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What is involved in strengthening rocker rails on LM convertible body?
Posted by: RonnieG ()
Date: August 10, 2017 12:35PM

Thinking ahead, I might want to strengthen the frame rails on my '65 convertible. How complicated would it be for a welder to add and channel or L-bar? There's some surface rust, but it doesn't sag at all when I stand in the middle and jump...

Anybody have any experience? Approach? Approx cost?

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Re: What is involved in strengthening rocker rails on LM convertible body?
Posted by: Jim Stukenborg ()
Date: August 10, 2017 12:49PM

Ronnie, Do the doors open and close OK? If so, don't worry about your car. Those factory rails are strong. Some years ago one Corvair person whom had a very rusty looking Corvair convertible deliberately parked his car an Indianapolis car show diagonally accross a drainage ditch to show that this rusty car still had structural strength in the frame rails. If your doors don't close right, it might be time to get another Corvair. Now you could always drop the body over a GM G car chassis as several others have done. But then you would have a front engine car. Jim

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Re: What is involved in strengthening rocker rails on LM convertible body?
Posted by: thewolfe ()
Date: August 10, 2017 12:51PM

Rockers are already reinforced. The convertibles came with some beefy steel underneath behind the rocker panels that hard tops do not have. If they aren't rusted out and you aren't flexing then I wouldn't worry about it.

Nate Wolfe
Portland OR
65 Corsa 180

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Re: What is involved in strengthening rocker rails on LM convertible body?
Posted by: Leon ()
Date: August 10, 2017 12:52PM

As stated above don't worry about it, I have a VERY rusted Monza 'vert and it's still strong enough for both doors to open and close like new.

Star NC
1965 Monza Coupe, turbocharged 140/4spd, Carter AFB 4bbl, E-flow Crown turbo, water/meth injection, driver
1965 Corsa Coupe, 140/4spd, future project
1966 Monza Coupe, 110/4spd parts car
1966 Monza 'vert, 95/PG parts car
1985 Dodge W350 4dr turbocharged 440/4spd

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Re: What is involved in strengthening rocker rails on LM convertible body?
Posted by: JimBrandberg ()
Date: August 10, 2017 02:33PM

I find some LM convertibles where the doors open and close just fine when on the wheels but sitting on jackstands not so much.
I usually get a Flexible Flyer sensation when operating a LM convertible over an uneven surface like a driveway approach at an angle.
I don't know how much the rocker panels and supports have to do with that but I wonder about something to tie the front and rear subframes together, sort of like what the drag racers do with uni-body cars like a Torino.
I haven't got any suggestions, just sort of raising more questions for comment.
Jim Brandberg
Isanti, MN
CorvairRepair.com

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Re: What is involved in strengthening rocker rails on LM convertible body?
Posted by: Frank DuVal ()
Date: August 10, 2017 08:57PM

A club member here added a 1" x 2" rectangular channel inside the rocker when he was working on his. He did it in his driveway with the car on jack stands. The 1 x 2 was to keep it from sagging while he replaced the rockers. They stayed inside after the repair. I'll ask if he has digital pictures.

Frank DuVal

Fredericksburg, VA

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Re: What is involved in strengthening rocker rails on LM convertible body?
Posted by: MattNall ()
Date: August 10, 2017 09:43PM

Quote
Jim B sez;
tie the front and rear subframes together


Rectangular tubing

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Re: What is involved in strengthening rocker rails on LM convertible body?
Posted by: Seth Emerson ()
Date: August 11, 2017 12:54AM

A common addition to later "Pony cars". Even Chevy added something like Matt showed on Camaros. You can see them if you search "sub-frame connectors". They should be effective, because SCCA banned them for Street Prepared autocross class!

Seth Emerson

Check my new Performance Corvair Web site [www.perfvair.com]

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Re: What is involved in strengthening rocker rails on LM convertible body?
Posted by: RonnieG ()
Date: August 11, 2017 07:03AM

thanks to all! found a local welder who says he can do this for a few hundred bucks.

my doors open and close just fine at present.

Ron

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Re: What is involved in strengthening rocker rails on LM convertible body?
Posted by: Allan Lacki ()
Date: August 11, 2017 07:11AM

Hi RonnieG,

Here is a link to a copy of a Lehigh Valley Corvair Club newsletter that talks about your idea. I can't vouch for any of the methods, but it may be useful to your local welder.

[www.corvair.org]

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Re: What is involved in strengthening rocker rails on LM convertible body?
Posted by: steve c goodman ()
Date: August 11, 2017 07:14AM

Renegade Hybrids does V8 into 914 conversions and they have frame strengtheners. Obviously they are pretty well needed for that eng swap. Look at their website for pics/info.

Like Jim above I find converts that aren't happy with either or both ends up in the air. I lock the doors so customers can't try to open from curiosity sake.

Going back to 914 Porsche for a moment I have found some that will allow doors to open but once I put my 200lb butt inside the door won't close IF the top is off.

best wishes, Steve
Rear Engine Spec. Inc. Golden, Colo.

1962 spyder 3.0L turbo 1965 Crown V8
1967 monza 110/4 1968 monza 110/4
1971 amante gt 110/4
CORSA/RMC/PPCC

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Re: What is involved in strengthening rocker rails on LM convertible body?
Posted by: glivorsi ()
Date: August 11, 2017 07:53AM

In addition to the stiffener, the rockers on verts are also wider and stamped from heavier gauge steel. The problem that LM verts have is that GM rockers of this era used the "flush- through" system where water collected in the cowl dropped through the kick panels, through the rockers, and then exited at the rear of the rocker through a rubber flap. When the extra stiffener was added it tended to collect debris and hold moisture in the rockers, accelerating corrosion. Interestingly, the stiffener was galvanized but the rockers are not.

Cavalier and Sunbird convertibles (GM J-bodies) had an additional subframe bolted to them that ran the length of the floor to stiffen them up.

Greg in Wildwood, MO (part of the St. Louis urban sprawl)

1965 Monza Vert 110PG, Crocus Yellow with black interior and top

2006 Mazdaspeed 6
1997 Honda CBR1100XX

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Re: What is involved in strengthening rocker rails on LM convertible body?
Posted by: JimBrandberg ()
Date: August 12, 2017 05:56AM

If you're going to have someone weld stiffeners in place, I would have it done with the car sitting on it's wheels, not hanging on jackstands. I would get it up on whatever it will be stting on, then double and triple check that's where you want it with the doors operating properly. I might even verify ahead of time that the door hinge pins are not worn and sagging and that the door gaps and body lines are to your liking.
When welding, it's good to make some spot welds on all sides before giving it long blasts, if just welding on one side it can pull the metal out of line. Nothing worse than welding it up stronger and finding out the alignment is worse than before.
I'm certainly no expert on the subject but I like to err on the side of being too careful. Measure twice weld once?
I'd be interested on a follow up on how it comes out.
Again just my opinion and I'd certainly like to see more on the subject. There's still the leave it alone folks who may be valid.
Jim Brandberg
Isanti, MN
CorvairRepair.com

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Re: What is involved in strengthening rocker rails on LM convertible body?
Posted by: Mel ()
Date: August 12, 2017 06:16AM

If the car is that rusty don't waste your time and money, buy something solid and then you will have something. I sold a few parts to a fellow with a LM convertible that had been reinforced, he must have had $15K - $20K invested but when he sold it he only could get $4K sad smiley, no market for rusty cars I'm afraid sad smiley

Orangeville, Ontario. CANADA

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Re: What is involved in strengthening rocker rails on LM convertible body?
Posted by: Frank DuVal ()
Date: August 12, 2017 04:27PM

Here are two pictures from a club member that replaced rockers in his LM convertible. See the 1 x 2 he added to keep the car straight and a good surface to weld the replacement rocker section to.

Frank DuVal

Fredericksburg, VA

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Re: What is involved in strengthening rocker rails on LM convertible body?
Posted by: Wagon Master ()
Date: August 12, 2017 06:23PM

I have a complete, solid, convertible rocker cut from a 69, if interested. NO SHIPPING. It is truly a structural beam.

forsale



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/2017 07:34PM by MattNall.

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Re: What is involved in strengthening rocker rails on LM convertible body?
Posted by: pormgb ()
Date: August 12, 2017 08:21PM

Many years ago, I built these frame connectors that tied together the front and back body sections. With these frame connectors, my car can sit on three jack stands with absolutely no body sag or door closure issues. My car had rusty floors so I done this mod while the floors were out.







Canadian 1965 Corsa Turbo Convertable

Mods/Options:
Wood Telescoping Steering Wheel
Tinted Windshield
4 Speed manual
Blow Through Fuel Injected with EDIS6 Ignition, Wastegate, Megasquirt 2, Air To Water Intercooler
Disk Brakes Front + Rear
HAL Coilovers Front + Rear
REV 107 17" Aluminum Rally Wheels

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Re: What is involved in strengthening rocker rails on LM convertible body?
Posted by: TerribleTed ()
Date: August 13, 2017 01:02PM

Frank DuVal Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Here are two pictures from a club member that
> replaced rockers in his LM convertible. See the 1
> x 2 he added to keep the car straight and a good
> surface to weld the replacement rocker section to.

That looks like his 1x2 in the inside of the rocker. The problem is that there is supposed to be a middle piece of structure in the rocker. I do not see that in this photo. What he has there might be as strong as factory might not. I have used lengthwise cut pieces of 1/8 wall 3" x 5" steel tubing to make replacement center rocker pieces before. With a little cutting and bending a truly solid center piece can be made that spot welds to the bottom of the outer rocker skin like factory. Repairing badly rusted rockers is pretty involved. I start by jacking the car and supporting it here and there with cribbing and stands as needed to get ideal door alignment and function on both sides of the car. Once it is so supported I remove both doors and put in a steel tubular brace from upper hinge mount to door striker mount and once these are installed I weld crossbracing from door brace to door brace to make sure the clearances stay unchanged. Car must be taken to keep the car supported so it can not twist at all while the structural pieces of rocker and hinge post areas are removed and replaced. I would not do this repair to any car that I owned...I would find a better car. I try to talk customers out of fixing similar issues as well, because, this kind of rust is really not fully repairable. OK you can make the car solid again for a while but there will still be significant and advancing rust in the structure of a car that has gotten bad enough to need this work. I would rather put my money into a car that does not have this type issue. At a $35/ hour shop rate a center and outer rocker replacement can easily run $1,500-2,000 or more per side not counting painting the car after (you will pretty much need a paint job after major rocker repair)

Avid Corvair hobbiest since 1984. Have personally restored 20 or more Vairs a number of them ground up.

Located in the Atlanta Georgia area.

[www.facebook.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/2017 01:05PM by TerribleTed.

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Re: What is involved in strengthening rocker rails on LM convertible body?
Posted by: RonnieG ()
Date: August 14, 2017 07:31PM

Wow. Looks better than a new car!

Thanks

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Re: What is involved in strengthening rocker rails on LM convertible body?
Posted by: flamingchariots ()
Date: August 15, 2017 07:02PM

I wonder if adding "sub-frame connectors" or rectangular tubing would be effective at eliminating the cowl shake that factory LMs are famous for?

Kevin
Medina, OH

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