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  • Body / Glass: A-pillar repair

    I've been repairing my rusty 64 daytona, working on the a-pillar. The car was previously worked on and the doors never closed correctly. I started by welding in braces with turnbuckles so I could put the a-pillar where it needed to be. The problem I have is the height of the pillar. The only way I can get the door to properly line up is to jack the bottom of the pillar. I've attached a jig with a jack screw to keep pressure on the bottom. After welding up the pillar, and firewall, I let the jack screw down and the pillar just drops to where it was. I don't have the floors or floor support in yet, but I don't know how I'm going to get this to line up. If any of you have been thru this please chime in. This car was/is very rusty, buts its an original R1, so I'm saving it.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Nicely done. I've not thought of the turnbuckle idea. I'll add that to the memory bank.

    Thanks, Bob

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    • #3
      Your work look great, I'm sure when everything gets back together it will be fine. Your Pic #3 looks exactly like what my GT Hawk looked like after removing all the crappy riveted sheet metal and bondo... Everything below the lower door hinge bolt was dissolved.... Where do you start? I wound up installing the doors to the opening, adjusting the gap with wedges, then welding braces across the jamb to the door in 5-6 places. Installed the A-pillar root below the door hinge bolt, the floor and sill pieces and stitch welded everything.
      Once the braces were removed, things settled a little, but the Hawk has the bat wing frame cross member below the A-Pillar and once it was fastened and adjusted, the doors close with one finger..
      64 GT Hawk (K7)
      1970 Avanti (R3)

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      • #4
        I'll share my amatuer's observation. The door post is mostly supported by the bat wing crossmember. I've taken Larks apart that had washers stacked between the cupped floor support and crossmember, that's where you'll be able to bring the door up to align with the opening. But can't be accomplished with out the surrounding support you've created(beautifully I might add). So I'd say, Once you have the floor welded in, the reinforce cup in place, crossmember in place, you'll be able to raise the door into proper alignment.
        Hope this helps and again, nice work,
        Kim

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        • #5
          Thanks for the positive feedback. I've got 2 daytona hard tops, both cars suffered from lots of rust and poor repairs. Neither car had good support above the bat wing. So what your saying is the bat wing is strong enough to raise the a-pillar? It needs almost a 1/2 inch of upward push. Which I'm doing now with this jig. The doors on both cars sag terrible, also noticed the doors themselves seem kinda flimsy. I'm considering nos doors, but there pricey, not sure they'd be any better. So when installing the bat wing does it take a floor jack to get into place? I never had to do that before, because it wasn't really even attached at the outer ends. The floor mounts were too rotted away.
          Attached Files

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          • #6
            Remember I'm not a pro, but have done time in a Studebaker resto shop. Looks like the way you have it supported will be ideal for welding floor in. The cross member has 4 bolts on each frame rail and supports trans . So it is strong enough to support door post. I have a 62 Daytona now that I drive daily that suffers from very little support at the end of the cross member. So I have to lift to close the doors. When I get another daily driver, I'll do the repairs you're doing. Looks like what you're doing is bullet proof. I think Classic Enterprises sells the cups. You've got it in a good position to fit the doors. I'd put the cross member in place to help in the fitting. Like your jig.
            Hope this helps,
            Kim

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            • #7
              I have pointed this out before that the one problem with Studebaker's front door alignment is the floor sheet metal is all that supports the "A" pillar. There is no other support between it & the crossmember. When it rusts out the A" pillar sinks. I plan on doing this same repair to my 62 Champ soon & intend on making a L bracket to supplement the "A" pillar support on the inside & have even been thinking about making another one going from the crossmember mount to the pillar on the outside.

              What Bob Johnstone (64V-K7) said is what you usually find when doing body work in how things "settle". What I did when doing body work for a living years ago was put (in this case) the pillar in a position beyond what you need. Then tack weld in a few places, let off the pressure & check your alignment. If you've gone too far it's easy to grind out the few welds & reposition things with less pressure & recheck again. Remember too that having the car suspended on it's natural points is critical. If you have it on jack stands anywhere other than the suspension your asking for trouble. Nothing will ever align. These frames have too much give in them. You may have done this correctly but others reading this may not have or just didn't know how to do it.
              59 Lark wagon, now V-8, H.D. auto!
              60 Lark convertible V-8 auto
              61 Champ 1/2 ton 4 speed
              62 Champ 3/4 ton 5 speed o/drive
              62 Champ 3/4 ton auto
              62 Daytona convertible V-8 4 speed & 62 Cruiser, auto.
              63 G.T. Hawk R-2,4 speed
              63 Avanti (2) R-1 auto
              64 Zip Van
              66 Daytona Sport Sedan(327)V-8 4 speed
              66 Cruiser V-8 auto

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              • #8
                the batwing is "the" structural item to hold up the hinge post and door. I'd think about pulling the door or expect to break the screws loose from the hinges later....the body mount to frame rail isn't going to help much that far outward...

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                • #9
                  Ok, I'm getting really good input. Thank you. Good call on the jack stands. There is nothing on this car just the frame and body, so I will try to place the stands in a way to duplicate the suspension. Maybe some angle iron across the rear spring mounts, then onto stands. Today was clean up day for the garage, also took all the junk parts out of the trunk. Made a BIG discovery. The rear trunk mounts were gone, and the trunk was settled past the mount points. When I lifted the back of the car the door gaps changed drastically. I was going to do the trunk after the floors, but now I think I better do the trunk first, then work my way forward. I was thinking about a way of reinforcing the floor mount a-pillar area also, but I'll work my way forward and see if it still needs it. The b-pillar is another disaster! Keep the suggestions and ideas coming, I can use all the help I can get.

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                  • #10
                    Have you fabbed all the patches from scratch? How'd you make the bend for where the floor patch will meet the firewall patch? What type of welder are you using?

                    My '66 has bad C pillars will need similar work done.
                    thanks,
                    mike Sal

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                    • #11
                      I've got a Eastwood 20" metal brake, Shrinker stretcher and throat less sheer. A big vise, some body hammers and dollies. The brown piece in the pics was the only nos part I could find from SI. Cut to fit what I was doing. The rest of the patches I made. My welder is a Clark mig 60. I'm not a good welder, but I'm gonna be by the time I get done. The Eastwood stuff was cheep on sale and makes the job easy. The reinforcement plate in pic 9&10 is 16 gage and almost broke the metal brake. Also the loly column in the garage seams to work pretty as a bending tool.

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                      • #12
                        From my point of view you appear to be doing it right. You are to be congratulated for taking on such an ambitious project. I am not an accredited body man or welder but have a life times experience playing with cars. I took on a rusty 60 Lark convertible that needed a pillar and hog trough work. Not as rusty as your hardtop but it took 10 lbs of mig wire and 2 winters to take the flex out of it so the doors would close correctly. I second the point that the batwing is the way to do the final adjustment. I used a floor jack on the trough and raised it till the pillar was in the right spot, then shimmed accordingly so it would stay where it should when jack released. Two other points from my experience. 1 Have the car sit on its wheels when doing this work. I used cement blocks under each wheel that gave me clearance to work. 2 The rocker panels do add rigidity to the area you are working on, more so in a convert but suspect that this would apply to a hard top as well. Good luck and looks to me like you will have a "solid" ride when done.

                        Bob
                        64 Daytona, 60 Lark Convert
                        Bob
                        Welland Ontario
                        60 Lark Convertible
                        64 Daytona
                        sigpic
                        "They were meant to be driven ... so keep on cruizin"

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by steve c. View Post
                          I've got a Eastwood 20" metal brake, Shrinker stretcher and throat less sheer. A big vise, some body hammers and dollies. The brown piece in the pics was the only nos part I could find from SI. Cut to fit what I was doing. The rest of the patches I made. My welder is a Clark mig 60. I'm not a good welder, but I'm gonna be by the time I get done. The Eastwood stuff was cheep on sale and makes the job easy. The reinforcement plate in pic 9&10 is 16 gage and almost broke the metal brake. Also the loly column in the garage seams to work pretty as a bending tool.
                          Great attitude. A lot of folks just say I can't do it and never try. Most could do it if they could accept a few early failures and chalk it up to learning.

                          The lolly columns work well but keep an inventory of any pipe size you can find. With them in a big vise, you can make most any radius you'll need.

                          The bender will work fine. I used one from HF to make the 54K underbody supports/troughs and just welded them together to get the proper length.

                          Practice makes perfect, well at least acceptable.

                          Avanti, Bob

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                          • #14
                            When I did my C/K, Classic Enterprises had a pillar to floor support that goes right UP inside the A channel and ties in with their other, frame and floor supports. It's square tubing and it is rigid. Check their catalogue and see if they have it for your car, or at least a picture to give you some food for thought.
                            Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by warrlaw1 View Post
                              When I did my C/K, Classic Enterprises had a pillar to floor support that goes right UP inside the A channel and ties in with their other, frame and floor supports. It's square tubing and it is rigid.
                              Yes, this is a key piece since you have to create the sill. This is the piece I called the "root". or pillar support. It bolts to the lower hinge, lower bolt and registers all the others, floor, kick panel, door sill, forward ody brace, etc. Without this, I never could have done my car...
                              64 GT Hawk (K7)
                              1970 Avanti (R3)

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