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Discussion Starter #1
It wasn't.... :(

I guess it just goes to show that even a 'decent' looking car will have issues hidden far beyond what one can inspect with basic tools at the time of purchase. Thankfully I didn't pay much for it.

Here's my chassis saga for those to like to say, "whew glad that wasn't my car." :rolleyes:

Turns out the '66 LTD is/was a problem child. One thing led to another going through it and well, the chassis is out from under it. Originally removed it to clean/paint it as well as fix one rotten area where the front mount affixes to.



But once I had it in the sunlight I noticed something not quite right, where the pad from the car lift hoisted the car up, the chassis bulged out a little. There were no holes and tapping the outer rail with a hammer seemed sound enough. Till it was upside-down and I took a few full swings, then the hammer went through.





rats......

A small biopsy revealed the true extent of the hidden damage



Fortunately the damage was contained to the bottom of the frame rail and about 3/4" up just after the front torque box and to about half way back. So I sliced 1-1/4" up and almost the entire the length of the rail.



I was happy that all the damage was cut out, just surface corrosion on the rest. So after some wire brushing it was treated to POR15.



So for a cheap fix, I bought a 10' section of 2-1/2" 11 gauge structural square steel tubing for 28 dollars at the local metal shop and sliced it in half length wise. Then cut it down to size and welded it in. The radii on the bends were close to the original tubing on the rail. With the exception of the weld bead, it doesn't look that out of place.



Did both sides...



I drilled new drain/inspection holes underside and sandblasted the entire thing.



Sorry for the poor picture, but the weather has been right crap lately. I did manage to coat the inside areas with Eastwoods, "internal frame coating" with their undercoat spray gun with the wand attachment that sprays radially as you pull it through the inspection holes. I do not have a picture yet, but it was a colossal mess. Really I mean it, mess!! All that's left is to POR15 the frame and I can reinstall the suspension and have a rolling chassis once more.

Speaking of which if you're curious, I've almost completed the assembly of the rear axle, just brakes and bend up stainless tubing. The wheel cylinders and new master I powder coated.



Here's some of the suspension's bits...











I put all new bushings in the control arms, and all new bump stops, except for the rear frame arch rails, couldn't find those, so I cleaned up the old ones as they still seem serviceable. As a rule anything that fit in the oven and could take high temp was treated to powder coat and everything else was painted.

Still working on the firewall. I just keep finding problems. There was a huge gash/dent in the firewall in the middle of the HVAC boxes. It was so deep, I could put my finger round the seal and feel inside the Air Con box. So it was sucking in engine compartment fumes... lovely...

Strange thing is, couldn't figure out how it happened. There's no sign of surrounding damage. Must have happened at the factory and when they torqued down the HVAC fiber boxes, they eventually cracked. So I'm repairing those. I had to slice the firewall in two in the damaged area, iron out any major ripples and pull it tight and weld it seamlessly.



I was amazed at how well the powder coat came out on the brake booster. I took it apart, inspected all the valving and seals and it was in really good shape, so I refurbished the outside of it and lubed up the internals. I know it's not cadmium plated but it's close enough to look decent. I know powder is just paint but it's really robust for a little bit of work.

I should include a crappy before photo or two shouldn't I :)



and




OK, that's it, hope you enjoyed..


:)
 

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Looks good, if you didn't know it that frame weld looks so straight could have been factory. Looks like you have other project too. How many irons in the fire?
 

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nice work! know what you mean about surprising finds- I got a lot of parts of a wrecked/rustfree car in Pueblo Colorado for ours while on vacation- was amazed how clean it was... for the heck of it did some tapping and knocked a hole right thru the mint looking frame- they quietly rot from the inside out :(

+1 on the eastwood being messy- yeah it runs everywhere, but seems to do the job :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Looks good, if you didn't know it that frame weld looks so straight could have been factory. Looks like you have other project too. How many irons in the fire?
Thanks for the kind words... all you guys!

This LTD was like the child that comes along and wasn't planned for. You kindly asked about other irons in the fire. I was supposed to be working on the '66 galaxie 500 fastback, probably still see the shell in some of the pics that needs much love. As well as finish the power window conversion in my '73 Caprice convertible. Then on the other side of the garage is the '68 XL that's in pieces. But as much as I love 2 doors, I do like the look of a 4 door hardtop. Just had to have this... :) and it was a bargain to boot. But it's been sucking all my available time trying to finish it up.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
nice work! know what you mean about surprising finds- I got a lot of parts of a wrecked/rustfree car in Pueblo Colorado for ours while on vacation- was amazed how clean it was... for the heck of it did some tapping and knocked a hole right thru the mint looking frame- they quietly rot from the inside out :(

+1 on the eastwood being messy- yeah it runs everywhere, but seems to do the job :)
Hi ford4v429,

You really have to wonder about all the cars (was looking at '66's and '68's) now on E-bay (spring fever, there are many postings) and the ones that look great and are commanding bigger bucks if they don't have similar chassis woes. I mean how would you tell, you either have to sonic check the thickness of the exposed frame rail, but those instruments are expensive or buy a Harbor Freight special boroscope and go probing through the drain holes hoping to see signs of severe metal flaking in the inside.

Can you imagine spending 10K+ on what you think is a solid car and then realizing oh crap..... needs extensive work. I can only imagine what a body shop would charge to properly fix a chassis. Or even have to wonder about the ads for '65-'68 chassis for sale at wrecking yards. Seen those on E-bay too going for several hundred dollars plus shipping.

For this chassis it took several swings to break through. Can you imagine doing that to someone selling their car.... not going to happen. It really is buyer beware....

OK philosophizing over with :)
 

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Thanks for all of the detail DesertXL, I like to see the pictures of the process.

I do have a question for all of those that are much more experienced than I regarding the rusted frames (all of you ha ha). At what point does the material thickness lead to problems with the vehicle? Like you said in the previous post, that many of these cars on eBay etc, are susceptible to this failure, but the owners have no idea.
What symptoms other than soft frame metal would lead someone to suspect there is a problem with the frame or would make the car undriveable?
 

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Hi ford4v429,

You really have to wonder about all the cars (was looking at '66's and '68's) now on E-bay (spring fever, there are many postings) and the ones that look great and are commanding bigger bucks if they don't have similar chassis woes. I mean how would you tell, you either have to sonic check the thickness of the exposed frame rail, but those instruments are expensive or buy a Harbor Freight special boroscope and go probing through the drain holes hoping to see signs of severe metal flaking in the inside.

Can you imagine spending 10K+ on what you think is a solid car and then realizing oh crap..... needs extensive work. I can only imagine what a body shop would charge to properly fix a chassis. Or even have to wonder about the ads for '65-'68 chassis for sale at wrecking yards. Seen those on E-bay too going for several hundred dollars plus shipping.

For this chassis it took several swings to break through. Can you imagine doing that to someone selling their car.... not going to happen. It really is buyer beware....

OK philosophizing over with :)
borescope is a great idea- Ive seen them in the 50~100.00 range- would be nice way to peek inside.

the other problem I saw on ours, ford dropped these little corrugated things in the rear arches- looked to me like a way to clamp inner/outer rail and hold the gap...anyway, with the holes up high, outside the arch(in the rear wheelwell) road grime builds up- its not just the tiny bottom drains that plug in the rail bottoms, but also around these separators... tends to eat the arches out. aside from flipping the frame over and beating/flushing, i really doubt theres any way to get the crap out- really a bad design flaw. I'll try t dig up a couple pics of where these are- saw them when I cut the crossmember out of ours...lots of ugly pictures...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all of the detail DesertXL, I like to see the pictures of the process.

I do have a question for all of those that are much more experienced than I regarding the rusted frames (all of you ha ha). At what point does the material thickness lead to problems with the vehicle? Like you said in the previous post, that many of these cars on eBay etc, are susceptible to this failure, but the owners have no idea.
What symptoms other than soft frame metal would lead someone to suspect there is a problem with the frame or would make the car undriveable?
Hello chadzeilenga,

That's an interesting question. I think it's virtually impossible to spot a trouble frame if there are no outwards signs of holes or deforming metal without being to look inside or take a punch and or hammer to it, that is if the owner lets you test areas. I guess the borescope would be a good non-destructive way (dunno haven't tried it, just seemed like a possibility). Also if there are any chunks of rot inside the frame floating around you can see or knock out or hear rattling. That would be a telltale sign too. The steel shouldn't be delaminating from the inside out.

You asked if/when is the car undrivable. Any signs of flaking corrosion or holes or chunks missing is going to weaken any structure. Fortunately the non-convertible bodies are really strong by themselves. My first galaxie had more than 3/4 of the outer frame rails missing before the rear torque box ripped apart and the lower control arm of the axle went through the floor board under the rear seat under acceleration. It's a tough question to answer exactly. If you use the car gingerly (no hard acceleration or panic stops) and stay away from any accidents with it, even a frame that has small holes or areas missing would last a while longer. Just when is it a dangerous situation? I think everyone's opinion will vary quite honestly and there may be no definitive answer per se.

I think the real dilemma is that once that corrosion process is bad enough to delaminate the metal (flakes or chunks) or you have holes and it's not at least stopped, the 'rot' just accelerates and eventually you end up with a road hazard in short order especially in the rust belt region.

This isn't the answer you were hoping for, but I hope it helps a little.

Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
borescope is a great idea- Ive seen them in the 50~100.00 range- would be nice way to peek inside.

the other problem I saw on ours, ford dropped these little corrugated things in the rear arches- looked to me like a way to clamp inner/outer rail and hold the gap...anyway, with the holes up high, outside the arch(in the rear wheelwell) road grime builds up- its not just the tiny bottom drains that plug in the rail bottoms, but also around these separators... tends to eat the arches out. aside from flipping the frame over and beating/flushing, i really doubt theres any way to get the crap out- really a bad design flaw. I'll try t dig up a couple pics of where these are- saw them when I cut the crossmember out of ours...lots of ugly pictures...

Hello again ford4v429,

I would love to see the photo's if you find them of the internals of the frame arches. I noticed the baffles, for lack of a better word, in the arches when I was coating the internal areas.

I'm just curious to see what they look like in the open.

Thank you.
 

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Hello again ford4v429,

I would love to see the photo's if you find them of the internals of the frame arches. I noticed the baffles, for lack of a better word, in the arches when I was coating the internal areas.

I'm just curious to see what they look like in the open.

Thank you.
ugly... man that frame was rough- never want to go thru that again... heres the only pics I found that showed them- thought I had more, but my computer is as disorganized as my mind :)
tim
 

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Hello,

Thought I'd follow up with more pictures. It's getting there....

This is that Eastwoods internal frame goo, err coating.



Like I mentioned earlier, colossal mess.



Painted the underside exterior first.



Then flipped it over and painted the top side. Installed the rear suspension after that.



Then the front.





Finally it rolls....





back to it :)
 

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excellent work... looks better and stronger than New...:tup::tup:
 

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Looks great! I can only hope to get to that point some time this year, now I am jealous lol hehe
 
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