Thursday, October 28, 2010


Pretty early on, I knew I wanted to get the body up in a rotisserie to effectively execute the restoration work on the bottom of the car.  For as much work that has to happen below the belt line on a project like this, being able to flip the car over and work while standing up is a damn sight better than laying on your back on a cold, hard concrete garage floor.

I looked at many commercially available rotisseries on the market and didn't really like any of the units I found.  Couple that with a price tag that I felt was outrageous, and it wasn't too hard to justify building my own.

After scouring the web for several weeks collecting ideas, I found I liked the unit built by a fellow who chronicled his build here: 

While not exactly right for what I wanted in a rotisserie, it certainly provided an excellent starting point and, with a few modifications, should work very well for my purposes.  One of the major things I wanted to accomplish is to devise some way to allow the car to be rolled around on the floor when I needed it to yet make it simple to load in the rotisserie when required.  Most designs I found use either hydraulic jack affairs on each end or a shop crane to lift each end of the car into position.  I decided neither solution was particularly good, especially where small work spaces were involved.  So I decided to design a front and rear dolly assembly that would bolt into the chassis in such a way as to keep the working height of the car optimum when rolling it around  yet give me a stable means of using a common floor jack to lift the body high enough to load into the rotisserie without much hassle.  With a little noodling, I came up with simple, easily detachable bolt-in dollys for the front and rear that fit the bill.  The following are some shots of construction details throughout the build.  In the next few weeks, the car will be mounted in the rotisserie and I will follow up with more pics.  Stay tuned.

First frame welded together.

Rear view.
Both frames together and ready for top saddles, spindles tubes and casters

A simple jig I made to mark the saddles for cutting.  A little careful torch work and I was good to go.

I clamped up the two frames with temporary jigs to make sure they were level to each other and fit the spindle tube.  Once I was happy with the fit, I cut the spindle tube in half to make the final individual tubes for each frame.

Here, we used a section of spindle material to keep each tube aligned while I tack welded them in place.

The temporary jigs did a nice job keeping everything in place for final welding.

With the spindle tubes welded in place, I drilled each one for a draw pin to keep the spindles locked in one of 8 positions.

Here we have all four casters welded in place.

A finished frame assembly ready to go.

The major fabrication is over!

Both t-brackets welded up.

Details of the spindle head welded to the spindle.

Frame bracket tube welded to it's slip collar.

Test fitting the frame brackets, t-bracket and spindle assembly.

This gives you an idea of what the whole assembly will look like when completed.
Another view with the assembly roughly in place on the front of the car.

Frame bracket bolted to the right front frame rail bumper bracket mounting holes.

Trial fit with the frame brackets bolted in place.


Here is the completed front frame assembly with the new rad support in place.

Here is a shot of the right rear frame bracket and slip collar that bolts into the factory frame tie-down bracket bolt holes.  The rear dolly bracket tabs have not yet been welded to the bracket slip tube in this photo.
The Mustang has a small bent flange at the very back of each rear frame tube that must be cleared by the body brackets to prevent damage.  I used careful selection of material thicknesses to provide clearance for these flanges.

A view of the flange clearance from the rear of the car.
The left side frame bracket and slip collar in place.

The rear frame assembly bolted in place.

Here is the mast of the front frame dolly caster.  I used two u-bolts to secure the mast to the factory crossmember.

Here is the completed dolly bolted in place before the jacking point was installed.  Notice the forward braces extend to plates bolted in the swaybar mounting locations on the frame for strength and stability.

Here is the jacking point in place on the mast.  As I discovered later, this point is better placed on the back of the mast rather thn the front.  I will make this modification over the winter so it's correct by spring.

Here's a better view of the whole front dolly assembly with the jacking point (see note above about jack point placement).  With a three-point dolly (e.g., one caster in front and two rollers in back), the frame will always sit squarely and securely on the garage floor and no twist will be imparted into the frame from an uneven garage floor.

Left rear upper dolly brackets tacked into the rotisserie frame bracket assembly.

Here is the complete rear dolly assembly mocked-up at the right rear.  Everything fits perfectly!

A close-up of the upper front brace mounted to the factory swaybar mounting location.

Lower rear mounting tabs clamped in place and ready to be tacked.

Rear dolly mocked-up, viewed from the rear.

Finished rear dolly close-up of the left rear.

Finished upper left dolly mount.  Nice clearance to factory fuel line.

The dolly rolls very well, even on rough concrete.

This gives you a good idea of the layout of the tri-pod dolly combination in use.

Rear dolly frame on jack stands getting rear to be docked into rotisserie frame.

I ended up adding two small pieces of 2x4 lumber between the dolly beam and jack stands to add a smidgen of height so the rear rotisserie frame would dock more easily.  I will add a couple of steel tube sections to the bottom of the cross bar to replace the wooden spacer blocks for future use.  Otherwise, there were absolutely no issues.  The trick here is to get the rear of the car up to docking height, then move to the front and get it jacked up and docked.  Once the front is secured, you can move to the back and finish docking the rear frame.

Front rotisserie frame mounted to chassis.  I will be moving the front dolly jack point to the rear of the dolly for improved access and ease of use.  Otherwise, one floor jack will lift the chassis to the proper height to dock into the rotisserie frame with travel to spare.

Once the front rotisserie frame is docked, the rear frame can be docked and the center spar clamped in place.  Once everything is locked down, the dolly's can be removed from the body.

First roll test and the rotisserie performed beautifully!

Another view of the body rolled 90 degrees and locked in place.

Funny how odd things look from this perspective.......

Great shot of the surface rust on the roof...........*sigh*

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October 2010

Weld dressed where tower crack used to be.  This area will be sand blasted at the same time the flanges are.

Right apron to rad support spot welds.

Left apron to rad support spot welds.
Left front of rad support.  Notice how crooked the hood mount bracket is on this piece.  Not one of Dynacorn's better jobs.

Left front frame crossmember/rad support weld area before metal finishing.

Right front frame crossmember/rad support weld area before metal finishing.

Left front frame rail to crossmember/rad support lower joint.

Right front frame rail to crossmember/rad support lower joint.

Right radius arm mount bracket removed from frame.

Left radius arm mount bracket removed from frame.

New rad support welded into the chassis.  Nice corner fit to apron and frame rail.

View of new rad support and right apron.

View of new rad support from left front.

Here's the first new panel disappointment.  The Dynacorn panel on the right is incorrect on so many stamping details that I consider it worthless.  As such, I started looking at the other panels available and ultimately settled on the part supplied by NPD.  The stamping details are almost perfect and they have extra flange material all around to allow the part to be trimmed to an exact fit.  Lot's more work, but worth the effort.

Once all of the spot welds were cut, the panel came out very easily.

Looking back at the firewall from the left front.

Sand blasted the flanges after grinding all of the spot weld nubs down.

Luckily, the flanges were also in very good shape.

Fitting the NPD panel requires a lot of hand trimming all around the flanges to get the perfect fit.  This is the front flange being trimmed to match the original panel fit against the firewall.

This is the lower front corner of the panel marked for trimming.  A good set of sheet metal snips works really well here.

The fender flange must be folded over to duplicate the detail of the original panel.  Once the bend is made, the drop flange is measured and trimmed to size.

Once the panel has been trimmed, it is fit to the chassis and temporarily held in place with Cleco fasteners.  Clecos are awesome for setting up replacement panels of all kinds prior to welding.  Way better than sheet metal screws or rivets for sure.

Looking down the top rail.  Everything lined up nice and straight.

The fit against the firewall was very good with the NPD panel.  Not so much with the Dynacorn part.

Another good fit for the NPD part.

With several Clecos holding everything perfectly in place, I placed a few spot welds around the panel to begin the installation.
Here's an up close view of a Cleco and spot weld.

The new panel is now fully welded into place.

Welds are now ground flush around the flange.

Welded and ground flange at the firewall.

Once the panel was welded in, the rear fender mount holes were added using the original panel as a pattern.