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The Kustomsledd

Page 9


The roof chop sequence...

So in a nutshell, the chop sequence went like this... Cut off driprail, cut across above rear window and remove roof panel. Cut A pillar upper framework at B-post, and across center of windshield. Chop pillars 5"

Fit A pillars back on to posts and line up windshield gap, fabricate filler for this area. Double check the B-pillar areas are the same height. Split the door opening off the B-pillar top-to-bottom and angle forwards to mate with roof framing above door and rest of B-pillar. Matching lengths, side to side. These will angle the B-pillar 3" at top, because of shortening the A post. Fit lower corner and rear of post back in place, and make up post fillers. Also requires new inner post reinforcements later on.

With door opening defined, rework door window frames to fit. Reattach the upper quarter window frames so they are same height as door glass openings. The inner structure at the quarter post is removed, the pieces are tacked at top of B-post and at the base of body. Rear curve cut loose and relocated for nice smooth curve.

Cut away the sides and top of old rear window frame from the quarters. Cardboard patterns and straightedge establish where fillers will meet the bottom of window frame and top rear of roof skin. Mark and trim excess from rear of roof skin, leaving 1" overlap.

Make up quarter curved panels from sheet. I bent these over my knee for a smooth curve, work slow and take your time and they will come out nice. fill rest of window opening with suitable rear window frame/skin from donor vehicle.

The Kustomsledd fuel tank

I'm building my own custom fuel tank to fit in the rear of the car, just under the trunk flooring where the stock tank sat. My tank is not a 12 gallon unit though, I started by making up a large cardboard box pattern to fit the entire space between the rear leafsprings, and from rear axle to rear frame crossmember.

From there I went to the local steel shop, and had them shear me some 16 Ga blanks. One for the tank main body, one for the tank top, and one big enough to get the sides and baffles cut from it.

The main body could only be bent twice in their large hydraulic press, so the large blank makes up the front, bottom, and rear of the tank. Dimensions are 23" deep by 34" wide, the front of the tank is 10" tall, and the rear of the tank is 7" tall, to make up for the trunk floor sloping down in the rear. I should have around 25 gallons of fuel capacity.

Here it is with the 2 internal tank baffles tacked in place. The baffles serve to stiffen the tank as well as help prevent fuel sloshing around inside when cornering. It may be a little hard to see in the picture, but the lower edge of the baffles has 11 semicircular cutouts, these were made by drilling 11 1" dia holes on the cut line before I cut the baffles out. These will allow the fuel to fill all 3 chambers inside the tank, but will limit how much fuel can transfer from one to another when turning the car sharply. It's hard to see in the picture, but the baffles also have generously rounded corners, these allow fuel and air to transfer from one chamber to another as it's being filled or emptied. The general idea with the baffles is to limit sloshing, no need to punch them full of holes.

Note the welded seam in this pic, near the penny. This seam welding is being done with my old faithful Craftsman 110V. MIG welder, by making a series of overlapping tack welds.

The baffles and end caps welded into place...

Another view of the end cap, showing the fully welded seam. There were a few small high spots after welding, most likely because of the shielding gas cutting off too soon. I metalfinished the welds a bit with a file, to smooth them out so the tank does'nt snag fingers...

The top in place. It's just sitting there right now, I plan to add a filler neck and pickup into this piece before welding it to the tank. I'm also planning to fill the tank with some lacquer thinner and rotate it so the thinner sits over all welded seams done to this point. This is to check for pinhole leaks. If I find any it's no big deal to drain the thinner, and let the remaining solvent evaporate, before I weld the offending areas. I really need for the bottom and sides to be fuel-tight, and to a lesser extent, the top seams. If I have a leaky top seam it just releases vapor, but a leaky side seam could dump the entire tank contents on the ground. Better to be safe...

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