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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So here is my story.

In 1985 my grandmother whom I had not heard from in years called me to tell me she had bought a car for me. The only stipulation was that I had to sell the motorcycle that she had "heard" I owned because she was sure I would get killed on it.

Since it was December and very cold, I readily agreed and flew to Florida after selling the bike to pick up my car. When I opened the garage door I was greeted with a great looking 1969 Camaro. A 19 year old boy's dream car!

In 1989 I sold that car to get the money to move to Tennessee to be with my girlfriend. Unfortunately it did not work out with her. I was now minus a girlfriend AND a Camaro.

I swore I would have another one some day and today is the day. After unsuccessfully trying to locate the original car, I was forced to seek another one that would allow me to fulfill my promise to myself.

So here she is the day I bought her




And here is what she looks like today





The previous owner sold the car as ready to start reassembling. After I got the car home and started poking on it a little harder than you can when it ain't yours, I discovered that I am replacing the Full Floor Pan, Firewall, Trunk Pan, Frame Rails, Inner wheel wells, tailpan and roof. The body work they did was absolutely horrible. They covered up so much with bondo (1/2 thick in places).

I should have had more knowledge before I bought, but that's the past and I am looking to the future. I will need a lot of advice and guidance and I know I can find that here. So follow along and please feel free to speak up if you see something that aint right.

You can follow my build at http://photobucket.com/markscamaro

Planned build

350 bored .030 over
Edelbrock Air Gap intake
Holley 750 double pumper
MSD ignition

Hotchkis 1.5" lowered TVS system
17 x 8 front Foose with Nitto tires
17 x 9 Rear Foose with Nitto tires
DSE tubular A-arms
JustRight 4 wheel disc brakes

Classic AutoAir A/C conversion (its hot in the south)

Black with silver z/28 stripes ( not very original I know but damn good looking)
 

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Awesome story behind another awesome '69 build! Welcome to the club and I wish you a fun-filled resto process. Glad you are saving another first-gen.

By the way, sweet blasting costume--but be careful--there's a patent on it! *inside joke... "Master Blaster" Do a quick search and you'll get it. :D

Let us know how we can help. Looks like it will be a sweet Camaro when you're done! Black and silver IS an awesome color combo.:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Since I am replacing the floor and trunk pan I had to build rocker supports. I wanted to make them adjustable so I could raise and lower the car bit as well as tweek the position of the car on the jig.

I started with 1.5" square tubing, 1 inch black pipe and one inch threaded rod. Here is a pic of the mount unassembled with the raw materials as well




The pipe is used as a sleeve to reduce slop when the threaded rod is inserted in the support. The 1.5" square tubing has a 1" washer welded to to the top and the threaded rod has a 3" piece of 3/4" angle welded to the top. It goes together as shown in the pics below







And here it is on the jig


I can lift the whole car right off the pins if needed. The car does not slide off because it cannot move right or left far enough to do so.

Time to start cutting out the floor!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So been a busy weekend. I have the car fastened to the rocker stands, I have leveled and straightend the jig, I have removed the drivers side wheel house, drop down and the inner tail pan (these were new sheet metal and I hope to reuse them.) Removal will be going at a fast pace now. Sheet metal should arrive this week as well.

Looks like the one frame rail was not welded in right because as soon as I relieved it from the tailpan it settled right down onto the jig. You can see where they cut it and patched it. The rockers appear to differ on each side as well. Looks like one of them was not installed correctly. Once I get the floor out, I will get that all squared up before I proceed.

I also got a great gift from my brother!! Turns out he has been sitting on two wooden crates of mine for over 20 years that I had completely forgotten about. The contents of the crates contained parts from my long lost Camaro!!!!. There was windshield washer resevoir, a 4 barrel intake manifold, two rear tail lights and two original Cal Custom 40-2000 valve covers that are all in good enough condition to make into this build. There were a few other parts that I wont be using but man what a great thing to get from my brother....THANK YOU for not throwing that stuff out Bro!:beers:

I will post more pics soon
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Here are a few pics of where I am at so far.








The rocker jacks welded in place. The car sits on them very nicely and can be raised and lowered using them.
 

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Personally, I like a green body cart better. Lol! ;)

Lookin' great there! Nice work! You are well on your way through the destruction stage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Been working on the car some more.

Here are some new pics showing where I am at now.











The weights are needed because there is a slight convex bow (1/8") to the main rails . I need to heat them to see I can get that to settle out of the jig. Otherwise the jig is perfect. You can see the string lines on either rail which are used to true the rails.

Basically I have just rough cut the car so far. There is still lots of flange clean up to do, quarters need more removal, torque boxes need to come out, firewall needs to come out as well. I am guessing another 20 -40 hours or so to get the car ready for sand blasting. Before I started this I would have said 8-10 hours but I know better than that now ;).

I do have some questions about the rockers which I will post in a detailed post shortly.
 

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Mark

I was just about to comment on the weights when I read your reason why. nice....:thumbsup:

I LOVE the adjustable threaded rods you installed at the rear of the body cart to compensate for the lack of balance. I welded up another pair of wheel plates at the rear instead, but I like your addition better. I may just switch it.

Car looks great. Nice progress. I am quite jealous that I am not out there too. Keep it up! I will keep an eye out for your q's on the rockers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
So here are the backs of my rockers where they meet the wheel well and you can see they are different side to side.
Drivers side


Passenger side
http://i778.photobucket.com/albums/yy61/mes5278/69 Camaro/DSC02564.jpg
You can see that the passenger side has a piece of sheet metal bridgeing the gap between the outer rocker and the wheel well.

I looked at what you had Todd and this is what I found
http://s299.photobucket.com/albums/...&current=RockerpanelsLEFTSIDETestfitting5.jpghttp://s299.photobucket.com/albums/...&current=RockerpanelsLEFTSIDETestfitting5.jpg
and
http://s299.photobucket.com/albums/...&current=RockerpanelsLEFTSIDETestfitting6.jpg
and all put together
http://s299.photobucket.com/albums/...maro SS350/?action=view&current=100_3692.jpg
So it looks like my passenger side is wrong and just needs that little tab they added removed??????
Of course I am looking at the following and wondering how it comes out looking like this without the aid of some of fiberglass to cover that notched area where where the wheel house meets the Rocker to make that straight line along the bottom of the quarter.

http://69camaro.20m.com/images/rocker1.jpg

What I am trying to determine ulitmately is if the rockers need to be rehung.
Using this pic for measurement locations I measured both sides and came up with the following measurements

http://s299.photobucket.com/albums/...ction=view&current=Chrissaraidooropenings.jpg

Front Drivers 36 1/2"
Rear Drivers 36"
Front Passenger 36 1/2"
Rear Passenger 36 3/16"

So I am off about 3/16" across the back. The rocker on the drivers side shows perfectly level. The passenger shows about 3/16 low in the back and if I look at the level across from drivers to passenger it shows perfect in the front and again if I shim it 3/16" at the back on the passenger side it shows level there too. The Passenger rocker is obviously out of kilter by 3/16" at the back. Question is....do I bother to rehang it. I never noticed how the door hung on that side. I suppose I should rehang the door and see what I get. I will have to make a decision soon about wether to remove the rocker and rehang it. Would love some input from you folks.
 

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Mark

Yeah--- I still haven't gotten to that repair yet on the outer rockers. You'd think that they would perfect that issue with the gaps at the ends after reproducing so many right? It's amazing how CHEAP some companies can be.

You will have to add a little tab of metal there to "fill in" those gaps so that when you mount your new 1/4 panels the gaps will be gone. Pretty crappy of the sheet metal company if you ask me. I heard Dynacorn outer rockers do not have this crazy issue.

As far as getting the rockers level, I would make sure you check your cart, rehang your doors to check gaps, and then either rehang the rockers or adjust one to the other if need be. Take measurements from the car to the cart since the cart should be perfectly parallel to itself and to the car. You can also use string to check for trueness along the rockers by attaching one end of the string to an eyehook as close as possible to each outer rocker having everything as parallel as possible. Just some ideas. I laser level works great too!:yes:


Some other thoughts:

If your rockers are not parallel to each other, your floor may not be level or parallel to the ground, which will cause your leaf springs to not be parallel, which causes the car to sit on angle, which will look bad and cause uneven tire wear, alignment issues, window adjustment issues, air and water leaks,increased taxes, premature baldness, excessive wrinkles, loose teeth from cringing, etc.... pandora's box.... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yeah I get everything you are saying. I know the jig is level but I did not measure to the jig with respect to each rocker....too logical I suppose...LOL.

So let me ask you this then. Would I be crazy to go ahead and remove the firewall, rockers, roof skin and inner wheel wells, then square and brace it all up. After that I would sand blast/prime what is left and from there begin to install the new sheetmetal.
 

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I would print out the Fisher Body Specs frame sheet, bring it out to the shop, take as many measurements as possible and get them to match the specs as you weld in bracing to ensure those dimensions. Then, you can cut out the old pieces until you are done. Then add the new panels. You want a square foundation to start before adding anything new. That's what I was suggested and it worked great for me.

Once you have variations in the measurements, they tend to amplify as the build continues if left alone and settled for. It could really cause some unecessary time and effort into the build. Take it slow and steady, and use those Fisher specs. I can email it to you if you need them. Or -- they are posted on many threads on here too. Just let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I guess I should provide a some detail about the jig. The jig was built to the fisher body specs. I used the plans from 6781Camaro and the actual fisher body manual. I did catch the mistakes you called out in your design Todd before I built it. I built it to the measurements and THEN put the car on it. Scary day for sure, but the car went right on the jig except for the height of one frame rail at the back passenger side which I think is possibly related to the rocker issue.


Looking at the fisher manual I am picking up the following points (numbers coincide to the manual)

1- The pins for the firewall,
4 - front locator hole in the frame rail
5 - the rear frame rail directly under the center of the bushing hole

The rest of the measurements I will have to pull manually from those 3 (6 points). The jig sits true and square. I even built a wooden jig to check the real jig before I welded it completely (how's that for anal retentive?)




There was an issue with a very slight bow (1/8" over 14') in the long rails. However, all the measurements are taken off of the datum line (bottom of the main rail) so using the jacking bolts on the jig along with about 140lbs of extra weight to make sure the jig sits down, I am able to jack the rails straight really easily (two turns of the rear jacking bolt makes the rail straight). I put a string line down each rail so I can verify that it is straight and true.

The bow was introduced when I welded the bottom of the rail to the main cart assembly. When the weld cooled it shrunk and caused a slight bow. I really just need to throw a weld across the top of the rail in the middle to compensate or heat it with a torch and cool it to try to shrink the metal on top of the rail to draw it back in the other direction.

So knowing the jig the way I do, I am fairly certain I can trust the jig.

My plan was to get the new full firewall, full floor, frame rails and full trunk all assembled on the jig in a level, straight and square manner. Then I would "marry" the car to that assembly. I think this is basically how GM did it too.

Let me know if that sounds like a better plan?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So I only got to work on the car one day during Memorial Day weekend, but it was a productive day at least. My step father is helping me and I have to watch him like a hawk. He likes to drill a spot weld and then pry despite me repeatedly telling him to drill ALL the spot welds and THEN start prying. Anyways, its metal and can all be fixed right?


Here are some pics of the progress







I know it looks like very little bracing but the car did not settle even a 16th when I cut the firewall loose so I think I am ok. May add some for good measure but so far nothing has moved.

I think I am going to try to repair that cowl instead of replacing it. The rot is very localized and in areas that seem like they would be fairly easy to fabricate a patch. The areas are also in places that will be hidden from view so that is another plus.

I am still debating on the roof panel replacement. Its pitted from having a vinyl top, has a couple of holes in the windshield area and about 6 very tiny pin holes in the drip rail area on each side. It all seems fixable so I am not sure if I want to remove it. I am sure I will when I see the new roof arrive, LOL.

The inner rockers are fair and I have new ones coming for that as well. I am going back through all your posts Todd regarding your rocker installation. I am going to have reinstall the passenger side at least.

So I am hoping I will be ready to sandblast this weekend or next. Probably next as I plan to build a temporary paint booth outside so that as soon as I am done sandblasting I can epoxy prime it. That will take a day I am sure.
 

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Wow Mark you have some serious cohonnes! Your car reminds me of my 68 only worse and I though my car was bad. Hats off to you and the boys for taking on such serious builds. These are the builds that give us other guys the faith that we can succeed, not matter how long it takes or how much it costs. Normally being the reason it takes so long! Can wait to follow the progress. Good thing Todd is so far along, we can just follow the leader! Keep up the good work the car is going to look great however it ends up. Sorry if I missed the part about what you are building?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Thanks for the compliment Mike. I am a little scared but as Todd, Terry and others have said, you just have to take each problem and solve it one at a time. So I am trying to get rid of as many problems as I can without making too many new ones if possible.

As you say, Todd, Terry, Arai and others have paved the way. They were certainly my inspiration and watching them made me believe I could do it too.

As for what I am building- It's an ever evolving vision. Right now I am looking to build a car that handles much better than it did new, retains most of its classic styling (inside and out) with a few modern touches that won't stand out too much. I plan to lower the car, do the guildstrand mod, put in a Tremec 5 speed, sub frame connectors, shock tower connectors, solid body mounts, improve the steering, and go to a 17 inch rim with Nitto tires.

I do not plan to change body lines, add crazy graphics or colors, or do any major changes to the look of the interior like a digital dash or modern seats.

Basically I hope to have a mean looking 69 that can put some muscle behind it's good looks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Today all my sheet metal arrived!!! I was sooooo excited. And then, For the first time during this build I was hit with an OH S*&T moment looking at all this stuff. I really felt overwhelmed and did not feel like I could accomplish putting this stuff in the car.

In and effort to overcome this, I very roughly test fit some of it and its obivious that it will have to be massaged into place. A couple of things of note.

1. I missed some damage to 2 panels when inspecting them. The damage is minor and should be fairly easy to fix.

2. The roof skin measures 1/4 shorter front to back in the center of the roof. The outer measurements are spot on. IF this cannot be corrected then the arch of the window will be different and my moulding may not fit right. I dont have the top pieces of moulding to see if that is indeed the case. So I am hesitant to take off the roof just yet. Until I can determine that it will fit.

Here are the always required pics






I guess I better get crackin before I over think this and start thinking I should be paying someone to do this.
 

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The best advice I can give you is......DON'T WALK AROUND YOU GARAGE THINKING ABOUT THE BUILD AS A WHOLE! JUST FOCUS ON THE TASK YOU HAVE AT HAND AND APPRECIATE THE PROGRESS YOU MADE AT THE END OF THE DAY. Believe it or not you will find yourself eventually contemplating the wheels and exhaust you are going to purchase because you are close to putting her back on the road. Oh, and when you have a bad day, and you will have a bad Camaro day, just close up shop and go inside.......I had a day where I couldn't get my welder to do a good plug weld to save my life and I kept getting more and more pissed off. Finally I went inside. The next morning....I tried it again and thought my way through it. Yes, I am ashamed to admit.....my shielding gas bottle was not opened up....:eek:.....what a dumb ***, huh?....:clonk:
 
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