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50 plymouth suburban - first attempt to join under $3k club

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  • #16
    My repairs on my coupe were pretty easy. I used a Dakota frame from a standard cab, long box, and shortened the wheel base 8". The Dakota I used had good floor pans in it, so I used the floor pan and the firewall below the vent box, intact. The Dakota was 6" wider then the coupe at the back of the doors, and about 10: wider then the coupe at the firewall. I cut the top 1/2 of the Dakota firewall off, removed the roof and the back of the cab above the floor line. I shifted the cab floor rearward on the frame 7" so the two firewalls were lined up, and built new cab mounts for the floor pan. Then I cut the coupe body loose from what little remained of its floor and hung the coupe body above the Dakota on my cherry picker. I lowered the coupe body down and trimmed the edges of the Dakota floor and firewall until the coupe body sat down onto the Dakota frame. I actually welded a piece of 1/8" x 4" flat steel to the sides of the coupe door posts and then welded those to the edge of the Dakota floor pan and boxed in around the new cab mounts. From there it was a matter of building rockers and attaching the two pieces together.
    About the only pictures I have left are with the body mounted to the Dakota chassis with the 1/8" plate, and then pictures of the rockers that were added to the coupe door posts.
    1) Passenger side flat plate before the rocker.
    2) Passenger side firewall brace.
    3) Driver side firewall brace.
    4) Since the frame was shortened, I used the steel floor (and center 2 box crossmembers) of the Dakota box for my rear floor. I didn't need the full 8' box length so I trimmed off the front of the box floor and bent it down. I also cut off the rear end of the box and built a new rear crossmember. It is sitting on top of the rear edge of the cab floor pan where it was welded into place. The Dakota frame kicks up 8" just behind the cab for mounting the fuel tank. I had to cut the box floor in 1/2 to get it into the car, but welded it back together. The center 2 sets of box floor crossmembers are bolted to the frame with the original Dakota holes and bolts.
    5) This is the driver side rocker with only the flat plate. The rocker was built afterwords.
    6) This is an over view of the driver side of the car, notice there isn't even a bottom to the door skin yet.
    I'll have to look to see if I can find pictures of the finished rockers, or I'll have to take a few tomorrow its still the same setup, 8 years and 60,000 miles later. Gene


    • #17
      All this makes me want to build an old Mopar... 1930 Chevy truck build link:


      • #18
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        • #19
          gene thanks again for your help so far, and for the thorough write up. When you say you welded the 4 inch piece to the door posts, are you talking about on the outside of the rocker? im not understanding how this helped you.

          As of now, I am still unsure which direction i will be taking on this project. Got the old engine and trans. removed yesturday. Now begins the search for a donor truck! v8 5 speed dakota here I come.

          Here is my other project.
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          Attached Files
          Last edited by chaosripper1; 03-27-2020, 05:57 PM.


          • #20
            50 Sub, When I got my car home and cleaned up, about the only parts of anything below the bottom door hinge that were still solid enough to weld to were the inside edge of the door posts (both the front and the back edges of each side). As I was considering the build, it became obvious I would have to fabricate something to hold the door posts in the correct position. By using the Dakota frame, it allowed me to tie the door posts together with that 1/8" flat stock (welded straight up and down), and I could also weld the Dakota floor pan to that same flat stock (at basically a 90 degree angle). As it turned out, the Dakota floor pan was about 3" higher then the original bottom edge of the doors. That 1/8" flat stock would give me something solid to build the bottom 6" of both sides of the car from. I really did start with just the front door post and part of the inner sides of the firewall, and the door post at the rear edge of the door. I had to build all the inner structure, and all the outer structure from flat sheet metal for the entire distance between the front tire and the rear tire.

            1) Passenger side front door post. My 1/8" flat stock top edge started just above the round hole above the remaining original floor board, on the inside edge of the firewall side piece/door post. All of what was left of the original floor was cut out before the body was lowered onto the Dakota chassis.
            2) Passenger side rear of the door post, and the cut off door. The top edge of that 1/8" flat stock was welded to the lower inside flat part of the remaining inside piece. That 1/8" flat stock ran vertically between the the inside edge of the firewall, to the inside edge of the front door post to the inside edge of the rear door post, and continued back to the front edge of the wheel opening where it was also welded to the inside edge of the rear wheel housing.
            3) The driver side front door post & firewall inside piece. This would have been at the rear of the 2 body mounts at the firewall on the original Plymouth. The box and the angle piece you see going towards the right bottom of this picture is the original body mount ear welded to the frame. You can still see what was left of the body side of the mount.
            4) This is still the driver side of the front door post/firewall inside piece with much better lighting. I don't have a picture of the driver side rear door post, but it was in about the same condition as the passenger side. The 1/8" flat stock was attached in the same manor as it was on the passenger side.

            To give you a better idea of the condition this car was in, the distance from the firewall to the back of the trunk is about 12' long. When I was ready to lift the body shell off the Plymouth chassis, I cut the remaining Plymouth floor and lifted the outer shell up with my engine hoist and a 4" x 6" wood beam through the door window openings. Once the floor was cut, the body was lifted up to clear the tires, and the chassis was rolled out from under the dangling body shell. I sure wish I could have taken pictures of that process! When I cut the floor, there was only 18" of existing floor I had to cut (on each side) between the firewall and where the back edge of the trunk would have been, had it not been rusted away, before I could lift off the body. Yes, only 18" of the original 12' was still intact enough to hold it together. Gene