Tag Archives: clecos

    • We have a Brake Pedal and The Firewall Becomes Three Dimensional

      In the last update I was working on cutting out metal to make the firewall and mocking up my new brake pedal setup from Speedway. Since then I've been pretty busy making something from nothing. I had to initially tackle how I was going to mount the brake booster and pedal assembly under the cab. The first problem was that where the pedal bracket needed to live the S10 chassis started to pinch in and put the pedal on a weird angle. This kit was made for an earlier frame that's mostly straight/flat and like anything with a custom build, I had to get creative.

      I first used some jack stands to hold the brake assembly in place and eyeball up the position it needed to be in. I then traced out the area that the mounting pad for the pedal bracket needed to sit. I decided I could make a "cheese wedge" shaped mounting box that I could sink into the frame rail so that the pedal bracket would sit straight and everything would jive. I used 1/4" plate and copied the mounting holes to the base plate and welded the mounting bolts to the plate since they'd be hidden once the box was built. I used our Small Magnetic Welding Jig Set to square up the pieces and welded them together with the TIG200 DC Welder. The result was a strong mounting box I could sink into the frame and mount to the pedal box. I made my cuts in the chassis and mounted the box into the frame. Once I was sure it was square, I tack welded it into place with the MIG175 Welder.

      Now that I had the shiny Right Stuff Brake Parts mounted in place I dropped the air suspension and checked my clearance when aired out. The booster sits a couple inches below the chassis, but even when the body is sitting on the ground the booster has 4 inches or more of clearance. I'd probably rip the front end off before the brake parts were touched. That would be a BAD section of road even here on the east coast!

      My celebration of having a brake setup was cut short when I slide the Speedway brake pedal on and found that the brake pedal landed where my throttle pedal should be. I like to heel-toe my brake and throttle when driving.. but this was unacceptable! I decided to cut apart the brake pedal arm, shorten it, brace it and move the pedal over a few inches so that it sat where a brake pedal should. I also had to "clock" the mounting tab for the linkage under the pedal so that the pedal sits up high enough that it won't contact the chassis when I am pushing the pedal. I again used 1/4" steel plate and the TIG200 DC to box and brace the pedal to handle the force of pressing the brake pedal. Don't mind the rough floor in the photos, we just welded that in temporarily to keep the cab from flopping around while we worked on the roof chop and the firewall.

      With the brake parts mounted in place I could finally turn my attention back to the firewall and engine/transmission tunnel. I started by making the back side of the firewall setback. I used one of our Adjustable Profile Gauges to transfer the radius of the top of the TCI Auto Transmission to the panel. After tracing out my pattern I cut the rough shape out of 16 gauge steel with our Electric Metal Shears. Now the electric shears work really great for cutting laser straight lines and gentle curves, but when you need to make a tighter radius cut those shears are out of their element. I decided to mount up one of our Throatless Shears to make the cuts I needed. The nice thing about the "throatless" shear is that you can go as slow or fast as you want so that you can make some really clean, accurate cuts. I cut out the top curves to match the top panel I made on the english wheel, then cut the transmission tunnel radius and I had my second panel of the firewall made.

      Now with the back panel of the firewall channel made, I decided that I wanted to ditch the panel I made on the english wheel and form the panel out of one piece. I decided to use 18 gauge steel and form the piece using our Shrinker Stretcher Kit to make the panel match the radius of the main portion of the firewall we had made already. I cut a piece of 18 gauge a little longer than I needed and broke a 1/2" bend on each side of the panel. These edges will allow me to work them with the stretcher to get the radius I need on the panel. This panel was a little more difficult to make as I had to evenly stretch each side little by little as I went to get the shape the same on the entire panel. I actually went a little far when initially stretching the shape I needed and I had to work backwards with the shrinker in a few spots to get the panel back into shape to match the panel. That's the nice thing with metal is that you can always undo what you've done if you stretched or bent the metal a little too much. Once I got the shape close, I used the hammer and dolly to match the rolled edge we made earlier match with this new panel. Then I used Cleco Clamps to hold the pieces together.

      Now that I have the pieces in place I can start to see everything taking shape. I need to tackle making the wheel tubs for the front wheels and the transmission tunnel next. I'm hoping I'll be able to start melting all of this metal together with an Eastwood Welder shortly! Thanks for watching!

      -Matt/EW

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    • Assembling The Roof- Cleco Panel Clamps Are The Third Hand

      The entire process of chopping the roof on a vehicle is quite long. Along the way there are a lot of tricks and tools that will make your life a lot easier; especially if you work alone. Since I wanted to keep my A-pillars in the stock configuration I had to make a filler panel to fill the gap between the front and rear half of the roof. The filler panel runs the width of the roof and it's pretty tough to hold this in place by myself as I test fit it. I found that it was much easier to hold one end in place, drill a small 1/8" hole and insert a cleco every few inches. This pulls the panel in place and I can manipulate my panel to fit exactly how I want. This also allows me to stand back and visualize how the final profile of the roof will look. Once you have a pack of clecos in your toolbox you'll wonder how you worked with out them! Check out our selection of blind panel grips here: Cleco Blind Panel Clamps

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    • Bit by Bit

      From time to time you may notice that we have an old Mustang that we use to test products on and also do photo shoots for ads with. We figured that there was no better way to test one of our new mig welders, than to do a common task many of you would be doing with your mig. This may look all too familiar to any vintage Mustang guy.. rear quarter panel and inner wheel arch replacement. Never a fun or quick job, but often times necessary, as they seem to always rot from the inside out. During this process, I decided to shoot some photos along the way, and document some of our products that made this job a bit easier.

      First task when doing this process was to expose any and all factory spot welds and brazes. We began by using a combination of different abrasive/sanding discs, including our 80 grit flap discs around the seams to quickly expose any weld points on the rear quarter.

      Once the spot welds were located, we grabbed the drill and a Spot Weld Drill Bit and went to town detaching all of those old spot welds. Once these were drilled out (this is possibly the least fun part of this job in my opinion), Mark made quick use of the Electric Metal Shears. After a few minutes with the shears, the panel was dangling from the last little bits of original rusty metal and a couple quick zips with the cut off wheel, and the cancerous panel was off. You can see a interesting thing Ford did from the factory in the last picture below. They seem to have run the body wiring harness in the rear quarter panel on top of the inner wheel arch. Because of the rust forming between the arch and the quarter, the wiring began to be effected by the corrosion of the metal it was laying on. This surely would have caused a major issue, had it shorted out!

      Once the old panel was off, we were able to assess the extent of the rust and rot. Luckily, only the inner wheel well and the inner trunk corner were the major areas of concern and we had planned ahead and had them ordered up ahead of time! First thing was to clean up and straighten any of the seams where the old quarter panel had been attached. Inevitably when removing old body panels like this, some of the attachment points may get a little tweaked. Below you can see Mark is fixing this by using the Hammer and Dolly set. After some more cutting of the old inner wheel arch and the inner trunk corner, we were ready to begin cutting and mocking up the new replacement panels. Using a piece of painters tape, we were able to mask off a nice straight line on the new panel as well as the body of the car so we could cut the replacement panel at just the right spot. Again using the shears, Mark cut the new panel to match. After some minor tweaking, we were ready to call it a day and begin installation the next day.

      After a good nights rest (for some of us), everyone jumped right back into it. First thing to do was get the inner wheel arch welded in place. Regardless of how rusty the area was, Mark was able to dial in the 175 welder and get a nice weld on the arch. Since the area around the new inner arch was so "scale-y", we decided to brush on liberal amounts of Rust Converter. You can see in the one picture below a perfect example of converted surface rust. The Rust Converter turns almost a purple-like color once it has neutralized and converted the rust. Neat stuff to watch on such a large surface like this! After lining up the replacement quarter we used an item that is life-saver if doing a large panel like this by yourself or with limited help. These "Blind Grip Panel Holders" or Clecos go through the spot weld holes we drilled out and match up with the spot weld holes in the new panel. this perfectly aligns the panel and holds it to be spot welded around other portions of the panel. These were an eye opener to me, no more propping blocks of wood or using jacks and large clamps to hold a large piece in place when you can just install these panel holders quickly and the panel is aligned! These are definately on my list of new "must-have" tools. Finally Mark jumped around tack welding the panel to the car, being sure to go from end to end to avoid heating the panel up too much. Even though this is a test vehicle, we still have pipe dreams of some day fully restoring and painting the "Ol' Girl", and it would be a headache to try and smooth out warpage in that large of a body panel. Lastly we treated and spot primed the areas we welded and the car is now ready for our next job on it. Bit by bit this old car may just see the road again!

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