View Full Version : Body/Interior Supporting

11-17-2004, 11:00 AM
Hi Guys!

My question revolves around supporting the Car structure while making mounts for the Interior panels in a '35 Ford coupe. A year or so ago, in Street Rodder magazine, they showed GMT Enterprises(?) making these supports using (as I recall) 1" X 1" square tubing, and bending it using an Arbor Press with a homemade "die". Is this the best method? Is there a better way? What about the Harbor Freight Compact Bender-the floor mount stationary one?
I am also confused about how much reinforcing to do-do I just triangulate the inner structure since there isn't any wood left? How many mounting points do I need for the Upholstery guy? This isn't Brain surgery, but I tend to way over-engineer-how much is enough? Thanks-

11-17-2004, 04:39 PM
Hi Craig
I try most times not to say any thing at all if I cant say something good. But i would like to caution you against getting those style benders. If you still want one i know some who are selling theres who are not quite happy with its performance . I hope no one that reads this and takes it as an insult if they own one. Past experience says you may not be happy. :( I guess im spoiled with my bender but i use it on a day to day basis. If you dont mind spending quite a bit more and you think you will have use for it buy a good bender first time around there are plenty out there that will do the job for around 1200.00 or farm it out . buy the tube and have some one bend it for you . Im sure there are plenty of us on the forum who could do that. :wink:

If your support in your 35 is mostly for interior than consult your guy who will do the installation. you can over kill about any job but better than not enough. :roll:


Dutch Comstock
11-17-2004, 06:03 PM
Craig, You can do all of the radius that you need for the job you are doing by being a little creative. For low crown bends you saw through the box tube leaving only one side connected.A few of thes cuts will create a deep sweep and then weld up the cuts. For the rea
l sharp curves you will just have to cut the curve out of flat stock and weld the four pieces together.
Steve is totally correct about buying a cheap bender to do the bending on your tubing. It will not be worth the effort. You have to buy a hossfield type bender and then buy the proper die for round or square tube and for the specific sice of the material and the radius of the bed. If you are only going to do this once in awhile it would be better to do it by the fabrication method but if this si where you want to go in the long run you buy the quality bender and the set of dies for the job you are doing and after a few years you will be able to bend any size of material. Dutch

11-17-2004, 06:37 PM
hi craig, i`ve done this in a 36 before. first there is no structural wood in a 35 or 36. is the cowl feet gone or the b pillar legs or both? the first thing to do is put your body cork under the cowl and shim the rear of the cowl to level your door. (the door normally sags after time) after bolting the cowl to the frame and setting your door gap from cowl to door then you can lift the body (i used a bar between the 1/4 windows and used a jack and bar to lift the body till the door body line and 1/4 body line matched up again) after lifting the body you need to look at the body from a side view and align the curvature of the body. (i used threaded rod between the door posts with a turn buckle to adjust the side curvature) after everything is aligned, the body shimmed (cowl and rear tail pan), the side curvature set , and the door gaps all the way around set, then you can weld in your b pillar mounts and the mounts on the front outriggers . make sure you leave enough room for your body cork under all the mounts , floor pans and rockers. also take before pictures and put them on mm. gary

11-18-2004, 06:56 AM
Thank you very much for the info regarding Benders!!

Steve, thank you for the heads up on the idea of having a member do this. If it turns out that I cannot perform this (as I would like to learn and be able to say that I did most of the car myself), I will try and enlist the aid of a MM member. All of you have given me a tremendous amount of confidence (I hope this will translate down into my hands! :D :? )

Dutch, as usual, you bring a toughtful, practical solution that a rookie can use. I am going to try and do this myself first, and try not to end up with a pile of useless tubing.

Gary, My cowl and B pillars are in good shape (I'm replacing the door bottoms and some small patches on the cowl and 1/4 panels- pinholes). I do have a little door sag (not much). I really like the threaded rod and turnbuckle idea. I am a little confused regarding shimming the cowl. Did you mean to shim the cowl in the rear mount of the cowl to adjust the door gaps using thin metal strips? What is the best size of square tubing for the bracing?
As for the pictures, I am truly humbled by all of you-we'll see-

Here is a possible ignorant question. I was talking to a Street Rod shop (in Nebraska), and one of the workers was explaining about putting Rhino lining on the bottoms of Fiberglass fenders to stop road debris from cracking the paint on top of the Fender finish. This brought up an idea :D what about coating the bottom of the body with a Rhino lining to keep down the noise? If you did try something like this, would the Rhino lining take the place of the body cork between the Body and Frame? This is going to be a driver! If this isn't workable, is there a better cork (?) than the Factory installed to use between the Body and Frame?


Dutch Comstock
11-19-2004, 12:34 PM
Craig, What you do when you shim the body is you have two mounting bolts on the cowl so you would bolt both of them tight and then check for door sag abd then add shims under hinge body mount to lift hinge area and realign door sag.
Before you do this you should re pin your hinges to make sure they are nice and tight. Usually with a vehicle with a closed top such as your coupe the body should still be very close to original dimensions and door mis allignment is in hinge wear or door fatigue such as the lower door frame being rotted. First do the door hinges and then rebuild the door and make sure it is square with the opening as you rebuild it and then it is only a matter of hinge adjustment and a little twisting of the door to get the factory fit. The factory fit was not very good. Usually on a street rod you rework door and door edges to get perfect fit and distance between door and rest of sheet metal.
Older cars befor 1935 fords were shimmed to make everything fit and convertibles to 1948 On your 35 you shim just to make sure when you tighten body bolts you don`t pull body out of line if it isn`t tight to the frame. Dutch

11-19-2004, 12:46 PM

Thank you very much for the info-I will do exactly as you suggest. I assume that obviously I will need the Factory webbing in between the Body and Frame-


Todd H
07-15-2005, 07:09 PM
I know this thread isn't that current, and maybe you are already past this point, but FWIW I have used spray on bed liner on several cars and trucks with very good results. If your car is going to be a "driver", (which I prefer to trailer queens) it is a very good way to protect all your hard work on the underside of your car. On some parts I used our local LINE-X guy (fiberglass rear fenders on a dually), on other parts that were hard to transport or that I already had a ton of hrs in, I used SEM that I could spray myself. (like a cab or car body) It usually came down to time, whether it was easier to farm out so I could get something else important done. With a little practice on an old hood, you can get the SEM to look pretty good. (Hint: play with the reduction) BTW I always put some etch primer under the SEM, just in case. You dont have to do that with the LINE-X. As far as it being a sound deadener, it cant hurt, but there are better choices available from places like Dynamat or Cascade audio. But I like it because I know it is practically bullet proof.

PS No offense to any trailered cars, I have built and deeply appreciate both, and personally think a vehicle looks its best when it is moving.