This is the point I have been waiting to get to. It’s the point where I know that I will be done within a week. The job will be going back to the customer for painting and the final assembly and, will likely be on the road by fall.
What I have spent the last few days doing is patching the rust in the driver’s door and over the door on the passenger side as well as fitting the left rear fender and installing the support brace on the back side of it.
The filling, sanding, and priming is really my favorite part of any job. I like the fabrication too but fabrication seems to have its own ordered pace whereas with filling and sanding, there is a lot more flexibility in terms of time and efficiency. There are different grits of sand paper to use for speed; ways to use drying time in one area to sand or fill in another; choices of how hard to let a fill product get before one starts sanding so as to achieve shape and [smooth] texture… all come together to create a final product where no one will ever know what is underneath the final paint work. It’s a hidden activity but one where, if it is not done well, everyone will know how bad of shape the body was originally in just by looking at the paint. And, no amount of painting skill can fix a wavey panel.
My next post should show the body in various stages of being ground, filled, or sanded. As always, if anyone has any questions, I will be glad to answer them and, thanks for reading. -Kevin
The owner of the Model A coupe I’m working on only wanted me to only go as far as to put it in primer. His son owns a local body shop and is going to paint the car there. I certainly don’t want whoever does the reassembly to have any problems and I asked the owner to bring me the new rear fenders so I could make sure they’ll bolt up smoothly after all the paint work is done. No nicks in the new paint is always a good policy!
I first noticed a problem when I started fitting the fenders so I could align the rust patch panels. Some of the bolt slots in the fender were over half an inch off vertically and many were off horizontally as well. After enlarging the bolt slots several times I finally got the fenders to fit but given that it’s fairly easy to see into the fender well once the car is finished, I needed to somehow patch any original misplaced slots that weren’t used as well as the extended holes that I created. My solution was to tack weld washers where the bolt studs are supposed to come through the fender and patch the openings I cut. Doing the work to make the fenders fit well, look decent inside, and test fitting them several times is like buying an insurance policy against scratching the paint work. It’s like making a smart move and buying auto insurance from Aviva at http://www.aviva.co.uk/car/.
Here at Versatile Industries we build cars for people to drive and have fun with. We help do it yourself-ers build cars that look good and are functional. To that end, the washers that do show inside the wheel house/wheel well may not qualify for a ‘first-in-show’ ribbon but they will line up the fender for the final assembly easily and they will help hold the fender in place for a good long time. My next article will cover repairing the rust on the driver’s door and showing the left rear fender mounted. After that it’s nothing but filling, sanding, and priming. Thanks for reading -Kevin
So one of the neat things about setting up this blog site is that I get to see the search strings that lead people here. One of the strings that I’ve seen for two months now is a question about what the measurements of the deck lid on a Ford Model A are. The answer to that question is something I would like to know too.
The 29 Coupe I’m working on has a rumble seat not a trunk but I’m assuming the lid is supposed to be the same size with either one. I seriously doubt each and every lid originally installed on any style (coupe, sedan, roadster, two door, four door) Model A is the the same size anyway. They certainly wouldn’t have been able to measure the jam gaps and find them all the same or roll a ball bearing along them evenly – if anyone remembers that old commercial. On the coupe I’ll bet I have over 15 hours adjusting and aligning the rumble seat lid. Of course all the braces, drip rails, and hinges were completely disconnected except when I would clamp them in place for a temporary check on the lid alignment. Rumble seat lids are notoriously difficult to align and I certainly got a lesson in how many different moveable parts there are.
During those 15 hours I measured the lid several times. I measured the front, back, sides, and diagonally. Not only was there really nothing symmetrical about it (within a half inch anyway), the side radiuses were not the same either. I also talked with a few older enthusiasts who said the lids never fit well from the factory. The best most owners could hope for was that the lid didn’t hit or rub when it was opened and shut. They simply didn’t have the technology to produce the exact same panel each and every time. Even in these modern times stamping dies wear down and shells (the structural reinforcement portion of the part) don’t always mate to skins (the outer panel on the part) in the way theory might suggest so I can’t really answer the question of what the lid measurements are. I’m not sure anyone could.
Here is what I do know though. I know the measurements of the trunk opening on the coupe I’m working on: Across the front it measures 36 3/4 inches, across the back (bottom) is 35 3/4 inches, and both sides measure 31 inches from front to back along the radius atop the quarter panels.
I hope this info helps whomever searched “measurements of model a deck lid” and came across my little piece of the internet. I think it’s mostly important that the lid be functional and pleasing to look at. To any one who’s interested, I’m always happy to answer questions to the best of my experience and ability. Please don’t hesitate to ask at email@example.com.
First, you all get the standard speech on rust repair. It’s the speech I give when any of my regular customers wants me to repair the rust on their modern car. Here goes… YOU CAN’T STOP IT. Once it is visible, it’s like an iceberg. Ninety percent of it is unseen; under the surface – or in this case, on the inside of the panel. There are three elements required to cause rust to start: metal (the food), water, and oxygen. Once it has started though, only two elements are needed: metal and oxygen. A byproduct of the rusting process is water so with just the slightest access to air will cause rust to continue to grow. Unless the inside can be cleaned completely, and usually it can’t, the rust will always come back.
With restoration work it’s possible to clean everything well and protect the metal inside with paint. The only thing left is replacing the rust hole with new metal. Cutting out the metal is more about finding solid metal to weld to than getting rid of the hole the rust caused. If there are pin holes then the metal is probably too thin. After a patch panel is sized and fitted, it’s important to make sure both pieces are as tight as possible so the heat from welding won’t melt either piece. Once the welding has begun, the heat can also warp the metal – make it wavy. The way to avoid that is to ‘tack weld’ first. The tack welds hold the metal in place and for the solid weld, it’s best to weld in roughly one inch sections keeping as far away from the previous hot area as possible with each new one.
Grinding the welds is the last step. Not hard work but dirty and time consuming. Once ground, it is ready for filler. I’m going to save that for another day. What I did with the rest of today is listed in my log book which I’ve posted a picture of. It’s the way I know how much to bill my customers. Thanks for reading -Kevin
Now that the coupe is back from the stripper, there are 3 things that I want to accomplish before I start spreading the body filler in earnest.
body and cowl-bare metal
First I want to protect the metal by applying etch primer (also called e-coat or, if there is some thickness needed for small rough patches in the metal, I use an epoxy primer) to the entire body inside and out.
wooden body mount kit
Secondly, I want to make sure the body is mounted to the frame properly. After all the wooded body mounts are in place, it is likely they will need to be shimmed in places to assure primarily that the doors are aligned so that they open and shut without dragging on the body. Of course the rumble seat lid (trunk or deck lid), cowl section, and rear fenders need to be aligned and bolted on completely to be confident that the final assembly goes smoothly after it is painted.
doors epoxy primed
rust hole in cowl
Finally, there are still three places where I need to weld patch panels to repair rust. The cowl panel has a large rust hole on the right side and both doors have a degree of rust along the bottom edge of the door skin.
left door rust
I’m going to start with the cowl section because I need to patch the rust before I can install the cowl bracing (subrail extensions) then button down the body and fit the doors. My next post will show me installing the cowl patch panel. Thanks for reading. -Kevin