kgreen

1940 Buick 70-76C – My ultimate automotive experience

38 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Since I've discovered body work and paint prep wasn't completely known and has been revealed to be less than my desired goal, I thought I should pull the body off the frame.  Then a search on this forum site revealed a thread titled "how to do a body-on restoration" suggesting I may be over zealously taking the car apart.  Let's talk goals for a minute.  This will not be a show car while in my possession.  I will drive it which means the underside and engine compartment will get dirty.  The car wouldn't be driven in the rain mostly because the driving skills of those around me would be more likely be at there worst. My local weather has occurrences of heavy moisture laden air and condensation so it is necessary to protect all metal surfaces.  Removing the body gives me great access to accomplish that.  Lastly, I would like to think that this car would be available to future owners with solid metalwork leaving them an option for a more detailed restoration.

 

The benefit of frame-off is that I will have very easy access to the chassis for all the work that would need to be accomplished.  As well, I would be able to clean, prep and paint the underside of the body for rust prevention.  The dis-benefit is that I risk wracking the body during removal and replacement, I only have a two car garage, and the underside is not that dirty.  The real basis for the decision is time involved for either body-on restoration (thread noted above) or body-off.

 

Here are my results thus far:

 

Interior stripped, wasn't much of an interior as all the organic material was gone. I added bracing in anticipation of removing the body.  I've attempted to use existing holes at reinforcing points to minimize modification to the body.  The bracing in this photo is attached to a body to frame mount location.

Bracing 2.JPG

 

The front of the bracing is attached through the door hinge location.  Floor boards are in great shape but the a-pillar needs work.  Fortunately the a-pillar is fairly easy to access while the body is on the frame. 

Bracing.JPG

 

The firewall would need to be body color.  Body off makes this easy, alternatively I pull the engine.

Firewall.JPG

 

The engine was reportedly rebuilt, but is missing parts like the water pump pulley, oil filter and many fasteners.  Oil pan for instance is attached with 6 bolts, engine to transmission by two bolts, etc.

Front.JPG

 

This pile of parts will be stored off site until I am ready to work on them.  Taking these parts off site is necessary for my small work space.

Parts pile.JPG

 

Rear fender wells look good, some rust through is present at the fender to body intersection.  As for the tail pan and the rockers, it is a matter of how much filler was used, not if it was used.  I prefer to minimize filler application.  Listening to a dull thund when tapping auto body panels is a huge distraction to me, not to mention trim clips don't hold well in holes thickened by filler.

Rear.JPG

Edited by kgreen
only way to caption the photos. (see edit history)
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Ken, it appears you are asking for thoughts regarding a body off, or body on, driver quality restoration.  If so, I would offer that the more you take it apart, the longer it will take to put it back together. The longer it takes to put it back together the greater the risk you will lose interest, and or drive to complete.  

 

Since the goal is a gorgeous driver, if it were me I would say start with the parts you have off already.  Restore each to a primer status. Tackle that A pillar last.

While restoring what you have off, complete the engine assembly while in the frame and make sure it runs. 

 

My reasoning is: As you are restoring what you already have off, you can determine as you go along the precise point where you have had enough, and are willing to drive what is left. Since this is not intended to be a trailer queen, there is no real value to a 400 point restoration that you will then fear taking out of the garage. Plus the longer the parts sit prepped and in primer, the greater the argument that all you have to do is reassemble and shoot the top coat. Otherwise you will run the risk of getting to the point where you have had enough, and now you still have to go back and do body work on the parts you are moving to storage.

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What a beautiful car!  40-41 Buicks are just awesome!  A worthy car to restore without a doubt!

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JohnD, you confirmed other advice I received, thanks for your thoughts.  I am leaving the body on the car.  Your further advice to move forward on the body, not and not delaying final paint is great.  In primer the project will drag on.  I'm curious about your comment to do the a-pillars last.  I've had more fear of the tail pan.

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I figure the A pillar is critical and, once you do the A pillar,  I if everything else is prepped,  you are ready to reassemble and shoot the final coat.  But wherever you think you'll need the most experience and confidence, then that's the part I'd do last.  

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Trust me.  FEAR will keep you from moving forward. Ask me how I know. My biggest fears were the floor pan repairs on my convertible and second was the front end sheet metal alignment.  I finally managed to repair the floors after almost two years procrastinating. And it all got started when I finally decided to cut out the old part.  I was finished in less than a week.........

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Posted (edited)

I agree with Matt & John.  'Eat the elephant' one bite at a time.  Start with a few smaller tasks to build confidence.  As Bernie has said elsewhere, don't be afraid to do the job two or three times until you're satisfied.  Note, however, that those successive attempts may be spread out over time and reattempted as your skills and confidence increase.

Edited by EmTee
typo (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

I had good weather for work this weekend, but I needed to get my head right on the task.  Pushing forward I have to apply 50% stop-and-think time, another 25% demolition/removal and the balance in making the new parts.  I tackled the right rocker panel.  It became evident that the car was hit at about the rear of the door a long, long time ago.  That was evidenced by a replacement rocker panel long ago enough that the front had to have minor rust repair some years later, but many years prior to my owning the car.  The floor pan was not wrinkled so the hit must have been somewhat minor.

 

IMG_4303.JPG

 

The bottom of the rocker was sculpted with filler to a depth of about 3/8 of an inch.  I cut midway along the outside edge where the rocker trim is located (above photo), then cut back to the inner rocker.  The next photo is the bottom of the rocker where the filler had been squeezed into the rust holes.

IMG_4307.JPG

 

The front and rear of the inner rocker has rust through and had never been repaired.

IMG_4308.JPG

 

I couldn't find any information for the connection between the rocker and the upright post that extends down from the cowl (below).  It would seem to be a good location to stiffen the cowl by tying the rocker to the cowl.  Once I cut away the front 8-inches of the inner rocker you can see a brace that ties the floor (20ga) to the rocker (18 ga.).

IMG_4309.JPG

 

I fashioned a new piece for the inner rocker using hand tool (below).

IMG_4310.JPG

 

New inner rocker section fully welded in place.  I cut back the floor since it was thin with rust as well.

IMG_4311.JPG

 

Inner rocker cut back about 8-inches.

IMG_4308.JPG

 

The outer rocker repair patch was fashioned using a 2-inch diameter bar stock hammered on the sand bag. This reverse curve flairs towards the front of the car and curves inward.  The bottom and top 90 degree angle on the curved panel was formed with the curved panel.  Then a second 90 degree shape was formed and welded into place.  The top 90 degree shape forms the surface for the door seal.   

IMG_4312.JPG

 

This effort took all weekend.  As I said above, at least half of my time was spent contemplating the next cut or how to form the patch panel.  A fair amount of time was spent trying to justify not making cuts and leaving the filler.  Nah!  the filler has to go.  Next weekend I hope to have the bottom replacement patch installed and the rear inner rocker patched.   

Edited by kgreen (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, kgreen said:

This effort took all weekend.  As I said above, at least half of my time was spent contemplating the next cut or how to form the patch panel.  

 

Fortunately this is not a race -- 'measure twice and cut once' applies here...  ;)

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Wow some great body panel work and fabrication. I would think making pieces like that yourself out of flat steel woud be very rewarding and excellent therapy. Considering this is a somewhat rare and so classic looking of a car, are you sure you don't want to take it on to a 400 point restoration. In my mind pretty much any convertible deserves that. I so often see owners who spend pretty much the same amount of time it would take to restore fully and correctly end up having spent all that time and the only difference in the end might be incorrect interior materials or paint color. And it certainly looks like you have the skills to do it!  Don't let especially the BCA judging system scare you into thinking show quality is that difficult of a goal to achieve, it's not, just ask some folks here. 

I know.... perhaps find you another lower level '40, perhaps even a four door, to satisfy your urge for a daily driver then restore this one as a true show car. Now doesn't that sound like a wonderful idea. ;):D 

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12 hours ago, MrEarl said:

Wow some great body panel work and fabrication. I would think making pieces like that yourself out of flat steel woud be very rewarding and excellent therapy. Considering this is a somewhat rare and so classic looking of a car, are you sure you don't want to take it on to a 400 point restoration. In my mind pretty much any convertible deserves that. I so often see owners who spend pretty much the same amount of time it would take to restore fully and correctly end up having spent all that time and the only difference in the end might be incorrect interior materials or paint color. And it certainly looks like you have the skills to do it!  Don't let especially the BCA judging system scare you into thinking show quality is that difficult of a goal to achieve, it's not, just ask some folks here. 

I know.... perhaps find you another lower level '40, perhaps even a four door, to satisfy your urge for a daily driver then restore this one as a true show car. Now doesn't that sound like a wonderful idea. ;):D 

Well stated and a nice definition of my car......

 

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On 3/20/2017 at 8:21 AM, MrEarl said:

 

I know.... perhaps find you another lower level '40, perhaps even a four door, to satisfy your urge for a daily driver then restore this one as a true show car. Now doesn't that sound like a wonderful idea. ;):D 

 

Lamar, I wasn't aware of a "lower level" Buick or what that even might be.  Do you mean Chevy?    

 

Hey, I enjoyed helping you with your barn find.  That was quite a stash and worthy of posting.  See you tomorrow.

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It's fun to diagnose failures, which is what I do for a living, theorizing the cause of previous impact damage to this car.  I've now discovered that the entire right side of the car from rear wheel well opening to front fender flare was sculpted with filler.  The filler was finished in very good fashion, too!  I don't find the amount of filler used to be acceptable, so I am removing it with a right angle grinder fitted with a wire brush attachment.  I keep a fan blow across the work area, use respiratory and hearing protection and seem to be having modest success at undoing the previous work.  I recall the first car project of mine while in high school where the words respiratory protection was totally foreign to me.  I'm lucky not have any indications of respiratory disease at this point.  

 

Here's a shot of the door showing the depth of filler used to recover old body damage.  I'm using my finger as a reference for scale.  Do not copy my finger print and commit a crime with it. ; )

bondo buggy.JPG

Edited by kgreen
I forgot something... (see edit history)
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