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Old 12-11-2018, 06:15 PM   #26
mongocanfly
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

What about the weight of the lower gate being attached to the upper window frame gate?...seems like that may be alot to ask of those pieces on either side of the glass....I'm just thinking aloud here....you may already have a plan...
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Old 12-11-2018, 07:04 PM   #27
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

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What about the weight of the lower gate being attached to the upper window frame gate?...seems like that may be alot to ask of those pieces on either side of the glass....I'm just thinking aloud here....you may already have a plan...
If it sounds half baked, Greg, it's because I rarely approach any of this with a fully baked plan. The good news is that in the process of gutting the tailgate it got really light. I'll have to put a few things back, but I believe if I reinforce the sides where they meet the liftgate it will be sturdy but not overly heavy. The heaviest component is the glass and it's positioned near the hinges, so it has a lower moment of inertia. I'm hoping the gas struts I ordered will be stout enough to hold the entire contraption up. If not, I'll have to go back to the mechanical ones and grunt when I need to open it.

I removed the rear doors and plan to deliver them and the tailgate parts to the blaster tomorrow. I called ahead and found that the shop I've used in the past has changed hands, so I found another one very close to the house. Owned by a couple of car guys so I'm going to give them a try.

After removing the rear doors and scooting the front seat all the way forward, I found a few items left behind by previous owners (or passengers), sort of like a little time capsule. There was a checkbook from the Marine Credit Union at Camp Pendelton, CA with a couple of checks made out. The marine that it belonged to must have misplaced it before he had a chance to pay the recipients. It also had a receipt in it for a short term lending outfit. Man did that ever hit home. When I was stationed out in CA in the late '60's, we lived hand to mouth.

The bottle of Pepto was a hoot as well. It was empty and all dried out. Hope it isn't a harbinger of how much heartburn lies ahead.
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Crusty Rusty Leaky Squeaky 67 Consigned for sale
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Old 12-12-2018, 07:12 PM   #28
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

Every time I do something to the wagon, I find more reasons to thank my lucky stars. Most of my previous projects had hidden issues of one sort or another and so far, I'm off to the best start in recent memory... knock on wood. The spare tire carrier is a great example. I drilled the spotwelds today, removed it and it's as solid as can be. Normally they're eaten up by tinworms. Not that I need it, I plan to replace the spare tire well with a large capacity EFI fuel tank. The retrofit ones from Tanks, Inc. are only about 15.5 gallons. So I'm on the lookout for something bigger I can adapt.

Took the doors and tailgate/liftgate to the blaster today and should have them back by the first of the week if not sooner.
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Old 12-17-2018, 07:14 PM   #29
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

I picked up the liftgate/tailgate, rear doors and etc. from the media blaster. He did a great job, so now I'm able to forge ahead with rot repair. It's a shame they don't reproduce much of anything for the liftgate. It seems to have suffered the worst tinworm infestation of all the parts so far. The tailgate and doors should be relatively easy to patch, which is certainly a good thing.

While the parts were off at Blast Monkey, I cut out a section of the tailpan support brace that was rotted. I'm rebuilding it with a length of square tubing, a 1/2" x 1/8" flat strip and some sheetmetal. Since I needed to cover the original hinge plate area, it seemed best to just do this as opposed to going with a replacement support.
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Crusty Rusty Leaky Squeaky 67 Consigned for sale
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Old 12-17-2018, 07:24 PM   #30
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

Looks like a great start.

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Old 12-18-2018, 09:20 AM   #31
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

Definitely off to a good start
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Old 12-22-2018, 08:13 PM   #32
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

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Originally Posted by tune_1 View Post
Looks like a great start.

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Originally Posted by Ol Blue K20 View Post
Definitely off to a good start
Thanks, guys!

I've been forging ahead little by little on the metal work. Both the liftgate and the tailgate require quite a bit of rust repair before they can be welded together. Right now I'm working on the tailgate because it's in a little better shape and I need to get reacquainted with the MIG before jumping on the liftgate. Most of the rot is located on the lower edge of the tailgate, so I cut out enough material to (hopefully) get past the weakened areas and reduce the amount of burn thru that occurs when you hit rust. I've cleaned out the bondo peanuts and have the patches tacked in. Now comes the really hard part... welding all this up and using the hammer and dolly to keep the warping to a minimum. I figure I easily have several weeks of welding, hammering, grinding and assorted vocabulary exercises ahead.
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Crusty Rusty Leaky Squeaky 67 Consigned for sale
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Old 12-22-2018, 08:15 PM   #33
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

I also finished making the patches for the tailpan support and have them tacked in. Punched some metal discs to fill the holes in the tailgate where the hinges used to bolt up. I want remove all vestiges of how the tailgate operated previously.
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57 Chevy Wagon - California Dreamin'
Crusty Rusty Leaky Squeaky 67 Consigned for sale
Silver Streaker "Mecum'd" 4/2013 Gone to Texas
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Old 01-01-2019, 07:57 PM   #34
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

So it took me a month and a half to get over here but I made it, but not by following your sig link, it isn't working for me. I agree I think the Pepto could be a bad omen, I would have tossed it and never mentioned it. LOL! But i'm sure you'll be able to handle any problems that arise.
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Old 01-01-2019, 09:26 PM   #35
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

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So it took me a month and a half to get over here but I made it, but not by following your sig link, it isn't working for me. I agree I think the Pepto could be a bad omen, I would have tossed it and never mentioned it. LOL! But i'm sure you'll be able to handle any problems that arise.
Thanks for the heads up, Mike! My thread ID was pointing to a non-existent number. I may have hosed it up when I created a parallel thread on trifive.com. I've been posting the same basic stuff to two different forums. There are a lot more guys I know on the truck forum and only a few "longroof" fans following on trifive.

I have a backlog of stuff to post and will try to catch up tomorrow. The door hinges are supposed to arrive from Canada and I'm anxious to see what will be involved in making them work.
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Crusty Rusty Leaky Squeaky 67 Consigned for sale
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:03 PM   #36
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

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Thanks for the heads up, Mike! My thread ID was pointing to a non-existent number. I may have hosed it up when I created a parallel thread on trifive.com. I've been posting the same basic stuff to two different forums. There are a lot more guys I know on the truck forum and only a few "longroof" fans following on trifive.

I have a backlog of stuff to post and will try to catch up tomorrow. The door hinges are supposed to arrive from Canada and I'm anxious to see what will be involved in making them work.
Its been the holiday, take your time! I'm glad you chose to have a build thread here because all I need is another forum and password to remember LOL!
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Old 01-03-2019, 05:31 PM   #37
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

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Its been the holiday, take your time! I'm glad you chose to have a build thread here because all I need is another forum and password to remember LOL!
Know what you mean, however, I figured posting up on the 55-57 Chevy forum could help when I eventually hit the wall. Not that my buds on this forum don't know anything about tri-five Chebbies.

Since I last posted, I made some headway with the tailgate. Still slowly stitching up the new metal, but took some time to install and test the electric popper for the latch release. Works pretty good. Much of the OEM manual release mechanism is cast out of pot metal. I was afraid the sudden action of the solenoid might be too much for it so I built a sleeve and lever out of 4130 chromoly material. It fits over the pot metal socket that originally attached to the external handle. I drilled and tapped a couple of 6-32 holes into a meaty area so I feel it will be a lot less likely to fracture when activated. At the same time, I machined a stainless spud for the other side and tapped it for a 7/16-20 LH thread. This will allow me to attach a handle on the inside as an emergency release. Posted a video demonstration on YouTube.

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Crusty Rusty Leaky Squeaky 67 Consigned for sale
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Old 01-03-2019, 05:37 PM   #38
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

The suicide door hinges showed up yesterday from Canada. They look hell for stout. The instruction manual was very generic, but gives a good overview of the process. They also have some photos on a host site, but none that are specific to a 57 Chevy. I texted them a photo of my door jamb and asked if they could perhaps give me an idea of where to make the initial cuts. Hope they have some suggestions. It will probably be a few weeks before I get going on that particular mod. Need to finish the tailgate first.
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:23 PM   #39
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

Enjoying the work you are doing. It is amazing how solid the spare tire well is...wow!
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:09 AM   #40
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

Awesome work Vic! I’m super glad to see you have a thread on this one too.
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Old 01-07-2019, 05:19 PM   #41
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

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Enjoying the work you are doing. It is amazing how solid the spare tire well is...wow!
Very true. In fact it was so nice one of the members on the tri-five forum asked if I'd box it up and send it to him. So after 60+ years it will live on in another 57 wagon. I need the space for an EFI fuel tank. If I have a flat tire, I'll have to call AAA.

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Awesome work Vic! Im super glad to see you have a thread on this one too.
Thanks, Scott! I debated about it, but I know a lot more truck guys so I figured it would be well worth the small amount of extra effort to cut and paste the construction details into Alternate Tinkerings.
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57 Chevy Wagon - California Dreamin'
Crusty Rusty Leaky Squeaky 67 Consigned for sale
Silver Streaker "Mecum'd" 4/2013 Gone to Texas
Maybelline - my '57 Ford 2dr Sedan "Mecum'd" 3/2016 Gone Somewhere
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:54 PM   #42
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

The metal work on the tailgate is pretty much complete. I filled the openings for the tailgate retractors and the locating channel used to line up the liftgate and tailgate. Did some hammer and dolly work to get the panel smooth enough to identify and shrink the crowned areas. A few more tweaks and it will be ready for self etch primer and filler.
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57 Chevy Wagon - California Dreamin'
Crusty Rusty Leaky Squeaky 67 Consigned for sale
Silver Streaker "Mecum'd" 4/2013 Gone to Texas
Maybelline - my '57 Ford 2dr Sedan "Mecum'd" 3/2016 Gone Somewhere
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:56 PM   #43
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

The liftgate presents much more of a challenge. The bottom half of the frame pretty much has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. The flat section that meets the top of the tailgate was so rotted out, I went ahead and cut it out to expose the underside of the inner stamping. Overall, the frame is fairly rigid, but a lot of welding on it would probably warp it beyond repair. So I plan to use a combination of short welds, 3M panel adhesive and fiberglass mat to make it usable again.

When I lived in Houston, there was a place that could dip parts in an acidic rust remover followed by a neutralizer, rinse and surface rust preventative. But I haven't found anything comparable near where I now live. I'm considering boxing the piece up and shipping it to a shop that provides that service. When you're dealing with a fragile part it's best to use a process that is minimally destructive.
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57 Chevy Wagon - California Dreamin'
Crusty Rusty Leaky Squeaky 67 Consigned for sale
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:49 AM   #44
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

I would be so lost if I was faced with that repair, even if I was coached through it Id probably warp it beyond repair. <popping popcorn and pouring a beer for the show> 😁
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Old 01-11-2019, 12:37 PM   #45
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

It's amazing what you're tackling. I would be scared to death.I'm sti) watching.
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:13 PM   #46
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

Wow! You gotta love 50's cars and all the nooks and crannies that hold dirt and moisture. They always get a big case of tin-worms, even in a dry climate. Keep up the good work Vic. I know you've got this.
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Old 01-13-2019, 07:31 PM   #47
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

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I would be so lost if I was faced with that repair, even if I was coached through it Id probably warp it beyond repair. <popping popcorn and pouring a beer for the show> 😁
It may not go exactly as I think it will, but backing up and making another run at it from a different angle is my modus operandi.
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It's amazing what you're tackling. I would be scared to death.I'm still watching.
This is the piece that worries me the most. I'd be surprised if I could find another one in half as good a shape as what I have, so avoiding a total meltdown is of paramount importance.
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Wow! You gotta love 50's cars and all the nooks and crannies that hold dirt and moisture. They always get a big case of tin-worms, even in a dry climate. Keep up the good work Vic. I know you've got this.
Ain't that the truth, Duane! It looked really great until it came back from media blasting.

I heard back from the folks that do the chemical dipping and the cost is not too great, so I'm going to box up the liftgate this week and send it to them. I'll build the box out of plywood and hope it's enough to keep the contents safe going and coming.

I needed a little something to keep me busy so I drew a design for the plate/bezel that will go on the tailgate. It will house the push button for the electric latch release. It would be too time consuming to do the outer profile, so I'll contact my buds in Houston to CNC it for me. I did the ball end mill grooves and put the holes where they need to be, so the rest is up to them. When I get it back, I'll take it and the tailgate to Sedalia and use Keith's roller to form the curve to match the sheetmetal.
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57 Chevy Wagon - California Dreamin'
Crusty Rusty Leaky Squeaky 67 Consigned for sale
Silver Streaker "Mecum'd" 4/2013 Gone to Texas
Maybelline - my '57 Ford 2dr Sedan "Mecum'd" 3/2016 Gone Somewhere
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Old 01-18-2019, 05:47 PM   #48
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

I built a (hopefully) sturdy box to ship the liftgate to be chemically dipped. It's out of my hands now, which I gotta tell you gives me a queasy feeling considering the part is all but irreplaceable. But as a good buddy used to say, "Columbus took a chance." So it's on its way to Toledo, OH.

While it's gone, I'm preparing for the suicide door conversion. I sent a photo to the hinge supplier and they said the placement looks good. Recommended that I tack it in place and do a dummy door test to verify it clears. The photo below has an arrow pointing to the spot on the quarter panel that is furthest outboard. This is the recommended location but is way too low for the hinge. So I'm going to start with the area outlined by the white rectangle instead.

They recommend installing the hinge pin vertically which may put the bottom too far away from the outside edge (black arrows). So they have an alternate method that involves tilting the hinge pin (yellow line) in both the vertical and horizontal planes. If you measure carefully with a digital angle finder, it should result in the door swinging level even though the pin is angled.

To get an idea of what I'm facing, I cut a window in the inner panel to see the area behind the striker plate. It will be removed and transferred to the B pillar on the opposite side later. Naturally, that entire area is double walled. I think a combination of the Sawsall and cutoff wheels will create the opening I need. It's going to be a lot bigger than I planned, which means lots more patching once the hinge location is finalized. I may be able to finesse it a bit more on the other side. We'll see.

I was surprised that the inner wheel well stopped an inch or so short of the jamb, but I guess the designers figured the front of the tire would be slinging water forward and down anyway, so why bother.
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57 Chevy Wagon - California Dreamin'
Crusty Rusty Leaky Squeaky 67 Consigned for sale
Silver Streaker "Mecum'd" 4/2013 Gone to Texas
Maybelline - my '57 Ford 2dr Sedan "Mecum'd" 3/2016 Gone Somewhere
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Old 01-18-2019, 07:27 PM   #49
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

I measured down 28" from the rain gutter and made a mark on the door jamb. Then leveled my straight line laser and marked the bottom cut line. From there i measured up 5.25" which will give me a loose fit for the hinge assembly. Then I marked the rest of the jamb to also remove the striker mounting plate. I'll try to stay inside the yellow tape for my cuts... tomorrow.
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57 Chevy Wagon - California Dreamin'
Crusty Rusty Leaky Squeaky 67 Consigned for sale
Silver Streaker "Mecum'd" 4/2013 Gone to Texas
Maybelline - my '57 Ford 2dr Sedan "Mecum'd" 3/2016 Gone Somewhere
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:34 PM   #50
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Re: 57 Chevy Wagon - Californa Dreamin'

You sir are are much braver.. strike that... much more talented than I. I await with anticipation to see the results!
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