While laying under the wagon disconnecting the tabs that hold the fuel/brake lines to the frame, I decided to poke the body brace with a screwdriver to see how solid it was. The screw driver went through the brace and through the inner rocker. I kind of just starred at it in disbelief. I pulled the screwdriver out and started poking further which opened up more daylight gaping holes. I started poking more and more holes in the brace where the body mount bolt goes through. It was really bad. I poked further up the brace toward the tranny tunnel area and…. No problems. Solid as a rock. This little discovery was unexpected and unwanted. So I went all around the car poking all the floor bracing. All were solid. So I guess Just one of my brace ends needed to be replaced. I can pinpoint this particular area being a problem, because the car sat outside for a long time with no door glass in the Driver side door. The rocker, door bottom, and now this particular floor brace are all rusty in the same area. With the door shut the rust all lines up. This is the worst spot in the whole car.
New floor braces ends are available new. There are 4 different braces that run from driver to passenger side that go from the front to back. The particular brace end I need is the second from the front. The price for one of these braces range from $125 to $175 dollars each. That is as much as a whole floor pan new! So I went to plan B: Find a good used one.
This leads to this story. I made a new car friend named Dave a couple of months back that also has a recently acquired ’58 Ford 2 door wagon. He was advertising that he was looking for some ’58 wagon parts, and I answered the ad. ( I had lots of wagon parts from the first wagon I started out with but eventually parted out) He looked through my boxes of extra parts and picked out a few items he needed. We settled on price, however when loading the parts, one of them, the front valance wouldn’t fit into his car. I offered to deliver it the next day as he only lives 15 miles away. So when I get to his home to deliver the part, he shows me his collection of cars. Dave is into ’58 & “59 Edsels, and has many project Edsels and Rancheros in various stages of restoration. I am amazed at how many solid cars he has. He also buys Edsels and parts them out for his own parts shelves, and also to sell parts to other enthusiasts. He recently acquired a ’58 Edsel 4 door from dry southern Oregon. He had taken the front clip off, the dash, the teletouch steering wheel/push button trans column, and misc trim. After he stripped it, his plan was to fill it with scrap metal and take it to the scrap yard. Dave schooled me on the Edsel line of cars. There are 2 kinds of Edsel. The 2 lower end body styles are based on the Ford platform. The floor pans and frame are the same as the ’58 Ford Fairlanes/Custom 300′s. The two upper end Edsel body styles are based on the ’58 Mercury platform/Frames which are not compatible with the Ford Line of Floor pans/frames. I never knew this and was amazed at how much Edsel knowledge Dave has acquired over the years. I enjoyed the tour, and after showing me his newly acquired ’58 Ranch Wagon I made the mental note to keep Dave’s number as a future contact for Ford related parts.
As I pondered my options on the rusty body brace suddenly, Dave The Edsel Guy‘s name flashed into my mind from the mental Ford Rolodex in my brain! I gave Dave a call, and asked him if he still had the Edsel 4 door. He said “Yes I do. However I’m taking it to the crusher in 3 days because I’ve got everything off of it I want.” I told him my predicament about the rusty floor brace and he said “Do you have a sawzall? Because you can come out and cut off whatever you need.” I was relieved! I showed up, and Dave and his wife were preparing the area for me to get to chopping the brace out. Their kindness and hospitality were appreciated. Dave says his wife is as passionate about his old car hobby as he is. Which is neat to see.
So Dave and I unbolt the front seat and pull it out. The seat is a 40/60 split bench seat, which is rare. I ended up purchasing it from him and plan on using it in the wagon. The springs are in great shape, and the 40/60 split gives those entering the car from passenger side to get into the back seat a whole lot more room than a standard 50/50 splint bench seat.
After removing the body bolt I use my sawzall to cut through the rocker panel and into the floor pan up to the tranny tunnel, and back around to the rocker panel and now I have a perfect condition body brace and a cool seat for the Ranch Wagon!
I drilled out the spot welds using a Blair Spot Weld cutter bit, and have the bracket separated and read to be ground down and used when I replace the inner/outer rocker panels later on. It’s good people like Dave the Edsel guy, who make this hobby enjoyable. By allowing me cut out a part I needed for my car, out of a crusher bound Edsel, Dave has really proven that old car guys look out for each other. Thanks Dave!