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'59 Ford Update

Firewall cutout to accommodate engine placement.
I was pretty nervous about cutting into my Ford, but after checking the measurements over and over again I finally worked up the courage to do it.  It was easier to cut than I thought it would be.  Between my angle grinder and my reciprocating saw, I knocked it out in about 30 minutes.

With the freshly added cutout, I was able to walk the cab into the position it will be in when mounted.  So, the next step was to get the precise measurements of the front cab mount offsets. 
Theoretical driver-side front custom cab mount ('59 cab to '84 frame).
This was a little tricky to do in a three-dimensional environment where there's an offset in every direction, but I figured it out.  As sketched out here, I'm using large steel brackets I bought from Race Brothers to cover two of the three dimensional offsets (forward, inward).  It's fabricated out of 3/8" steel so it's total overkill but better safe than sorry.  These brackets will be mounted to the original 84's front cab mounts and turned back towards the frame and towards the front so that the 59's cab mount points will be directly above the brackets' centers.

Borrowing some metal from a useless Chevy. :)
Another challenge was reinforcement.  The 59's front cab mounts, like pretty much all trucks up through the 80's, were exposed to the front wheels so decades of water being thrown up by the front tires had rusted away much of the original structural integrity of the mounts.  It was necessary to add some sheet metal to the inside corners of the cab just above the mounts.  The passenger-side mount was so bad that I had to fabricate a bracket out of 1/4" steel to wrap the underside of the original mount.  Luckily for me, I was able to pick up a '79 Chevy K20 tailgate for only $10 on Craigslist last Friday.  I wasted no time cutting out of it the metal I needed to reinforce my floor pans.  It requires more work getting metal from this since I have to "unshape" it before I can shape it, but getting this much automotive grade steel for only $10 is a no-brainer.  Already, it's saved me about $10.  Thick steel sheet metal isn't at all cheap.

I'm pretty proud of the floor pan reinforcements.  This exercise has also managed to make me pretty confident that I can effectively make a removable cover for the cutout in the firewall.  After picking up the drill bit I need today, I should be able to drill the holes in the mounting brackets and get the cab off it's temporary stands and mounted on the frame where it belongs.

Driver-side floor reinforcement.
Passenger-side reinforcement.
I should have it mounted for my next blog.  I'll take some pics of them and hopefully they will look like my drawing above.  Until next time...
Grinding on metal makes for a pretty cool photo opportunity.


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