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Factory Undercoating Can be so Misleading!
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69rrgrabber
Posted 2018-11-29 12:22 AM (#574319)
Subject: Factory Undercoating Can be so Misleading!


Member

Posts: 8

Hello all,

Over the summer I bought an un-restored, barely running 58 Desoto to make a worthy driver. I knew the inner rockers were shot but as I went to remove the old seat belts, it was apparent that the passenger side outer floor pan is rusted to. Also, the 2 body to frame mounts under the passenger front and rear seat are rusted beyond use. In fact, the
passenger side of the front seat and the seams to the inner rockers on both sides are rusted. The inside of the car is being supported by the driver side frame mounts and the cowl and trunk sheet metal, which appears to be solid.

As is, the outer front belts have no where to bolt to where they won't rip out in the event of an accident. I'm thinking about adding some heavy gauge brackets to the frame so that I can have solid mounts. I know the only right thing is to replace all of the sheet metal, but it will be a few years before I can afford to, which is why I was trying to buy a driver to begin with. I could sell and look for a more solid car but I overpaid by about $5000 and would have to eat it if I hope to sell. So it would still take me a couple of years to make that up.

I'm about to make the brackets so I thought that I would first get your advice on the matter.



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Leadfoot1000
Posted 2018-11-29 1:32 AM (#574321 - in reply to #574319)
Subject: RE: Factory Undercoating Can be so Misleading!



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Posts: 216
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Location: Southern CA
Hello Carl, a couple things come to mind here. You’re understandably concerned about having solid mounting points for you seatbelts, but it sounds like the seat is not solidly mounted either, which could be very problematic in the event of an accident. As far as selling the car and trying to find a more solid one, depending on your price point, finding a rust free or a car with only a small amount of rust is difficult, at best. Other members can feel free to correct me, but most of these forwardlook cars are rusty, unless they’ve been restored or stored in a garage and pampered. So finding a replacement car may not be the best option, depending on other factors too, like the condition of the rest of the car. We would love to see some photos of your car if you want to post some.
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wizard
Posted 2018-11-29 3:56 AM (#574325 - in reply to #574319)
Subject: Re: Factory Undercoating Can be so Misleading!



Board Moderator & Exner Expert 10K+

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Location: Southern Sweden - Sturkö island
Hi Carl, yes, indeed, the factory undercoating served it's purpose to begin with, but as soon as it hardened out and started to crack, it Went from a protective coat to a "plastic bag" containing water and salt residue.

I have removed most of my original undercoating and found several spots of surface rust and rust under it. Now I have cleaned most of the undercarriage, primed and coated it with satin black paint and chip protection in the exposed areas like rockers and wheel wells.


Your first priority must be to fix the rust issues, as you describe the state, the body is half-attached to the frame.

The seat belts are kind of a false safety in those old cars, but the lap belts would stop you from going through the front window in a serious accident.


Attaching the seat belts to the frame might be a bad idea, if the car has serious rust issues, the body might well be ripped off from the frame in an accident and the seat belts might be a death trap instead of saving you.


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69rrgrabber
Posted 2018-11-29 10:40 PM (#574379 - in reply to #574319)
Subject: Re: Factory Undercoating Can be so Misleading!


Member

Posts: 8

Hello Steve and Wizard, Thank you so much for your responses. I really appreciate it. You are both right, no shortcut will do and a proper sheet metal replacement job is in order. I will forgo the brackets to not make a bad situation worse.

My original plan was good and I wish I would have stuck to it. Save $25K to $35K to buy a nice car. I was impatient and dropped $15K on the Desoto. It would be a great car to resotre. 100% there besides the original 2bbl air cleaner, recent engine and transmission rebuild and a nice patina. It has a repaint in blue and white but was originally French Turquoise. Besides the passenger floor, rockers, passenger trunk extention, I think I can get away with patches. I can weld sheet metal but have not fabricated panels other than patches. I can paint and do all the mechanical work. But even all that may not make up for the cost of a full chrome job and interior.

Was into the late 60s Mopar muscle cars for years before falling in love with the Forwardlook cars. Feeling like I missed the boat and the rarity of these cars, I jumped on this 58 Firedome. I would be happy to restore the car but it would have to wait 4 years or so to begin as my daughter is about to start college and that's priority.

Steve, I will try to post pics tomorrow as my first attempt failed. You may have seen this car as another member bought it earlier this year and then sold it to me.
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Stroller
Posted 2018-12-02 1:43 PM (#574519 - in reply to #574319)
Subject: Re: Factory Undercoating Can be so Misleading!


Veteran

Posts: 107
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Yuppers a good example of what is said, "Exners (?) contribution to automotive styling, water retention pockets and rust". Yep mopars from back then seem to all look like they came from the rust belt. You could stick a screwdriver through the trunk floor of my '60 Fury. Best investment I made was selling all 3 of my other welders, 2 wire feed archers and 1 Lincoln archer and got a true mig welder with the gas attachment, mines is only a 110v but works. I taught my self how to shrink metal and tap out creases, so panel forming has become a needed skill. I bought a seam roller set up for a few hundred bucks. Can come close and with gorrila snot the rubber seals hold on. Seen many people get burned by Ebay on "Museum quality restorations". I guess they could be because they look good, on the surface. I got my eyes on, wife will shoot me, but it's a clean (fairly) '65 Fury 2dr ht. I love that body style.

You make a good point however. Buy a car done and proper because it costs more than you will ever probably get back in restoring one.
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