This ’34 is testing my skill set.  Today I went to ALRO steel and got a piece of 20 ga. stainless to make the dash panel.  I got a piece WAY bigger than I needed, thinking it’d come in handy to make something, sometime.  I stopped at my buddy’s house on the way home and borrowed his bead roller.  Great plan.

The first thing that happened was that I laid the panel out, and then rolled the bead on the mark for the outer edge, thus making it 1/4″ too big, and it hung below the dash.  Damn.  So, I laid out another, cut it, and while rolling the bead (the 20 ga. stainless really taxes the bead roller), I wandered off the line and ruined it.  So, I cut out number three, no problems, got the machine finish on, cut the holes for the gauges with a brown blade in the cut-off wheel.  All the gauges dropped in save one on the far right, so I began to carefully open up the hole with the cut-off wheel.  Not carefully enough though, I slipped and ended up with a big divet (look over the ammeter)imageuploadedbyh-a-m-b-1485298479-997388that the bezel doesn’t cover.

So, I’ll cut out panel number four, use up the last of the piece of stainless, and spend another day doing it all over again.  If I had the right tools for the job, it’d save me aggravation, but I’ll be more careful with the next one.

On the plus side, I did manage to make the package tray/seat back brace without any wrong cuts or trips back to Menards for more pine.  The seat looks great in the car, the support makes the body much more solid, so I have managed to move ahead.

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Lots of work don the ’34 this week.  The firewall notch to clear the 283’s distributor is glassed in.  I used a chunk of a heavy cardboard shipping tube as the core and glassed in both sides.

While I had resin mixed up I reinforced the sills in back of the doors.  The body is braced with white oak, but it looked like just one layer of mat over this piece, and it was cracked and delamininating.  So, I ground away all the “loose” stuff, drilled some holes in the oak for resin to penetrate, laid up three layers of mat, it looks more substantial.  All went well.

The rear axle, a ’55 Chevy with 3.70 gears, is all cleaned and ready for paint.  The frame is also ready for paint, as are all the rest of the chassis components.   The front end has a new Posies “Super Glide” spring, this one is a reversed eye, reduced arch, and is 1/2″ shorter than the one that came with the car.  It turned out to be  a Speedway spring, a sort of Posies “knock-off”, which made the car set much too high in front.  I have a flattened ’40 rear crossmember and a mono-leaf, which gave the car a “taildragger” stance.  I flattened the front crossmember almost an inch, which along with the new spring should drop the front 3″ from where it was.  I may take a leaf out of the front spring as well, but will drive it a little and let it settle before I do anything.

I made a pan hard bar for the front, using some threaded tubing from Speedway and two heim joints with studs.  Because the frame is upside down, I ended up mounting it backwards, that is, the fixed end on the passenger side, and it’s supposed to be on the drivers side.  So, I cut the little mount tab off and made a new one for the correct, left, side.  In addition I bought some shock mount brackets that mount below the radius rod/perch bolt, and 4 5/8″ heim joints to make shock links for the Houdaille front shocks.  I need to get some 5/8″ LH all thread rod to complete these.

It feels good to make progress.   Next up, I’m going to get the 283 cleaned up, painted, get the dual quad intake on, and then paint the frame and chassis components.  Spring is only 6 weeks away!



’34 Roadster updates

Posted: January 4, 2017 in Hot Rod, Roadsters, transportation
Tags:

img_0955The holiday season is over, and it’s time to update the blog.  Progress on the roadster has been steady, if slow, but there is progress.

I’ve gotten the frame DONE, unless you count priming and paint.  I thought I was done yesterday, but my friend Matt Lesky posted some photos of a ’32 chassis he just finished up, and that inspired me to make a couple changes on the ’34, even if it’s not on a level equal to what “Ionia Hot Rod Shop” does.  This extra detail isimg_0961 gussets were the “X” member joins the perimeter rails.  I’d thought it need a little extra, but wasn’t sure what to do until I saw Matt’s work.  So, that’s now done.

I also ordered a bunch of trinket parts from Speedway to mount the Houdialle shocks I saved from the Diamond T truck, and a new front spring.  Faithful readers will remember the mock up shot, which clearly shows the front WAY high, considering a reversed eye spring and dropped axle.  I selected, after much anguish, a Posies reversed eye, reduced arch spring.  Initially I was going to use a mono-leaf, but was concerned about the reliability of a single leaf, made probably in China, and opted for a US made piece.  I also sectioned, or flattened, the front crossmember 3/4″, so I should be quite a bit lower than it was, and planned “rubber rake” should take care of the rest.

img_0952I bought a quart of acrylic enamel in the color I decided on (you’ll have to wait to see what that is!),  and as soon as I can get a day when I can heat the shop to near 60, I’ll paint the chassis parts, brackets, radius rods, axle, and rear end, the frame, and get the chassis assembled.

It’s exciting!

Happy Birthday to me!

Posted: December 9, 2016 in HAMB, Hot Rod, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

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The title says it all, the Wilson Welding backing plates and brakes came today, and they look GREAT!  I had spent the afternoon dropping the steering arms to clear the dropped axle, and was thrilled when the UPS guy dropped off a box labeled “12×2 brakes, set of two”.

The steering works, the new drag link and tie rod ends came last week, I bought a bunch of grinding disks to dress the welds down.   Now I’ll pull the front and rear axles, weld the bottom of the boxing plates up (on the underside of the frame), dress all the welds down and paint it.  If I can figure out how and where to do that in the cold.

Onward!

In last weeks episode, you’ll remember the ’34 was up on wheels, hood and grill shell aligned, body mounts made, steering box in, and the 283 fired for the first time.  Now, it’s all apart, separated into big automotive chunks, getting all the previously tacked together, mocked up chassis welded up.   

The next time it goes together the chassis will be painted and complete, the 283 will be detailed and wearing two fours, not the single Holley it has now, and the body will be wearing a coat of shiney —— paint.  

It’ll be a busy winter at Cool McCool’s Garage!

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There are a myriad of thankless, frustrating chores to do when building a car, that go un-notced and unappreciated by most, but I think I’m through with the most aggravating of them.  The steering box, which eluded my efforts yesterday to place on the frame and not have it occupy the same spot as the exhaust header and engine mount, I figured out today.  It was tempting to start ordering new parts, but I went out this morning with a new outlook and got it mounted under the engine mount, below and just forward of the exhaust dump, and where the drag link and tie rod are parallel, as they should be.

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I ordered the lovely finned aluminum backing plates with Lincoln self adjusting and self actuating internals from Wilson Welding (thanks Bronson Battle Creek for the bonus that paid for that!), they’ll look killer with the Buick brake drums I already have.  There are some needed trinket parts on the way too from Mac’s Garage,  and I have to bend the steering arms down for clearance due to the dropped axle, but that’s the extent, as far as I can see, of the fabrication/modification I have yet to do before I blow it completely apart.

I’ve decided on color for the body and interior, so the next phase is final welding and finishing of the chassis, then prep it and the body for paint.  The top bows are mounted, lowered into the body 2″ to match the chopped windshield, the weathered Haartz canvas will be trimmed at the bottom edge to meed the body at the belt line the way it should.  The door gaps have been (roughly) fitted, the hood and radiator gaps fitted, and I think I can duplicate the shimming, twisting, tweaking and twisting that got them as close as they are.  The engine and trans are out, I hope to have a couple buddies come over Thursday (my 62nd birthday!) and lift the body off the frame so work on the frame can commence.

Having a ’34 highboy roadster has been a dream of mine for almost 40 years, hopefully by next spring a car very similar to the one gracing the cover of this issue of “Rodders Journal” will roll out of my garage. It’s a long road, but I’m getting there…

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14992032_10211784729436334_2160630791604988979_nI’ve been working on the ’34, spending the past three days getting the hood and grill shell aligned.  I’m calling it a success, I believe I’ve gotten the fit as close as it can be, given the vagaries of ancient, inaccurate stampings, vaguely close reproduction parts, and my limited patience for this type of fussy work.   I have to say, getting the car assembled, even in this “mock-up” phase for alignment and placement of minor stuff like brake pedal and steering column and steering box makes me pretty happy, and fired up about the project.

The hood and grill shell initially fit so poorly I didn’t think I’d ever be able to get them even close, but the end result is better than I expected.  The hood is a reproduction from Rootlieb, the grill shell is an old reproduction from some unknown maker, probably Argentinian, where up through the ’60’s and ’70’s, old Fords were kept going, and crude replacement parts were available.  I ended up having to make some slits in the top of the grill shell and pulling the sides in with a winch strap, the resulting fit is surprisingly good.

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The car also setting up on wheels for the first time in years, although I found some of the stuff I got with it, namely the beautiful Buick aluminum brake drums, may not be useable due to wear, but we’ll see.  I’m a little concerned too about the stance, the rear is lower than I planned (perhaps I flattened that ’40 rear crossmember too much) and the front looks too high, despite the dropped axle and reversed eye spring.  Not helping the goofy stance are the 14″ wheels and tires on the rear and 16’s up front, I’m going to have to get the right size rollers to see where I really am before I get much further.

Next up, I have to make mounts for the (original) top bows, and finish up the notch in the firewall for the Chevy 283’s distributor.  There’s a little more glass work to do on the body, one of the doors has a corner nubbed off, and the splash aprons need to have a little added to the bottom to fit the hood the way I want (see the above photo).  All in all, it’s not much, I want to get those chores done before it gets cold.  Then, it all comes apart for final welding of the frame and chassis components, then prep for paint, wiring, fuel and brake lines.

Tempting to leave the body in the black epoxy primer over the original purple paint, squirt the same stuff on the chassis and hood and call it done, but I have other plans, which I’m not going to reveal until it’s done.

Stay tuned!