Monday, March 18, 2019

Body Work: Bolting the Pieces Together--Part 2

So far, 2019 has been a busy year for many reasons.  The big one is traveling for my position.  To make a long story short, I was in Canada for the equivalent of 5 weeks so far, three of them in February.  Preparing for teaching a new workshop on marriage also took some time formulating workbooks and PowerPoint presentations.  After getting home the beginning of March, my wife and I visited my middle daughter and her family to help them get with the majority of my travel and teaching behind me for the winter, I took a couple of days off to regroup and try to get back to work on the fastback.

At the last episode, the hood and trunk lid were installed and gaps adjusted.  I did put the front fenders and had everything almost adjusted, but realized that I should have put the door hinges along with the doors.  Ugh. 

A trip to the media blast cabinet cleaned the hinges up nicely.  However, one of door hinges needed to be replaced.  It was easy to do by using a socket, a drift, and a hammer to push the pin out.  The new pin and brass bushings were installed using a vice to press the new pin in and all was good.   I had ordered the new hinge bolts a while ago and laid out all the hardware.

Before installing the backing plates in the A pillar, I chased the threads with a 5/16" tap to clean up the threads.

Thanks to previous photos taken during disassembly and the factory stamps, it was easy to identify which backing plate to install in the right location.  They drop into factory tabs which hold them in place for easy installation of the hinge bolts.

With clean threads, the bold were easy to install finger tight so that the door could be adjusted after attaching the door to the hinges.

But before I can hang the door, I need to, shall we say, gut it.  So let the eviscerating begin.

It's been, I don't know..., at least 6 years since I took the driver's side door off and apart.  So it shouldn't be too hard to do the other door, right.


In spite of having the body assembly manual, I decided to take photographs of the disassembly since it had been awhile since I took the other door apart.  I didn't take anywhere near enough photos when I did that door.  So I needed to have more documentation for reassembly.

Everything was going along swimmingly until I got to the removal of the window.  I was befuddled with how to get it out but discovered there was a stop for the window that was hard to see.  I got the window in a position where I could take the stop apart.  The window came out but I"m not sure where or how the stop will go back in.  I guess I'll deal with that on assembly.

This is a lesson learned.  If you're going to take forever on doing a restoration, and you can't remember how things come apart and go back together, documentation is extremely important.

The following is how to door came apart in case you are doing the same thing and need a little "guidance" on disassembly and hopefully on reassembly.

First is the removal of the arm rest with 3 bolts with a 3/8" socket.  The inside door release handle was a quick removal with 1 Phillips head screw.

After that, using an upholstery tool, I pried the door panel from the door.

Then I removed the door crank from the spindle.  Note there is a thin plastic decorative cover over the mounting screw.

The next step was to remove the covering for the access to the inside of the door.

The paper is held in place with a sticky adhesive that will need to be removed.

The black part is a seal for the window.  It's held in place with 4 screws.

The vent window has 2 bolts and one flanged nut that holds the top in place.  Note that the flanged nut is attached to an adjustment screw that has a hex head.  This is what is used to adjust the front track that is part of the vent window.

A rubber plug covers the access to the bottom adjustment flanged nut and screw.

The next picture is the window bottom track with the forward piece that goes in the vent window channel track.

Below is the piece with the bolt and bracket which attached the front window channel to the vent channel piece.

There are 3 small Phillip head screws that hold the bottom window channel to the mechanism that raises and lowers the window.  Unfortunately, 1 of the screws had to be drilled out which was a delicate procedure.  There was also a track stop (not shown) that needed to be removed before the window could be removed from the door.

With the window out, I removed the door latch and outside handle with all the associated parts.

Both the rods for the key lock and the door handle were held in place with these clips.  Pry them off the rod and it rotates away to allow the rod to be removed.

The picture below is the layout of the door latch, key lock, and outside handle.

This is the latch assembly that holds the door shut.

This is the key and outside handle detail assembly

This is the window, vent wing, and associated tracks laid out for future reference.
With the door now stripped of all its internal components, I began the process of stripping the interior side of the door.   This is somewhat tricky since the skin is actually embossed with a grain pattern that is quite fine.  Care must be taken so that the grain is not damaged.  All the paint has to be removed from all the nooks and crannies so that when painted, it doesn't fill them up.  In 1969, Ford started to use full door panels which would have eliminated the need for any of this interior prep work.

The first step was to scrape as much of the paper adhesive off the door.  Then I resorted to my Goof Off and a 3M coarse stripping pad to strip the remaining residue and the paint off the interior side of the door.  It took a few applications to get everything cleaned off.   Then I used mineral spirits to clean off the Goof Off residue.

With the interior side of the door stripped, I flipped it over and began the process of stripping the exterior of the door.

It took 4 applications of the stripper to get down to the factory primer.  That is tough stuff that even after letting the stripper sit on it for 20 minutes, it still was reluctant to come off.  So the final stripping was done with a DA sander running 80 grit disc.

So now that the outside of the door was stripped of paint, I turned my attention to the inside of the door.  I used a 3M stripping pad again to knock off the surface rust to the best of my ability.  I used a shop vac to remove all the sanding debris and other 51 years of crud that accumulated in the door.

After that, I took a paint brush, cut off all but 2" of the handle, and proceeded to paint the inside with Zero Rust.  I elected to leave the factory sound deadener in place since it was still a little pliable and would have been difficult to remove.

I let the paint dry overnight.  Then I applied Picklex 20 to the bare metal surfaces to protect them from any flash rust.  With the door now completely prepped, it was time to hang the door.

This was a tedious process.  Remember, I had to remove the fender to put the door hinges on.  The challenge here was to try and get the door gaps set which involved the B pillar and the door to front fender gap.  Doing this by myself was not the easiest thing to do, but with a little fortitude, a step stool with wood to hold the door in position, my 3 ton floor jack, I was able to get the door attached to the hinges.  Then adjusting the gaps was a trial-and-error process which involved mounting the front fender, checking the gaps, removing the fender so I could get access to the hinges and make an adjustment.  I used wood shims on the bottom to help hold the door in position.  It took 3 iterations of fender removal and hinge adjustment to get the door gaps equal front to back and top to bottom.

The gaps are now consistent front to back and along the fender and hood.   The door will need a slight 3/16" upward adjustment to get the body lines to match perfectly but I'm going to get another body to help with that since it's such a small adjustment and I just can't do it right by myself.  I'll make that adjustment when I'm ready to hang the driver's side door which is next on the list of things to do.  Since the window and vent assembly has already been removed, I only need to remove the latch, key lock, and outside handle.  Then go through the same stripping process on the interior side.  The outside has already been stripped but will need a good DA sanding to remove the flash rust that's on it.  Once that door is hung, and the gaps are set for the doors, fenders, and hood, the actual body work of final dent removal and filler application can begin.

This step has been a long time coming but is finally here.  Hopefully, I can keep going on it with the hope of having the body in high build primer before my summer departure to northern Canada.

Until the next time...

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The New Arrival

What is it about car guys (and gals) that makes us do what we do when it comes to acquiring and restoring a particular vehicle?   Maybe it's because as a kid we saw "the car" and always wanted to have one.  I know when I was looking to buy my first car in high school, I was stuck on Mustangs.  I had found a '66 coupe with a 6 cylinder and 3 speed on the floor.  But my dad wasn't a fan of me getting it because it had a lot of miles on it (95K if memory serves).  The guy selling it was a mechanic at a Standard gas station  (we're talking 1971 now).   So I ended up with a '66 Fairlane, 2 door hardtop, 289 V8 and "3 on the tree".   I always wanted a Mustang, and a fastback, since then.  That may explain the one sitting in my garage.

But there was another car close to my heart.  I was even younger (3rd grade) when my aunt, uncle, and brother started to get into Model A Fords.   At one point in time, the 3 of them owned 6!   My favorite was my aunt's 1929 roadster.  It was professionally restored and a drop-dead gorgeous car.  It won best of class at every show she took it to.  There was something about the shape of the radiator shell... the way the hood and cowl was formed.   The body reveal was wider than the 30-31 years.

Fast forward to my adult life.  A friend of mine had a 41 Chevy truck he chopped the top on and I did the body work on the cab afterwards.  He got me into hot rods.  Then we attended our first street rod nationals and I was hooked.  A few months later, he calls me (knowing I wanted a '29 Model A) and said there was one for sale up where he lived.  It was a Tudor (2 door) sedan which was perfect with my family of 5.   To make a long story shorter, I bought it and trailered it home.  Over the next 3 years, I built my first hot rod.  Even though the interior wasn't finished,  the outside was.  In the summers, we'd all pile in the "A" and head to the Parkette Drive-In in Lexington, Kentucky for malted shakes on Friday evening with all the other hot rodders.   It was a blast while we had it.

But then someone came along and wanted to buy it.  After offering to trade me 2 vehicles... and then 1 vehicle and cash, he finally asked how much I'd take.   I gave him a high-ball number expecting that that would be the end of the conversation.  Five days later, he calls and says, "I have a cashier's check for the car.  When can I come get it?"   Well, if he was willing to pay that price, he could have it.  I got way more than I had into it (not counting my time).  But the cash paid off my van, funded my private pilot licence, and the first year of health insurance when I went to seminary.

I've always missed that car and thought that one day, I could do it all over again.

Well, again happened in September.  I would occasionally do an eBay search for 29 A.  Low and behold, one showed up for what my wife and I though was a pretty cheap starting bid.  I watched it go through 2 auction cycles with no bids.  We didn't know if there was a reserve.  On the 3rd cycle, we decided to place the opening bid.  There was no reserve.  So we were in provided no one else bid on it.   I have put in an auto-bid that would add $100 is someone else bid.   6 days went by with no other bids.  Then someone dropped a bid $50 higher than mine.  The auto bid raised it another $50.  On the last day, I expected that someone would jump in at the last moment and snag it.  We felt, if they did, then that's fine.  If not, that would be fine too.  No one else bid and I won the auction.  Now the issue was getting to northwest Minnesota in the middle of nowhere to get it.  With a U-Haul auto transport in tow, and a friend along, we make a quick up and back trip from Indy to get it. 

I had my '29 Model A again!

Ready to head home with my '29 Model A   That's Steve who sold me the car.
With the large "rat rod" movement, I could probably do very little to it, update the chassis and have it on the road inside of a year.  But the other voice in the household spoke up.  "Finish the Mustang first."   So that's what I'm going to do.  Besides, I didn't have any room in my garage to work on 2 cars at the same time.

Another friend has a large machine shed that I can store it in.  I'm working on getting the Indiana title for it (which is a royal pain in the you-know-where).   Another friend has a trailer.  So hopefully by Thanksgiving, it will be in it's temporary digs. 

The hacksaw will be ready to take a couple of inches out of the top.

A garage full of love!
Progress will then continue on the fastback after that.  Hopefully the next post will have some progress on it.

Until the next time...

Friday, September 28, 2018

Body Work: Bolting the Pieces Together--Part 1

Now that the fastback is finally off the rotisserie and that piece of hardware now out of the garage, it's time to start the tedious work of bolting body panels on, getting the gaps set, and prepping for body filler, primer and blocking.

The first step in this process was to figure out where I had stashed all the parts I needed.  I had ordered a bunch of hardware to put things together from CJ Pony Parts before my return from Canada so they'd be waiting for me when I got home.  Then I had to find the front and rear valances and trunk hinges which I was pretty sure were in my storage unit.  So I headed over there and sifted through all the boxes.  I didn't realize I had so much over there!

After doing an inventory, I got what I needed from the storage unit and headed back to the house.  I'm still looking for some parts, but they are either in the garage attic or in my man-shed out back.

I dug through the box of packaged hardware for CJ's and found the hood and hinge nuts and bolts.  I got the hood hinges mounted and then enlisted the help of a friend to get the hood on and aligned.  It's pretty close, but still needs some work.  Then it was on to the fenders.

I got the fenders mounted but that didn't go exactly as planned.  Finding the  rear lower and upper fender brackets took some digging through boxes.  I'm regretting getting sloppy on not doing a "bag and tag" immediately instead of throwing them loosely in a box.  Oh well....

Then came the issue of getting the captive nuts in the right side rocker panel.  The one on the driver's side was OK.  The passenger side must have gotten ripped out when that side of the car was wrecked.  The only way I could see getting it in was to bend the metal tabs "up" on one side so I could slide it in.  Then I would bend it back which would lock it in the rocker panel.

Wouldn't you know that with my dumb luck, the tab broke off after getting it in the rocker panel.  I had a long bolt run into the nut to aid in the installation.  I just left it there and got out the welder.  I figure a few tacks will do the same thing as the tabs.  So the nut is welded in.  Not the prettiest job, but functional.  I keep telling myself, "No one is going to see it."  True.  But I'll know those ugly welds are there.   Moving on...

With all the brackets and hardware in place, the positioning of the fenders began.  Pull a little here... Push a bunch there...   Tighten the bolts and away you go.   Sort of.  Trial and error and more hood adjustment got things fairly close and consistent.  Then it was on to the trunk lid.

That wonderful trunk lid...

If you remember the gyrations I went through to get a new trunk lid for the Mustang, it was quite an ordeal finding one that fit.  If you don't remember, take a look HERE and check out that post.  The deck lid I got was better than the Dynacorn one, and it looked pretty close to the original one, but it was still off some, especially getting the body lines to be spot on and having the gaps be consistent.  It involved not only the position of the lid on the hinges, but where the striker on the rear panel lined up as well.  After I got it where the lid didn't shift left or right when closed and locked, I had to grind off  3/64 of the edge about 3" long on the right rear side and corner to get that gap better and to keep the lid from hitting the rear fender extension.  I'm going to have to tweak something there to get a better fit.  Pity I didn't take pictures of the gaps before I blew this apart.  Another "Oh well" moment.  But I don't have any of the rubber stops in that would keep the lid from closing to low.  I'll make some shims and Gorilla Tape them in place.  I'll need it stabilized anyway during sanding and blocking.

So after all that, I realized I need to take the front fenders off.  I need to put the front fender extensions on and put the door hinges on which is near impossible with the fenders on... at least to do any kind of adjustment to get the doors close to where they should be.  But that's OK.  I'm getting good at taking the fenders on and off.  Plus I have an extra set of fender bolts I can use that are still "virgin" to do the final assembly after paint.

Photos of the gaps follow...

Upper passenger side of the trunk lid.

Right rear corner after grinding the edge down 3/54"

Lower driver's side and rear quarter gap.

All assembled (minus doors and valances)

Driver's side hood and fender gap

Passenger side hood and fender gap
An actual functioning hood on the car for the first time!

Old stock repro trunk lid closed
Trunk lid back on the body again (No rust in this one though)

And there you have it.

Until the next time...