View Full Version : The joys of a frame on restore

07-19-2013, 10:06 PM
If it wasn't a keeper... if it didn't have at least a hundred pounds of well aged oil caked mud down there... if I didn't have to change the fuel and brake lines.... if the wiring wasn't bare... if I could even find the grease zirks... I'd have just left the underside alone.

So today its up on jacks and I now have it stripped to frame and shell. And, this is a week or two on my back getting the underside ready for paint. Thought seriously about letting the undercoating alone... it looked so good .. until I hit a spot with the needle scaler and a big flake fell off... then another ... and I found a rusted through spot that didn't show.

It's good that 70 is the new 35 or in addition to looking like a coal miner when I come out from under I'd be tripping on the wife's percocet!

When my little press failed to do the job on control arm bushings today I went looking for a mechanic with a press that I felt I could trust with the job..... Second stop at a Firestone franchise they directed me to a particular mechanic. He dropped what he was doing on a customer car and lit up when he say the Studebaker control arms. He then described the spacer bar pictured in the shop manual and explained that he didn't have one but here is how he did it without one. Explained he did a '55 Chevy last week and they aren't near as strong as the Speedster. I was so relieved that I never thought to ask price. Told him next week would be fine gave him my phone number and left. Three hours later I got the phone call... "they are done and just bring $20 for John".

Finally approaching the turning point where I can put on a little paint and pieces back on the vehicle. There really aren't too many left that can come off.

07-19-2013, 11:01 PM
I want to know your mechanic! Sounds like a top shelf guy.

07-20-2013, 08:01 AM
Sometimes we get lucky.
I have learned to keep a stash of certain parts on hand. To that end, I recently dropped off four 56J exhaust manifolds (two of each side) at a local machine shop for tapping and surfacing. There was a total of five bolts that needed drilling out & tapping. Anyway, the guy called a couple of weeks later, and said ready for pick up. The price was $60.

I considered that a steal !

07-20-2013, 09:58 AM
I would rather screw something up myself than trust a task to someone else that may sound like he knows what he's doing and is just winging it. In this case when John described in detail the spreader bars pictured in the Shop Manual I knew I had a winner and price was not a thought let alone an issue. When the finished quote was $20 I couldn't get their fast enough!

07-22-2013, 11:58 AM
I was never a lover of the arts but I'm gaining a respect for that Michael dude laying on his back painting that chapel roof. Poor guy didn't have the benefit of MS, no brush mark, frame black.

8 days to go to stay on schedule with a finished underside and it's looking promising... Front of firewall finished waiting 4 rubber seals from SI to re-assemble suspension.


It feels so good to be just a little bit on the reconstruct side of the project and those tubs of purchased seals and parts starting to empty!

07-25-2013, 12:52 PM
I'm getting a bad case of "while you're there's" or maybe just sore back from trying to clean this frame and underside. Looks like removing 16 bolts and a couple of "A" frames and $20 might more than make up in time saved cleaning/finishing the frame/underside.

07-26-2013, 07:35 PM
Gave in and dropped the frame today. Concluded that it would take a month on my back to do the frame the way I was approaching itů. 22 bolts and by early afternoon I dropped the frame on to roller pans. Rolled the frame out on the drive and hit it with the power scrubber. WOW that was easier! Wire brushed and needle scaled to in front of the differential. Decided it was quitting time and rolled it back in the garage under the shell. By noon tomorrow I could be priming the frame!

Next the under shell. Target remains frame and undershell primed and painted by 7-31.


07-26-2013, 07:49 PM
You are making it look easy !

07-26-2013, 08:14 PM
So now I guess you'll need to change the post title. You chose the best way to get where you are trying to go and doing a nice job of it.

I'm also 70 and you are getting there faster than I am on my 74 Avanti.

Nice work and keep posting.


07-26-2013, 09:06 PM
It was easy... only because the gas tank, fuel lines, clutch/brake pedal assembly etc were already off. After watching a dozen Youtube videos on separating frame and shell I realized that the shell is really not that heavy... perhaps 500 to 700 pounds.. I realized I didn't need a major super structure to support the frame... a couple of simple saw horse brackets and $10 of 2 x 4 solved the problem.

While several of the Youtubes set out to prove you could juggle jack stands and slide the frame out side by side in a two car garage, there is barely enough room in my garage to walk around one side of the car and every resetting of jack stands are an opportunity to get yourself crushed!

Combined with the simple fact that I needed to start with a power scrub that had to happen outside the easy drop was to simply drop the frame and roll it out the door.


Sam Ensley
07-26-2013, 09:06 PM
Show more pictures, especially pictures showing the work in progress. Your project is becoming an inspiration to me.

07-26-2013, 10:32 PM
I wish this board would allow the upload of files so I could share my Gantt chart of this project. If they'd have heard of it when I was a kid, I know I'd have been diagnosed of ADHD. A Gantt chart keeps me from working on the Engine when I should be working on the frame etc.

The one I use is similar to Microsoft Project but is open source software and can be downloaded from " Ganttproject.biz ".

If the cash holds out and I stay on schedule, I should have the Speedster on the road by the end of January. Once we're through the frame and underside, the next issue is body work and paint on the shell and front clip. The front clip will be a challenge. Then we're on to the engine and mechanical issues and finally the interior.

I have virtually all the needed trim pieces included the harder to find ones. The one issue on the horizon is the need for a manual shift C/K steering column for power steering. Unless I find one soon, I'm inclined to go Astro PS, Hurst floor shift and a Grand Am column.

John Brayton
07-26-2013, 11:13 PM
I like this thread and your attitude! We've started a few frame-on restorations only to find it easier removing the body. Look forward to seeing your finished car.


07-27-2013, 12:04 AM
mmagic, if you can shoot me a pm with your email address, I can probably get the chart into a viewable format and upload it for you.

07-27-2013, 06:19 AM
mmagic, good work! I'm in the middle of a similar project and know what you're going through. I came in looking like a coal miner many a night while removeing that old tar. I used a heat gun and scaper, followed up with "goof oof" to remove the sticky residue.

07-27-2013, 07:49 AM
Thanks Dwight... I've been working cold on that tar.. needle scaler, wire brushes and occasionally flat blade air chisel. I'll try the heat gun and I've got a gallon of goof off on the shelf. I was looking for better ideas for when I get back to the shell... maybe tomorrow.

One of the better investments that is paying off on this project is a set of car dollies from HF that I bought a few years ago on sale on impulse. They allowed me to secure the shell at the jack stand Height I'd been working at, drop the frame under it on to the dollies and roll it out on the drive as a safe, no effort one man project. My drive has enough slope to drain well, so pushing a dead car or frame inside involves more effort than I prefer. So, I drilled a hole in front in the concrete for a 1/2" eye screw and use it to anchor a cheap electric winch when needed! Didn't really need it on the frame but heck, it was a long day and I was getting lazy.

Figured out the Gantt chart in jpg format !! So here's a couple of screen shots. I use open source GanttProject.biz.


Randy Ridenour
07-27-2013, 08:32 AM

Nice work! I've worked many projects over the years and found that it is easy to get lost in a project working sporatically on every area of the car. 10 years ago I did a light restoration of my Dad's GT Hawk disassembling the car for paint, replacing rubber, polishing stainless, and going through the mechanicals. My goal was to complete the car in 5 months so that I could drive my Dad in a hometown Memorial Day parade that we had talked about for over 25 years. His health was declining and I knew I had to make it happen that year. 5 months might seem like a long time but I had a demanding job and my kids were young so I knew it would be a challenge. At the time, I was a program manager for a defense contractor and scheduling was one apect of my job. I decided to schedule the effort using a Gantt chart breaking the project into maneagable portions and establishing completion dates for each of the tasks. The schedule kept me on track and allowed me to finish the car just in time for the parade. It would have been easy to let that goal pass me by but looking back, it was a memorable day for both my Dad and I and making it happen is something that I am proud of to this day. Keep the pictures coming as your project is motivating me to get started on my next project!


07-27-2013, 08:44 AM
Thanks Randy. I wasn't sure if all other posters were familiar with Gantt charts and figured those that were would rather invest in a missing hub-cap than a piece of software. I find they keep me on schedule and budget and serve as a reminder of all the little steps I've accomplished in getting where I am on a project. Otherwise I just see how much more work is ahead of me.

07-27-2013, 09:20 AM
It's uphill into my garage as well, so I used a come-a-long to pull mine into position. I'll grab one of those winches next time they're on sale at Harbor freight, good idea!
When reinstalling the frame I dropped strings through the mounting holes in the body and tied nuts to them. Then I shifted the frame as needed to line up the frame holes with the body holes.

07-27-2013, 05:02 PM
3 hours to finish wire brushing and brush on a coat of Master Series to the top side. Can't believe a cup goes that far! If it's dry in 3 hours I'll get out the chassis black. In the AM I hope to do the underside.


07-27-2013, 10:24 PM
I'm very truly impressed. Keep up the good work!!

Warren Webb
07-28-2013, 03:35 AM
When I changed the frame in my 66 Daytona I used 2 threaded rods screwed into the part of the frame that had the threaded nuts inside. I cant remember for sure what position they were, might have been in front of the rear wheels, but it made lining up the frame to the body a one man snap. Did the whole R&I in one weekend.

07-28-2013, 03:44 PM
3 hours to finish wire brushing and brush on a coat of Master Series to the top side. Can't believe a cup goes that far! If it's dry in 3 hours I'll get out the chassis black. In the AM I hope to do the underside.

Now would be a good time to remove the batwing and treat it too, and reassemble with nice new bolts & nuts. Also a good time to disassemble the e-brake pivot point for clean & lube. Several other misc tasks can also be performed easily, now that you are looking at the frame from a bird's eye view instead of a worm's eye.

07-28-2013, 06:26 PM
Humidity was too high today form MS primer or black.

I pulled all the rear brake tasks ahead on the Gantt chart today, ordered rear brake parts, dual master cylinder from NAPA and stripped rear brake parts. This set frame to shell back a couple of days but will move the bigger project ahead by doing these tasks when they are accessible. Have a back order on lower control arm seals so maybe with a little lag they'll arrive. Besides, I could buy a little more time needle scaling that crud off the bottom... don't know if it was dealer applied undercoat or oil impregnated mud on that Dana 44 but I've spent a good 12 hours getting it off... Figure that work should yield about 50 pounds less un-sprung weight ! Probably should open it up and change the lube... Need to get the Turner M/C kit ordered.

Hadn't thought of the bat wings and the e-brake ...another "While your there!" Did put new frame to shell bolts on this weeks buy list. Thanks Joe.

Rear cylinders just need a kit and dual master cylinder is about half of expectation so we continue to stay ahead of budget.

08-02-2013, 07:44 PM
Thanks for the "pull the bat wing" suggestion. My initial reaction was "why"? But, what's another 8 bolts while we're there. Pulled the bat wing this AM and cleaned it up quickly, wire brushed and Master Coated. But more important it allowed cleaning up both frame and bat wing where they meet and allowed me to Master Coat that critical area.

Went to Murdocks (farm supply) to pickup a couple of missing bolts. Schedule 8 in bulk at $5,99 a pound..... By the time I left I had replaced every Control Arm, bat wing and frame to shell bolt washer and nut for $40.

Frame Black is virtually done and I'm on to installing control arms and flaring brake lines. It feels so good to finally be painting and putting something together instead of disassembling, needle scaling and wire brushing.