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  1. #11
    dez
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    aug 11, 2007-
    today, I decided to set-to 'steeling out' the body framework. I suppose id best expain what that means first.
    from the factory, model A bodies had a hefty amount of structural wood in them. the B pillar is made up of a 18ga steel U channel which in itself is pretty weak, its given its strength by being wrapped around a 1-1/4" square chunk of hardwood. the C-pillar is constructed in a similar way, and pretty much all of the roof is just a single skin bolted and nailed to hardwood blocks and batons. the massive centre sunroof hole is filled entirely by wood and material.

    on a hot rod, the body has to put up with a lot more than it ever did in stock form, even though the majority of the forces are taken by a much beefier chassis. add to that the wood in these bodies is 80 years old, and therefore tends to be a bit crumbly or non-existant, you can see why most rodders replace it all with thinwall steel box section tubing. if you dont, the body is pretty damn flexy and insecure!!

    so, this is what I did. first, I had to remove all the old nails and screws, and chisel out the remaining wood- which is bloody hard work!


    then, with the channel clear, I could then clean up the inside, grind up the edge so it can be welded to, and then cut a piece of 1-1/4" box section to go in the hole. it has to be notched out to go round the door catch area, but is otherwise a pretty straightforward job. I then clamped it in and welded it. just fitting this lower section had made a massive difference to body stiffness.
    you can just see it in this pic looking down from above on the passenger side, and you can also see the bar I added across the door gap to form the edge of the floor, which has stiffened up the door aperture considerably.


    I then put another bar the same in on the other side as well as doing the same boxing in to this side B-pillar-


    I then made the top section of B-pillar that runs form the door catch up to the roof. this bit is more complicated, as it tapers in a little at the top, and also steps out at the bottom around the catch.
    section made-


    all welded in, and ground down-


    overall I think they look pretty tidy. I still have to finish making the passenger side top section and fit it, which I will do tomorrow, and then I think I will move on and box in the C-pillar and maybe some more of the floor and roof. I'm a bit limited as to what I can do on the floor until the body is on the new chassis and has the gearbox and motor fitted, as I don't know exactly where they will sit.

    finally for today, I eventually got round to wleding on the passenger side door top-


    so another job for tomorrow could be to piecut all the pillars to get the window channels lined up properly.
    ford model A sedan
    ' 38 hudson budget hotrod pickup build

    "Some are scared of being misfits- im scared of fitting in.'

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  3. #12
    dez
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    Aug 13, 2007-
    small update.
    yesterday, I made this-


    what is it I hear you ask? well, its the rear body crossmember that runs between the C-pillars. I could have put in in front or behind the rear crossmember and just left it straight- but where would be the fun in that? ;D
    this is what a model A rear crossmember looks like. the body crossmember will sit directly on top of this, and bolt to it. I think the shape is fairly self-explanitory, the rear transverse spring sits up inside it, hence the curved shape.


    so instead of just wanging on a straight crossmember, I took a 3' length of 1" thinwall box section, and piecut it through 3 sides of the tubes, 77 times. the centre 18" was cut every 1/2" then the remaining 8" on each end was cut every 3/8", as I needed to get a tighter curve at the ends it was also cut in from the other side as it curves the other way, . thats the equivlent of cutting 23 foot of flat 1.5mm thick plate- by hand, with a hacksaw!! :o yes my arm hurts today. at least it wouldn't have been any easier using a grinder.

    all cut. if you're doing this, make sure your cuts are all evenly spaced, square to the tube and parallel to each other, and you wont go far wrong.




    then, it was clamped to the rear crossmember with lots of clamps. it all fitted nicely, even hacksaw-width cuts will let you get a good curve on a tube if you put the cuts close enough together.-




    tacked on every cut-


    seamed up. I welded as much as I could with it still clamped down to minimise distortion.


    then, next comes a lot of grinding to get it nice and smooth. the finished article-




    and fitted to the crossmember-


    it all looks great I think, I'm well happy with it, even if it did take over 3 hours to make!!
    ford model A sedan
    ' 38 hudson budget hotrod pickup build

    "Some are scared of being misfits- im scared of fitting in.'

  4. #13
    dez
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    Aug 14, 2007-
    I really didn't feel like doing anything tonight, but I pushed myself to do a bit.
    I figured if I manage to do something every day, it'll keep the project rolling on.

    so I removed the front passenger side roof section to add a re-enforcing bar inside it, and it needs a bit of work doing to it whilst its off to straighten the ends up.

    this is it with the roof skin section removed, and a length of 1-1/4" box welded onto the door frame section. I welded up both sides and tied it into the pillars at both ends.




    then I decided to mock up the visor to see how i'm going to tie the ends into the roof corners. the bar spacing it up is some more 1-1/4", when I fit it properly I will use a full length of this and taper the ends down so its all a nice fit and ties in nicely.


    I will need to fab curved panel to fill these corners in, because this visor is for a 30-31 model A not a 28-29, so it fits slightly differently. i'm running the later type because I think it looks better with the swagelines on it that the earlier one doesn't have.


    so tomorrow i'll probably plod on with welding bits of steel tube into the bodywork. its starting to get a bit tedious now, at least I can see where i've been!!
    ford model A sedan
    ' 38 hudson budget hotrod pickup build

    "Some are scared of being misfits- im scared of fitting in.'

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  6. #14
    dez
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    Aug 16, 2007-
    heres what ive managed the last couple of days.
    wednesday saw the arrival of these-

    they figure out at 62.9p each, bargainous.

    which meant the game was back on chassis wise!
    first job, I cut a length of box 17-5/8" long, then marked a section on it that was 1" deep at one end, and tapered out to nothing at the other. this was to form the lower half of the front taper. as the box section is 4" deep, I can get both sides out of one length.
    here it is welded on-


    and mostly ground back- I fettled the thin end a little more after this pic was taken.


    and that was all I managed weds. eve.
    today, I really got stuck in, first I made the other rear kickup raiser. the key here is they don't need to be spot on angle wise, but they do need to be square, and more importantly, identical. so I cut the second one a fraction oversize, then clamped them both together and ground it down so it was identically sized.




    then, I clamped the 2 rear tapers together as well-


    these were then set up parallel to each other, and tacked together. they were then seperated, checked for angle and allignment, and welded up-


    then ground up-


    I then totally forgot to take pics of the really important bit, which was getting the rear kickup parallel to the main rail. basically, I clamped it flat on the table, and clamped the kickup section down too, then clamped a staightedge onto the top edge of the kickup section, so it stuck forwards above the main rail, I could then measure the gap at a couple of points and get it the same all the way along. it was then tacked, up clamped, double checked in all 3 directions, seamed up, and ground down, then the process repeated for the other side.

    then, I had a pair of chassis rails!!!





    heres the runout on the rails. approx 1/8" in raise and 1/16" in straightness. both acceptable over a 112" length, and ile probably manage to get that 1/8" down to 1/16" when fitting the crossmembers. I need to grind just under 1/8" off the end of one rail too to get them identical.



    ford model A sedan
    ' 38 hudson budget hotrod pickup build

    "Some are scared of being misfits- im scared of fitting in.'

  7. #15
    dez
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    aug 16, 2007-
    well, in on my own all night, I could sit and watch telly, peruse the interweb, wash up, or go and add a couple of crossmembers to the rails to make it a chassis.

    guess which I chose
    as stock, model A rails are dead straight, but taper all the way from being roughly 26" wide the front X-member to 43" rear X-member. I will not be using this design, my rails will run parallel to each other from the rear X-member to the B-pillar, then will have a bend in them, and they will then taper down to the front X-member. theres a number of reasons for this, but the main one is it makes it easier to do a 4-bar rear suspension setup.
    so for me, the first job is to get the rails square to each other. its entirely possible to do this without a big, expensive, heavy chassis table, it just takes a bit of forethought and a lot of measuring, as the rails need to be in the same fore-aft position so the kickup is even on each side, the same up-down position so the car sits level, plus the sides have to be vertical, and the rails have to be the same constant distance apart.
    I found the flattest, levelest part of my garage floor to do this on, but as extra insurance I also used the 2 lengths of the 2x4 i'd made the chassis out of as a makeshift jig. these were set dead level, and a straightedge laid between them to check they were both at the same height. I squared both rails to the lengths of steel I was using as the jig at the correct distance apart(40" internal measurement, as 44" external is the widest apart the rails can be and the body still fit over them), then tack welded the rails to the jig. I measured the chassis at 5 key points(rear end of rails, top of rear kickup section, bottom of rear kickup section, firewall step, front end of rails) to make sure the chassis rails were the same distance apart and parallel to each other. then cut 2 lengths of 2x4 at 40" for the X-members. only one of these is actually going to be staying in the finished chassis, the other is merely to aid allignment and will be cut out again, but will be recycled to make the gearbox mount and K-member. I put the temporary crossmemebr in at the firewall step, and the permanent one in at the back of the main rails.
    pics to illustrate-






    then, I trimmed original stock model A X-member down to 40" wide, and dropped it between the rails, squared it up in the chassis, set the angle of it ( 0deg on a rear spring) and welded it in.




    next time, I need to figure out the most accurate way of doing the bends in the rails to get them both even, but I think I know how I'm going to do it.then I can pinch in the rails at the front, and fit the front X-member, then it really will be a chassis!!
    ford model A sedan
    ' 38 hudson budget hotrod pickup build

    "Some are scared of being misfits- im scared of fitting in.'

  8. #16
    dez
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    Aug 27, 2007-
    welllll ive not updated for a while. doesn't mean ive not been doing anything though

    I got the framerails bent. I managed to carry on with my improvised jig to get it done, and it worked just fine. I simply used the front bar of the jig to keep the rails level to each other, and to give me something to measure on, and I used the spare 12' length of box section as a centreline, which was carefully set up and measured at numerous points all the way along, then tack welded to the front jig bar and the rear lower X-member to keep it in the right place. then piecut the inside of the tube, took a slice out (7deg I thing it was) , cut the tack weld off between the rail and the front jig bar, bent the tube in until the gap at the front was 9" less, re-tack welded it, then welded the piecut up.
    that gave me this-


    then I did the same for the other side, and got this-


    so, my chassis has the correct taper form front to rear. but I still cant move it until the front X-member is in to keep it all solid.
    so, I dropped it between the rails, set it up on some supports, in the right place (crossmeasured to get it square) and then set the angle of it. the front X-member isnt welded in level on a beam axle car, as it sets your front castor angle. I welded mine in at 7deg.


    ive had to fill in a few bits on the edges where its been cut wrongly in the past, so I used some leftover bits of 3mm plate, chamfered the edges a good bit, and seamed them in so its all nice and solid, and after a quick waft with the grinder, the welds are invisible, but I don't have a finished pic to hand at the mo.


    then, I went to the nats and bought lots of bits for the front suspension, to replace some worn/damaged bits, and because I'm changing the design of a few bits slightly.


    new kingpin kit to replace the worn f100 ones, new spring shackles to replace damaged ones, new spring perches to replace damaged ones, and new batwings of a different style as I'm changing the hairpin design, as well as going from rubber bushes to heim joints.
    I also picked up some new door pins to sort my hinges out, and a spangly gold flake 'wheel which may or may not end up on this car depending on what look/colour I finally go for finish wise.
    ford model A sedan
    ' 38 hudson budget hotrod pickup build

    "Some are scared of being misfits- im scared of fitting in.'

  9. #17
    dez
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    Aug 29, 2007-
    update time.
    today ive been messing with the front X-member, getting it fitted right, tided up, and finished off.

    first thing I actually did was got round to doing the second lower taper. this was simply repeating what I did before.


    then, I repaired the front return lip of the X-member that had been unceremoniously hacked off in the past. not as easy as it looks, as its curved, and its 1.8" thick. I ended up building some areas up with a couple of runs of weld then grinding it down to shape.

    I was a bit sparse on the pics today, one side welded in-


    then the other side ground up top and bottom-




    I then capped off the hole in the end of the rail, and welded on a piece of 1/8" strip to carry on the front X-member lip right across, as it now stuck out past the end of the rail. I think it makes for a nice little detail.


    then, I bare metalled and repaired the original model A frame horns. they'd had quite a few extra holes drilled in them over the years. I welded them up and ground them down nice and smooth inside and out.
    before-


    after-


    with the framehorn fitted, outside-


    inside with the little X-member detail-


    thats side about done apart form neatening up the repair on the back edge, so ile crack on and get the other side done next in readiness for getting it rolling!!!
    ford model A sedan
    ' 38 hudson budget hotrod pickup build

    "Some are scared of being misfits- im scared of fitting in.'

  10. #18
    dez
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    Aug 30, 2007-

    today, ive had one of 'those' days.......

    it started off ok.
    I got the other side rail capped off, the detail strip from the X-member welded on and ground up-


    then I proceeded to notch the front of the rails for clearance for the front spring.
    'cos the X-member is very flat, the spring sits way close to the chassis rails, and if it bottoms out and hits, it can snap- not good!

    the notch-


    and why its there-


    ground up-


    bottom view-


    so I thought id best do the other side, this is how I did it. lay the spring on, tilt it over, draw round it. then make the cut 1.5" deep (As far as I can safely go as the rail is 3" deep here).


    cut. a LOT harder than it looks!!


    then I omitted the photo of me cutting a peice of the box section ued to make the rails (cos its 2" wide- the spring is 1-3/4" so it slips inside it just right) and dropping it on and welding it up.

    then I flipped it over and stuck the second frame horn on.

    some overall frame pics-




    I was well pleased with myself by this point, so I removed the cowl and firewall panels off the body (they bolt on), and tipped the body up onto the rear panel and propped it up against the wall (it cleared the garage roof by 1"!!!) then I slid the old chassis out, cut out some bracketry I need, then chucked the rest on the drive. i'm glad I chose to replace the chassis, as the old one was a right bodged up mess. terrible welds, bits not in level massive lumps of angle iron whacked on for bracketry, and the actual inside of the rails was heavily corroded- the bottom wall was half the thickness of the top, so it really wasnt safe to re-use.

    I then cut loads off the rubbish metal out of the bottoms of the 1/4s, cut the sills out, and the A pillar bottoms. id not had chance to do this before as its the first time the body has been off the chassis.

    I then put the body on my special ride height setting jig (yes, its a pallet :p ) it will give me a ride height of 6" under the rails, which will be the lowest part. a bit of tweaking when its assembled may see that drop to 4" though.


    I then dropped the body down, to find I need to pinch the rails in a little more at the firewall (i was kinda expecting this, so I wasn't tooooo intoxicated off at this, it does mean a lot more work though). with a little cutting it would fit over, but I don't wonna cut it, cos itll look much neater if I don't.

    what I'm intoxicated at is ive made a proper rookie mistake, I added up incorrectly and put the rear body X-member in 4" too low (i didn't allow for the depth of the tube as well as the kickup). GRRRRRR!
    which means the bodys gotta come off again, have the X-member moved, as well as the chassis be cut about to get it to fit the body perfectly.
    ahh well, nothing worth doing is ever easy!! :
    ford model A sedan
    ' 38 hudson budget hotrod pickup build

    "Some are scared of being misfits- im scared of fitting in.'

  11. #19
    dez
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    aug 31, 2007-

    just had a big 4hr sesh on tihs, and in that 4 hours, heres what I did do.

    after thinking/sulking all day about the issues that made themselves apparent yesterday, I decided to nip them in the bud immediately to keep things rolling and motivation up.
    so, I did the firewall pinch on the chassis. to do this, I had to do 3 piecuts in each chassis rail. I cut the rear ones I did for the first taper open again, cut in the other way at the firewall, then cut down the side of the front X-member to allow it to bend in.
    I then pulled the rails in together at the front step. I didnt have a sash clamp, so I used a lorry strap :p
    obviously I need to check id pulled in both sides the same amount, so I clamped a straghtedge (9 foot length of bar) onto the rear sections of the chassis, as I know they were parallel to each other. with a little bit of jiggery pokery, I had it level side-to-side, so I tacked up the cuts, then seamed them up, then ground them down.

    this pic explains it a bit better-


    after that, I cut out the incorrect rear body X-member, and dropped the body down onto the chassis, and bolted the front end panels on. ive still gotta square it up exactly, but getting it sat on there is a big motivational boost!!





    as you can see, the rails fit tight to the body to make maximum use of space.


    really happy so far, gunna throw that body X-member in and get the body squared up and bolted down next 8-)
    ford model A sedan
    ' 38 hudson budget hotrod pickup build

    "Some are scared of being misfits- im scared of fitting in.'

  12. #20
    dez
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    sep 3, 2007-
    another update.....

    I got a little more done on saturday, first I sorted out getting the troublesome rear body X-member in at the right height. its pretty critical as its all that holds the back of the body up(at the moment), and if its not held at the right height the door gaps sag and the doors wont shut. but after a bit of messing about, I have this-




    then, I did a bit of mock-up work on it to check the locations and clearances of the major components. I slid the rear axle in, and the rear wheels and tyres on. they sit pretty much exactly where I wanted with it set up at ride height.


    then, I chucked a spare engine block in between the rails to see how the motor will sit, more or less. this bit wasnt too precise as the final motor isnt decided on yet, but as they're all about the same size it give me an approximation of ground clearance and the space I have for the rad.




    sunday saw a trip to the car boot, to see my guy there who specialises in second had engineering tools. I get all my taps/dies/drill bits/etc. off him, and he furnished me with a brand new, very good quality 13mm drill bit for the princely sum of a quid. this enabled me to drill out the seized in remains of the spring perch bolts I had to cut off to get the front end apart. a lot of drilling later they were out, and I could file up the holes in the beam and reassemble the front suspension with the new shackles, batwings and perch bolts.
    here it is, ready to be fitted-
    ford model A sedan
    ' 38 hudson budget hotrod pickup build

    "Some are scared of being misfits- im scared of fitting in.'

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