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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've purchased a complete package shelf from Dynacorn. Is it structural? I ask because I'll be replacing both wheel housings and would be easier, I think, If the package shelf was out of the way. Thought about adding bracing but not sure it would be necessary. Can I remove the package shelf then replace both wheel housings, then replace the package shelf?

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Ultimately, I will also be replacing both full quarters, wheel housings, trunk drop offs and tail light panel.

Possible sequence:
1. remove package shelf
2. replace wheel housings and drop offs
3. replace package shelf
4. replace quarter panels one at a time and tail light panel in tandem.

Thanks, Mike
 

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That's a good question. These cars are so light that I sometimes think everything is structural. If you were doing just one of the replacements, then I might not think much of it. But if I were doing all that, I'd still do it in order, but I'd tack weld braces where I could to keep the dimensions the same. That's the safe way.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks AllyMcReal. That being said I think I'm going to consider changing the order and put up with a little inconvenience.

1. Replace one of the wheel housings and trunk drop off. Temporarily tack where package shelf mates with wheel housing.
2. Replace the other side wheel housing, same procedure.
3. Replace package shelf.
4. Replace full quarters one at a time and replace tail light panel as needed.

That should keep original positions without any additional bracing, or not much.

Mike
 

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I replaced my package tray panel with the same one you posted while doing the mini tubs in my 67 and I can tell you it is very much a structural piece. Without additional bracing and without the package tray panel in the car, essentially the only lateral support left comes from the roof and where the inner quarter panel structure (the part behind the rear door panels) is welded to the rockers/floor pan. You better have plenty of cross bars welded in to keep the body from folding side-to-side.

One thing to keep in mind is that this panel attaches to the B-pillar inner structure just forward of the filler panel (between the trunk and rear window) as well as running under the entirety of the filler panel and is welded to the filler panel forming the forward trunk gutter area. It’s also attached to the trunk hinge supports which are welded to inner wheel tubs so it’s easy to get caught up drilling out spot welds without realizing that you’re basically undoing most of the back of the car, especially if you don’t have the wheel tubs welded in yet. Just be mindful and try to brace everything properly and keep up with your reattaching welds so you don’t have he potential for multiple things flexing out of alignment. If you do that, you’ll be fine...it’s a pretty easy install and mine fit very well. Totally worth it. Here’s a few pics of mine along the way. On a more complete car, you’d be better off doing the package tray panel first THEN doing the wheel tubs (using bracing either way). Good luck!
F1A8D727-2B68-4485-9885-6096A9A26B9C.jpeg
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CE504ED2-BF31-482D-B458-30EA3EB528C4.jpeg
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks GMachine. Thanks for the photos. Wow!

I've got two jacks stands under each frame rail: one jack stand is on the frame rail and near the front leaf spring mount and the other is under the rear leaf spring mount and frame rail. The car is very close to level both ways. I don't think I have to worry about vertical movement.

Would you explain what you mean by lateral movement? I'm thinking horizontal but that might not be technically correct. I don't want to overlook anything.

Based on what you and AllyMcReal have said, better to be safe than sorry. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." I probably should have some cross bracing.

Not sure what you mean by "brace everything properly." I'm thinking of placing a brace in front of the wheeling (back seat area) and up to roof on opposite side. Both sides. Adequate or what would you suggest?

Mike
 

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No problem...first thing since you’re leveled up is to take measurements to make sure the car’s square and remains that way. So, by lateral what I mean is the body will be prone to “lean” side to side if it’s not braced and depending on how much other sheet metal has already been removed or is rusty and weak. I know you mentioned doing quarters, wheel tubs, trunk drops and tail panel but not sure if those items are still attached to the car or not. Either way I’d put two braces side to side where the back seat would be...one low (just above the trans tunnel) and one higher up (between the B-pillars). I’d tie those two together using another brace between them (preferably at an angle) but be mindful of its placement b/c you’ve got to be able to maneuver the old and new pkg tray panels in and out of the car around them...might help to keep the bracing a little forward, maybe just behind the door opening. It makes everything awkward for positioning both yourself and the panels but a lot of the welding for the pkg tray can be done from the trunk. Just be sure to check your measurement before final welding so you can make sure you haven’t taken the car outta square.

If it were me and the car was together in one piece, I’d do the pkg tray and rear filler panel at the same time and I’d do it first. The old qrts/tail panel will provide a little support and give you another reference to line the new panels up to. Since the pkg tray/filler are welded together at the trunk gutter, it also saves a ton of time not trying to find/drill spot welds in that area (totally your preference, though). You could line-up and clamp or Cleco the filler panel itself in place temporarily until you get to the quarters at this point. Once that’s done and re-welded completely you could remove most if not all the support braces and move onto the wheel tubs (again, using your old quarters to make sure the fitment is correct). On this step, I would even go as far as NOT pre-cutting the pkg tray support legs if you’re doing mini tubs so, again you have a reference to line up with on the old tubs. Once the rest of the pkg tray is welded in, then I’d make my cuts on the supports if needed for the mini tubs and complete that part.

After the tubs, hinge supports and support legs are welded in, then I’d move to the full quarters, tail panel and trunk drops.You should post up some pics of what you’re working with when you get time...we love pictures!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
GMachine, thanks. The back of the car is together now. I'll upload some images later this evening.

I have thought about mini-tubbing but not sure I will do any. Still an open question I need to answer. I don't like the idea of cutting into the frame rails with DSE tubs. Then I thought about just tubbing to the frame rails which would give me another 1.5 inches. But not liking that idea either because I would have to cut the flange on the top of frame rail to do that. So, if I didn't remove the flange, I could gain 3/4" and just don't think that is worth it.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #8
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The front is permanently welded in except for dash and upper cowling. I started with the pan. Thought that was all that would be needed along with the toe kicks. Boy was I fooled. The further I dug, the more rust I found. And not talking surface rust. Both hinge pillars at the bottom were completely rusted out. No way to patch. Fistfuls of bondo. Oh man!

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I ordered new wheel housings both sides. Some minor patching done early on. Plans have changed since then.

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I cut this out before realizing I would be replacing the package shelf. The trunk floor has some issues. Hope I can patch.

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Trunk floor looks pretty good but will require some patching. I don't want to replace it.

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I've thought about patching but I don't think so.

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I had planned on tubbing to the frame rail (still undecided) so I purchased new wheel housings for both sides. The trunk floor has some issues. Will patch if it makes sense.

Mike
 

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“G machine“ above is dead on.
This area , along with all unibody cars has a structural value and load calc . Actually from what I have learned from all of my fab work on unibody cars is , there is really nothing in the car that doesn’t play a role in support and carrying load , including the dash etc. the GM engineers to save money, of coarse ,designed the unibody as a cost savings and to speed up production and aligned their process with Ferdinand Porche and the stamp design in early Volkswagens . With that design it calls for every cross lateral part to be involved in support and rigidity , especially in novas at the connection between the sail panel areas with the package tray and rear seat cross bracing. Also the trunk brackets and wheel tubs are critical for carrying load and supporting everything and also removing the posibilty or cracking at the trunk filler seam that meets the qtr. panel seem. I have seen , fixed , and also screwed up great builds with not understanding structural values in unibodies., the worst being the front right windshield area and cracking at the base of the A pillar. Weakest area on the car until property supported and reinforced
Look at many second gen nova builds and the infamous crack will be there unless addressed Due to unibody flex .
good subframe connectors and a solid understanding of creating a full frame type connection usually removes the nova flex and cracking in this area.
Just wanted to give my two cents that’s worth a penny 😊
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I have seen , fixed , and also screwed up great builds with not understanding structural values in unibodies., the worst being the front right windshield area and cracking at the base of the A pillar. Weakest area on the car until property supported and reinforced
Look at many second gen nova builds and the infamous crack will be there unless addressed Due to unibody flex .
good subframe connectors and a solid understanding of creating a full frame type connection usually removes the nova flex and cracking in this area.
Hi Paddy1966,

Thanks for the post.

The plan at this point (subject to change) is to install the TCI Torque-arm rear suspension along with the TCI IFS.

What else can be done?

Mike
 

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GMachine, Is this what you recommended for bracing? Thanks, Mike

View attachment 407522
Yeah, the only thing that might prove difficult by having the “X” is getting the old panel out and new panel in. Having a “Z” shape (removing one of the diagonal bars) might make life much easier without compromising the support. If you were gonna cut out the pkg tray and have it on a rotisserie or moving the car around, I’d say definitely do it the way your pic shows but for the sake of cutting out the old and fitting/welding in the new with the car sitting still, I think you’d be fine with one diagonal bar and it’d make your life much easier swapping the panel. I know you probably don’t have it in the position in which you plan on working on it, but I’d probably put it on jack stands under the frame rails (at the rear, mid-point and front) as well as support the weight of the rear end so it’s not hanging in mid air “pulling down” on the back of the car, especially since most of your quarters are cut out.

I agree with you on the mini tubs. I wouldn’t wanna leave the frame rails that thin either without adding a crossmember and reinforcement plates...and definitely not worth all the cutting involved to widen just get another 3/4” either. I will say that, although pricey, the DSE tubs are heavy gauge steel and fit very well. I can give you the part numbers for the frame rail close outs if you decide to do it. The close outs don’t come with the tubs but they’re only about $40 from DSE and for me, I couldn’t buy the metal and cut them out for that so it was a real time saver.

You’re doing a great job on the car and you won’t regret fixing all those areas you found. There’s no better feeling then putting a car back together and knowing you’ve fixed it properly! Looks like you’ve got most of the hard work done on the pkg tray, too...be sure to keep posting some pics and updates for us!
 

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Hi Paddy1966,

Thanks for the post.

The plan at this point (subject to change) is to install the TCI Torque-arm rear suspension along with the TCI IFS.

What else can be done?

Mike
Sorry for the late response
I’m a big fan of welded sub frame connectors. I make my own and use gussets to reinforce the area just off the edges of the front original small frames . I weld in my subframes , also run a bolt through the frame where my subframe connectors overlap , just in case the weld doesn’t hold well to the front frame area. I impact these bolts down with grade 8 bolts and Nyloc nuts and lock washers . I haven’t had any cracking at the right front window pillar in my build since . I can always send you pics of my last 66 I built and you can see the process if you like.
G machine has it dialed as well so stick with his recommendations and your gonna have a nice build. We build our cars identical in our process.
Good luck and have fun , key word fun
 
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