RamRodder's new floor was...
RamRodder's new floor was fabricated from 18-gauge steel. The transmission tunnel will be attached with Nutserts so it can be removed; the rest of the floor will be welded in place once the rollcage is installed.
As often happens with a street rod under construction, the RamRodder has been on a forced hiatus, but we've got a pretty good excuse. A change of zip code, the packing and unpacking that goes with it, putting together a new shop, and Brennan's irrational demands about meeting deadlines during all of this resulted in back burner status for a variety of projects, including RamRodder. The good news is we're back on track; the bad news is we had to do what we've been dreading-build a new floor.
We bought our Plymouth sight-unseen and were told the floors were "solid," which turned out to be true if you consider patches made from old license plates and a rocker panel repaired with a wood 2x4 as solid, but at least the unknown bodyman/carpenter used redwood so the repair wouldn't rot. Fortunately, other than the floor, the rest of the car is extremely solid-at least we haven't found any license plates under the body filler.
The rusty original floor had...
The rusty original floor had been patched with license plates and silicone caulk. Under the rubber doorsill is a piece of 2x4 redwood.
After assessing the condition of the floor there was only one option in terms of repair and that was to cut it all out and start from scratch. Removing the floor was pretty straightforward-an assortment of abrasive wheels, a reciprocating saw, and our plasma cutter were all put to use and soon we had a great view of the frame and the shop floor. Once the old floor was removed it also became obvious that the body mounts at the front and the rear of both door openings were badly rusted and the doorsills were also in poor shape. However, repairing both these issues worked to our advantage. By fabricating new body mounts they could also double as rollcage mounts, and by repairing the rusted sills with lengths of 2x2 square tubing, considerable strength was added to the openings.
There wasn't any sense in...
There wasn't any sense in trying to save any part of the stock floor so it was cut around the edges and was completely removed.
The original floor was somewhat complicated, particularly behind the seat, as it was formed to fit around the framerails where they kicked up in the rear and of course we also had the driveshaft and transmission tunnels to deal with. So for a replacement we decided the simplest approach, which is the one we're best known for, was the best. We'd make the new floor in sections-the toe board, transmission, and driveshaft tunnels and the flat portions on each side would all be separate pieces made of 18-gauge mild steel. To provide support, and to anchor the removable transmission tunnel, a 1-inch square tubing framework was fabricated.
To replace the rusted portions...
To replace the rusted portions of the doorsills lengths of 2x2 square tubing were welded to the A- and B-pillars. Certainly more rigid than the original construction, the new floor panels will be welded to them.
We enlisted the help of Gerry "Bogie" Bogart to make patterns for all the new pieces, after years as a high school metalshop teacher we guessed his experience would be invaluable, and we were right. Bogie began by making a paper pattern for the toe board, which was transferred to a piece of cardboard to check the fit. Satisfied with its accuracy, the paper pattern was then transferred to sheetmetal. So, why not use the cardboard pattern? Simply put it wasn't up to a shop teacher's standards. Instead, all the corners and the opening for the transmission from the pattern were laid out on the sheetmetal with a punch and an awl, then all the lines were connected with a scriber. The finished product fit like a glove and we gave Bogie an A.
With patterns made for the remaining pieces we hauled the RamRodder from our shop to Tim Smith's where we found every metalworking tool known to man. Having been a machinist, racer, pilot, entrepreneur, and who knows what else, Smith has retired to become a full-time hot rodder; there isn't much he can't do and not many tools he doesn't have. When he and Bob Steinke offered to give us a hand finishing the floor they didn't have to ask twice. We should point out that while we had a shear, brake, and roller at our disposal, they simply made the job go faster and everything shown here could be accomplished without them.