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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! I just joined the forum here, and it looks like the thing to do is start a build thread. This is my 1940 Plymouth P10. I've had the car for about 12 years, and have worked on it off and on. Mostly off. I've had other projects purchased, finished, enjoyed, and sold in the time the Plymouth has been sitting waiting for attention.



This car was a barn find from up near Tom's River, NJ. It had been parked for unknown reasons, I'm guessing sometime in the 60's based on the oil change stickers from Tom's River service stations in the door jamb. A classic car dealer, local to me in Virginia, found the car and brought it down to his lot. At the time I was publishing a local car magazine and he was an advertiser. I loved the lines on the car the first time I saw it parked out in the front line of the lot with an optimistic asking price on the window.



The car sat and sat, eventually being moved to the back lot. This guy owed my business a decent chunk of money, and at some point I offered him a trade - the car for a clean balance sheet. He still thought he was going to find a buyer for the car, but was still asking too much. At some point in the following months I had to cut off his credit, and his advertising in my publication...and a little while after that he called and offered the car in trade to clear his monies owed.

I still loved the look of the car, and was not likely to ever see that debt paid otherwise. My wife was fine with another car coming home, and my good buddy Jeremy had a pickup and an open trailer. I called Jeremy and we decided to go load up the car right then, in the middle of a nasty rain storm, before this guy changed his mind. I hadn't seen the car in a few months, and what I didn't know at the time is that somebody had broken the side windows and let several months of rain water fester in the fibers of the floor mats. The floors and rockers had basically turned to dust.





So over the years I've done some work on the car, but since a lot of what this project requires is outside of my comfort zone I was easily distracted with other projects. I'm tired of seeing the car languish, so it's time to expand my comfort zone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The first thing I needed to learn was welding and metal work. A buddy who can weld gave me a crash course with my little mig, and I've been practicing sheet metal welding by plug welding trim holes and fixing cracks in fender lips - non-structural stuff first. Those welds aren't the prettiest, and have required some grinding, but have given me a better feel for getting penetration on thin pieces without blowing through (most of the time).



 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What I'm up to now is attempting to put rockers back in the car. Several years ago I bought a pair of replacement rocker panels for the car on ebay. When they arrived I realized why they were so much cheaper than the other "exact fit" rockers I'd seen from other suppliers. They're pretty rudimentary, but they have the curve of the rocker and the correct angle up into the door jamb. Since I can't afford the high end pieces and lack the proper equipment and skill to fabricate better pieces myself, I started with what I have. After all, I'm not trying to build a Ridler award winner here. I just want a fun, safe hot rod.

But first I had to make and weld in patches to repair the rotted bottom of the door jamb.



I picked up a little metal brake at Harbor Freight to make patch pieces with 90 degree bends.


Welds still look a little boogery, but my buddy is looking over my shoulder and they're getting better.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
This is where I am today. With some trimming and adjustment I fit in the outer rocker panel that I purchased, and welded it in. Then I bent a piece of 18 ga 90 degrees and stretched the outside to match the slightly curved shape of the rocker, to create the step up to where the floor will eventually be. I put in a few rosette welds to hold it in place and check fitment. Looks ok, so next step will be to finish welding this in, and then box the structure for the inner rocker.

(for some reason the forum stopped allowing me to post photos. Says I don't have enough posts to post images...even though it let me before. Will update with pics when I can.)
 

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Old Plymouths are a blast to work on and even more fun to drive when you are done. I was surprised to see how many people give a thumb up when driving down the road. Looks like a great project. Have fun and enjoy the journey.
 

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Looks like you've got your hands full, but a good start too! Not sure why the forum let you post pictures before you got to 10 posts, but since you're there now, it should work now.
 

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Yeah Dan, you have a little work ahead of you but just grab and go. Before you know it things will get fixed one by one. Keep trying on the welds. the more you do the better you get. Soon you'll find a sweet spot with wire speed and power. You'll get it. I know you will. So far so good.
 

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I know you mentioned you have a welder friend helping, and that will only speed up the learning curve! On rusty pieces, sometimes flux core wire works better. I don't like it on body panels, as flux can create some bad things under paint. But for rusty sheet metal that might be able to totally remove rust residue, and is in some place like floors, or trunks, it can make the welds better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the advice, and kind words. I'm already looking at things and thinking "Next time I'll...". I'm enjoying it and learning a lot as I go though. Let's try these photos again...here's the driver's side outer rocker welded in place.




I also just welded a one inch square tube brace across the width of the door. Will do the same to the other side and cross brace it next. It's currently bolted to the frame solidly, which fortunately has kept everything square even with the rotten rockers. Once these rockers are in I'm going to lift it off the frame so I can so some inboard patches and keep moving on the metal work.
 

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Rocker looks nice Dan. Looks like you need a hotter melt on the plug weld. When doing so you have to swirl and move away quicker so you don't blow through the bottom metal. Remember you can always grind down your excess. When you get good at it you will see the difference. What size wire are you using?
 

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25 is fine for the plug weld on thin metal. Practice on some scrap to get the speed and heat with the swirl. Remember the slower you move the more heat you create. Slower wire speed creates more heat as well. So pic your poison and stay with it. You'll get it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks Mario. I'll keep at it. I think the toughest part of learning to weld "informally" is having a tough time knowing when you get it just right. I have been getting under it to check for penetration, and think, with my amateur eye that I'm getting decent penetration. I just ran out of shielding gas. I'll get back to practicing once I get my bottle filled. Thanks for the tips!
 

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I found it good to keep a note pad in the side area of my welder. I used the recommended settings from the welder, but as I learned and varied settings to find out what worked better, I wrote down what I was welding, and what settings worked best. I even found recording ambient temps helpful, as often extreme temperature changes affect the results a bit.
You might also want to do as much patch work as possible with the body on the frame. The more tacking and filling you can do with body and frame together, the more likely it will hold it's shape when separated.
 

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That's a great point Vall. See Dan I knew the forum gurus would be helpful to you. Great seasoned crew here.
 
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