The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by missysdad1, Jul 10, 2016.
Now THAT is a good Friend. Kudos to Frank.
As it turns out, today I discovered what Frank was talking bout when he mentioned that there's more to laid-back Model A windshields than just layin' 'em back. There's a whole bunch more ugliness to doin' it right than anybody much talks about - and the further you try to lay it back the uglier it gets.
I'm sure there are better and easier ways to get a laid back Model A roadster windshield to look right, but after scratching my head for the better part of the morning here's what I came up with...
This corner is typical of laid-back Model A windshields, poor alignment of the outer edge and a huge gap inside. Looks terrible!
After scratching my head for a good long while I decided that splitting the cowl had to be the way this problem was solved in the past...so I put a new disc in the angle grinder and, after marking a line parallel to the front edge, I cut all the way across...
...and then moved the rear portion back so that it would serve as a stop for the windshield at the bottom. The front part had to be heated and reshaped to allow the bottom of the windshield to rotate back far enough to allow the corners to align properly. This was a matter of trial and error...and a lot of it!
Once I got enough clearance at the bottom for the windshield to rotate back against the new stop things started to look pretty good. I welded in a couple of temporary pieces to hold the thin rear "stop" in place while I continued to heat and massage the front and corners to improve the overall fit.
I will still need to deal with the gap but this will be just a matter of cutting some strips and welding them into place to fill the hole. I'll use stock Model A seals on the windshield posts but probably won't get too real excited about sealing the bottom edge.
From the front the windshield looks like it grew there and the ugliness in the lower corners has all gone away.
My most sincere thanks again to my friend Frank (1-SHOT here on the HAMB) who donated the windshield and laid-back windshield posts for this project. Just the right parts at just the right time!
Okay, well, now on to bigger things, like reinforcing the body structure and cowl before I get too excited about doing any body work. Stiffen 'er up before I make 'er pretty...
You got my attention with the driver SBC basic hot rod at the beginning. Then you got anal and dumped the Brookville body. Everyone has there quirks.....still watching the build.
Yep. Quirky. I don't understand the "anal" reference, but thanks for sticking with me anyway!
The switch from the Brookville Roadsters body to the gennie Ford body was prompted by my desire to have a "driver SBC basic hot rod" and not a delicate show car. Though nicely made, Brookville bodies are not nearly as "abuse resistant" as original bodies are.
How to stiffen up the body without adding a lot of weight? That's my dilemma, just as it was for the CRA dirt track roadster racers of the past. They could only coax so much horsepower out of their flathead fours and V8's so the only way open to them to go faster was to reduce weight. Which is why the heavy '32 bodies so popular at the start of roadster racing were quickly replaced by the much lighter '24 - '25 Model T roadster bodies, often on the same frames from which the Deuce bodies were removed.
Keeping that concept in mind I decided to stiffen the Arin Cee Roadster's body with thin wall tubing and "space frame" technology - both of which were available in the early days of hot rodding. Space frame technology relies on the inherent strength of the triangle shape rather than metal mass. I also decided to take advantage of existing internal body bracing and "hard points" wherever possible as an early racer might have done. Hmmm...
The three areas of concern on this body are the cowl where the bottom of the tank had been cut out, the door latch jambs that tend to be floppy even on a good day and the rear body structure behind the seat. So, keeping the "space frame" concept in mind, here's what I did...
I decided to use common 3/4" EMT tubing for the triangulation braces. Even though it's not very bend-resistant it will withstand the push-pull forces to which it will be subjected just fine. The ends are flattened and attached with 1/4-20 bolts in existing holes.
The first two braces are designed to take all the "twist" out of the tank which is not really very stiff once the bottom has been removed. Leaving part of the original bottom structure in place might have been a better option but the tank had already been cut when I got it.
I'll probably get a lot of flak about this from roadster purists but a couple of short braces between these two hard points makes the latch pillar totally immovable. Once they're painted black - the color of the interior sheet metal - they won't be noticeable at all.
I've not started the behind-the-seat brace yet, mostly because I'm still not exactly sure where I'll put the gas tank, but I'm leaning towards a simple wooden bulkhead attached to the vertical body braces which are original to the Model A roadster. This will stiffen the rear part of the body nicely and add only the weight of the wood. Hmmm... Stay tuned.
Been doing a lot of little stuff in between making a living! Here are a couple of the smaller projects I've begun:
All the original wood is salvageable, but it's weathered and de-laminated in some spots. First step was to re-glue the places where it had come apart.
Then I used Elmer's "Rotted Wood Stabilizer" to heal all the age cracks and soft spots. This stuff sounds like snake oil but it really does work wonders! It goes on white but is completely clear, hard and paintable when dry.
Then I used an epoxy designed to repair and bed rifle stocks to "cast" new countersunk screw holes in the wood. Using the new screws as the mold - with plenty of mold release applied to the screws! - I just mixed it up, filled openings which had been the screw holes and pushed the new screws in. Twelve hours later the screws screw right out and the hole gets cleaned up and is ready to be used. Rebuilding the old wood requires patience but I prefer it to the new stuff.
I also turned my attention to fitting the dash after reshaping the cowl to fit the leaned-back windshield and posts. Turns out the dash assembly I'd built quite some time ago from the original dash header and a Brookville '32 reproduction dash could be adapted without a great deal of difficulty, but needed to be installed about an inch lower and with a new curve. This was accomplished by using the original brackets with the holes moved down an inch. Top ones required welding in new "blind nuts" which I made from two regular nuts. The bottom ones I made by welding on new "holes" made from washers. Old school technology to be sure, but works like a charm!
With the brackets modified, the dash is installed without any new bolts or bolt holes and looks for all the world like it grew there! Following a vinegar bath to remove the surface rust the dash assembly was bolted into place and dummy gauges cut and taped into place. This is the arrangement I settled on because it's different and looks great to my eye. The gauges are SW "standard" black face and will be installed directly into holes cut into the dashboard with no bezel, panel or surround. Basic is as basic does. There will be three switches below the gauges, the ignition switch, the starter button and the light switch. Period.
And finally, I got the gas tank, battery and seat mocked into place and the bulkhead positioned - all in mock-up form not fastened down yet. Gas tank will fill by folding the seat-back forward for access. The odometer and a hickory switch will serve as the gas gauge. Ha! It'll take y'all young'uns a while to figure that one out!
Now...back to earning a living. Later...
I was able to squeeze a little time out of my schedule to do some work on Arin's roadster yesterday, and decided to use it to finish up the windshield area. As you will recall I had to split the top of the cowl to get the 2" chopped windshield, the laid-back posts and the cowl to like each other. This left me with a 3/4" tapered gap in a compound curve area of thick metal. Hmmmm.
So, here's how I solved the problem...
Yep, this is an ugly cut but necessary to resolve the various angular and visual complications encountered (see my earlier post) when leaning the windshield back...a lot! A pro-fessional shop would spend a whole bunch of their client's moola forming and hammer-welding a strip in here, but I'm a moderatly skilled and totally under-budgeted builder so I approached it in a moderately skilled and under-budgeted way.
I used short sections of 1/8 x 3/4 mild steel, shaped as best as I could with a vise to follow the compound curve of the cowl. A little heat, a little hammer and a little grinding to get each piece to fit where it goes. Yes, it was slow going...
Once I got through heating and beating each strip it fit fairly well, so I clamped it in place...
...and fired up the Miller.
I only put a few tacks in place at this time, just in case I needed to change it later for whatever reason. Then ground the tacks down so that I can put the windshield back on, check the fit and then final weld the seam.
And at the end of the day it looked like this. Once I've checked the fit and made any adjustments I'll finish welding the seams. In the old days I'd have used lead to smooth it all off, but today I'll use DynaGlas to fill the small valley between the weld seams.
Then it's off to another really yucky project, reworking the rusty rear sub-rails... Stay tuned!
As you'll remember, once I cut the rear subrails to allow a flat trunk floor (with Deuce rails) and removed all the hidden rot there wasn't a whole lot left of them. I've been putting off the repairs until I got the crossmembers in place, body mounts made and the body bolted down to the frame and aligned. I also wanted to be sure the body was square - with the weight on the wheels at ride height - before I started fabricating and welding on the inner body structure. So, with all that accomplished I started on the subrails last night...
There wasn't much of the outer parts of the rear subrails left...as I discovered as I was settling the body into place on the '32 rails. I suspected that there might be a little bit hidden under the patch panels, but not this much! Yikes!
Once all the rot was cut away only a thin edge remained. This would be the foundation for the new outer subrails. The body mounts are in place and the body is aligned and bolted down firmly at this point. The rear subrails don't really do a lot of work other than hold the rear of the body in alignment, so trimming them down a little bit won't hurt anything, especially if the repairs are done with a heavier gauge material. I'll be adding some internal bracing as we go along just to be sure.
The first order of business was to make a new rearmost section from 1/8 x 2 mild steel and clamp it into place. The original subrails have jogs here and there which I duplicated by heating and bending the new material. The cut-out is to allow the '32 frame rails to pass under the subrails as is necessary when the Model A body is mounted without a spacer. There is also a crossmember at this point which much be negotiated as well.
At this point the new piece fits inside the edge of the original subrail. With the first piece fitted it was time to break out the Miller and tack it into place. There will be plenty of time for finish welding and smoothing later on.
This photo gives a better idea of how the new piece is notched to clear the frame and the end of the tubular crossmember.
There is still a pretty good chunk of subrail missing as this photo shows. At this point it crosses over the frame and jogs inward to allow fenderwell clearance as well.
Because there is plenty of room at this point I decided to put the second piece on the outside of the original subrail. It's easier and the transition will be easy to blend. This time I made a template and marked where the bends had to occur for it to fit tightly.
Transferred the template to metal, cut it out, heated and bent it where necessary and tacked it into place. Now it's starting to look like something!
That about wraps this side up for now. This was the worse of the two, the other side has less pitting on the remaining metal. It can wait until tomorrow, now it's time to go and earn a living...
With a little more of the dirty work done it was time to stand back and do a little more head-scratching about what to put where. The car is really starting to come together now - at least in my own mind.
I decided to move the furniture around again, and am really glad I did. I like the gas tank in the trunk along with the battery, and not up behind the seat where the cooler, jackets and camera bag should be. This also allowed me to move the seat back a little which would give me more leg room and a more comfortable driving position. The coupester has me spoiled in that regard and I want Arin's roadster to be even more comfortable - which is going to be pretty hard to do.
I also engineered a couple tubular braces to stiffen up the rear part of the body without adding much extra weight. Like the other tubular braces I've added, these form triangles as they interface with the existing body structure and add a lot of strength with almost zero weight penalty. Oh, and I also took out all the rumble seat hardware and ordered the hinges, rear panel and other stuff from Brookville to make it into a trunk-style body. My deck lid is good so it's just a matter of changing how it opens.
So far, so good. I also located some glasspack-style muffler inserts for the '36 Ford driveshaft tubes I'm running as exhaust pipes and some neat hangers to keep 'em from resonating. So, stay tuned for future installments of Arin's new roadster.
Okie dokie then... After spending a month doing a 2-hour frame repair on my "daily driver" coupester - long story - I've finally got it buttoned up and back on the road. One thing led to another as it always seems to do, but taking the extra time and doing the extra work was worth the extra effort. It rides, drives and looks better than ever so now I can get back to the business of building Arin's roaster once more.
When I left off I was just getting ready to build the mufflers to fit inside the 1936 Ford driveshafts I'm using for exhaust pipes on the Arin Cee Roaster as covered earlier in this thread. After scouring the internet I finally found some motorcycle slip-on replacement inserts made by Wesdon (WMBC35020) on eBay that will do the trick. I also found the fiberglass mat material also made by Wesdon which wraps around the inserts. The inserts have a 2" core diameter and once cut to size will seat securely against the tapered driveshaft tubes when installed so that the matting will not be blown out...just like bullet-shaped glasspack mufflers. The sound should still be throaty because the driveshaft tubes will act like giant echo cans, but won't be overwhelming...I hope.
This is how the inserts come out of the box. I'll cut off the bell ends and just use the center part with the perforations.
This is the first one I cut. It took me a while to get the diameter right. The next ones will be much quicker to make. In the white bag is the fiberglass matt which gets wrapped tightly around the insert to absorb the sound. A tight fit on both ends will insure that the matt does not get blown out.
With one end cut off the insert slips neatly into the driveshaft tube. Both ends will get cut off and the insert pushed as far forward as possible in the tube. I'll put a rod across the rear opening of the insert so that it can be fished out later to repack if necessary. Pix on that to follow...
We used a thumb screw to hold ours in, just drill and tap a hole in the tube where the baffle ends and put a bolt or thumb screw in it . Take the thumb screw and you can fish the baffle out.
Thanks for the suggestion, Frank, that's what I'll do.
Once the big bell ends were cut off I drilled a couple of holes and installed a rod across the exit end of each baffle. I'll use these to fish the inserts out should they ever need to be repacked with fiberglass.
The rods then got gas welded into place and the gap around the opening welded up, too.
Then the ends got cleaned up with a disc sander and chamfered with a die grinder to improve the fit and flow. Tomorrow I'll give 'em a coat of barbeque black and figure out how to hold the fiberglass mat in place as the inserts are inserted into the pipes. Stay tuned!
After pondering the problem of wrapping the insert with fiberglass matte in a way that I can actually get it into the pipe, I realized I had no earthly idea of how to do it. So I began... The first layer covers the louvers, and a second layer goes from flange to flange. Both of them loosely secured in position using masking tape. Why? I have no idea but that's what I had to work with.
A layer of heavy duty aluminum foil came next, again for no particular reason except that it sounded like the right thing to do.
What I ended up with looks like a big tortilla...but was too thick to get into the pipe because the fiberglass matte wasn't compressed enough...
So I wrapped it tightly using masking tape again, which compressed it enough to slip into the pipe. I'm going to have to clean the insides of the pipes so that the inserts will slide in smoothly, but it looks like they'll go in all the way to the front with no big problems.
Trial fit is successful. I haven't pushed the inserts all the way forward yet, since this pipe is not one of the ones on the car, it is a spare I'm using for fabbing the inserts. I have no idea what will happen to the tape when the exhaust pipes get hot...I guess we'll find out...but my guess is that it'll smoke and stink for a while, then quit. We'll see...
If the masking tape doesn't work out to your satisfaction try wrapping it with mechanics wire.
this thread just makes me smile
Hmmmmm. A big tortilla, eh. Sounds like you've got food on your mind more than gettin' my kemp finished. C'mon, Dad, we're burnin' daylight. All those chicks will be somebody's grandma if you don't get movin'...
Stainless safety wire worked for me. We make hose clamps out of it in the aircraft industry.
I finally got the exhaust system wrapped up today...
To get the muffler inserts to go all the way forward in the driveshaft tubes I first had to remove the accumulation of rust from inside the tubes. A rotary wire brush welded to a length of brake tubing did the trick.
Once the insides of the tubes were cleaned the inserts pushed forward with very little effort. Following 1-Shot's advice I drilled and tapped a hole and used a short bolt to keep the inserts from moving around inside the tube.
On eBay I found some NOS Harley Davidson muffler supports - from an early HD I think - that were the correct 2 3/4" diameter that looked like I could make work to hold the '36 Ford driveshaft tube mufflers/exhaust pipes in position under the car.
I used chunks of 1" angle as the basis of the rear frame attachment mounts. The blue isolators are standard muffler shop parts cut in half. As you can see the driveshaft tubes have been temporarily tack welded in position to make fabrication of the frame brackets easier.
A little hard to see here but this is what the rear brackets look like once they're finished.
The front brackets were made much the same way, only this time using chunks cut from some square tubing I had lying around.
And look like this when finished. This is pretty simple stuff for most HAMBers but I enjoy sharing it anyway.
And so the early track roadster-style exhaust system is finished except for paint which will be with Rustoleum Barbeque Black spray paint. Not an exotic finish but it sure works good! The clamps are stepped diameter compression exhaust clamps imported all the way from England. These are 1 3/4" into 2" and are not available in the United States. I have no idea why not...
So, I think the next thing I'll tackle is the pedals. Stay tuned...
First mock-up on the pedals. Not bad. I bought this set of Ansen swinging pedals several years ago from a guy here on the HAMB, but got kinda sidetracked with the desire to have the pedals come up through the floor to keep the firewall neat.
I've gone back to the swinging pedals plan now and these seem to fit nicely in the available space. The master will be the GM truck dual master which has the hydraulic clutch and brake in the same unit. From the mock-up it would appear that the master unit will mount somewhat low - just beneath the tank seam - on the firewall. This is somewhat lower than I've seen on "period" hot rods and won't look goofy at all. Pedal position above the floor is just about right so they should be comfortable to use as well.
That will work, keep working on it and I'll come by and check it out.
For a couple of reasons I decided to put the pedal installation on hold for a bit, so on to the next order of business: the steering column drop. I thought about this for a long time and actually bought a couple of commercial drops before deciding that only a fabricated drop would do.
This is actually a three-part project, all of which tie in together: a lower tank reinforcement, a pedal assembly reinforcement and a steering column drop. The first steep was fabricating a cross brace from 1-inch angle and building the column drop using an F100 steering column mast jacket clamp and some odds and ends of tubing I had lying around the shop. It turned out to be simple, attractive, rigid and totally bolt-in. Again, not rocket science, just a couple hours work and almost zero cost...
To the cross brace I added a short length of like-sized angle which will be the base of the column drop. It was drilled and bolts into place (this photo shows the assembly upside down).
The brace was then tack welded across the open bottom of the tank - it will get permanently welded later - and the other parts of the drop cut and clamped into place. I wanted the drop to be back under the dash, not attached to it as is commonly done.I also wanted it to have a bit of a vintage hot rod/dirt track race car flavor.
The clamp is from a '53 - '56 F100 steering column. Very simple, very basic and has a very mechanical quality about it that fits the overall theme of this car. Fits the mast jacket like it was made for it...because it was.
It's not finish welded or cleaned up yet, but this is what it looks like from the driver's view. It's already plenty strong but it'll get tied into the swinging pedal base later on to add rigidity to both.
The rear bulkhead has also been the subject of a lot of research and planning. A lot of guys build some sort of steel X-member structure to stiffen up the body behind the seat and some just fabricate an upholstered divider to separate the trunk area from the passenger compartment. The drawbacks of each are obvious: steel adds a lot of weight while a divider adds little strength. What if, I wondered, I could do both without adding a lot of weight...and still have it removable?
And so this is what I did: the 2' by 4' panel of 3/4" plywood isn't exactly light, but it is considerably less heavy than steel and is rigid as heck, especially when attached solidly to the stock Model A roadster body braces behind the seat. Once again not rocket surgery, but serves the purpose perfectly while staying well within the no-frills nature of this build.
I didn't have any giant-size pizza boxes but a trip to WalMart netted a big cardboard shipping box for about a buck and a half. I still had to add a piece on to make it big enough to make a pattern from.
The curve at the top was a little tricky to duplicate so I used some smaller pieces of cardboard taped on to get the job done. The braces are not totally flat so notches for them had to be worked into the pattern as well as the basic shape.
With the cardboard pattern completed I transferred the shape to the plywood, cut it and tried it for fit. Not bad...
The bulkhead does not extend all the way to the quarter panels, but stops at the outer edges of the subrails. This will allow it to be used as the anchor for the interior side panels later on.
Attaching the plywood bulkhead solidly to the braces will make it ultra stiff and able to resist any twisting, which is it's job. I used countersunk 1/4 x 20 bolts, and lots of 'em.
The new bulkhead can also serve as an anchor for trunk interior panels which will slide in neatly behind the braces should I ever decide to trim out this area. With the bulkhead and floors complete it's about time to begin installing the mechanical components which will live in the trunk: the gas tank and the battery.
Okay, well as I mentioned before I put off mounting the pedals for a couple of reasons. The biggest reason was that I was not satisfied with the quality of the Ansen-style pedals I had purchased for this project some time ago. I mocked them up, but the more I thought about it the more I said to myself, Nah...these just aren't good enough.
But I did find some swinging pedals by Advance Adapters that are good enough - in fact they are excellent! They are made of nice heavy steel and have nylon bushings and safety tabs to prevent dismounting the pushrods by accident. The Advance Adapters pedals use the same dual master cylinder as the Ansen pedals. The good news is that Advance Adapters also sells the complete SBC external hydraulic clutch release mechanism to match, including the slave cylinder, bracket, hose and hardware.
For a number of reasons I've elected to weld the pedal bracket to the firewall instead of bolting it on. As it turns out the ideal position for the pedals places the master cylinder just below the firewall seam so the only visible modification will be a minor trim of the flange behind the cylinder reservoir. I'll finish the welding and add a couple of gussets to the pedal bracket when I take the cowl assembly apart. If there's any flexing at the firewall I can run a couple of struts back to the tank brace I just added to attach the steering column drop, but I honestly don't think this will be necessary.
Don't laugh at the bungee cord pedal return spring, it's only temporary...honest! The holes to mount the master cylinder will get cut next and the cylinder itself installed. I centered the bracket above the steering column which in my car is a little closer to the door than some so foot room on the clutch is snug. The biggest head-scratcher however is the Hurst shifter which is exactly where my right knee should be. Oh, well...I'll figure that one out as time goes on.
The Advance Adapters pedal unit is made of nice, heavy steel and has very good looking pedal arms. Note that it's tacked to the firewall and not to the tank. I will finish the welding and add some extra gussets when I'm able to take the cowl assembly apart. Nothing will show except the master cylinder itself on the firewall.
The ergonomics work out best when the master cylinder is mounted just below the firewall seam, giving proper clearance of the pedals from the floor for driving comfort. The pedals and the bracket are very well made.
Everything falls pretty much where it should...except for the shifter which is exactly where my right knee needs to be. Yep, it's always something...!
is your firewall a flat 90 degrees there mine wasn't, your master cylinder will be pointed uphill.
Yes, the firewall is original '29 and is totally flat and vertical in the area the master cylinder will occupy. Thanks for the heads-up. See the next post for more details of how the installation was done.
Once the pedal mounting bracket was tacked into place, the rest of the master cylinder mounting was pretty much routine and without drama...
A 2" hole saw opened up the holes to the front. The combined thickness of the firewall and the bracket is over 1/4" so I don't anticipate any structural weakness.
Once all the holes were drilled I mocked the master into position to see how much of the flange would have to be removed and to mark the location of the required cuts. Long bolts and lots of washers got the job done.
Because the master cylinder has bosses cast onto the back to locate it away from the mounting surface only a small amount of the firewall flange needed to be removed.
Everything is neat and tidy on the backside, too. The purple designates the insert for the clutch. The inserts must be switched side for side to allow this master cylinder to work as intended.
Everything is good to go on the front side, too. Looks like it grew there. This is a very clean, easy install. Now it's just a matter of assembling the pedals and running the plumbing.
The Advance Adapters pedal assembly comes with all the hardware you'll need. This is what it looks like completely assembled to the new master cylinder. Great quality stuff!
And, I remembered an old Hurst Competition Plus that was still attached to an old broken Muncie that I've been dragging around for at least 30 years. It had been offset to the center at some time before I got it and proved perfect for this application. It was badly worn and rusty but cleaned up just fine. Another problem solved.
i'll be damned I did not know there were different lower firewalls on the 28-29. yours sure looks flat i'm building a 28 and using that same chevy master with swing pedals in the same place but my firewall tilts back about 8 degrees. I had to cut a piece out and add about a inch lip on the bottom to get the master to sit level.
Little bit by little bit the show goes on. Tonight was fitting the GM clutch slave cylinder using the Advance Adapters bracket and starting the plumbing process. It all went together fairly painlessly, and would have been even more so if I'd elected to use AN fittings instead of going all retro with traditional steel lines and flare fittings. I'm using 1/4" copper-nickel brake lines for both the clutch and the brakes, with early Ford-style rubber flex hoses as required. This is far cruder but will be much more authentic to the immediate postwar era.
Making the short section of tubing coming out of the slave cylinder taught me two things: One, copper nickel tubing is much, much easier to work with than normal steel tubing, and Two, I need to get a better tubing bender. Tomorrow...
saw the shocks you are using - thanks for the exact Info.
As i am looking for shocks myself: Do you have any experience how this shocks do work on such a (light) car?
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