
    Now for my questions...are;
    - the inner rockers fully welded or spot welded to the outers?
    - the floor braces fully welded or spot welded to the floor pans?
    - the floor braces welded to the inner rockers?
    Sorry for all the questions but I have no inner rockers at all and no other '50s Chevy to look at to see for myself.
     
  2. To keep the profit margin as high as possible, most american manufacturers in that time period assembled their bodies with spot welds and seam sealer. Any collision repair may be fully welded though. Replacement panels may not be the same dimensions as the original, and may require some fitment and welding. Typically replacement floor pans will just be the foot well areas, and will need to be welded in. Chevy body parts are available from many places, such as EMS automotive.
     
    squirrel likes this.
  3. StefanS
    Joined: Oct 7, 2013
    Posts: 1,079

    StefanS
    Member
    from Maryland

    I appreciate the response. I'll be getting all my panels from EMS for sure, except the floor pans which already have. Ideally I'd be pulling the body off but that's not happening so hopefully the floor braces can be done with the body in place
     
  4. RMONTY
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 2,075

    RMONTY
    Member

    Hey, good to see you Stefan! Those floor braces could be a bitch, depending on how far back they are deteriorated. They go over the frame rails and that can be tough to get to. Post up pics of your progress. My EMS quarters were damn close to an exact fit. Check out the pics on my build thread. Happy Thanksgiving to you man!
     

  5. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,645

    Squablow
    Member

    They were all spot welded at the factory, if you want to try to replicate that with a MIG welder (wire welder), I like to drill holes in the replacement panels, overlap them in the factory spots, then weld the hole shut, making a little plug weld instead of a spot weld. Otherwise you're stuck welding all the way around the new seam, which can look ugly and take longer.

    I have put inner rockers, floors, floor supports, and rocker panels onto cars that are still on the frame, in fact I prefer to do this, because a rusty body can lose it's shape once it's unbolted from the frame. If your doors still open and click closed nicely with good gaps, you're in good shape. If not, you need to get that tweaked before you start cutting. Once the rockers and floors are welded solid, it'll be near impossible to get the doors lined up again.

    Don't cut it all out at once, and make sure to brace door openings and other areas before cutting and welding, so things don't lose their shape. I like to get the inner rockers in place first, even if it means welding them temporarily to the old outer rockers and old floor supports, then the outer rockers can get cut off without that area folding up. Then Ill cut out areas of the floor above each floor support individually, so I can drop the support into place from above, instead of below. Easier to weld that way. And I'll put the floors in on top of those, with holes drilled into the floor pans to match up with the floor supports, welding up the holes to replicate the factory spot welds. I'd do the floors in sections to avoid cutting too much apart at once, even if it means extra seams/welding.
     
    jaracer and Baumi like this.
  6. I doubt you will find the complete side to side floor braces. Most replacements are just the ends. I think your car has 3 braces. Once you get the braces you will see where you need to cut the old ones off and weld on the new ones. I would leave the floor pans out until you replace the inner rockers. Once the braces are welded in, plug weld the floor pan to the braces.
     
  7. StefanS
    Joined: Oct 7, 2013
    Posts: 1,079

    StefanS
    Member
    from Maryland

    RMonty how ya been man?! Haven't talked to you in forever. I'll definitely be making videos for my YouTube and probably posting pics as well.
    Squablow I appreciate those details man. The floors and inner rockers I'm not super worried about, it's the quarters that make me nervous. Ideally the floors will look good but even if they don't they'll be covered. The quarters on the other hand are there for the world to see lol. I actually learned to weld on sheet metal but I've never tried to finish the welds for a seamless look
     
  8. RMONTY
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 2,075

    RMONTY
    Member

    @ems customer service can probably give you some sound advice. They have great customer service as far as I am concerned. I'm sure the EMS Guy will be along sometime soon... here is a shout out to him.
     
  9. RMONTY
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 2,075

    RMONTY
    Member

    I was hesitant about the quarters too, but once I got started it went well. If you look up Fitzees welding stuff on youtube, he gives a great demonstration of how to use a thin cutting wheel and cuts at a 45 degree angle. What I learned on the first side was to work the seam slowly, and make sure the seam doesnt sink in or bow out. Weld a few spots, pull or push the seam, check to make sure it's good, weld a few more spots. Etc etc. It is a slow process to keep from distorting. If you can get some .024 might wire, by all means do it. And grind as you go. A few tacks, grind, a few tacks, grind. Only grind the tacks.
     
  10. Welding in the quarters is a methodical process. Measure twice, cut once. If you can access the back side, use the little welding clamps. They give you the right gap and keep the panel flush. Use .023-.024 wire, skipping around with your tacks. Good advice from RMONTY, grind only the tacks. Here is how I did my 53 Ford (panel from EMS).
     

    Attached Files:

  11. StefanS
    Joined: Oct 7, 2013
    Posts: 1,079

    StefanS
    Member
    from Maryland

    I've seen the full braces somewhere but I can't remember where. I think it's just the ends of mine that need to be replaced anyway so I should be good on that. I'm hoping they're not all shot. The rear floor pans are in great shape so I would hate to have to cut them out.
    Good call on grinding as I go. In my head I was thinking weld the entire patch in and then grind it down but your way sounds better.
     
  12. StefanS
    Joined: Oct 7, 2013
    Posts: 1,079

    StefanS
    Member
    from Maryland

    Those panels look like a perfect match. Heres to hoping the Chevy panels line up as well
     
  13. brokedownbiker
    Joined: Jun 7, 2016
    Posts: 609

    brokedownbiker
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The full width floor braces are in the National Chevy Assoc. catalog, pg. 159
     
  14. StefanS
    Joined: Oct 7, 2013
    Posts: 1,079

    StefanS
    Member
    from Maryland

    Yep that's right. Now that you said that I remember
     
  15. RMONTY
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 2,075

    RMONTY
    Member

    If you can keep the stock door jambs, please do that. Save your self some headaches. You will be happy.
     
  16. StefanS
    Joined: Oct 7, 2013
    Posts: 1,079

    StefanS
    Member
    from Maryland

    The door jams are good. Here's a couple pics of the quarters. Screenshot_20201125-202856_Messages.jpg Screenshot_20201125-202902_Messages.jpg
     
  17. StefanS
    Joined: Oct 7, 2013
    Posts: 1,079

    StefanS
    Member
    from Maryland

    That's all the rust on them so i wont be using 80% of the replacement panels
     
  18. RMONTY
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 2,075

    RMONTY
    Member

    There is a lot of sheet metal on those quarters.




    Pass Quarter.jpg
     
  19. you won't know that till you start cleaning off the paint/filler. I have chased rust like that before.
     
    Squablow and RMONTY like this.
  20. RMONTY
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 2,075

    RMONTY
    Member

    You wont like what you see when you peel the wheel arch back. I suspect there will be some cancer in there. You may have to rebuild part of the lip on the wheel well. I'll see if I can find a pic of what I found.
     
  21. StefanS
    Joined: Oct 7, 2013
    Posts: 1,079

    StefanS
    Member
    from Maryland

    Isn't the lip part of the replacement panel or do you mean up inside the wheelwell?
     
  22. RMONTY
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 2,075

    RMONTY
    Member

    See the rot....the shiney part you see laying on top of that is the lip on the new quarter. 20200416_194137001_1606360987882.jpg
     
  23. ems customer service
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 2,568

    ems customer service
    Member

    thanks for all the nice words About our service and parts, we work hard to do it right.

    there are lot of good techniques mentioned here, but I would like to stress that it is best to fit all your outer panels first ( make the car look good on the outside) there is enough give and take on the inner panels to catch up with the outer panels. as for inner panels and floor braces , rockers etc, anything that gets closed off, it would be good to paint prime the inside of the panels before installing, yes the welding will burn some off but at least we have a start on protecting the metal on the inside, before finish priming / painting use some type of spray gun ( old rust proofing guns) to flood the inner cavities with paint, just let it drip out all over, you may need to drill a few access holes after you can spray a rust proofing or gravel guard to give it a superior rust resistant inner coating.. on my cars I use a clear gravel guard and tint it to the body color I picked for the project and spray it on the inner fenders and bottom of the floor pan for solid coating, carefully not to get the exhaust to close,( normal hanging of muffler seems ok)

    the ems guy
     
    J_J2, Budget36 and RMONTY like this.
  24. StefanS
    Joined: Oct 7, 2013
    Posts: 1,079

    StefanS
    Member
    from Maryland

    Hey quick question...how far up from the wheel opening do your quarter panels go?
     
  25. RMONTY
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 2,075

    RMONTY
    Member

    Stefan,

    The quarters dont go much higher that the ones in the pic i posted. EMS makes a flange you can overlap the existing sheet metal over, but I chose to trim the flange off and butt weld everything. I'll post some pics in a bit.
     
  26. StefanS
    Joined: Oct 7, 2013
    Posts: 1,079

    StefanS
    Member
    from Maryland

    Any way you could get a measurement for me? I'm just curious if it'll be tall enough to take care of all those paint bubbles
     
  27. ems customer service
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 2,568

    ems customer service
    Member

    the panel will fix all typical wheel opening rust
     
  28. RMONTY
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 2,075

    RMONTY
    Member

    3" thereabouts.That is with the flange cut off.

    20200505_214103001_1606663497509.jpg
     
  29. 1946caddy
    Joined: Dec 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,705

    1946caddy
    Member
    from washington

     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2020
  30. 1946caddy
    Joined: Dec 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,705

    1946caddy
    Member
    from washington

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!

Archive

Copyright © 1995-2020 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.