Drivers Side Mechanics Plate

This weekend is a short one since we’re taking my daughter downtown Toronto to watch the Lion King musical today.  That meant I only had Saturday afternoon to work on the BatBerry.

I’ve been trying to figure out for a while how I would make a solid area for the side mechanics to mount.  I also wanted to make sure I had this figured out before removing the rear section of the car to finish preparing and painting the rear section of the chassis.

I decided to create an entire 1/16″ plate of steel to go behind the side mechanics section of the body.  This way when I get around to working on the side mechanics I can simply drill out a section of the body and then weld in a nut insert behind the fiberglass.  By having the steel behind the fiberglass it acts both as a solid mounting surface as well as a body support for that flimsy area of the body.

First step was creating a template of the section of the body that I could transfer onto some steel.  You’ll see that I had to make a couple of cut outs for the 30 cal sliders.

One thing that I wanted to make sure of was that there was an area that I could use as a jack point on the front of the car.  So I jacked up the car and slid the steel in behind the fiberglass from the bottom.  After everything was clamped into place I lowered the jack to see if the metal sheet was going to cause problems.

The steel just needed to be trimmed an inch right where it started to show from behind the fiberglass.  After that the jack had the clearance that it needed.

The area that shows the steel plate is a section where there isn’t any fiberglass joining the front and rear sections of the car.  So I used this opportunity to have the steel create a look of a connected surface.

After I had the steel in-place I noticed that when you looked down the side of the car you would still see a space where the front section didn’t quite come back towards the frame of the car.   I decided to create a little box in this area to both get rid of that gap and also act as a nice area to make a solid mount for the side of the hood that could use some extra support (I’ll create that hood connection later).  I also drilled a small hole in the bottom to drain any water that might get in there when I eventually drill the top of the box to weld in a nut.

Now I needed to create some supports between the plate and the chassis.  I was able to seam weld the front of the plate along the frame rail and 30 cal slider.

I also created an angled plate on one of the vertical chassis tubes and created a little cut-out section around the interior speaker box.  This made a solid support for the top of the side plate.

The last step was welding a couple of plates along the bottom of the chassis that reached out to the side plate.  These bottom supports didn’t reach down on an angle to the bottom of the steel because I wanted to minimize the chance of steel getting in the way of where I might need to weld in a nut/bolt combination to secure the side mechanic parts.

Overall I was hoping to get more done but I spent a lot of my time sitting on the floor looking at the problem trying to figure out the best way to make it work.  At least now I have a good working plan for the passenger side 🙂

10 thoughts on “Drivers Side Mechanics Plate

  1. Love the work you are doing.
    I am about to build one as well.
    Can you please give me the measurement of the rear end from rotor to rotor as I am going to use a 9″ rear and need to get the right size tubes.
    Thanking you,

    1. Hi Mike,

      My rear end has drums. Are you looking for face of the drum to face of drum? Also, one thing you should know is that the driver’s side of the body over the rear wheel is 1″ wider than the passenger side. So most of us are running a 1″ spacer on the rear driver’s side.

      1. Thank you for getting back to me.
        The face of the drum to face of the drum is perfect and then I can make 1 of the tubes 1″ longer on the drivers side.

      2. I’ll see what I can do, at the end of June I’ll have the body off the car and I’ll try and remember to take a measurement

    1. Not sure of the exact weight but I’m pretty sure it will be quite a bit less than the original caprice. The firewall on its own from the caprice weighed more than the whole front of the BatBerry body shell 🙂

  2. Love following the build, just catching up since I haven’t checked here in awhile.

    One thing I wasn’t sure about, this “trick” of using washers and nuts seems quite time intensive to me. Is there a reason nutserts weren’t used? usually the extra thickness it adds to the top of the steel is very minimal.

    1. I haven’t really used nutserts before, but from what I’ve seen of them they are more for non load bearing connections in thin sheet metal or plastic.

      For many of my scenarios I need something that is pretty strong and the nut and thickness of the steel of the washer is a stronger anchor point. I’m sure nutserts could have been used for some of the connections, but a washer/nut is a really simple cheap alternative.

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