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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. I've been watching Detroit Steel lately and noticed their painter uses the razor trick regularly.
     
  2. cederholm
    Joined: May 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,540

    cederholm
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Another great thread! I'm looking forward to upcoming posts.
     
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  3. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,655

    The 39 guy
    Member

    Thanks cederholm!

    Well we have been working steadily since my last post here in March. We got my coupe put back together and at is running good and shifts much better. After a much longer than expected recess for the 40 coupe we got back on the body work on the Merc.

    This hood has been a serious challenge to us from the start. I think we have weeks of time into it by now, we should have tried to buy a better one to work with but we like challenges.
    IMG_1842R.jpg
    Don wanted to run the 52 trim on the front of the hood which does not use the big 54 emblem so we had to fill some holes and re contour the nose of the hood.
    IMG_1843R copy.jpg
    Lots of big holes to fill
    IMG_1846R.jpg
    The center line was also off a little so we had to move it over
    IMG_1847R.jpg

    IMG_1848R copy.jpg
    We cut out some plugs for the holes. We used a slightly thicker
    metal for the plugs so they could be more easily ground to the
    surface.
    IMG_1850R.jpg

    IMG_1852R.jpg IMG_1856R copy.jpg
    Don decided to eliminate the scoop emblem also

    IMG_1993R.jpg
    After much discussion and some experimenting with some
    clay Don decided to fill the holes and add some metal strips
    to reshape the scoop contour.
    IMG_2013R.jpg
    The metal strips were glued on with the same adhesive that was
    used on the quarter panels
    IMG_2014R.jpg IMG_2015R.jpg
    Holes filled with steel plugs and ready for filler
    IMG_1958R.jpg
    The drivers side front sheet metal of the hood had been
    stretched to a point that we could not shrink it enough
    to get it to contour. So we decided to make some cuts
    IMG_1960R.jpg

    IMG_1961R.jpg
    We started with two cuts with the cut off wheel
    IMG_1962R.jpg
    We laid out a grid and used the contour gauge to compare
    the sides
    IMG_1963R.jpg
    Clamps were used to hold the pieces in contour
    IMG_1966R.jpg
    Hammer and dolly work
    IMG_1975R.jpg
    Getting closer
    IMG_1976R.jpg
    You can see we made a few more cuts to shrink the bubble
    IMG_1978R.jpg
    Filling some holes
    IMG_1980R.jpg
    More cuts
    IMG_1981R.jpg
    Finally close enough for bondo
    IMG_1983R.jpg

    IMG_2017R.jpg
    We used the fiber reinforced filler
    IMG_2032R.jpg
    Some filler was also applied to the back side. The hood latch
    There is still a lot of work left to do on this hood at this point
    but it will have to wait until we start the primer phase.
     
    lowcoe, 1959Nomad, Rui and 1 other person like this.
  4. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 22,094

    loudbang
    Member

    You guys do nice work. This is going to be one NICE 54 Merc when you get done.
     
  5. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,505

    joel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Nice work, Sam. How are you guys shrinking the metal ( before the cuts)? I'm always curious about different methods.
     
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  6. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,655

    The 39 guy
    Member

    Thanks Joel.We tried lots of things on this hood.
    Heat by torch and quench with water
    Heat by propane torch and quench with water
    Shrinking disc and quench with water
    Shrinking hammer (Waffle head)
    It was stretched when we started on it from the previous body work and everything we tried seemed to not help or make it worse so as a last resort we decided to cut it with a thin abrasive wheel on the 4 inch grinder. We ended up cutting a full plus sign in the middle of the bulge and then made a short cut at the left end of that because we had a small bulge there.

    The cuts were made simply because we had exhausted our limited bag of tricks and skill level. Hopefully we will get it looking better than new in the end. But since this hood was so bad to start with we have never ruled out finding another one for this car.

    Any one out here in the Pacific Northwest have a spare we can buy from you?

    BTW Joel ,so far I don't like this painting stuff and can see why they charge so much to do a custom paint job.......
     
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  7. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,505

    joel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    You guys are working to get the panels close and then use a little filler; that usually takes longer. That's the way I try to do it.
     
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  8. Knghtcadi
    Joined: Oct 17, 2016
    Posts: 359

    Knghtcadi

    I have a 54 I'm also about to start building a mild custom with so my question is are you putting the chrome scoop back at all or not I can't tell


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  9. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,655

    The 39 guy
    Member

    The chrome scoop is gone for good. There will just be a smooth bump there. Although I don't agree with the method we are using to smooth and fill that area it should look pretty good.

    We have been kind of busy with vacations and rod runs this summer so not much progress has been made lately. I promise I will start posting some more on this thread soon.
     
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  10. Knghtcadi
    Joined: Oct 17, 2016
    Posts: 359

    Knghtcadi

    I know the feeling I got this one recently , it's been restored in the 90's but some of the bodywork is starting to bubble so I plan to build a mild custom but I've been driving the heck out of it so who knows when I'll ever start plus I do body work for a living so I'm in no hurry to get started but I'll be following yours for motivation image.jpeg
     
  11. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,655

    The 39 guy
    Member

    Looks like a nice Merc! I like the black wheels and white walls. I hope some of the stuff we have posted will be of some use to you as work on your car.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  12. FOURTYDLX
    Joined: Feb 22, 2006
    Posts: 641

    FOURTYDLX
    Member

    Love it, I use .23 Easy grind, for putting in but welds, low heat
     
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  13. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,655

    The 39 guy
    Member

    We use the easy grind too. Usually have to order it.

    So here is an update.

    We built a paint booth! We used mostly scrap lumber I had around from my old shed to build it. I recently cleaned out that old shed and hauled off 6000 pounds of wood and junk plus a ton of scrap metal. I am sure I am going to miss that junk next time I try to build something around here.

    IMG_2104R.jpg
    The Fan
    IMG_2105R.jpg
    Intake uses stacked furnace filters.
    IMG_2106R.jpg
    IMG_2107R.jpg
    Exhaust filter is in the opposite corner.
    IMG_2108R.jpg
    Used 1/2 inch plywood for the plenum.You can barley see
    the bailing wire I placed on the face of box to keep the
    filter from being sucked into the pipe.
    IMG_2109R.jpg
    Used
    IMG_2726R.jpg
    The filter media was really inexpensive and is working very well.
    IMG_2110R.jpg
    We bought some 8" hose off the web and it came with this adapter.
    IMG_2118R.jpg
    The hose runs through the english wheel and passes through
    a piece of plywood in the window to the back of the shop.
    IMG_2119R.jpg
    The fan sucks well . I have to leave a window open a little to
    get the air volume the fan needs.
    IMG_2113R.jpg
    We put a full plastic sheet floor in the booth. After a few weeks
    of dealing with it we have decided to cut it out.
    IMG_2114R.jpg
    I had an old pre hung door with spring hinges laying around
    so we installed it in the booth. Works great.
    IMG_2120R.jpg
    We hung a couple of pieces of 3/4 inch pipe from the ceiling
    for small parts.
    IMG_2121R.jpg
    Don went to work painting the engine bay parts.
    IMG_2722R.jpg
    We have a total of eight 4 tube light fixtures on the outside of
    the booth. They also have been in the shed for years.
    The walls of the booth are 1x4. The bottom boards are 2x6"

    The plastic sheeting was the most expensive part for this booth.
    So for less than $200 bucks a bunch of junk parts and some free
    labor we have booth tha thas been working well so far.

    There is enough room for us to walk around the perimeter of the
    booth inside the shop. When we are ready to bring the body in
    the booth we will expand it.
    IMG_2724R.jpg
    I taped a piece of plexiglass(from the bead blaster cabinet)
    to the wall so I could keep an eye on Don while he paints.
     
  14. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,505

    joel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I’m catching up again. You and Don have made a good place to work and it should pay time dividends. Good job!


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
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  15. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,655

    The 39 guy
    Member

    Thanks Joel. It does seem to be working very well. We cut the plastic floor out this week. It was just to wrinkled and very hard to clean up. We decided that we would just wet down the concrete floor before painting.

    IMG_2597R.jpg
    We started out with the inner fender parts.
    IMG_2598R.jpg
    We learned a lot about prep and paint along the way. They
    came out pretty good despite our lack of experience. Don hauls
    home the finished parts for clean storage and to make room for
    the next batch of pieces in the booth.
    IMG_2600R.jpg
    All of theses items were painted semi gloss black.
    IMG_2601R.jpg
    we took out a lot of the stamping wrinkles during the prep
    process.
    IMG_2603R.jpg
    getting complete coverage on hood hinges is hard to do....
    IMG_2604R.jpg
    This process took as much time as most people will spend
    on painting an entire car..... I think we are in for a long slow
    painting project.
     
  16. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,505

    joel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Just take your time, Sam. “Backing up is hard to do”


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
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  17. Schreibs
    Joined: Oct 12, 2013
    Posts: 807

    Schreibs
    Member

    Really enjoy this build. I don't want to nose into this thread, but I find inspiration watching you build it, for my own long-term project, a 1953 Monarch 2-door sedan. I've owned it for 25 years, my second car at the age of 15. Unfortunately, I disassembled it into a gazillion pieces way back then (who knew a 15 year old wasn't a restoration expert??) and it's been left in the weeds on my Dad's acreage for years. I've collected lots of cars and parts to build it, hopefully your build will give me the added oomph I need! Our 54 Monarchs had the same suspension as your 54's (the 54 Fords, Meteors still had flatheads here in Canada). I have a frame complete to swap under my 53, to get rid of the kingpin suspension. I really would like to build it, as the 53 Monarchs are pretty rare, especially the sedans. Thanks for letting us tag along, and thanks for the inspiration, I need to get busy! camera pictures 2016 321.JPG
     
  18. AldeanFan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2014
    Posts: 416

    AldeanFan

    At the risk of hijacking a great thread,
    I think a Canadian '54 ford and a US '54 ford have the engine and body mounts in different locations, so the frame swap is a lot more involved than one would think.
    Look forward to seeing your build thread, now back to the Merc


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  19. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,655

    The 39 guy
    Member

    Sorry for the delay in commenting Scheibs. I hope you can still find all of those parts after 25 years. I hgope you get going on the project this year.

     
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  20. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,655

    The 39 guy
    Member

    Wow I haven't made a post since November..... We have been busy on the car though. It's just that we have continued learning the joys of final body work for these last four months and there is not much to show for the hundreds of work hours. I will post up a few pictures though. We are near the end of this phase of the body work and feeling pretty good about the outcome so far. The truth will be known when we bolt all of the pieces on the car for the next trial fit.


    [​IMG]
    One of many guide coats
    [​IMG]
    Finally finished
    [​IMG]
    We tried this approach and it worked pretty well.
    [​IMG]
    But we found that covering the door all the way to the trim line worked better. This real helped block the door in short order. Most of this was sanded off. It's kind of like what they do on the cars they do on those TV shows.
    [​IMG]
    While working on these doors I often thought about how imperfect these cars where when they
    built them,and then I wondered just how far we should go to perfect these body panels. Needless
    to say we spent way too much time on them but hope they will look great when painted.
    [​IMG]
    We used several different sanding blocks. That piece on the door is the radiator brace cover.
    [​IMG]
    Blocked as close to perfection as we could.
    [​IMG]
    Our paint bench is constantly in a messy state.
    [​IMG]
    After weeks of prep work the doors are done.
    [​IMG]
    Head light rim rotisseries . We had to modify the fenders to get a better fit on these. We are still not happy with the fit . I am glad we did not try to french these to the fenders. It would have required major surgery to get a smooth line from fender to rim.
    [​IMG]
    I had to do a little cutting and re-positioning to get the rim to fit the fender.
    [​IMG]
    Dang I didn't take a picture of this after I metal finished this ugly mig weld. Oh well it came out fine.
    More updates soon.
     
  21. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,505

    joel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Looks good Sam. I’ve had the same thoughts about “ perfect panels “, but it’s tough to stop before it’s done.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  22. Frankie47
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 1,696

    Frankie47
    Member
    from omaha ne.

    What a wonderful documentary on 2 buddies and a dream.......the Mercury is going to look awesome. I do have to say you puzzled me when the hood scoop decision was made.... to get rid of the hood ornament but keep the nonfunctional scoop. I think a plain jane ford hood would have looked sleeker.....thank God you guys aren't building it to suit me...lol![​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
  23. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,655

    The 39 guy
    Member

    Thank you Frankie47. Don and I do enjoy working together and I hope we can keep doing it for several more years. We don't always agree on things and the hood scoop was one of those times. But since it is Don's car he makes the final decisions on such things. A Ford hood may have been a good choice . I am not sure if they are the same size though. I like your ford BTW.
     
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  24. Frankie47
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 1,696

    Frankie47
    Member
    from omaha ne.

    I wish it was mine....this is mine with my grandson Angel.
     

    Attached Files:

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  25. Peanut 1959
    Joined: Oct 11, 2008
    Posts: 1,556

    Peanut 1959
    Member

    Thanks for the update! You're heading toward the finish line, for sure.
     
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  26. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,655

    The 39 guy
    Member

    Thanks for watching Peanut 1959!

    Here are some more photos of the very long painting prep process.


    IMG_2796R.jpg

    IMG_2802R.jpg IMG_2804R.jpg
    We used this old wood table to secure the fenders while working on the top half of the panel. It worked well.
    IMG_2847R.jpg
    Finished!
    IMG_2849R.jpg IMG_2854R.jpg
    We moved the car into the paint booth in January. The nice thing about our dry climate here is that this body had been sitting since last summer in bare metal and had no surface rust issues.
    IMG_2855R.jpg
    Both rear corners of the top had dents in them. Don't know why but suspect they were butt prints.
    IMG_2858R.jpg
    Sometimes there was an effort to be organized...
    IMG_2859R.jpg
    We moved the paint and bondo supplies inside the booth because the perimeter walls of the shop are not insulated well and the chemicals were just w wee bit colder when stored there.
    IMG_2860R.jpg IMG_2861R.jpg
    Epoxy primer was sprayed on all baremetal inside the car.
    IMG_2863R.jpg
    We used these trusses for platforms when working on the top.
    IMG_2864R.jpg IMG_2865R.jpg IMG_2867R.jpg
    We found that using a a shop towel between the hand and metal would allow us to feel imperfections in the body work that we could not otherwise feel or see without it.We found several dents along the brow of the top. It must have been used for bleachers at many outdoor events.
    IMG_2881R.jpg
    Even the cowl could not be allowed to escape without way too much attention.
    IMG_2886R.jpg
    All of these holes for trim are a serious pain in the neck to work around when trying to get a panel flat.
    IMG_2887R.jpg
    Working with the epoxy primer was challenging because we had trouble getting it on without a lot of orange peel. So we would have to sand it down before applying the high build primer.
    IMG_2888R.jpg
    Door jambs took a week or two to finish.
    IMG_2896R.jpg
    We finished the high build primer to between 400 and 600 grit.
    IMG_2897R.jpg
    Don eventually figured out the correct mixing ratio,application pressures and spraying technique allowing him to apply the primers without very little orange peel and runs.
    IMG_2898R.jpg
    Quarters ready for color after weeks of prep.
    IMG_2900R.jpg IMG_2913R.jpg
    More cowl stuff.The lower section has been painted semi gloss black as were all of the inner fender and support structure. The upper cowl will be body color.

    We are going to start shooting some color today. We have a lot of paint booth cleaning to do before we do that though.
     
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  27. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,505

    joel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Great work Sam. Don’t forget to ground the body. You guys are going to spray it, right?


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  28. What type of paint? Urethane? Acrylic enamel??? Looking great!


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  29. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,655

    The 39 guy
    Member

     
    Texas57 and loudbang like this.
  30. I for one can appreciate your thoroughness on stuff like smoothing the jambs, firewall, etc. I know how much work it takes to get it to the point you're comfortable you ain't going to have that "wish I had spent more time on that" feeling. That project is moving along very very nicely.....anxious to see it in shiney.
    Those soft sanders are great aren't they?!?
    Anyone besides me that can't figure out what Joel was talking about......."ground the body"?
     
    loudbang likes this.

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