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Projects Saving a 54 Mercury Custom 2 Door Sedan Build Thread

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by The 39 guy, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. U-235
    Joined: Dec 18, 2010
    Posts: 452


    Looking at your 2-door brought back high school memories .....had a 53 2-door with a 55 Cad and transmission, painted Bahama Blue. Currently have a 54 2-door hardtop, lowered with ps,disk brakes and other late model amenities.
  2. 56longroof
    Joined: Aug 1, 2011
    Posts: 2,250


    Very nice work. Suscribed!
  3. You guys are doing a great job.....not too much different than what I did on my '57 that ate up 3 1/2 years of spare time....and worth every minute. The self satisfaction of completing a job like that is an incredible feeling. Kinda reminds me of a slogan a '57fordsforever member has..."saving the world, one 57 at a time"
  4. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 2,251


    Nice work as usual. I just found the thread. Subscribed.
  5. abner36
    Joined: Nov 5, 2014
    Posts: 77


    nice job on the sheet metal work I really enjoyed your 40 coupe build thread and I am excited to follow this one two as a chevy guy the 53 54 mercs and fords are one of my favorites and commonly overlooked here in the northwest good luck i'll be watching
  6. Thanks to Jeff from the 52-59 Ford Social Group, who posted a link to your thread, I subscribed. Nice work.
  7. Very nice and clean metal work.
  8. Nice work. Glad you found another project to school us with. It's amazing what you can do with that dremmel! I know a guy in San Diego that is looking to sell a 54 sun liner if anyone is interested.
  9. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,335

    The 39 guy

    Thanks for the encouragement you guys and welcome aboard. We will try not to disappoint you. We kept working on the quarter panels this week an I will try to cover it in as much detail as you can stand.
    The inner fenders were primed and painted with Rustoleum paints.
    Two inch metal strips were cut to size and ground with 36 grit to provide a good surface for the glue to stick to.
    The metal strips were clamped with a combination of #4 pan head screws and clamps. anywhere that the inner fender was too close to the outer fender panel the screws had to be used. Anywhere that a screw was used the fender panel was drilled out with an 1/8 bit. The resulting hole was a larger diameter than the screw. This was done on purpose so that the screw would be used as a clamp while not distorting the body sheet metal. This picture was taken during the prefit of the strips. The burs form the drilling process were also removed from the back side of the panels during this prefit process. Don also pre drilled the holes for the #4 screws in the base metal.
    The inside of the 1/4 panels edges were also ground with 36 grit and the panels primed and painted.
    This is the adhesive used in this project.
    The glue is pretty strong smelling so we used or masks and also turned on the exhaust fan.The adhesive was applied to the metal strips with a borrowed gun and then spread with an acid brush.
    Some paint stick and clamps hold the strips of metal in place.
    You can never have too many clamps..... I originally thought that we might be using too much adhesive . I thought that we would have glue oozing out everywhere but there was not much oozing and what there was, was easily cleaned up with a square blade exacto knife.
    We let the strips set over night. There was plenty of time to work with this adhesive.

    Attached Files:

    F-head likes this.
  10. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,335

    The 39 guy

    The panels are now fully prepped. The screw holes were drilled on 3 inch centers along the top. Closer on the vertical run at the back.
    The metal strips were left clamped overnight and when the clamps were released we found that they were all glued nice and tight.
    Don then did the predrilling for #4 pan head screws. The screws then were easy to install with a screw driver.
    trial fit complete and ready for glue.
    Adhesive was applied to both the strips and the panel.

    We didn't use any screws on the flanged edges. The paint sticks were used to keep from dimpling the thin sheet metal with the clamps.
    After letting the panels dry for two days I went about removing the screw heads. I tried using my trusty dremel tool first. Even with a practiced light touch it was still hard to grind off he heads without leaving some small grooves in the panel.
    So I switched to the air grinder with a a small 50 grit sanding disc. This method yielded better results. I was careful to sand just a few seconds at a time on each screw moving back and forth among several screw heads so as to minimize heat build up in the screws.
    So there it is, ready for some bondo. I forgot to mention that we beveled the sheet metal edges a little on the body and the replacement panel so that there would be an area for the bondo to go for a better mechanical lock and to ensure we did not have a sharp edge sticking out. Overall we ended up with a nice flush fitting panel with no warping. This is why we chose to go with the glued on panels instead of welding them. We were concerned that the mig welding process would have caused some warpage and that we would not be able to get to the back side of the panels to work the weld area.

    We have moved on to the door and front fender area now. We have some door gap issues to solve before we can install the fenders. We will cover door issues next.

    Attached Files:

  11. OK you got me; another subscription. Lot's of good learning stuff here.
  12. Slopok
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,851


    Who'd thought you could glue a car back together, but that's how the new cars are built, better living through chemistry I guess. Very nice work on everything you've done so far.
    Frankie47 likes this.
  13. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,335

    The 39 guy

    Hi John! Hey we have to keep busy doing something up here in the snowy Northwest while you snowbirds are driving around down south.

    Thanks Slopok! I think I still prefer the welding them back together but this 1/4 panel project has gone well so far.
  14. You are doing a fine job, and I don't mean to sound negative, but.... A glued on patch panel can/will ghost through filler and paint and show. 3M panel bond will not work for this type of patch, but I'm not sure about Lord Fusor. We once did a test with 3M panel bond and a patch on my bosses car and it ghosted through in a matter of months. Not trying to cause trouble and hope this doesn't happen.
    michael knight likes this.
  15. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,335

    The 39 guy

    Hi John! Hey we have to keep busy doing something up here in the snowy Northwest while you snowbirds are driving around down south.

    Thanks Slopok! I think I still prefer the welding them back together but this 1/4 panel project has gone well so far.

    Well Bugguts I hope it doesn't ghost out, time will tell..... If it does we will just have to cut the panels off and weld some new ones on.
  16. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,335

    The 39 guy

    It was recommended that we apply some fiberglass reinforced bondo for the first layer of filler on the quarter panel patches. This is what Don chose to use.


    The product went on well.
    It drys hard. Don just sanded off the high spots for now. Epoxy primer will be applied before any more filler is applied. Further body work on these panels will be done this spring.
    biggeorge likes this.
  17. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,335

    The 39 guy

    Ok the quarter panels are done so we moved on to fitting the door gaps. The first thing we decided to address on this project was the door stop mechanism. The assembly had gotten quite rusty over time and one of the two wheels in the mechanism quit rolling on it's shaft and as a result developed a flat spot.
    This a pretty bad picture taken inside the door. In the center of the assembly you can just make out the rusted wheel.
    We decided the only way to repair this assembly was to remove it from the door. The assembly was spot welded to an inner panel of the door.To get to the welds we had to cut the outer door skin away.
    I used my trusty dremel tool to cut the panel.
    Drilled out the spot welds.
    Here are some views of the rusty assembly.
    A little time in the bead blaster was needed.
    After blasting we could see that the wheel on left was rotating ok . The rivet on the right on the right is actually the end of the shaft that the frozen wheel was on.
    The shaft end was larger on the oher side ( 5/16").
    After a couple of tries I was able to make some new wheels from some roundstock I had on hand .
    The pins were a hardware store item. They were a little long but I was able to shorten them and drill a new hole for the cotter pin. The hole in the bracket had to be enlarged on one side for the pin. I have a lot of drill bits including fraction,number and letter but none of them were close enough to fit this pin so I had to finish ream it with a file. Had to finish ream the new wheel holes too.It took two of us to get the spring on.

    You can see the new cotter pin and washer here replacing the riveted shaft assembly.
    Litheum grease was applied to the wheels and shaft during assembly.
    There were two holes in the inner panel that I used to insert some 10-24 screws to hold the assembly in place while I plug welded the assembly through the original spot weld holes.
    These are not pretty mig welds but they should hold the assembly in place.
    I used some magnets to hold the outer skin while I ack welded it in place.
    Well here we are several hours later back to where we started.
    We have been working on the door gaps since installing this repaired stop mechanism and it is working well.
    A final inside view. This is one of those projects you don't typically think of when you start rebuilding a car that can eat up a lot of time. I figure it will be well worth it though as each time Don gets in the car the door should open and close without a lot of creaking and screatching. I don't think these parts are available in the aftermarket but thankfully they are not to hard to reproduce.


    Attached Files:

  18. U-235
    Joined: Dec 18, 2010
    Posts: 452


    Wow...just Wow.....never saw anybody do this.
    Frankie47 likes this.
  19. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 40,169


    That is dedication plus doing all that to make this ride as good or better than new.
    1947knuck likes this.
  20. If I were doing that much work, I think I'd have looked for some small sealed bearings in place of those solid rollers....
  21. Bruce A Lyke
    Joined: Jun 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,425

    Bruce A Lyke

    Me too, looks like a interesting build.
  22. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,335

    The 39 guy

    U-235, I assume you mean gluing on a patch panel. From what I have read and heard it is a very common practice in auto body work but not often done in restoration work. I was curious how the HAMB would respond to the process. Maybe I should have done a tech thread on it.

    Thanks loudbang, from what I am seeing as we dig deeper into this project is that there will many more sub-projects like the door catch that will keep this project interesting.

    Crazy Steve, where were you when we were considering our options for this? Wish I would have thought of that. I will have to visit the local bearing store when do the other door stop and see what is available.

    Welcome to the build 1959Nomad, lets see if we can hold your interest...
  23. Ok as someone that works around this stuff for a will have an issue glueing that patch panel on. An adhesive expands and contracts at a different rate than the metal. As time goes on you will more than likely be able to "read" the repair...i.e see the outline of the patch panel. Yeah we glue panels on cars today, but we are gluing flanges on sheet metal, we always well the sail panel because of the "read through" issue. Don't want to rain on your parade.

    Been lots of guys on here that used it for frenching headlights...they always come back and say " there's a dark ring where the 2 pieces meet"
    michael knight and loudbang like this.
  24. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,335

    The 39 guy

    loveoftiki, should I assume you mean weld? I don't disagree with your opinion.... I hope the read through is a minimal issue. I suppose that if Don can't live with the results we will be cutting the glued panels off and weld some replacements on. We have some more patch panels to do. Maybe your comments will lead us to weld them on.
  25. Yes weld the sail panel..stupid phone. I do know a guy that has done this..but it was a 80 mustang and he did the top where there's a big molding to cover it. Yeah it will hold, that panel isn't going anywhere, but before you spend money on primer, paint, clear, only to have the repair read on won't be fun to fix twice.
    loudbang and michael knight like this.
  26. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,335

    The 39 guy

    So it's been a couple of weeks since our last post. We spent most of the time fitting the doors. The drivers door gave us the most trouble. This car has taken a pretty heavy hit in the front end which was not fixed very well.The doors were tight to the B pillar as in no gap at all. We worked over the doors first correcting contours as best we could and then proceeded to fit them to the car.
    After trying everything we could think of including elongating hinge holes and trying every combination of hinge position we still were 1/4" short of aligning with the rocker panel. These are new rockers and we had installed them to fit the inner structure supports in the body so we thought we had installed them correctly. We should have had the doors on the car when we installed them.... Lesson learned the hard way...
    So the decision was made to slice the rocker with the trusty dremel tool and spread the rocker the needed 1/4". 1/4 x 1 1/2" bolts were used as spacers during the welding process.
    I cut a 1/4" wide strip of 18 gauge sheet metal with the HF sheer and proceeded to slowly weld 8" or so long strips into the hole.
    Yes I used a mig welder.It seemed to take forever to weld this strip in. I would a weld little and then get out my air deburring tool and grind for a while then weld and repeat. The weld was left a little rough so that the filler will stick to it well.
    I missed getting a picture of the cut I had to make at the bottom of the A pillar. by the time we got the door fitting good in the hole we had some interference here so out came the dremel and the dead blow hammer to get the required clearance.
    I missed getting a picture of the hinge pocket cut I made on the drivers side but I took one of the passenger side for show and tell.
    You can see that the lower hinge was rubbing on the hinge pocket so we made the cut, pried it out then filled the gap.
    I missed getting a picture of the mod to the B pillar we sliced the quarter panel in the door jamb area and pulled it out to match the door contour.

    We are still working on the passenger door but so far it looks like it will not need as much welding to get it to the desired gaps and function.

    Attached Files:

    biggeorge and loudbang like this.
  27. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,335

    The 39 guy

    So here is a fun project. The fresh air intakes were both flattened during the wreck and were not repaired. They just bolted the fenders on over them .
    This passenger side one was especially bad.
    First thing to was to get them off the car so I could hammer on them. I used my very dull spot weld cutter hammer and chisel to get them off .
    On the bench.
    I get a big kick out of beating something like this back into shape. I spent two or three hours beating on this thing. It was FUN!
    I did some bead blasting and it looks much better. I still have to repair the torn mounting tabs. Will do that next.
    biggeorge, lowcoe, joel and 1 other person like this.
  28. WillyNilly
    Joined: Apr 7, 2013
    Posts: 240

    from NorCal

    Great work, subscribed!
  29. Inspiring and very well done guys, thanks.
  30. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,335

    The 39 guy

    Thank you gentlemen! Hope we can keep you interested.

    I have been generally out of action this week but Don has been busy cleaning and painting stuff. He used bed liner in the rear wheel wells.

    I did make it out the shop to cheer and comment while Don made a replacement part for inner fender. As usual I took a few pictures to share with you.
    All that was left of this part was the rusty piece on the right. Fortunately the opposite side was salvageable and was used to make a pattern.
    Don found this really nice pattern card board with 1/2" grid printed on it. I bent the paper to determine the order of the bends.
    We started with the HF Break. A project like this really shows the limitations of this tool. A break with removable fingers would have allowed us to make more than this one bend.
    IMG_9709R.jpg Don chose to use some of the sheet metal that we cut off of the new 1/4 panels.

    Since the fancy tools were of little use the dead blow rubber hammer was put to work for bending .
    This compound bend was challenging. It was about a 1/4" offset.Don is using an aluminum wedge with the end flattened to about 1/8" to start the bend.
    Then a little hammer work on the anvil.
    Patience and more hammer work finishes it off.
    The result is a mirror image of the sample piece.
    It goes somewhere around here.... Looking at the picture I am not sure he is holding it in the correct orientation.... Well we will figure that out later.;)
    ffr1222k, Rui and loudbang like this.

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