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Technical New Frame in an Old Squarebird. Unibody,,,, PFFFFFFFFFFTtttt

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Da Tinman, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. Da Tinman
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,226

    Da Tinman
    Member

    So the Wife's Uncle bought this rare 60 Tbird knowing it was a bit rough underneath but the rest of it was pretty and nice.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    What makes it so rare?

    430 motor,,,

    [​IMG]

    Factory leaky roof,,

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Its one of 70 made with this package and only a handful have survived.

    Purty aint it?
     
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  2. Da Tinman
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,226

    Da Tinman
    Member

    After driving it a bit he noticed that it was a bit squirrelly on uneven pavement but it rode nice and soft. He said it made funny crunching noises when put on a lift.

    [​IMG]

    Note the cracks around the steering mount, perfectly safe.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It turns out the entire "frame" from the steering mounts to the leaf spring mounts in the back was rusted beyond belief.



    [​IMG]

    So some well meaning soul fixed it. 24 gauge tacked over the rust sometimes tacking it to the rust.

    Some places there were 5 layers,

    [​IMG]

    Once they fixed it they layered on 14 gallons of seam sealer and undercoating so it wouldn't rust out again.

    For those of you that haven't been around one of these cars its all one piece, fenders and inner fenderwells don't come off other than a couple filler panels. Since the topside was decent the owner didn't want to do any outside paint and bodywork so cutting the rockers and such off to get in there to the root of the problem was out of question.

    Most of the patches I was able to pop off with a screwdriver and I kept finding more fun:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
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  3. Da Tinman
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,226

    Da Tinman
    Member

    Some of this stuff I didn't get pictures of so you'll have to use your imagination and some of these pics were taken out of order.

    Once I got it on stands which was a scary endeavor all by itself I sliced open the bottom of what was left of the rockers and started measuring and it turns out that 4" square tubing would slide in the opening.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now the one redeeming factor was that the top of the unibody was actually solid as a rock and was good down an inch on either side so I did have something to weld the new framerails to.

    Where the frame doglegs into the leafsprings I cut another section of 4" tubing that ran all the way to the spring mount.

    [​IMG]

    On the inside of the rear frame there is a gusset/doubler that is riveted to the outer spring mount, I made to doglegs long enough that I could weld them to the doubler tying everything together in a way stronger package.

    After getting the tubing in the holes I then cut the some of floors and the seat braces out of the way (they were as rusty as the rest of it so no loss) so I could weld the solid portion of the unibody to the new framerails.

    Now I can get it on a lift for the really sucky parts.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015
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  4. Da Tinman
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,226

    Da Tinman
    Member

    Since I didn't have a lift at my shop it was time for a white knuckle road trip to a buddy's shop and get it in the air. The owner drove it for a while not knowing it was screwed up and he said he was not afraid of it, I however knew how screwed up it was and was scared shitless the entire half hour trip.

    I was going to have it towed over but the guy with the rollback took a look at it and said he wasn't even going to try it. No solid place to hook to or tie it down. In fact he was giggling as he climbed back in the truck and drove off. Gee thanks.......

    So now I've got it on the lift and its time to get serious.

    Rear framerails were easy,

    [​IMG]

    Note that new rear frame sections tie directly into the 4" doglegs and you can see how the rusty factory torque box walls are cut off and welded into the doglegs.


    [​IMG]

    New torque boxes,

    [​IMG]

    I put those in at angle and cut a drain hole in the lowest portion and also made new lower wheel house extensions and welded all that in solid. All made of 14 gauge.

    On the drivers side I added some pieces of angle iron to protect the fuel and brake lines at the front, middle and rear so jacking up or putting it on a lift there would be no worries about crushing them.

    [​IMG]

    Time for the front.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
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  5. Da Tinman
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,226

    Da Tinman
    Member

    [​IMG]

    Again formed out of 14 gauge, punched and swedged the holes for the steering mount.

    No pics of this during fabrication so bear with me. I cut everything out and started with the inners panels and worked out so I had all kinds of access to get the welder in there.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I added a fake pinch weld along the bottom of the frame so at a glance it looks factory.

    Front torque boxes were also put in at an angle towards a couple drain holes.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015
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  6. Da Tinman
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,226

    Da Tinman
    Member

    So now the bottom side is solid, more solid that when it was new its time to get inside and patch the floors, toeboards and seat braces all of which were welded solid to the new frame,

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In that^^^^ pic you can almost see how I folded the unibody side onto the new frame and welded it in. Its done that way all the way to the front of the toeboard. You can also see where I drilled and spot welded the sill to the outer part of the new frame, no body work needed as it is under the sill plates. The bolts are drilled and tapped into the framerail to hold it while I was fitting everything

    Front after some paint,,

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I may have posted this one before but you can see how I tied the outer rocker back into the new frame and I added a bunch of drain holes from front to back so hopefully it will not rust out anytime soon.

    [​IMG]

    I did end up putting a lower section of the fender lip you see in the second to last pic it, was mostly made of bondo so there was one spot that had to be repainted. The rest of it however turned out nice and once painted, undercoated and reassembled it will look unmolested and factory and he didn't have to repaint or repair anything other than fenderlip.

    Anyway that's the story and I'm sticking to it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
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  7. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 6,399

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    It's on a Bronco 4x4 chassis?

    C'mon man! I have to go to bed, it's 8:30
     
  8. Jesus..... He obviously didn't put it on a lift. Is that some square-tube 'reinforcement' I see?....
     
  9. Great save!
     
  10. whodaky
    Joined: Dec 6, 2003
    Posts: 4,626

    whodaky
    Member
    from Aust

    Great work as always, Da Tinman.
    Geoff aka whodaky
     
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  11. 56premiere
    Joined: Mar 8, 2011
    Posts: 1,445

    56premiere
    Member
    from oregon

    Great job. I didn't know that those birds don't come apart, I won't be buying one now. Jack
     
  12. coupe33
    Joined: Nov 23, 2004
    Posts: 598

    coupe33
    Member

    Nice save! I didn't know they were built that way but 1960 was a long time ago so I didn't remember.
     
  13. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,261

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    That is EXTREMELY IMPRESSIVE ! On two levels.......first, that you were courageous enough to tackle this, especially with the constraint of maintaining the existing exterior sheet metal and paint......second......the execution of the work with such a high level of 'vision' and craftsmanship!!

    I'll happily buy you a beer, as tribute, this summer at Wayland. :)

    Ray
     
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  14. That IS impressive work.. You have incredible skill.
     
  15. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 2,934

    oldolds
    Member

    Wow! Just like on TV, come back from commercial and it's all done. Looks great.
     
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  16. 28-31
    Joined: Jun 16, 2011
    Posts: 72

    28-31
    Member

    Crazy good -- well done
     
  17. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,696

    chopolds
    Member
    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    Just have to add "Great job!"
     
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  18. 1pickup
    Joined: Feb 20, 2011
    Posts: 881

    1pickup
    Member

    Damn nice save.
     
  19. 41 coupe
    Joined: Nov 29, 2009
    Posts: 269

    41 coupe
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from bristol pa

    Amazing simply Amazing!!!
     
  20. Looks like you are addressing it exactly the way I would kind of like subframe connectors and then repairing/rebuilding everything that stretches out from their.
     
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  21. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,323

    belair
    Member

    Incredible. This is better than the Friday Art Show.
     
  22. 3spd
    Joined: May 2, 2009
    Posts: 541

    3spd
    Member

    If I looked under that car I would think it was factory, nice work.
     
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  23. xpletiv
    Joined: Jul 9, 2008
    Posts: 938

    xpletiv
    Member
    from chiburbs

    Yes, beautiful work!!
    So, all one had to do was lay on the ground and look under? Ain't got time for that!o_O
     
  24. Eagletucky
    Joined: Feb 21, 2005
    Posts: 729

    Eagletucky
    Member

    Thats one hell of a job. It looks Really clean. Good work!!!
     
  25. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 4,030

    Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Member

    Great job Tinman! You saved a car that was essentially beyond reasonable repair.

    Makes me worry that there's similar botched up bodywork in the car. After all, someone painted and otherwise restored the car on that very shaky foundation.
     
  26. very nice work, great job on the save. how many hours work was it?
     
  27. arkiehotrods
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 5,775

    arkiehotrods
    Member

    Wow is all I can think of to say! Beautiful work. You have some mad skills!
     
  28. TheFish
    Joined: Sep 7, 2009
    Posts: 144

    TheFish
    Member

    Nice work Bro!
     
  29. Da Tinman
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,226

    Da Tinman
    Member

    Thanks! I may try and steal it for the trip over to Wayland. As for the courageous thing, there's a fine line between courage and stupidity and I crossed it several times.


    Actually with all the crappy patches and undercoating that was on it you really couldn't tell how bad it was. Once I had it in the air and started pulling it apart I had to call the customer "Uhhh You need to get over here, we haz a problem."

    Believe it or not the rest of the car is in decent shape. The only parts that look iffy are the rear wheel openings but at this point the owner is willing to wait until the problem shows up before fixing it.

    Total time for repair was around 100 hours and at least that many hours staring at it thinking WTF do I do now.

    Thanks for the replies!
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
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  30. ynottayblock
    Joined: Dec 23, 2005
    Posts: 1,954

    ynottayblock
    Member

    Thats a hell of a save. Squarebirds aren't the easiest thing to work on. If it didnt have the factory sunroof and 430...Im not sure it would have been worth saving.
     
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