Straightening Out the Grill on an A - Any Tips?

Farmall Super A, AV, 100, 130, & 140 1939 - 1973

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Straightening Out the Grill on an A - Any Tips?

Postby CPIII » Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:58 am

I took the grill and hood off this past weekend and wanted to start getting the dents and dings out of it. Does any have any tips? I have really done anything like this before ....well not to this extent as the grill is fairly beat up as you can see in the pic below:

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Re: Straightening Out the Grill on an A - Any Tips?

Postby Super A » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:47 am

They make a set of tools to help straighten the grille bars. Check eBay. IIRC they're about $75

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Re: Straightening Out the Grill on an A - Any Tips?

Postby CPIII » Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:24 am

Thanks Al,
I was looking at those....have you tried them? or do you know anyone that has?
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Re: Straightening Out the Grill on an A - Any Tips?

Postby Dale Finch » Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:01 pm

CPIII wrote:Thanks Al,
I was looking at those....have you tried them? or do you know anyone that has?

I have a set I bought to straighten my SA grill, which looked like a pretzel!! Just couldn't afford the $600 for a new one, so spent AGES on straightening, welding, etc. The tools work GREAT! I was very happy with the results:
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Just keep tap, tap, tapping...it takes a WHOLE LOT of patience, but it certainly makes me feel good when I look at it and see what I accomplished!! :D

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Re: Straightening Out the Grill on an A - Any Tips?

Postby Bob McCarty » Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:04 pm

Dale, I think you needed a bigger hammer.

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Re: Straightening Out the Grill on an A - Any Tips?

Postby Dale Finch » Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:36 pm

That was the bam, bam, bamming stage, just BEFORE the tap, tap, tapping stage!! Those tools DID take a bit of power until you got the ribs roughly straightened. THEN you could tap to get the "shape" of the arc. In some areas, the metal had actually been "stretched" a bit, which meant that from the top, they stuck out just a wee but further than the rest, though they were at least the same general shape, and from the front, looked super.

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Re: Straightening Out the Grill on an A - Any Tips?

Postby CPIII » Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:44 pm

That looks great.....how did you get the dents out of the upper and lower pieces of the grill?
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Re: Straightening Out the Grill on an A - Any Tips?

Postby Dale Finch » Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:13 pm

I used a regular body-work type hammer and dollies...I call them bucking bars. You hold the flat or curved steel bar on one side while tapping on the other to get the shape you want. It really does take some patience. When you get it roughly the shape you need (probably have a bunch of little dents from the hammer) you use the body filler (Bondo) to even it out. Then sand it until you get it even. If you have a bump popping through before the rest, you need to tap it down some, add filler, then sand again until you get a uniform shape. It takes a while, and that is why the entire tractor was done before the grill was finished!! I would work on it a bit, get tired of it and work on the rest of the tractor, then go back to it.

In the 3rd photo you can see all the patches of filler. I cannot tell you how many times I sanded the same areas! The bottom piece REALLY rusted and had a fair amount of damage. My friend, the shop owner had me separate it from the top 2/3, he did a bit of welding on some areas, then tack welded it back onto the center when it was done. I had to "cut" a line through a few welded spots with a dremel tool to make it look like it was still a separate piece clipped to the center. That "chin took the longest time to get a smooth, even curve to it.

Maybe there is someone close to you that has a set you can borrow? I did loan mine out to someone for a while...If you pay for shipping, I can throw it in a small USPS Flat Rate box. But I WOULD want them returned! Let me know.

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Re: Straightening Out the Grill on an A - Any Tips?

Postby CPIII » Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:56 pm

Thank you so much for the help and advice....and the generous offer to use your dies. I will keep that in mind and may take you up on it .....if I can figure out some sort of deposit so that if something happens to me you wouldn't be out anything. But I will probably end up buying a set myself as I like you I will probably be working on this for a very long time. I am looking for a set of auto body hammers and have found a set under $40
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/wmr-m ... 7AodTxUAeQ
....don't think I would need anything fancy....this should do just fine for what I need right?
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Re: Straightening Out the Grill on an A - Any Tips?

Postby twotone » Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:26 pm

Dale, I would have never thought that grill was salvageable by looking at the first picture. You did an outstanding job and it looks beautiful on your SA!
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Re: Straightening Out the Grill on an A - Any Tips?

Postby Dale Finch » Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:34 pm

CPIII wrote:Thank you so much for the help and advice....and the generous offer to use your dies. I will keep that in mind and may take you up on it .....if I can figure out some sort of deposit so that if something happens to me you wouldn't be out anything. But I will probably end up buying a set myself as I like you I will probably be working on this for a very long time. I am looking for a set of auto body hammers and have found a set under $40
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/wmr-m ... 7AodTxUAeQ
....don't think I would need anything fancy....this should do just fine for what I need right?

I just asked the body shop owner and he said it probably had what you would need. I learned a lot about this "art", especially that it is just that! I also found out that I am pretty much a "finger painter"!!!! :lol:

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Re: Straightening Out the Grill on an A - Any Tips?

Postby Bezirk » Tue Apr 15, 2014 4:24 pm

Nice job Dale, looks great .

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Re: Straightening Out the Grill on an A - Any Tips?

Postby ricky racer » Tue Apr 15, 2014 5:35 pm

Awesome job Dale!! Great looking tractor! !
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Re: Straightening Out the Grill on an A - Any Tips?

Postby Dale Finch » Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:28 pm

Thanks, guys!! I'm hoping to have the '55 I bought back from my neighbor (ran it without oil and locked up the engine), looking the same in a week or two. Should have about 3 times what it is worth putting it back together!!! :lol: I just keep reminding myself, that I have few other interests now that I am no longer flying, so why not?! Gotta spend it on something...and it keeps me out of trouble...usually! :beer: :big smile:

It's now tractors and diving...speaking of which, anyone a certified diver that wants to join my sisters and me for a trip to Fiji in September?! I booked an entire liveaboard dive boat, and am looking for some good folks!

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Re: Straightening Out the Grill on an A - Any Tips?

Postby Dale Finch » Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:31 pm

Oops! Was thinking this was my post...sorry Charles! Didn't mean to hijack your post! Getting back to it, I think if I can straighten my grill out, you should have no problem. The hardest thing, I think, was to NOT be satisfied until I was truly happy with it. The best of luck!!


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