Gasser HotRod Forums banner

1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How many of you'll have built a one piece sheet metal tilt front end?
How hard is it & what all do I need to know here to do it? Can you'll post some pictures.
I want to do this to my Henry J & have never done it before so any help & advise will be appreciated!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
13,308 Posts
On my Austin it was a pretty easy thing to get the hinges done, and I simply bolted all the sheetmetal together by drilling and bolting the pieces with 1/4" bolts and washers. The hardest part was splitting the fenders to keep the lower fender areas from scraping the body when the front was tilted open. If you don't split the fenders you'll need two people all the time to pull out as you open the frontend.
I cut mine at an angle to allow the fenders to clear, then wleded in the fenders to allow a latch to be used to hold them closed and also keep things aligned. I also had to add bracing so the frontend wouldn't be flimsy when opening and flop all over. I added cables to the frontend that came from a late 70's Malibu wagon to hold the frontend from opening too far.
Here's a shot of the hinge point and plate I added to pivot on:


This is a picture of the lower with scuff plate to protect it from the hood pin in the upper fender. It's just aluminum that I sandwiched on top of the wleded steel plate. You can also see the threaded rod I added to allow adjustment of the fender:


Here's a picture of the split I made in the fender:


Here's a pic of the top half and the alignment latch pin. This latch setup is off a late 70's Datsun/Nissan picjup hood. I originally had dzus fasteners, but didn't like the crude look on the fender surface.:
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
13,308 Posts
Some of the bracing I made to support the hood and keep it from flexing. It's 1/4" threaded rod with aluminum tubing slid over it to hide the threads:


Here's an old picture of the frontend open:
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
13,308 Posts
Whatever you do try to make things adjustable and not welded solid. You'll find that you can weld all the fenders and hood together if you don't want to bolt, but hinges and supports should have adjustment in order to allow for any movement or settling, so you can align them if things change.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Vall, Thanks for the great pictures & help. I'll keep you in mind once I get started & might be contacting you for advise!
mt94ss, Thanks for the guidance!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,277 Posts
I have mentioned before that I also want to have a "tilt front end" on the Opel.

I think the toughest part is the "intimation factor" of cutting. welding, etc. without really knowing for sure what the NEXT step is going to be.

I have stared & stared at the front of the car trying to picture what to do and how to at least get started. Still I am not really sure of every step. I am sure it will become evident what needs to be done next as it is being done. One step at a time.

I do have a set of tilt front end hinges I have from another "project car" that never got done. So I can use them on the Opel. They allow the front end to move "forward" before lifting/tilting.

Being the engine needs to be replaced I will probably start doing what needs to be done to tilt the front end.

The biggest chore will be cutting out all of the inner fender wells. Being they are part of the uni-body design they are welded in. Sure wish I had a plasma cutter!

With the inner fender wells removed I will have to make shock towers and weld them to the frame. I'll also have to move and remount some other things as well as re-routing brake lines, etc

Tilting the front end will be a fun project to do .... with lots of "cool-factor" when it's done and to be enjoyed every time the front end is tilted forward.

A TRUE GASSER statement!!!!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
13,308 Posts
First thing I did was pull all the front sheetmetal off John. Once all the sheetmetal is off you can then get a better idea of what needs to happen with what's left.
I took all the frontend pieces and laid out hole patterns to drill and bolt the individual hood, fender, grille supports, side panels, etc. together. Mine was a lot of pieces with about 8 pieces total to attach. Some of the existing holes from inner and outter fenders, and just drilled out to bolt to the hood.
With the entire front metal bolted together I was able to set it back on the car and then do some measuring and figure out where the best pivot point was to make it tilt smoothly and not hit anything. After I got the hinges made and attached to the frame and frontend, I then tilted it and found a point where it would go over the balance point, and then put the cables on to stop it.
Once I had it tilting and holding, I began adding bracing to make it structurally sound. The final step was to decide where to make the cut in the benders and then lay out a line on both sides. After the cut I drilled three holes in each lower fender and held them in place to mark the body where they would bolt on. I bolted them to the body and added another brace to them to make them ridgid. The 1/4 all thread rod made the lowers easy to match the shape to the rest the frontend.
I used a sawzall and jigsaw for all my cuts with a fine 24 tpi blade to keep it from grabbing while I cut. These made the cuts a lot easier than a plasma, as a plasma requires all the paint to be off everywhere you cut, and some areas that's almost impossible to access to remove paint.
On your Opel I'd guess you'll have similar issues that my Austin had. My frame isn't welded unibody, but it is bolted unibody, so I had a huge frame and firewall that extended into the engine compartment, and really took some head scratching to figure out how to eliminate. Here's a pic of mine before the SBC went in:


This what I had left after removing the entire firewall, and as I was mocking up the axle.

I ended up having to cut the entire top half of the frame off, and then boxing the top in. The outside of the frame was simply sheetmetal, so I had to cut it off and make the outside plate out of 3/16" steel. Then before boxing it I also built more internal bracing to strengthen it. In hindsight it would have been simpler to cut the frame off and stub out a new frame. I've probably got more time and metal in there than I'd have with a new box tubing frame.
This was after cutting the frame top off and welding the new top on. Test fitting the engine, then removing it again to cut the sides out of the frame and adding new bracing and extra metal to the outside of the frame.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,322 Posts
John and David, when I attacked??? my front end project I dissassembled the entire front sheet metal unit/clip. As I was removing everything I wrote down and marked every bolt to it's location and every shim or spacer. Then I ditched everything I did not want to put back on. Then I reattached the front fenders with every original bolt and shim amd aligned it per original and keeping the proper door/fender edge gap. Then I assembled all of the front grill surround and headlights etc just as it came off. At this point the fenders and grill etc were all hanging off of the firewall bolt up points with nothing else touching or being supported. There was a front radiator top support that spanned across the grill surround top, radiator top and bolted from fender to fender. I left that off but I cut up a plate for each fender where that panel bolted up, using the panel as a form to get that bolt pattern the same. I then welded in a 1X1 square tube from each plate to the other as a seperator and to weld the uprights from the tilt hinges up to the front clip. You can see the cross bar and the uprights welded in and to the hinges. PLus the short tubes just above the hinges that tie into the bottom of the grill for reinforcemnt and to keep the same alignment of the assembly.







At that point the front end was hinged, supported and aligned. Then I put the hood in place and drilled and bolted the hood to the fenders and to the grill surround. One thing I did that I have to change. I bolted the hood directly to the fenders. But there is a cowl panel that goes under the windsheild and when the fenders drop down into place they go around the cowl panel. I need to space the fenders out from the hood about one washer width so the fenders fit around the cowl panel. Right now, by bolting the hood to the fenders without a spacer (washer) I closed the fender/hood gap and it is enough to allow the fenders to hit that cowl panel. That is how I assembled and hung my front assembly. The entire front end was bolted at the firewall by 6 bolts and hung there fine until I got all the hinges mounted on the frame horns. Once it was all mounted and supporting the front of the assembly, I unbolted the 6 firewall bolts and "BABABOOM" I tiled the front end. With a big fat smile I might add. LOL. Mark L
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Mark, I just have one question.
Was the Miller for the after celebration or was that the reason you didn't see the fenders hitting the cowl panel?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,277 Posts
GREAT tips & pics.... you have come along way.

Today I actually did some constructive ..... or should I say "destructive work."

I started cutting out the firewall. I eventually have to get it out of there anyway and also to help make it easier to get the block hugger headers off the engine & outta there. I really do NOT believe I would have been able to get the headers out without removing the sheet metal first. I only removed what I needed to get the headers out for now. Once I do more measuring and some "cardboard mock-up" (and thinking & lots of head scratching) I'll cut the rest of it out.

Thanks for the sawzall/jigsaw tip!!!! From what I can see the body parts are welded together and/or the frame. So there is going to be a lot of cutting to free the up the fenders and front end. Other than the hood the front clip is already welded together. With that in mind, I was planning to leave the front end on the car and start by "loosening" the front fenders - then cutting away the inner fender wells. - I will then have to separate radiator & its support.... then I can attach the tilt brackets.... see how easy that is!!!! HAAAA!!!!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
13,308 Posts
There is a way to not have to cut the lower fenders to clear the body/doors when making a tilt frontend, if you have room in the hinge area. You can make a pivot point that rocks over to bring the frontend forward a few inches before it tilts. They're pretty simple, but will take up a few inches on the frame to allow working room.
Here's my crude drawing of how you can build a simple pivot that will help clear a frontend without cutting the fenders.
Bracing would be whatever you need, but you can kinda get the way it rocks over:

You'll also have to come up with a way to attch the lower fenders. I see guys usually put hood pins down there, or even use Jeep style elastic straps inside to hold them in place when closed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I like all the replies. I've always felt like the more the better.
I'll look at these as well tonight & respond but I like what I see.
I'm just going to have to get mine together & see what works!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,322 Posts
I don't drink but over the many years I sure wished I did, just so I could blame my lack of "wisdom" on it, LOL. Like said about the sliding hinge set up, mine does not address the issue of the bottom of the fenders clearing the cowl also. Someday I have to step up and do something to help the fender bottoms clear the cowl. I want to do everything I can to prevent cutting the fender bottoms off. Although. I might be running open pipes out of the fender bottom once I get my turbos in and the exhaust system built. If I use electric exhaust valves and run the pipes out of the fender bottoms I may have to cut off the lower section and bolt them solid. If I do that then my problems are done. Mark L

P.S. My car fender problems will be solved, my personal problems will never get solved, I'll always be a little left of RIGHT, LOL.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,277 Posts
Amazing setup!!!! Have not seen a tilt front end anything like yours. GREAT WORK.

I did some more "demo" on the Opel today. Still have yet to come across any BOLTS anywhere on the fenders, radiator support, etc. Only bolts are on the hood hinges. Weird.

BTW VALL. I did most of the cutting with a fine tooth blade in my sawsall. Worked GREAT!!!! Thanks for the tip.

I also used a die grinder to cut thru most of the spot welds which made it easier to saw thru the places where the sheet metal was welded.

I'll take some pics tomorrow.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
13,308 Posts
Both my gasser builds have tilt frontends, and I wanted to accomplish two things on both. First to I wanted to make sure I had easy access to the engine bay. If you ever work on a car with a tilt frontend, you'll love it! I sit on the tires to work on the engine, and everything is so easy to get to.
Second, I wanted a tilt frontend that one person could open! If you need a person on each side to pull things out or line things up when you open or close it, then it's impractical. Imagine trying to find a helper if smoke rolls and you're in a panic to open the frontend? I have different tilt setups on both cars, but both are easy to open, and don't require a helper to do it.
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top