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Blooze Own: An F355 Six Speed N* Build Thread by Bloozberry
Started on: 04-24-2010 08:32 PM
Replies: 1251 (208014 views)
Last post by: La fiera on 12-23-2017 07:43 PM
355Fiero
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Report this Post07-14-2014 07:26 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 355FieroSend a Private Message to 355FieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

exoticse;

I think you are going to have to do a similar process to the widebodies..... Add a piece to the outside of the existing fender. When I did the cutting and pasting, I had some seriously messed up body lines that needed straightening so I cut a line around the wheel wells and pushed everything down to line up and out somewhat and then fiberglassed the gaps closed. I ended up still needing to put a fair amount of body filler into the areas above the wheel wells as they still went down more than they went out so there were voids to fill. Hence the decision to donate my panels to Blooz and Yarmouth Fiero to use a bucks for their molds.

Blooz and Yarmouth will need to take some templates of the shape and curves from one side and make sure the other side is the same or close and do a bit of grinding and filling to get them really close.

You might be better off to add new fender pieces over top versus the cutting and pasting that I did.

Cheers
Don

Edit: Hey look at that. First time I have had a new page on Pennock's..... (It's the little things that make it fun....... ;o) )

[This message has been edited by 355Fiero (edited 07-14-2014).]

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Sage
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Report this Post07-14-2014 08:02 PM Click Here to See the Profile for SageClick Here to Email SageSend a Private Message to SageEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Don, you OWN the page!LOL

Lovin the progress Dave.

I'll have to go back through AGAIN, as I don't remember seeing any info on how/when you did the B pillars to end up with them the way they are in your most recent pics, although I do remember seeing and making note that they were done that way.

It looks like you are planning on using the MR2 back glass. I'm planning the same thing on my 308, and am still pondering on whether to cut out the factory B pillars as it looks like you did or not. Another idea that occurred to me was to put a "slice" in toward the back, then move, re-shape and reinforce to accommodate the shape of the new window as opposed to adding a "C" pillars behind the B.

I don't see why it wouldn't be alright to do what it looks like you've done and remove the wide section of the B pillar seeing how any structural integrity is essentially going to be "put back" by doing the C pillar, which is basically just the B moved to a new location, especially if it extends to what's left of the original B, and goes all the way across and repeats on the other side. Thoughts anybody? Am also thinking if done "right" the roof could be very slightly lowered at the back, to more closely resemble the roof line on a 308 also.

I have looked at how Archie and crew did the 246 Dino they worked on, but so far, it looks like the placement of the curved glass is going to be in a different location than it was on that body. From what I can tell from pictures of the 308, the center section of glass angles in toward the front of the car at the bottom, just slightly, but in, none-the-less.

Don't want to sidetrack this thread, so if any of this is too much off course, say the word and I'll delete it. I'm sure you've got a plan on how to do your back glass, as you've already started making changes, that's what caught my attention and made me raise the question, but like I said, if it's too far off track, we'll drop it.


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Bloozberry
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Report this Post07-14-2014 09:15 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BloozberrySend a Private Message to BloozberryEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Sage, those C pillars are what the previous owner used to brace the rear edge of the roof after he'd cut through most of the B pillar. I've left them in there for now but I'm planning to go the same route as Archie's gang did on that 246, ie fab a metal rear window frame, then one for each rear quarter glass, and then attach them all together and enclose the area with more sheet metal that will fit under the sail panels. In the pics above, my MR2 rear glass is just sitting there for inspiration.

Exoticse: Don sent me a whole hockey-sock full of photos depicting how he did the body mods but I looked through them all and couldn't find any showing the rear fender changes in progress. I do agree with Don that it won't be the same process for your stock bodied car. Remember, the reason Don's mods weren't specifically to widen the fenders, but rather to lower the tops of the arches. If you used the same process, your wheel arch would not only widen but drop quite a bit given the steep slope of the stock fenders. You'd really need tack-on fender flares that were then melded back into the stock body like the IMSA bodies, or an integral wide-body approach like Archie's kit.

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Report this Post07-14-2014 09:56 PM Click Here to See the Profile for SageClick Here to Email SageSend a Private Message to SageEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Thanks BB.

I did know that the glass in your pics is just sitting there, and that what is there is not what you plan to end up with.

I guess what I was wondering, you also answered by saying you plan to fab frames for the quarter glass and rear glass, then attach them all together and fill in between. I actually considered cutting this section off an MR2 and grafting it on, but don't really like that idea.....

There is usually more than one way to do most everything, but there's also some methods that work better than others, so I guess I'm curious to see how you plan to go about it, as I'm sure it won't be an exact duplicate of what Archie did, though based on the same procedure.

Keep posting the updates, and I'll stay tuned!


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Yarmouth Fiero
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Report this Post07-15-2014 07:17 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Yarmouth FieroClick Here to Email Yarmouth FieroSend a Private Message to Yarmouth FieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

That looks great Blooz. I am very excited about how it is all coming together. It looks even better on your chassis than it did on my chassis last summer. I was in Halifax yesterday for meetings and drove right by your place yesterday afternoon on the way home but was torn about stopping in unannounced. I now regret driving by without stopping to say hi. It was almost exactly when you made your post yesterday. Next time !!!!!!!!

Edit: for poor grammer

[This message has been edited by Yarmouth Fiero (edited 07-15-2014).]

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Bloozberry
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Report this Post07-15-2014 08:40 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BloozberrySend a Private Message to BloozberryEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Graham, never pass by without stopping in.

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Report this Post07-16-2014 11:29 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BloozberrySend a Private Message to BloozberryEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

As I mentioned earlier, having the rear quarters mocked up on the frame presented me with the opportunity to take measurements for work down the road. The first thing I decided to tackle was the rear steel bumper bar placement. With it set up the way it currently is, there is no room for the stock bumper bar, let alone any of the honeycomb energy absorption material. When I first removed the rear quarters that had been permanently installed by the previous owner, I was quite surprised to see the two bare lower frame rail horns without any cross member bumper bar between them. Nor was any in a separate package either.

Luckily I have an '85 parts car that I could steal the rear bumper bar from and take some measurements to get some idea where to start. Obviously I won't be using the '85's bumper bar due to its condition, but fabricating a new one using similar properties should be relatively easy once I know what mods are needed.



The rust bug has all but turned this bumper bar back into the iron ore it came from.



Nevertheless, I was able to get some good measurements off of it and add it to my frame drawings for reference. Next up was to get an accurate profile of the rear fascia to know how much room existed between it and the hidden chassis behind it. I used a small profile gauge and a level to trace the approximate shape of the rear fascia. It wasn't large enough to do it all in one shot but by being careful to hold the gauge perfectly vertical, and by making a bunch of overlapping reference marks, I managed.



After each impression, I traced the profile section onto a large piece of cardboard, then cut out the template and test fitted it to the actual car to make any final adjustments:



Once the shape was about as good as it could get using this method, I then used the data points to draw the fascia's profile electronically and add it to my chassis drawing. It became painfully obvious why the PO had removed the bumper bar altogether once all the pieces of the puzzle were laid out. Here's how much interference there would be without modifications (the blue shaded pieces are the honeycomb structure):



Even without the honeycomb material you can see that the rear fascia and the bumper bar want to occupy the same space. So now I have some decisions to make. Either I:

1. keep the stock style bumper bar and recess it only to the extent necessary to get the metal bar to clear the fiberglass fascia (50mm) like this:



2. keep the stock style bumper bar and recess it far enough (90mm) to retain most of the honeycomb material like this:



Or some other option I haven't thought of yet. I realize ditching the honeycomb material would make my life easier in the short term, but then again it may come back to haunt me during my provincial certification inspection. I know they've been picky about bumper modifications so the more stock it looks, the better off I'll likely be. Chances are they won't notice a large recess as much as they'd notice some custom fangled bumper bar. Opinions?

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Report this Post07-16-2014 12:32 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ccfiero350Click Here to Email ccfiero350Send a Private Message to ccfiero350Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

I have a similar issue with my imsa rear bumper. I was thinking of using a vac bag of poly balls and resin to make a new plastic insert to fill the space between the glass skin and metal under-garments.

You can buy kits to make racing seat inserts that custom fit your butt to your aluminum racing seat. Or you can make your own from a beanbag and a suitable urethane mold compounds.

------------------
yellow 88 GT, not stock
white 88 notchie, 4 banger

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Yarmouth Fiero
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Report this Post07-16-2014 12:53 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Yarmouth FieroClick Here to Email Yarmouth FieroSend a Private Message to Yarmouth FieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

HI Blooz, I am thinking the last option might be the most suitable. For my car, I was expecting to remove the entire trunk structure anyway and open it all up for exhaust, engine and such. I would have removed it by now but I thought it best to wait and see exactly what you are seeing on your chassis.

In plan view is the transverse curvature of the rear fascia going to cause more problems with interference at the ends of the stock bumper?

[This message has been edited by Yarmouth Fiero (edited 07-16-2014).]

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Will
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Report this Post07-16-2014 12:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Originally posted by Bloozberry:
Once the shape was about as good as it could get using this method, I then used the data points to draw the fascia's profile electronically and add it to my chassis drawing. It became painfully obvious why the PO had removed the bumper bar altogether once all the pieces of the puzzle were laid out. Here's how much interference there would be without modifications (the blue shaded pieces are the honeycomb structure):



Or some other option I haven't thought of yet. I realize ditching the honeycomb material would make my life easier in the short term, but then again it may come back to haunt me during my provincial certification inspection. I know they've been picky about bumper modifications so the more stock it looks, the better off I'll likely be. Chances are they won't notice a large recess as much as they'd notice some custom fangled bumper bar. Opinions?


Reprofile the impact beam to use the stock mounts while still fitting under the bumper. Instead of two ridges use one, or fabricate a beam with the ridges moved up (could also tie in to the upper frame rails for additional strength).

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Report this Post07-16-2014 04:16 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RCRClick Here to Email RCRSend a Private Message to RCREdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

You could also use a higher density 2-part foam to make a new impact beam to put over the refashioned bumper.

Bob

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Bloozberry
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Report this Post07-16-2014 04:35 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BloozberrySend a Private Message to BloozberryEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

All great ideas to get me thinking outside the box guys. Thanks! I'm going to let it stew a bit more.

 
quote
Originally posted by Yarmouth Fiero:
HI Blooz, I am thinking the last option might be the most suitable. For my car, I was expecting to remove the entire trunk structure anyway and open it all up for exhaust, engine and such.


That's certainly a clean option, but I'm wondering if I do that whether I'll kick myself later when I try to design an exhaust system and am missing that extra inch or two from having moved the rear bumper back further than it needed.

 
quote
Originally posted by Yarmouth Fiero:
In plan view is the transverse curvature of the rear fascia going to cause more problems with interference at the ends of the stock bumper?


The profile on the drawing is located at the worst case location, ie, about in the middle of the two tail lights, so the clearance only gets better (marginally) toward the middle of the car (but I didn't measure by how much).

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Yarmouth Fiero
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Report this Post07-16-2014 07:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Yarmouth FieroClick Here to Email Yarmouth FieroSend a Private Message to Yarmouth FieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Just had a look at my chassis and it appears that the lower trunk well is completely independent of the lower frame rails so it would certainly be easy to remove and make way for the bumper. As well, by cutting the lower trunk well just below the transverse frame connecting the two upper frame rails, it would keep all this structure intact above the bumper. I think your suggested option of recessing the stock bumper and retaining the honeycomb crush zone is a viable possibility Blooz. I have been staring at that whole area from strut towers back for weeks now and my reciprocating saw trigger finger is getting mighty itchy.

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Report this Post07-17-2014 12:07 AM Click Here to See the Profile for JefrysukoSend a Private Message to JefrysukoEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

That's crumple zone area that you would be removing by recessing the bumper. I'd loose the egg crate and reshape the bumper first personally. With some simple calculations you can obtain similar stiffness with a modified bumper.

Edit: I think the egg crate is mostly to satisfy the 5MPH Bumper standards which is related to damage to the vehicle and not safety of the operator. That's why I see more worth in the crumple zone than the egg crate. Like someone else said, you can always make something that replaces the function of the egg crate which matches your body with some 2-part foam.

[This message has been edited by Jefrysuko (edited 07-17-2014).]

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Report this Post08-13-2014 10:06 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 86FieromanSend a Private Message to 86FieromanEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Very useful information here and great job on the build so far. Any recent progress?

Bump

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Report this Post08-20-2014 07:41 PM Click Here to See the Profile for LunaticClick Here to Email LunaticSend a Private Message to LunaticEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Hey Dave. I'm going through the same thing as you are, rusty rear bumper. I drew one up real quick (in SolidWorks) and I've since cut it and formed it on the brake using 1/8" aluminum. Just an idea.














[This message has been edited by Lunatic (edited 08-24-2014).]

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Bloozberry
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Report this Post08-22-2014 07:29 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BloozberrySend a Private Message to BloozberryEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Thanks everyone for your input. That's a really nice set of bumper bars you've made there Lunatic That's exactly what I have in mind as well except mine will be made of steel.

Since my last post I've decided that I'll recess my rear bumper bar by 50 mm's to retain as much of the crush zone as possible at the expense of less honeycomb material. I believe Jefrysuko is right about the honeycomb being there to meet the 5MPH bumper standard. That bumper standard would work with a flexible fascia but my fiberglass fascia will be hard and brittle so I don't have any qualms about removing the honeycomb altogether, though I'll probably shave it down and stick it on to give a factory appearance for the inspector.

With that decision made, I removed the rear quarter panel once again and got cracking on the underlying metal modifications. First up was to remove the lower half of the trunk to make some room to work:



I was careful to cut it only where necessary in case I wanted to re-use it at some later point, but for now I'm pretty certain the exhaust system will occupy this area when all is said and done. I used a cut-off wheel in my angle grinder to make quick work of the "trunkle-lobotomy". The lower half of the trunk sheet metal isn't attached to anything except the sheet metal trunk walls above it, so there's no need to deal with spot welds. It does come very close to the lower rails though so care is needed not to slice into them.



From this top view you can see why the lower half of the trunk pretty much needs to go to make way for exhaust plumbing. Even though some guys with Northstars in their stock-bodied cars have kept most of the trunk, the difference here is that there's less rear overhang on the F355 than on the Fiero.



How's this for a cool shot?:



Another benefit to removing the trunk is that I'll be able to refinish the inboard side of the frame rails. It also allows me to have a closer look at the inside of the rails. I'm a little concerned with the amount of rust on the floor of the rails.

[This message has been edited by Bloozberry (edited 08-22-2014).]

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Yarmouth Fiero
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Report this Post08-22-2014 08:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Yarmouth FieroClick Here to Email Yarmouth FieroSend a Private Message to Yarmouth FieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Looks good Blooz. It certainly changes the look of the chassis when you cut all that extra sheet metal out of the way. Your engine and suspension look fantastic from every angle you shoot pics from. If I didn't know better, I'd think you work on the car in one shop and roll it into another clean shop for photos

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Yarmouth Fiero
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Report this Post08-22-2014 08:17 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Yarmouth FieroClick Here to Email Yarmouth FieroSend a Private Message to Yarmouth FieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Are you planning to leave this area alone ( circled in red ) even though the wheels are much further outward now? I have removed most of mine and once my struts arrive I'll remove the rest with the new strut tower design.

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Bloozberry
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Report this Post08-31-2014 09:01 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BloozberrySend a Private Message to BloozberryEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Originally posted by Yarmouth Fiero:
If I didn't know better, I'd think you work on the car in one shop and roll it into another clean shop for photos.


LOL. My Shop Vac gets a workout before I start taking pictures.

 
quote
Originally posted by Yarmouth Fiero:
Are you planning to leave this area alone ( circled in red ) even though the wheels are much further outward now?


I haven't removed it yet simply because I've learned over the years to remove as little as possible until I know for sure that I won't need it. I also wanted to leave as much of the "shelf" as possible to make it easier to attach a new trunk floor later.

As for a (little) more progress, I've taken a bunch of measurements that needed to be taken while the engine was in place, like the planned locations for the engine torque strut mounts, fuel and coolant lines, CAI and air filter box, coil packs, etc. I also fed a video boroscope up the two lower frame rails to have a look at the rust inside on the rail floors. I've pretty much convinced myself that I'm going to replace the rail floors with new metal from the rearmost bumper attachment flange to a foot or so forward of the rear cradle mounts.

With that much decided, I figured it was time to pull the suspension, engine, trans, and cradle back off the car and get busy. One nice thing about having removed the lower half of the trunk is that I didn't need to raise the car anywhere near as high to pull the cradle out:



I'll be able to get to the repairs and other modifications much easier now as well.

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Yarmouth Fiero
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Report this Post09-01-2014 12:01 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Yarmouth FieroClick Here to Email Yarmouth FieroSend a Private Message to Yarmouth FieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Looks good Blooz. Your engine and transmission look great on that custom cradle. On that note, I have been mulling over my rear lower frames and rear strut tower shift and I pretty much have myself convinced that I am going to remove the lower frame rails and replace them with 4" x 1 1/2" x 1/8" HSS that run straight back from the firewall to the rear bumper. This will make them match up with the widened strut towers and give me a little more room for my SBC. Therefore I will have a set of lower frame rails that are pretty darn clean if you are interested in splicing them on to your chassis as you had indicated.

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Report this Post09-01-2014 01:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BloozberrySend a Private Message to BloozberryEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

That does sound like an interesting proposition. I would certainly take your rails and see how I could make use of them. I'm sure that would be easier than forming new ones.

If you're looking at replacing the rails entirely, then you should consider going longitudinally. Seriously.

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Yarmouth Fiero
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Report this Post09-01-2014 02:09 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Yarmouth FieroClick Here to Email Yarmouth FieroSend a Private Message to Yarmouth FieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

I don't see how I can keep the same wheelbase going longitudinally. Dumb question perhaps but what gearbox would keep wheels in the same position with a SBC? The other builds all do a longer chassis stretch than 3".

edit: to complete my thought

edit x 2: sorry, I'll do an email so I don't muddy your thread.

[This message has been edited by Yarmouth Fiero (edited 09-01-2014).]

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Report this Post09-07-2014 08:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BloozberrySend a Private Message to BloozberryEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Well today Yarmouth Fiero dropped by with his sawn-off lower rear frame rails for me. He's decided to make custom rear lower rails to suit his small block V8 installation. So much the better for me because I was getting ready to hammer-form new floor sections for my rails but this is going to be much easier. Even though his frame is an '85, the rails are identical to the '88's except for a clearance notch for the early suspension rear tie rods. The notch is only in the weld flange so it's not like there's a structural impact. Check out how pristine these things are!:



Before I tackled my lower frame rails, I took a short interlude and wire-wheeled the two rear door frame structures (lower extension to the B-pillars), and the rear upper cross member. They weren't rusty but the original paint was flaking off here and there so I wanted a good surface for my primer to adhere to:



I primed the bare metal and was ready to start on the lower rails. This is what originally caused me to suspect that there was hidden structural damage due to rust on the inside of my rails. Notice the pinholes here and there around the rear cradle mount... not good:



Peering down the inside of the rails with my video boroscope confirmed there was more damage than could be ignored. Here's a frame shot as the camera was just entering the frame horn:



Having Yarmouth Fiero's rails on hand made it very simple for me to decide just how much of my own I should replace. So today I got busy with a center punch, 1/8" drill bit, 21/64" drill bit, a metal chisel, and a hammer. Given that the frame rail is formed from two "Z" sections spot welded together, all I needed to do was drill out the 30 or so spot welds holding the two halves together and slice up vertically to remove the entire inner wall and floor section in one fell swoop:



The photo above is after I'd cleaned up the rust with a wire wheel. The outside wall is pitted somewhat but not badly enough to make me want to replace it. On the other hand, here's the inboard wall and floor section:



And remember this pinhole around the cradle mount?



... well this is a close up of the area inside the rail... just a mess of rust between the mount doubler and the sheet metal of the Z section:



Here's another shot showing the difficult-to-repair area:



Wholesale replacement is the easiest option for those of us who live in the rust belt.

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Report this Post09-07-2014 08:37 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fierogt28Send a Private Message to fierogt28Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Ohh, man. Those rails are really...well, new.

Nice to see that Yarmouth Fiero had a really clean / rust free car. Unbelieveable.

Good thinking Blooze on showing us the rails inside on how they can become rusted for
fiero owners. Every Canadian fiero owners nightmare to see.

I like the way your doing everything to strip the old paint, and prep for primer, then new paint.

Thanks for sharing.

------------------

fierogt28

88 GT, Loaded, 5-speed.
88 GT, 5-speed. Beechwood interior, All original.

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Yarmouth Fiero
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Report this Post09-07-2014 09:28 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Yarmouth FieroClick Here to Email Yarmouth FieroSend a Private Message to Yarmouth FieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Thanks for posting the pics of the inside of the frames, showing the degree of deterioration of the chassis. The scary part is that almost 30 years later, vehicle are still rusting out in the same way. My Grand Caravan was only 6 years old when I traded it last year and the rockers were totally rusted out. It was quite shocking but apparently it was quite common for these vans. So much for advances in paint technology. The reality is that winters with salt on the roads will destroy a vehicle..period.

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LornesGT
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Report this Post09-08-2014 09:24 PM Click Here to See the Profile for LornesGTSend a Private Message to LornesGTEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

My Fiero metal looks better than my 2008 Avalanche and it has a coating that is suppose to protect it.

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Bloozberry
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Report this Post09-09-2014 10:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BloozberrySend a Private Message to BloozberryEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Originally posted by fierogt28:
I like the way your doing everything to strip the old paint, and prep for primer, then new paint.


Thanks! It just seems like it would be a horribly missed opportunity not to strip, prime and repaint at this stage. It does delay the project completion date but if I were try to correct the rust issues after the body was put on, it would be three times the work.

 
quote
Originally posted by Yarmouth Fiero:
Thanks for... showing the degree of deterioration of the chassis. The scary part is that almost 30 years later, vehicle are still rusting out in the same way.


Very true. Although the cars that get undercoated yearly seem to do quite well. I just wouldn't want to be the guy welding up a new suspension 30 years from now when all that undercoating they spray inside the frame rails catches fire!

Carrying on with the lower frame rail repair: I separated the two halves of Yarmouth Fiero's rails since I only wanted the portion that formed the lower floor and the inboard wall. I did it by first center-punching each spot weld, drilling a 1/8" pilot hole, then drilling out each weld with a 21/64" drill bit (one size larger than 5/16"). I needed to wedge a small cold chisel in between the two sides of the weld flange to pop each of the drilled out spot welds. Each spot weld literally "popped" apart as I made my way along the weld flange. It was much easier than I expected.



Here's what one of the new rails looked like after separating the two pieces. Interestingly enough it appears that GM used some kind of sealant between the two halves to keep moisture out of the crack. The sealant had long ago dried up though:



Not wanting to give up the opportunity to really protect this area, I decided to strip the OEM paint off the new rails since there were many small pencil eraser sized spots where the paint was flaking off here and there. I used a gnarly wire wheel on my angle grinder so it went pretty fast... 45 mins per rail half.



Then I primed them inside and out. For all the rust belt PFF'ers who've only ever seen the factory rear cradle mounts after they've been ravaged by weather, here's a close up of what the witch-hat nut and cage assembly looks like (until now I'd only ever seen rusted out bits and pieces of the cage). Notice the frame stiffener too.



I did the same to the rail halves that stayed attached to the car too... priming them with a self etching primer.



Time to decide on a colour for these pieces now since I won't be able to reach inside the frame once they're welded back together. Hmmmm... silver? Gun-metal?

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Yarmouth Fiero
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Report this Post09-10-2014 07:17 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Yarmouth FieroClick Here to Email Yarmouth FieroSend a Private Message to Yarmouth FieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Very interesting perspective to see the frame rails open like that. I was a little worried even those clean frame rails would have some rust inside.

As for color, I've always been partial to royal blue frame rails with a pink firewall.

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Bloozberry
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Report this Post09-17-2014 10:22 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BloozberrySend a Private Message to BloozberryEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

I think I'll stick with metallics... but only because Airforce tartan would be just too much work.

Over the last couple days I've been trimming and fitting the new rail halves so they'll fit correctly and get the rear cradle mount properly located. Luckily it wasn't as difficult as one might think. There is some misalignment tolerated in the side-to-side and fore-and-aft directions by the fact that the cradle mount is a captured nut with about 5 mm's of play in all directions except vertically. The vertical alignment was a piece of cake though because there's a stamped groove that runs most of the length of the inboard wall of the rail about an inch below the top. That groove forms a ledge on the inside of the rail that butts up against the "ceiling" of the rail half still attached to the chassis. Confused yet? A picture says a 1000 words... here's the new rail half from Yarmouth Fiero's '85 mocked up:



Once the alignment was checked and then double-checked, I took the rail half off again and painted the inside silver with a hammered finish to look like galvanized steel.



Having seen the ravages of rust on cradle nut "cages" and after having struggled with cradle bolt removal in the past, I decided to take extra steps to protect the area from rusting up and seizing. I just sucked up some anti-seize compound into a syringe and squirted into the cage from the top and bottom until it was good and goopy... perhaps I put too much because I was fighting with the stuff dripping out the bottom.



I made a 3" long splice out of some rectangular tubing (1/8" wall thickness) and buried it halfway into the rail on the chassis. I had drilled a series of 5/16" holes in the rail itself to rosette-weld the splice in place. I also needed a small thin doubler at the top to compensate for thickness of an OEM doubler that only ran partway up the inside wall. It looks nasty but that's just the paint that's flaking off due to the heat:



The splice is as much for strength as it is a backboard for welding up the vertical seam since it was difficult to get a really tight fitting butt joint with all the alignment steps. Here the new rail half has been clamped in place and is ready for final welding. Notice the six 5/16" holes in the rail at the seam for rosette-welding. There are two more on the bottom side.



Once the seam was welded up, it was just a matter of welding in the drilled out spot welds along the top and bottom flanges. The job was made easy because the drilled out spot-welds were in different locations between the '85 and '88 rails. That meant that behind every hole in the '85 rail half, there was solid metal behind it on the '88 half of the rail. It also led me to wonder why they would have changed the program for the welding robots on the production line. That's when I discovered that over the span that I'm working on, the '85 rails had 13 spot-welds whereas the '88's had 18 spot-welds. No wonder they didn't line up! Makes you wonder what prompted them to add the extra strength.



And finally, a peek down the inside of the LH lower frame rail... nice and clean... well except for the anti-seize compound oozing out everywhere!



Now onto the RH rail.

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cptsnoopy
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Report this Post09-17-2014 12:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for cptsnoopyClick Here to Email cptsnoopySend a Private Message to cptsnoopyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Beeeautiful!

Charlie

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fierogt28
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Report this Post09-17-2014 11:32 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fierogt28Send a Private Message to fierogt28Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Blooze, that's nice clean work. It too, suprises me why there is more spot welds
on the 88, than the 85. Very good to know as reference.

I'm happy to see how clean you lower rails are going to be. In the past I thought
that the cradle rear nut inside the rail was tack welded. Now we see clearly that its in
an cage spot welded instead. Your like me...I like a car just as clean underneath as on
top. Only good weather, and no "in the rain" driving.

Plus, that reinforcement plate is good news...I guess for the folks who actually never
get to see the inside of their fiero frame.

------------------

fierogt28

88 GT, Loaded, 5-speed.
88 GT, 5-speed. Beechwood interior, All original.

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Yarmouth Fiero
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Report this Post09-18-2014 07:09 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Yarmouth FieroClick Here to Email Yarmouth FieroSend a Private Message to Yarmouth FieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

I am glad you were able to put those frame rails to good use. Its a sin to throw good metal away.

As always, your workmanship is impeccable Blooz and certainly an inspiration for the rest of us in the midst of our own projects.

edit: for early morning poor grammar

[This message has been edited by Yarmouth Fiero (edited 09-18-2014).]

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Bloozberry
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Report this Post09-24-2014 09:29 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BloozberrySend a Private Message to BloozberryEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Thanks cptsnoopy, fierogt28, and Yarmouth Fiero.

Last weekend I popped by Yarmouth Fiero's place to check in on his progress and was stunned by how robust his new rear lower frame rails look compared to the stock Fiero parts that I'm working on. He's lopped off the stock lower rails and strut towers and is setting up with 2" x 4" rectangular tubing running straight back instead of angling inwards. His engine bay looks truly cavernous now making mine look like a toy!

What little time I got to work on my car over the last week was mostly spent aligning and welding the RH lower rail back together. That meant pulling the engine and transmission off the cradle and using the bare cradle as an alignment jig. It's always a good thing to double check these sorts of things before final welding! Everything checked out so I zip-zapped the RH rail in place:



I ground the welds flush, re-primed them, and was finally back to where I started a couple weeks ago before discovering the rusty lower rails: recessing the rear bumper. I mentioned earlier that I had decided to cut back the lower frame rails by 2" to allow the bumper bar to fit the inside of the fiberglass fascia. Recall that the previous owner simply removed the bar altogether and hadn't planned on using anything. The rail halves that I got from Yarmouth Fiero were already shortened but I still needed to lop off 2" from the portion of the rails that were mine. The left-most black line shows where it needed to be cut back:



It was quick work with the cut-off wheel in the angle grinder:



The plan is to re-weld the bumper bar mounting flanges onto the rail ends like this:

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355Fiero
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Report this Post09-25-2014 02:28 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 355FieroSend a Private Message to 355FieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Hey Blooz;

Nice work on the rails and the bumper idea. I had planned on putting a 2x2" or 2x3" (if it fit) 1/8" thick square tube across the lower rails to act as my rear bumper. I just wasn't sure how big of a bumper I was going to be able to fit in there and there was still a lot of body mods to go before I was going to work on that.

I like your idea a lot more than what I was going to do behind the rear bumper. Nice work Yours will be much safer than what I was thinking.

Cheers
Don

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Bloozberry
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Report this Post10-03-2014 10:17 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BloozberrySend a Private Message to BloozberryEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Thanks Don! I have 3" x 1" bumper bars on my 308 kit, similar to what you've suggested. They work just fine too. I know first hand because a car piled into the back of my Stinger 5 or 6 years ago while I was stopped at a light. He was doing 60 km/h. The bar folded, absorbing much of the energy. I shake my head though at some kits and modified Fieros that I've seen without any bumpers at all. That's just insane.

Speaking of bumpers, I finally booked some time at a friend's place who happens to have an 8' metal brake and a 40 ton hydraulic stamping machine among many other high powered metal shaping tools. It's good to have friends like Stan. I arrived after having cut and marked up a 17.5" x 58" rectangular piece of 16 gauge steel at home. We loaded the sheet metal into the metal brake and made a five of the 8 necessary bends before literally boxing ourselves into a corner. No matter how we tried, the last three bends couldn't be made in the brake because of interference between the sheet metal and the tool. Here's what it looked like with three remaining bends to do:



So, on to Plan B. Stan plugged in his metal stamping press, installed the dies for folding sheet metal, and told me to keep my fingers clear. Here's the press:



And here's a close up of the 90 degree stamping die:



The die is only 36" long so we had to stamp each bumper crease twice to get the whole 58" width of my rear bumper. At first I thought that we'd be able to fold the first 36 inches of each crease progressively to say, 20 degrees, then slide the bumper along and do 20 degrees on the last 22" before going to successively greater angles to minimize any distortion. NOT! When you press the foot pedal, that anvil comes screaming down and does a complete down/up cycle bending your metal 90 degrees in one fell swoop. Here it is in action:



Luckily, after bending the first 36", the last 22" of each crease were able to be done with virtually no deformation after it was punched. Before the second half of each crease was pressed it looked like a disaster though! Having lines on both sides of the sheet metal helped tremendously in keeping the part aligned before hitting the "GO" pedal. Here's the end result compared to the rusted old bumper bar from my '85 parts car:



The next step was fabricating the mounting plates that get welded to the bumper bar. I used 16 gauge sheet steel for these as well and held them in place temporarily with some special Cleco fasteners, which are like temporary rivets. They're great because they allow you to hold pieces together in a very compact way.



Once I was happy with the mounting plates, I mocked up the bumper bar onto the lower frame rail flanges that I had also only temporarily pinned in place. Here's a view from the front looking back at the flanges and bumper:



And here's a view of the mocked up, 2" recessed bumper bar. Next step is to take it apart again, finish priming all the parts, and begin welding the various parts together. The bumper itself will still be a bolt-on deal just like stock.

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2MidV8
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Report this Post10-04-2014 01:47 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 2MidV8Click Here to Email 2MidV8Send a Private Message to 2MidV8Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

The way it should have been built!!!



------------------
85 MadArch Widebody Notchback 4.9 4T60E
88GT 3800SC ZZP NIC F23

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Report this Post10-04-2014 01:57 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 2MidV8Click Here to Email 2MidV8Send a Private Message to 2MidV8Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Sorry one more....notchies rule!!!!



------------------
85 MadArch Widebody Notchback 4.9 4T60E
88GT 3800SC ZZP NIC F23

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Report this Post10-04-2014 02:21 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 2MidV8Click Here to Email 2MidV8Send a Private Message to 2MidV8Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Blooze has an awesome project going!!! I'm just saying in a general sense that Pontiac should have taken this car into the next level. God damn GM execs. to hell!!

------------------
85 MadArch Widebody Notchback 4.9 4T60E
88GT 3800SC ZZP NIC F23

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Will
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Report this Post10-04-2014 12:21 PM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Originally posted by Bloozberry:

The next step was fabricating the mounting plates that get welded to the bumper bar. I used 16 gauge sheet steel for these as well and held them in place temporarily with some special Cleco fasteners, which are like temporary rivets. They're great because they allow you to hold pieces together in a very compact way.





What kind of clecos are those?

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