Since I lost the pics for the first 12 pages of my project, I have decided to start another thread, maybe some will learn from my mistakes. Each of us has our own vision and ideas of what we want and how we want to get to the end result. I'm the first to admit I would do a few things differently if there's ever a 'next time'.
My reasoning for taking on this project was a need for a new hobby; sometimes you have to be careful what you ask for...you might just get it. Many times I've thought, why didn't I just buy a restored car to begin with. Aftermarket parts come with a 99% chance that they'll need tweaking; some will need a lot. Not sure why we get so off track for the want of everything to fit perfectly. Since I grew up in a body shop during the 60's, 70's and the 80's I know this was not fact, new vehicles came with 'terrible by today's standards' fit and finish but we insist on it for our restorations.
Next replaced drivers door post and side cowl and sectioned passenger side cowl. I decided to remove the dash to make it easier to do the side cowl since it consisted of only a few spot welds per side. While I had it out I decided to strip and put a coat of etch primer for corrosion protection. Firewall is next then the thoroughbred floor.
I made this jig before I cut anything out to ensure the post went back in the correct position. The door to no time to realign after doing this.
Next up is the inner and outer cowl. Since I had already done a trial fit with the firewall I prepped it for the final install. Sanded both sides followed with 2 coats of epoxy primer and a couple of coats of black acrylic lacquer for the inside of both panels. Seam seals the hats after the epoxy and before the paint.
Knocked out all the holes for plug welds.
Some weld thru primer and welded inner to outer panel along the windshield mounting area.
Epoxy primer and taped edges where weld thru primer was sprayed for welding to the body.
Next up in a full floor and frame rail assembly from Thoroughbred Manufacturing. I bought a bunch of 1"x1" stock to brace the interior and keep the car from flexing. The floor doesn't look that bad in the picture, I had originally planned on doing floor pans but I also had to do both rear frame rails, torque boxes had a lot of pin holes, trunk floor and drop offs were bad and previously patched and the transition pan was rusted pretty heavily. Just made more sense to replace everything in one shot.
Plasma cutter came in handy
To cut the floor out I added some extra bracing and used an engine lift and slings to grab the rear of the car through the speaker holes and for the front I made a cradle and used 2 trailer jacks to raise the front.
Built a body cart from a drawing provided for by birddog.
I raised the car and rolled the floor from the side. The tough part was getting the firewall lip tucked under the floorpan. Remember you have to do battle with the contour of the tunnel as well. For this I got the floor to where it was just about touching the firewall and then got out every thin scraper and putty knife I had and used them for wedges to guide the firewall lip under the floor. Notice the bracket I made up bolted to my lower control arm mounts. That pipe running across the front end was parallel to the front of the body cart. I obviously couldn't push or pull the floor ahead given all the friction of the frame rails and the inner to outer rockers. I took a big pinch bar and used it as a lever between the front apron support and the front of the body cart. I was pleasantly surprised I was able to pull the floor in it's final resting place by myself.
Before any welding, myself and a friend bolted up all the sheet metal to ensure everything was lined up correctly. This added a lot of work but is a necessary step. Too late to make adjustments for a poorly fitting panel if this important step is bypassed.
Some recommendations to anyone else doing this floor.
Take photo's of each and every body line and gap on the car before dis-assembly.
Take a photo of your original floor as it sits at your wheel houses on each side and inside the trunk panels. Note where the inner rocker sits against the outer rocker. There are notches as well in the inner and outer rockers, mine were bang on.
To mark some reference points drill 1/8" holes, they can be welded up when done. This would have saved me a few headaches and makes for faster alignments.
Get a helper to aid in measurements and make your own frame chart to your car. Trust me you will need it.
Brace the body well, the less anything shifts the easier it is to align everything.
The trickiest part for me was that last inch at the firewall. I made my cart long enough to reach the cradle I put on my front clip. This came in handy to use as a fulcrum point with a pinch bar to pull the floor assy. in place. It took no effort at all to slide it that last inch using this, once I got a bunch flat bars to guide the firewall under the floor.
Once everything is clamped, and you will need a couple of dozen clamps at least. I think I have close to 30 and I used everyone of them.
If you are 99.9% sure the floor is in the correct location weld about 4 plug welds on each side of the upper inner and outer rocker so you can remove the clamps to mount the doors back on. I also did one weld on the inner rocker as well about 6" from the wheel houses on the inner rockers. You don't want to go too crazy yet in case you have to drill these back out in case you over looked something.
Doors were ligned up with quarters and rockers first. Hood was next, aligned with cowl and then the fenders. I'm sticking the head light buckets and grille back in as well to make sure my hood gap is right. This was the 2nd time I had to re-hang the sheet metal, 1st time was for the cowl. Just one more time baby!