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Body onto chassis of 4-cylinder car: order of operations?


22touring
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Dodge Brethren, do you install the longitudinal splash pans on a 4-cylinder touring car before you lower the body onto the chassis, or afterward?

 

I cannot figure out how to mount the splash pans, and clearly should have taken better notes and more pictures when I disassembled the car.

 

It certainly would be nice if someone could tell me the procedure for lowering the body. Splash pans first or not?  How do you mount the splash pans?  Rodger Hartley told me to put webbing under them where they meet the frame, but I can't figure out how to do that.  Pictures would be greatly appreciated, of course.  Thank you kindly.

body above chassis 9-5-2022.jpg

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You will need to obtain some uncured rubber strip - enough to cover the top faces of the chassis from the front dumb irons back.  In other words, wherever the front apron, front fenders and body bear on the chassis.  Do not use webbing - this will retain water.  The side aprons are placed on the top of the rubber followed by the body.  They are retained at the top flange by the body, by the running boards at the bottom and bolted to the fenders at front and rear.  Use the fenders to establish the correct fore and aft position of the aprons before bolting down the body.

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     I don't know if they are called "splash pans" but the sheet metal pans that go from frame to oil pan bolts would be most easily installed after the body is in place.  They are easily removed and installed at any time if you have long arms, an assistant or a pirate's vocabulary.

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We seem to have a confusion of nomenclature here.  In Australia the bits on the sides of the chassis and between the dumb irons are called valances and the engine to chassis covers are splash shields.  Not sure about the exact US equivalents.

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Running board splash shields or running board aprons. The Master Part list calls them running board splash shields, the one under the radiator a radiator splash shield. Didn't look up the engine pans but guessing following that line of reason, they would have been called engine splash shields too. Update: checked the MPL, the engine ones are just engine shields. 

Edited by Mark Gregush (see edit history)
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My advice is before you do anything, place the steel frame/chassis (and not the axles) on 4 jack stands and spend an hour shimming the stands until entire chassis is perfectly level side to side and fore and aft, and thus has no twist whatsoever. This is essential for getting the body "true and square" when most 4 door touring bodies are set on chassis. I don't know if your body had specific mounting points with body mount shims, but if it does, and most cars do, the end to end canvas or rubber strip is largely to separate fenders and side aprons from chassis, and not for mounting the body. Typically the end to end strip is about 1/16" to 1/8" thick, but mounting point shims are 3/16" to 1/4" thick belting about 2" long. You will not be able to get doors to fit perfectly unless chassis is perfectly leveled beforehand and then shimming carefully done at each mounting spot. Don't ask why I know! 

Edited by Gunsmoke (see edit history)
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Thanks for all the good information.  A few questions, please:

 

Is the rubber strip under the side aprons (valences) the way the factory did it?

 

So do the inboard flanges of the side aprons sit on the rubber or webbing strip glued to the top of the frame, and the body sits directly on top of those flanges, without any cushion?

 

I bought quite a bit of the sticky webbing from Myers; it seems like good stuff, and I'd like to use it.  Since I don't intend to let the car get wet, is there any reason not to cut thin strips of it and use it instead of the rubber strip, which I would have to procure? 

 

I will have to carefully level the frame because my shop floor is not level, so I especially appreciate this tip.  I found that the reinforced notch at the front of the side aprons roughly locates the apron when you fasten it to the frame with a 5/16" X 18 carriage bolt and hold the outboard side down by installing the running boards.  But I'll leave everything loose until I make sure the doors fit correctly.

 

Thanks again for all the help, Brethren.

Edited by 22touring
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Someone mentioned using rubber as a "squeak" preventer. Most companies used simple thick canvas, sometimes impregnated with an oil or grease type product. A factor to consider is that it will need to stand proud of any chassis rivets that are on top of frame rails, they typically sit 1/16" to 3/32" above rails and so webbing has to be punched with holes to go over these rivet heads.  The 1931 Chrysler I recently disassembled had only thin canvas in all the mentioned areas, and there was no sign of an issue with water getting trapped etc. So I would not be concerned with using heavy canvas or any other webbing type material.

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I imagine the oil or grease type product (maybe asphalt?) had more to do with excluding water than anything else as canvas would take care of squeaks on it's own. If I were doing it I would use something not capable of staying wet. It wouldn't have to be rubber, and like @Gunsmoke, I don't think it usually was rubber.

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The use of rubber appears to be a relatively recent idea - good because it both eliminates squeaks and does not hold water.  My car, fitted with an Australian body, originally had untreated felt strips.  The result was disintegrated felt and pitting of the chassis.  

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Thanks, everybody.  I installed thin strips of 1/8"-thick webbing under the side aprons, and two wide thicknesses of that webbing, for 1/4" of clearance under the body.  That will prevent the bottom mounting flange of the body from contacting the rivets which protrude about 3/16" from the top of the frame.  (The body mounting flange has holes punched in it to clear the heads of the large bolts which protrude from the top of the frame, but not for the rivets.)  I bolted the side aprons to the frame front and rear, and then installed the running boards onto the outriggers.  As TonyAus pointed out, this holds the side aprons in position.  I'm going to install the brake rods and the exhaust before leveling out the frame and lowering the body because I think it will be easier to do it that way.

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I belatedly figured it out.  It goes under the two bolts that hold the rear of the front fender to the frame.  I think it goes under the frame.  The bend in the bracket holds one of the square nuts in place while you start the bolt.  Am I understanding this right?

 

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Most excellent, JayG!  Thank you very much.  Now I just need to figure out how to make a couple of them.  Any suggestions for fabricating them would be appreciated.  Also, I need to get some more square nuts.

 

Edit: does anybody replicate these?  Aussie Brethren?

Edited by 22touring
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Thanks again, JayG.  I think I will try to make them, using a little heat to make the bend.  The one shown in my picture seems to be made from 3/32" thick bar stock that is 5/8" wide, but 3/32" is much harder to find than 1/8" thick bar, so I think I will use McMaster-Carr's 1/8" thick by 5/8" wide mild steel bar stock.

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