Street News

1951 Ford Floor Pan Replacement

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I have a name for those special projects that always seem to have hidden surprises in them. I like to call them icebergs; they don’t look too big on the surface, but underneath they could sink the Titanic. There are more icebergs out there than ever before, and with the proliferation of Ebay, it has made purchasing these projects even more probable. My 1951 Ford Custom is an iceberg, and it is a doozie. I purchased the car on Ebay (after it changed hands 3 times before) for $500, which was probably too much money in hindsight. The car looks pretty decent on the outside, the interior is the bad part. To make a long story short, a family of rats filled the entire floor, trunk and doors with nesting materials. This nest held water, which turned the floor into something not even Fred Flintstone would attempt to sit in. The car needs an entire floor.

There is only one source for shoebox Ford floor pans, Bradley Floor Pans. The pans are good quality, though they do require a little more work than you might expect. The pans are completely flat and square. They have the correct ribbing and pre-cut holes for mounts and what not, but they have to be cut to shape and the edges bent to match up to the tranny and rear-end tunnels. The good thing is that there is plenty of material left over for this purpose. In addition to the floor pans, we purchased a set of floor supports for the front and rear of the car from Mill Supply. The rears were perfect fit, but the fronts were made for 49-50 Fords, and would not work on our ’51, so we had to reuse the originals.

During the tear down of the car, a section of the tranny tunnel was accidentally thrown out. After pitching a good long fit, a call to Shoebox Ford of Midwest City, Oklahoma ended with a new tranny tunnel section to replace it. $50 for the metal is not a bad price, and it was in excellent shape so the crisis had been averted.

The installation process began with removal of the original undercoating. This stuff is nasty, but it came off on large chunks with a metal scraper. The rocker panels were shot too, so we replaced both the inner and outer rockers. This gave us something to weld the new floor to and provided support for the body. The new floors were test fitted and old floors were marked for removal. You don’t want to remove more metal than the new floors will cover, or you will have to add more patch panels. With everything lined up and trimmed, the new floors were tack welded in. The floors do not require full stitch welds, 1\2” long welds along with an assortment of spot welds is sufficient to hold the floors in place and look factory. After the welds were cleaned up with a grinder, every seam was treated to a liberal coating of seam sealer. We used 3M flexible seam sealer and applied it with a caulking gun. To achieve a more original look, a chip brush was used to spread the seam sealer. You could buy brushable seam sealer, but we used what we had on hand and got the same results. To complete the job, the entire floor was sprayed with Duplicolor’s Truck Bed Liner. I prefer using this on interior panels over rubberized undercoating as the texture is smoother and it protects the metal better than undercoating. In addition to that, this floor will get covered with Dynamat sound deadener, which sticks to the bedliner better than it does the under coating.

The results are quite stunning, what once looked like a disaster project now looks like a buildable car. We chipped a big chunk of ice off this ’berg and we have our sights set on the rest; I love a good challenge, don’t you?

1. The car was in sad shape when I arrived to pick it up. 30 years of barn life will do that to a car.

1. The car was in sad shape when I arrived to pick it up. 30 years of barn life will do that to a car.

2. There was not much left once we cut the seat out. We also replaced the rockers, which was done concurrently.

2. There was not much left once we cut the seat out. We also replaced the rockers, which was done concurrently.

4. The Mill Supply front floor supports are completely different from the ones in our car. Apparently, the 49-50 vary greatly from the 1951 pieces. As such, we had to reuse the originals. Luckily, they were in decent shape.

4. The Mill Supply front floor supports are completely different from the ones in our car. Apparently, the 49-50 vary greatly from the 1951 pieces. As such, we had to reuse the originals. Luckily, they were in decent shape.

5. A wire wheel was used to remove the scale and rust from the floor supports.

5. A wire wheel was used to remove the scale and rust from the floor supports.

6. Each support was then undercoated to protect it from rusting again.

6. Each support was then undercoated to protect it from rusting again.

3. The floor bolts were very rusted, but they actually came out with the help of an impact wrench.

3. The floor bolts were very rusted, but they actually came out with the help of an impact wrench.

7. The frame rails were given the same treatment. The edges of the remaining floor pans were wire brushed and sprayed with weld-thru coating. This coating helps protect the new welds from rusting.

7. The frame rails were given the same treatment. The edges of the remaining floor pans were wire brushed and sprayed with weld-thru coating. This coating helps protect the new welds from rusting.

8. The floor supports were bolted back to frame.

8. The floor supports were bolted back to frame.

9. The edges of the floor supports were sprayed with weld-thru coating as well.

9. The edges of the floor supports were sprayed with weld-thru coating as well.

10. The bottoms of the floor pans were sprayed with undercoating and the edges sprayed with more weld-thru primer. We ran out of the other brand, so we had to use a different brand, which was red instead of gray, otherwise it is the same stuff. Note the curled edge of the lower left-hand section. This area meets the edge of the transmission tunnel.

10. The bottoms of the floor pans were sprayed with undercoating and the edges sprayed with more weld-thru primer. We ran out of the other brand, so we had to use a different brand, which was red instead of gray, otherwise it is the same stuff. Note the curled edge of the lower left-hand section. This area meets the edge of the transmission tunnel.

11. Using a punch\flange tool, the floor pans were punched every 3-4” for new spot welds.

11. Using a punch\flange tool, the floor pans were punched every 3-4” for new spot welds.

12. The floor was then set in place and welded to the rocker panels.

12. The floor was then set in place and welded to the rocker panels.

13. Underneath the car, the floors were welded to the front floor supports.

13. Underneath the car, the floors were welded to the front floor supports.

14.  The front edge of the floor pans were not quite long enough to reach the footwell, so we used some sections of the trimmed floor pan and welded it to new pan and the old floor. Note the Bradley floor pan has the correct placement for the brake reservoir and frame support bolt.

14. The front edge of the floor pans were not quite long enough to reach the footwell, so we used some sections of the trimmed floor pan and welded it to new pan and the old floor. Note the Bradley floor pan has the correct placement for the brake reservoir and frame support bolt.

15. The rear pans required significant trimming to fit around the rear tranny tunnel. The edges were bent over to match the radius of the tunnel. The edges were again coated with weld-thru primer and the rest with undercoating.

15. The rear pans required significant trimming to fit around the rear tranny tunnel. The edges were bent over to match the radius of the tunnel. The edges were again coated with weld-thru primer and the rest with undercoating.

16. The rear section was welded in to the rest of the car. Notice the missing section of transmission tunnel, we had to source this from Shoebox Ford in Midwest City, OK.

16. The rear section was welded in to the rest of the car. Notice the missing section of transmission tunnel, we had to source this from Shoebox Ford in Midwest City, OK.

17. The tranny tunnel was tack welded in place and the welding was complete. It is finally starting to look like a car again.

17. The tranny tunnel was tack welded in place and the welding was complete. It is finally starting to look like a car again.

18. We sprayed the welds with some prep spray to clean off the new floors.

18. We sprayed the welds with some prep spray to clean off the new floors.

19. Then a bead of seam sealer was laid on each seam.

19. Then a bead of seam sealer was laid on each seam.

20. Using a chip brush, the seam sealer was brushed down. This yields a factory look. You can buy brush on sealer, but the tube stuff is the same and we had it on hand.

20. Using a chip brush, the seam sealer was brushed down. This yields a factory look. You can buy brush on sealer, but the tube stuff is the same and we had it on hand.

21. Every seam was given the same treatment, this ensures the welds are protected from rust and seals any pinholes in the welds.

21. Every seam was given the same treatment, this ensures the welds are protected from rust and seals any pinholes in the welds.

22. To finish everything off, the entire floor was sprayed with Duplicolor Truck Bed Liner. We have had very good results with this product, on interior surfaces, over rubberized undercoating. We will be covering the floor with a layer of Dynamat. The bed liner has a much smoother finish and the Dynamat adheres to it better than undercoating.

22. To finish everything off, the entire floor was sprayed with Duplicolor Truck Bed Liner. We have had very good results with this product, on interior surfaces, over rubberized undercoating. We will be covering the floor with a layer of Dynamat. The bed liner has a much smoother finish and the Dynamat adheres to it better than undercoating.

23. 1 or 2 coatings is sufficient for good coverage. The new floors are now protected and ready for the next step.

23. 1 or 2 coatings is sufficient for good coverage. The new floors are now protected and ready for the next step.

 

Sources

Bradley Floor Pans

http://bradleyfloorpans.com/

Mill Supply

https://www.millsupply.com/index.php

Ramsey Autobody

405-743-3107

Shoebox Ford

http://www.shoeboxford.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Jefferson Bryant (201 Articles)
A life-long gearhead, Street Tech Magazine founder and editor Jefferson Bryant spends more time in the shop than anywhere else. His career began in the car audio industry as a shop manager, eventually working his way into a position at Rockford Fosgate as a product designer. In 2003, he began writing tech articles for magazines, and has been working as an automotive journalist ever since. His work has been featured in Car Craft, Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, Truckin’, Mopar Muscle, and many more. Jefferson has also written 5 books and produced countless videos. Jefferson operates Red Dirt Rodz, his personal garage studio, where all of his magazine articles and tech videos are produced. You can follow Jefferson on Facebook (Jefferson Bryant), Twitter (71Buickfreak), and YouTube (RedDirtRodz).

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