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quick check: is this the right way to remove/replace front body supports?

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  • Body: quick check: is this the right way to remove/replace front body supports?

    I've read and re-read every post I could find (and looked at the photos), but it is always different when your face is pressed up under the rusty mess looking at it with your back on the cold concrete floor... (in Minnesota).
    (re: '57 GHawk), now that my floor is cut out, spot-welds are cut out of the support arm EVERYWHERE EXCEPT UNDER THE COWL PILLAR, do I "simply"
    a) lay under the car and cut UP into the cowl pillar and remove those spot welds holding the body support arm to the pillar

    b) since I've already snapped off all three bolts (two in support, one from 'bat wing' to body but THROUGH the support, I think?) the frame support should be 'free' to be removed, right?
    BUT, won't I need to loosen (break??) other frame bolts to jack up the body off the frame enough to wiggle/pry/hammer that frame support out from under? It looks pretty wedged in there; I can barely see the remnants of the original rubber supports, it is pretty much metal to metal contact in most places or filled with rust perhaps; sure can not see light between it anyway, and anticipating a fight to get it maneauvered out and the new Classic support re-positioned IN.

    c) when the new support is "in", is there anything critical for positioning except that the outboard 'square' fits in the pillar box, and that I have the same spacing from transmission tunnel to the door (my choice for a 'check' measurement')? The holes for the two bolts are huge, so lots of room for it to move. Seems it doesn't matter where that support is as long as it fits the pillar box and can be spot-welded to it, and those big holes line up with the frame holes for the two bolts (looks like I need to drill one hole on the outboard end of the support, though until I get the old one out, hard to really tell what is what, maybe that is separate and attached to something else under there...)
    Oh, to have a prisitine car to roll under and check visually back and forth instead of guessing what is hidden by rust and crud over the years. :- )
    PS: the photo shows the support BEFORE I drilled the remaining spot welds and broke off the three bolts Sunday :-) Otherwise that is how she sits today.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by bsrosell; 11-22-2011, 07:02 AM.

  • #2
    Looks familiar. Have you welded any supports across your door openings? I used Classic Enterprises' frame to floor supports and their big ones for the A-pillars. Beefy and it fit right up the A pillar with no problem. It was just the right size to get up there and be welded into place. Then the floor panels and rockers were in the right place to be welded in, too. The sub-floor or hog troughs had to be fabricated andthat was a chore. Good luck.
    Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

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    • #3
      Thanks Dave; just nice to hear I'm on the right track and isn't some 'surprise' lurking that others have already learned about.... Yes, I welded across; probably higher than ideal (photo), but my PLAN was to leave the doors on, so I could continually monitor gaps, and these locations allowed angle irons to be welded in place AND completely close the doors. And then I ended up taking the doors off anyway. But I am putting jacks under the cowl panel while I work on the supports, and when the supports are in, a good portion of my original floor is still supported (fortunately not cutting huge holes in my floor like some have to do.... cutting out the bare minimum to get back to solid metal.... ) Will get back out there and get back to work with more confidence now! :-)
      thanks again.
      Attached Files

      Comment


      • #4
        One problem I had with these braces back in '95-'96 is the replacement brace is flat along the top but the originals have a downward angle or slope to them. See pix. The floors in the car are not flat, but slope downwards as you go from the tunnel to the sills.

        So, to fit the brace, it had to be mounted a bit "crooked" so that the top surface matched the floor slope. Not a big deal except then the bottom of the brace where the bolt into the plate on the bottom of the frame is at is not level with that plate. Caused me some issues since it was a bit tight there. Also you may need to bend the "tab" on the inside end where it laps over the frame and under the floor to match the angle.

        I probably had less problems getting these out than you do since my torque boxes were long rusted away and I had to cut more of the old floor out so there was more room. The picture shows the passenger side brace that I got out in 1 pc but if I recall, the driver side one came apart. In my other post, I showed having to cut out a section of the frame where the driver brace attached. Doing THAT was a pucker moment for sure!

        I would caution you on unbolting more of the body from the frame to lift anything as you may risk stuff moving. There is a cowl brace with a long through bolt and monster washer and then the bolt immediately behind your cut area that goes thru the rear front seat seat support that are the closest ones to the A brace. The next ones back go through the B brace under the rib where the front of the rear seat sits.
        Attached Files

        Jeff in ND

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        • #5
          Jeff, thanks for the heads up on the brace angle. I'm at the same stage on my repairs now. Looking at your picture it appears if the inboard tab is bent down, the new brace will closely match the old one. The angle there seems to be over 90o, when brought down the other angles will more closely match. Is that correct?
          Dwight 54 Commander hardtop

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          • #6
            Looking at your picture it appears if the inboard tab is bent down, the new brace will closely match the old one. The angle there seems to be over 90o, when brought down the other angles will more closely match. Is that correct?
            Yes, if the tab part is bent down a bit it will fit under the floor better. The problem is the vertical side that goes up to the frame and the bottom that sits on the plate on the bottom of the frame are then not "square" with it anymore and might hit depending on how you get it in there. I think I had to file the holes in the brace after tilting it down but not sure anymore since it was ~15yrs ago.... I DO remember struggling and cursing with this for a while though, ha.

            The picture with additional markups show more what I mean. In the sketch to the side, the black box on the left is the frame. The blue are the rubber shims. The green circled areas might be a problem. On the original brace, the downward angle starts a small distance past where the tab sticks out.

            Maybe the current parts are different, so this might be a non-issue.

            I also attached a picture that clearly shows the floors slop away from the tunnel. Note how the body is sitting on the beam at the outer edges but near the tunnel the floor is a couple inches up.
            Attached Files

            Jeff in ND

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            • #7
              Thanks Jeff, I'll look at my braces tomorrow and see if the angle has been corrected on the newer ones.
              Dwight 54 Commander hardtop

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks Jeff. You are right, the torque boxes are giving me fits now. Discovered THEY are spot-welded to the support too. And after removing all I could find after wire-brushing, I'm still too solid in there, has to be more yet I can't see. Will have to get an abrasive disk and grind off some pebbled surface and find them.
                So, how do you get that beast (the front support) out WITHOUT lifting the body from the frame? The support needs to slide out horizontally between the batwing and the bottom of the floor pans (and torque boxes), yet it has a good inch of depth up into the cowl pillar. I don't see how it will rotate horizontally (pivotiing at the cowl pillar) so I can then drop it down and out....
                It's a good thing I'm thrifty and ALREADY bought the new supports or I might have been tempted to leave the originals in there and try to patch them up, and forget about those new supports. And while not horrible, they are bad enough that wouldn't have been smart in the long run. :-) Now that I have the Classic pieces, they ARE going IN there, one way or another....!!!! But certainly more of a job than I'd planned on. Add it to the list, right?

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                • #9
                  I just checked my new braces, they are straight, not angled as originals. I may tilt them as Jeff did, or get crazy and try making two pie cuts. One near the frame to tip it down, and one at the end to tip it back up.
                  Dwight 54 Commander hardtop

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                  • #10
                    FINALLY GOT IT OFF! (one to go; sigh...) Look at all those spot-weld holes!! I kept drilling, prying, finding more 'tug' points, drilling, repeat, repeat... couldn't believe how many there were UNDER THE PILLAR, some on top of each other... finally just started chiseling away under there to get it out!. Ugh.
                    As a side note, used ONE double-sided spot-weld cutter to cut all the holes, along rocker, floor, and brace. Was getting dull, so opened my "new set" with three replacement tips.... I could not drill ONE HOLE, with all four bits!!! Worst piece of junk tool I've ever experienced. Just left my first "negative feedback" on Amazon about it to warn others away, and bought another higher-quality (and more expensive) brand. You get what you pay for....
                    Attached Files

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Excellent! I'm glad you're one step ahead of me, thanks for letting me know what to expect.
                      Dwight 54 Commander hardtop

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