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Namerow

S30 Sheet Metal - Body and Chassis Panel Thicknesses

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    I've been reading another thread that focuses on the new floor and frame rail stampings being offered by a shop in Florida (name?).  I noted that there seems to be uncertainty over the actual OE panel thicknesses used for the S30's panels and stampings. 

    Given the shear number of experienced S30 restorationists who have been participating in the CZCC website over the years, I'm a little surprised that we don't already have an in-place consensus on the gauges of the factory floor and rail stampings (not to mention all of the rest of the S30 structural and body panels).  One would have thought that this would have been discussed and agreed upon long ago?  @Patcon  @ConVerTT @grannyknot @240260280

    And yet...  I've never come across a posting that pulls all of this information together in one place.  So... here's a table that shows information that I've either collected from others in old posts or measured by myself from pieces from my 1970 and 1972 Z's (and the replacement frame rail that I ordered from ZeddFindings) (worth noting that measured thicknesses don't always line up cleanly against American gauge specs.  My guess is that its because the Nissan OE panels were created from metric-spec steel sheet sourced from Japanese steel mills.)

    If you have a panel thickness measurement that you'd like to offer for any of the S30's panels or major stampings, maybe you'd like to consider posting it here so that we can build up a more complete library.

    Or, if you already have your own table of panel thicknesses, why not post it here so that everybody else can benefit?

    Panel Location

    Measured Thickness

    Gauge
    (reported)

    Gauge
    (derived by Namerow)

    Measured (or reported) by

    Front Apron
    (under Battery Tray)

     

    20

     

    Grannyknot

    Tabco replacement panels

     

    20

     

    manufacturer

    Thicker-gauge panels & pieces (locations?)

     

    18

     

    2manyZs, kmack

    Lower Front Frame Rail

    0.050”

     

    18

    Carl Beck

    Lower Front Frame Rail - Zeddfindings

    0.062”

     

    16

    Namerow

    Upper Front Frame Rail (‘Horn’)

    0.054”

     

    ~ 16

    Carl Beck

    Front Valence Panel

    0.032”

     

    ~ 20

    Namerow

    Front Crossframe

    0.076”

     

    ~ 14

    Namerow

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    Great idea @Namerow

     I have just been measuring things as I go along.   Here's a few off the top of my head ...

    The Tabco rear qtrs are 20 ga but the black Klokkerholm labelled ones are 22 ga...

    The Tabco outer rockers are 20 ga.  Factory inner rockers are 18 ga.  

    The Tabco wheelhouse repair panels are 20 ga.

    Factory front rails are 18 ga.

    The factory rad support is made up of multiple panels - some are 18 ga and some are 20 ga.  

    Doors skins are 20 ga.

     

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    13 hours ago, ConVerTT said:

    The Tabco rear qtrs are 20 ga but the black Klokkerholm labelled ones are 22 ga...

    The Tabco outer rockers are 20 ga.  Factory inner rockers are 18 ga.  

    Yeah yeah i know...  "Gauge"    Some mysterious number that when it gets bigger it means some diameter is getting smaller??  HUH???

    Could we, as Datsuns are METRIC! use also millimeters?   (I'm fine with a bit of use of feet, inches and fahrenheit   😦…  but gauge… i feel Always a bit sick  haha 🤮 )

    Cables and sheet metal are in Gauge.. i'm not familiar with it and don't want to .. haha   Cables over here (europe) are in mm2    the higher the number the thicker it gets!!  (What i call logic?)

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    My dealer installed the aftermarket A/C by cutting holes in the inner fender and floorboard for the freon lines.  I measured the panel thickness at 0.032" and picked up a piece of scrap at a salvage yard to make plugs to flush butt-weld into the four holes.

    07.jpg

    12.jpg

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    3 hours ago, dutchzcarguy said:

    Yeah yeah i know...  "Gauge"    Some mysterious number that when it gets bigger it means some diameter is getting smaller??  HUH???

    Could we, as Datsuns are METRIC! use also millimeters?   (I'm fine with a bit of use of feet, inches and fahrenheit   😦…  but gauge… i feel Always a bit sick  haha 🤮 )

    Cables and sheet metal are in Gauge.. i'm not familiar with it and don't want to .. haha   Cables over here (europe) are in mm2    the higher the number the thicker it gets!!  (What i call logic?)

    Well, it could be a lot worse, you know.  In England, they came up with something called the 'British Whitworth' system for fastener threads and that is a standard that defies comprehension (I can hear keyboards in Britain warming right now and I expect that we'll shortly be seeing explanations about why BW is actually the best system in the world 😎).

    Here in Canada, our government decided way back in 1967 that metric was the way of the future and decreed that it would be the national standard from that point forward.  Unfortunately, our neighbours to the south didn't completely agree (although large parts of the American industrial community did, including the auto manufacturers). 

    Canadians of my generation (boomers) have adapted reasonably well to jumping back and forth between pounds and kilograms, and inches/feet vs. centimeters/meters.  Depending on what you're shopping for, the preferred measurement could be metric or it could be fps (sometimes both!).  Some of our food containers have truly unfortunate metric sizings (454ml, for example), because the container is actually sized in the old 'quart/ounce' system but labelled to adhere to the legal metric requirement.  Speaking of quarts and ounces, did I mention that our 'Imperial' quarts and ounces are not the same as our American neighbours' quarts and ounces?

    I suspect that younger Canadians can only function in metric.

    All of these measurement standards have been made to work acceptably* when kept confined to their own geographic sectors.  It's only when you start mixing them that things get difficult. 

    (* Well, sort of acceptably.  In engineering calculations, the fps system requires an unfortunate concoction called 'slugs' in order to make things work out.)

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    Updated chart...

    Panel Location

    Measured Thickness
    (t)

    Source

    Gauge
    (derived from ‘t’)

    Gauge
    (reported)

    Source

    Front Apron
    (engine compartment)

    0.032”

    Jfa.series1

    20

    20

    Grannyknot

    Tabco repair panels
    (all)

     

     

     

    20

    Manufacturer
    ConverTT

    Klokkerholm repair panels
    (rear quarter)

     

     

     

    22

    ConverTT

    Thick-gauge panels & pieces
    (which ones?)

     

     

     

    18

    2manyZs
    kmack

    Lower Front Frame Rail
    (OE)

    0.050”

    Carl Beck

    18

    18

    ConverTT

    Lower Front Frame Rail
    (ZeddFindings)

    0.062”

    Namerow

    16

     

     

    Upper Front Frame Rail
    (‘horn’)

    0.054”

    Carl Beck

    ~ 16

     

     

    Front Valence Panel

    0.032”

    Namerow

    ~ 20

     

     

    Front Crossframe

    0.076”

    Namerow

    ~ 14

     

     

    Door – outer skin

     

     

     

    20

    ConverTT

    Inner Rocker Panel

     

     

     

    18

    ConverTT

    Radiator Support

     

     

     

    18 + 20

    ConverTT

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    1 hour ago, Namerow said:

    Well, it could be a lot worse, you know.  In England, they came up with something called the 'British Whitworth' system for fastener threads and that is a standard that defies comprehension (I can hear keyboards in Britain warming right now and I expect that we'll shortly be seeing explanations about why BW is actually the best system in the world 😎).

    Here in Canada, our government decided way back in 1967 that metric was the way of the future and decreed that it would be the national standard from that point forward.  Unfortunately, our neighbours to the south didn't completely agree (although large parts of the American industrial community did, including the auto manufacturers). 

    Canadians of my generation (boomers) have adapted reasonably well to jumping back and forth between pounds and kilograms, and inches/feet vs. centimeters/meters.  Depending on what you're shopping for, the preferred measurement could be metric or it could be fps (sometimes both!).  Some of our food containers have truly unfortunate metric sizings (454ml, for example), because the container is actually sized in the old 'quart/ounce' system but labelled to adhere to the legal metric requirement.  Speaking of quarts and ounces, did I mention that our 'Imperial' quarts and ounces are not the same as our American neighbours' quarts and ounces?

    I suspect that younger Canadians can only function in metric.

    All of these measurement standards have been made to work acceptably* when kept confined to their own geographic sectors.  It's only when you start mixing them that things get difficult. 

    (* Well, sort of acceptably.  In engineering calculations, the fps system requires an unfortunate concoction called 'slugs' in order to make things work out.)

    Firstly, thanks for starting this body metal thickness topic. Interesting a couple of days ago I was looking up some fastener specs and came across some info regarding BW vs Unified threads. It seems that BW system predates unified, In the UK Joseph Whitworth was the first to develop a standardized fastener system. Decades later American William Sellers, building on the work of Whitworth, proposed the another standardized system that became the unified system we use today. His system was cheaper to manufacture, sacrificing some features relating to fatigue performance.

    Here is an interesting fastener history link:

    https://www.nord-lock.com/insights/knowledge/2017/the-history-of-the-bolt/

     

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    Although it's now 30 years old, 'Carroll Smith's Nuts, Bolts, Fasteners and Plumbing Handbook' provides some great insights into fastener technology.  Smith was an important part of the Shelby American racing story and a respected member of the American pro racing fabricators' community for many years.  He is best known for his 'Prepare to Win' and 'Tune to Win' books, which were racers' bibles in the 1980's.

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    6 hours ago, dutchzcarguy said:

    Yeah yeah i know...  "Gauge"    Some mysterious number that when it gets bigger it means some diameter is getting smaller??  HUH???

    Could we, as Datsuns are METRIC! use also millimeters?   (I'm fine with a bit of use of feet, inches and fahrenheit   😦…  but gauge… i feel Always a bit sick  haha 🤮 )

    Cables and sheet metal are in Gauge.. i'm not familiar with it and don't want to .. haha   Cables over here (europe) are in mm2    the higher the number the thicker it gets!!  (What i call logic?)

    The "gauges" I reported are "closest to" values because my focus has been on procuring replacement metal and that is how it is sold here.  BUT - in general, if you measure with a caliper (metric or imperial) the thicknesses tend to be fractionally THINNER than the gauges that I reported (ie. I rounded up).  So I think that you are correct - these cars were likely built to a metric standard not a gauge standard and the gauge values are therefore an approximation only ....

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    Using the attachments for my vernier calipers I measured 1.09mm thk for the rear 1/4's and 1.13mm thk for the front fenders (including paint). Obviously the measurements will vary where taken due to thinning of the metal where it is stretched during the pressing process. Just thought it was a good chance to try out my seldom used attachments.

    20200405_104240.jpg20200405_110512.jpg20200405_110341.jpg

     

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    A key panel not reported on yet is the floor pan.  Anyone?  Easy to measure by pulling one of the drain plugs, but requires a vernier set up like CanTechZ's in order to measure properly.

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    1 hour ago, Namerow said:

    A key panel not reported on yet is the floor pan.  Anyone?  Easy to measure by pulling one of the drain plugs, but requires a vernier set up like CanTechZ's in order to measure properly.

    Couldn't get it with my vernier but a micrometer worked for the floor pan, to sound metal through a rust hole. The drain holes were not large enough. Measured .044" (1.12mm).

    20200405_184144.jpg

     

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    10 hours ago, CanTechZ said:

    Measured .044" (1.12mm)

    We'll probably never get a better measurement of the factory floor thickness than that.  Closer to 1.1mm than to 1.2mm, so let's call it 1.1mm then.  BTW, both 1.1mm and 1.2mm are, according to a modern supplier of rolled sheet steel (Parker Steel / MetricMetal.com), legitimate standard sheet thicknesses for bulk metric rolled sheet...

    image.png                                                                    image.png        

    Unfortunately, this is one of those cases where the measured thickness doesn't align very well with American gauge standards...

    •  0.044" places the floor panel right at the lower (thinnest) boundary for 18-gauge. 
    • Conversely, the upper (thickest) boundary for 20-gauge is just 0.0389". 

    So, we can consider the factory floor panels to be either thin-ish 18-gauge or way-out-of-spec 20-gauge. 

    We can also say that the floor panels are the same thickness/gauge as the main outer body panels (which, interesting to note, are commonly considered to be "20-gauge" but are, per my notes above, closer to 18-gauge than they are to 20). 

    In the end, 1.1mm is probably the correct representation.  

    Comments welcomed.

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    Posted (edited)

    I still think in gauge but we should probably just stick to Imperial or Metric measurements since Nissan almost certainly didn't use gauge standard.

    But just as an aside, my American Standard Gauge gauge reads 20ga as .032", 19ga as .036", 18ga as .040", 17ga as .045", 16ga as .051 all of which are different from the table you posted John. All the more reason to stick to in" or mm.

    Edited by grannyknot

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    12 hours ago, CanTechZ said:

    Couldn't get it with my vernier but a micrometer worked for the floor pan, to sound metal through a rust hole. The drain holes were not large enough. Measured .044" (1.12mm).

    It looks like the top side of that sheet was uncoated (but rusty). Is the underside coated with anything? Paint? Tar?

    I'm thinking that maybe between a rust hump on the top side and maybe some coating on the underside, you're measurement is a couple thousandths too thick. It would only take five thousandths less to make that a 1mm thick sheet. In the end, however, I don't think it matters... People will (should) use what they can get, and although I haven't checked, I suspect finding 1.0mm thick sheet isn't the easiest thing to do in these parts.

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    Posted (edited)
    23 minutes ago, grannyknot said:

    I still think in gauge but we should probably just stick to Imperial or Metric measurements since Nissan almost certainly didn't use gauge standard.

    But just as an aside, my American Standard Gauge gauge reads 20ga as .032", 19ga as .036", 18ga as .040", 17ga as .045", 16ga as .051 all of which are different from the table you posted John. All the more reason to stick to in" or mm.

    I believe that Gauge is for wire and cable, not carbon steel ...

    Edited by ConVerTT
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    50 minutes ago, Namerow said:

     

    •  0.044" places the floor panel right at the lower (thinnest) boundary for 18-gauge. 
    • Conversely, the upper (thickest) boundary for 20-gauge is just 0.0389". 

    So, we can consider the factory floor panels to be either thin-ish 18-gauge or way-out-of-spec 20-gauge. 

    We can also say that the floor panels are the same thickness/gauge as the main outer body panels (which, interesting to note, are commonly considered to be "20-gauge" but are, per my notes above, closer to 18-gauge than they are to 20). 

    In the end, 1.1mm is probably the correct representation.  

    Comments welcomed.

    I would agree with "thin-ish 18" as a practical answer given readily available replacement stock in North America.  Zeddfindings replacement floors are 18 ga also.

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    24 minutes ago, Captain Obvious said:

    It looks like the top side of that sheet was uncoated (but rusty). Is the underside coated with anything? Paint? Tar?

    I'm thinking that maybe between a rust hump on the top side and maybe some coating on the underside, you're measurement is a couple thousandths too thick. It would only take five thousandths less to make that a 1mm thick sheet. In the end, however, I don't think it matters... People will (should) use what they can get, and although I haven't checked, I suspect finding 1.0mm thick sheet isn't the easiest thing to do in these parts.

    I did my best to take the measurement where it was clean bare metal on both sides. Here is a picture from the underside. No sanding has been done, just solvent cleaning after removal of undercoating and the tar mat inside.

    20200406_071000.jpg

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