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Projects How would you approach this floor repair?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by NAES, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. NAES
    Joined: Dec 24, 2008
    Posts: 485

    NAES
    Member

    Finally stripped the interior of my '55 Caddy today and the floors are about as bad as I expected.

    My first instinct was to use a complete floor pan but quickly have discovered that repops aren't made like ones for a '57 Chevy for example. After assessing how bad everything is, which it is, I'm thinking tooling up a little bit and making my own is a valid option. My sheet metal experience is very limited so if I'm about to step off a taller ledge than I realize, any and all input would be much appreciated. I'm not looking for a 100 point correct floor, just something safe and solid.

    From what I see, the toe boards are saveable and if I'm careful, the lip where the floor pans meet the inner rocker can be used. The area behind the rear seat support crossmembers is mostly solid as is the area where the front passenger seat bolts to possibly requiring a couple of patches.

    Here's a few pics. Again, any useful input is very much appreciated.

    NAES 20181207_163019.jpeg 20181207_163022.jpeg 20181207_163042.jpeg 20181207_163046.jpeg

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  2. NAES
    Joined: Dec 24, 2008
    Posts: 485

    NAES
    Member

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  3. NAES
    Joined: Dec 24, 2008
    Posts: 485

    NAES
    Member

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  4. samurai mike
    Joined: Feb 24, 2009
    Posts: 507

    samurai mike
    Member

    i've seen worse! buy a bead roller and some sheet metal and go for it, what are you going to do screw it up! and if you do, so what, start over again. you can do it.
     

  5. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,290

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Step one, sandblast it all so you can see where the bad stuff ends.

    Then, fix the same way you eat an elephant. One bite at a time. Breaking it down into smaller segments might be doable for a beginner.
     
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  6. Torana68
    Joined: Jan 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,281

    Torana68
    Member
    from Australia

    This , also cut the floor off any channels under the floor so they get cleaned out at the same time.
     
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  7. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,800

    flatford39
    Member

    There is so much scale it is hard to tell what's good & what's bad. You need to sand or bead blast them so you know what is left. I suspect it's worse than you think but repairable. You have to cut out all the rust to make it right.
     
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  8. oldsman41
    Joined: Jun 25, 2010
    Posts: 1,544

    oldsman41
    Member

    Yep i agree you need to blast it and get down to where you can see everything. Even a cheap bead roller can do fairly good work. Start at the back and go forward. That way the little screwups our under the rear seats. By the looks of it by the time you get to the firewall you should be really good at it. Don’t put a lot of heat in the panels when you weld them in. Spot it and move to the other side and so on
     
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  9. As already said, blast it before you do anything else. I'm afraid you will see the need to also replace the inner and outer rockers. Can't really tell but be ready for it. Then get a bead roller, some sheet metal and start rebuilding after cutting out everything bad. Plan on bracing also and having extra metal for under floor channels and frame attachment points. It is doable and will require some effort. Also look around for a donor floor as it may eliminate some fabrication if you find one.
     
  10. Unique Rustorations
    Joined: Nov 15, 2018
    Posts: 623

    Unique Rustorations
    Member

    Ok I’ll bite and throw out our approach to a floor like this. We recently helped an owner with a ‘56 Pontiac wagon that had a similar floor. If the inner rockers are as bad as the rest looks I’d suggest removing the body first after bracing it because you will have a tough time welding rockers in with the frame in the way. He bought a Chevy floor and while it couldn’t be used in one piece (too many differences) we did use a lot of it then made the inner rockers ourselves. We did the welding and let him do the final assembly and grinding. He was on a budget and wanted to do a lot of it himself. I uploaded a couple of pics. I’m sure it can be done other ways but this is how we do it when the whole floor is being replaced. In our case the main tunnel and braces could not be used from the new part so we overlayed the two and cut what we needed out. We had good outer rockers but the inners needed work. They were repaired and the repaired floor welded back in. Our part was done in around 75 labor hours or so over the course of about 2 and 1/2 weeks. Certainly not a concourse resto but that’s not what he wanted at all. He wanted it safe and back on the road as quickly as possible. He came in after hours and did some cleaning and painting and rust conversion and prevention.
    Staying focused on the main goal is important so the project doesn’t grow out of proportion and stall. The owner installed a brake line and maybe part of a fuel line because access was good with the body off but that was it. Starting with a new or used floor saves time. Not sure any of this will help but good luck with your project!

    . [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


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  11. Latigo
    Joined: Mar 24, 2014
    Posts: 670

    Latigo
    Member

    All the above. You can't see what you need till all the old is gone. Good thing is, it will all be covered up when you're finished. Just like a doctor, you can bury your mistakes. I picked up a nice electric metal shear from Eastwood for cutting and trimming new sheet metal. Works great and about $40 as I recall.
     
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  12. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,566

    gene-koning
    Member

    I wouldn't expect to be able to use much of what you have there. I think your floor is going to look about like the original floor of the car Unique Restorations had left after the rot was removed. That would be the 3rd picture, but I don't believe your tunnel is in that good of shape.

    75 hours of labor time from a shop that has equipment and knows what they are doing means its a major project for a beginner without the equipment or know how. Brace the body, remove it from the frame, buy a replacement floor pan to cut up and use what you can, and then you get to start cutting out old metal and welding the new stuff in. Then you add up the expenses, the replacement floor, the tools and equipment you don't have, and the outside labor for things like the sandblasting, and hoist to lift the body off the frame and put it back on, and the things you will want (and may need) to do while the body is off the frame.

    I'd advise you give this a lot of thought, it will not be a fast or easy fix, and it carries a pretty steep learning curve and will require a lot of new tools. Can you find a better body for a reasonable cost? Can it be done? Sure, the 1st one I did make this one look like a cake walk, but I had an idea what I was getting into.

    Before you shell out the money for the sandblasting, get your self a welders chipping hammer and use the pointed end. Tap anyplace you think may be weak. If the point blows through or dents the metal very easily, its junk and will need to be replaced, its too thin to weld to. Good sheet metal will dent from a medium to hard blow from the pointed end of a chipping hammer. Gene
     
  13. Lots of good input here. If you have it in your mind to save this car you have to blow it completely apart and have it blasted. It's ain't going to be pretty when you get it back that's for damn sure. It's all about money and time. Hope you have lots of both.
     
  14. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 7,155

    BJR
    Member

    This just cracks me up..... but it is soooooo true.
     
  15. jazz1
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,498

    jazz1
    Member

    Good excuse to buy a bead roller and a metal brake. Its very tedious work, as well you also have to fab the floor supports/mounts. I had to make 9 of the 10 that were on this sedan delivery

    IMG-20131206-00034.jpg Thunder Bay-20140309-00120.jpg
     
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  16. missysdad1
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 3,036

    missysdad1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Unless you are a wicked good fabricator I'd be looking for a donor floor...
     
  17. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,980

    s55mercury66
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    Have you looked at the frame itself for rust issues?
     
  18. NAES
    Joined: Dec 24, 2008
    Posts: 485

    NAES
    Member

    All the advice is very much appreciated guys.

    I have a HF Bead roller and a sheetmetal brake that I made a while ago but neither has had tons of use. Guess its time to bump my skill set up a notch or 2.

    I'll clean the floor up and see what a pot type sand blaster will set me back.

    The body is not coming off the frame, period. I'm just not motivated enough to go down that path of what would become a very long term project. The plan is to fix what is necessary and drive it. This isn't a restoration so much as a preservation.

    I'll get working on this stuff soon and keep this thread alive.

    Thanks all, NAES

    20181201_125711.jpeg 20181201_125740.jpeg

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  19. Hopefully your rockers are still good. I bought this 59 Galaxie knowing that it needed some floor work, but the more I dig in the worse it gets. Some days it gets overwhelming but I keep telling myself that this is a learning experience and I’m not on a time table and keep plugging away it.
     

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  20. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,777

    gimpyshotrods
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    ^^^Mad skillz^^^
     
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  21. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,703

    anthony myrick
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  22. If I'm correct that is the same basic body shell that the Buick Super and Roadmaster used in 1955. I Googled "1955 Buick Roadmaster floor pan" and got a couple of "suspects" for pan sections. At least these could be a starting point for your fix.
     
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  23. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,703

    anthony myrick
    Member

    A full trunk pan is not avalible for this 59
    It is a combination of bought patch panels and fabricated pieces
    7FACA868-6313-47DD-A06B-BA58B7D5C3A0.jpeg
     
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  24. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,703

    anthony myrick
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  25. A lot of good advice. It would be cool to save this Caddy!
     
  26. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,703

    anthony myrick
    Member

    Every avalible patch for this floor was used. I made the other pieces needed. All were fit, trimmed and butt welded ( still have some hammer/dolly and grinding to do)
    Take it a piece at a time
    2A57379C-24CF-4C9C-8B70-0AB24C1BE084.jpeg
     
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  27. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,703

    anthony myrick
    Member

  28. NAES
    Joined: Dec 24, 2008
    Posts: 485

    NAES
    Member

    You guys are getting the inspiration flowing! Thanks again guys!

    I know I can tackle this job and finish it, I just want to make it the best I can while keeping the project moving so it doesn't stall.

    Those are some great picsď

    NAES

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  29. 50 customcoupe
    Joined: May 8, 2011
    Posts: 412

    50 customcoupe
    Member

    WOW, Great looking Caddy. I would try my best to save it too. As has been said above, one piece at a time. that's what I plan to do on my '50 Chevy couple and make my own floor pans even if I have to make each pan in two or three pieces it will still be cheaper that buying 4 floor pans and my car is not going to factory original anyway. just a daily driver that suits me. Good Luck with it and keep us posted on your work with pictures .
     
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  30. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,566

    gene-koning
    Member

    If you intend on saving that Caddy floor pan, I suggest you buy a 4' x 8' sheet of 18 gauge sheet metal and cut the panels out of it as you need them. That would be much cheaper then buying stamped floor pans. The stamped pans that are available are probably are not going to be big enough to reach something you will be able to weld to. If you don't intend on removing the body from the frame, I suggest you remove a section of rusty floor and weld the new metal in, one section at a time., that will help keep the car intact more. I also suggest that you be fully aware of what is under the area you are working on. Welding wire blowing through a thin floor pan and hitting a fuel line (or a brake line) can ruin your day pretty quickly. Also, have a spray bottle full of water close by to put out the small fires and a big fire extinguisher close by in case things go wrong. there is a lot of stuff that can burn inside and under these old cars.

    I might also suggest you lap weld rather then butt weld, it will be a much easier weld to do. As you gain experience, try the butt welding, but the lap will be fine for what your doing. Good luck! Gene
     
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