Originally published June 6, 2007 on our old website.
Where did this body come from? This project started out as a roadster! My Dad & Mom have been running around in a ’40 Ford Tudor since the mid-’80′s, when they had my brother and me to take with them. Now my brother lives in Knoxville, 14 hours from them. I’m married and Sarah and I have two daughters. We live a quarter mile from their business, where they keep the ’40. My Dad figured it made more sense to build a coupe (instead of a roadster) for him and Mom, and then Sarah & I can drive the ’40. What a guy!!
Remember the ’70s? Since the body comes with only the front and rear holes drilled (nice, because often the body and frame holes don’t line up anyway). Here we’re just getting an idea of approximately where the body mount holes are.
Body: B323, Bear Fiberglass
Center section: 13200, Horton
That’s better. Now we will raise the body up, and put tape under the floor along the inside of the rails. This will tell us the location of the rails relative to the body. Notice the Welder Series hiboy front 4-bar kit, which brings the bars all the way back to the cowl line. It’s a little detail, but it makes a huge visual difference.
Here we have the inside of the frame rails marked on the bottom of the body. We will lift the body up and put a few lines of tape outside of this line, so that we’ll be able to mark the holes with a pen.
While the body is up, we marked the inside of the frame rails with the location of the holes. Put a straight edge along the centerline, and use that to both measure the center-to-center dimension, and mark the location on the tape.
An action shot of marking the hole center on the inside of the frame. Also at this time, measure from the inside of the rail to the center of the hole. Mark this on the tape. It doesn’t matter how far apart the holes are side-to-side- we established that dimension by putting tape on the bottom of the body along the rails.
We put the body back on the frame, and clamped it in place so that it didn’t move.
We marked a line along the bottom of the body where the inside of the rail is, and marked the location of the hole. Now we can take the body off again and measure out the same distance as the center of the hole. Remember to mark this number on the bottom of the body to make it easier.
We put a chalkline from mark-to-mark. Now we will measure out 1-3/8″ (for this hole) which SHOULD be the center of the hole.
Another action shot! We are drilling pilot holes from the bottom, then we’ll drill the full-size holes from above.
With the body clamped in place once again, we can drill through the pilot holes. We will go all the way through the body, and try to mark the frame (hopefully right in the center of the hole!) with the drill bit. “Officer, I couldn’t have been doing 95! My gauge never moved!” Pay no attention to the paper instruments- something else is planned…
I think the Stones said it best: “You can’t always get what you want”. So we’re a little off. It could have been that we didn’t drill through the body at a perfect perpendicular. We’ll hang the excuse sheet on the window. The rainbow behind the clouds is the 3/8″ plates we welded behind the holes before we boxed the rails. That way, it doesn’t really matter if the hole in the body isn’t directly above the hole in the frame- I outlined about where the plate is.
Some filing had to be done after all the body holes were drilled, so the bolts would go in smoothly.
Mocking the mirror
Resembling a scene from The Jungle Book, my mirror hangs precariously on the side of the door supported only by a few thin strands of masking tape. I’m using cowl mirrors from a ’40 Ford made by Bob Drake, minus the cowl attachment piece. They’re quite swoopy and I think will match nicely with the door handles.
They have a very nice contoured arm that comes to a perfect point at the back. There are no screws in the head (we can all attest to that joy) so it’s nice and clean.
Make sure you sit in the seat you’re going to use so that you know you’ll be able to see well. There’s nothing worse than having side mirrors that are completely useless.
There are two studs on either side of the threaded hole, which I’m sure will keep it from swiveling.
I transferred the holes to the door by pressing the studs and threaded hole onto a piece of paper, making indents. All I had to do then was make sure it was level (or parallel to the body line) and drill the holes!
Even though I don’t understand why, license plate lights are an essential. I have decided to withhold my rant on license plate lights and the frustrations they presented me, the “installer”.
OK, just a little one: Anyone I’ve asked why I need a license plate light has told me one of the following:
“They’re for the police to see your license plate in the dark”
“I think it’s so the police can see your license plate if you’re speeding away in the dark”
“You know, when it’s dark out, and the police like want to see if your license has expired or whatever?”
“If you’re driving all day and you don’t notice the sun has gone down and you don’t remember turning your headlights on but wait they turn on automatically so of course you wouldn’t have noticed and you get to the border at Detroit and they ask what your license plate is but you can’t remember so you get out of the car and walk to the back of the car only to discover that the power has gone out at the border and there are no lights there so you can’t see your license plate so now you’re unable to tell the border guard your license plate so you get turned around and are headed for home again and oh crap there’s a cop behind you with his lights on and he pulls you over for not having a license light but just then his car battery dies and he is unable to shine his headlights on your license plate to check if your tag is expired and he accidentally forgot his flashlight back at the station plus there is a total eclipse of the moon tonight so there is no light anywhere.”
I made that last one up. My point is this: there will always be a light to see your license plate, and any bad guy knows that if the only thing between getting away and getting caught is a license plate light, they would spend the big bucks and snip the wires going to the light, or just remove the bulb.
So why do you think we have license plate lights? You can comment at the end of this post.
These stupid little lights in the spreader bar took FOREVER to decide how to make. Not that it took a long time to actually fabricate them – it took a long time to decide the cleanest/tidyest/smallest way to do it. Here’s what we came up with.
The main reason it took so long is because I didn’t want wires showing behind the license plate and because of how the plate is mounted, that proved difficult. We tried Lite N Bolts, and while nicely made, the wires head straight out the back of the units and I had a hard time wrapping them back and down the back side of the plate. I bought a few LED lights and was going to make up a battery operated thingy that would be almost like a louver on top of the plate, but then “we” decided it would be best to have the lights come on with the tail lights. So then I started on the idea which became the final product. I put a small bend in a piece of 3/8″ stainless fuel line (for a nice radius) then cut out a small section of the bend and notched one end the diameter of the spreader bar. The other end I cut almost square. I laid the two tiny pieces of fuel line on the spreader bar in line with the license plate bolts, marked the position and drilled holes in the spreader bar where the “housings” would be. By this time, we had bought two 12 volt LED lights from Watson’s. I made sure the lights would slip into the housings (and pull all the way through in case of a problem) then I tig welded them to the spreader bar. There are two wires coming out of the LED… one for ground, and one for power… just like every other light. I extended the wires and ran the grounds to a 1/4″ bolt I welded to the inside of the spreader bar at the passenger side frame rail. I ran the power wires through a little hole at about 5:00 on the bottom of the spreader bar, then up into the body and spliced into the tail light wires. I used some silicon “goop” to hold the lights in place.
It’s always a treat trying to figure out which profile of weatherstripping to use. Typically, the stuff you use for the window channel is “cat whiskers”, and is usually attached with screws or weatherstrip adhesive. Since the garnish molding is a part of the door, it’s not easy to drive a screw through the inside lip of the door (where you rest your arm while cruising). So I began to explore the different weatherstrip profiles in the Soffseal sample baggy.
I needed to detach the power window channel from the door so the glass would drop right down inside and give me clearance where I would install the weatherstrip.
If I haven’t been able to explain where I’m putting the weatherstripping, this should do the job.
With this style of seal, it’s important not to make the fit too tight between the glass and weatherstrip, or the glass won’t want to slide up and down – it will get stuck. You may have to combine two different thicknesses to get the spacing right.
The inside door panels which hide the power window motors are attached with machine screws, but there isn’t a seal preventing them from rattling. I took some sample pieces from the Soffseal sample bag and filet’d the side with the adhesive to the thickness I needed. After sticking a fw of these skinny pieces around the perimeter of the panel, it keeps it away just far enough that it won’t rattle.
This is the profile I used for the window seal. I took this picture to show there is a good side and a not so good side to this piece. This profile is manufactured as two strips side by side, connected by a thin bridge. Afterwards, they are seperated. This process leaves a tiny ridge along one side (in this picture, the left side). I chose to install it with the ridge facing down.
To trim the blade for a chopped windshield, we had to set up the arm length and the blade length properly to get the maximum windshield “clearage”.
It will need to be marked at the outside and inside of the blade to make sure you’re not interfering with the windshield frame.
As an aside, I did a little experimenting with a 3/8″ stainless tube, a mill, and a wiper blade. I like how it turned out, but more work would be required to hook it up to an arm, as well as finishing off the ends. I think it has some potential though!
We used Specialty Power Window’s wiper arms and blades for flat glass. They are easy to trim, pretty stable (they don’t flop around a lot), and nicely finished.
A few articles ago, I talked about why I had to trim the front edge off the air ducts.
They are pretty tight, but with the ducts trimmed, as well as the outlet duct trimmed, airflow is great!
For the defrost vents, my original plan was to run a bolt through the vent, the dash, and the plastic piece that the hose hooks up to, which had flat spots at the same width as the vent mounting holes. Upon further inspection, it was discovered that the plastic ducts (which go under the dash) wouldn’t fit tight against the slots. I ended up trimming them, but I trimmed so much that there were no longer any mounting tabs. Vette panel adhesive to the rescue! I made a ridge along the edge of the duct where it would meet the dash, then carefully maneuvered it into place. I used a toothpick to smooth out the goop from the top. I used a few blade inserts to attach the vent from above instead of trying to get a nut on under the dash.
If you’re trying to plan ahead and want to trim the defrost slots in your dash, make sure to account for the thickness of the glass. Of course I did!
Just a miscellaneous shot of the underdash. That’s the wiper gear/motor mounted to the column support.
Here is the aired out parking lot profile.
All gaps are not created equal. Having said that, once I decided which weatherstrip profile to use, the job itself was rather simple.
You’ll have to start with your doors hung and latched. To determine the size of the gap, I used what I’ve been telling people to use for years, but never had the opportunity to do it myself: playdough. Do I have to put a letter C in a circle after that word? Actually, I didn’t use playdough. I used Sticky Tack. Man, what’s the generic word for stuff that’s pliable and somewhat sticky and holds posters to the wall? From now on, it shall be called “Silly Putty”. Oh, never mind.
Roll the Nameless Wonder-Goop Door Gap Replicator (don’t worry, I don’t require a Registered Trademark symbol) into a ball, and set it in the place you want to measure.
Close the door all the way.
When you open the door, you’ll be left with a positive mold of the door gap that you can use to see which weatherstrip profile will work best.
I got one of Soffseal’s sample packs and compared each sample with my Nameless Wonder-Goop Door Gap Replicator.
It turns out I was able to use one of their smallest profiles on both the door and the body. I like this, because I have weatherstrip sealing against weatherstrip. This profile fit the edge around the door opening perfectly.
In this picture, you’re also able to see the courtesy light I installed in the bottom of the door. At night, it will illuminate the ground as you’re getting out of the car. You never know what will be waiting in the hotel parking lot.
We’ve known Pete, the glass guy, for a long time… he has installed the glass on many cars in this area over the years and really knows what he’s doing. We chose a slightly tinted safety glass for all four sides – nothing close to limo tint, just enough to have a very slight blue/grey appearance.
On the Bear body, an option was to have the windshield frame as a part of the body. Some bodies we’ve seen have the frame airbrushed to look like chrome, but I think we’ll leave it black. The glass installs from inside the car, with a garnish molding finishing it off.
Once the back glass was installed (again from the inside, with a trim piece supplied by Bear), Pete taped around the glass and the body, then squished a urethane (I think) in the gap to finish it off. After smoothing it with his finger, when the tape was pulled off it looked terrific!
The door glass was a bit of a hairy situation to install… we had to pry the door apart while Pete pushed the glass in. It would only go in one way, and to get the last few inches of the corner in, it was almost a “ok, here goes….. woo hoo!” But both windows did get installed without cracking, so there’s no problem. I tried to hide the Specialty Power Windows kit by using countersunk screws around the lip of the access panel to hold the window channel.
Power windows? Really? The switches are in the overhead console, behind the rearview mirror.
Maybe I should have cut the defrost duct slots before the windshield was installed… my only issue was the thickness of the glass. I was pretty sure I took that into account when I marked the slots, but I wasn’t 100% positive so I waited. Oh well, it turned out ok. I taped a piece of cardboard against the glass to protect it from the cutoff wheel.
How’s this for accessible! This is in the process of hooking up the ducts for defrost and the ones in the dash. If you were wondering why the duct on the left (and the one on the right, but it’s covered by the speedometer) have the front trimmed out, it’s because the duct hose needs to come forward immediately out of the duct, and then straight down. Trimming the outlet like this lets more air through the hose when it’s bent 180 degrees.
The heater flow valve is pretty much in the confines of the unit – I didn’t have to figure out where else it would go.
Rollie Guertin has been striping in Southwestern Ontario for a while. Actually, I learned some history while I was watching him- Rollie remembers seeing me being pushed around in a baby stroller. I’m pretty sure I haven’t been in one of those for a couple decades, so that means Rollie must be at least 23 years old. We asked Rollie to come by and paint the Welder Series logo on the doors of the ’32 we’re building. Follow along and see the magic of the stripe!
Rollie starts by blowing up the logo to actual size, then he transfers it to some parchment paper. Actually, I think it’s something like tissue paper. Or maybe it’s called transfer paper.
He tapes the transfer paper (if that’s really what it’s called) to the door, then uses a top secret type of another kind of paper and a top secret transfer tool to transfer the lines to the work surface.
I know, it looks like he used a scriber to etch the lines into the door, but I assure you he did not. The blue tape is to make sure the top and bottom of each letter is in line with its neighbor.
Phew, he spelled it right! Rollie painted a tig bead down the middle of the word!
If I painted it, the passenger door would probably say “REDLEW SEIRES”
Rocket Rollie stripes so fast someone should write a song about it!
I love the website font – Rollie said every striper has their own way of doing things, and even his kids can pick their dad’s letters out from other stripers.
Rollie added some lines to make the letters pop, as well as some orange and yellow highlights.
There are many products on the market for brake pedal grommets, but a) I didn’t have one last night, and b) I guess I don’t have a b). Here’s how I made the brake pedal seal:
I rummaged around the shop, sure I had some rubber sheets or something to use as a seal for the pedal to slide through. After I was all rummaged out, I grabbed the liner out of the bottom of one of the toolbox drawers and decided to sacrifice a corner. It’s not rubber – more like a closed-cell foam, but it will do.
For the outer ring, I’m using our part #3018W. Originally, this is the washer that we include in our Mustang II strut rod bracket kits. We have found a bunch of uses for them though.
I want to drill four holes at 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00. I’d trump fixtures over measuring any day of the week, and this is no exception. I dropped the washer in a hole template which has perpendicular reference marks and marked my holes.
To attach the ring to the firewall, I’m using 8-32 knife inserts. These are really handy because they let you use a machine screw into fiberglass.
I’ve painted the washer now, and should have it all ready to install soon. The drawer liner seal will be sandwiched between the washer and the firewall.
I know, this is a bit out of place. I’m going to start copying the build articles from our website (www.welderseries.com) to the blog so they’re all in one place.
Seems like it’s been a while… sometimes reality is right. We’ve been really cooking at Welder Series which has lent less time to the ’32 as we would like. But being busy is a very good problem! Now that the frame is black, it’s time to start bolting stuff back on. I’m really enjoying looking at the flat black/aluminum/powder coat black contrast. I hope to be able to update this more regularly now that things are moving on the car again.
Another big treat is having Cam back to help with final assembly. He’s helping out over at Lowdown Hotrods and comes by when he’s done there for the day.
Cam attaches the fuel lines to the rail. Cam is so good, he can thread
a bolt in upside-down.
Here’s the brake pedal return spring/brake light switch activator I made.
I know, a mallet and drift in a final assembly picture isn’t a good sign. No paint was harmed in the setup of this photograph.
While putting the aluminum brake line clamps on the tie rod, I discovered that the end mill I used to create the larger hole had shrunk by the time I drilled the third bracket. Two slipped on nicely, but the third wouldn’t cooperate. Here’s how I enlarged the hole just a tiny bit using a rat tail file.
Using a Sharpie, I drew two lines on the inside of the hole.
I gently persuaded the lines to disappear with the file. Having two lines meant that it was more likely that I could keep the file perpendicular to the hole. Working on a black surface was nice because I could see the files as they came off.
I’d say it worked very well! Three or four rounds were necessary because each time you’re just filing enough to remove the marker line, but you know that you’re keeping the hole round.