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The Ressurection of Daphne - a 1932 DL


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  • 2 weeks later...

For the first time in a long time I actually felt good today.  I went out in the garage and cleaned off the workbench.  I put away tools that had been lying around for months.  The temperature in the afternoon was close to 80, so I painted my brake and clutch assembly.  Those patient enough to follow this thread may remember me doing that a few years ago.  I discovered some problems which I’ll discuss tomorrow (with pictures) and show how I resolved the situation.  Nice to be back working on the car!

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Posted (edited)

Awhile ago as I was bleeding my brakes I noticed a rather alarming side to side wobble in my brake pedal.  I "restored" this unit years ago and I fear I didn't do it correctly.  So out came the brake pedal/clutch pedal assembly to check things out.  I took everything apart and checked out everything.  Lots of parts, levers and pivots.

 

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The bushing in the brake pedal was totally worn out so I replaced it.  The new bushing... 

 

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The pedal still wobbled and the shaft was also the culprit.  There was severe wear to the shaft and I had my local machine shop make me a new one.  This shop is old school and can make almost anything.

 

Here is the old shaft.  Big time wear.

 

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And the new shaft.

 

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A quick comparison illustrates the problem.

 

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I chipped a lot of paint taking things apart so I resprayed the parts.  Amazing how trash buckets come in handy.

 

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Everything back together and ready to go.

 

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Edited by Taylormade (see edit history)
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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Started working on the wood framework of the top this weekend.  I had peeled off some of the rotten top covering long ago and was pleased to find the wood seemed to be in good shape.  I peeled off the rest Saturday and naturally discovered disaster in the making.  Actually, most of the wood was in decent shape, but the rear bow was completely rotted at both corners and will need to be replaced.  Not a job I'm looking forward to.

 

The top with the covering removed.

 

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There is a steel framework screwed to the wood that helps reinforce the frame and provides a neat edge to fold the fabric over before it's stapled to the wood.  As you can see it's rusty and the screws are in really bad shape.

 

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I removed the metal and got my first good look at the corners of the framework.  The news was not good.  Obviously the top had been replaced at some point before I bought the car in 1965.  I'd often wondered if it still had the original fabric, but this was a replacement job - one not done very well.  The corners were rotted out and someone had used something to try and repair the damage.  It looks like fiberglass cloth but it was brittle and not doing the job.  This back piece will have to be replaced.

 

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The rest of the wood looks pretty good.  A few cracks that can be repaired with glue and clamps.  All the screws will need to be replaced, they are rusting away.  I'm going to commit sacrilege here and replace them with Phillips wood screws.  I know, I know, not original, but they are completely covered by the padding and top material and finding slotted screws is difficult and expensive.  The new screws are just slightly larger in diameter than the old ones and really lock into the wood.

 

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I cleaned up the metal edge strips and gave them a coat of paint.

 

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I'm going to have to figure out how to make the rotten piece.  It has a slight curve to it, but I don't have the money or time to make a wood steaming setup for this one piece.  I'm thinking the best way to go is to route out pieces using the original as a template and then laminating them together.

 

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Here's a question for you wood experts.  Since the top frame I mentioned in the previous post is not really a structural element and has to take many staples when the top covering is installed, I was thinking Poplar might be a better choice than red oak which can be brittle and hard to work.  The existing wood is fairly soft and doesn't appear to be oak or ash.  What are your opinions on the way I should go?

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Posted (edited)

Your roof insert construction looks nearly identical to that in my 1933 Plymouth. After I got everything together on my car I found that there is at least one vendor that could have sold me a reproduction wood frame: N/C Industries in Pennsylvania. (After the founder passed away they started specializing in windshield frames but I think they still have/make a bunch of 1933-34 Plymouth and Dodge parts.) Not sure if they could or would make that piece for you but they might.

 

At the risk of exposing a short cut I took. . . I had one corner with rotten wood, much like yours. I found a liquid epoxy that was advertised for house restoration for filling in the voids and stabilizing deteriorated wood in old houses. Then for the areas that were totally gone, I used an off the shelf two part epoxy filler that had wood filler as one of its labeled uses.

 

It has been together now for over 20 years and my epoxy stabilization/filler seems to be doing an adequate job: The top still seats down nicely around the edges and it still seems to be leak free (not that I drive it in the rain very much, most of the water on the roof is when I wash it).

Edited by ply33 (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

If your just replacing the rear bow and you want some shape into it,  have you thought about using several layers of 1/4” marine ply. It will give you the perfect shape easily laminating them together. 
I built the complete new roof on my 27 using several layers of 1/2” marine ply and then epoxy coated it. I used the roof as itself to laminate it to shape. 

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Edited by Mattml430 (see edit history)
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As ply33 stated, this is an insert, not a structural complete roof.  It’s main purpose is to fill the hole in the steel roof that is there because they couldn’t stamp a complete roof at that time - the technology wasn’t there yet - and to provide bows to staple the headliner to.  The existing wood is not ash - it’s not dense enough even if it has dried out some over the decades.  It is realativly soft, even softer that the poplar I have in the shop.  I also have some extra marine plywood left over from the floorboard project.  I may try both and see what works the best.

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This is probably about as interesting as watching paint dry but it illustrates all the fiddly jobs that need to be done.  Although the wood for the top insert was in reasonable condition, I went around and filled all the cracks with epoxy and clamped where necessary.  In several areas the wood was not holding the screws tightly.  I drilled these areas out and inserted a plug made from a wood dowel and held in place by waterproof glue.

 

 

 

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Then I attached the metal frame pieces that I cleaned and painted the other day.

 

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Once I had everything together, the frame was stable enough to remove the back bow so I can use it as a pattern for the new piece.  I hope to have it finished in the next day or two and the top frame will finally be ready to get its new fabric covering.

 

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I confessed to using the dreaded Phillips monster earlier.  Every screw is covered by padding and top material. I saw no benefit to spending the time and money to get nearly eighty screws that will never be seen - until the next guy takes it apart and discovers my mortal sin.  I’m sorry - so sorry. 😀😀

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3 hours ago, Mattml430 said:

The bloody screw police will be onto you now. (Ron & Doug) not to mention any names though. 😂🤣

Matt The Big Screw is watching you ha ha ha or should I say two of them are 

 

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7 hours ago, Taylormade said:

I confessed to using the dreaded Phillips monster earlier.  Every screw is covered by padding and top material. I saw no benefit to spending the time and money to get nearly eighty screws that will never be seen - until the next guy takes it apart and discovers my mortal sin.  I’m sorry - so sorry. 😀😀

I always like to get at least 1 in a shot to keep Ron and Doug on the ball. It’s coming along well . 😂

Edited by Mattml430 (see edit history)
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Cruised down to Lowe’s this afternoon to pick up the 1” by 6” by 4 foot oak board to make the rear bow for my top insert.  Used to pay six bucks for this item.  It was 23 bucks!  Thank God I bought my 4 by 8 by 3/4 inch thick marine plywood last year when it was 96 bucks.  Current price $328!

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On 4/20/2020 at 11:58 AM, Taylormade said:

Very cool.  I checked Restoration Specialties and their catalog says they have black painted board and the jute padding - they call it floor padding.  What did you use to cut the board, the edges look very clean?

Door panel material is the same , you can buy it in a sheet, auto body suppliers

 

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Making the rear bow on the top insert.  I used a flush trim router bit to duplicate the original bow.

 

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This allowed me to make a piece with the exact same curve as the original.

 

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I needed to make three of these to laminate together to match the width of the bow.  Luckily, two 3/4 inch and one 1/2 board equaled the two inches I needed.

 

The second piece rough cut with a jigsaw ready to be shaped by the first finished piece..

 

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Here are the three pieces stacked under the original.

 

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The first two pieces glued together and clamped.

 

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I'll glue the last piece tomorrow and then do a final sanding.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finishing up the top insert.  The new bow sanded and in place.  I somehow managed to get a nice fit on this piece.  Actually, better than the factory.

 

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Then I installed the freshly painted metal edge trim.

 

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A quick trip to the Farm Supply store for some chicken wire to replace the sections that were destroyed by a slab of ice falling off a roof onto the car in 1970, and I'll be finished and ready to install the top padding and fabric.

 

 

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Are you going to run a wire from the chicken wire mesh down the “A” pillar (factory pre-wired antenna for radio)? If so, you might want to replace all the chicken wire so there is no seams in it. Might want to do that anyway.

 

Looking very good. I recall my insert being flat around the edges. Yours looks like there is a slight vertical curve which makes it more difficult to fabricate but you did a beautify job!

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ply33,

I don't think we have communicated before?  I just redid the top on my 32 Dodge and had more than a few dilemmas.  Turned out a B+ but still need to do some final dressing on the seal between fabric and metal.  We used one piece of chicken wire and did attach wire for radio.  Nice looking 33!  I drove a 32 Plymouth in college. It had a four cylinder and seemed to have plenty of power.  My 32 Dodge is about 87.347% and I'm doing a B+ job to date.  From watching taylormade he's doing an A+ job.  Good detail!

Until Later,

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2 hours ago, Torry Johnson said:

ply33,

I don't think we have communicated before?  I just redid the top on my 32 Dodge and had more than a few dilemmas.  Turned out a B+ but still need to do some final dressing on the seal between fabric and metal.  We used one piece of chicken wire and did attach wire for radio.  Nice looking 33!  I drove a 32 Plymouth in college. It had a four cylinder and seemed to have plenty of power.  My 32 Dodge is about 87.347% and I'm doing a B+ job to date.  From watching taylormade he's doing an A+ job.  Good detail!

Until Later,

 

I don’t recall having communicated with you. But my memory is pretty faulty in respect to that type of thing.

 

Thank you for the complement on my car. It has deteriorated some over the last 20 years, much more of a driver/tour car than a show car. Living near the beach with salt laden fog is not doing it much good even though it is always parked in a garage. I consider it to be a 10 or 20 footer.

 

With respect to ”final dressing on the seal between fabric and metal”, way back when I received a photo copy of a page from a Dodge repair manual that said the sealing material was “dum-dum”. Calling around I came to the conclusion that the modern equivalent of that was a non-hardening strip caulk. I used that back in the 1990s when I put my car back together and it is still doing good service today (though I admit I seldom drive it in the rain). See: https://www.ply33.com/Repair/roof

 

The '32 Plymouth 4 cylinder had nearly the same power as the '33 Plymouth 6 cylinder and actually had more torque. I recall reading where WP Chrysler remarked that a 4 cylinder was all a low priced car needed but to keep up with the Chevrolet 6 and Ford V8 he had to go to a 6.

 

I wish I had the patience and skill that @Taylormade has been demonstrating. That car will be incredible. It may even had a door latch or two from my stash to make it perfect. :)

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It definitely has two of your door latches installed!  They still make the dum-dum substitute mentioned on your site.  I’m trying to determine if one box is enough for my top.  The word patience is certainly not one I would apply to myself.  Idiotic determination, high failure rate and bouts of despair probably come closer.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Taylormade said:

It definitely has two of your door latches installed!  They still make the dum-dum substitute mentioned on your site.  I’m trying to determine if one box is enough for my top.  The word patience is certainly not one I would apply to myself.  Idiotic determination, high failure rate and bouts of despair probably come closer.

I still have extra strip caulk left over. But I am trying to remember how many boxes I bought. I think it might only have been one but I am not sure. If your local auto body supply provider carries it and they are not too far away you might just get one to start with.

Good to know that “idiotic determination, high failure rate and bouts of despair”, once curated and posted on a web site appear to be patience and skill.

 

p.s. On the strip caulk: I think the original dum-dum might have been a bit softer than the 3M strip caulk. A warm day to soften the strip caulk will make it easier to press the top into place.

Edited by ply33 (see edit history)
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This is what I used on mine. Maybe a different name in the States though.

If you go to Page 13 of my thread you'll see the process I used of installing my roof. Maybe give you some ideas.

Sorry about my thread being out of order, it happened when they tried to merge two threads into one......made a complete mess of it.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Ian_Greenlaw said:

This is what I used on mine. Maybe a different name in the States though.

If you go to Page 13 of my thread you'll see the process I used of installing my roof. Maybe give you some ideas.

Sorry about my thread being out of order, it happened when they tried to merge two threads into one......made a complete mess of it.

 

 

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I think that would be this post: https://forums.aaca.org/topic/202439-1934-dodge-full-body-off-restoration/?do=findComment&comment=1157634

 

That butyl mastic looks like it would do a great job. I wonder what the equivalent product would be here in the US.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally got this job done.  Two new kittens have taken up too much of our time lately, along with 95 degree temperatures in the garage, but things cooled off and I bought a pneumatic staple gun from (gasp, choke) Harbor Freight and got the chicken wire on the top frame.  The staple gun actually performed flawlessly.  How long it will last is always the question, but for 24 bucks I can't complain.

 

First, the cats,  These two knuckleheads are just too entertaining.

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For the top insert, I took everyone's' advice and removed the old chicken wire.  Then I went through the tedious task of removing every tack and staple that still remained.

 

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The padding along the top bows just crumbled away, so I replaced it with felt that I glued on the bows.

 

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Then I used the new staple gun to attach the chicken wire.  The staples were exactly the size and shape of the originals.

 

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The chicken wire was also identical to the original in size and spacing.  I guess some things never change.  It cost me six bucks for ten feet at the local farm feed store.

 

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Finished and ready for the the padding and fabric.

 

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Richard your top frame looks great.  I've been out of the loop and feeling bad that I did not let you know House of Tops, Frank in Portland OR has complete top wood for a 1932 Dodge DL.  I gave him my old wood and he made me a deal on a new frame.  Sorry for the late info!  Getting the final caulking bead to lay down is yet to be done on my top.  Not sure what to use??  My final seam is about a C-.  Any ideas out there will be appreciated.  Just had the some chrome done.  The chrome shop broke the piece on top of the firewall that looks like an extension of the hood hinge.  Paid more for a 32 glass taillight lens than I paid for the car.  What's wrong with this picture??  I have been looking for the tail light lens for 57 years.  I'd like to find another if there is one out there??  Can't wait 57 years however!  Keep up the good work!  Regards. 

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Luckily most of my top wood was in good shape and making the one new piece was really kind of enjoyable.  Good to know there is a supplier out there for the few 32s still remaining.

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Posted (edited)

Does the thread "Hot Rodding the Gemmer Steering Box" by idrjoe_sandiego still exist?  Tried the search function and am having no luck finding it.  On a similar note, has anyone found a replacement for the felt gasket on the bottom of the box?  If I remember correctly this is an area that always leaks even with the gasket and in the article a tube was welded onto the bottom bracket that extended up the inner steering tube and prevented leakage around the tube hole.

Edited by Taylormade (see edit history)
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48 minutes ago, Taylormade said:

Does the thread "Hot Rodding the Gemmer Steering Box" by idrjoe_sandiego still exist?  Tried the search function and am having no luck finding it.  On a similar note, has anyone found a replacement for the felt gasket on the bottom of the box?  If I remember correctly this is an area that always leaks even with the gasket and in the article a tube was welded onto the bottom bracket that extended up the inner steering tube and prevented leakage around the tube hole.

Private message with information sent.

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