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Thread: 56 Safari Wagon Project

  1. #1
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    56 Safari Wagon Project

    I posted an introduction a while back but I haven't had time to start a more official project build/progress thread so here it is again starting from the top.

    I have made a little progress since my last post, but I was out of town most of January so things have been moving pretty slow. As a disclaimer, this project thread will get derailed frequently and move unexpectedly slow. This is also my first attempt at a project of this magnitude, so I will be learning and taking my time as I go along.


    The day I hauled the pontiac home, May 2016.

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    I dropped it off the trailer and started mocking up the wheels I have from a corvette I'm parting out. It sat outside under a tarp for the next 5 months while I parted out the corvette in my garage.

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    November came and finally the hood is off!! Someone cut the top of the radiator support instead of unbolting it for some reason.
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    Interior is now mostly stripped, I still need to remove the steering column, pedals, and everything in the dash

    One of the first projects will be installing a new one piece floor pan. No one re-pops the Pontiac floor pan so I am going with a Chevy nomad/sedan floor. I will also be installing a C4 corvette front and rear suspension. The pontiac frame is 48" wide, in order to use the corvette suspension without narrowing the frame a lot I will be swapping over to a chevy sedan frame. This should also help with the floor pan install. All of the Chevy floor pan body mounts fit perfectly on the frame, so I'll just need to redo the front cab/firewall mounts to the Chevy frame.

    Here's the frame and floor pan I picked up over the holidays. I also purchased outer rockers as well (sitting on front frame rails).
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    There are a couple of areas I will need to wrap my head around before swapping in the new floor.
    - The doors need to be aligned.
    - The drivers side rear quarter panel is separated from the outer and inner rocker.
    - The inner LH quarter panel is also separated from the floor / inner rockers

    I will cross brace the body thoroughly inside the car before separating the body from the frame. Does anyone see any need to further address the outer rocker / inner quarter area before lifting the body off?

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    Interior is now mostly stripped, I still need toremove the steering column, pedals, and everything in the dash

    One of the first projects will be installing anew one piece floor pan. No one re-pops the Pontiac floor pan so I am goingwith a Chevy nomad/sedan floor I will also be installing a C4 corvette frontand rear suspension. The Pontiac frame is 48" wide, in order to use thecorvette suspension without narrowing the frame a lot I will be swapping overto a Chevy sedan frame This should also help with the floor pan install. All ofthe Chevy floor pan body mounts fit perfectly on the frame, so I'll just needto redo the front cab/firewall mounts to the Chevy frame.

    Here's the frame and floor pan I picked up overthe holidays. I also purchased outer rockers as well (sitting on front framerails).


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    There are a couple of areas I will need to wrapmy head around before swapping in the new floor.
    - The doors need to be aligned.
    - The drivers side rear quarter panel isseparated from the outer and inner rocker.
    - The inner LH quarter panel is also separatedfrom the floor / inner rockers

    I will cross brace the body thoroughly inside thecar before separating the body from the frame. Does anyone see any need tofurther address the outer rocker / inner quarter area before lifting the bodyoff?

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    I got distracted from the Pontiac for a couple days because I purchased a new TIG welder. I've never TIG welded before, so I decided to learn by building a new welding cart to hold my old MIG and my new TIG together. It's not finished yet, but starting to look good. I still need to add filler rod tubes, finish the torch holders, and devise a foot pedal holder. In the last pic you can see where I had to redo one of the braces so the door would open on the MIG welder. My last welding cart blocked the door from opening and it drove me nuts. I also added additional bracing underneath for the perch the TIG sits on. Don't laugh, I'm aware theres a couple ugly TIG welds on there.

    I really like this Lincoln TIG 200, for the price I'm not sure you can't beat it. My only complaint is that the fan is on all the time. If the Miller diversion 180 was closer in price I would have went that route.
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    Back to the Pontiac

    Before I do the floorpan, I'm going to install the C4 IRS kit I got from Laszlo. I finally got some time last week and started prepping the rear section of the frame. I picked up a 110lb pressure blaster from HF and 250lbs of aluminum oxide from Tractor Supply. I was very impressed with the sandblaster it took the paint off quickly, the body filler went much slower.

    When I purchased the frame it was sitting on cinder blocks outside. I took a measuring tape, checked it for squareness and loaded it onto the trailer. I didn't realize the previous owner had filled the seam on the bottom side of the frame with body filler to make it look like a seamless frame. It took roughly 2.5 hours to sandblast out all the filler from JUST the two humps on the frame rails. Anyone have any tips for chemically removing body filler?
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    The rear frame rails are ready for IRS install kit. I also removed the leaf spring brackets as well but forgot to take pictures. I have the Energy Suspension Hyper-Flex System (3.18122) kit on order. I'm hoping it arrives before I fly back home this weekend. I would love to get the bushings installed so I can start the install. That's it for now, any feedback / advice is more than welcome. (sorry for the long post, I never get time to update progress at home. Once I'm out of town for work with nothing to do in a hotel room I finally get time to do this part of it)
    Last edited by NickP; 05-08-2018 at 02:45 PM. Reason: Reolacing Lost Images

  2. #2
    Registered Member WagonCrazy's Avatar
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    Wow! You've been busy. Exciting to see progress of this magnatude. Congrats on a great project. You have your hands full, but its the journey that is the most fulfilling.
    1957 Nomad- LS1/T56 on C4 chassis
    1959 Fleetside Apache 1/2 ton, shortbed, big window, 327ci.

  3. #3
    Registered Member busterwivell's Avatar
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    This will be a fun project to watch! Keep up the good work.

  4. #4
    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    Wes, the sandblaster should remove the filler pretty easily. What media are you using? I've found that aircraft stripper will remove it too. Looks like a cool project.
    56 Nomad, Ramjet 502, Viper 6-speed T56, C4 Corvette front and rear suspension

    You can see my 56 Nomad build here http://www.picturetrail.com/chevynut

    For affordable C4 Corvette Suspension conversions for your car, visit http://www.classicedgedesigns.com

    Other vehicles:

    56 Chevy 2-door BelAir sedan
    56 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
    57 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
    1961 Willys CJ3B Jeep
    2001 Porsche Boxster S
    2003 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by chevynut View Post
    Wes, the sandblaster should remove the filler pretty easily. What media are you using? I've found that aircraft stripper will remove it too. Looks like a cool project.
    I'm using 60-80 grit Black Diamond aluminum oxide abrasive from Tractor Supply (the grit is a blend). It's only 7.99 a 50 pound bag, so the price is right. The problem is the body filler is probably 3/16" or more. Its not only built up to fill the lower inside rail but it covers the higher outside rail as well. It blasts fairly quickly off the outside rail where its thinner, but the thick area takes a significant amount of time to get through.

    I got a lead on a seamless frame about an hour away from me, I'm mulling over switching to the seamless frame if it's still there when I get back home.. Question, are there any issues with the kit if I decided to swap? It's just a thicker wall on the dogbone tubes correct?

  6. #6
    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 56Safari View Post
    Question, are there any issues with the kit if I decided to swap? It's just a thicker wall on the dogbone tubes correct?
    The dogbone tubes for the seamless frame are longer, since they're wider in that area. Email me if you want to get another set.
    56 Nomad, Ramjet 502, Viper 6-speed T56, C4 Corvette front and rear suspension

    You can see my 56 Nomad build here http://www.picturetrail.com/chevynut

    For affordable C4 Corvette Suspension conversions for your car, visit http://www.classicedgedesigns.com

    Other vehicles:

    56 Chevy 2-door BelAir sedan
    56 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
    57 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
    1961 Willys CJ3B Jeep
    2001 Porsche Boxster S
    2003 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax

  7. #7
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    I finally got a little more time this week to work on the Safari. After much back and forth I decided against going with a seamless frame. I figured I would rather spend my money upgrading to a Dana 44 Rear end that I would use than spend it on a frame I would rarely ever look at. Before I started I decided to take everything apart and clean it up before hand to avoid any weld contamination during the install (it was filthy). It isn't super clean yet, but good enough to move forward with the install. Eventually I will clean it up, finish grinding off the forging marks, and polish it out.
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    The bushings in the dogbones were toast so I pressed out the old ones and started grinding the forging marks off the dogbones.
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    After quite a bit of measuring, re measuring, leveling, re measuring again I finally decided to start cutting into the frame where the upper dogbone tubes will be. ( dogbone pictured in the photo below is actually the one for the bottom, but it has the new bushings pressed in for mock up. Not lubing them up until final assembly)
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    After I was satisfied with everything I tack welded the tubes in place.
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    I decided to pause on the install until I pick up a Dana 44 center section and batwing. Mine is a D36, I found one pretty close to me but I'm waiting on the guy to pull it out. He's telling me he can have it for me next week and he's waiting to free up a lift in the shop before he starts dismantling the car. If his price wasn't pretty fair I would have moved on to find another one by now. Since I was stuck there I decided to finish taking apart the front end. I got the steering column removed, brakes, heater core, A/C assembly etc. removed from the car. Took a lot longer than I anticipated, but it's done!
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    As you might have noticed by the ornament on top of the firewall, its beer time. I will resume tomorrow and finish dismantling everything under the dash, as well as removing the rear bumpers, gas tank, etc. Hopefully I will have time to bolt the front sheetmetal back on, align the doors, and start prepping for the floor pan install.
    Last edited by NickP; 05-08-2018 at 02:08 PM.

  8. #8
    Registered Member Custer55's Avatar
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    Really cool project!! Looks like you have a good start on it. Pretty good progress for only being able to work on weekends. I like your welder cart set up to put both welders on the same cart as that will be a good space saver. Gives me an idea for a cart for my welder and plasma cutter.
    Keep the post coming
    Brian

  9. #9
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    Thanks, I'm getting there. Hopefully I should have a fair amount of time this spring to get stuff done. Ideally I will get the floors in and have the entire body media blasted inside and out then covered in epoxy primer before I take off at the end of May (not including all body repairs, I plan to do metal repair one area at a time after I coat it in epoxy. Strip it back as needed, complete repair then epoxy back over).

    I'm flirting with the idea of getting a dustless media blaster from sunbelt, I can get a rental for free through a friend. Then its just time, media, and the chemical to prevent flash rusting. Anyone here used one of these? thoughts? I figure it can save me some $$$ that I can put into the drivetrain.

    Anyhow, got the dash fully stripped today. Also got the tail lights and liftgate out. The rear bumpers and tailgate were rusted on there really good, I hit it with PB blaster and I'll tackle it again tomorrow.... I'm out of cutoff wheels at the moment anyhow. I can't wait for the day where rust and mud dobber nests dont rain down whileworking on this thing!
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    Last edited by NickP; 05-08-2018 at 02:01 PM.

  10. #10
    Registered Member rustay56's Avatar
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    56 Safari your making good progress. I use a Clean and Strip Disc for removing body filler, not sure if you guys call it that in the U.S. It looks like a disc made of dried seaweed and attaches to your grinder, makes short work of filler,(where a mask) also great for removing paint, remember to keep it moving when you go through to steel as it heats up the panel real quick. I agree with you on getting epoxy on to steel straight away after blasting as the rusting process begins (depending on where you live) within an hour of starting. When I do a chassis I blast where I'm going to weld then when I'm happy with the repairs I spray some rattle can Zinc Gal onto the weld then move on to the next repair. when the chassis is finished and I'm happy I blast the whole chassis then epoxy and go straight to paint,(wet on wet, no sanding) usually satin black as it is easy to touch up stone chips and gives a softer looking uniform finish than gloss does. Just my opinion and not trying to tell you what to do. Anyway keep up the good work I enjoyed reading about your project and look forward to following your progress.


    Regards Andrew.

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