On to the front section of the frame. One of the reasons I built this in sections is the fact that small pieces of tubing are easier to handle than a ten foot section – especially when I am doing this as a one man project. The other reason is that there is going to be a round tube front cross member and it is easier to use a hole saw to cut the tubing than a torch. Although I have used that method in the past. Notice that the hole is off set to the top. This is to accommodate the taper in the lower part of the rail that I mentioned earlier. The tube is heavy wall – schedule 80 pipe. This piece was actually scrap from a welding yard and was used for boiler tubes at a power plant. It is good to use heavy wall tubing as opposed to thin wall. Years ago I saw a T – bucket that hit a chuck hole and the force just peeled the spring perch back and tore the cross member to shreds. I’m a quick learner! Also notice how the rails are aligned and held in place for tacking. Again , use the pins to measure the distance to the holes on each side. I can’t tell you how important measuring is on a project like this.
Here is the front cross member tacked and partially welded in place. The frame is upside down – notice the difference in material from the cross member to the top of the rail. Again – this is for the taper that will be cut later.
Frame is right side up and measurements taken again this frame is within 1/32nd of an inch of being square. Not bad for a table top frame jig.
Time to get down to setting the frame at ride height. Notice the stands used to hold the rear end housing , rear of the frame and the front. The rear end is set so that the center of the axle housing where the wheel bearings go is half the diameter of the tires to be run. Ex. If the tire diameter is 28 inches , then the center of the axle will be set at 14 inches and the stand height built accordingly. The frame height is up to you. I always allow at least 11/2 – 2 inches for the frame to settle ( loaded ) and at least 3 to 4 inches for axle to frame clearance. The angle of the frame is also up to you. This frame is going to have a greater forward rake than most cars I build. This is the affect that I am trying to achieve. Remember – this car will have a suicide front end therefore; I can have a greater angle on the front. If I were running a stock type suspension , the frame would be higher to accommodate the spring and axle under the frame.
Another view showing the set up. Notice that the frame is leveled from side to side. If this is not done, all of the brackets will be off and the car will ultimately sit awkward.
I make all of my brackets , spring perches, and other assorted needed accessories. The spring perches along with a lot of other information is shown in detail in my DVD video from Streetrod 101. The rear spring shackles on the bolt end are cut down so that the head of the bolt ( grade 8 ) will not turn. I make a lot of things for my cars and wind up saving a ton of money. Rods on the cheap are great and just as much fun and look just as good!!
Mocking up the rear spring using bailing wire, masking tape and spacers to take the place of the actual spring leaves. The spring perches and axle brackets along with the spring shackles are all necessary in order to arrive at the correct distance for the spring to be installed. When all are in place, the spring shackles should be almost parallel to the ground when installed. This way when the frame is fully loaded, the spring shackles will ride at about a 45 degree angle. After this is figured, set up the brackets to the axle and tack in place.