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Username Post: GM Sheet Metal Dies?        (Topic#204933)
62BillT 
"12th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 4928
62BillT
Loc: Moneta, VA
Reg: 09-24-01
12-10-08 06:16 AM - Post#1581608    

I have heard thru the years and have known it to be that all (or most) of the old GM Sheet Metal Stamping Dies from the old days were destroyed. I was talking with someone on another board who said that he was talking to someone at the "GM Restoration Parts" trailer at a car show who stated that the old dies are stored away in a large warehouse in Tenneesse.

Wondering if anyone out there can add anything to this.

Bill

Member:
-National Impala Association
-Vintage Chevrolet Club of America


 
72novaproject 
Senior Member
Posts: 3210
72novaproject
Age: 58
Loc: D/FW Texas
Reg: 02-18-03
12-10-08 07:45 AM - Post#1581647    
    In response to 62BillT

Well, for what its worth, I don't think any of the reproduction sheet metal is coming off of the original dies. So if you buy a reproduction part, even a GM liscenced part, (I think thats what they call it), it's still gonna need a lot of work to make it fit right.

I have heard that companies like dynacorn buy the originals when they can find them but most dies are cast from a NOS part. That explains the poor quality because they are really all 3rd generation copies. 1st copy is the original part. 2nd copy is the new die. 3rd copy is the part that comes out of it that you purchase.

That my understanding of it. I doubt that there has been any attempt by GM for historical preservation of their tooling.

Steve
To each problem exists a solution...now think.

The ZD Nova Page


 
62BillT 
"12th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 4928
62BillT
Loc: Moneta, VA
Reg: 09-24-01
12-10-08 08:41 AM - Post#1581676    
    In response to 72novaproject

I agree. If there are any original dies out there, it doesn't seem like anyone is using them. I've heard many complaints about sheet metal and how they need to be reworked many times to make them fit.

But I sure would like to prove or dis-prove that there are any original dies out there.

Like we were saying on the other board, if GM does have them and can make some money with them, it's time to go with it.

....they're hurting for money.
Member:
-National Impala Association
-Vintage Chevrolet Club of America


 
MARTINSR 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 1480

Loc: San Francisco bay area Ca...
Reg: 02-14-02
12-10-08 10:05 AM - Post#1581741    
    In response to 62BillT

I don't believe for one minute that original dies exist. They were destroyed just like any other "scrap" metal would be.

There is NO WAY GM would have spend the unbelievable amount of money it would take to store them. For what?

Brian
Fan of everything that moves human beings.


 
Thurman55 
"7th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 734

Loc: Albany,Ga. Gold Member
Reg: 05-23-02
12-10-08 12:48 PM - Post#1581849    
    In response to MARTINSR

May I share this--I worked for GM at a components plant for 26 years before retiring. I had the pleasure,really, of working with two slightly older tool & die makers from two different GM stamping plants who had years of experience of making those sheet metal dies and "tuning" them in once they were in the presses. One of these worked on the die to produce the roof of the Chevy Caprice Wagon, that's a big die. Both of these men told many stories about "GM dies". The consensus was that after running the amount of pieces allocated for the model year the dies were thoroughly washed, swabbed in cosmoline, wrapped in cosmoline paper, properly identified, sent to a center outside of Warren, MI. and stored outside on metal racks for seven years. After that they were sold to the highest bidder, usually a scrap steel dealer. Now, these guys dated back to the late '60's and early '70's. I never heard any other version of the GM sheet metal die stories. I've also heard the unfounded rumors of the tri-five dies being sold and sent to South America, which I do not believe. There is documentation of vehicle parts being sent to S.A. to build S.A., L.H. cars, but I doubt the dies were sent. I also believe that any sheet metal you buy today is 3rd. gen. Have you ever really tried to imagine how large the die would have been to stamp out the hood or roof of a '55 Chevy? Can you imagine how complicated the die was to produce the front eyebrow portion of the fender of the tri-fives? This involved a "spank press" die which would have folded part of the metal under while the main die would hold the fender. Have you ever taken an alternator apart, seen the two halves of metal that make up the rotor? Imagine how we made those from flat stock. How about the pieces of lamination that make up the stator the wire is wound in? How to make those at 650/minute. It was fun, but I'm retired and loving it. Thanks,David

 
Rick_L 
Honored Member
Posts: 25632

Loc: Katy, Tx, USA
Reg: 07-06-00
12-10-08 01:52 PM - Post#1581882    
    In response to Thurman55

Thurman, your version is the only one that makes sense to me.

 
62BillT 
"12th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 4928
62BillT
Loc: Moneta, VA
Reg: 09-24-01
12-10-08 02:05 PM - Post#1581895    
    In response to Thurman55

Appreciate the reply. That is the response I was looking for. I love those old factory stories.

Bill
Member:
-National Impala Association
-Vintage Chevrolet Club of America


 
MARTINSR 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 1480

Loc: San Francisco bay area Ca...
Reg: 02-14-02
12-10-08 03:28 PM - Post#1581947    
    In response to Thurman55

Thurman, that is some fabulas info, thanks!

Now hearing the story, it does make sense that, one, they could store it coated in cosmolene (I have worked with that stuff before!) that way left out side. Second, that keeping them for a few years makes sense as far as replacement parts that they may need to run.

I would have to imagine that if sold, it was for scrap only. I would bet that part of the deal would be that they are not used to make parts!

Brian
Fan of everything that moves human beings.


 
Rick_L 
Honored Member
Posts: 25632

Loc: Katy, Tx, USA
Reg: 07-06-00
12-10-08 06:10 PM - Post#1582069    
    In response to MARTINSR

Absolutely. When you "scrap" something off the books, you have to get rid of it. That's how you get your tax deduction legally. And the bean counters don't want you to mess up their tax return by selling it for more than scrap value either.

In my industry it happens all the time. It's a product of our business tax system.

I've seen 3 things happening when this occurs:
- the scrap dealer buys it and HE is the one that flips it to somebody who will pay a higher price and use it.
- with inventory, I've seen the scrap dealer buy it, and a few days/weeks/months later, company buys it back for the original cost or close. Company likes it because they got better delivery than a new one from the manufacturer.
- parts are going in the dumpster or to the scrap dealer and purchasing is buying the same thing again.


 
bowtieollie 
ChevyTalk Subject Matter Expert
Posts: 21116
bowtieollie
Loc: See the USA in your Chevr...
Reg: 12-06-99
12-10-08 07:58 PM - Post#1582187    
    In response to 72novaproject

  • 72novaproject Said:
So if you buy a reproduction part, even a GM liscenced part, it's still gonna need a lot of work to make it fit right.





The whole notion of GM Licensed Reproduction parts makes me puke! You think you are getting a better part - and its a SHAM! one time, chalk it off to poor quality - but to see it go wrong a dozen times.... its a way for GM to make money - and a stupid reason at times.

Just putting the part number on the part - can make the difference - the part still does not fit right.

OER is the largest offender I can think of. They hide behind that GM LICENSED RESTORER claim - and I refuse to do business with them.... all I was doing was making UPS rich!
Bowtieollie
Chevytalk.com Moderator


 
BG64SS409 
Contributor
Posts: 600
BG64SS409
Loc: Edmonton,Alberta Canada
Reg: 05-03-08
12-11-08 04:49 PM - Post#1582835    
    In response to bowtieollie

Sorry.I don't want to hijack this topic, but I need advice from guys like I have seen here.
Where do you get the best of the repros then?
I have asked this question before with limited response and I am getting ready to pull the trigger on buying parts.
It seems to me that most of the internet companies probably get there panels from the same source, but who is the source?Can anybody be believed? The whole GM licensed and OER did have me convinced/fooled...How bad are the worst?Its one thing if you have to screw around a bit.. but are the body lines off??Can you confidently mix and match new panels to old??
I did get my floor pan (full welded) and a few other coincidental sheet metal parts out of Florida, and with a little persuasion it/they did fit great, but I had to pay shipping from California to Florida, THEN to Canada...(I hear what was said earlier about UPS getting rich..lol ) something I am not prepared to do for I/0 Fenders, qtrs, doors etc.
I was told that there are no parts like originals, and that even with repairs that may have to be done to them, they are still the best bet.
Donor car the best?Hard to find in a salty climate..
Again sorry for the departure..
Brett
64SS Impala,Original documented numbers matching 1 of 36 Canadian made SS409 340hp/PG
2013 Callaway Suburban, supercharged 450hp


 
Butcher 318 
Senior Member
Posts: 1124

Loc: Ft Wayne, Indiana
Reg: 06-29-04
12-12-08 06:49 PM - Post#1583711    
    In response to BG64SS409

Brett, thats why it's called metal and body work and why it's so expensive. If you own a GM product that they make lots of ropo/Licensed/whatever parts for your in luck. I am having a white 76 Laguna S3 just like my origional silver one below done. I wish they made repo parts for the 73-77's like they do for the 64-72 years. I would not gripe one bit.

The best I can get is foreign qtr skins only, no wheelhouses, no fenders, no doors, no hoods,no bumpers, no grills, no nose pieces. I am happy that they make crude basic replacement floor pans. Sorry but I had to laugh when I saw the pi$$ing and moaning above about Genuine GM replacement parts. I only wish I had em.
http://www.hemmings.com/mus/stories/2006/11/0 1/hmn...


 
Butcher 318 
Senior Member
Posts: 1124

Loc: Ft Wayne, Indiana
Reg: 06-29-04
12-12-08 06:52 PM - Post#1583715    
    In response to Butcher 318

By the way, the last outer wheelhouse I wanted to get on e-bay went for 405 bucks. It was an origional GM outer wheelhouse for the 73-77 Chevelle. Yea, I would really Bit$h about being able to order the right and left from a cataloge and get them to my door for less then half that.
http://www.hemmings.com/mus/stories/2006/11/0 1/hmn...


 
72novaproject 
Senior Member
Posts: 3210
72novaproject
Age: 58
Loc: D/FW Texas
Reg: 02-18-03
12-13-08 06:12 AM - Post#1583922    
    In response to Butcher 318

Brett,

On my GoodMark qtr panel where the metal rolls over to form the flange that holds the exterior fuzzie next to the qtr glass was like a 1/2" too wide. The holes punched in the metal to mount the fuzzies were on the exterior of the panel. I had to straighten out the flange and re-break it in the right spot. Not with a break but with a hammer and dolly because it is not straight. The qtr panel on a Nova at the qtr glass is a shallow "S" shape. The only way to fix it was old school metal forming. That was one of about 5 flaws in the part that required sectioning and welding just to get it where filler would take care of the other areas. Sorry, but thats about as good as it gets from what I can tell. You just have to do what ever needs to be done to make it work.

Butcher 318,

You make a good point. At least we can purchase a close approximation to start with rather that building panels from scratch or having to cut them out of other cars that are only in slightly better shape.

Steve

To each problem exists a solution...now think.

The ZD Nova Page


 
MARTINSR 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 1480

Loc: San Francisco bay area Ca...
Reg: 02-14-02
12-13-08 12:17 PM - Post#1584099    
    In response to 72novaproject

As an old friend of mine said once when he pulled some repro parts for his 65 Vette out of the box that just came in the mail: "If they wanted to be honest instead of saying in the catalog Exactly as original they should be honest and put Similar To original, can be used if nothing else is available"

I think that is pretty darn profound.

Brian
Fan of everything that moves human beings.


 
55Redneck 
Ultra Senior Member
Posts: 14339
55Redneck
Age: 53
Loc: Hedley B.C. Canada eh!
Reg: 06-24-00
12-13-08 05:18 PM - Post#1584264    
    In response to MARTINSR

This thread makes me feel so happy that my 65 Cuda project is so solid that I don't have to worry about trying to make aftermarket parts fit, not that there are many available anyways.
In memory of Mike McVeigh, the Mad Springwhacker.


 
Vaughn 
"12th Year" Gold Supporting Member
Posts: 15257

Loc: Colorado Springs, CO
Reg: 08-08-04
12-14-08 12:41 PM - Post#1584689    
    In response to 55Redneck

Even if you could find those dies, you probably couldn't get access to a press that uses them. The sheetmetal presses at GM are huge 1000+ ton presses.

Also keep in mind that those dies are worn out. After several million cycles, those dies would be at the ragged edge of usability.

 
MARTINSR 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 1480

Loc: San Francisco bay area Ca...
Reg: 02-14-02
12-14-08 06:28 PM - Post#1584871    
    In response to Vaughn

Oh my God I have used "old" GM parts before. You know the ones that they kept making for years just to make it available. Like the Mid Year Vette bumpers that they had available up thru the 90's? OH MY GOD they were rough, the dies were worn out and the parts came out like crap.

Brian
Fan of everything that moves human beings.


 
someotherguy 
Moderator
Posts: 25471
someotherguy
Age: 44
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
12-14-08 08:30 PM - Post#1584977    
    In response to MARTINSR

It seems to be something that bit them during actual production, in the last years of the 73-87 truck run. Using dies, especially for doors, that ran from 73 all the way into 91 if you count crew cabs, Suburbans...18 years, on high production models like trucks!

Every now and then when swapping parts around on the 88-98 trucks, I run into some things that just refuse to fit, doors particularly, if they're too spread apart in years. They stopped using these parts around 99 and 00 for the most part, very few continued into 01 for the relatively low production 3500HD cab/chassis.

Richard
94 C2500LD / 94 C1500 / 06 300C SRT8
Check out my truck shop projects


 
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