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Current Page: 16 of 19
Re: FC Fire Dept Truck Restoration
Posted by: grubin ()
Date: May 16, 2017 12:29PM

Question. What size tire and wide white did you get and where. Thanks. Gary

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Re: FC Fire Dept Truck Restoration
Posted by: SteveInMarietta ()
Date: May 16, 2017 01:31PM

Hi Gary,
I mis-wrote above: I bought Coker whitewalls (not Cooper), specifically 195/75R14 Coker Classic with 2 1/4" Whitewall. The truck shipper for the Firebrier didn't specify a tire size, and I considered 205/75R14, but I've used 195s on my other Greenbrier and like the riding height, etc., so went with those.
Steve

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Re: FC Fire Dept Truck Restoration
Posted by: corventure Dave ()
Date: May 16, 2017 03:39PM

Steve. Your sand box for body work is a super trick. I use a sandbag for the same method.
The sand absorbs the hammer blows and does not allow the metal to so easily distort. I have had someone on the outside hold the sandbag against a low dent or damaged area. Working the metal out is more precise this way.

Again, your work is quite detailed and really admirable.thumbs upthumbs upthumbs up

Corventure Dave

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Re: FC Fire Dept Truck Restoration
Posted by: Joe West ()
Date: May 22, 2017 02:53PM

Holy Smoke! This project has come a long way since I last checked it. Awesome work Steve!


1964 Spyder Convertible, Laurinburg North Carolina
Restoration Website: [www.corvairspyder.com]

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Re: FC Fire Dept Truck Restoration
Posted by: SteveInMarietta ()
Date: May 22, 2017 08:03PM


Thanks Joe!

Here's another repair I made while awaiting parts to repair the clutch (see this thread). The passenger side door pillar had the usual rot around the upper hinge opening. Here's a series of pictures showing the repair:

1- original condition - serious rust up almost to the hinge opening. Equally bad on other side as well.
2- I did the cut-off along the top of the hinge opening - a reasonably reliable landmark for cutting the replacement. I was much relieved to find that rot was only "skin deep", and the subtending metal layer had only surface rust. When I did a similar repair on my 61 GB, everything was rotted, necessitating a much more complicated repair.
3- after cleaning off as much rust as possible, the underlying metal was prepped and painted with POR-15.
4 & 5 - and the replacement piece was welded in, welds cleaned up and then given a temp coat of primer.

The replacement piece was cut from a body section I got from the Corvair Ranch.

1- The pillar skin & support metal were roughly cut first.
2- Normally, the skin would be removed with a spot-weld cutter; but I didn't want to cause that much damage to this relatively small piece. So instead I carefully ground away the spot-welds from the back side, a time consuming process to avoid grinding into the skin layer.
3- Here's the replacement freed up from the sub-metal. Definitely not from a west-coast vehicle. After stripping the paint, it became apparent that rust in a few places would necessitate metal replacement. Eventually several small holes were drilled along the sides for plug welding to the door pillar, and the inside was treated with POR-15.

Steve



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Re: FC Fire Dept Truck Restoration
Posted by: igottajob2 ()
Date: May 23, 2017 11:52AM

Again, I am amazed by your work! Well done! smileys with beer

Minneapolis,MN

1965 500 Coupe
95HP

Built the 1st week of April of 65 at willow run.
500 coupe. The only factory accessory is a rear antenna.
White with a red interior.
Now black with black and red interior.


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Re: FC Fire Dept Truck Restoration
Posted by: SteveInMarietta ()
Date: June 04, 2017 08:09PM


Decided to strip and prime rear of the Firebrier. Plan is to refinish exterior in three stages, rear middle and then front. Would be nice to strip whole thing, but with humidity in the mid-Ohio valley, flash rusting would occur. I use aircraft stripper - here's after first application.

but it takes two applications with lots of wire brush work. btw: the area around any openings had been stripped previously when I had worked on the interior, this way I could tape over the openings to avoid getting any stripper on the interior paint

Then I clean it with POR-15 degreaser which neutralizes and causes the stripper to clump up, which I find helps to remove it. But getting all traces of the original primer is tough, so then I hit it with the sanders...

... first a rotary sander with 80 grit and then a random orbital sander with 120 grit.
Then I do any body work. I found a couple of small places where metal needed to be replaced and any small dings were filled. At center rear of roof several holes needed to be plug welded, which unavoidably causes a slight deformation of the metal, and this was corrected with filler.


Finally, I wipe down the entire surfaces with POR-15 degreaser, and then with isopropyl alcohol. First OMNI epoxy primer was applied then their high build primer. Not much head room above the roof, so priming is a tricky undertaking.

A fair amount of work is still needed. The damaged corner needs to be block sanded back to perfection. And there's nothing like primer to reveal all the other little dings that still need to be filled. Notice that I prefer to keep the rear windows in place, but I cut away the weather stripping so that all the metal can be fully prepped.

The rear doors were also done. The downside of restoring an 8-door is ... all of those doors, which have an awful lot of surface area. The inside of these rear doors had a lot of dings and bends, which I suspect was from fire equipment banging against them. Indents are very difficult to correct with metal work because there's no way to work from the inside of the door. Most of the dings are small enough to fill, but several needed to be pulled with a stud welder, such as the 1/4" indent to this contour feature.

The Harbor Freight stud welder I purchased when I did my 61 GB came in handy. It takes a fair number of studs to pull the metal without creating a dimple. Rather than using a traditional stud puller, I feel I have better control pulling on the studs with a leverage bar.

I use whatever rigid bar is handy with a suitable length. Moving stud to stud, the metal was pulled out until the original contour was achieved. You definitely do not want to pull so hard as to pull out the stud (and maybe leave a hole), so using several studs is best. Unfortunately, all the studs then need to be cut off and carefully ground smooth. The pic shows the 4 studs in different stages of removal.


The doors were prepped and other damaged areas corrected as for the van body.

and then primed...
.
Epoxy needs to be top coated within 72 hours, so I almost always finish with high build primer since I rarely apply a finish coat any time soon.

Steve




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/05/2017 08:02AM by MattNall.

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Re: FC Fire Dept Truck Restoration
Posted by: igottajob2 ()
Date: June 05, 2017 07:24AM

AMAZING work as always! smileys with beer

Minneapolis,MN

1965 500 Coupe
95HP

Built the 1st week of April of 65 at willow run.
500 coupe. The only factory accessory is a rear antenna.
White with a red interior.
Now black with black and red interior.


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Re: FC Fire Dept Truck Restoration
Posted by: SteveInMarietta ()
Date: June 11, 2017 05:18AM


I have been slowly acquiring and restoring (or having restored) fire truck equipment. On the roof were the siren, beacon and spotlight.

Here's the beacon light, a Federal Sign and Signal Model 17, fully restored and an exact replacement for the original.


I learned that the skirt (base) of these is often cut to fit particular applications, so finding one with an unmodified full skirt was fortunate. The white (rather than black) gasket is appropriate.

Although the Unity spotlight was not in bad shape I located a NOS replacement:


I have been very fortunate that a retired member of the Malden West Camp Fire Company has graciously provided information about and original equipment for the Firebrier. As previously reported, he donated the original siren, which he had stored for decades, and here it is before and after restoration:




The siren was missing the mounting base and needed repair, including welding of a crack in the cone, before being rechromed. The work was done by Gary Cahill of "Rescue Market", in Elyria, OH.

A few weeks ago, I took a trip to the Malden West Camp Fire Company, in Saugerties NY, the home of the Firebrier. There are two fire houses (Malden and West Camp), and here's the West Camp station:



I was generously given several original items including a vintage fireman's hat,



respirator,



- the respirator is missing the air cylinders and will need some restoration, a future project -

and portable two way radio


This also will need some work, lacking the antenna and mike.

I learned that the Firebrier was originally outfitted with a Motorola Motrac two way radio. I found replacements online, and the exteriors of the head control unit, speaker and base unit have been restored, although I haven't done anything with the electronics (not sure if they work). The head control unit and speaker were mounted below the dash where the FC radio normally would be found.



and the base use was under the front seat




I have a period appropriate "Antenna Specialists" mount for the antenna, but have not yet acquired the spring and mast.



Apparently, the Firebrier carried a full size 4 cylinder air cascade across the powertrain covers with the valves positioned facing the rear doors.

This was used to fill the respirators during fire runs. The cascade probably weighed about 500 lbs and it's remarkable to think of the Firebrier so equipped running around the hilly Saugerties terrain. Might explain some sagging of the rear springs and the engine wear and tear. I have no intentions of installing replacements.

Steve







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Re: FC Fire Dept Truck Restoration
Posted by: kenzen ()
Date: June 11, 2017 05:47AM

Maybe you can get some expired scuba tanks (in lightweight fiberglass) and simulate them?

kenzen
66 Monza Coupe 110/PG
Bel Air, MD

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Re: FC Fire Dept Truck Restoration
Posted by: SteveInMarietta ()
Date: June 23, 2017 06:02PM



Working my way toward the front exterior of the Firebrier - it's a real pass-through van now:

Notice the great wheel covers to protect the white walls - HF, all four for only $10! Lots of plastic to cover finish paint, etc on the interior. Roof is also primed and ready for finish paint.

The side doors have been finished - always more work than expected; though compared to my 61 GB, doors of the Firebrier were in much better condition. Here's most everything in the lay down area, ready for reassembly
.
The door interiors are finished with fawn poly, but the exteriors are left with primer, to be finished with rest of exterior at a local body shop. All the components have been cleaned, stripped and painted. Lots of wire-wheel work, or media blasting in some cases or even the angle grinder for the hinges:
.
All the screw heads and threads were cleaned, heads painted. Extra care is given to the door hinge bolts. 3/8 - 24 threads of the bolts and their holes were carefully chased. I fully degrease the door and window mechanisms, will relube with lithium grease when reassembled. Most of these still had good zink coating, but a couple were repainted.

The doors themselves has a variety of issues; and here's a sampling of the repair work that was needed. The most obvious damage was the long indent and puncture to the outside of the right-front side door:


Like all the doors, this one was first stripped with aircraft stripper


which shows the damage more clearly


This was another job for the stud gun, which allowed pulling out as best possible the indent

Unfortunately, damage like this extends much further across the door than what seems obvious from the gash itself, so even with the indent pulled out almost to the original level, a thin layer of filler will be needed to recontour the door surface.

Careful inspection of any suspect area is necessary, and subtle rust damage sometimes is only revealed by using an aggressive wire wheel. For example, one door was found to have thin track of rot holes near the bottom edge, shown at the bottom of this image series:

I choose to carefully plug weld over the whole area and then grind smooth. Replacing a large piece of the outer skin seemed superfluous and likely to create bigger headaches. When done correctly, plug welding typically blows through any rotted metal and only fuses where the metal is adequately secure, and one only hopes that the result isn't a god-awful large hole that need to be welded closed. Fortunately, this repair went relatively smoothly.

Speaking of door repairs, has anyone ever encountered a factory repair like this?

From the outside, the metal has a slightly different color, and on the inside we can see where a metal insert was welded into place. Mistake when punching hole for handle? Actually, this door has two repairs like this, and I wish I could do it so elegantly!

The bottom of the doors always are subject to rust damage and need to be carefully inspected. This image series shows, from top-down, repair of rot on one of the doors where the outer skin folds over the inside:

a place always likely to trap water. One of the toughest repairs is to something that no one would ever see - this area is actually covered by weatherstrip - and there is that little devil on my shoulder saying "skip-it, d***-it, no one will know!" But since I'm doing it for myself, I would know, and so must persevere.
And this repair required drilling out the spot weld allowing the outer skin to be peeled back, the rotted metal cut out (second frame down), a refabricated piece welded in (third frame down), and weld ground smooth (bottom image). Unfortunately, the water drain outlet also had some rot (see arrow) that needed repair.

This was done by grinding an aluminum block to fit the inside of the drain, and clamping in place as a backer. Since the weld does not stick to aluminum, the gap could be plug welded and ground smooth, and the backer then pulled out.

Eventually, after necessary repairs, each door was sanded to bare metal with a rotary sander, wire wheel (invaluable for the jambs) and random orbital sander.
Here's a door ready to be primed.

A couple of the doors (like this one) had numerous small indents (banged by fire equipment?) that needed to be filled. That's a custom made rack the door is hanging from. Anyone recognize what corvair part it was fabricated from?

Steve

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Re: FC Fire Dept Truck Restoration
Posted by: rowin4 ()
Date: June 23, 2017 06:17PM

Great welding job, I have always used copper for a backing when welding small holes, never heard of using aluminum. Does it melt?

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Re: FC Fire Dept Truck Restoration
Posted by: SteveInMarietta ()
Date: June 23, 2017 06:31PM

Aluminum works fine; easier to find in different dimensions, and cheaper.
Steve

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Re: FC Fire Dept Truck Restoration
Posted by: Timothy Shortle ()
Date: June 24, 2017 08:44PM

Looks great Steve. Please hurry up. I want you to work on mine next!
See you next week in Missouri.

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Re: FC Fire Dept Truck Restoration
Posted by: vairmech ()
Date: June 25, 2017 05:56AM

SteveInMarietta Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> A few weeks ago, I took a trip to the Malden West
> Camp Fire Company, in Saugerties NY, the home of
> the Firebrier. There are two fire houses (Malden
> and West Camp), and here's the West Camp station:
>
> Apparently, the Firebrier carried a full size 4
> cylinder air cascade across the powertrain covers
> with the valves positioned facing the rear doors.
> [www.corvair.org]
> /MWCFD/FireEquip/cascade.jpg
> This was used to fill the respirators during fire
> runs. The cascade probably weighed about 500 lbs
> and it's remarkable to think of the Firebrier so
> equipped running around the hilly Saugerties
> terrain. Might explain some sagging of the rear
> springs and the engine wear and tear. I have no
> intentions of installing replacements.
>
> Steve
> >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Keep in mind that you can get some aluminum tanks. Then again you could get someone to make carbon fiber replicas! I bet you could even do that!

Ken Hand
Handy Car Care
248 613 8586

Vairmech@aol.com

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Re: FC Fire Dept Truck Restoration
Posted by: MattNall ()
Date: June 25, 2017 08:43AM

Look at water softener tanks, etc... Fiberglass!





MODERATOR
Sea Mountain, between Charleston Harbor and Coos Bay! SW Oregon Coast
Click HERE for My Website...Click HERE for My TechPages!
..............................110-PG.................................................Webered-Turbo

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Re: FC Fire Dept Truck Restoration
Posted by: SteveInMarietta ()
Date: June 25, 2017 12:22PM

Matt, Water softener tanks - great idea! I will definitely look into this.
Steve

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Re: FC Fire Dept Truck Restoration
Posted by: SteveInMarietta ()
Date: July 03, 2017 07:23PM


Seat reupholstery was done during the Independence CORSA Convention (which was a great event this year - well done HACOA!)

Firebrier came with only the front seat (apparently the single original rear seat, long held in an attic storage, had been disposed by the Home fire department only a few years ago). But Bill Clapper provided a replacement rear seat (two actually) - Thanks Bill!


The front seat and a rear seat were reupholstered by a local company; here's the rear seat restored (I plan to have the second rear seat reupholstered later, although I'm not sure if I'll use it in the Firebrier). The stock '63 FC standard seat upholstery was nicely prepared by Clarks to match the originals.

The frames were derusted (a tough task) and painted with gloss black enamel. I discovered that the burlap with woven wires, visible beneath the seat bottoms, was not commercially available, so I decided to reproduce it myself:


This was no small undertaking, I learned. For the wire I used 18ga piano wire, which was plenty stiff enough, but arrived coiled...

... and needed to be straightened. To do so, I cut the wire to appropriate length, and rigged up a system to pull bundles of the wires straight so that, progressing along the length, they could be heated with a torch and then rapidly cooled with a water soaked rag to retemper.


Several approaches were tried to weave the wires through burlap (from JoAnn's Fabric, and nicely cut and edge seamed by my lovely wife, Jane). Inserting the wires through accordion folded burlap was a disaster (at least visibly). And I finally decided to construct a mini-loom to hold the bulap flat...

...and mark the spacing on strips of 1.5" wide tape

Each of the 19 wires (per seat) were then individually woven through the burlap. Pliers were used to recreate the little bends on the ends of the wires, which eventually wrapped around burlap ropes (made from burlap stitched into bundles) to hold the wires in place.

I think the end result came out pretty good.


I found wire-woven burlap online for bucket seats of certain period cars (mainly muscle cars), but not in dimensions that would work for a FC bench seat.

Steve

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Re: FC Fire Dept Truck Restoration
Posted by: SteveInMarietta ()
Date: July 07, 2017 08:13PM


Questions and Quizzes

1. What was the factory painting sequence for a Greenbrier that would leave exterior overspray under the interior paint?

I finally remembered to take a pic, here as one of the front doors is being stripped, even though I have seen this on other internal surfaces. Below the fawn interior paint is cardinal red, only on the jambs and assorted protruding surfaces. Did the factory paint the van exterior and then mask and paint the interior??

2. Here's a tough nut - well actually a bolt:

Ever notice that it's always the "last one" that causes the headache...well, maybe it just seems that way. This is the last of the 8 doors being disassembled before removal, and a bolt securing the vent window is inside the door accessible through this hole. And this d**m bolt was rusted tight in place. After two days of penetrating spray and persistent screw driver work, it would not budge, and the head was getting damaged. The bolt goes into a nut welded to sheet metal, so an impact driver was out, and too deep to drill and then use an extractor. The rest of the door cannot be disassembled without first removing the vent window, so I'm starting to think I might need to cut away the metal to access the bolt and then reweld back together, but then came a simple solution, and the bolt came right out. How would you do it? (My solution later).

3. The Firebrier was almost encrusted with mudwasp nests, in every cranny, cavity, channel, crevice you can imagine. It was amazing how everytime I thought I'd found and removed the last one, another appeared. Well, working on the front right door, I found another, and (maybe) the last:

I kept tract.
What do you think was the total number of mud wasp nests?
A. 23
B. 35
C. 43
D. 69
(the answer later)

Steve


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Re: FC Fire Dept Truck Restoration
Posted by: cnicol ()
Date: July 07, 2017 08:23PM

C 43

Craig N. Coeur d'Alene ID.
66 Black Monza 4dr, 4.2L V8 49k
61 Seamist Jade Rampside 140 PG
60 Monza coupe (sold, sniff sniff)
66 Sprint Corsa convt - First car! Re-purchased 43 years later
2+2 gnatsuM 5691

+17 Tons of parts

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