Crafting a Custom Aluminum Fan Shroud

Part 5: The Souza Ford F100 Gets a Custom Aluminum Fan Shroud & Coolant Overflow Tank

By Ron Covell   –   Photography by the Author

The most recent project to be completed on the Souza Ford F100 is the fan shroud. This is actually several panels carefully crafted to fit cleanly together, which not only ensures that the fans draw air efficiently through the radiator but that they also continue the smooth, sweeping curves that encircle the engine, adding a lot of style and showcasing the powerplant when the hood is open. These panels involve some tricky layout and fitting, and you may very well pick up some good tips that can help with other projects.

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002 Note how all the corners of the core support have been carefully rounded adding an element of style to the construction
Note how all the corners of the core support have been carefully rounded, adding an element of style to the construction.

Part 1: The TCI chassis, Cab Floor & Firewall

Of course the radiator has to be located and securely mounted before any of this work can begin. The team at Gary’s Rods and Restorations built a sturdy core support from square steel tubing and plates were added to this structure to securely cradle the radiator. With the radiator in place, the fitting of the panels was started.

003 The tubular core support provides a beefy structure for the radiator mounts and the sheetmetal that ducts all the air through the radiator
The tubular core support provides a beefy structure for the radiator mounts and the sheetmetal that ducts all the air through the radiator.

Part 2: Sectioning the Cowl with Gary’s Rods and Restorations

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The first panel to be fabricated is a curved header that covers the top of the radiator and spans the entire distance between the front fenders. This panel was given a gentle arch toward the center, in keeping with the beautifully contoured inner fender panels covered in the last article.

004 The top header panel was next to be fabricated It spans the distance between the front fenders and has a gentle arch in the center
The top header panel was next to be fabricated. It spans the distance between the front fenders and has a gentle arch in the center. The radiused pockets on each side were accomplished by fitting two curved angles into place.

Once this panel was shaped, trimmed, and fitted, a large panel was designed to fit close to the twin fans, which are controlled by the engine management ECU. A decision was made to put a stepped detail in this panel, which gives it more strength and becomes a strong design element.

005 Great care was taken to place all welds away from the corners to ensure a uniform radius in those areas
Here you can see the filler pieces tack-welded into place. Great care was taken to place all welds away from the corners to ensure a uniform radius in those areas.

A pattern was made from 3/4-inch MDF to guide the panel through a Pullmax machine, outfitted with a set of rounded step dies. As you’ll see in the photos, this really gives the panel a finished and professional appearance.

006 This is the layout for the fan location showing the reinforcing step on the perimeter of the pane
This is the layout for the fan location, showing the reinforcing step on the perimeter of the panel.

Part 3: Fixing Ford’s Mistake; Reshaping ‘56 F100 Fenders

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With the center portion roughed out, the next step was to fit the very convoluted side pieces, which have to fit snugly on all edges. These were patterned with chipboard, then carefully trimmed and fitted with precision. Anyone who has attempted making a convoluted panel like this will appreciate what it takes to get a snug fit.

007 A pattern was made from 3 4 inch MDF to guide the panel through the Pullmax machine to make a uniform step
A pattern was made from 3/4-inch MDF to guide the panel through the Pullmax machine to make a uniform step.

Part 4: Cleaning Up The Engine Bay On The Souza F100

With the three rear panels shaped, fitted, and joined together, a step was made on the rear flange on the header panel so the reinforced edges of the rear panels would fit flush. This step was made with a beading machine, and as you can see it adds an attractive detail to the joint.

008 Here is the step fresh off the Pullmax machine
Here is the step, fresh off the Pullmax machine.

There were a few more steps involved to bring this project to completion, which you’ll see in the photos. Look for more articles on the Souza Ford F100 in the months to come.

009 A chip board pattern was made for the panels that fit next to the center panel
A chip board pattern was made for the panels that fit next to the center panel. One metal piece has been made from the pattern and rough-shaped.
010 The matching panel for the other side of the engine compartment is shaped here
The matching panel for the other side of the engine compartment is shaped here.
011 Here all three of the panels have been welded together
Here all three of the panels have been welded together. Note that the top edge has been reinforced by welding an additional strip of metal to it.
012 To enable the double thickness panel to fit flush a beading machine was used to form a recess on the top flange
To enable the double-thickness panel to fit flush, a beading machine was used to form a recess on the top flange.
013 This close up shot shows how uniform the stepped down area is where it wraps around the concave area
This close-up shot shows how uniform the stepped-down area is where it wraps around the concave area. As you can see, everything is fitted beautifully.
014 Here you can see how nicely the panels fit together with a snug uniform gap
Here you can see how nicely the panels fit together, with a snug, uniform gap. As with everything else on this truck, the craftsmanship is impeccable.
015 It takes a lot of careful fitting to keep the gaps uniform around a contoured recess like this
It takes a lot of careful fitting to keep the gaps uniform around a contoured recess like this. The openings for the fans will be cut at a later stage.
016 Latches from a BMW are used and special mounts were made to hold them securely in the proper location
Latches from a BMW are used, and special mounts were made to hold them securely in the proper location.
017 Both latches are cable operated with the original BMW cables
Both latches are cable-operated with the original BMW cables.
018 Small openings were made in the header panel for the latch strikers to enter presenting a very clean look with the hood open
Small openings were made in the header panel for the latch strikers to enter, presenting a very clean look with the hood open.
019 A custom coolant overflow tank will be mounted directly to the thermostat housing
A custom coolant overflow tank will be mounted directly to the thermostat housing. This will hide the distributor and wires, presenting a very clean appearance.
020 Here’s an overview of all the underhood sheetmetal fabrication–truly an exquisite display of craftsmanship
Here’s an overview of all the underhood sheetmetal fabrication–truly an exquisite display of craftsmanship.

 

Source

Gary’ Rods & Restorations
(831) 728-7025
garysrods.com

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