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54 K body - sheet metal

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  • Body / Glass: 54 K body - sheet metal

    After REALLY cleaning the whole body of my Champion I sadly came across some holes in the front floor right and left that were very well covered by some rubber material and paint. I've heard that there is sheet metal (do you call it that?) available for many classic cars but I did not find anything for my car (maybe I did not search for the right terms). I found one link on studevendors (Midwest Studebaker) but there is no working link.

    Any ideas? I am sure my body shop can build something but I would like to check the options .....

  • #2
    They are available from Classic Enterprises. But if they are not that rusted and your body guy is good with sheet metal I would have him build patch panels. You can buy a nice pile of sheet metal for the cost of the replacement panels.

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    • #3
      thanks swvalcon - that narrows down my search - or puts it into perspective .....

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      • #4
        Austrian,

        Can you post a photo of the severity of the damage? If it is minor a hand made patch is the most economical but if it goes through several floor ribs it may be cheaper to use an aftermarket panel. Classic Enterprises makes good panels. If the damage is beyond the CE parts a gentleman here in the states makes floors that go out farther than the CE floors. Leroy Cary is his name. PM me if you need information on contacting either of them. Attached is a photo of some of Leroy's and CE parts together.

        JK

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        • #5
          Austrian

          I don't recall your goals for the car but if you want to remain authentic, then the replacement panels are the way to go. If you are looking for a driver then you may be farther ahead financially to just fabricate your's locally. I used a bead roller I made and a cheap ($30) metal bender to completely replace the floors and hog troughs on my 54K. I'm probably wearing out my welcome by posting this again but I made these from sheet steel that you could source locally.



          Bob

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          • #6
            thanks 3x2stude and sweetolbob! nice pictures. I will post pics of my floor / problem areas tomorrow.

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            • #7
              Small patch panels are easy to build up to maybe about 2'. Above that it gets a little tricky. Here's a couple I made on my gt floor. Once covered with undercoat and painted I think they look just fine for a driver. A full bore show car maybe not but then even reproduction panel would be questionable.
              Attached Files

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              • #8
                @swvalcon: nice work you did with those!! Did you cover the hole for the heater??

                Here's a pic of my passenger's side. Driver side has only small holes in front, nothing too serious ....

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                - - - Updated - - -

                sorry, don't know why it got flipped.

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                • #9
                  btw: just got a welder (MIG) and started my first (home) lesson after some hours of youtube tutorials!!!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by austrian View Post
                    Here's a pic of my passenger's side. Driver side has only small holes in front, nothing too serious
                    That's about the best condition you can hope for. Take a rotary wire wheel to the rusty area and find clean metal. When you have located solid steel, cut out the bad area a piece at a time, make a pattern from thin cardboard and butt weld it in. It doesn't look like you will need to remove a lot of metal. Be sure to keep the seams and OEM joints in-place. You can make bends with a vice, pipe, hammer, piece of steel or anything that will make the bends you need.

                    Then, as you saw in the videos, tack weld about every inch (2.5cm) or so and then go back and spot weld in the center between those welds and keep doing that until the weld is continuous.

                    A couple of things. Practice tack welding a piece of your new metal to the pieces you cutout of the floor. That will simulate welding to the floor panels when you get there. As you start your weld, stay to the new metal side of the gap and play onto the floor metal. The new metal can stand a bit more heat then the older stuff.

                    Another thing that new welders tend to do is run too cold. That makes a brittle weld with little penetration so as you practice, turn the heat up as you practice until you burn through the metal when you start the weld and back off some. Practice there. Keep the wire moving slightly. Sheet metal takes some practice but when you get the knack of it, you'll look forward to just picking up the torch, setting the heat and speed, turning on the gas, triggering the wire and watching the metal come together.

                    BTW - Darn nice looking welds for the first try. Try a bit more heat but those will do darn well. Remember, practice makes better, I never got close to perfect. Bob
                    Last edited by sweetolbob; 04-09-2016, 10:18 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Yes the second picture is the heater. I didn't need it so just made a plate for it. It's screwed on so if down the road someone wanted to add a under seat heater they could but may be a bear to remove as it's seamed down good. I tried to cut to as may factory seams as possible or to where there was a brace under the floor so I could do as many lap weld panels as possible. Less work that way. If you lap at a brace the only way you can tell is on the top side and that is covered with carpet.

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                      • #12
                        Thank you Bob - great help!!!!

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