Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Belleville, Illinois
Thanked 22 Times in 17 Posts
Re: SS body, with pic
1. It cost $3500 shipped from Manilla to St. Louis, plus about $400 customs duty, which I am supposed to get back eventually, plus local delivery and customs bond. Congress has to renew the trade status of the Phillippines anually, which hadn't been done for 2002 when the body got here.
2. I could clean it with Brillo, but green Skotchbrite is what I have used so far, for weld prep and to dull the polished parts. It seems to match the brush finish already applied by the manufacturer. Clean bodywork isn't usually very high on my list anyway.
3. The doors are exceptionally ugly, granted, but there are a lot of things that will come first: An outside rearview, wipers, covers for the turn signal holes, instrument panel, transmission cover, spare tire rack, roll bar, windshield and tailgate hinges (SS hinges came with the body, but I don't like their design. I've already made the hood and back window hinges), proper wire loom mounting in the tub, a hood prop rod, grill support rods . . . And I'll make all of those from stainless.
For anyone thinking of doing this, be advised that I put more hours on my plasma cutter for this project than in the previous few years. Also I got pretty good at TIG and MIG welding stainless, and used the hydraulic press to bend a lot of heavy-gauge sheet.
Not all of that would have been absolutely necessary. There were a lot of steel brackets, tabs and things that could have been reused but I didn't want to bolt mild to stainless. For example I have yellow steel covers for the turn signal holes. I could paint them silver and reuse them, but won't.
Also a lot of the original parts were badly rusted and needed to be replaced, the battery box and license plate bracket for example, so I made them from stainless. I probably would have spent as much time and more money finding replacements in good condition. And with the equipment I have, stainless is just as easy to work with as mild steel.
Another example; I reused the tubular braces for the battery box and the aft corners of the front fenders, but will replace them with stainless braces as soon as I have time.
And I never liked the stock filler neck because the way it was recessed made it impossible to fill from a jerry can. Making a stainless filler took over two days of my work schedule, and tool design and press work to make the part that captures the filler cap. But now I can completely empty a jerry can into it, and it easily takes fuel as fast as the pump can put it out, right up to the neck if I want.
One of my customers frequently tell me that I'm "the pickiest S.O.B that ever sh!t over a pair of shoes!" That trait frequently has me skipping the easy option.
Here's how it looks right now.