How To Install Firewall On A 1964 Ford Galaxie

Auto Metal Direct Supplies Replacement Firewalls For Your Classic Car

By Brian Brennan   –   Photography By Jason Chandler

Dealing with the hot rods from the ’50s and ’60s is a lot easier nowadays given there is so much reproduction sheet metal. This month we are going to look at a ’64 Ford Galaxie and the replacement of its firewall using an Auto Metal Direct firewall (PN  370-8964). The work for this project was done at The Installation Center.

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02 The Auto Metal Direct firewall for the 64 Ford Galaxie PN 370 8964 is a good fit

It should be noted that while our installation of our OE-style firewall (factory firewall is PN C4AZ-6201610-A) is on a ’64 Ford Galaxie, the AMD firewall shown here will fit the ’64 Ford Galaxie and the ’64 Mercury Marauder and Monterey. AMD stamps the firewalls, and other sheet metal, from a high-quality 19-gauge steel. The firewall itself weighs 65 pounds. According to AMD, each firewall features the correct shape, size, bends, holes, ribs, and frame mounts like the original. All these sheet metal pieces also feature electrophoretic deposition coating to protect against rust and corrosion.

03 Upon further review you can see there is some significant rot at the floor seem
Upon further review you can see there is some significant rot at the floor seem. Patching the rotted area is doable but for a few dollars more and fundamentally the same labor the entire firewall can be replaced.

Read More: 1957 Ford Ranch Wagon Firewall Modification

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What is Electrophoretic Deposition?

Electrophoretic Deposition (EPD) is an industrial term used for several processes intended to protect the metal from rust and corrosion. The process can be applied via an electrically conductive surface such as sheetmetal. The intent is to provide a powerful and long-lasting protective coating to the metal. Once fabrication is complete the material can be prepped, welded on, and readied for paint.

04 Patching the rotted area is doable but for a few dollars more and fundamentally the same labor

Parts in Hand, Work Begins

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Once we had our AMD firewall in hand, we were ready to begin the installation at TIC; both AMD and TIC are in Georgia. Jubee Mays, of aMAYSing Metal Works, handled the metalwork. He agreed to come over to TIC and was present to handle this and will handle other sheet metal projects we will have with our ’64 Galaxie over the coming months. Mays is an expert when it comes to muscle car sheet metal, having handled numerous projects.

05 Jubee Mays of The Installation Center TIC using the cut off wheel begins the separation process
Jubee Mays of The Installation Center (TIC) using the cut-off wheel begins the separation process of the firewall from the floor. He prefers to take out a larger section then come back and remove the remaining metal in more manageable pieces.

How Do I Check The VIN On a Classic Car?

There is one “sensitive” subject when dealing with the firewall/cowl area of a ’60s muscle car or any car of the era: the Vehicle Identification Number. VIN numbers have been around since 1954 and have undergone several iterations until the present system came about in the late ’80s. (Should you be interested in your vehicle’s VIN, here is a handy VIN decoder from the National Highway Traffic Administration: https://vpic.nhtsa.dot.gov/decoder/.)

06 With the firewall cut across the width of the car
With the firewall cut across the width of the car, Mays cuts the side flange just inside where it meets at the kick panel.

Read More: Out Of This World 1963 Ford Galaxie

Why do we bring this up? Well, since we are removing the cowl area as well as the firewall and replacing it with fresh metal we will be running smack dab into the VIN plate. For years hot rodders had to deal with a very sensitive subject of VIN plates (or stamped numbers) and what was legal or not.

07 Mays cuts the side flange just inside where it meets at the kick panel

Can You Replace Your VIN Number?

Fact is, for the longest time there was pretty much nothing you could do about VIN tags, plates, or stampings. You had to leave it alone. Now, with recent urging from SEMA there are states that have passed and are about to pass legislation friendly to hot rodders. It will allow you to remove the VIN tag or plate and replace it in the same location but onto “fresh” metal. (It is still illegal to alter the VIN.) Christian Robinson, SEMA director-state government affairs, tell us, “There is a lot of interest around the country in this type of legislation. A lawmaker from the Midwest contacted us about introducing similar legislation in his state. We will plan to take it national in 2023 as one of our new model bills.” In the meantime, it would be wise to check the ins and outs of what you can do legally in your state when restoring or repairing your muscle car.

08 An air chisel is used to separate the firewall from the side cowl panel
An air chisel is used to separate the firewall from the side cowl panel.

How To Weld Replacement VIN Plate

The VIN plate is welded using 0.023-inch wire for ease of control on thinner metal. Mays tells us that he tacks into place working in different areas and cooling along the way, repeating this process until the VIN plate is fully integrated back into the panel. He also tells us, “Welding settings for this 19-gauge metal will be different for each welder but most units have a chart on them to set properly.” He also tells us that it is best to test a small section like the old firewall to make sure your settings are good to go.

09 This process is continued up the sides and across the top of the firewall
This process is continued up the sides and across the top of the firewall. A quality air hammer will give you better speed control, making this technique ideal.

How To Look For Rust On a Car

As is the case with any vintage tin (something older than 25-30 years), cars from the ’60s have seen their share of abuse. Odds are there will be lots of rusted and rotted sheet metal. The firewall and especially the lower cowl/firewall area is a prime location to be heavily rusted.

10 The chisel tip is flat on one side and angled on the other making it safe to separate these panels without harming the cowl section
The chisel tip is flat on one side and angled on the other, making it safe to separate these panels without harming the cowl section. Using a bench grinder, you can modify your chisel to perform these jobs the same way.

Read More: How To Recess A Firewall On A 1934 Ford Five Window Coupe

Other areas to be especially mindful of are the rotted floorboards, rusted-out glass channels, and quarter-panel decay. Over the course of time more will need to be addressed. Well, there you have it. Let’s follow along and see just what it takes to remove and replace an AMD firewall in our ’64 Ford Galaxie. MR

11 Using a bench grinder you can modify your chisel to perform these jobs the same way

12 Mays wants to keep the factory VIN plate intact
Mays wants to keep the factory VIN plate intact. Carefully removing it from the firewall, simply repairing the car shows no impropriety.

13 Carefully removing it from the firewall simply repairing the car shows no impropriety

14 Mays follows the remaining firewall down the right side of the cowl to finish the cut
Mays follows the remaining firewall down the right side of the cowl to finish the cut.
15 The locating table is provisioned with mounts in the factory location as you would find in the Ford Galaxie frame rail
The locating table is provisioned with mounts in the factory location as you would find in the Ford Galaxie frame rail.
16 With the mounts unbolted we begin removing the firewall
With the mounts unbolted, we can remove the firewall.

17 the firewall is removed and ready for prep work

18 Using a 36 grit sanding disc Mays thins the spot welds to remove the remaining firewall sheet metal
Using a 36-grit sanding disc, Mays thins the spot welds to remove the remaining firewall sheet metal. He will be spot welding the new firewall in place so there is no need to drill each spot weld.
19 With the spot welds thinned out he uses the air chisel to remove the rest of the material
With the spot welds thinned out, he uses the air chisel to remove the rest of the material. Keep the flat edge of the chisel toward the metal you are saving.
20 You want a flush mating surface when you go to install the new AMD firewall
Clean up the cowl side using your 36-grit disc. You want a flush mating surface when you go to install the new AMD firewall.
21 Follow this clean up using 36 grit disc in the same process around the perimeter of the opening
Follow this “clean up using 36-grit disc” in the same process around the perimeter of the opening.
22 A weld through primer like this one from Medallion is the choice of materials at TIC
A weld-through primer like this one from Medallion is the choice of materials at TIC to ensure no rust can form in between the panels for years to come.

23 to ensure no rust can form in between the panels for years to come

24 With the new AMD firewall easily accessible we are going to reinstall our VIN plate
With the new AMD firewall easily accessible, we are going to reinstall our VIN plate. Using a buffing disc, we remove the EPD coating that AMD provides on all their panels.
25 The AMD firewall is true to original with the VIN plate stamped into the firewall
The AMD firewall is true to original with the VIN plate stamped into the firewall. Mays elects to keep this Galaxie as factory as possible and is marking the old VIN plate onto the new panel to weld it back into place.
26 With his lines scribed Mays uses his cut off wheel to remove the material
With his lines scribed, Mays uses his cut-off wheel to remove the material.
27 With a quick cleanup Mays tacks the VIN plate into place on the new firewall
With a quick cleanup, Mays tacks the VIN plate into place on the new firewall.

28 This process is way easier with the firewall not in the car

29 finish the welds and blend it in using your sanding disc for an OEM appearance
This process is way easier with the firewall not in the car; finish the welds and blend it in using your sanding disc for an OEM appearance.

30 May grinded down the welding to clean up the imperfections

31 Mays preps the rest of the firewall for installation using a wire wheel
Mays preps the rest of the firewall for installation using a wire wheel on his drill and applies coating to the firewall where it meets the floor, cowl sides, and plenum.

32 on his drill and applies coating to the firewall where it meets the floor cowl sides and plenum

33 The AMD firewall comes with all the bends curves holes and body mounts just like the original
The AMD firewall comes with all the bends, curves, holes, and body mounts just like the original. This makes installation a breeze mounting it back to the table.
34 Mays clamps the firewall in place starting at the center and working around each side for a perfect fit prior to welding
Mays clamps the firewall in place, starting at the center and working around each side for a perfect fit prior to welding.
35 Mays uses the spot welder along the sides and the top of the firewall to replicate the factory installation
Mays uses the spot welder along the sides and the top of the firewall to replicate the factory installation. Work from the center out to ensure a perfect fit.
36 A quick shot of OE Coat from Medallion Refinish finishes off this install
A quick shot of OE Coat from Medallion Refinish finishes off this install. We will cover the floor replacement and welding the firewall to the floor pan next. You will see it right here in Modern Rodding.

Sources
Auto Metal Direct
(833) 404-4777
autometaldirect.com

The Installation Center
(706) 348-6653
amdinstallation.com

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