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64' Rivera Floor Braces


2manyhobbies
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I have not posted on the forums, but I have been looking through the old threads!  Recently I bought a 64' that needs some restoration, pretty much needs everything, body is in decent shape, but the floors need work.   I joined the riv owners group to help with the process.  

I know that there have been many threads on the replacement of floor pans (which I have to do), but before I get into the pan replacement I wanted (need) to re-fab the seat supports that go under the floor pan.  Right now I am working on the front seat, back brace - I have enough of that one to use as a pattern, but I am missing so much of the front brace I do not have anything to use as a pattern.  I wanted to see if someone would take a couple pictures of the front - front seat brace so that what I make will look *some what* like the original.

 

Thanks for the help,

Brad

Edited by 2manyhobbies (see edit history)
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I haven't found anybody that makes replacements but mine are about 3.5" wide and 3/4" deep.

 

When I cut my floor supports/braces out...I found a much larger problem.  Where they meet/weld to the rocker panels (door sills), the rocker panel is rusted away. 

 

I'm currently looking for a rust free body because I was only prepared to replace the floors...not fix the rockers, the fire wall where it meets the rockers (a whole lot of metal pinch welded together...it needs to all be cut out), the front windshield channel and the rear window channel (are all Swiss cheese).  It's a friggin mess.

 

Good Luck

 

 

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I haven't found anybody that makes replacements but mine are about 3.5" wide and 3/4" deep.

 

When I cut my floor supports/braces out...I found a much larger problem.  Where they meet/weld to the rocker panels (door sills), the rocker panel is rusted away. 

 

I'm currently looking for a rust free body because I was only prepared to replace the floors...not fix the rockers, the fire wall where it meets the rockers (a whole lot of metal pinch welded together...it needs to all be cut out), the front windshield channel and the rear window channel (are all Swiss cheese).  It's a friggin mess.

 

Good Luck

I have / had the same problem, I already replaced the inner rocker.  

 

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Great job on that brace btw. Looks identical to the original piece.  I'm sure you already know/are doing this, but be sure to prime the inside of it, preferably with an epoxy primer, before welding it back in place.  Then it will never rust again    

 

I'm planning to rebuild my suspension this coming week, so as soon as I get it up in the air I'll take some pics and upload here if someone doesn't beat me to it.  Good luck and keep us updated on how it goes.  

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2 manyhobbies, great job on that piece. I needed the rear deck body supports which are behind the rear bumper but I chose to old pieces I bought from Rivi central in calif once I blasted off the light surface rust they were like new. I cut and fit the pieces as needed. They appeared similar to what you just made too.again nice job.

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  I wanted to see if someone would take a couple pictures of the front - front seat brace so that what I make will look *some what* like the original.

 

Thanks for the help,

Brad

 

Just read this thread; here are some photos if you're still thinking about doing them.

 

Steve

 

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Thanks for the compliments! 

 

Steve,

 

Thank you for the pictures, I am working on the front brace today, so the pictures were perfectly timed!  Hopefully I will have it done this evening, I will post a pic when I finish.  I still need to recess the braces for the seat blot brackets...  

 

I am going to prime the inside, and use SEW copper weld thru primer for the plug welds.

 

Brad

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Yea, after I saw Steve's cross members I had the same thoughts, Its going to take several hours to get mine fixed, and they still wont be as nice!  The pictures were helpful in figuring out the reverse bend and filler piece for the side.  This brace fits into the car much better than the other, more complicated piece.  

 

The picture below is the second piece I made, the front - front brace .  I am going to weld them into the car tomorrow and place the seat bracket plates after the cross members are fit into position.  After that I will replace the pans on the drivers side (front, under seat, part of the back pan, and under rear seat), then move to the pass side.

 

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It's pretty amazing what a person can do when they let the seat in front of the computer get below body temperature isn't it.

 

And, taking my own comments seriously, I'm off to the garage to fix a Hudson Eight that got dropped off, fix my air compressor, and practice with the Allis-Chalmers B bucket before snow flies.

Bernie

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Nice work Brad. Riv owners like you who are willing to do this tedious and very costly work (if farmed out) are ones that are responsible for getting cars on the road that otherwise would sit and/or eventually be parted or crushed. Yours and other similar posts also helps provide inspiration to others facing same dilemma.

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Thank you all very much for the compliments! I have a couple pictures of how I "reverse engineered" the braces I will post them a little later. I am always happy to share how I go about doing things, and I'm still learning so feedback is always appreciated.

So far, this has been a fun project, much bigger than I originally intended, but fun. This is a stretch, but my goal is to be able to drive it to Williamsburg in June! After the floors are done the engine needs to come out (that's another story), while it is out I will do the fenders engine bay, steering and suspension.

Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you all again for the compliments.

Brad

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As promised here is a short explanation on how I made the more complicated floor brace.  Remember, I am a rank novice when it comes to sheet metal work, so I welcome any experience, suggestions, or different methods I could employ to make life easier, or better finished products.

 

Before I begin I want to share a site that has been helpful in understanding how to get started doing the metal shaping:  Lazzemetalshaping is his ID on YouTube.  Lazze is a metal shaping instructor who has been gracious enough to make several videos with very helpful explanations.  He also has a web site, tools for sale, and instruction.  An example of one video is where he reviews how to use the shrinker and stretcher properly, how to tweak it to perform better and just general information from his years of experience.  A good example of something I took away from a video was to partially form the corner and weld the two pieces together at the transition, this makes the weld easier to hide, and less prone to warping since the bend is a stronger part of the piece!  Things like that are helpful!  Now back to our regularly scheduled program...

 

So I started by getting a beer and studying the part.  It became obvious that both sides are different heights, the bottom has a bend, and the side rails have to have bends in them to accommodate the dip in the floor for the seat, I had to make this in several pieces.  

 

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I decided that I would make the side rails as two pieces, the bottom as one piece, and the tabs at the end as a "weld on" since the flat pattern for the welded tabs would make the piece of metal needed to fab the sides much wider.  The first step was to make the patterns.  I did the hardest side first.  Using tape I laid it over the outside of the bends on the sides, at the transition points so that I would have an accurate length of the pattern.  Using a red pencil I marked the edges of the sheet metal on the tape, and the middle of the radius. Then I took one long piece and put it on the opposite side to measure where the transition points would be on the flat pattern.

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What I didn't show here is that the small "width measurement" pieces of tape were taken off the old piece and placed across the long piece of tape at the marked points to give the width measurements of the flat pattern.  After I cut the flat pattern I bent it on a 90º angle 3/4" away from the edge of the pattern, that 3/4" gave me the lip that sits under the floorboard.  I used my long piece of tape again to mark the transition points on the metal piece (you can see the marks in the picture below.)  After the part was an angle with some shapes I started using the shrinker and stretcher that I picked up from Harbor Freight.  The shrinker and stretcher were used to give the side rails their shape.  If you look at the picture below you can see the bite marks from the stretcher.  Basically the stretcher would be used for outside bends and the shrinker for inside bends.  

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I repeated this for the opposite side.  Here is something I learned on this piece:  fit all three pieces to the car individually first!  This will make the final fitting much easier - I did not do that on this brace, but I did it on my second one, and it fit much better!  Also on the next brace I made the bottom piece first, this allowed me to fit that to the car, then fit the sides to the bottom piece and the car at the same time.

 

Unfortunately I did not take a a lot of pictures after I formed the bottom and welded the sides on, I got kind of wrapped up in the project and stopped the documentation process. The bottom piece was pretty easy, I followed the same basic process, then used a hammer and anvil to put a radius on the sides where the sides would be welded on...  remember the tips and tricks from Lazze?  ;)

 

After the sides were tack welded on I went back to the anvil for some final "fitting" to help close and gaps between the three pieces, that is where the distortion from the shrinker and stretcher were quite obvious.  There was some trimming to get the edges to fit, but this was the first piece I made.  After fitting it was back to the welder, then the grinder, then the welder then the grinder...  you get the picture.  

 

I got a great tip from someone I work with who restores old Datsun's (anyone who plays with 40 year old Japanese cars knows how to cope with rust):  Leave as much of the "old pieces" in tact as possible while working, they can serve as a pattern, or a datum for the new pieces to be fitted to.  For example, I cut the spot welds on the braces and left the pans in place to help ensure I got the elevation correct when welding in the new braces.  It was just one more piece that helps (or hopefully helped) get the braces back in the right spot.  Also having a great network, like the folks here (thank you for the pictures Steve), to help fill in the pieces when the pieces are not there!  

 

Key tools I used in the project:

- Ticonderoga Carmine Red Pencil 425T - I know this sounds stupid, but soft red pencils work well for metal working and wood working and I thought it was important enough to share.  I used to use a regular pencil until I bought a tool box that had a well loved red pencil in it, and I wondered why the fellow had a red pencil in his tool box.  After I used it I didn't need an explanation.  I like the pencils over the sharpies because of the finer line.  

- Set of three tin snips left, right and center - I only used the left and right though

- Set of body hammers from harbor freight

- Shrinker stretcher set from harbor freight

- Woodward fab throatless shear (great tool, had this for ~3 years)

 

 

Hopefully this makes sense and will help someone, if there are any points that I can help clarify please let me know.  If you have suggestions, by all means, post'em!  I am by no means an expert, and still learning too

 

Brad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have not updated the thread lately, but I have been working on the car a little.  I got the braces put into place, the seat mounting points in place, the under-seat pan installed, and the front pan put into place (still have to finish the welding and tidy that up.)  I added a couple pictures of the braces in place and the pans.

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Some good advice I got from a fellow was leave the floor pans in place when I was making the braces, that way I would have a reference point.

 

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I mounted the seat in the car to make sure I got the mounting points for the seat in the right place.  

 

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I actually have more of the welding done on the front pan - it is mostly done and the welds ground down.  There was one small repair needed to the front floor pan brace, but I did that when I had the front pan cut out.  I decided to patch the rear pan instead of replacing it - it is actually in pretty good shape with the exception of the edge you can see in the picture and a spot in the corner.  

 

After I finish the patches in the rear pan the next step is the under the rear seat pan!  I will have some time off over the holidays and it is supposed to be fairly warm so, hopefully, I can get more accomplished.

 

Brad

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  • 2 weeks later...

Outstanding job Brad. I found myself having to do a little fab on those braces also, but mine only had to have a few sections to replace. Much less extensive than your repairs. Was this car run up north or on the coasts? It looks like it rusted from the underneath side rather than from the inside out as mine did. My car had been sitting outside for many years and lost the window seals at which point it starting collecting water in the floors and the trunk.

 

-Jeff

Edited by devildog93 (see edit history)
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Outstanding job Brad. I found myself having to do a little fab on those braces also, but mine only had to have a few section replaced. Much less extensive than your repairs. Was this car run up north or on the coasts? It looks like it rested from the underneath side rather than from the inside out as mine did. My car had been sitting outside for many years and lost the window seals at which point it starting collecting water in the floors and the trunk.

 

-Jeff

 

Thank you for the compliments Jeff!

 

I believe that is exactly what happened to this car, the interior was soaking wet when I picked up the car.  One the flip side, the body panels are actually in pretty good shape!  I have now finished the floor pans on the drivers side and have moved onto the passenger side.  

 

I was looking at one of your old threads yesterday trying to understand the shape of the passenger rocker panel, mine are so rusted that the front piece is gone.  There is going to be a little more reconstructive work on the braces and the rockers here.  The pictures of everyone projects have really helped me with my project, sometimes simple clues from the pictures make the path much clearer.  SloSteve actually crawled under his car and took some pictures for me!

 

Brad

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              Nice job, and a very interesting and informative post that will be of great benefit to others.

Thank you!  It is good to hear that others find this helpful.  I am making the passenger inner rocker this morning, maybe I will take a picture or two.  The interesting part will be the shaping of the piece that goes under the front floor board!

Brad

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Thank you!  It is good to hear that others find this helpful.  I am making the passenger inner rocker this morning, maybe I will take a picture or two.  The interesting part will be the shaping of the piece that goes under the front floor board!

Brad

If you'd be so kind, can you take a picture of the inside of the rockers?

 

Thanks

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love the braces you made.  I made some as well and did a pretty good job of it but yours looked great.  I just replaced all my floors, rockers inside and outside, back trunk brace support and many other things from part car.  About to start on body.  enjoy pics.  If you wish contact me and we can swop info.  I am sure we can learn from eachother as we do these restorations.  my car is a 65 GS numbers matching car.  It lived most its life in a salt area but now in the south with me and when done will be better than new. At least that is my goal.  So far so good. post-155782-0-74520100-1451433431_thumb.post-155782-0-46208200-1451435980_thumb.post-155782-0-17928300-1451435983_thumb.post-155782-0-51109800-1451435992_thumb.post-155782-0-14049000-1451435995_thumb.post-155782-0-56154700-1451435997_thumb.post-155782-0-11205400-1451436001_thumb.

 

Stephen 2482071200.  Enjoy a few pics

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If you'd be so kind, can you take a picture of the inside of the rockers?

 

Thanks

 

Here is a picture of the rocker sectioned!  There is an outer rocker, a panel in the middle, and the inner rocker (what the floor braces attach to.)  In this photo you can see the outer rocker (from the inside of the car), the intermediate rocker panel (farthest to the right.)  Obviously this has been cut away for rust repair.   I will have to take a picture showing all three panels and the patching process.  

 

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I was busy cutting away, and remaking the rust repair panels today - there is still some work to do on the panels, but I thought I would take a picture anyways.  The longest panel is the inner rocker panel.  The front section is shaped and tapered to support the front floor pan.  The panel in front of the inner rocker is the transition piece that supports the floor pan up to the front floor brace.  The panel marked "ready 4 holes" is the intermediate rocker panel repair piece.  The other rounded piece is a rust repair for the area behind the front floor pan support.  The last piece is a patch for the outer rocker panel flange.  As I am assembling them I will take pictures.  

 

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Brad

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Stephen - 

 

Thank you for the compliments, and the pictures.  Hats off to your restoration project - it is looking great.  You are a couple steps ahead of me, I still have to finish the floors on the passenger side.  

 

Is that a Squareback I see sitting on the lift??

 

You went the route I should have, taking the body off the chassis!  I seriously thought about this, but in the end decided I didn't have the facilities to do that.  

 

My goal here is to have a nice driver that is good looking, reliable, and enjoyable.  To that end some things are not going to be stock, I have the parts for a disc / dual master cylinder conversion, and am adding a posi.  Earlier in this post I stated my goal was to drive the Riviera to the ROA International Meet, but I have yet to put my money where my mouth is by making a reservation !

 

Thanks again for the pictures,

 

Brad

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Guys, you two have made me feel a ton better about my restoration project. You 2 are really bringing a car back from the dead so to speak. Most people will never appreciate the work you did or even know what the hell you were talking about if you explained it to them, but some of us do. I know a lot of guys rescue cars, but you guys are rescuing a couple that likely would have been scrapped or tagged as donor vehicles. Very impressive. Mine was probably walking that line itself. Well, understand that some of us do know how much work that is an appreciate what went into it. You are basically remaking a significant portion of the car yourself, which separates you from a great many of the other car guys. I am totally down with the direction you guys are going. Being a former marine there is something appealing about making something work, especially when it maybe shouldn't.

 

keep charging,

 

- Jeff

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Thanks for the compliments guys.

 

All these early Riv's are awesome and both your cars will be dreams come true as mine will be as well when finished.  back to life is a good way of putting it but well worth it.  I would do it again in a minute.  

 

This 65 GS I am building is due to being a twin to my first car I ever owned.   My first car 1965 Riv GS. can you image a dad buying that for his sons first car.  My dad is a car nut just like us.  He has lots of cars also. My wife blames him for my bad habits.  (I call them good habits). 

 

I sold my first 65 Riv GS  in the late 80's and wish I never did.

 

 I have a lot of cars but this one will get more attention than any of the others and will be my baby as I know your guys Riv's will be also.  Best looking car every built in my book. 

 

Brad your metal work is impressive. Hope you enjoyed the holiday.  Working on the Riv i am sure.  

 

My goal is to have her back on the road by spring and completed before Fall this next year.  

 

As for the 1968 squareback.  Yep that is what you saw.

 

I built that car with my son for his 16th birthday.  

 

I used the VW to teach him how to weld, bend/ stretch metal, body work and rebuilding an engine.  

 

He did really well actual and is getting better as he is helping me on the Riv.  He is 18 now. 

 

He did about 80% of the work and it wins about every car show we take it to. 

 

When we picked up the squareback  it looked like it picked up golf balls and had more rust hole form rust than swiss cheese.  The make nothing for them so it's like the Riv's/  We had to make everything from scratch.  

 

Keep me posed on your Riv build guys and contact  anytime if you wish to discuss things on the rebuilds. 248-207-1200  fell free to call anytime.  I love talking cars and love them all. 

 

Enjoy the pics of the 68 squareback.  Also a few more pics of my Riv progress.  Cleaned up the engine bay and wiring.  Wrapped all the wires in a decorative cloth wrap.  I did not like the original wires going all over the place.  Still used all the original wiring but just neatened it up a bit.  I am not doing a concourse car.  Nice show car to my liking is what i am after. 

 

 

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Here is a picture of the rocker sectioned!  There is an outer rocker, a panel in the middle, and the inner rocker (what the floor braces attach to.)  In this photo you can see the outer rocker (from the inside of the car), the intermediate rocker panel (farthest to the right.)  Obviously this has been cut away for rust repair.   I will have to take a picture showing all three panels and the patching process.  

 

7C84C378-9C97-4905-9A51-798A164F47F3_zps

 

I was busy cutting away, and remaking the rust repair panels today - there is still some work to do on the panels, but I thought I would take a picture anyways.  The longest panel is the inner rocker panel.  The front section is shaped and tapered to support the front floor pan.  The panel in front of the inner rocker is the transition piece that supports the floor pan up to the front floor brace.  The panel marked "ready 4 holes" is the intermediate rocker panel repair piece.  The other rounded piece is a rust repair for the area behind the front floor pan support.  The last piece is a patch for the outer rocker panel flange.  As I am assembling them I will take pictures.  

 

BAC35B51-84D1-496A-B0B0-DA3FE5AFB4F3_zps

 

Brad

Many thanks!  I'm debating building an Oldsmobile type hybrid X-frame for my Pro-Touring 64 and to fit it in I'd pull out the inner rockers and run either 2x3in rectanglular box or 2in round tubing from the front body mounts to the rear control arm mount with a body mount under the front and rear door posts to try and stiffen the frame up.  Thanks for the anatomy lesson on mine and giving me hope for rebuilding the floor pans which I have to do anyway!

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Stephen - Nice looking squareback there! Its great to hear that your son, at 18, is learning the "hands on" portion of the car hobby (or any hands on skills for that matter.)  

 

DevilDog - I appreciated you documenting your rebuild, when I started looking through this site, your thread was one that I followed to help with information.  

 

Update - 

There was a little rework to be done yesterday, it seems as though when I was fabricating the inner rocker I unintentionally pulled the transition piece up.  I didnt notice it until I was fitting the forward floorboard in place, looking back you can see it in the pictures - the line on the bottom of the inner rocker is not straight.  Also the forward floorboard support did not fit as well as I would have liked so I remade it with a step in it.  After the re-make and re-work I stopped work after I got the forward floorboard support in place.  Now that the re-work is complete I should be able to get the rockers finished today, and move onto the front floor brace.  

 

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That was the piece after I re-made it.  Fits much better now.  

 

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What gauge sheet metal have you guys been using for the body work patch panels?  Somewhere around 20ga??  

 

Thanks

Brad

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Here is a pic of what I used for replacement metal. .125  or 10-11 gauge.  I know it is thicker than 20 gauge but it worked well and was thick enough to do whatever i needed it to do.  I wanted something I knew would be stronger than stock and be something that would last forever. post-155782-0-67375500-1451867971_thumb.

 

 

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Thanks guys for the report on the gauge of the metal.  I was thinking of buying a sheet of 18ga for the body work, sounds like it is on the thin side compared to what you are using.  The floor pans have a coating on them that is keeping them from rusting - is it aluminum? (they came from classic parts 4 u)

 

I am progressing slowly - Since my last post I have completed the rocker panel restoration on the passenger side, fabricated the floor braces, and installed them.  I am in the process of fitting the under front seat pan now.  Funny thing - I ran out of shielding gas and vacation at the same time!  

 

Brad

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