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Gauge of metal used for floor pans


Budd

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Hi all:

I'm looking for a fact and an opinion from the group. The fact question is "<span style="font-weight: bold">What gauge is the sheet metal used for floor pans</span>" on my 1956 Buick, and the opinion sought is <span style="font-weight: bold">"Should I buy them or should I just make my own?"</span> It doesn't *look* that hard, per se-- but has anyone out there done it and what is your opinion after having done so?

I have a good metal supply house that I use near my work-- so I have access to the proper metal. I'm at the point now where I need to get the floor pans fixed (at least started and secured in place) before I lift the body off the frame.

I was able to use the MAPP gas trick someone mentioned here on the site and do the rapid heat/cool cycle to unfreeze the 50+ year frozen hinge bolts (worked great!)-- and started building door braces to secure the body in lieu of the now missing doors. I built the brackets out of scrap 1/4" plate steel, and the bars are actually something called a "top link" used to secure farm implements to the back of a tractor. I cut them in half and welded in extensions. You twist them one way lengthen, twist opposite to shorten. So the heim joint on the end allows for the angled attachement to the bracket, and then you just snug them up firm by rotating the bar and then lock it in position. I'll end up with 3 on each side and then two that cross over the cabin from side to side. I think that should work to firm up the body before I remove it.

Cheers,

Budd

door1.JPG

door2.JPG

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I beleive the floors were 19 gauge. it's very difficult to find. 20 gauge is common but a bit light. 18 also common but a bit hard to form. I'd opt for 18.

As to buying or making only you know the best answer to that vis-a-vis your talent, time, and finances.

Nice bracing. Way overkill but that's OK. I'm often guilty of that too.........Bob

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Bhigdog</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Nice bracing. Way overkill but that's OK. I'm often guilty of that too.........Bob </div></div>

Yeah-- I know, they're stout as heck. I didn't want to pay the $400 for the nice sets from the online vendors, and I didn't want to just weld in one-time-use bracing, so I was trolling around for a substitute and found these top links at Harbor Freight for $16. It cost me about $175 for all the metal, bolts, top links and plate steel, and now I have a reusable set that I can use on the next project or loan out to friends.

Thanks for the info on the sheet metal. I was guessing 18 gauge before I posted, so I might try that out and see if I can pound out some reasonable clones of the front floor pans. No one will see it except me anyways.

Budd

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Budd,

FYI - The McMaster-Carr online web site shows sheet steel in thicknesses of 0.048" (0.0478" = 18 gauge), 0.042" (0.0418" = 19 gauge), and 0.036" (0.0359" = 20 gauge). They are sold in sheets of various sizes up to a maximum width of 22 inches and a maximum length of 100 feet.

Grandpa

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Nifty tool-- but $19 ? ... I love EastwoodCo and all (I use their paint and powder coat products often), but they've never shied away from charging folks a premium for their ingenuity. I do have my trusty micrometer and a conversion chart that I use, so I'll probably stick with that.

Thanks everyone for the info, I'll post some after-pics when I get to some banging and welding on those floor pans.

Cheers,

Budd

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  • 4 weeks later...

Using MAPP gas (yellow cylinder you can buy at Lowes, Home Depot, etc)-- burns much hotter than propane. You can heat the bolt glowing red, then immediately douse with a squirt bottle of water to rapid cool it, then re-heat, rapid-cool-- repeat this a few times, and you can simply wrench the nut/bolt off. The expansion/contraction breaks the rust death grip. I've been using it whenever practicable lately on my 1956, and haven't broken a bolt yet.

Cheers,

Budd

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One quick thing I might add specific to the large phillips head bolts of the hinges is using a large phillips screwdriver and a pair of pliers on the handle of said screwdriver to provide more torque while twisting. I did this after the heat/cold cycles and the once frozen screws backed right out. The inner hex bolts did not require heating-- they came right out with a normal socket wrench.

Budd

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