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My 1957 75R - Big Gray


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Passenger side quarter was a real mess, along with the rocker.  A lower quarter patch panel was provided with the car, but it was a hokey aftermarket stamping that didn't really even line up with the body lines or openings at the door or wheel.  I did, however, use the wheel opening corner and lower rocker area to patch the quarter panel.

 

The rear trick was to make sure that the bottom body line of the quarter remained straight with the rocker panel as it ran toward the wheel.  When I cut out the bad spots in the quarter, it sprung out toward me.  It was a real challenge trying to measure and cut, mark, measure again, cut, mark, etc...trying to hold the quarter in place.  I ended up using a 4' straight edge to make sure it stayed true.  Once it was tacked in place, I could go to town with the repair.  As you can see, it looks a but sunken and lumpy where the repair was made.  If could have gotten a hammer back there to work it back out with a dolly, that wouldn't be there.  But there just isn't any room.  Even with taking my time and cooling with compressed air, the panel warped a bit. 

 

I am currently working on the joint where the lead seam is at the back corner of the door.  The repair ended up being about 8" in length after the bad metal was cut out.  I have already repaired the inner rocker here, and welded the outer rocker together with a patch.  I have one small 2" square hole to fill on the bottom side of the outer rocker....then I can move to the rear wheel wells.  They are a real mess.

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On to the wheel wells...this repair has to be made on both sides of the metal.  There are actually two layers of metal in both of these spots.  This is the passenger side...the driver side is the same way.

 

This will also take care of all the rust on the body shell.  Let's not talk about the doors, though.

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Yes I heated and then scraped it right off.  These are seams in the sheet metal...and. Horrible spot for a seam, for sure.  Very common spot for these to rust.

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  • 4 months later...

So, after receiving the car back about a month ago, I've been busy with Chrismas stuff and also doing some organizing in my garage to make some elbow room. 

 

Finally, I was able to spend some time with the car today and scored a small victory.  I got the rear end loose and ready to roll out.  Unfortunately I was not able to get the rear end up high enough to roll the axle out with the tires on it.  When I get the next day with it I'll remove the wheels and put the axle on a wheel dolly or floor jack and roll it out.

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Let me see if I have this right, you sold the black Roadie to help fund the resto of this two door...

 

Is there anything happening with the convertible? Is it somewhat like my Roadie convert, collecting what parts you'll need when the time comes? 

 

I'm pretty sure you'll have the two door finished before my Limited but I'm going to give it an honest try to keep up.

 

Happy New Year Sir. 🥳

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3 hours ago, dei said:

Let me see if I have this right, you sold the black Roadie to help fund the resto of this two door...

 

Is there anything happening with the convertible? Is it somewhat like my Roadie convert, collecting what parts you'll need when the time comes? 

 

I'm pretty sure you'll have the two door finished before my Limited but I'm going to give it an honest try to keep up.

 

Happy New Year Sir. 🥳

Well, it so happens that the funds from the black car will probably go more toward the 76C, as the coupe will receive more time than money for the next year.  I will provide a short update on the convertible...

Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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If you have wheel skates, set the drums on them and roll it out.  Or just drag it out like a caveman.  I assume you're going to be detailing it, so you'll have to be careful putting it back in.

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Well, I got the dash home from the parts car (one that I am using part of frame for convertible).  I had originally planned to use the dash pad and steering wheel for the coupe, and a few other pieces.  I had also thought I might be able to use the dash from it since the coupe's is so rusty on the surface, but wasn't so sure that it was nice enough to use it as-is.

 

After cleaning it up, I have decided it is way too nice to redo.  With just a few minor flaws, mostly on the very bottom, I'm going to use it as-is without repainting it.  I may lightly touch up a couple spots at most.  I would never be able to match the color better than original!

 

The chrome cleaned up pretty nicely too, but I will probably change out or redo a few of those pieces since I have it easily accessible.  If the dash was already in the car though, I wouldn't remove any of it as it's too nice.

 

Pretty excited about this!

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I finally got the axle out of the way yesterday.  That thing is heavy!  After that I removed the shocks and springs to open up the rear area completely.

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I then spent the rest of the day cleaning up the frame and floor pans.  I will probably spend another full day further cleaning up welds, removing penetrant residue in a couple places, and propping body up.  Then on the next day I get, it will be paint time.

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On 1/21/2020 at 8:37 AM, lancemb said:

I then spent the rest of the day cleaning up the frame and floor pans.

 

What method(s) are you using for that cleanup?  That job is on my to-do list, albeit somewhere near the bottom, as it's a miserable task...

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43 minutes ago, EmTee said:

 

What method(s) are you using for that cleanup?  That job is on my to-do list, albeit somewhere near the bottom, as it's a miserable task...

 

It is certainly not a joy.  Having a lift makes it tolerable, but it's still a rain of rust bits.

 

At some point early last year or year before, I power washed the underside.  This removed the vast majority of dirt and grease.  Now that's it's patched, my primary method is just old-fashioned wire brush to remove any heavy stuff.  Most of the floors are pretty smooth after doing this. 

 

Next, I just need to remove spots of rust penetrant I oversprayed where further disassembly has occured, and a few spots of dirt I'd missed previously.  I'll use the POR-15 clean and prep to remove the penetrant.

 

Finally, I'll apply POR-15 sealant to seal the surface rust (and it will smooth the surface a bit), then top coat it with paint.

 

Finally, I will apply undercoating as original, much of which is still on the inner rocker panels.

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11 hours ago, EmTee said:

 

What method(s) are you using for that cleanup?  That job is on my to-do list, albeit somewhere near the bottom, as it's a miserable task...

I should also mention that at the very beginning, I spent about a day excavating everything (especially front suspension) with a scraper and screwdriver, assisted by degreaser, prior to power-washing.

Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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I found a few hours today, so I got a head start on my next task.  I got the body lifted entirely off the frame and slipped the old rubber mounts out.  I should have plenty of access to the top of the frame and the areas of floor above it.

 

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Interesting development.  How did you get the body up on the lift like that?  And since you left the doors on, did you have to do any body bracing inside the interior?

 

 

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2 hours ago, JohnD1956 said:

Interesting development.  How did you get the body up on the lift like that?  And since you left the doors on, did you have to do any body bracing inside the interior?

 

 

I just used 2x4's to distribute the weight across (and notched out the wood so the crescent-shaped opening on the lower rocker wouldn't get crushed), lifted one side at a time with a bottle jack, and put jack stands under it.  I did 2 lifts on each side so as not to tilt it too much at once.

 

I've seen a restoration shop lift closed body cars without bracing, so given that and also having the doors on I didn't use any.

 

This is similar to the method buick man used when he replaced his body mounts a year or two ago.  I ordered new mounts with his sourcing recommendations that I'll install after painting.

Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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  • 4 weeks later...

Finally got a day to paint underneath.  It still needs a few touch-ups and even then won't be perfect, but it is worlds better than where it started and is looking fairly presentable so far.

 

I hope to remount the body in a couple weeks!

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On 2/17/2020 at 8:25 PM, lancemb said:

it is worlds better than where it started and is looking fairly presentable so fa

 

Looks great -- I'm jealous!

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

I have been making some more progress, even though almost everything seems to take longer than I hope.

 

A couple weeks ago I did get the body lowered back onto frame with new rubber bushings.  I managed to find washers nearly identical to the originals except they are 1/8" larger in diameter, which I think is actually better, though hardly even a noticeable difference.

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I also tore down most of the rear end for rebuild.  I started removing bolts from gear carrier but not all, and thought it was still tight.  Unfortunately the next day I had an oil spill!

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Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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I managed to find time to remove the rear axles too, nearly completing the teardown.  I'm pleased with how easily they came out!

 

I'm hoping to have the new bearings pressed in this week, and start reassembling everything this weekend.

 

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Posted (edited)

Doing a rare in-process update while a take 5.  I got the axle assembly back together.  So far, it's the most beautiful part of the car!

 

I'm going to do a little clean up and then move it back on the rack under the car and out of the way.

 

Unfortunately the U-joint I ordered was not the correct size so I had to order one based off dimensions of the original.  So, torque tube, driveshaft, and strut rods will not be assembled this weekend.20200404_153009.thumb.jpg.eb7dbfa918d396250907c57e3aca8dc0.jpg

 

 

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

I scored a small victory today by getting the driveshaft and torque tubes assembled onto the axle, and have it out of the way back under the car.  I just need to install the strut rods and assemble the brakes. 

 

I plan to keep it off the car until I install the engine and transmission, provided that I am able to sneak the engine hoist into position where the car sits now, since the rear is on jack stands still. 

 

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Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally got the rest of the rear axle and brakes together today!  Was hoping to start cleaning up firewall today but got a late start and finished early to enjoy the weather with the kids for a bit.  I got the shocks hung from the top as well.  I'm nearly done back there until the engine and trans gets dropped in and I can mate the torque tube and drive shaft to the trans.

 

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In the garage again today.  Will have to stop a little early but am going to drill out and tap a few holes (brake pedal and rear bumper extensions on rear quarter) before I let car down to start on firewall.

 

I've gotten everything I can reasonably assemble in the rear together with hardware to reattach everything on rear axle dangling in place.

 

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Posted (edited)

This car has been off the road for over 50 years, so it certainly is exciting to be nearing the hump in its revival.

 

I realized I didn't have drill bits I needed and that I'd already ordered some, so I held off on fixing holes.  I have at least one more to fix on firewall for the blower box anyway.

 

I realized that I will have to get under/behind dash to properly do firewall, so I decided I'll remove dash now.  It was going to be the next big task anyway, so may as well remove it next.  I cleaned all the glass to allow as much working light as possible.

 

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Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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Well, I made good progress on removing the dash.  I started by removing the steering column, then other components while carefully bagging all the small dash parts and placing them in a box.

 

The critters had a real nice home on top of the radio, and a nice cozy bed in the tissue box as well.

 

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I stopped short of getting the dash out, but it's close.  I got the 2 lower bolts off (I can't believe how tight those were; did they use thread locker on those?) and the big stuff out of the way.  I'll just need to unfasten a couple things and then remove about 4 more bolts to lift the assembly out.

 

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Took this afternoon off and spent a few hours finishing the dash removal.  Lots to disconnect and mark.  It's going to be a real hoot putting it back in!  But, that will be some fun for later.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

I went to take the only remaining piece off the firewall, the sheetmetal tub behind the brake booster that it mounts onto, and couldn't believe my grief.

 

The nut that is holding the back part of the booster on, which was this way when I got the car (booster ripped off basically), would NOT budge. 

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Since the dash is out I thought it would be a breeze.  I have the original tool used for it, and thought it would be extra fun to use.

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Nope, even after soaking a couple days with penetrant it still would not budge.  So, I put a regular (huge) socket on with a breaker bar and it STILL wouldn't budge.  Then I added a 2' length of pipe for added leverage and cranked, and bent the breaker bar so far I was afraid I'd either shatter it and/or my knuckles if something gave.

 

Not wanting to risk serious injury, I decided to just saw off the front part thinking I could then just poke it out into the interior.  Nope!  I forgot there is a collar on it preventing it from going through.  So, at this point I need to either break the nut or saw off the rest and grind away the collar in front.  I think I'll try breaking the nut as that seems easier.  I hate to ruin it, but I have at least one extra anyway. 

 

Fun fact: there is a bead of putty all the way around where this collar meets the firewall.  The only way this could have been applied would be to apply around the collar first and then allow it to seal as the booster neck pushes through the firewall and pushes back on the putty.  I don't think I've ever changed one of these before that hadn't previously been changed so that's probably why I never saw this on the neck before upon removing; I doubt this process was more than scarcely ever replicated upon replacement.  I'll be sure to do it now though! 

 

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

With all of the springtime projects at the house, I haven't had much time to work on this.  I was going to yesterday, but instead spent the time putting up 5 LED shop lights in the garage.  The effort was well worth it, and the results are incredible!

 

I did manage to get these cleaned up and painted though, including the hamster wheel for the blower.  The blower motor is free and works great!  It was the first part on this car to move under power in over 50 years! 

 

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Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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Nice work Lancemb, if you feel the need to freshen up another rear end/ torque tube assembly, come on down Tennessee and I can let you tackle the one under my ‘52 Special! Just kidding. That is nice work, along with the under body work. Best of luck on the dash. That will be one sharp car when you finish.

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