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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 1:02 pm 
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First of all, the guy lives in Canada. The laws might be different there, so cut him some slack. Second of all, most people that talk about VIN tampering and all that crap have zero law enforcement experience. I do, let's leave it at that.

You may or may not understand the way law enforcement really works. Let's say that poor Scott lives in California. He has just brought this car to life, and casually mentions to a police officer at a local cars and coffee event that the vin plate was all rusted out and he grafted the old vin into the new car.

You need to understand that a peace officer has more discretionary power than a judge. What is Scott's intent? Was it to deceive? Was it fraudulent? Was he pawning the car off as something it was not? NO - in fact it's Scott's car, and he has the paperwork to prove it.

So now all you legal experts who like to cite vehicle codes can tell me how you, as a cop, plan to take this case to your supervisor (usually a lieutenant or above) and have that person review it and not kick it back in your face. Then, tell me how you, as a cop, plan to convince a DA to file charges on this and actually win the court case.

All this talk about having a judge ordering your car destroyed is total bullshit. You have cut right from the part where you have a law enforcement encounter to after the trial and the disposition thereof. You haven't even accounted for the fact that probably no DA (or crown prosecutor) worth his salt would even take that case much less bring it before a court.

Know this - LOTS of things are felonies. Not all felonies get prosecuted, because frankly, it takes a cop to investigate it and a DA to prosecute it and a judge to adjudicate the matter. Those three things are NOT a given.

I am not saying go wantonly break the law. I am saying a police officer is taught to view the circumstances and determine the intent. It's a spirit of the law vs. letter of the law thing.

Carry on, Scott.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 9:03 pm 
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Location: VT
I would not worry to much about the VIN thing at this point, it is already documented here and clearly was not intended as a fradulent act.

But yea, I do see the point and would not do it based on previous post(s). On the surface, reinstalling existing vin # on new metal during restoration seems seem like the right thing to do.

All that aside, very impressive work so far! Looks like plenty yet to do, but off to a great start. It will no doubt be a very nice car!


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:46 pm 
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Location: Cobourg, Ontario
Starting to fill in some metal around the rear torsion tube. Cut away bad metal and rough fitting patch. Need to keep sneaking up on patch to sit right. Looks like this tapers up towards the top. Rear frame rail is fatter at the bottom near joining seal flange than at the top.


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201611 rear rail cutout.jpg
201611 rear rail cutout.jpg [ 196.97 KiB | Viewed 1501 times ]
201611 rear rail early patch.jpg
201611 rear rail early patch.jpg [ 153.44 KiB | Viewed 1501 times ]

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 10:03 am 
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Scott,
I am following your restoration project. Wow, what a work ... but it is worth it!
On your 1st picture there is on the underside of the dashboard a contact. What is it for? I have there a switch (but I do not know the function of it - possibly for an electric antenna?)
It is not a real sharp picture .....

Helge


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unknown knob.JPG
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 12:51 am 
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First of all, let me preface this response with a statement I made the last time this subject came up here: I'm not the morals monitor, You're all big boys and if you decide you'd like to restore your car with an altered VIN, forged numbers or those really sweet counterfeit door tags the vendors sell then be my guest; Doesn't effect my life directly in the least. When I saw that Scott publically posted that photo of is ID tag in process I had pretty good hunch that he wasn't aware of the potential gravity of the situation no matter how innocent and well intentioned, so I took some time to let him know about it. He may live in Canada but Its illegal and punishable there just as in any other civil society.

Second of all, I know exactly what I am talking about as I have direct personal knowledge and experience in the matter. My late friend and mentor Greg owned a towing company and his place was a contracted Police impound yard for many years. Through this business he knew most of the guys on the local force and was especially well acquainted with officers in the Theft and recovery division of the local CHP office. (You know, the guys who practice all that discretion in your favor when the authenticity of your VIN is in doubt? None of them EVER gave me that impression!!) Once a suspected car was towed and impounded Greg was the man sometimes commissioned by the CHP to find were it was grafted in if it wasn't already obvious during the field inspection. I saw many examples through the years, some were painfully obvious and a few were Rembrandts. He was the one who showed me that you can always find the weld joint no matter how well dressed by heating up the metal. The slight alloy composition difference in the wire as compared to the steel panel will cause it to glow or heat up at a different rate creating an outline of its former self. Once the graft is discovered its considered a "VIN switch". (google it)The next step was to discover the vehicles true identity if possible so it could be returned to its rightful owner.

Third of all, my 356 was purchased with an altered VIN and I went through the legal process of straightening it all out. At first I certainly didn't see what the big deal was, the original door tag and data plate where still in place and the original bulk head stamping was there though a phony ID plate had been crudely gas-welded over the top. I showed it to Greg and by that time I'd already zip-wheeled through the two welds along the sides that where holding it exposing the original number underneath. He took one look at that and began my education on the seriousness of VIN tampering and or the appearance thereof. I of course like most of the general public found all the fuss ridiculous at first, its my car, I know its legit and its just metal. I'll fine finish the shoulders of the weld remains, weld the two tiny holes shut that where blown through during the gas-weld install and hammer back out the heat warpage as best as possible. Immediately I got the second lecture about doctoring it and furthering the appearance of some sort of concealment effort. He said, Leave it alone, I'll take it to my shop, we'll have the CHP come by verify the numbers and fill out a statement of facts affidavit. Once its been "blessed" by the CHP we'll start a lien sale and get you title on the original VIN. He made it abundantly clear how fortunate we were to have him as the go between for the VIN inspection. He as the local impound yard operator was known and trusted with the department so the inspection would be looked upon more favorably than me as just some random guy bringing his car in with a tampered VIN plate and a story. May have went alright but who can say for certain? I was on hand for the verification at Greg's, and as the officers attention was drawn to that VIN he shook his head no and said "that's a problem". He put down his clip board and reached into a box where he kept the Blue vehicle reassignment tags which now meant my car would be registered on paper to a new control number from here on in. (BTW: once your car has this tag its golden again, law enforcement has seen it and its on record.) Before he went further Greg asked him if he'd make an exception and let us keep it registered on its original VIN for the sake of preserving the value of the car. He agreed to it but only because it was Greg asking and also that the car's original numbers had not been removed. If it was me off the street it would have been the blue reassignment tag, if I was lucky. As he wrote out our verification report, me as a 19 year old kid Still not grasping the seriousness of it all even after Greg's speeches; I ask a Stupid question. "Would it be alright if I welded up those tiny holes around the tag later?" (This has been over 25 years ago mind you and his image is still seared in my mind; The polished black boots, the perfect creases down the centers of his pant legs and of course the big black utility belt with the butt of his service pistol just below his elbow as he wrote.) He stopped and looked at me very seriously over the top of his reading glasses and asked very sternly; "Do you want to keep this car?"....yes(sheeplishly) "Then do not touch that number plate." Looking back on it Greg must have felt really bad for me after that dressing down I took so he excused me and said "why don't you let us wrap it up here and I'll tell you everything you're going to need to do later" I said okay and I thanked the officer but he didn't acknowledge me and just kept writing. So there you have it my first hand account with a Peace officer and an altered VIN plate. Still believe these guys take this business lightly or are going to become your buddy or advocate? You better think it through again. From my own first hand experience, my vin plate wasn't verified by "Andy Griffith".

Now if your ID plate ever comes into question you may well encounter a kindly "Andy Griffith" type who'll put his arm around you and tell you what silly thing you've done by tampering with your VIN numbers. Take extra time to care and discern, wax philosophical about the Spirit of VIN tampering laws versus the letter of those same laws or what have you. Then again, you just might end up in front of Robocop who's going to stick with protocol and work backward from the assumption of theft until its proven otherwise like they are supposed to do. He won't care about your story or the circumstances, you and your council can tell it to the Judge. Will any of this really happen, more than likely, No. By these actions have you at least opened yourself up to the remote possibility, yes of course. My point is simply to warn about what you've potentially opened the door to by engaging in this activity. BTW just as a practical matter why would we want the police to look at a suspicious ID plate with rose colored glasses and giving the person in possession of the car in question every benefit of the doubt? If my car is stolen I want every questionable ID Tag a cop might encounter scrutinized to the fullest; I want my car recovered and thieves in jail! This is why they consider a tampered with number stolen until proven otherwise or at least they are supposed to.

I skipped from impoundment to potential ordered destruction because that is what I was exposed to from personal experience. As for all the legal paper wrangling and goings on in the middle I cannot speak to that. My exposure about this topic comes strictly from the men involved at the tip of this spear. Of course there are million variables that can happen with the final outcome and the worst case scenario doesn't always come to pass. By the same token you could get drunk mow down 4 people and receive 10 years probation instead of consecutive life sentences for each life you took like that moron in TX. Doesn't make seriousness of the charges any less significant it just means you caught a huge break and dodged a friggin' bullet! The point to all this is why put yourself or your car in harms way in the first place if you now know better?

Scott, you do have an option available to you to make this right again and if you decide to take it, Do not Carry on.
Stop right where you are on the car, find out where and who verifies VIN's in Canada.( In California its the Highway Patrol) Make an appointment with them and trailer your shell over for the inspection to get it all on record with law enforcement. Bring your original trunk floor with all of your paper work then "hat in hand" explain exactly what has happened. Your story will be far more believable with your shell in its current state. Thieves don't put their own numbers in a rusted out shell they put them into a cherry restoration they just snagged, right? As with my car, once I had the verification paperwork it was golden again and so with yours if you decide to go this route. Or option B is to do as John suggested and finish the welds out a perfectly as you can and pray to god that dead body stays buried. Realistically this will most likely never come back to bite you especially while the vehicle is in your possession and under your control however the odds go up the day you decide to cash out and send it out into the world; who knows where it will ultimately end up, California maybe? One more reason why you might want to seriously consider option A and get it on record; your original stamping itself would become suspect to the cops I was introduced to by Greg. I was taught that when a plate comes under their scrutiny they look for crisp, clean and consistently spaced characters. The 9 in your original plate is a "double strike" and would raise a suspicion of forgery. Now we all know that this was a very common thing with these cars back then but you have to put yourself in the place of that cop who most likely isn't familiar with the 356 but only the tell tale signs of fraud. Then combine that with the vision of impoundment and someone like Greg finding that old weld joint of yours around that number plate? Too depressing to think about. Again, all high pathetical and very unlikely but still a real possibility. Best of luck to you with what ever you decide to do.
Justin


Attachments:
File comment: Phony ID plate welded over the original before my father purchased the car.
547 350.jpg
547 350.jpg [ 626.77 KiB | Viewed 1407 times ]
File comment: Fortunately the OG number was just under the plate. After the VIN verification Greg advised me to keep this old tag in the glove compartment with my statement of facts from the high way patrol and if my plate was ever in question to show them and explain what happened but NOT to ever try improving the appearance of that plate as the cops take VIN tampering very seriously.
547 351.jpg
547 351.jpg [ 626.36 KiB | Viewed 1407 times ]
File comment: car was registered to the phony ID number. Scary.
547 357.jpg
547 357.jpg [ 680.5 KiB | Viewed 1407 times ]
File comment: OG data plate undisturbed from factory. No effort was made to conceal the factory number so I have no idea why that plate was welded on.
547 353.jpg
547 353.jpg [ 642.15 KiB | Viewed 1407 times ]
File comment: OG door tag faded but OG rivets intact.
547 356.jpg
547 356.jpg [ 704.62 KiB | Viewed 1407 times ]
File comment: Plate smoothed out a little but no more attempt made to conceal the old heat damage.
547 393.jpg
547 393.jpg [ 639.04 KiB | Viewed 1407 times ]
File comment: Floor finished with all the warts left alone like I was advised to do all those years ago. Again the old tag and my statement of facts will be carried in the car if its ever called into question.
547 912.jpg
547 912.jpg [ 573.29 KiB | Viewed 1407 times ]
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 12:53 am 
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BTW if you believe that impounded and unverifiable recovered vehicles are never ordered to be destroyed here are 3 examples that stand out in my mind two of which I personally witnessed.
The first one was this was a really slick crew-cab chevy duelly pickup that was impounded at Greg's in the mid 90's. It was beautiful, '96ish, 4 doors, saddle interior with that billet steering wheel that was all the rage at the time; jet black with a nicely done ghost flame effect in silver that you could really only catch in direct sunlight. Bagged suspension, with dropped spindles and Alcoa wheels. Looked like a street rodded limo with a truck bed. It was the dropped spindles that initially got him caught, the lower ball joint hung too low to the ground in relation to the bottom lip of the front wheels or something to that effect. Anyway, it was the excuse the cop needed to initiate the stop then the subject of the ID numbers on the truck came up as they weren't calling back to the model and year that was in front of the officer. It was impounded and shortly after Greg was asked to put it up on his lift and find some trace of the trucks true identity so it could be returned to the owner. He worked on it for over a week but aside from the bogus VIN plates he found nothing, not even on the drivetrain of any use. Everybody wanted that thing and they all had their bids in if Greg ended up with it on a lien sale after the smoke cleared. Once off the lift it languished in the impound lot for a good 6 months or better as the wheels of justice ever so slowly turned. Eventually the order came down that it was to be destroyed. On a later visit to the shop sure enough there it was in the yard with the frame blow torched in half and the cab cut into quarters with one of the yard dogs laying across the back bench seat which was propped against the newly formed pile of parts; all of which were now staged for the eventual visit from the portable car crushing outfit to be processed then hauled off as scrap.

The second vehicle was a yellow Honda CBR 600 street bike. It appeared one day in the corner of his building and sat there for quite a while. I never really asked about it and assumed Greg was just storing it for the owner. Turns out it was a theft recovery with all the ID numbers pecked out using a steel punch. Its true identity as well could not be re-established and eventually the order for its destruction came down too. The only difference was I got to watch first hand. Greg and his employee pushed it out front drained the oil out of the crankcase fired it up and revved it until the motor ground to a halt. (this part was especially cringe worthy) I asked him, "what about all the other good parts like the gauge cluster, gas tank, suspension, wheels and all the plastic body panels" He simply said "it all has to go". It was disassembled, the motor pulled then out came the big pall-peen hammers and a sledge. Carbs were smashed, holes were knocked into the block , the frame was cut up and all related components smashed or damaged in some capacity. This bike was nice and didn't have much mileage either. I distinctly remember thinking and expressing what a stupid and total waste this all was but my opinion was beside the point. Of course a more unscrupulous shop could/would have harvested a few of the parts for resale on the side but Greg was as honest as the day is long and followed the order to the letter. That evening the officer assigned to the case came by, verified the successful execution of the order then signed off on it. Case closed. The bits then into the various steel and alloy piles for recycling and the plastics all went into the dumpster.

My final example was a story told to me by the car crushing outfits owner that serviced Greg's yard along with other impound yards in the greater surrounding area. As we talked I brought up that Duelly that had to be destroyed and how tragic the whole deal was. The owner nodded in agreement then began with " that's nothing, it happens everyday." " I had a yard a while back that impounded an original K-code Shelby GT coupe with its numbers switched. The guys up there who know mustangs looked it over and found the shock tower mods and all the other little tricks performed by Shelby in the '60s and confirmed it was an original Shelby GT. Word spread pretty quickly among the early Mustang community that this car was slated to be crushed and before long the President of some California chapter was pulling out all the stops trying save it." In the end it was all to no avail with the car's demise set to proceed as ordered. The owner of the crusher went onto say that it was one of the few times he felt like crying as he pushed the button to begin the compaction process on that car.

Think vintage and valuable collector cars might get some sort of special consideration? I wouldn't bet on it and certainly not in this case. Doesn't matter how nice, new or rare it can potentially end very tragically for a recovered vehicle that cannot be positively identified. So don't kid yourself it does happen and with regularity.
Justin


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 12:21 pm 
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Justin, respectfully, you need a class on brevity. As I mentioned before, if you are getting all your info from a towing yard operator, you are not getting the full picture. The CHP IS NOT the only group that verifies VINS in california! You can get ANY VIN verification service to do that. Why anyone would go to CHP is beyond me.

As I stated before, you clearly have no DIRECT law enforcement experience. I stated that I did, I am not sure where you missed that part. I don't mean to turn this into a dick measuring contest but you simply cannot believe everything you hear from a tow yard operator. You also need to look up the section in the CA penal code where it says you can alter a damaged VIN with DMV approval in some cases.

Here is a legal principle that you are taught during police training. It's called REASONABLE SUSPICION. You learn this really early on - would a REASONABLE person SUSPECT that a crime has been committed, IS being committed, or WILL BE committed? A police officer can detain with reasonable suspicion, and arrest with PROBABLE CAUSE, a weightier standard.

So you mean to tell me that your average cop will look at your perfectly welded VIN and deduce that something is afoot, even when presented with your valid registration and papers? Not likely.

By the way, since you are such an expert, can you tell me during a traffic stop when your VIN might even come into question? Let me answer that for you - NEVER. During a traffic stop you use the license plate and driver license for authentication. You don't compare the VIN on the registration card to the car unless you think there is something really wrong, which is almost never.

How many traffic stops have you made? Don't tell me any more stories about a tow yard operator. I want to hear YOUR experience.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 12:28 pm 
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Oh and the last thing I want to add is that if a vehicle has been impounded by police and goes to a contracted police towing yard, it is because the owner has been ARRESTED. Yes! the impound is pursuant to an arrest, therefore a full vehicle search is legal, proper, and procedural. A team from the CHP will usually be dispatched to the yard to do a full vehicle inventory. While there, ANYTHING they find is admissible.

So basically they are screwing an owner with enhancements and additional charges since he/she has already been arrested for something.

A great example is DUI. You get arrested, go to jail, your car gets impounded and then searched / inventoried. This is where they find that kilo of coke in your trunk or your tampered VIN.

Moral: Don't get arrested!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:14 pm 
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No, I am certainly not an expert on this subject and never claimed to be. I'm just guy who had some brief exposure and advice given to me by some guys "in the business" and it wasn't just the yard operator it was with a few of the officers as well. You must have missed that part in my long winded response. Of course a cop isn't going to come up to you and say "Let me see your VIN's". Its going to be in conjunction with something else if their trying to stick it to you. The upshot of this is not what couldn't or could possibly happen it the simple fact that "You're never allowed to tamper with those ID numbers" period. If you do then be warned of the potential consequences. I'm sure there are other departments that handle VIN verification, the CHP are the ones I know of directly who can reassign a number to a vehicle that has lost its original tag.(see photo) I'm all done here and as this sites new resident legal expert on the subject we'll be sure to defer all of our legal questions to you. You will post up my bail right? :wink: How's that for brevity?
Justin


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 6:28 pm 
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Adam and Justin - thank you both for this discussion on VIN number 'altering' and what a wide range of activity can fall into this subject, and how one could potentially inadvertently get into trouble.
I guess the take-away is to check with your local state or provincial motor vehicle department before you cut into your car in case an inspection is needed before work commences. Every jurisdiction will have some reasonable administrative process to address these issues as cars are in accidents every minute of every day, with a small percentage involving VIN issues.
In the case of resurrecting an old rusty car with a damage to the serial number, the process is maybe a little less clear, but again there will be a process as this is not a small hobby.
Justin and Scott - many members follow your resurrection threads with great interest, so thank you both for your efforts in documenting the processes for bringing your cars back from the edge.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2016 7:49 pm 
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Thanks Greg. I know a judge from the gym that I go to and I see him nearly everyday and this afternoon I ran into him thought, just ask Doug about it. He agreed with us both on a few points. He said the police do work from the assumption of theft but if your just a guy who removed the numbers from your own car and its not a chop shop then no one is most likely not going to waste any time on you. So that was an over reaction on part from all those years of getting it pounded in my head as to how serious this all was. He did say that its never a good idea to mess with them just the same. He did recommend that Scott should get his car on an official record as to the changes that have been made to the VIN. The potential problem in his mind was when he sells it and if for what ever remote reason the ID comes into question , the concealment effort if found could potentially become very problematic. I was also mistaken about who in fact orders vehicles to be destroyed. He said its not the judge its the department that has seized the car and its at their discretion to do whatever they want with the vehicle but that's here in Nevada and the laws could vary a bit. There it is straight from sitting Judge here in the City of Henderson.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:21 pm 
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And now back to our regularly scheduled program. Starting to tackle the rear of the car. This will be a challenge.

Does anyone have some good shots of work in progress of the rear section where the transmission support structure meets up with the chassis rail and sides? I think I will have to partially rebuild the transmission support structure and the rail. Means cutting into some good metal to get at the bad.

Starting on outside of the rear chassis rail. This area was a little crusty so it is being addressed. Cut away for clean metal.


Attachments:
File comment: small section with rust cut out - time to shape some new metal
20160211 side rail cut and prepped.jpg
20160211 side rail cut and prepped.jpg [ 135.63 KiB | Viewed 1192 times ]
File comment: starting with a small section first near torsion tube -
20160211 side rail pre-cut.jpg
20160211 side rail pre-cut.jpg [ 276.92 KiB | Viewed 1192 times ]
File comment: cut out the suspension stop and absorber tower. I think I will need to remove the absorber eye hole bolt.
20160211 outer side rail - rust cut away.jpg
20160211 outer side rail - rust cut away.jpg [ 180.68 KiB | Viewed 1192 times ]
File comment: This will need to be repaired - good metal opened up to get at where it joins with the chassis rail
20160211 inner transmission support.jpg
20160211 inner transmission support.jpg [ 241.2 KiB | Viewed 1192 times ]

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:36 am 
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I need to tackle the transmission support piece – if anyone knows of thread or project pics on this it would be appreciated.

The transmission support piece goes deep into the frame well to the back of the shock absorber plate. I need to remove good and bad material to get new metal to go back in. While I did not want to remove the shock absorber bracket – there is no choice. I welded an angle brace and cleco’d it in so I can relocate the bolt later.


Attachments:
20160212 end of bolt.jpg
20160212 end of bolt.jpg [ 166 KiB | Viewed 1168 times ]
20160212 bolt removed welded to bracket to reposition later - end of bolt to be cleaned up.jpg
20160212 bolt removed welded to bracket to reposition later - end of bolt to be cleaned up.jpg [ 149.16 KiB | Viewed 1168 times ]
20160212 bracket to hold bolt and to relocate in proper position later.jpg
20160212 bracket to hold bolt and to relocate in proper position later.jpg [ 161.53 KiB | Viewed 1168 times ]

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 11:28 pm 
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Starting to focus on the outside rear rail. I need to make a compound curved piece to replace the rusted out area that supports the shock tower. Really have no idea on how to make this piece. And I need to make two – one to form the curved shape of the frame rail and another piece that supports the shock bolt area. I carved out some wood and started hitting and banging. Clearly my arm is out of shape for this job. 18 gauge metal is tough to shape. I can’t see this being one piece – more likely two or more pieces stitched together. If anyone has any suggestions on how to make this piece – I would welcome any suggestions.


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REAR RAIL opening.jpg
REAR RAIL opening.jpg [ 1.01 MiB | Viewed 1110 times ]
opening for curved rail.jpg
opening for curved rail.jpg [ 779.59 KiB | Viewed 1110 times ]
metal shaping.jpg
metal shaping.jpg [ 787.7 KiB | Viewed 1110 times ]

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:16 pm 
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You need a shrink-er / stretcher to get the metal to curve in the opposite direction, eastwood has them and maybe harbor fright, they really come in handy for curved metal work, use mine quite often

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