Sunday, January 22, 2017

1964 Barracuda – Trunk Repair Part 4 – Fabricating a Trunk Board

Photo courtesy mcp-313 on eBay.
Anyone know what that swirly cut is for?

Happy New Year’s everyone!  I hope you all had a great 2016 and I wish you an even better 2017.

I did not do much on the Plymouth Barracuda over the holidays.  I did have two weeks of vacation at the end of the year but the time just slipped away as it often does.

I thought I might get one small project in before heading back to work after the holidays so I decided to work on installing a trunk board.  The spare tire sits down in a tire well.  I am not sure what the original set up looked like but it seems obvious that something needed to go over top of the spare tire well.  The only things in my trunk when I bought the car were a flat spare tire and rust.  Any board that might have covered the tire well was long gone.

A quick search on eBay did turn up a few folks selling reproduction boards.  They looked nice but at $46 plus another $30 for shipping, I figured I would take a shot at making one.  From the eBay pictures, they appeared to be cut from high-density fiberboard also called hardboard.  I decided to pick up a sheet at Lowe’s and cut out my own trunk board.  I was surprised to find that neither Lowe’s nor Home Depot carried the material. They only had pegboard which is the correct material but all those holes make it very flimsy.

Readily available pegboard.  Seemed too flimsy to span tire well opening.

So Plan B was to but a 4’x4’ sheet of ¼” birch plywood. I knew it would not fit in my Sad Saab Sedan so I borrowed the wife’s Nissan Rogue.  I bought the plywood and attempted to load it into the Rogue.  I quickly found out that the thing does not have a 48” opening no way no how.  I tried the back hatch, the back door and the front door.  No amount of twisting or bending was going to get the board into the car so I admitted defeat and returned the board to the store.  However, several days later, I returned with my son and his Jeep and we got the board home.  Man, I need a pickup truck!

Hmmm.  I should have measured first!

The first step in the fabrication process was to get a large piece of cardboard and make a template of the trunk floor.  I added notch to clear the sheet metal around the trunk lock.  The front of the trunk had a little curve to it so I need to trim a little off the front of the template to match the curve.  I also added a center hole so I could hook a few fingers in to lift the board back up once it was lying flat in the trunk. The eBay board also had a swirly cut at the back of the trunk.  I could not figure out what that was for so I left it out.  

I always save cardboard for templates.
Luckily had this big piece was stuck behind the tool box.

All the holes and notches cut.  Notice the curve at the top of the picture.

Template fits but could be a little wider.

Once the template looked good, I transferred the measurements to the birch plywood.  My template was only 44” wide but I decided that I wanted the finished board to be 47” so it would cover more of the floor. I used my circular saw for the big cuts and a saber saw for all the notches and small cuts.  I sanded the edges and rounded the corners a little.  On my first test fit, the board dropped right into place.  No adjustments needed. Hurrah for templates!

Trunk board cut and ready to install . . . almost.

I could have stopped there but I had another great idea.  I had some Rattle Trap by FatMat mat left over from doing the interior floor so I applied it to the back of the trunk board.  The main purpose of the mat is the keep the board from rattling around back there.  I also hope that it with cut down on road noise and maybe reduce some of the heat coming in from the muffler which is right next to the spare tire wheel well.

Now, I have to get that flat fixed.

This picture shows the Rattle Trap applied to the
downside of the trunk board.  

Trunk board in place.  The trunk will eventually have a mat to cover the board.