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Floorpans - Floor It!
Shoring up the floors in a Comet wagon
Since this is a subframe car, the floor (along with the rocker panels) holds the car together. This makes the process more important because if the floors are not installed properly, the results would be disastrous. For an expert job, we took the car to Ramsey Autobody in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Toby Ramsey and Jordan Lewis put the welder to work on the Comet and let us watch. Toby told us the key to a good install is in the tools. A gas-shielded, wire-feed MIG welder is necessary. Along with that, you should have a sheetmetal hole punch, spot weld cutters, air hammer (with a body ripper and a spot weld breaker), die grinder with grinding pads, cut-off wheel and your basic handtools. A plasma cutter is a real time saver if you have access to one. The original floors are spot welded about every 2-3 inches along the rocker panels and the support braces. These are identified by the small dimple in the pan. If you can’t see them (often the rust is too severe) you can always cut around the braces and use an air hammer and a spot weld breaker to remove the rest.
If the rocker panels are shot, you must support the body between the doors before removing anything. A spreadable clamp is great, but a piece of square tubing cut to fit and tack welded in place works too. The body of the Comet was in great shape, other than the floors, so we didn’t need this step. Since the floors were in such bad shape, we had to install the entire sections in the Comet. Luckily, the pans from Dearborn Classics were a near-perfect fit; we only had to trim a couple of small areas.
The floorpans were installed in about two and a half days, including the hand-formed sections we needed for under the rear seat (not available aftermarket). Once installed, Jordan Lewis coated all of the edges with seam sealer and sprayed the entire floor with Al’s Liner, a new product similar to truck bed liner. This stuff goes on nice and thick, ensuring that the rust will never return. With the job done, the Comet has a whole new life, ready for a fire-breathing 347 stroker engine and some retro interior. No more Flintstone action here.
Seeing your project stretched out on the shop floor with no floors can be a little unsettling, especially for the uninitiated.