Editor Glad admits it freely. Our '64 El Camino shop truck is a beater. His prepurchase criterion of having a rust-free cab was validated. There is no rust around the windshield, back glass, and cowl, and that's a major score. But the floorpans and quarter-panels were pretty much junk. Those are big enough flaws to keep us from truly enjoying our Pro-Beater parts hauler. The flappy quarters are an eyesore to all who set eyes on its Shamrock Shake flanks, and the holy rusted metal (Batman!) floors, while novel at first, merely provide an entrée for fumes and road grime that ultimately overwhelm the driver and unlucky passenger. Trust us, we're not getting soft here at CC. Our Elco is first and foremost a parts hauler, not a resto weenie's museum piece, but Fred-Flintstone-feet-through-the-floor driving is not a style we can endorse on a daily bass. The federal government wasn't able to bail us out, but OPGI and Nor/Am did with auto body parts and materials, and the students at Los Angeles Trade Technical College provided the labor to give our Elco the structural stimulus it so badly needed. All did not go smoothly, either, but we won't gloss over our mistakes. If torches, sparks, and high-pressure transmission line blowouts light your fire, grab your welding jacket and read on. Tools Needed Cutoff wheel Angle grinder Flap disc Scotch-Brite Roloc pads Drill Spot-weld cutter Hammers and dollies Oxyacetylene torch MIG welder Here's what our floors looked like prior to surgery. No wonder an EPA hazmat team chased us all the way to Trade Tech. The Elco was a rolling Superfund site.Here's what our floors looked like prior to surgery. No wonder an EPA hazmat team chased u Before cutting any of the original metal, we verified the fitment of the new parts. These OPG stampings replace large longitudinal sections of the floor, leaving the transmission tunnel intact. Other stampings are available, from complete floors to just the footwell sections.Before cutting any of the original metal, we verified the fitment of the new parts. These We traced around the new part using a marker. Generally, though, you won't be cutting along this line. You will, instead, be cutting about 1/2 to 3/4 inch inside this line. The extra material will be used as a flange to weld the new panel to. The students marked their cut line with tape and used a plasma cutter to remove the old floors.We traced around the new part using a marker. Generally, though, you won't be cutting alon This picture illustrates why it is better to overlap some material from the old panel. Not only is a lap joint easier to weld than a butt joint, but no matter how good you are, it is difficult to cut the old panel to the exact dimensions of the new one. Leave extra material and cut in sections if it's easier to remove the old stuff that way.This picture illustrates why it is better to overlap some material from the old panel. Not Be mindful that there may be stuff behind the section you're cutting that you may want to save or need to reuse. In the case of the Elco, there were braces under the floorpan that support the seat mounting bolts. These braces were spot-welded to the floor from the factory. We used a grinder with a Scotch-Brite disc to locate the welds.Be mindful that there may be stuff behind the section you're cutting that you may want to Drill out all the spot welds. Though you can use a standard drill bit, a spot-weld cutter is faster and more efficient.Drill out all the spot welds. Though you can use a standard drill bit, a spot-weld cutter 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | » | View Full Article By John McGann Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!