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Author Topic: 40 60s body off of frame  (Read 1269 times)

Robert Bothwell CLC #20850

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40 60s body off of frame
« on: August 11, 2006, 09:34:06 AM »
  My Cadillac has been waiting patiently for 37 years for me to get serious about restoration.
  Last week I took the body off the frame and am working on cleaning off years of rust and grease from the frame.
  For those of you not familar with a Fleetwood body, getting the body in the air was different from a normal car. The body and floorpan are not one piece items all welded up. There is a large red oak plank down each side of the body. These are separated from the support points with large, thick rubber insulators. Then the body A pillars, "B pillars and rear areas are bolted through metal mounting points, through the wood planks and the metal support brackets welded to the frame.
The floorpan is then screwed to the wood planks rather than being welded to the rest of the body. Fortunatly, the planks in my car were good enough to support all the body weight while lifting it off the frame. If these planks were totally rotted out, a 60s would be a flimsy car indeed.
 I need to find out how to post pictures to share my experiences with the rest of you. More later,
Bob B.


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Re: 40 60s body off of frame
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2006, 11:02:29 AM »
Perhaps some knowledgable member can advise of a method to safely replace the oak planks without totally removing the body from the frame. My 1939 60 Special needs these boards replaced and it looks like a very daunting task.

Robert Bothwell CLC #20850

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Re: 40 60s body off of frame
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2006, 12:30:32 PM »
Hi Chuck,
 Daunting is the  precisely correct term for that task.
Im sure someone in the club has gone through this and can offer advice.
 If it wasnt so rediculous, what would work well is to build a BIG box, put sand in the bottom, turn the body upside down, and finish filling with sand to the floorboard. With all the sheetmetal supported, the planks could be taken off safely and replaced.
 My particular problem is that the floorboard sheetmetal out near the door areas are all rusted away and have to be fixed.
Also a daunting task I suspect.
Bob B.

Brad Ipsen CLC#737

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Re: 40 60s body off of frame
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2006, 08:38:40 PM »
I have done this job but not with the body on the frame.  The first thing to do is get some square tubing in 1 inch and 1 1/2 inch sizes (or other sizes that are available) and weld up a frame work inside the car.  All interior parts have to be completely removed.  I dont remember exactly how I did the structure but make sure the "B" post is located in all directions.  This part of the job went fast using these great MIG welders.  It came out fast also after the job was complete by grinding the welds.  With this frame work complete the body can be lifted off of the frame safely even with bad wood at the base.  My rocker panel, wood beam and a lot of the floor touching the wood needed to be replaced.  The rocker panel on the 60S is non-structural.  I got a piece of metal bend to the correct shape looking from the end view including the steps at the door jamb.  The metal did not have the compound curve that you see in the plan view.  This was done by making pie cuts in it and working the curve into it.  Save as much of the old wood as possible for patterns.  You will have to glue pieces together to get the shape.  It is not a real easy job but it is not the most difficult piece of wood on the car.  The rear window frame is the most difficult.  The metal floor can be filled in as required.

Don Boshara #594

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Re: 40 60s body off of frame
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2006, 11:49:33 AM »
Having done a body off on a ‘40 60S I believe the wood sills can be replaced without taking the body completely off. However, if the wood is that far gone I would think it very likely that there is some metal that needs replacing too.

I did my car about 29 years ago and my memory isn’t what it used to be, but as I recall this is what I did:

I had to take the body off in order to replace the outer edges of the floor, the base of the B pillars, the lower part of the rear door opening dog leg, the rocker panels and the trunk floor. The wood was so far gone that I had to guess at some of the dimensions so I made one new sill out of cheap pine and fooled with it til it fit which meant fastening it in place and putting the body back on the frame.

Next I loosened the body bolts on one side and removed the bolts on the other. Then I raised that side and removed the trial sill, made a new one out of red oak and a mirror image for the other side and installed them.

Brad is correct when he says the back window frame is the most difficult piece to copy.

Follow his advice and brace the body well if you have to remove it.

If you have to do a body-off reinstall the hood first and align the rest of the front end to it. Also, the door alignments can be adjusted by how much you tighten the various body bolts all of which have rubber cushions except the front ones.

Only a damn fool would restore a car as far gone as mine was.


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