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16 gauge steel shet

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  • 16 gauge steel shet

    I find myself in need of some knowledge. I am in the long process of restoring and old car and would like to add some sheet metal to the chassis to help deal with material lose due to rust. I want to weld sheets down each side of the chassis but don't know what the best material would be. I called the local pipe and tube supplier in town and found that they can get cold rolled or hot rolled. The man on the phone suggested cold rolled as it tolerates bends better. My question is, what grades of steel sheet are available? What do I need to be asking for? I will most likely have to get a 4'x8' sheet. Thanks.

  • #2
    The question I have is how thick was the steel the original frame was made from?
    16ga is 0.0598" thick(approximately 1/16") If that is close to the original thickness of the frame than it should be fine to use.
    The second question I have is are you going to mount the frame on a jig to prevent the frame from twisting up like a pretzel while you are doing all the welding that is is going to take to add that metal to the frame?
    Hot roll sheet would be better than cold rolled as cold rolled material has tension trapped in it that can be released when it is cut.
    Bending of hot rolled can be accomplished with heat.
    You can get the same effect if you cut and weld the steel into the mouth (inside) of the frame instead of the web (outside) of the frame.
    This is called "Boxing" a frame
    Fix any rusted out areas and than box the frame in.
    Dan.

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    • #3
      I did frame reinforcing on my 32 nash using 10 ga mild steel, hot rolled im sure, anything you add will be better than nothing. 10ga is about 1/8" and I "boxed the frame" with it. i was told that it was a necessary thing to do when hotrodding an old car.
      on the flip side, old cars were pretty dang flexible, probably due to the horrible roads they had back in the day.
      on a 66 mustang I added 10 or 12 gage plates to the torque plates under the front floor, cutting circles for plug welding and also did the perimeters of the patches. it worked well and was not a difficult thing except for the overhead mig welding with tri focals

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      • #4
        Its and old lotus, they were never that straight any way, and 16 ga was the original thickness of the material.

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        • #5
          Okay, Do the rust repairs and than plate over them. in other words cut out the rust and weld in the repair flush to the original metal. Than grind the welds and add the plating. I would not try ti add full length repair sections just cut pieces that go past the bends a ways and then stitch weld them in place.
          But sand blast it first, as that will show other bad areas that need repaired.
          Dan.

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          • #6
            I found a body shop that will do a combination of sand blast and bead blast the chassis, then I was going to weld on the sheet metal to the sides of the chassis then the body shop will paint the chassis. I was thinking of using weld through primer on the sides and the sheet metal before welding in place to protect the chassis and sheet metal where the paint can't reach.

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            • #7
              I'm probably missing something, but why not use angle iron? Where you need to make it conform to a bend, cut one side out most of the way to allow the bend. If you came at it from both sides you would end up with a boxed in bottom section at least- probably where the strength is needed. A friend did that after he twisted the frame on his coupe. Apparently the 383 hemi was too much for it- he said he had to put it in reverse to untwist the frame.

              At any rate you can use 1/8 thick angle and get that in at least 2x2, maybe even wider. But as I said, maybe if I saw the big picture I'd see where this approach might not work-
              I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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              • #8
                1. Don't believe the part about "tolerates bends better".

                2. If you terminate the reinforcement anywhere in a stressed area, fishmouth or taper the ends to avoid a crack promoting stress raiser.
                Last edited by cameron; 09-27-2014, 03:56 PM.

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                • #9
                  Quadrod,
                  Be sure to use some zinc chromate primer between the layers of metal or you will continue to have rust as the two pieces will trap moisture between them and rust from the inside out. This is a tried and proven practice for the car restoration shops.
                  Is it a lotus 7, 10 or ? got any pic's to share? just a British car guy asking. MGTD and Morris Minors are in my shop.

                  Mr fixit for the family
                  Chris

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                  • #10
                    I agree with the suspicion of the CR statement, HR is softer, CR gets temper rolled, bends with the rolling direction are prone to micro cracks if tight, the best way to bend is at 45 degrees to rolling, that's what the car makers do with long members.
                    Mark

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                    • #11
                      That's the frame from a Lotus Europa Twin Cam, isn't it??

                      The best reconditioning I have seen was to electrochemically derust the frame. This gets all of the rust out of the inside of the T-section. Then you can prime and paint. I remember cautions against sandblasting as it can cause warping of the frame. I haven't tried it myself, so I can't confirm or deny.

                      Once you get it really clean you can assess the need for reinforcement. Remember this is an early Lotus. It is by nature a FLB - a fragile little British car. It isn't built as heavily as any production car. It is built like a 60's vintage race car and a light one at that. The frame, as designed/built, is actually plenty strong and stiff for street driving, particularly on the skinny tires of the 60's. Modern wide/sticky tires, and a lead foot behind the wheel, can put heavier loads on the suspension than were originally envisioned.

                      There is some potential cracking at the junction of the backbone and the front box section. See the technical section at the Golden Gate Lotus Club website: http://www.gglotus.com

                      If you have to reinforce it, I don't think that Lotus could ever be accused of using more expensive materials than necessary. My guess is that the original was CR, but I don't think I have any seen any support for that guess. I know later replacement chassis were also galvanized to improve the corrosion problems.

                      Good luck, they are really fun to drive on a twisty North Arkansas road.

                      -Jess Hartley
                      Last edited by JHartley; 09-27-2014, 07:53 PM.

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                      • #12


                        This is the car, a 1974 Lotus Europa Twin Cam Special. First time off the trailer in about 20 years.

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                        • #13
                          Kinda looks like someone grafted a Porsche to an El Camino.
                          Location: Long Island, N.Y.

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                          • #14
                            I think road and track once call it a slippery tow truck with out the crane.

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                            • #15
                              Is the aftermarket not reproducing those chassis? A coworker has a 68(?) Elan that he bought new, not sure if he bought it overseas or here (he's a Brit who's been here 40+ years). The new stock replacement chassis for it was something like $2kUS and a safety requirement for it to get back on the track.
                              "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."

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