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The Ressurection of Daphne - a 1932 DL


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Finished up the two front floorboard kick panels today.  They have pads made of some sort of heat resistant material attached to keep the car interior cool.  The old pad was in poor shape, and the other pad had fallen off sometime in the distant past.

 

The panel with the old pad.

 

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I cut out new pads from Homasote and painted them black to match the color of the originals.

 

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They are held in place by metal tabs.  For some reason the tabs were mostly broken off on the panel where the pad had disappeared.  I'm not sure if someone removed the pad and broke them off in the process or...?  At any rate, I'm making new tabs that will be held in place by small screws.

The other panel retained its tabs and they bent back into place without any issues.

 

The finished lower panel and pad on top.

 

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The upper panel awaiting the new clips.  Temperatures reached 96 degrees and I escaped into the house.

 

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Those panels look GREAT and thank you so much for posting. I will hopefully be doing the exact procedure for my 1931 DB floor panels.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Spent 12 hours in the garage yesterday and truly realized how old I'm getting.  i was too tired to even post the progress until today.  I worked on the car floorboards.  It's always seemed odd to me that my car has an all steel body and metal kick panels, but wooden floors.  I think the 33s have metal floors, but my 32 stuck with an old fashioned approach.  Since I'm a better wood worker than metal fabricated, this is probably a good thing in my case.

 

So I finished the metal floorboards, two pieces that bolt together, and they are ready to go.

 

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Then I completed the rearmost floorboard.  It's made of marine plywood.  The original floorboards were also plywood and probably made with waterproof glue like my new ones.  It's actually three pieces - the main plywood floor and two support pieces, made of oak, on each end.  These pieces rest on the frame, padded by a felt strip.  The u-shaped opening above the differential is covered by a domed metal plate.

 

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Next came the second, narrow, floorboard.  I'm not sure why they made this in two pieces, but the reason is probably lost in the mist of time.  This fit nicely into place.  The screwdrivers are just to make sure everything lined up with the threaded support piece on the frame that the mounting bolts screw into.  You can see the oak support pieces at the very bottom of the photo.

 

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The reason I'm replacing the floorboards is because the originals were covered in a sticky, tar-like covering that was impossible to remove.  It was unfortunate because the tops of the boards were in reasonable shape - in certain instances - but some of the plywood was delaminating and there was no saving it in any case.  The next floorboard illustrates how lucky I am that this car didn't go up in flames.  This is the area over the muffler and under the front seat.  At some point this must have caught fire - long before I owned it.  It may be the reason the front seat was reupholstered with cheap vinyl before I bought it.  It will be covered with fireproof material when I finish it.

 

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You can see the new floorboard under the original and the new support piece in this shot.

 

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Here are the three rear floorboards in place.  The seat sits over the wide front board and the battery opening.  I still don't have the support pieces attached to the wide board as i am still lining things up.  They will be flush with the edge of the board when I'm finished.

 

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The boards in front of the seat have a black rubber floor covering and in the rear it's all carpeted.  Back to work tomorrow.

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Taylormade,

Nice job!  If this a recent picture we are at about the same stage.  Here again I see you doing an A+ job.  I'm trying for a B+.

Just placed the top on my 32 Dodge, need to secure it to the body.  How is the wood in your top?  House of Tops out of Portland Oregon, has patterns for a 1932 Dodge top.  I gave him mine and he made me a good deal.  He did a good job with the reproduction.  I do have a couple of suggestions for him however.

Thanks for the update!  Until Later Torry

Hope this comes through??

 

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Torry -

My top is in pretty good shape.  The wood is still good and the metal surround pieces are all there and in good shape.  I may replace the screws that hold the wood and metal together once I determine how rusty they are and clean and paint the metal.  I have already purchased the top covering and the inner padding.

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Here is the top before I removed it.  The holes in the front are from a huge ice slab that fell on the car when Phil Kennedy, the PO, owned it.  The padding was totally eaten by mice.

 

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Taylormade,

I took a bunch of pictures of my car yesterday.  I will make an attempt to put them on this forum??

Unable to figure it out for now. Will try later.  If I had your email I know I could send them but this forum is too much for me???

What ever you do don't get old cause this computer stuff gets difficult??

This is an old picture.

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Beautiful! I too have thoroughly enjoyed following your meticulous restoration and photos. I’m in the process of finally getting upholstery done in my 1931 Dodge DH sedan. I put in a new roof last year which worked out well! I too am about to install a remade firewall pad!   John

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Okay, I need some help here.  Any advice will be more than welcome.  As I showed several postings ago, my wooden floorboard had a hole burned through it by heat from the muffler.  When I examined the floorboard closely, I could see remnants of what I assume was asbestos sheet that had been nailed to the board.  At some point the sheet must have fallen off or failed in some way.  I obviously don't want a repeat event and have Daphne burned to the ground on some pleasant spring outing.

 

This really could have been a disaster...

 

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I know asbestos is a big no-no these days.  What would you suggest I use in its place?  I need a relatively thin sheet material that will lie flat on the bottom of the floorboards and not look too modern in appearance.  From what was left of the original material, it was an off white, woven cloth no more than a 1/16 of an inch thick.  Obviously, it needs to be fireproof.

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Looks like heat got through asb. board . How about FR rated plywood . And heat shield on pipe or muffler to limit radiant effect . We used FR on wall for backing when mounting communication equipment in IT closets . There is nothing special looking about and can be paint with FR paint .

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Only a few inches.  I've already made the floorboards from marine plywood, so I'm sticking with that.  I'm thinking the Homasote i used for the front floorboard pads might work as it has a high fire rating.  it's thicker than the original asbestos sheet, but I think it will clear the frame cross members without a problem.

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Isn't Homasote just compressed paper board ?  Add FR paint and heat shield to divert .  Or asbestos board can be but back , find some house with it as siding . Just paint to encase fibres .

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I would be concerned that homesite may soak up water, and or, just deteriorate as you speed down the country roads in that beautiful car. How about a piece of 1/4 inch aluminum with 1” thick spacers as standoffs screwed to the plywood?

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How about attaching a sheet of tin across the top of the muffler. Maybe just about a 1/3 of its diameter. Fix it about 1/2” from the muffler to create a hot air gap. Paint it black and it will never be seen. 

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I just checked the wood under my ‘31 DH. After 83K miles the wood looks fine. The muffler is a good 6” below. Must have been an exhaust leak directed at the wood? A stainless exhaust system would be a good idea. I doubt you have further trouble. However, for peace of mind a sheet of aluminum sounds the simplest.   John 

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It looks like the original was about 1/8th of an inch.  Here is a remaining original piece on one of the old floorboard supports (removed from the bottom of the floorboard).  You can see the black felt tacked to the bottom of the wood.  This rested on the top of the frame with the felt sandwiched in between the frame and the wood.

 

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I bought this roll of felt years ago and I've forgotten where.  It may have been Restoration Specialties, but I'm not sure.  It's exactly the same size and thickness (allowing for some compression in the original over the years).

 

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I suppose you could use modern urethane or the like, but I'm trying to stay as original as possible.  The felt worked just fine for 88 years, so why reinvent the wheel?

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Regarding plywood floor boards in general, they should be made so that the grain goes from side to side (frame rail to frame rail) rather than lengthwise (fore and aft). Plywood is much stronger and less likely to flex in the direction of the grain. Like any composite material, the strongest and most stressed layer are the 2 outer skins, so always consider that and direction of grain in making pieces. Just a suggestion for future floor makers. 

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So, apparently, my new floorboards are incorrect.  The plywood I used is marine grade with what appears to be seven layers.  I guess I’ll have to rethink things and perhaps start over.  The sheet of plywood was $97, so this is rather painful.

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3 hours ago, Taylormade said:

So, apparently, my new floorboards are incorrect.  The plywood I used is marine grade with what appears to be seven layers.  I guess I’ll have to rethink things and perhaps start over.  The sheet of plywood was $97, so this is rather painful.

They will be perfect you could drive the dodge across them with the span they have. No matter which way the grain runs. 

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They are covered with the floor mat Only you will know  I know that we try to make our restorations as perfect as possible Some I have seen are better than when they left the factory If you know in your own mind that you have done your best then don't worry 

 

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I just did a deflection test.  I put 150 pounds of weights on the middle of the floorboards and they deflected 1/4 of an inch.  I performed the same test on the old floorboard (same section) that was in the best shape.  It also deflected 1/4 of an inch.  So, although mine have the grain going the wrong way, they appear to have about the same strength.  Maybe the seven layers and the waterproof glue gave me a bit of an edge over standard plywood.  Given these rather crude tests, I think I am okay to go with what I have.

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3 hours ago, Taylormade said:

although mine have the grain going the wrong way, they appear to have about the same strength

Each ply alternates in which way the grain goes, so there is no issue the way it is now other than cosmetic. .  Also, I agree with your thought that the modern marine grade should likely be far stronger than original.  Carry on.  :)

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Posted (edited)

Installed the felt padding on the floorboards.  The marine plywood is really tough.  I bent numerous tacks and finally had to drill a shallow pilot hole to get the tacks started.  Then I could drive them home.  The old floorboards had enough of the felt still attached to give me the necessary pattern.  Kind of difficult to photograph black felt on black wood, but you get the idea from these shots.

 

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When I put the boards back in the car I could not believe how much the felt softened the interior noise and made the boards snug down into place.

 

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Once the carpet with jute padding is installed, it should be pretty quiet in the back seat.

Edited by Taylormade (see edit history)
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/17/2020 at 10:27 PM, Torry Johnson said:

Taylormade,

I have a set of front seat rails if needed. 

Torry

 

Thanks, Tory.  I have a good set as we discussed in our emails.  But thanks for the upper windshield hinge pieces that you sent me.

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In the one step forward, two steps back category, I discovered a small problem with my pedal assembly yesterday.  As I got ready to bleed the brakes in anticipation of driving Daphne around the block for the first time later this month, I noticed the brake pedal was a bit wobbly on its shaft.  I seem to recall sometime in the distant past totally ignoring this when I first restored the unit.  maybe it didn't seem so bad back then, but it's too bad to allow to go unchecked.  So, off came the unit.  The good news is that it's only held on by four bolts, and even with the body now on, I can access those bolts and slip the unit out after disconnecting the master cylinder plunger.  Check out the rust that has developed.  This will be a good chance to clean this up.  It's amazing that to the naked eye there seems to be little rust showing, but when the camera flash hits it - rust city.

 

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This assembly has more arms and gizmos on it than anything I've ever seen.  It's all for the clutch mechanism, and I'm sure the engineers had a reason for it, but it's beyond my pay grade.

 

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At any rate, disassembly went quickly.  Now I just have to take the brake pedal and shaft down to the machine shop and get a new bushing installed.  Luckily, the shaft is in good shape.

 

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Lesson learned - do it right the first time.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh the humanity!  It was a nice cool day today, so I decided to tackle a job I had been dreading for some time - a bolt frozen in a captive nut.  I carefully drilled through the bolt - actually a threaded screw, so chewed up there was nothing to get a screwdriver on.  Things were going alright until the captive nut began spinning inside its captivity.  At that point I was doomed.  No amount of grinding, drilling or explosive devices could persuade what was left of the nut to come out of it’s little metal box.  This is one of the attachment points for the lower front floorboard.  I am resigned to using a nut on a threaded screw to hold it on.  It’s buried up under the firewall and will be virtually invisible - except for the first guy who gives the car the once over on the day I finish the restoration who will undoubtedly pipe up with, “Messed up that captive nut on the floorboard, did’ya?’  Since the body is on, I can’t cut the box off and reweld - not enough room and fresh paint, so 

l’ll have to live with it.  The damn nut is still in there, but I can push it to the side enough to get a bolt through.  I figured I’d totally finish the floorboards today and start installing the window glass. Ha!

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Just want to thank you for this post. I just got my 1931 DB coupe brakes rebuilt and your information on those neoprene insert style washers for the brake lines was fantastic! They are the most AWESOME items! Not a single drip!

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