Upper Radiator Valance

The upper radiator valance or Slam panel as its known in the UK is a modified original.  The valance that I had with the truck when bought was chrome plated and was a very thin pattern piece.  The chroming had all rusted through, so I decided that I would need a new one, or at least a better one than I had. 

I decided to order a pre-modified version from Mid fifty's to try and save some time and effort.  This turned out to be a big mistake, what I actually got was a perfectly modified deformed panel.  What this meant was that all of the modification was fine but the actual panel was effectively useless as the left hand side of it would never line up with the rest of the truck.  It looks like it had possibly been damaged in the past, or more likely when it was modified it had sprung and been put back together incorrectly, by not pushing it back into place before welding.

These two pics clearly show the problem with the valance, both have a straight edge parallel with the front of the valance.  You can see in the first picture that the rear edge is also parallel and the mounting holes are along the same straight line.  The second of the pictures shows the damaged end.  Notice the rear edge is nowhere near straight or parallel and the mounting holes are way off.  This was after a lot of work, (Note all the heat witness marks) it was actually worse than this.  The outside mounting hole was off by over an inch.

After wasting a lot of time and effort trying to massage the valance back into shape I decided that I needed to take drastic action.

This is the action I took, I made a pie cut through the rear section up to the front curve and then pushed the rear edges together and welded everything back together again.  I could have probably made the pie cut a little bigger as it is still a little out, but I think I will be ok with a bit of persuasion when assembling.

The only other thing I still need to sort now is the finish of the entire panel.  It is all pretty poor and will require a lot of work to get it suitable for paint.  The mounting hole areas are the worst, with deep grooves cut in them from the washers.  I am still contemplating how to overcome this, I may end up having to cut the section out completely and replace with new steel.

Here you can see the state of the holes at the ends of the panel, I would have to use 1" plus size washers to cover this mess up.  So I may well end up just cutting the ends off and replacing them with new steel.

 

I actually Brazed the ends to fill the grooves, it was easier than cutting the ends off and replacing the damaged areas.  Hopefully the braze will hold up under the stress ok once the bolts are all tightened up.

Here you can see the grooves filled with braze after filing and sanding down again.

 

 

Believe it or not I probably have over 20 hours of work in this panel up to this point.  It still needs more filling to get it ready for paint.  This is the last time I try and take any shortcuts.  To think that I bought this panel as a pre modified "Really nice Piece" at a premium.  I would have been better off getting an old item from the scrap yard and modifying it myself, it would have been a lot cheaper and better quality and probably quicker too.  Oh well we live and learn.