Frame cleaning.

February 17th, 2013

After a break last weekend for my birthday (for which I rented the local theatre for a special screening of Star Wars, the original version before it was Lucased to death) I got back to the car this weekend.

A couple of weekends ago I finished off the open ends of the frame. I just cut small sections of tube and welded them on as caps. I cut them to the approximate shape and tacked them in place then heated them red hot and hammered them to shape. I finished by brazing them to fill any gaps then sanded to shape.

IMG_3421_1 IMG_3422_1 IMG_3417_1

Closing tube ends.

I also welded in the rear side panels. They are a little rough in some places but not anywhere that will be seen. I will probably seam seal completely around the side panels to fill up the small gaps, mainly so there aren’t places for water to sit. I’ll paint first then seam seal then paint over it.

IMG_3419_1 IMG_3423_1 Rear side panels.

That was all done several weeks ago. It’s a bit tricky to see but in the picture above and to the right you might notice how the side panel doesn’t meet the flange on the rear firewall. This is fixed at the next stage today.

Today I took the frame off again and took it to my main garage which has a flat concrete floor. By laying the frame on the floor I could find any places where it wasn’t flat and make subtle adjustments (with a large rubber dead-blow hammer). It wasn’t too bad actually and it was only slightly out in some places.

I also made the adjustment so the rear firewall would fit. The frame was 1/2 an inch too wide at that point so I just put it on it’s side and pushed down on it. That squeezed it up enough so the firewall is now a perfect fit.

IMG_3427_1_1 IMG_3428_1 Garage floor adjustments.

I then spent hours wire brushing the frame and brazed joints. I had previously (2 weeks ago) sprayed the welds with caustic soda solution which is what BOC suggest to remove the flux. I didn’t have any caustic soda but I did have some Drano which is about 50% sodium hydroxide.  In a bucket I mixed some of that with water and let it react for a while then put the solution into a spray bottle. Wearing gloves and a respirator I sprayed that on the frame. It definitely helps to remove the hardened flux. When I got to actually wire brushing it this week it all came off easily.

IMG_3434_1 Wire brushed frame.

I then wiped it down in Kephos (which is almost all gone and I really need to get some more) to stop it rusting again. It will still need rubbing down before painting though. Before putting it back on the chassis I made some minor adjustments to it. I cut about 3/8ths of an inch near the throttle pedal just to provide a little extra clearance for the ankle. I also drilled the holes for the bottom bolts which I have been meaning to do for ages.


IMG_3441_2 Ankle clearance cut-out.

I also did something Joss suggested and cut a whopping great hole in the side of the footwell/firewall. This is to provide easy access to the steering box and pedals. It doesn’t seem to affect the strength or rigidity at all. It is half covered with the valence in place and will be covered by the bonnet when that’s in place.

IMG_3432_1 IMG_3433_1 Access hole.

With the frame back on the car I refitted the rear firewall. I found I needed to make some adjustments there as the position of things had changed slightly. I also trimmed the holes and flanges to make them neater and I welded up the mounting holes and drilled new ones in the correct positions. Currently I am using stove bolts but as the rear firewall will soon be permanently attached to the frame I will replace them with steel rivets (hand made ones – not pop rivets). I will file and sand the braze on the mounting points so it is tidy first.

IMG_3436_1 IMG_3437_1

During the week I also ordered some parts from David at A7 Components in the UK so I can finish off my rear axle. I am going to shim the tapers on the half shafts which isn’t ideal but I guess the worst that can happen is the hubs spin on the half-shafts ruining what are already buggered components. Apparently shimming the tapers is common on Model T Fords. You can buy new half-shafts and hubs from the UK but it’s not cheap. Shimming will be enough to get me mobile which is the first step!

I also need to rivet the brake linings in place now the shoes are all painted and dry. I will do that during the week. The other thing to do is make up an instrument panel and start figuring out how I want to do that. I also will make the little cover that attach to the frame to cover the space above the springs. That’s a simple steel folding job for which I will make a cardboard template first I think.

Joss is making great progress on his special body. I need to hurry up since he’s ordering steel already and will be ordering aluminium soon. We both have to be ready for the Roycroft Trophy event at the end of March. Ready as in able to show off the bodies, not driving!


Oh, and I am now a member of the Waitemata branch of the Vintage Car Club finally (after lurking about at their events for over a year). I know now what the heroes felt like in Return of the Jedi when the Ewoks made them members of the tribe!

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