Sticky #1: Dropped Floor Pans

I am installing drop floor pans and a drop battery box. Has any one tried this and was there any problems I should be aware of? Will the seats still be able to slide back and forth for adjustability? Etc.... THX in advance!
Original Post
Have you bought the pans and if so---Who's pans are you using? What seats are you using? I have installed many over the years and supply them to several venders. Be glad to help. 419-874-0505 or email at kre@adelphia.net


Kirk Evans AmeriSport
I believe I got them from PANTERA PARTS CONNECTION. And I have not decided on seats yet. I have the original seats but I wanted to put in some racing seats, that look a little more sporty? That is why I needed some pointers?
quote:
will they be adjustable sitting down in the pan?

No in any true sense.

You are dropping the seats down a couple of inches into a pit. The seats normally only sit an inch or so above the floor.

Once in the pit, their adjustment will be only to the edge of the pit.

Most of us are the only drivers of our cars. The seat position is for us, and once set doesn't need to be changed.

If a future owner has shorter legs and needs to slide the seat forward I imagine they could build seat track risers to solve the problem.

Larry
That is what I had feared! I did not want to make it to fit me specifically as I am a short 5' 8" and that means other people can't enjoy getting in it and trying it on for size at shows. I really wanted it to be more adjustable. What if I modified the entire floor to drop down slightly at first, with a little more slope as it went back? Obviously I would not drop it to low for clearance issues, but then the seats could be easily adjusted! And the taller you are the more head room you would get as you push the seat back?!
quote:
I am a short 5' 8"

Then why are you dropping the pans??? There's plenty of head room already. And the stock seats are adjustable. Even some of the aftermarket seats - Fiero, Corvette, BMW, etc - are adjustable if installed on tracks without dropping the pans.

"Inquiring minds want to know..."
I installed a set of Kirk's dropped floor pans on my red Pantera (purchased
from Marino Perna). As I understand it, Kirk makes them in a couple of
different drops. Mine were the larger drop (about 3 inches at the rear and
maybe half that at the front). You can see the angle of pans here:

http://www.bacomatic.org/galle...odyshop_005.jpg.html
http://www.bacomatic.org/galle...odyshop_004.jpg.html

and a couple of interior shots of the pans are here:

http://www.bacomatic.org/galle..._Stripped_1.jpg.html
http://www.bacomatic.org/galle..._Stripped_1.jpg.html

These are the big pans that cut into both the fore-and-aft and side-to-side
floor pan reinforcements. This allows for larger seats and permits the seats
to slide fore-and-aft, unlike the drop pans that stay within the boundaries of
the original pan reinforcements. The pans are flanged on two sides. After
removing the carpet, we made a tape line around the perimeter to use as a
guide. A cut-off wheel was used to get started then we switched to a Sawzall.
After cutting out the floor with the Sawzall, we had to trim it in a couple of
spots then the pans dropped right in place. I cleaned all the areas to be
welded with a die grinder and rotary wire brush wheel to ensure a clean weld.
After a bit of hammering, we welded along the entire perimeter of the pan.
You'll need a helper to hold the pan edge flush with the surrounding floor.
The front edge of the pan is shaped so it can be welded to cap off the (now
open) forward section of the longitudinal brace. We capped that off, peened
the leading edge over to form a better welding surface and made filler pieces
(patterned off of cardboard templates) to close off the various gaps (there's
a sizable one around the emergency brake handle and several smaller ones both
inside the passenger compartment and underneath). On the bottom side, we
made pieces that tie the pan directly to the fore-and-aft and side-to-side
frame rails. Oddly, the aft portion of pan wasn't formed by a metal brake.
Instead, it was a separate piece of metal tack welded to the main pan. Under
load, that portion off the pan deflected so we welded along the entire length
and it became very rigid. The pans come with a pair (per side) of very stiff
U-channels that are welded to the floor of the pans, stiffening the pan
bottoms and providing a place to bolt the seats to. Without these stiffeners,
the pans would "oil can" under a heavy load but, with them in, every thing is
quite stiff. The pans themselves are of a heavier guage metal than the
original floor. With every seam welded and the pans tied into the original
frame stiffeners, it doesn't look like I've lost much, if anything, in the
way of rigidity. Jacking the car on one corner will lift it off the ground
with no sag, so it seems quite stiff. Since you weld in the rails, you can
position them a little closer to the centerline for better alignment with
the steering wheel but this will be limited by the width of the seat you use.

One other thing to note. If you have your headliner in (mine is out), the
welder would likely leave smoke stains unless you cover it. We covered the
doors and dash and disconnected a few wires to the gauge console to swing
it out of the way while welding. You may also want to cover the windshield
since the grinding and welding sparks can imbed themselves into glass. Also,
on the bottom side of the welds, you'll need to fill in some gaps with seam
sealer. I ended up stripping the floor to bare metal and re-painting it. On
the bottom, I stripped off all the old undercoating, painted it and
re-undercoated.

Even though the pans are the 3" drop versions, you don't give up three
inches of ground clearance. The aft part of the floor pan is 3 inches
lower than before but wasn't the lowest point of the car. I would not
expect it to scrape on a flat road, even at full suspension compression.
The problem is high centering on things like speed bumps and short trailer
ramps. With longer ramps (some carry boards to use as extensions), the
approach angle is shallower so clearance isn't an issue. You just
need to be wary of speed bumps and alert to stuff on the road.

Part of the reason I went to the drop pans was to fit more comfortable
seats since I take the Pantera on long trips so I ordered a set of Gary
Herrig's seats. I wasn't sure I would fit well in the Corvette seats so
I found a local Corvette to sit in and found I fit fairly well. Whether
or not you fit in a particular seat is as dependent upon your shape as well
as the shape of the seat. The 'vette seats aren't prefect for me but the
edges of the seats are soft enough that I felt fairly comfortable in them,
at least in the 'vette. I ran into a problem with them in the Pantera,
however. The 'vette seats have a fixed headrest that's at an angle relative
to the seat. In the 'vette, the seats recline so the headrest is vertical.
In the Pantera, with the seats slid all the way aft, the headrest pokes me
in the upper back. I have to slide the seat forward several clicks to get
the back reclined enough that the headrest is vertical. The seats use up
some of the headroom gained by the dropped pans but removing the spring
support under the cushion coupled with a reclined position gets some of that
back.

Sliding the seat forward uses up a bit of legroom. I've not done it yet but
I'd like to install a spacer to space the pedals forward. That would be a
nice complement to the dropped floor pans.

Dan Jones
I am not building the car just for me...I am resto-mod the Pantera for shows and maybe some other applications? I just want it to be user friendly...and since I have ripped out the carpet and taken it to metal...I thought I would make it work better in the process...It is a tight squeeze for me and I am not tall!!!
quote:
Originally posted by Daniel_Jones:
I installed a set of Kirk's dropped floor pans on my red Pantera (purchased
from Marino Perna). As I understand it, Kirk makes them in a couple of
different drops. Mine were the larger drop (about 3 inches at the rear and
maybe half that at the front). You can see the angle of pans here:

http://www.bacomatic.org/galle...odyshop_005.jpg.html
http://www.bacomatic.org/galle...odyshop_004.jpg.html

and a couple of interior shots of the pans are here:

http://www.bacomatic.org/galle..._Stripped_1.jpg.html
http://www.bacomatic.org/galle..._Stripped_1.jpg.html

These are the position gets some of that
back.

Sliding the seat forward uses up a bit of legroom. I've not done it yet but
I'd like to install a spacer to space the pedals forward. That would be a
nice complement to the dropped floor pans.

Dan Jones


Very cool!! That is what I was looking for! THX!
...If you have the bucks, I recommend these Corvette seats All Leather and the smell in the Cockpit is incredible. Left the Backs on and removed the Bottom trays to put them right down on the floor! I'am 6' 6" and have No problems. I am the ONLY one that will ever drive this car... except for my son who is 6'5-1/2" Let someone else in Your Pantera? That's Your business!...

Attachments

Photos (1)
...Bought them Brand New on ebay, I believe they were '96-2000' seats. NO sliders! NO adjustment! Just back as far as they will go. The Backs are mounted to the original Bolt holes with stainless straps. The Bottom seats are held in place with a Bungy Cord to those straps. The seat doesn't 'Hold' you in safety!! The SeatBelt and Shoulder Harness Does!! NO nothing moves out of place while driving. By the way; the floor pan is Original...
quote:
The Bottom seats are held in place with a Bungy Cord to those straps

Are you saying your seats are not anchored to the floor? Eeker

I do imagine nothing moves out of place while driving . My concern about an un-anchored seat is the harness/seat belts/whatever you are using are designed to restrain a person's body weight. That design process assumes the seat weight is anchored and does not become some additional weight factor (Gravity G-forces and such) that the belts are NOT designed to restrain. A quick Google search shows just a hard-braking F-1 car generates 5g's. Say a seat weighs 60 pounds. That would be an extra 300 pounds pulling on a seat belt. Who knows what the g-force would be in a full head-on accident?

And on that same thought vein, if an un-anchored seat wasn't a safety issue, I imagine race cars could shave some weight (always a good thing for racing)by deleting their seat-anchor bolts. Right?

Larry
You might want to look at seats from a series III Dodge Viper. They are narrow, comfortable, and fit great in lowered pans. I purchased a drivers and passengers side with the bottom adjusters attached for $400. I will be recovering them in leather -- no idea what that will cost. Just be careful no matter what seat you purchase that it is not TWISTED. Yes, twisted. Most seats are out of crashed cars -- do not ask how I know.....

Mark
Biggest problem I have with all of these dropped floorpans is, to have fore-and-aft adjustability you must cut a floor support crossmember- the one just in front of each seat- which weakens the whole floor structure. Choice #2- you leave the crossmembers in place and simply make a big hole in the floor, bolting the seat(s) solidly to the dropped floor with no adjustability.
With my 6'2", 200-lb body, I'm comfortable with stock floorpans- even with a helmet on, simply by having stock early seats reupholstered in good materals and adding a simple rake adjustment to the stock seat backs. We routinely make 500 mile trips with no backaches. FWIW....
Jack--I think?

I totally redesigned the pans and was able to keep the front///bottom of the original cross-member in tact and supply a new reinforcement which makes it stronger than original---which is not that hard to do. I also supply new seat mount rails and my pans are 16 gauge steel rather than 20 gauge. These pans fit the car far better than any this built to date.

(side view of dropped floor seat install)

Kirk

Attachments

Photos (1)
Kirk,

When did you re-design your pans? I'm wondering if the ones I just installed
are the new design or an earlier design. The pans I installed are full width
with a small lip on two sides (one lip at the center tunnel and one at the
rear). The outer sill side welds flush to the sill. The front welds flush
as well and is shaped to match the floor shape after it is cut with a portion
that caps the fore-aft frame rail that is cut. The passenger side has to be
notched for parking brake clearance. Holes need to be drilled (or a nut
welded to the pan) to mount the female (receiver) portion of the seat belts.
Two heavy u-channels per side are provided. The seat rails bolt to the
channels (have threaded holes for both lengths of Pantera seat rails with two
holes at the front and one at the rear). The channels run the length of the
pan and butt up against the fore and aft edges of the pans. When welded in,
they stiffen the pan floor and form a load path for the fore-aft crossmember
that was cut. The back of the pans are sloped but the cut we made was vertical
so triangular filler pieces were needed underneath (along with rectangular
plates to cap them off) to completely tie them in. Also underneath, the
side-to-side crossmember welds directly to sides of the pans. When measured
from the outside, the drop is approxiamtely 3" at the rear.

The sills are sloped and the passenger side seat is offset towards the sill
so it can clear the parking brake. With the dropped pans, the outside edge of
the passenger seat rubs on the sill, even with no sound deadening or carpeting.
I cut the spacers off both old pans and stacked them under the passenger seat
rails to raise the seat and it still rubs slightly. If I recall correctly,
even with the original pans, the seat was offset enough that is rubbed on the
carpet (can anyone confirm that for L model seats?). I think some re-shaping
of the seat is in order, though I suppose one could just live with it as the
only time I move the seat is when I remove the bulkhead cover.

Do you offer carpet to match the pans?

Dan Jones
[quote]If I recall correctly, even with the original pans, the seat was offset enough that it rubbed on the carpet (can anyone confirm that for L model seats?). I think some reshaping of the seat is in order, though I suppose one could just live with it as the only time I move the seat is when I remove the bulkhead cover.[/quote

On our '72 L model seats (early 3-piece style), the passenger seat is on stock seat adjusters & floor spacers, and is now offset 2" towards the door. It doesn't touch the side upholstery although it's close. Are you sure those are stock seats, adjusters and have stock spacers under the adjusters? Because of the inward 45 degree angle of the inner side structure, if the seats are lowered, the clearances automatically get closer.
You can avoid removing the seat(s) and rear bulkhead upholstering when working on the engine by simply sawing the bubble section loose from the main fiberglas panel. The mod goes clear back to the '80s. Two different articles were published over the years in the POCA Newsletter. The bubble's upholstery is separate from the rest of the vinyl, and can be removed & reglued on the separated bubble, and the bubble assembly mounted to the firewall with velcro. Then when you need to access the front of the engine, only the bubble and inner door need be easily removed. It not only looks stock but is far more convenient, some GR-4s had this mod as-received from the factory, so a case can be made that- like a dropped battery, it's a factory upgrade. Figure on spending a Saturday afternoon doing this simple mod.
quote:
Originally posted by Bosswrench:
With my 6'2", 200-lb body, I'm comfortable with ... having stock early seats reupholstered in good materals and adding a simple rake adjustment to the stock seat backs.


Bosswrench,

What kind of "simple rake adjustment" did you use on your seats? Does this allow for the seat to also fold forward? If you have any pictures of the mod could you please post them. Thanks a bunch.
quote:
Anyone have any pictures they can post up of the drop pans actually going into the car and the size of the hole once cut out. Would make for interesting viewing.

Here's POCA President Mark McWhinney's "tall man conversion" article on the 'wayback machine', with a link to pictures, but I think they're pics of someone else's conversion:
http://web.archive.org/web/200...anteraadventure.com/
http://web.archive.org/web/200...s.net/~gpd4/pantera/
Garvino, rake adjustment couldn't get much simpler.... if you have the early 3-piece seats where the back removes from the seat base. These were stock on '71- early '73 Panteras. In that seat, there are two side bolts and two in back that hold it together. Take the back off and with a hacksaw, continue the back holes clear down the straps until you have two forks.
Reinstall the seat back, adjust the back for the rake you prefer and tighten the stock allen bolts up, being sure the washer is on the outside between the bolt head and fork.
For years, I carried a metric allen wrench in the car to adjust the back rake whenever Judy & I swapped seats, since I'm a foot taller.
Then I found 4 aluminum "tooling knobs" in a machine shop catalogue. I bored a recess in each knob for the stock allen bolt head, pressed a knob onto each bolt, crossdrilled through each knob & bolt-head for a roll pin to make a knob with a metric stud, and now I can adjust the seat rake while the Pantera is rolling, by simply untightening the knob's tensions, pulling on the seat back and re-tightening the knobs by hand. Sometimes, it's the little things that count; for instance a tiny bit more back-rake on a long trip.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Daniel_Jones:
Kirk,

When did you re-design your pans?

Do you offer carpet to match the pans?

Dan,

Sorry I missed this. You have the original design which is fine---no worries! The new design is primary an attempt to change the side profile as seen from a distance. You set are much easier to install and the tin cross member is no where near the strength of the 16 gauge pans with the rails. I have tested the twist and can assure everyone they improve the platform. Aerodynamics---not so much but there are other areas you can improve the cars shape if counteracting pans is an issue.

I'll bring some carpet when I come back down to see you--sooner that later I hope.

I'll post some install shots of the pans for everyone to review.

Kirk
Here is a shot of the rear reinforcement trimming plate we send along in the kit so you can accurately cut the support to fit the back of the pan plate. This makes the trimming much easier and accurate when matching the back cover.

Attachments

Photos (1)

Add Reply

Likes (0)
×
×
×
×