I've been trying for quite a while to make the firewall that came with my car fit. The last owner had made it, and gave it to me with the car. More and more I realize that it has quite a few problems. Can anyone recommend a good source for one?
I've called Mac's, Smith and Jones, and Lang's. I like that Lang's has every hole drilled in it, where as the other are missing some. A used firewall may suit my car the best by matching its patina.
Any recommendations would be appreciated.
Glad to see you are finding time to work on the T. You have several options for the firewall. First, is the original firewall still with the car? Often times it will delaminate and the glue will separate and you will have several pieces of tongue and grove wooden boards that are loose. “IF” you still have those and they are sound – just separated, you can reglue them (use waterproof glue) and finish the firewall to your desired outcome.
You could also obtain the factory drawing and/or a good sample and check to see if the firewall the previous owner gave you with the car can be trimmed and fitted. There was an excellent posting about some of the unique features of the 1915-16 fire wall on the MTFCI site posted by John Regan May 5, 2005 but that posting is no longer on the MTFCI site. I have reposted it below:
++++++++++++++++++++++++ between the plus signs is the May 5, 2005 posting by John Regan ++++++
Re: 1915 Dash Mystery - my research
Posted By: John F. Regan <send>
Date: 5/5/05 22:55
In Response To: 1915 Dash Mystery (David Cockey)
I have researched the wooden dash boards since I make them for show cars with all original details possible. Early 1915 dash used a wooden block to mount the coil box with. I have not been able to determine yet what that block was but I am wondering if it was a block glued to the dash and then the coil box fastened to it. The earliest 1915 dash was thicker with the 1/16" rabbet around the edge for the hood former to fit over. Later they simply made the whole dash 11/16" thick (actually .677/.697). The fact that you have the thicker dash with the thinner edge dates the dash very well. Below is the word for word translation of the change record for the period in question that I think may match your dash. This seems to be during the time frame that I think your found dash is from. T7462 is the factory number for the 1915 dash and 8/7/14 was its date of first drawing. Check the hole sizes for the mounting to see if they are 5/16 or 3/8. The 1/8" holes on front side are for the lower screws at the bottom of the hood former. I think the coil box block may be why you don't have any coil box mounting holes - don't know for sure.
RECORD OF CHANGE ENTRY:
8/7/14 T7462 1 req. Touring Car, Torpedo and Town Car 1915.
8/25/14 T7462 We have specified the diameter of holes for holding dash to body to be changed from 5/16” to 3/8”, and that they be located 10-3/16” from the center of dash and 17” from bottom. Also called for two 1/8” holes 3/8” deep in front side of dash, located 10-7/8” from the center line of dash and 1-1/2” from bottom. Have also shown the T-7482 Coil Box Block (on dash) in place. (Mr. Galamb desires a sample of dash before proceeding with order.)
10/7/14 T7462 Changed distance between center line of dash and center line of hole for carburetor adjusting rod from 6-3/4” to 6-¼”. Changed distance between bottom of dash and the center line of carburetor adjusting rod hole on rear side of dash from 16-3/8” (5/8?) to 16”. Lowered the holes for coil box bolts and terminals ¼”, changing the distance between the bottom of dash and the holes for the two lower terminals on coil from 13-1/8” to 12-7/8”. Removed the coil box blocks. Added grove for dash to body gasket at top of dash and holes for speedometer and horn bracket screws. Added holes for head lamp switch and for screws for attaching same to dash.
END OF RECORD OF CHANGE DATA
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ End of reposting of John Regan’s May 5, 2005 MTFCI posting ++++++
See also the posting that still works on the MTFCA site at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/118802/168590.html?1288738126 about a 1916 dash.
There are probably other discussions – but those are two I have readily available.
You can finish a new dash so it looks old. You can also refinish an old dash so it looks new. Since you mentioned trying to locate a used dash to keep the “old look” if you are not able to do that, then purchasing or making a new dash and finishing it to look old might work well for you. The latest issue [Mar – Apr 2011 page 16] of the “Vintage Ford” has an article on how the owner restored his 1914 to look like a barn find. So it can be done.
I would think the easiest approach would be purchase the dash with all the holes and finish it to look old. But if your budget is running similar to mine you may want to re-examine the dash that came with the car and see if it can be adapted without too much trouble and to painted so it looks old.
Again great to see your posting.
Hap 1915 cut off
The hardest part of getting a 15/16 dash to fit the former is the complicated angle and inner and outer radius' that Ford put on the edge of these dashes so that they would fit correctly inside the hood former used for the 15/16. When I make dashes for show cars these are the hardest dashes to make until I broke down and had a custom router bit made to put the correct edge on the outer perimeter of the 15/16 dash. They are still a tight fit on the hood former and there is no easy way to take the former back off once you place the former over the dash so make sure you have the dash painted and done before you put the hood former on since it is kind of a "one way - one time" kind of fit when things are new.
John – thank you so much for your comments and recommendations. I know you have made many excellent reproductions. Thank you for sharing your research and experience.
Hap l915 cut off
Hap and John,
Thank you very much for your help and advice. The original from the car was thrown away by the owner, and he made this one, presumably using the old one as a pattern. I worked very hard to carefully shape it to fit, and in test fitting the column and brackets to locate the holes, I realize it is about two inches short. I was wondering how one would make the correct edges on the corners, but I did notice they were quite odd and hard to duplicate. Being that it is so difficult to set the former over the wood and then remove it, I may chose to make it look the best so when the car finally does get restored the firewall will look good.
Looking at all the info you guys provided me with, I think it may be a project over my head (and out of my league tool wise) to pursue. Perhaps choosing the appropriate part from a vendor would give me the most satisfying outcome.
Thanks again, and Happy Memorial Day!
So you need an outer edge radius on a piece of wood that is unseen. What about a simple hand wood rasp - or even a hand grinder. Better yet a roller sander for the first pass and an orbital sander for final finish.