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1943 T-24 Restoration Thread


Patrick Tipton
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I made a good amount of progress over the last week.  I finished all of the seams (well, nearly) and started fitting hat channels.  I ordered the wrong size steel to make captive nuts so I need to see if I can source this locally before I can install the inner hat channels.  I also need to do a little floor flattening around the rear hat channels/seat area to ensure that they fit well.  I have a spot welder, but worry a little about structural integrity with old steel - in my experience spot welds work great on new steel and less so if there is any pitting or corrosion.  I am playing with punching a 1/4 inch hole and then TIGing it closed.  Works great but doesn't look exactly right.  I need to do more work before I install any hat channels.

I will let the photos tell the story.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Patrik, I just watched your latest episode and seeing you drilling in the hat channels, I just wanted to give you a tip on how to get round holes in sheet metal. I have found that useing a stepdrill, I think that is what it's called, and a wood backing really helps in getting nice round hole instead of trilobed ones that you always get with a regular drill bit. 

Keep up the good work.  

Edited by M29C3284
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4 hours ago, M29C3284 said:

Patrik, I just watched your latest episode and seeing you drilling in the hat channels, I just wanted to give you a tip on how to get round holes in sheet metal. I have found that useing a stepdrill, I think that is what it's called, and a wood backing really helps in getting nice round hole instead of trilobed ones that you always get with a regular drill bit. 

Keep up the good work.  

Thanks John.  I was able to put one of the channels in the drill press and get a reasonably nice hole.  Handheld - not so much.  I have always wondered what the deal was with the step drill....will try one.  TY!

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16 hours ago, Patrick Tipton said:

Thanks John.  I was able to put one of the channels in the drill press and get a reasonably nice hole.  Handheld - not so much.  I have always wondered what the deal was with the step drill....will try one.  TY!

Thanking the wrong guy, I'm not John:classic_smile: But you are welcome anyway. 

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I finished installing the captive nuts in the right side hat channels.  I tested a few different methods of spot welding them and ended up using the TIG.  Based on a suggestion, I set the tungsten with no stickout and then held the cup flush to the metal and and hit the pedal for about 10 seconds at about 75 amps.  It works great.  I also did repairs on the front stamped piece under the radiator mount.IMG_6001.thumb.jpg.c2c8f0923c5799aef54b5861a3ef0966.jpg

 

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I also welded up the rear right corner.  Most of the seam is original, I had to repair the last 4 or 5 inches where I replaced the side - little wider than the original, but serviceable.

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Finally, I started really test fitting the 45 degree gusset.  I got a little grief from a fellow club member about being so particular on getting the sides and the floors flat.  This is why.  The gusset fits very well along the sides where I have spent many hours shrinking and flattening.  The bottom is largely new metal, but there are a couple of waves that still need attention.  I might be able to force the metal into position, but I sure would hate to find myself with some noticeable gaps after I have welded about half of the gusset. It should not take much to get the floor fitting correctly.

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Does anyone have any experience with any of the modern seam sealers?  Particularly the weld thru variety?  Given the likely future life of this Weasel being stored inside, I am not terribly worried about it but would love to protect the area somehow.  Weld thru primer (high zinc) really makes a mess of welds.....

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More fettling and fitting.  Getting very close to installing the gussets and hat channels.  One of the "problems" that has to be solved when doing this work is making the "jogs" - ie relief to allow the hat channels/gussets to overlap other structural members and lay flat.  At the suggestion of @Rob W, I picked up a "jogging" tool from TP Tools.  Several folks sell them including Harbor Freight.  They work great but the jog is not deep enough for the Weasel hat channels to fit correctly..  My solution is to make a jog, cut it along the bend, bend the relieved portion of metal out of the way, add a jog, bend the moved metal back into position and then weld the seam.  That is a mouthful.  It works just fine.

Hard to see in the pictures, but the gusset lays down pretty nicely now.  There is still a little work to do, but I am getting close.

I am also going to do a little more work on the square patch seam.  It will all be hidden by seats and insulating panels, but I might as well repair it as well as I can....

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You could also just use two pieces of sheet metal of the same gauge, some masking tape and a vice or shop press to make the jogs. Just mark where the jog ends on both sides of the part then tape one piece on each side of your mark and opposite sides of the part, put in the vice or press and squeeze. If should then look something like the part in the picture below.

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With this method there is no limited to how long you can make the jog.

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I added the first gusset to the right side of the hull.  I spent a few more hours flattening and fussing, but the extra work was worth it.  I ended up using my MIG to do the spot welds because I wanted to protect the unpainted metal and "weldable" primer and TIG are no compatible in my shop. I punched holes in the gusset using my jogging tool, fired the MIG up on the hot side and then had my helper to ensure that the seams were very tight.  I have simulated spot welds before using the MIG and I think the "secret" to getting good strong welds is starting the weld in the center of the hole and focussing on getting a puddle going on the underlying panel.  Running a little higher amperage and a little slower wire speed helps to ensure that you get good penetration.  Anyway, it all worked out just fine.  Seat hat channels and finish welding/grinding are next.

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7 hours ago, OZM29C said:

@Patrick Tipton Outstanding work Patrick👍👍 On my M29C there are small drain holes in this gusset/brace. Attached is a photo highlighting the drain holes.

 

Thank you John.  I don't think the T-24 has the drain holes on the sponson gusset.  I will get pictures from the unmolested left side later....but there are similar drain holes in the lower hull gusset on the T-24.  More details!

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@Patrick Tipton I checked the T24 hull this morning and you are indeed very correct in saying that there are no drain holes on the passenger side rear compartment. Having said that I did see a drain hole on the drivers side rear compartment. I noted the two drain holes under the fuel tank and I could not see any near the drivers position.

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14 hours ago, OZM29C said:

@Patrick Tipton I checked the T24 hull this morning and you are indeed very correct in saying that there are no drain holes on the passenger side rear compartment. Having said that I did see a drain hole on the drivers side rear compartment. I noted the two drain holes under the fuel tank and I could not see any near the drivers position.

Appreciate it John.  I need to dig through some pictures of a very original T-24 that a friend owns.....more to follow.

 

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I finished most of the seat hat channel fabrication.  I was able to save the original hardware.  I attached the footman loop and seat belt mounts by drilling holes in the hat channel and TIG welding everything in place from the inside.  It looks original to my eyes.  I just need to finish cleaning up the seat tab slot and add the cross band/stop and these hat channels will be ready for installation.

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I still need to fool around with the joggles and a few other repairs to get the hat channels to lay down right, but it is coming along. Thanks again @M29C3284 for the joggle making tip - worked out fantastically!

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I wanted to install the front gusset section before installing the seat hat channels.  The seat hat channels are laying in the floor pretty well, but I will need to push the floor a bit to get the seams tight.  I don't want that distortion to cause problems up front and I think the gusset should stop that.  The piece fit in pretty easily.  There is a little work to do making the jog and getting that angle cut - it is a lot like cutting molding.  I used a compass and scribed a line.  It came out just fine.

I also bent up several additional front hat channels - one for this T-24l as well as for a couple of folks who expressed an interest.  Send me a PM if you need one.

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On 5/20/2020 at 10:50 PM, Patrick Tipton said:

I finished most of the seat hat channel fabrication.  I was able to save the original hardware.  I attached the footman loop and seat belt mounts by drilling holes in the hat channel and TIG welding everything in place from the inside.  It looks original to my eyes.  I just need to finish cleaning up the seat tab slot and add the cross band/stop and these hat channels will be ready for installation.

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I still need to fool around with the joggles and a few other repairs to get the hat channels to lay down right, but it is coming along. Thanks again @M29C3284 for the joggle making tip - worked out fantastically!

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@Patrick Tipton You have most probably done it but if not, grab a seat back and check its fit and in particular where the seat back clears the footman loop. 

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Lots of progress on the seat hat channels.  It took me a lot of extra time to remove the original footman loops and seat belt straps, the seat mount "band" and get everything lined up correctly, but I think the extra effort is worth it.  I still need to weld the seat mount bracket/band and weld the final hat channel, but progress is progress!

I welded the vertical hat channel but the backside rust really made the process difficult.  The weld is some kinda ugly!   😂. I am going to grind a little and make it a little prettier.  The original welds are not so pretty but Studebaker had production deadlines and a war to deal with it.....I think I need to make this one look a little better!

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Finished installing the hat channels.  I have one more footman loop to install but this rear right side of the hull is getting close! ....and I could not stand the ugly weld so I ground it down and redid it!

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@James Di Giovanni or anyone else know what the tab is that is sticking up from the tunnel hat channel on the left side of the picture.  There is a mirror tab on the other side....IMG_6142.thumb.jpg.e496fda9f74c94e2745d6d912069210a.jpg

 

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More progress on the hull.  I am almost finished with the bulkhead repairs and the right side passenger area overall.  I am happy with the results.

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One little challenge I have is that this hull was sandblasted before I got it but had flash rusted.  I would prefer not to sandblast the hull again, but want to get the surface well prepped.  My G503/MB had been similarly sandblasted, stored and flash rusted and I used Evaporust on several areas of the tub with good results.  I can't logistically dip the entire T24 hull, although that would be fantastic.  The challenge with Evaporust is that a part needs to stay submerged for several hours in order for the product to be effective.  I read somewhere about using a shop towel to keep a flat panel wet/covered and then using a spray bottle to keep the Evaporust/panel wet.  It works great - not fast - but I am going to try and get in the rhythm of working on a small section every time I hit the shop.  I still may get bored with the process and have parts of the hull media blasted before I paint it, but we shall see.  I bought two gallons for $60 so it is certainly a cost effective way to go.  I reuse the shop towels by placing them in a sealed container at the end of my session.  They will last for a bit. The center hull panel in the first picture was covered for about 2 hours and you can see it is pretty clean.  I posted a video yesterday on Youtube (Episode 53) that also shows the process and results on the very rear corner of the hull - looks pretty good.

The next project is the battery tray - mine was gone.  The T-24 battery tray was made out of 1 inch angle iron.  The challenge is that Studebaker put a couple of roughly 1 inch "S" bends in the angle iron to ensure that the batteries sit level.  I have not ever even tried to bend angle iron, but it turns out to bend pretty easily with a hydraulic press.   I need to modify my tooling a bit to get the bend a little deeper but this will end up working just fine.  I will post better pictures in a couple of days.  This is my first attempt.

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