1969 Firebird Convertible - Page 4 - Team Camaro Tech
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post #46 of 631 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 12, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Thanks for the offer Mr. Robert. I can do a lot by myself but occasionally I do need an extra set of hands. What I really need someone to sandblast when it is 95 degrees outside and the humidity 95%. Now that is a bad joke. I would not wish that on my worst enemy. I live very close to what used to be Compaq Computer’s main campus. HP bought out Compaq a few years ago.
Mr. Wayne, I used to do a lot of work in British Columbia, Alberta, and a little bit in the Northwest Territories. Some of the nicest people I have ever met live in these areas. I might have visited the town where you live. I brought my wife on one trip to BC. She still is talking about her salmon fishing adventure.
This is a photo of the underside of the trunk pan. No catalog really shows this view of the pan. Notice the wrinkles in the rear of the pan where the bumper brackets bolt on. Not shown, but there are wrinkles near the passenger side shock tower. Dynacorn made this pan.




The photos show the trunk pan just resting on the frame rails. The gap between the floor pan and trunk is huge.




I marked the frame rail flanges where they need to be welded from the bottom. I removed the trunk pan. A hole was drilled at each mark in the frame rail. Holes were drilled in the trunk pan for the areas that can be welded from the top.
I reinstalled the trunk pan. I used the ratcheting straps to pull the trunk pan in place. I started to bolt it down from the front of the pan and screwed the frame rails to the trunk pan. While I was doing this, one of the frame rails popped up out of the jig. I had to tie it down to hold it in place.




Now I am worried. Something is wrong. The trunk pan should fit better. I started to measure again. All my diagonal measurements proved that the trunk pan is square. So, I wondered if I got the correct frame rails. I pulled the old trunk pan and floor pan out of the junk pile and flipped them over to recheck my reference points and measurements. The old and new frame rails seemed to be about the same. So, I decided to install the driver quarter panel and new tail panel to see how they line up. The holes in the new Firebird tail panel would not line up with the trunk pan mounting holes. Now I am really worried. Could there be a specific trunk pan for the Firebird that does not interchange with the Camaro? Maybe the tail panel holes were drilled wrong. So I went back to the old trunk for more measurements. The tail panel was drilled correctly. It turned out that the holes in the new trunk pan were only drilled for a Camaro. The Camaro uses the upper two outside holes. The Firebird uses the lower two inside holes. The “x” shows were the other Firebird hole should be. The inside metal of the trunk pan reinforcement has four oval holes but Dynacorn only punched three in order to confuse their Firebird customers.








All my measurements show the trunk pan to be square with the jig and floor pan. The quarter panel and tail panel somewhat fits. The tail panel lines up with what is left of the passenger quarter panel. I did not place the trunk pan too far forward or it is back too far. It looks like the trunk pan and/or the frame rails are not bent correctly.

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post #47 of 631 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 12, 08:17 PM
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

I feel for you. So frustrating. I looked at my car and it looks like the floor/trunk pan seam sits in the same spot as yours does on the frame rails. (Just slightly to the rear of the spot on the frame rails that is indented for the seat belt anchor.) My trunk and rails did not fit so great either. I also used the straps and I used a lot of screws/bolts/clamps etc. It seemed like each time I refit the trunk, it got a little closer. Good luck.

Tim

My 1968 convertible build:


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post #48 of 631 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 12, 08:25 PM
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

A similar situation happened on my '69 coupe too. I had to use a combination of ratchet ties, clecos, several sheet metal screws and locking pliers to correctly position the trunk floor to the frame rails... AND break out the BFH as well. It worked out well.... but required all of the above to make it happen. You're right about the curvature of the rails not matching the trunk pan. It sometimes happens. Sometimes it's a great fit out of the box. Mass-production has its drawbacks unfortunately... Keep up the good work!

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post #49 of 631 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 12, 08:28 PM
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Also curious to know how close the front welding flanges on your frame rails end up (position-wise) where they meet the main floor pan torque boxes.... You may find a 1/4" gap there.... It's crazy what I, and many others on here, went through, and are still going through with that issue...

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post #50 of 631 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 12, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Question about frame rail welding flanges matching the torque boxes.

I posistioned the frame rails on the jig and locked them in place. The floor pan was bolted to the jig where the rear front clip bolts mount to the floor. The floor pan will slide around a little bit on the two jig bolts.

When I installed the floor pan, the frame rail flanges did have a gap. I don't remember how much. I hit the flanges with a hammer to bend them forward. Then I screwed the frame rail flanges to the torque boxes to make a tight fit. The front firewall was screwed together to the floor pan. The rocker flange to the floor pan was clamped. After everything was screw and clamped, I welded the floor pan.

I might have pulled the floor pan back when I screwed the floor to the frame rails without knowing. Will I have problems later on with panels not fitting properly?
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post #51 of 631 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 12, 10:11 AM
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Since the subframe cagenuts on both the firewall and the main floor have a little room to play while still keeping them aligned squarely, you should be fine.

However, double-check the fit of your leaf spring front mounting pockets to the floorboard before going any further if you can. If there's an issue later on, it's always correctable either by adjusting a hole to be more ovalled, etc... not the best way... but it will work. Most likely it sounds like you'll be fine-- I just wanted to remind you of those variables along the way before you got too far. Sounds like you're headed in the right direction...

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post #52 of 631 (permalink) Old Oct 29th, 12, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Trunk Pan Part 2:
I had to close the garage door and windows this weekend. I did not want my wife and neighbors to hear my cussing. Up to now, the reproduction parts fit without too many problems. This weekend was different.
These screws are God’s gift to the poor souls who work with Taiwan replacement panels. The yellow one is junk. The hex head rounds off easily. I could not install the trunk pan without them. I mentioned the screws to Mr. Tim (tjmp) and he said that he used them but had problems with the threads stripping out and the hex head rounding off. I have not striped one yet but I now only use a six sided box wrench or socket on the head after reading his experiences. He also mentioned that he had the best luck with a machine head bolt and nut combination. If you have access to both sides of the joint, a bolt and nut with flat washers is by far the strongest fastener to pull the metal together. Unfortunately, there are areas where only a self-tapping screw can be used when fastening the frame rail to the trunk pan.


Once I pulled the trunk pan under the floor pan, I had to align the rear of the trunk pan. I used a clamp to make the two frame rails evenly spaced with the area that dips down where the gas tank mounts. It was not off but by 1/8 inch. Notice the trunk pan is at least one inch above the frame rail.


I pulled the trunk pan to the frame rail with screws. At the forward part of the trunk pan, I drilled two sets of two - ¼” holes through the floor pan, trunk pan, and frame rail. I sheared off two of these bolts trying to tighten down the area on the driver’s side where the trunk pan meets the floor pan. The photo below is my first attempt to get the driver side frame rail meet the trunk pan. The Philips head screws will later be replaced with the self tapping screws mention earlier.


The biggest gap was on the passenger side. Surprisingly, the ¼ x20 bolts pulled the two pieces together with less effort than the driver side.




I wanted to confirm that the trunk pan's rear inner valance (rear cross rail) would line up with the frame rails and trunk pan. So, I clamped it into place. I loaded weights in the trunk to push the pan down. It helped a little.

The inner valance lined up with one frame rail and two of the trunk pan braces. The passenger rail was too short.


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post #53 of 631 (permalink) Old Oct 29th, 12, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

After a lot of measuring of the old trunk, the frame rail is too short from the rear shackle hole to the end of the frame rail. It should look like the driver frame rail. I have read that a lot posts about frame rails that are too long or the shackle hole bracket is in the wrong position, but I have never heard of one too short. I bought the frame rail from a third party. Maybe a restoration shop or the person I bought it from cut it too short and dumped it. I guess this will be next week’s project.



Notice the large flat washers I used to pull the trunk to the pan. It is easy to distort the thinner trunk pan sheet metal.

I welded the holes in the trunk pan to the frame rail. I stopped welding at the bumper bracket because I might have to move it considering all the other problems I ran into.


Weld the floor pan to the trunk pan.



This is the best that I could get the trunk pan to meet the driver frame rail. The photo exaggerates the gap. Two sheets of paper will not slip through the joint. Notice the scratches and missing primer from the assembly. My drill motor chuck was rubbing on the frame rail. I stitched welded some of the areas to make sure the joints were strong. This was not done at the factory. Todd suggested that I will need a BFH. This is the area I might try to use one. The other side of the frame rails is tight against the trunk pan.
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post #54 of 631 (permalink) Old Oct 30th, 12, 05:16 PM
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Patrick,

Looks good. Good idea with the large washers in the trunk. I did distort my trunk. I started grinding down the welds and I'm having a hard time. The welds are lower than the surrounding metal and the trunk is not smooth. Splatter paint and filler in the future for me? We'll see. Keep up the momentum.

Tim

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post #55 of 631 (permalink) Old Oct 31st, 12, 06:21 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Mr. Tim,
I am suprised to get a response from you after watching the news about the hurricane. You must have power. Your family OK?
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post #56 of 631 (permalink) Old Oct 31st, 12, 11:25 AM
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

We were very lucky. Only one piece of siding came loose and we never lost power. We are currently suffering from survivor's guilt. We were very fortunate. The island and the city are a mess. Especially by the shore. The news was right.

Tim

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post #57 of 631 (permalink) Old Oct 31st, 12, 12:10 PM
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Glad to hear you're okay Tim! What a mess up there! We left Sunday night from Philly after driving from Jackson, NJ--right near the coast. We left just in time since the airport closed right after we left...

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post #58 of 631 (permalink) Old Oct 31st, 12, 12:11 PM
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Keep up the great work Patrick! Looking awesome!

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'68 6 cyl Coupe, '75 LT350, '79 Berlinetta V6, '79 Z/28, '80 Z28, '81 Z/28, '82 Berlinetta V8,'84 T-top V6, '89 RS V8, +finally a '92 Z/28 T-top in Purple Haze Metallic--...ALL SOLD
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post #59 of 631 (permalink) Old Oct 31st, 12, 12:17 PM
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Tp I see your are in tomball. If you need an extra hand I will give you one. I also have a69 firebird very that I will need to do replacement floors and what nots on.

Brandon
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post #60 of 631 (permalink) Old Nov 2nd, 12, 04:32 AM
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

tp....based on one of the pictures of the jig connected to the frame rail underneath...it appears as if the rails were replaced before the rockers were...i need to do both...so which comes first to do?
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