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.
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.