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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1963 two-door Impala that I'm going to jump into restoring in a big way. The car is very solid given its age, etc. If the engine would have been the original I may have considered trying to make it as original as possible. But it is not the original motor.

The floor pans under the driver's feet and front passenger's feet had rust holes so I've cut them out and have replacements prepped and ready to weld in place. The hump and areas around the floor pans is solid. The cross brace that runs under that front seat was rusted on both ends where it attached to the main front to back channel that runs under the door sill. The ends of the cross brace and the area of the channel where the cross brace was attached have been removed leaving square openings in the channel (one on each side). I've also drilled out the spot welds that attach the cross brace to the floor pan so the cross brace is completely loose. The problem is I can't remove the cross brace without creating some separation between the body and the frame. I'm thinking a rotisserie will make the entire welding process much easier and it will give me tops down access to restore the frame and suspension. My question is how much bracing should I add to the body so it won't unnecessarily flex when I remove it from the frame? As I said, the center hump is solid as is the floor pan in the back and the truck floor/walls. Firewall, side wall, door posts, etc. all are very solid (like new less the 50 year old paint).

Does anyone have any first hand experience with something like this? Thanks in advance as I'm sure this is the first of what will be many posts as I move through this restore.
 

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Time to weld in 1x1 tubing to brace the interior is past if you have already cut out the floor pans. Now your worry will be getting the doors to close, never mind setting gaps as the body has lost rigidity and has changes it's shape dimensionally due to gravity, and the car's mass on the end of a torque arm (distance between mounting points of the rotisserie).

Big Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Dave. The car is still on the frame. And the doors are still in place and work fine. The floor pan that was removed was only the area under the driver's feet and passenger's feet. The hump and all the floor pan behind the front of the front seat is all intact and solid. The cross brace the runs side to side under the front seat has been detached from the floor pan and had rusted loose from the main body channels. But because the body is still attached to the frame nothing has really moved. I didn't mention before that car is a 2-door hardtop.
 

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In that case you wil be fine. I was thinking it was a frame off restoration with no doors or anything else to hold the car in shape.

You don't need bracing if you are just doing patch panels. just don't weld a contiguous bead; instead stitch it together with a hundred or more spot welds from your MIG gun spreading the heat out as much as possible. Also don't grind the whole seam flat as that also builds up a lot of heat.

Big Dave
 

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Sorry Dave, I need to work on my communications skills. The body is currently still on the frame. I have cut out the floor pans as described and I have detached the cross member that runs under the front seat. As I'll need to lift the body from the frame to replace this cross member I figured, heck, why not put the body on a rotisserie and make the welding easier. Besides I figured I'd have the underside cleaned up by my local mobile media blaster guy and see what other rust I may have. I know the body is, at least visibly at this point, pretty darn solid compared to some of the restores I see being done but I'm sure I'll find some other areas of opportunity. So the body is still on the frame, the doors are still on (but will come off at some point.) And my question is, before I separate the body from the frame, what sort of bracing should I have, given the sheet metal I have already removed, to assure the body doesn't get bent out of shape particularly if I'll put it on a rotisserie. If I were to just lift it up enough to get the frame out from under and put it on jack stands of some sort it may not be a major concern. But on a rotisserie the body is suspended from the ends only. To further clarify, the is windshield and rear glass are out, trunk lid is off. I'd be supporting it from the body mounts right at the firewall and the back two just in front of the rear bumper. Of course, the inside has been gutted.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Big Dave, any additional comments based on what I wrote above clarifying the current state of my project? "And my question is, before I separate the body from the frame, what sort of bracing should I have, given the sheet metal I have already removed, to assure the body doesn't get bent out of shape particularly if I'll put it on a rotisserie."
 

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before I separate the body from the frame, what sort of bracing should I have, given the sheet metal I have already removed, to assure the body doesn't get bent out of shape particularly if I'll put it on a rotisserie."
Db,

We did the 1x1 extruded tubing as Big Dave described. I don't recall how many sticks ... perhaps upwards of a dozen making a lattice of cross bracing inside the cabin. The only cutting of the body we did, though, was the front passenger floor pan and that was on the rotisserie, not the frame. The bracing was removed after the new pan was welded in.

Doors, hood, trunk ... close straight and tight.

I thought I had a pict of the lattice ... but I can't find it. Perhaps the shop does, I'll inquire.

July '18 teardown, pre sandblast.
29436


Dec '18. Primered, but can see the holes in the floor pan from the leaky heater core years ago.
29435


Feb '19: New pan install. (not the finished product)
29437


Steady as she goes ... then stink bug response torpedoes your parts acquisition ... a few dozen times. ughh.

steady as she goes ! :)
 
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