Rusty Bowtie

Miscellaneous => Members Builds - Stocker -Streetrod - Ratrod - LowRider => Topic started by: 39delux on June 20, 2017, 09:35:38 PM

Title: 1939 Frame build
Post by: 39delux on June 20, 2017, 09:35:38 PM
Kind of doing this backward.  Car is on the road but got to thinking about others may want to build their own frame so I'll show you what I did.  Back in the old days a person was an apprentice for years before he could pick up a tool.  Fast forward to today, I purchased a welder therefor I'm a welder.  Anything that looks ugly just grind smooth!

To start I did some research on frame measurements but most of the stuff I found was incomplete, to small to read or just left off the drawing.  Got the center of each wheel well and measured the wheelbase.  Next I put the car up in the air and dropped a plumbob to the ground and made marks on the floor.  After connecting the dots I had a top view of the frame.  Next, back to the ground and measured from the ground up.  This gave me the frame profile.  I then took a roll of brown paper and drew the top view of a rail on the paper with the edge of the paper being the centerline.  Next I superimposed the side view over that same rail only in a different color.  This allowed me to adjust the kicks and bends at the same location so as to have just one compound joint.  As an example the joint just forward of the firewall bends up and in.  Once my "blueprint was done, it was off to buy the steel.  Got two sticks of 2' x 4" with a 3/16" wall.  Can't remember the exact number but somewhere about $130.  First I cut and labeled 2 of each piece, one for each side.  Started with the back because the rails are straight (from the top) so I could clamp them on the table and weld without warping.  Made both rear wheel humps this way. 
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: 39delux on June 20, 2017, 09:46:11 PM
Got the rears tacked on the table then it was time to mount them on the frame jig.  Actually the jig is two big I-beams that are set level.  Using the top of the jig (I-beams) as the floor I mounted the rear rails at the proper ride height and tacked them in place.  At this time a center line string was put in place.  No idea why, just because the pros do that! 

Is this boring?  Should I go on?
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: EDNY on June 20, 2017, 11:00:21 PM
I was wondering if you had a chassis table...nice setup. Let's see how it goes!
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: ChevRon on June 20, 2017, 11:49:39 PM
        I, for one, would like to see the "rest of the story."   Ron
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: TFoch on June 21, 2017, 07:03:44 AM
Looking forward to seeing a completed chassis.  Nice start!
Tom
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: 39delux on June 21, 2017, 12:16:29 PM
This is a friend's shop and it's really not a "frame table" just I-beams that happen to be somewhere near level.  If you don't have I-beams I think an extra 2" x 4" 3/16 wall rail would serve the purpose.  Just set it up level and it will give you something to tack weld uprights to.  Don't trip over it!

Well on with the frame build.  Once the back of the frame was tacked in place I continued to add side rails as per my blueprint.  Each piece that was added required tweeking a bit to follow the up and in of the rails.  Each piece was also ground to a bevel for welding which gave a smoother weld that didn't stick out.  Before I even started the 2" x 4" required cleaning.  That job took the better part of a day.  Getting the anti-rust powder off is a bear but welding and painting will be more successful.

I started to just replace the front end which was a Mustang II out of the junkyard with stamped A arms but the more I thought about it the more I decided to just replace the old tired frame.  The low mounded A/C compressor on the LS engine would hit the crossmember  by just a little so I decided to widen the rails up front a bit to fix this problem.  After much research I discovered the PAUL HORTON'S WELDER SERIES items and went with his crosssmember. 
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: 39delux on June 21, 2017, 12:25:31 PM
Here is the frame rails done and setting the front crossmember in place as per instructions.  Case of measure twice.  In my case measure with a micrometer, mark with chalk and cut with an axe.  Can't understand why things are not quite right. 

I also decided to go with air bag rear suspension and triangle 4 bars.  The original leaf springs required so much lowering blocks that the U-bolts were almost dragging the pavement.  Bags are much cheaper than coilovers and if there are back seat passengers just push the button to air up.
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: chopper526 on June 21, 2017, 05:39:57 PM
That's pretty impressive 39delux. Looks good!!.....keep posting!
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: 39delux on June 21, 2017, 08:06:45 PM
When I got the perimeter frame done my first thought was WOW, look at all that room.  As the suspension and K members were installed I ran out of room FAST.  Read up on gussets.  Lots of great info there and decided on diamond shapes.  If you're ever setting around doin' nothing and think "Say, I'd like to have a headache"  then go study gussets.  On the rear of the frame I needed two crossmembers, one to mount the shocks and a second to mount the stock size poly TANKS gas tank.  Trying to also make it strong enough in case I want to mount a trailer hitch. 
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: 39delux on June 21, 2017, 08:24:47 PM
Rear suspension in place with triangle 4 bars and air bags hooked to a 1999 Ford Explorer 8.8 rear end.  As luck would have it the rear end was given to me, just had to take it out.  The rear end comes with disc brakes, 3.73 gears and Trac Loc.  Width of the rear was good just the way it was BUT there is a short side on the axles I.E. the center is offset several inches.  I decided that if a universal joint can work up and down it can also work side to side so I left it offset.  Cut all the old brackets off the tubes, located it in the frame and welded on new brackets.  While here I put new discs, calipers and pads on.  Also replaced the clutches in the Trac Loc.  A 3.73 gear is just about ideal to go with an overdrive trans.  Mine is a 4L60E with a .70 overdrive ratio so at 70 MPH I'll turn about 2300 RPM.
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: 39delux on June 21, 2017, 08:39:34 PM
Next was to install the front end.  As stated earlier this is a PAUL HORTON WELDER SERIES crossmember which comes as a flat plate 3/16" thick.  It's all laser cut, even where it needs to be bent.  He designed it in such a way that you just clamp it to the bench and use two pair of vice grips to bend it to a 90  degree angle.  The result of the bend gives a perfect fit so that welding will be at it's strongest.  Had to enlarge the holes for the lower A arm bolt sleeves.  I won't go into any detail about locating the crossmember height because it's been covered many times by every mag on the market.  Of course there are also detailed instructions that come with the flat plates.  Once the front crossmember is in the perimeter frame is DONE.  Only thing left to do is dream up some kind of "K" member to stop any twist and mount the trans to.
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: 39delux on June 21, 2017, 09:15:58 PM
Added a cross member at the front of the lower 4 bar with a driveshaft safety loop and holes for exhaust.  Now it should be strong enough to take off the jig, flip it over and finish welding.  Next step is to locate the engine mounts and trans mount.  While doing the trans mount it make life easy to integrate the K member with it. 
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: 39delux on June 21, 2017, 09:29:20 PM
Last installment for a while.  All this work requires some refreshments.  Boiled peanuts, rolled tacos, Hatch dip and something to wash it all down with.  Actually, with all the work I had to step up to a little Mist.  You may have noticed my welds (?) were all left handed and this causes a real problem in everyday life.  Note the bottle is MADE  for a RIGHT HANDED user.  I tried using my right hand but it just didn't taste right. 
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: 39delux on June 26, 2017, 01:29:59 PM
Local had a 5.3 engine/trans just like mine so I used it to locate the mounts and build the K member.  Also, here is a picture of the donor car for my engine and trans.  It had been setting around for 5 years when I got it.  Engine happens to be an all aluminum 5.3 designated LM4.  Only produced 2003/04.  Drops about 100 lbs from the iron block.  I'll need the savings because of the much beefier frame. 
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: 39delux on June 26, 2017, 01:40:59 PM
With the engine in place the K member was designed around it and provides a solid floor support too.  Once everything is located the engine/trans is removed and returned  :( then it's on to paint.  When I first got the steel I spent most of a day taking the power anti-rust off.  Here is where it pays off.  First I rolled on a coat of Rustoleum primer than followed up with Rustoleum black.  This is a DRIVER and I'm sure there will be mods to the frame so no power coating.  I've found that this method works well and touch-up is easy. 
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: 39delux on June 26, 2017, 01:44:09 PM
Oops, missed the painting...
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: TFoch on June 26, 2017, 07:06:03 PM
Nice work, coming along great!
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: sammons on June 26, 2017, 08:35:10 PM
Nice work!  I'll bet you are glad it's behind you now ;)
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: EDNY on June 27, 2017, 06:51:04 AM
That looks great..can't wait to see it under the car.
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: 39delux on June 27, 2017, 04:38:36 PM
Putting things back together and finding problems.  To locate the pedal and aster cylinder I used my old unit.  Went to put the new one in and discovered it would not fit because I switched to a duel diaphragm which moved the M/C back into the K member.  Sawzall, relocate the K member.  See why I don't power coat?  My engine won't fit!  Had made two different sets of motor mounts for the LS engine.  More design and fab to get the engine in the right place.  Later on I discovered the engine needed to come forward about an inch so I made a third set of adapters.  Springs wouldn't go into the top hat.  Cut the top off, made a new top hat and welded it in level.  Pictures show an outward tilt that would bow the springs.  Wanted sway bars front and back.  Took three weeks to figure out how to put one on the back. NO ROOM. 
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: EDNY on June 27, 2017, 06:36:33 PM
Local had a 5.3 engine/trans just like mine so I used it to locate the mounts and build the K member.  Also, here is a picture of the donor car for my engine and trans.  It had been setting around for 5 years when I got it.  Engine happens to be an all aluminum 5.3 designated LM4.  Only produced 2003/04.  Drops about 100 lbs from the iron block.  I'll need the savings because of the much beefier frame.

Was it a 2wd vehicle?
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: 39delux on June 27, 2017, 08:12:13 PM
No, it had 4 wheels!  Actually, that's a very good question, just couldn't resist...  I did not want a 4 wheel drive donor because the tailshaft can't be changed to convert it to two wheel drive.  We took the entire donor vehicle back to the shop, turned it on its' side and started to take the drivetrain loose.  Over a half hour later I discovered that it was, in fact, 2 wheel drive.  Guess I was focused on the job at hand and didn't notice.  It was a 4 wheel drive pan, the one with a hole thru it.  After getting the engine/trans out and pressure washing it I discovered it was an all aluminum engine.  Kind of rare, only made in 2003-04.  It's a 5.3 with the designation of LM4.  When getting a drivetrain from a donor vehicle get the VIN number, then you will be able to verify the engine and mileage.  This engine had 89K on it and had been setting for 4 years when I got it.  I've done nothing except change plugs which it didn't need. 
Title: Re: 1939 Frame build
Post by: 39delux on June 27, 2017, 08:41:48 PM
Actually that's the end of the frame build.  I didn't take pictures of the body swap because I was to worried about dropping the body as it was balanced on just the edge of two 4 X 4s.  Once the body was on the frame I used early Ford biscuit style rubbers for body mounts.  Most of the body mount holes lined up with the frame so I just drilled thru, slipped a biscuit in and done.  The front body mounts at the firewall and the rear most mounts required welding on a pad for the biscuits like original.  Once everything was in place I had to redesign the left motor mount because of the steering shaft.  The car sets level with the bags at 50 PSI.  I couldn't go lower without cutting into the rear floor under the back seat which I didn't want to do and besides dragging stuff is not my idea of a streetable car.  Cost.  Without looking everything up in my fat folders a ballpark swag is:  Steel $300 (rails and flat plate), Front cross member $250, air bags and lines $200, power rack and pinion $90 (T'bird non sport), triangle 4 bars $300.  Add tubular A arms, disc brakes and a rear end of your choice and you have a roller for under $2000.  Question is: was it worth it?  To me yes, I had fun doing it, now have a safe(er) car that's fun to drive.  Still have the plans.   
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