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55 Century Convertible project


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It is Benjamin Franklin. I wonder if he was on the hundred dollar bill at the same time. Seems kinda greedy for a dude who wasn't a president, although maybe it was due to a lack of bipartisan bickering.

Part of the Mr. Mom thing is just because I was getting too old to continue the ranch hand duties I have been doing for the past few years. I am just fortunate that Mrs. 5563 works at Apple (not a bad gig right now). She has been VERY clear that I am NOT retired.

;)

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  • 2 weeks later...
Yes, Ben was on the 50 cent and hundred at the same time

Interesting, thanks B.

.... and if you'll read about him

Benjamin Franklin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

he did much more than many of our presidents.

Agreed. Bar has been lowered considerably over the past decade.

My "greedy" comment above was meant as a joke for my Canadian friend, Thriller, who asked the identity of the President on the coin. I couldn't tell you squat aboot Canadian politicians. You would truly see my ignorance shine then. :D

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Ask me about politicians and greed and history in Ames...we have to do it with drink in hand otherwise it will not be pretty...not that it would be pretty with drinks, but it will be less ugly.

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"Wouldn't you really rather talk about a Buick?"

First day of stay at home status (family in Maryland), so pulling steering wheel, more dash parts. Can't get column off for some reason. Gonna have lunch and then try later tonight.

More later, hopefully

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Without the family around, I got a bunch of stuff done in the last few days.

I got the car completely gutted and ready to be removed from the frame...

...and am currently storing everything on the trailer. I'll be doing a bunch of ladder climbing today since my storage is in the upstairs of my garage. THAT should be fun! At least we have had rain for the last four days (very rare in central Texas in July) due to being on the outskirts of hurricane Alex that hit Mexico. It should be cooler than normal for my future aerobic workout.

I need to go buy a decent primer gun due to immediate flash rust in the humid garage.

I also need to figure out the body mount issue since the only bolts currently on the car are in the outriggers. That could explain why the body wanted to bend in half when I put it up in the air initially. I talked to the paint guys and they said they weren't there, just the shims. I believe them.

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Yeeeee Hawwww!!!!

The easy way! Unless you forget to disconnect the exhaust pipes from the body.

There's not supposed to be any exhaust pipes attached to the body...more of that previous owner fabrication?

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Most likely. I got all of the body bolts out then slowly hoisted the car with my lift. Pop! Then the exhaust pipe came loose. I lifted it up just to see, but I need to do some arranging in the garage before I can pull the frame from under the body.

I almost have the trailer cleaned off. Need more boxes!

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How to restore a 55 Century CVT:

(went to visit Mike today to see progress on his project...doing a great job, but could not explain the 'to do list' on the wall)

mikeslist.jpg

(hard to see unless you enlarge, but what do you expect with a sneak pic from a cell phone)

Maybe someone has an explanation...

Willie

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Ummm, let's see.

I believe there are only a couple of things that need explaining:

Left side in red #5 (Steal underpants). That was by the request of the underpants gnomes, of course.

Right side in blue #1 D (Pull engine against desire of curmudgeon). Well, Willie didn't want me to pull the engine until I had tested it. (This is quite a while back). My wife wanted to be a part of the restoration, so she wrote the plan as I talked it out. Perhaps she embellished a bit, as I surely wouldn't ever call Old Tank a curmudgeon :D. Y'all lemme know if there are any other things that need clarification...

After Bill and Willie left, I was able to get back to manly work and lift the body, build some stud walls and remove the frame, placing it on the trailer. I figured that way, I could pull it apart on the trailer, then NOT have to lift it up there to take to the sandblaster/ powdercoater. See, I'm thinkin"!!!

And after looking at the blown up pic, I can see that there is a good view of the leak that my lift decided to leave on the floor. Bill said it was because I was working on a Buick, and it felt it needed to leak as well.

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Edited by buick5563
Looked at my picture and saw giant leak! (see edit history)
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I am labeling as many things as I can, and trying to stay organized.

BUT...

The problem I am finding is that I know that there is going to be a full template (my other 55) when I am putting back together. The advantage is that I DO have that template, and I have done many of these small 1955 individual projects. However, that is also a disadvantage, because I don't need to be as careful with documentation. I realize this, just being brutally honest with you, as well as myself. (Sure looks a lot more brutal in print).

The last pic was really meant more as a "gee whiz", I'm glad I'm not doing this in my last (2 car) garage.

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Spent the last few days hunting down some stuff. Got some Kraytex (sp?) sticks to try to remill the dash inserts. I have two sets (minus one glovebox door) so I plan on messing around with the worst of the two. I have an idea of how to set up my drill press to do this. I don't have a mill, and there's no way I'm gonna buy one just for this. I'll post pics if it's successful, and cuss if it's not. If I can figure it out, I may do the second one and sell it to pay for the project. Sure are a lot of "if's", huh?

Tomorrow, I plan on pulling the rest of the stuff from the frame so I can get it to the powdercoater (hopefully this week). I've been taking a ton of pics, but they are just boring reference shots. I have found a few "makers marks" that I am going to try to duplicate. One of them is a circle with a line through it that says WIN above the line. The other one is 2Z right next to the passenger side vent. Both are in silver paint. The shots really didn't show up, but I plan on making stencils. Details!!!

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Today, I had to cut off the angle iron that a trailer hitch was mounted to. It was welded to the top side of the rear bumper portion of the frame. I had to grind it to make it flush with the frame rail. I checked my other 55, and you won't be able to see the part that I couldn't cut off. Here's a question...How far do you go when restoring a frame. Mine is close but since it is going to be powdercoated, I can't use bondo. What would y'all do?

I got the rear end pulled away from the body and rolled (muscled) down the trailer ramps. I rolled it off to the side then dropped the back of the frame on to the trailer. I then got most of the driver's side front suspension disassembled. The only part I couldn't remove were the two bolts holding the upper a-arm assembly. I have them soaking tonight with my buddy PB blaster.

I am still thinking that I can get the frame to the powdercoater this week.

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Spent the last few days hunting down some stuff. Got some Kraytex (sp?) sticks to try to remill the dash inserts. I have two sets (minus one glovebox door) so I plan on messing around with the worst of the two. I have an idea of how to set up my drill press to do this. I don't have a mill, and there's no way I'm gonna buy one just for this. I'll post pics if it's successful, and cuss if it's not. If I can figure it out, I may do the second one and sell it to pay for the project. Sure are a lot of "if's", huh?

Tomorrow, I plan on pulling the rest of the stuff from the frame so I can get it to the powdercoater (hopefully this week). I've been taking a ton of pics, but they are just boring reference shots. I have found a few "makers marks" that I am going to try to duplicate. One of them is a circle with a line through it that says WIN above the line. The other one is 2Z right next to the passenger side vent. Both are in silver paint. The shots really didn't show up, but I plan on making stencils. Details!!!

I made a complete set of engine turned inserts for my 55. They are flawless. I made them on my drill press. Unfortunately I took no pictures but I do have some tooling and templates left over including the jig to form the glove box door, the spacing jig to get the correct horizontal spacing, and the pattern to cut out the pieces from sheet aluminum stock. I didn't bother trying to reuse the originals. Starting from scratch makes a better job and solves some of the problems re curved pieces. I also solved the problem of dealing with the raised radio and ash tray bezels. It's a demanding task but it is doable..........Bob

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The dash on my '41 was done by the previous owner. It is far from a perfect job, but he used dowel in his drill press and double sided tape to hold on punched out circles of sandpaper. This way, he just replaced the sandpaper and tape as necessary. It is far from a perfect job (not always straight lines), but is fine for a driver, at least until I decide to give Doug Seybold a lot of money.

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How far do you go when restoring a frame. Mine is close but since it is going to be powdercoated, I can't use bondo. What would y'all do?

.

Remember that when everything is assembled to only part of the frame that can be seen is the BOTTOM. I flipped the frame, straightened edges and used bondo to fill rust pits then painted. But like I told you before painting a frame is no fun. Ask the powdercoat people if there is a filler (if needed) that is compatible with the process.

Willie

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I'm fortunate that my car has no rust pits. If they don't have a suggestion for filling any nastiness, I may just have them blast and prime, then I'll just paint it. I just got the remaining front suspension parts off. I need to remove the rear rubber bumpers then it'll be a bare naked frame.

I said bare naked...

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Of course, now we ALL will be looking at it too.

Just as I suspected. I spent some time unveiling inspection marks and the frame number from beneath the undercoating. I will duplicate the stencil for the frame number, and am considering doing the chalk marks at all of the body mount locations, I assume they were shim marks. There were one, two, or three chalk marks at each location. Kinda cool!

BTW, I did straighten most of the frame really well. I had to do a bunch of grinding on the rear crossmember to make the welded flat plate look stock. Like I said before, it is above the frame member in the C channel and I couldn't "unweld" it. The extra metal can't hurt, but I wanted to make sure John D couldn't see it when he was crawling around looking for it. :)

Edited by buick5563
spelling (see edit history)
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Got the frame to the powdercoater yesterday. He is gonna call me to check it out after blasting, before priming so I can OK my own work. ;)

This morning, I was trying the Cratex rubberized abrasive dowels on the old piece of dash trim I have. I needed to see how my set up in the drill press was going to work: i.e. pressure necessary, length of rod showing since it is a rubber product. I figured out that it needs good consistent medium heavy pressure to thoroughly swirl. The advantage, is there is no valve compound needed as there is grit embedded in the rod itself.

Bob is walking me through some of the finer points and nitty gritty (no pun intended) to making it look great. I do believe that I will be starting from scratch as the curved pieces would be a real beeyotch to do well.

This is a photo of my first attempt (freehand for pressure purposes, don't judge!)

Sorry, it's fuzzy all blown up. Stupid iPhone (Sorry baby, it's a fine product ;) )

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Edited by buick5563 (see edit history)
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do you have a picture of the set up you're using. or at least a picture of the dowell. I need to make a repair to about a 1 inch square of one of mine. could the dowell you speak of be mounted in a drill with a stong firm hand holding it and used on a piece of the trim still mounted? where do you get the dowells?

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You can google Cratex, the place I bought mine was a supply company on the interwebz. I'll bring a chunk with me to Ames. I would not necessarily advise trying to do it in place since you have to chuck it to about 3/4-1" so it doesn't move around. Bob said he did his with a pencil eraser with valve lapping compound which may be the way to go in your case since the pencil could be chucked out farther. Without a jig, however, it will not look as good, but for a patch...Maybe?

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Bob is walking me through some of the finer points and nitty gritty (no pun intended)

Perhaps not intended, but noted.

Steve Jobs apologized for the iPhone, so you shouldn't need to be too overly cautious around the breadwinner ;)

So, is this essentially just abrading away whatever crud is built up, or are you cutting a new pattern?

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Craytex is the way to go, Mike. When I did mine I was unaware of it. The eraser/compound system worked fine but raised a couple of problems that the Craytex will avoid. Long after I was done with mine I got hold of a rubber abrasive stick and tried it, worked good.

Hey Mike, if you could post the pix I sent you of my finished dash I'd appreciate it. It's beyond my computer skills. Mite encourage others to do theirs...........Bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)
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Here ya go. Bhigdog can explain better.

The Cratex sticks that I bought are 1/4" X 6". They look like a black stick. The thing that I have read on other websites about them is that the only dressing you have to do, is to occasionally scrape the outer edge as it is turning as it tends to flare out. I just did this with a screwdriver tip while I was testing. I remeasured yesterday: I cut the dowel to about 1 1/2" and have roughly 1/2" sticking out below the drill chuck. Like I said yesterday, I was merely testing the pressure necessary to consistently swirl the aluminum. In answer to Derek's question, you are making new cuts in the aluminum, not cleaning. I tried to clean my old inserts with progressively harsher soap type products and they were too far gone. Dirt and oxidation were not my friends...

There is a guy (again, google engine turned aluminum) named Eamonn Keough who does really nice work on predone work, as well as our Buick friend Doug Seybold. I have said this before, perhaps not on the forum: I do not begrudge people trying to make a living. True craftsmen deserve what they charge. Eamonn says on his website that he paid his way through college doing engine turning. The number I have heard thrown around is $750. I have not contacted either one of these gentlemen, but even close to that is more than I care to spend without giving it a shot first, myself. Bob has said in other posts that he has a milling machine and that it would be much easier now than when he did it the first time on a drill press. He has also said he doesn't want to do it for profit, so I didn't ask :rolleyes: .

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Thanks for the pix mike. Appreciate it. $750 was what Doug quoted me 12 years ago. May be different now. Yes, a Bridgeport type verticle mill would make duck soup out of turning these inserts. I really would prefer to leave it to the guys who do it for profit, and more so to the individual craftsman who will then be able to take GREAT pride in a demanding project done well.

Give me a call when you're ready.............Bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)
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  • 3 weeks later...

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