Register now to get rid of these ads!

PART II - How to radius gasser wheel wells when you don't have a clue

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Just Jones, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. Just Jones
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 928

    Just Jones
    Member

    Part I of this thread gives info on using wrecking yard fender arch panels (in my case, from a 70s-80s Volvo 240) to radius rear wheel wells, and can be found here:

    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=404768&highlight=when+you+don+have+clue


    Part II will give some details about the more traditional, time tested approach to radiusing wheel wells: Basically sketching out where you want to cut and going to town.

    My apologies in advance for some of these crappy photos - my camera is biting the dust.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  2. Just Jones
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 928

    Just Jones
    Member

    I chose to use this method instead of the grafting technique from Part I because I realized that I didn't need the added lip to cover the size of slicks I was going to running under my car, a '56 Ford two door sedan with a '58 9 inch rear out out of a wrecking yard rust bucket Ranchero. These early 9 inches are the narrowest out there, I believe, but are probably right in there with the ones from under early Broncos.

    Here is what it looked like before radiusing. I pulled these old wheels and tires off the back of an old station wagon in the same wrecking yard because I needed some rollers for the build, but I really got to like how they looked on the car, dimension-wise. To my eye, it looked agressive and proportionate, without it being overkill.

    The combination ALMOST fit without interference within the stick rear fenders, however since I wanted to radius them anyways as part of the plan, it was decided to move ahead with surgery.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Just Jones
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 928

    Just Jones
    Member

    When I was still deciding how I wanted to do this, I did some research and came across some really great looking '55 Chevys belonging to fellow HAMBers who had used the before-mentioned Volvo 240 trick (from Part I), but when I mocked the panels up, it was obvious that this technique was going to give me about two inches more "flare" than I needed for my application (not so obvious in this picture, though):
     

    Attached Files:

  4. Just Jones
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 928

    Just Jones
    Member

    Register now to get rid of these ads!

  5. Just Jones
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 928

    Just Jones
    Member

    Basically, being this was the first time I had done this, and that I would never claim to be anything other than a total rank amateur at bodywork and metal working, and that I was scared shitless about possibly screwing this up, I called in more experienced, skilled reinforcements: my buddy Hot Rod Bob. He and I probably over-scienced our approach, but the outcome was certainly worth it.

    First thing we took on with the Ford is that the stock wheel openings are not symmetrical like they are on a '55 Chev..

    I wanted to make sure that the wheel would look centered in the newly cut opening, so we started by using a nut on a string as a plumb bob to mark the center of the axle/wheel line on the fender.

    I followed this with cutting a template out of cardboard to estimate the amount of metal we were going to cut out:
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011
  6. Just Jones
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 928

    Just Jones
    Member

    We used another wheel/tire of the right size to figure out how high we wanted to make the cut, which involved some guess work as the car currently was ridding high with no gas tank, interior, roll bar, driver, etc. inside.

    We ended up trimming the pattern into something of a squashed arch radius. As '55-56 Fords have some cool reveals that are signature aspects of their design, Bob and I spent considerable time finding a arc that would provide enough clearance for body squat under hard acceleration, clear the slicks, look proportionate and symmetrical, yet still blend with the factory style lines as much as possible, allowing us to retain the factory stainless trim at the front of the wheel opening.

    As it is easier to fix it when cutting out too little then when cutting out too much, so we looked at a couple options, starting by marking the circumference of the wheel behind the fender, then taking it from there:
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  7. Just Jones
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 928

    Just Jones
    Member

    Did I mention that I was worried about screwing this up?

    Once I had trimmed the template to what I wanted, I traced the radius on the fender, did a quicky masking job on the top side of it, and sprayed some rattle can black in the area to be cut out so that - with another wheel rolled up in front of it - I could get an idea of what the radius would look like once done.

    Overdoing it? Maybe. Effective? For me, very. In this picture, it almost looks like we had already cut the fender:
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  8. Just Jones
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 928

    Just Jones
    Member

    I liked how it was looking at this point, so it was time to make the cuts. Learning through experience (cutting out the volvo wheel lips in Part I) had taught me that a SawzAll is not the right tool for the job. A cut off wheel on a grinder works perfectly:
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Just Jones
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 928

    Just Jones
    Member

    We followed up this by cleaning up the cut with the grinder to finish shaping the cut and grind off the rough edges.

    After that, it was time to step back and check it out:
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  10. bobwop
    Joined: Jan 13, 2008
    Posts: 6,086

    bobwop
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

  11. Just Jones
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 928

    Just Jones
    Member

    I jacked the car up, pulled the wheels and spent a little time with a body hammer and dolly to address the cuts on the inner fender panel, shaping them in toward the outerlayer so that there wouldn't be any sharp metal hanging down to slice my hands up when reaching in to change tires.

    I then mounted up a set of Torq Thrusts with a set of street slicks to see how they looked. To my eye, everything looked pretty damn good:
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Just Jones
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 928

    Just Jones
    Member

    To finish the job off, I will probably blend in a lip with small conduit, or something along those lines (again, an old, tried-and-true approach), or I may just leave it alone.

    Obviously, adding the lip elevates the difficulty of the job considerably, as there is much more welding and metal working involved . . . but it sure looks bitchen' when done right! (again, these are pictures of cars owned by HAMBers):
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
  13. Just Jones
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 928

    Just Jones
    Member

    On the complete other extreme (and waaaaayy beyond my skill level) is what this guy in the picture below did for his '56 Fairlane that I saw at a show in Lake Havasu, AZ a couple years back.

    Looks nice, like it could be factory . . . but to me it looses some of "rawness" that a gasser should have. After all, racecars are about form following function, right?

    This car was very nice and very, very clean:
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
  14. racer32
    Joined: Sep 22, 2007
    Posts: 745

    racer32
    Member

    Nice metalwork, Just Jones. Your camera SUCKS, though! LOL.
     
  15. Just Jones
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 928

    Just Jones
    Member

    Yeah I know, I know.

    Those pictures look a lot like those soft-focus shots that Penthouse magazine was so famous for back in the 70s and 80s.

    Or at least that's what people tell me.
     
  16. Conniptor
    Joined: Feb 3, 2011
    Posts: 27

    Conniptor
    Member
    from New Jersey

    I like your description of the thought process - good trick using the black paint to help visualize - and I think what you did looks better than the volvo flares would have. Please update when the conduit is on!
     
  17. I Drag
    Joined: Apr 11, 2007
    Posts: 884

    I Drag
    Member

    I am in the middle of doing the same thing. I made what is basically a big protractor that piloted in the axle hub and drew an arc with a marker first. Worked great and is adjustable.

    Good job, keep going.
     
  18. Cool little tech post. Keep the updates coming on the car you are doing this too is looks like a cool build.
     
  19. Pluck
    Joined: Nov 3, 2007
    Posts: 39

    Pluck
    Member

    This is a great post and comes at a good time for me, as I just picked up a clean '63 Chevy Nova that will be getting a big block. I want to radius the wheel wells and I wasn't sure how to go about it. Now I have a guide to go by.
    Thanks!
    Pluck
     
  20. Just Jones
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 928

    Just Jones
    Member

    Actually, I tried that method as well - basically using a Sharpie and some string - and was very happy with the result. The only reason I didn't stick with it was I was concerned about getting both sides the same, although I am sure it could be done with enough patience.

    I appreciate that. I think it's going to be a build that will get a few folks erked as I used '72 Camaro z28 front clip instead of a Ford piece or a straight axle. If I ever do a complete thread, I'll explain why . . . but trust me, it's working very well.

    Thanks Pluck. I was kind of thinking that maybe I was providing an answer for a question nobody was asking, but as I've seen a few people posting threads wanting this kind of info I figured it may be useful to a few folks out there in HAMB land. Best of luck with your build!
     
  21. Just Jones
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 928

    Just Jones
    Member

    Hey, thanks. There are so many amazingly talented fabricators here on the HAMB that have written Tech threads that are fantastic, yet detailing stuff way beyond my skill level, that I thought maybe presenting this kind of thing from an "average Joe's" perspective may be useful to other people like me - those of us learning by doing, often for the first time.

    I agree, this method is definitely going to look better for my '56 Ford, but the Volvo lips look really great on '55 Chevys, and may also look as good on other Fords with more meat under the back end than mine:
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
  22. Phillips
    Joined: Oct 26, 2010
    Posts: 1,292

    Phillips
    Member

    Volvo lips is fun to say out loud.

    Perfect proportion on the cuts you made and the chrome reverse is a great look on those Fords.

    I am curious about your clip choice as well, I don't want to derail this thread so I'll shut up and watch for your build thread if you do one.
     
  23. Just Jones
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 928

    Just Jones
    Member

     
  24. Just to confuse people even further here's how I just radiused my henry j

    I took a 1/4 inch rod that was square to the rim and level to the ground and put it in the center of my axle shaft. I then took my yard stick and drilled a 1/4 inch hole at the one inch mark for the rod to fit through. I drilled another 1/4 inch hole at the 17 mark for a round soap stone to fit into. This gave me a 32 inch radius and a perfect circle, the first photo is just a mockup, the yard stick was at 90 degrees to the 1/4 inch rod while marking.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    29EHV8 likes this.
  25. Just Jones
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 928

    Just Jones
    Member

    That's the ticket! Swade, you are one of those ridiculously talented metalsmiths I was talking about earlier. Thanks for your input!

    And by the way, I bought a '58 Apache Fleetside earlier this week, so I'm going to be hitting you up about some of the mods you did on yours! - Jones
     
  26. HotRod55
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 39

    HotRod55
    Member
    from Omaha,NE

    Another method that I used was to take a 1/2 inch brake line, bend it around the tire that I was using and tape it to the fender, then mark the inside edge and cut along that line. Then tack the brake line to the outer fender and blend with filler to make a nice lip. Worked great and not overly difficult for a beginner, which I am.
     
  27. Just Jones
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 928

    Just Jones
    Member

    Since HotRod55 has such a sweet '55 Ford, and his radius job looks absolutely spot on, in my opinion, I hope he won't mind if I post a couple pictures of his ride:
     

    Attached Files:

  28. That was my easy trick for the radius lip, took all of 15 minutes, except I used 1/4 inch.

    pushed one end under the tire

    [​IMG]

    rolled it around the tire

    [​IMG]

    and the finished product

    [​IMG]

    taped up for a test look

    [​IMG]
     
    Baging likes this.
  29. Just Jones
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 928

    Just Jones
    Member

    I'm definitely going to give that a shot. Thanks for the pics, Swade!
     
  30. It's so easy a caveman can do it..lol

    I hope to try and get this side welded up this weekend if I can, I love welding new metal to old metal and chasing the holes.....not really
     

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.