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Discussion Starter · #122 ·
I have shifted my efforts to the bumper cover modifications (lengthening behind the wheel wells).

I am going to start by cutting out and forming the plastic filler panels that will go into the openings on the right and left sides of the car. They are basically the same shape, just right-hand and left-hand. First, I remounted the bumper cover to the car, then I made a cardboard cutout template for the opening on each side (picture). Next, I fabricated a shaping jig made of expanded metal screen, which I bent to a contour to match the car's contour through this section (pictures). After this I used the cardboard template to cutout two identical sheets of polypropylene plastic (for the filler panels)(picture). Then I placed the plastic sheets on the forming jig and heated it in my oven to 400° F for an hour. The results are shown in the pictures.

Not what I was envisioning. The plastic had softened to the contour of the form but had embedded in the expanded metal lattice, creating a waffled panel with ends bending over the edge of the form. The final picture (in the trash can) is where this attempt at forming the panels ended up.


I did, however learn from this experience. I learned that the plastic could indeed be shaped with applied heat, but that I had to find a better way to form it.


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Discussion Starter · #124 ·
That's true, that was "the way not to do it"; but I intend to try again given the things I have learned. After all, I made 'fins' for this car twice.

With the way that the plastic 'warped' as it was being heated (I observed it through the oven window) until the point that its weight forced it to conform to the profile of the forming jig, where it was finally held in place by the 'mechanical' interlocking as it flowed around the wires in the screen (holding it there until it cooled); I have decided this time to form it against a smooth surface, and press it into this surface with an additional smooth surface as it is heated and cooled.

So I have purchased some 1/8" steel plate which I intend to 'roll-form' to the contour of my car in this region of the car.


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An interesting idea to pursue is vacuum forming. Make your either expanded metal with a thin overlay of foil or 1/8 inch steel and use vacuum forming. You will have to experiment a little but if you place the plastic and form in a turkey oven cooking bag with a high temperature hose used to supply vacuum from a vacuum source. The vacuum will supply enough pressure to pull the plastic to the form evenly and shouldn't deform the form. This method is used often for veneer gluing. Figuring a 10 by 10 inch area has about 100 square inches and if you can pull a medium vacuum you get about a 1000 lb clamping force evenly distributed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #126 ·
Forming the plastic panels to extend the bumper cover (“Take Two”)


After my failed original attempt at forming the plastic sheets, I am going to try to form them in a ‘sandwich’ between to steel plates contoured to the final curvature that I am after.


I originally used an expanded metal screen thinking that it would allow heat to freely flow to the plastic and that its wires would support the plastic as it cooled. Well, we saw how that worked out; the plastic basically melted onto the steel screen and bent over the edges (where it wasn’t supported).


With the way that the plastic ‘warped’ as it was heated (until the point that its weight forced it to conform to the profile of the forming jig) I decided that the plastic had to be held in place as it cooled in order to get the shape that I am after, and that I should use just enough heat to get the plastic to ‘creep’ into place (400° F was too high).


I figured that the temperature would come to equilibrium in an oven and that the plastic would heat to a bending temperature whether or not I used solid support surfaces or screen. Screen was a disaster, so, as you know, I purchased some 1/8" steel plate, cut it into two panels which would be larger than the actual finished parts. By forming the plastic panel against a smooth surface which extends beyond the perimeter of the plastic panel, it will eliminate the waffling and the bending over the edge which I experienced the first time using an undersized screen. In addition, by using a second steel plate, it should provide additional force in order to force the plastic into the shape that I’m after (in essence preventing it from warping as it is formed).


After cutting out the plates, I roll formed them to a gentle curve which matched the car's curvature in this region of the car (picture). This time I cut out two basically rectangular panels of plastic for pre-forming (before cutting them to their final shapes) instead of trying to form the final panel shapes (like I did the first time). I believe this contributed to the uneven heating and consequent 'warping' of the original attempt. In addition, these full size plastic panels allow full and ‘even’ engagement of the plastic with the forming plates while heating and cooling.


I placed the plastic sheet between the two curved steel plates (picture), and slowly brought the temperature up in the oven (starting at 250° F, then going to 300° F). By the time I had reached 300° F the plastic had crept down till the “curved sandwich” was basically closed. At this point (1.5 hours in), I placed some metal bars on the two edges of the “sandwich” (picture) to help further pin the plastic sheet in place while the “sandwich” cooled. I turned the temperature up to 325° F for an additional 10 minute (a final ‘send off’) then turned the oven off.


I removed the “sandwich” this morning (pictures shown). The much better result is in the picture. I intend to repeat the process for the other panel today, and recover the second panel tomorrow morning.

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Discussion Starter · #127 ·
The second panel turned out like the first (no surprise).


I layed out the profiles for the right and left sides of the car on their respective panels (picture), then cut them out on my bandsaw (pictures).


It is time to start searching for a 10’ length of 3/4” polypropylene plastic rod, which I intend to use to form and give some rigidity to the bottom perimeter of the new bumper cover. I checked with my local McMaster-Carr supply house (where I bought the polypropylene sheets), but they only had 8’ lengths. I measured, and I need 10’, so its time to start shopping the internet for a local source.


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1998 Taurus SE Sedan 3.0L24V AX4N 91Kmi
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Because I moved the rear wheels back 4" I am going to need a longer emergency brake cable...
Not necessarily. If you move the WHOLE cable (including both stops for the sheath) back 4", you could then simply extend the cable (or its ball end) at the front to fill the gap. Look at how factory cables are joined/equalized, or how extension cables are added (as on '80s-'90s F-series/Broncos). If the ball end is swaged steel (some are cast pot-metal), you can weld to it. The extension doesn't need to be flexible since it'll be a straight 4" run.
 
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Discussion Starter · #129 ·
Thank you for the feedback, Steve83.

After finding a compatible cable (weeks ago) off of a 1991 Chrysler Town and Country Van which was 10” longer, and installing it in my driver’s side brake housing, and welding in a new support bracket for the two cables running to the two brake housings, I came to the realization that you are correct (that I could have shifted the support bracket for the two cables back 4”). It would have placed my new support bracket in an awkward position on the frame however. Like you have noted, it would have required, in addition, that I add 4.5" to the end of the front cable.

At this point, because of the new location of the cable support bracket, I need to actually ‘shorten’ the front cable a good 7”.

It is a swage on end. Can I simply swage on a new end in the correct location? Is there a tool for it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #131 ·
I had a feeling that it would require some kind of hydraulic press to even "crush" a metal tube down around the metal wire (not just some "hand tool"). Thank you for the information.

Any opinions on trying to "swage" a metal tube onto it with a set of "V tapered" dies and hydraulic clamp?
 

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Discussion Starter · #133 ·
Thank you, Automender12345. That's the right idea, and I/m sure 10 tons works fine on copper. Actually it is a matter of force per area. 10 tons on an 1/8" dia die would probably push through about anything.
 
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