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Technical Metal working, patch panels, bracing questions

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jjaeger240, Nov 29, 2015.

  1. Really hoping I could get some help with my first metalwork project. I'm doing patch panels for inner/outer rockers, a couple floor pans, and door bottoms on a 1953 Chevy 150 car. I received some feedback on how to do the quarters but it seems that might be contradicting how I need to do the rockers/floor, and was hoping for other opinions before I screw up more than I likely already have. I'll just list out my questions in hopes that I can get advice on anything that anyone has experience or recommendations on handling.

    1. Do I need to replace the inner rockers before the outers?
    2. Do I want to cut out everything to be replaced before fitting/attaching the new metal? (ie. cut out left side front floor pan, inner and outer rockers before welding anything new in place)
    3. Not all of the spot welds are obvious or easy to find, what's the best way to find the welds to break loose and separate/remove the old metal?
    4. Do I need to have my door gaps perfected before cutting out these structural pieces? If so, the hinge pins have slight wear and the bottom of both doors are rotted and no longer true--do these items have to be addressed first?
    5. Do I need to put bracing in the car if I'm removing one side of rockers/floor pans at a time? How much bracing?

    My thought process was to get the door gap the best I can given the current state of the door bottom and hinge pins (vertical gaps are OK, horizontal body lines are off by 1/16 to 1/8"). X brace the door frame and a brace across the left and right lock pillars with 1x1 square tubing. Cut out everything on one side of the car--inner and outer rocker panels, and floor pan. Use the patch pieces as a guide for where to cut. Replace the inner rocker, replace the outer rocker, replace the floor pan.

    Am I right/wrong? Any insight that can be provided on any of this would be really appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. King ford
    Joined: Mar 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,469

    King ford
    Member
    from 08302

    First go over the area where you expect to find spot welds with a 4 inch grinder, the spot welds should show up as low spots, the rest of your plan sounds solid but use your search function ...there is plenty of info already here use " quote " marks , search " rocker panel" or " rocker replacement " etc. good luck!
     
    Doctorterry likes this.
  3. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,800

    flatford39
    Member

    Those are great questions and yes you are on the right track. I would make sure the floor is solid before doing the rockers but I am not sure if that is possible as I don't know the condition of the car. As far as door gaps I suspect they have sagged because of all the rot. In your case it's probably beneficial to straighten them out now after you have the floor done and then solidly supported so when you cut the rest out it will stay in place. The quarters are the last thing you want do.
     
  4. 55willys
    Joined: Dec 7, 2012
    Posts: 1,661

    55willys
    Member

    Make sure door gaps are good before cutting. Replace hinge pins if necessary. Once door gaps are set tack in xbracing leave doors hung while replacing rocker that way you can see if anything moves. If it gets out of line fix it before welding. After structure is repaired then weld in floor
     
    JOYFLEA likes this.

  5. Thanks fellas, all of that is very helpful. I've been doing a bunch of searches to a lot of great info--it's the oddball, rudimentary questions I haven't found answers on--and since I've never done this I'd rather ask first before ruining something.

    There's no extreme structural rot on the car--the previous owner did a hack fix of the driver pan and lap welded a piece of sheet stock in its place--I'm tired of listening to an oil can sound every time I step in to the car. The hinges have a small amount of play which is why I haven't perfected getting the gaps set. Quarters have been tacked in place but I kept the factory leading edge, only replaced what was needed.

    @55willys Two follow up questions:
    (1) Any recommendations on setting door gaps? I have been positioning the door in the opening without a latch, then once I'm happy with the gaps I tighten the hinge bolts to hold it in place. The problem is once the hinges are supporting the weight the door gets slight sag and I lose my alignment. Also, the bottom of my doors are rotted so I am going to be replacing the bottom section of the skin/shell. My roof line has to be fixed due to some interesting fitment of the doors when the car was chopped by the previous owner. The only real gaps I can use are the vertical gaps below the belt line and the horizontal belt line.

    (2) Since I'm replacing the bottom of the doors can I also use the replacement pieces to set the bottom gap correctly?

    Last thing I could use help with...when I replaced the front, bottom section of the quarter I sectioned it just before the lock pillar to keep the hard edge. I will need to replace the lower corner of the jamb. The replacement rocker I got from @ems customer service extends 2" past the replacement quarter panel lower jamb. I attached a picture so it hopefully makes more sense. Do I want to cut the rocker 2" short and use the piece from the replacement quarter I sectioned out, or am I somehow supposed to be using all that metal together? 12318364_10100417492224430_32266139_o.jpg
     
  6. 55willys
    Joined: Dec 7, 2012
    Posts: 1,661

    55willys
    Member

    1) Get new hinge pins or whole hinges. You are doing right to make the doors fit without strikers. Set door gaps and body line. The rest is make to fit.

    2) Try to get the rocker right and then fit the bottom of the doors to it.

    3) There should be a seam or an overlap area between the rocker and the quarter. Did your quarter have the rounded area that is missing in the pic? If so use it. If you have enough to look at see how to the transition from rocker to quarter was originally constructed.
     
  7. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,578

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Do not cut the car up. Cut away one piece at a time and replace it before going on to the next part.

    If it was mine I would start by taking the doors off and repairing them off the car. Much easier than working on them on the car. I would weld up the rotten areas then replace the hinge pins and bushings, put them back on the car and align them. If the body has sagged I would jack it up and brace as necessary to get the doors fitting right.

    Then replace the rocker panel on one side, inner and outer at the same time. Doing work to the door posts etc as necessary.

    Then do the rockers on the other side. At this point you have a rigid body and a straight, sound foundation. Now you have something to weld floors and body mounts to.

    If body mounts are bad it may be necessary to jack up the body with several scissor jacks or pickup truck jacks. I have used as many as 10 jacks to support one car but that was when I was welding the front half of one body to the back half of another body and I wanted it true within 1/8" before I started welding.

    Break the job down into many small, manageable jobs and it becomes much easier. Map out a plan and do everything in logical order and it should be a simple straight forward affair.
     
    King ford likes this.
  8. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,578

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Incidentally it would be easier to do rockers and floors with the doors off the car but you MUST be sure the body is true and not sagged. Once you weld it together you are stuck with it. With the doors on the car you can check alignment as you go along and know nothing has moved.
     
  9. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,578

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Usually you ignore spot welds and just cut out the bad areas. But if you want to separate a seam run a disc grinder along the spot weld line and the spot welds will show up as a row of dimples.

    Take a big drill bit, grind it to a flat angle and sharpen it up. With a little practice you can drill half way through a spot weld and only cut away the one layer of steel. Drilling the center of the spot weld right through with a 1/8 drill bit makes it even easier. Separate the seam with a cold chisel and leave the other side nearly untouched, ready to grind smooth and spot weld another panel to.
     
  10. ems customer service
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 2,579

    ems customer service
    Member

    our 1/4 panel for 53/54 chevy's and for many other 50's cars does extend past the door jamb about 2-4 inches, WHY? ford and chevy made the 1/4 panels this way, so we did too. the reason was not to put all the seams and connecting points in one high stress area of the door jamb. it is a lot harder to stamp the part this way, but it makes for a much stronger door post.
     

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