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Trunk Floor, Tail Panel, Quarter Panels, Outer wheel wells - Order of importance?


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I'm ready to tackle my trunk floor, tail panel, wheel wells and also the quarters.  My questions are this:  Is there a certain order that I should do this in?  I'm guessing it might be easier to do the trunk floor if I have the quarters and tail panel cut out first?  Or is that wrong and I should do one before the other?  

 

Also I currently have the car up on 6 ton jack stands.  The rear are under the axle and the front the frame rails.  Can I do all this work with the car the way it sits?  I do have a rotisserie but I did read plenty of posts on here saying NOT to do this type of work on a rotisserie.

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You're fine, and correct not to do it on a rotisserie.  You want the frame rails and suspension to take the weight of the car (as normal) because supporting it by the frame rails could cause something to tweak irregularly. The unibody structure has the "B/C-pillar" solidly attached to the inner wheel houses and rear frame rail, which is huge for the structural integrity.

 

I pulled my taillight panel then the trunk pan & drop-offs.  Then I welded a cross-beam between the frame rails just ahead of the rear cross member before removing and replacing the rear cross-member.  After that, I replaced the trunk pan and drop-offs.  Then, I replaced the taillight panel, but didn't reattach to the quarters.  Next came the quarters and outer wheel houses (did each side separately).  My logic was that having something major attached while doing each area would help maintain the integrity of the car's unibody - which I was honestly waiting for the whole thing to collapse once I pulled the taillight panel... it didn't.

 

I've also seen others pull all of those pieces with no issues whatsoever.

 

Another valuable tip I received was to clean out and treat the insides of the frame rails after the trunk pan's out - you're never going to get back in there and have another chance to do this.  Just a little extra insurance policy for the insides of the frame rails.

 

Hope this helps!

Eric

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I pulled my taillight panel then the trunk pan & drop-offs.  Then I welded a cross-beam between the frame rails just ahead of the rear cross member before removing and replacing the rear cross-member.  After that, I replaced the trunk pan and drop-offs.  Then, I replaced the taillight panel, but didn't reattach to the quarters.  Next came the quarters and outer wheel houses (did each side separately).  My logic was that having something major attached while doing each area would help maintain the integrity of the car's unibody - which I was honestly waiting for the whole thing to collapse once I pulled the taillight panel... it didn't.

 

Was this cross-beam the thing you mentioned in your build as the "gas tank hammock"?  If my cross member is in good enough shape and I can leave that will I still need this cross-beam temporarily between the frame rails?

Stang Life!

 

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When I did mine, I just had it on tires and sitting as normal on the ground. I cut out the tail panel, half of my trunk pan was already gone, so I finished cutting the trunk pan, drop-offs and the rear cross member out, Cleaned and did some rust prevention on the inside of the frame rails. After welding in a new rear cross member, trunk pan, and tail panel I moved to the inside and did some repair work on the floors. I went back and cut the quarter panels off and did one side at a time and at the same time, repaired the outer wheel houses and welded in new trunk drop offs.

Every so often, I would just shift gears to another part of the car so that I wouldn't get frustrated on one certain area. Rebuilt the door hinges, realigned the doors and now working on the front end area.

 

Tom

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So really as long as I'm supporting the car by the rear axle and the front by the suspension that would mimic it being on all four tires. As long as the car is level I should be good to go right? I'd just prefer to keep it on the 6 ton jacks to have that extra working height and more room under the car.

Stang Life!

 

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Do this. Cheap (scrap lumber), easy, much safer than jack stands, keeps the weight on the suspension, and plenty of room to work under the car. I did an FMX to T5 swap with these no problem. Just some 2x12 from the scrap bin at menards and a couple pieces of 2x4 and nails.

 

IMG-1482.jpg

73 Grande H Code. Headman long tube headers, T-5 Transmission, 3.70 Traclok, Lowered 1" all around, Aussie 2v heads w/ 2.19 intake, 1.71 exhaust, screw in studs, full roller cam 608/612 lift 280/281 duration LSA 112, Quick Fuel 750 CFM double pumper, AirGap intake.

 

- Jason

 

 

082-hot-rod-power-tour-2017-1970-1970s.jpg

 

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I'm not qualified to get into bodywork stuff, but my "logic" would say to measure everything before cutting anything as long as it's all straight, not crashed and damaged.  That way you have a reference to go back to.

Geoff.

Geoff.

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Do this. Cheap (scrap lumber), easy, much safer than jack stands, keeps the weight on the suspension, and plenty of room to work under the car. I did an FMX to T5 swap with these no problem.  Just some 2x12 from the scrap bin at menards and a couple pieces of 2x4 and nails.

 

IMG-1482.jpg

 

Good idea Jason!! Thinking out of the (scrap) box!!

Geoff.

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Do this. Cheap (scrap lumber), easy, much safer than jack stands, keeps the weight on the suspension, and plenty of room to work under the car. I did an FMX to T5 swap with these no problem.  Just some 2x12 from the scrap bin at menards and a couple pieces of 2x4 and nails.

 

IMG-1482.jpg

 

Not a bad idea...  Looks like you stacked about 8 of those for a 16" lift?  What length did you cut them at?  About 20 inches?

Stang Life!

 

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8 pieces on each for 1 12" lift. I cut them about 18". I think 20 would have ben better. I just used framing nailer to nail them together each layer.

73 Grande H Code. Headman long tube headers, T-5 Transmission, 3.70 Traclok, Lowered 1" all around, Aussie 2v heads w/ 2.19 intake, 1.71 exhaust, screw in studs, full roller cam 608/612 lift 280/281 duration LSA 112, Quick Fuel 750 CFM double pumper, AirGap intake.

 

- Jason

 

 

082-hot-rod-power-tour-2017-1970-1970s.jpg

 

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I pulled my taillight panel then the trunk pan & drop-offs.  Then I welded a cross-beam between the frame rails just ahead of the rear cross member before removing and replacing the rear cross-member.  After that, I replaced the trunk pan and drop-offs.  Then, I replaced the taillight panel, but didn't reattach to the quarters.  Next came the quarters and outer wheel houses (did each side separately).  My logic was that having something major attached while doing each area would help maintain the integrity of the car's unibody - which I was honestly waiting for the whole thing to collapse once I pulled the taillight panel... it didn't.

 

Was this cross-beam the thing you mentioned in your build as the "gas tank hammock"?  If my cross member is in good enough shape and I can leave that will I still need this cross-beam temporarily between the frame rails?

 

Exactly right.  I used it because it was the most handy piece of metal I had laying around at the time that would fit all the way across.  Since the rear frame rails were going to be separated from pretty much everything at the rear end, I figured I'd at least give them a little bit of support (from each other) while I replaced the rear cross member.  If your cross member is good, you won't need the extra bracing - I just used it for peace of mind while having it all apart.

 

BTW - the gas tank hammock was not actually part of my build, but rather a Redneck Engineered solution to keep the gas tank in the car since the previous owners had let the trunk pan rust out so badly it fell apart (since the forward bracket for the gas tank straps welded directly to the underside of the trunk pan, after all).

 

As I found it, once I started pulling loose trunk pan sheet metal from the car:

trunk1.jpg

 

While employed as a support bracket while I replaced the rear cross-member:

rearend1.jpg

 

Rear cross-member replaced:

rearend2.jpg

 

While I had it all open, I treated the insides of the frame rails with Rust Bullet Black Shell (epoxy primer):

trunk1-1.jpg

 

Make sure to get the 'long' trunk pan, not the short one like I did:

trunk2-1.jpg

 

Since mine's a restomod and I'd already bought the short panel (not knowing there was a difference), I just made a panel to bridge the gap:

trunk3.jpg

 

Just after removing and replacing that rusted out quarter extension panel (whatever it's called - seen in the other pics):

rearcorner1.jpg

 

After that, welded in the new taillight panel:

taillight1-1024x768.jpg

 

 

And test-fitted everything to see that I'd gotten it all lined up:

taillight3.jpg

 

After that, I started in on the quarters.

 

Hope this helps!

Eric

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Regarding floor pan and drop offs.

How one is supposed to handle the corner between the two? I saw on few occasions the floor pan sheet folded to rest onto them. (Mine is straight)

And seen drop off with a 90deg bend on the top. What is the expected construction from factory?

73 modified Grande 351C. (Finally back on the road woohoo!) 

71 429CJ. ( In progress )

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Regarding floor pan and drop offs.

How one is supposed to handle the corner between the two? I saw on few occasions the floor pan sheet folded to rest onto them. (Mine is straight)

And seen drop off with a 90deg bend on the top. What is the expected construction from factory?

 

Both the repop trunk pan and drop-offs had 90 degree bends for the frame rails. I'd already done the trunk pan, so I just laid mine over the top of the trunk pan on either side.

 

HPIM0829.jpg

 

HPIM0830.jpg

 

HPIM0831.jpg

Eric

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Do this. Cheap (scrap lumber), easy, much safer than jack stands, keeps the weight on the suspension, and plenty of room to work under the car. I did an FMX to T5 swap with these no problem.  Just some 2x12 from the scrap bin at menards and a couple pieces of 2x4 and nails. 

 

OK, here is my version going off your idea and also others I saw on YouTube after you piqued my interest.  Should give me about a 12" lift from the bottom of the tires.

 

 

Wheel-Cribs.jpg

Stang Life!

 

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Very cool. Glad I could help out. They are handy for sure.

73 Grande H Code. Headman long tube headers, T-5 Transmission, 3.70 Traclok, Lowered 1" all around, Aussie 2v heads w/ 2.19 intake, 1.71 exhaust, screw in studs, full roller cam 608/612 lift 280/281 duration LSA 112, Quick Fuel 750 CFM double pumper, AirGap intake.

 

- Jason

 

 

082-hot-rod-power-tour-2017-1970-1970s.jpg

 

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Both the repop trunk pan and drop-offs had 90 degree bends for the frame rails.  I'd already done the trunk pan, so I just laid mine over the top of the trunk pan on either side.

 

Downloaded and saved these picts, thx for posting them.

 

You ment like this? 

Is it assembled like this from origin or were the drop offs somehow folded and one with the floorpan?

Meaning is there a need to keep some of the old floor metal (+- 1 inch) to do this if the drop offs are ok?

spotwelds.jpg

73 modified Grande 351C. (Finally back on the road woohoo!) 

71 429CJ. ( In progress )

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Fabrice, I think the floor pans were a 1 piece design with the drop offs on it and bent 90 degrees! 

 

I've asked, because when i've patched my 73, having just light corrosion on one side at the fold, I remember there was no double metal there.

@Mr4x4 used new separated sheets that were having the fold. Just like the floor pan that I have with a 90 deg extra bend.

 

oiled.jpg

 

Unless I'd replace the drop offs and buy new ones with a fold on top, I will have to cut the floor +- 1 inch away from the drop offs,

This way, I can spot weld from beneath and also eventually do same from the side once the lower quarter is removed...

Not expecting the 1 mm extra height to be a prob.

Thanks for clarifying that.

73 modified Grande 351C. (Finally back on the road woohoo!) 

71 429CJ. ( In progress )

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Apologies - My internet at work is blocking the pics, and when I was at home last night before I got a chance to take a look, we had a power hit for a few hours.

 

If I'm tracking what you're saying (without benefit of pictures), basically both the trunk pan as well as the drop-offs have 90 degree bends in them at the point of contact to each other as well as the rear frame rails.  So yes, there will be an overlap of the pieces.  Since I did my trunk pan first, the drop-offs came out on top [of the framerail/trunkpan/drop-off sandwich] - and No, the extra layer of thin sheet metal has very little impact on the overall fit of everything.

 

Keep in mind that mine is a restomod, I used repop sheet metal, and I didn't everything out of necessity rather than the desire for executing a faithful restoration.  Since my entire trunk is carpeted, I could care less which panel wound up on top, or if it was factory correct.  That's just how mine went back together.  Someone interested in "getting it absolutely right," as in "faithful restoration," would be using NOS sheet metal and referencing an unmolested car to duplicate the same.

Eric

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Fabrice, I think the floor pans were a 1 piece design with the drop offs on it and bent 90 degrees! 

 

I've asked, because when i've patched my 73, having just light corrosion on one side at the fold, I remember there was no double metal there.

@Mr4x4 used new separated sheets that were having the fold. Just like the floor pan that I have with a 90 deg extra bend.

 

oiled.jpg

 

Unless I'd replace the drop offs and buy new ones with a fold on top, I will have to cut the floor +- 1 inch away from the drop offs,

This way, I can spot weld from beneath and also eventually do same from the side once the lower quarter is removed...

Not expecting the 1 mm extra height to be a prob.

Thanks for clarifying that.

I believe the factory and NOS were a one piece with the trunk floor and drop-offs so no seam or overlap.  If I recall, my repro trunk floor had no 90-degree lip, that was on the drop-off. We put the drop-off lip over the trunk floor.

 

IMG-5557-14528-600-400-100.jpg

 

IMG-5556-14527-600-400-100.jpg

 

IMG-5559-14530-600-400-100.jpg

1973 H Code Convertible - Medium Copper Metallic - June 8, 1973, Built Ford Marketing Sales Vehicle

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I believe the factory and NOS were a one piece with the trunk floor and drop-offs so no seam or overlap.  If I recall, my repro trunk floor had no 90-degree lip, that was on the drop-off. We put the drop-off lip over the trunk floor.

IMG-5557-14528-600-400-100.jpg

 

Never seen the original (as NotAT5 posted) offered anywhere. Took already a while to score one for a human price over here, so mine will do just fine.

 

I'd prefer to have the lip beneath for a cleaner look as the original, but after giving it some thoughts, doing this way have many advantages, 

most spot welds done from above and I could spot weld the lip of my floor to drop-off, tho not sure if the torch would fit easy with the rail in the way...

Way around if quarters are still on, it's gonna ask for serious gym to weld the sides.

thx for posting these, preciously stored them for later study!

 

@Mr4x4

No prob, all my options are clear now thx for all posted picts.

I'm not after concours either, just after something solid/durable.

73 modified Grande 351C. (Finally back on the road woohoo!) 

71 429CJ. ( In progress )

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Make sure to get the 'long' trunk pan, not the short one like I did:

trunk2-1.jpg

 

Since mine's a restomod and I'd already bought the short panel (not knowing there was a difference), I just made a panel to bridge the gap:

trunk3.jpg

 

Just after removing and replacing that rusted out quarter extension panel (whatever it's called - seen in the other pics):

rearcorner1.jpg

 

After that, welded in the new taillight panel:

 

Hope this helps!

 

Do you think the shorter trunk floor would be correct for my car since I have the fold down rear seat?  

 

Also are there steps or a correct way to remove my crusty rear taillight panel?  It's even worse on the inside of the trunk...  It's kind of hard to find all the spot welds with how bad it is.  Once I do find all the spot welds and drill them out or grind them down really good then I will need to use my air hammer?

 

 

Rear-Drv-Damage3.jpg

Stang Life!

 

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The 'long' or 'short' trunk pan doesn't have anything to do with seat options. The short version is out there only because it used to (maybe still does) fall into a different shipping category- it is sized to be easier/ cheaper to ship. As Stanglover points out, if you have extensive rot in the trunk the short version may not cover or replace all the rusted parts...

 

My $0.02 in general on your tail panel question: if I am working with panels that are rusty and bent/ damaged, I usually cut away the larger sections leaving the spot welded flanges intact. In my opinion, it is easier to remove a thin strip that is spot welded by using a cut off wheel to grind through each spot, moving along the strip until it is all separated.

 

Not sure if that makes sense?

 

For removing the tail panel specifically, be careful at the quarter to trunk transitions, these are not re-popped and tend to rust. This piece is part of the trunk W/S sealing surface so take care. Also the fuel filler support and bumper supports are welded to the inside of the tail panel. Depending on the extent of your rust these may be damaged or intact, but do need to be separated before the taillight panel will come out...

Matt

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The 'long' or 'short' trunk pan doesn't have anything to do with seat options. The short version is out there only because it used to (maybe still does) fall into a different shipping category- it is sized to be easier/ cheaper to ship. As Stanglover points out, if you have extensive rot in the trunk the short version may not cover or replace all the rusted parts...

 

My $0.02 in general on your tail panel question: if I am working with panels that are rusty and bent/ damaged, I usually cut away the larger sections leaving the spot welded flanges intact. In my opinion, it is easier to remove a thin strip that is spot welded by using a cut off wheel to grind through each spot, moving along the strip until it is all separated.

 

Not sure if that makes sense?

 

For removing the tail panel specifically, be careful at the quarter to trunk transitions, these are not re-popped and tend to rust. This piece is part of the trunk W/S sealing surface so take care. Also the fuel filler support and bumper supports are welded to the inside of the tail panel. Depending on the extent of your rust these may be damaged or intact, but do need to be separated before the taillight panel will come out...

Bingo - across the board.

 

I did the same thing when removing things like the taillight panel.  It's tough to see everything a the joining places, so you might as well take the rest of the panel out anyway, and focus on separating the joints.  The important part is to not mangle the pieces intended to remain on the car for the new pieces to have something solid and correct to join-up to.

 

For the most part, I drilled out my spot welds with a purpose-made tool I picked up from Harbor Freight (a lot of people say HF tools suck and suggest spending 3-5 times as much on name-brand tools instead - I spent approx $5 apiece on 2 of these, and they lasted the entire 4 years of my taking apart approximately 60% of my car's sheet metal).  https://www.harborfreight.com/38-in-double-sided-rotary-spot-weld-cutter-63657.html?cid=paid_google|*PLA+-+All+Products+-+Lower+Sales+Items|New+Products+-+%281%29+Price+%3C%2410|63657&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&mkwid=s|pcrid|318476002950|pkw||pmt||pdv|c|slid||product|63657|pgrid|63088204786|ptaid|aud-466777368654:pla-301077805115|&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIzvuXxY_Q4AIV1P_jBx0KsgLuEAQYAiABEgKWhPD_BwE

 

63657_I.jpg

 

Toward the end of the rust repair (the trunk area and quarters) on panels I needed to separate that both panels were going to be replaced, I was comfortable enough with what I was doing and got to the point that I just blew through the spot welds with a plasma cutter.

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Eric

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