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  • DIY floor pans

    Buying a set for the driver & passenger + trunk flooring for my 63 4-door Lark is just too dang much for me. 18ga mild steel is cheap by the sheet and I can weld. I know I'll need to put 'ribs' in the flooring for strength, right? Should I try to follow the factory pattern?
    Would appreciate any ideas. I plan to roll the frame out from under the body, eventually. It's bone-chillin' cold here in western WA now.
    Thanks!

  • #2
    I would get all the floor taken care of before I pulled the frame out. I put a 1/2 inch bead all around the outside edge about 3 inches and some in the middle. If you have to do the pieces under the door. I took a sample to the sheet metal shop and they bent me 2 pieces. For $75. and furnished the metal 16 ga. Sprayed it with rustolem primer and sprayed it with U-POL. Looks good.


    7G-Q1 49 2R12 10G-F5 56B-D4 56B-F2
    As soon as you find a product you like they will stop making it.

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    • #3
      Tom, see if you can find the cab rear panel and floor riser from any year of C-cab pickup. Champ might work too. Even on a very rusty wreck, these areas usually escape any serious rust. You can cut sections from these panels that have the same EXACT style ribs in them as do the car floors. I did this on two cars already. Surely somebody near you has a derelict truck cab, waiting to go to the crusher; this is something you take from a cab that has no further use possible as a whole unit.

      If you can't find that stuff from a Studebaker cab, you might find similar ribbed panels from a Brand X, but there is no guarantee that the exact same rib profile can be found.

      Otherwise, or if you want to use only new steel, find a sheet metal fab shop, and get them to make you some lengths of "hat channel", say about 5/8" by 1 1/4", with 3/8" flanges. Imagine cutting a cross-section through a Panama hat, that's the sort of profile you'd get: flat top, straight sides, flat brim. Hence, the name. Sections of hat channel can simply be spot (or plug) welded to the underside of flat floor sections where a rib would go in the original. Weasels and military Jeeps used plenty of the stuff in their original construction.

      Hat channel would not be authentic for a post-War Studebaker car, but it does allow you to make a very solid, professional-appearing repair.

      If you go back and check a thread I made here a few months ago about fixing floors in a Wagonaire, I think you will find pics of both the ribbed metal panels from C-cabs and hat channel being used on the same car.

      Even better, here is the link:http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...onaire,+,floor

      Well, that takes you there.

      Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
      Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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      • #4
        Thank you, guys! I followed that thread, Gord, and got lots of helpful info - thanks. I like Gary's hat channel idea. Amazing what you can hide under a rug!
        I'll take pics and post as I go.

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        • #5
          Tom- I don't know how bad your floors are, but you might want to check with these guys:

          http://motors.search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZclassicparts4u

          I bought a set for my 59 Lark, and they look pretty nice! $50 per side.

          Here's a couple pics of my repair of the floors on my Lark wagon. Not show, but simple and cheap. The panels are small enough that they don't oilcan when stepped on, and they're covered with POR-15 and JP's carpet anyway:










          Robert (Bob) Andrews Owner- Studebakeracres- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
          Parish, central NY 13131

          "Some people live for the rules, I live for exceptions"- 311

          "Do they all not, by mere virtue of having survived as relics of a bygone era, amass a level of respect perhaps not accorded to them when they were new?"



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          • #6
            Tom, the floors themselves seem to be the easy part, and 18 ga. steel works well. Unless you really need to replace the entire floor skin, you may not need all the metal in the commercial parts. It does help if you have access to a brake to bend the pieces. A cheap hand-held pneumatic shear will cut 18 ga. I used a metal-cutting blade in a small saber saw to cut out the pieces I made from 16 ga.

            My biggest problems in the '63 Wagonaire were that the sills and support structure were completely gone, too. I had to make a bunch of new pieces for the main supports and for the bottoms of the doors posts. The stiffener that is about 3" in from the door sill was rotted away along most of the length from front to back.

            I used 1-1/2" angle iron to stiffen the right side. Since the rocker panels attach to the stiffeners, the pieces have to be in the right place and stick down far enough to mate with the rockers. You can drill 1/4" holes in your new floor skins and plug weld the stiffeners in place from the top side - it beats trying to weld up while lying under the car.

            The "hat sections" that Gord referred for ribs can be bought at Lowe's or your local farm supply store - just ask for those green steel fence posts used for wire fencing. They are usually available in several different weights. Your can bend them if they are heated but it's usually easier to just saw through the top of the hat down to the flanges, bend, and re-weld.

            Here's the before and after shots of the floors:




            It took me a lot longer than Gord's speedy repairs, but it's functional. Undercoating will cover the bottom side and carpet will cover the top, so the lack of authenticity isn't an issue.



            [img=left]http://www.studegarage.com/images/gary_ash_m5_sm.jpg[/img=left] Gary Ash
            Dartmouth, Mass.
            '48 M5
            '65 Wagonaire Commander
            '63 Wagonaire Standard
            web site at http://www.studegarage.com
            Gary Ash
            Dartmouth, Mass.

            '32 Indy car replica (in progress)
            ’41 Commander Land Cruiser
            '48 M5
            '65 Wagonaire Commander
            '63 Wagonaire Standard
            web site at http://www.studegarage.com

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            • #7
              Magnificent work, fellers! I can't wait to get into mine now.

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              • #8
                And after you weld in a homemade patch,if you do get an 'oilcan effect', a few good dimples from a ball
                peen hammer[^] will cure it.

                Oglesby,Il.
                Anybody that drives faster than me is a maniac.Anybody that drives slower than me is an idiot.
                Oglesby,Il.

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