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Old 12-26-2005, 12:29 PM
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31 Ford Frame Boxing ????

I have asked a few questions about the front suspension of my 1391 Ford Model A and have came to the conclusion that the TCI is one of the better companies out there to go with. A few guys here suggested that I go with the complete TCI chassis, but that is quite expensive. So my question is this

If I were to use my original (in good shape) frame, and box it in properly using either some type of kit or make my own. (I am a very good fabricator so this should not be all that hard with the proper guidance on what works well.) Will it hold up to a V8 that has around 400 hp with the addition of a super charger in the feature. I do drive my cars pretty had. Stop light to stop light hard so there will be a lot of twisting stress on the frame most every time I take it out for a drive. Please give me good or bad opinions don't hold back. Thanks in advance

Steve

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Old 12-26-2005, 01:01 PM
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IMHO......TCI is a very good chassis supplier.
I purchased all of my suspension parts from them for my 3W that I am building and 15 years ago I did the same for my 32 Roadster.

Under both of my 32's, I used a original 32 Ford frame. BUT under a Model A......I would do it differently. IF you are a good fabricator....like you say ... I would make my own frame from NEW box tubing. The Model A frame is straight rails ( the 32 has many compound curves ...so a 32 cannot work like a Model A frame ) ... Just weld on the front frame horns . You have a original frame to get the measurements and where the holes go ..piece of cake.

Go here for a blueprint ( from the WESCOTT page ) of a Model A chassis..

http://www.wescottsauto.com/pdf2/FR-2.pdf

You know the new metal box tubing is stronger than the old Model A stuff and without all that boxing welding too.....
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Old 12-26-2005, 02:05 PM
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Iwould certaily support what Deuce has to say..Make a new chassis with 2x4 120 wall tube which can be built I think quicker than trying to modify the one you have..

Seel the one you have to some guy who is doing a restoration of an "A"

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Old 12-27-2005, 10:12 AM
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i must add my 2 cents, for what it is worth. i have done frames both ways and have always found boxing a original good frame is the fastest and the easiest to do. the a frame is not perfectly straight, therefor requires alot of tweaking when using tubing. the crossmembers are in the proper place, depending on the style of rod you are building. all the mounting holes are already drilled. the biggest thing is to make sure the frame stays square and straight. i have built a few model a's and never had a problem. also i always add a x member to the rear of the frame. i have put my coupe thru hell, in the last 20 years and it's still going.don't get me wrong, i'm not saying this is the proper way, i'm just saying this works for me. good luck with your project.
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Old 12-27-2005, 10:56 AM
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I understand why I should use a new frame from a company like TCI. But why would the old frame not work with the proper boxing and stiffening with a X member? Is it that the frame has weak points, thin metal (I do know that the metal used in the 1930's is not as good as todays)? I do know anything will work for a short period of time, but I would like to build the foundation only one time, and have a good solid start for the rest. So why would the original frame not be the best choice? Please give details.

Steve
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Old 12-27-2005, 11:26 AM
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With the proper X or K members it doesn't even need boxing! But boxing is much cleaner and leaves more room for exhaust and such. We had a club member back in the eighties with a 671 blown 327 push button torqueflight tranny 29 Roadster pickup that would put it sideways up in smoke, unboxed frame. It had a large X member is all.

Brian
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Old 12-27-2005, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
With the proper X or K members it doesn't even need boxing! But boxing is much cleaner and leaves more room for exhaust and such. We had a club member back in the eighties with a 671 blown 327 push button torqueflight tranny 29 Roadster pickup that would put it sideways up in smoke, unboxed frame. It had a large X member is all.

Brian
Thanks Brian this is the kind of info I need to hear. Do you know if he built his own X member? Thanks again

Steve
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Old 12-27-2005, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
With the proper X or K members it doesn't even need boxing! But boxing is much cleaner and leaves more room for exhaust and such.
How can boxing leave more room for exhaust and such ?
.........

It takes up room....

Model A's came with 40 HP.....ten times that much requires serious modifications....IMHO.....
For a car to hook up and go straight.....and drive safely....the frame cannot be all flexing over the place....and the body will be flexing too.



This chassis is boxed...all the way. It also has thicker frame rails...( 6 inches tall in places ...stock 32 ) with contours for strength. It has double K members....

I consider this barely adequate for the 430 Horsepower engine I have...

Do what you think best......but IMHO......the original Model A chassis is 1 step above junk...and adequate for 40 hp ONLY. When Ford came out with the 65 HP V8....look at what Ford did just for the extra 25 HP.

Everyone has their own opinion.....that's mine...
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Old 12-27-2005, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deuce

Do what you think best......but IMHO......the original Model A chassis is 1 step above junk...and adequate for 40 hp ONLY. When Ford came out with the 65 HP V8....look at what Ford did just for the extra 25 HP.

Everyone has their own opinion.....that's mine...
Deuce, If I knew what was best I wouldn't be asking. I value your opinion, just trying to find out the reasons the stock boxed and X membered frame would not work. I don't mean to question you, but without asking why I will never know.

Thanks

Steve
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Old 12-27-2005, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1931 steve
Deuce, If I knew what was best I wouldn't be asking. I value your opinion, just trying to find out the reasons the stock boxed and X membered frame would not work. I don't mean to question you, but without asking why I will never know.

Thanks

Steve

Not a problem......I just feel strongly about safety.
I do not BELIEVE that a stock Model A chassis is worth much. A lot of others must agree........look at all the Model A chassis sold....

Rust and old age weaken metal. All that welding can and will warp the rails......that may not be all that straight anyway.

IF you have a frame jig........go for it....but first.........do one little test...

jack up one corner of the Model A chassis.........and see how high one side gets up in the air before the other side leaves the ground....then look at the other 2 corners..Henry built flex into the Model A chassis...........look at the roads and ruts of his day....
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Old 12-27-2005, 02:37 PM
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There was a thread on the H.A.M.B. a few weeks ago that showed a guy building his own frame from box tubing....think it was a Model "A"......It was straight rails anyways.

Here ya go....

http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/s...building+frame
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Old 12-27-2005, 06:34 PM
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model A frames

I have to agree with milner that is if you start with a good frame and not some piece of junk that boxing is ok. an x-member doesn't hurt either. I have built alot of model a cars and always use a stock frame to get started. model a frames are easy to find for about $100 buckes
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Old 12-27-2005, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
With the proper X or K members it doesn't even need boxing! But boxing is much cleaner and leaves more room for exhaust and such. We had a club member back in the eighties with a 671 blown 327 push button torqueflight tranny 29 Roadster pickup that would put it sideways up in smoke, unboxed frame. It had a large X member is all.

Brian
Well some what right some what not. With the proper bracing runing stock suspension this might be true. Were not talking what has been done and worked for who knows how the long were talking the strongest possible. If you went the route of not boxing the entire frame and you want to do IFS up front you will (not probably) you will have problems. It needs to be boxed at least 8 inches ahead of and behind the suspension in the front same in rear if your going with like a 4 link. Ipersoanlly would use 2X3 .188 wall rec tubing and use your front frame horns to make it look stock.

But if your frame is real good with no bad rust or cracks then boxing it with a tublar X-member would work fine.
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Old 12-28-2005, 06:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deuce
How can boxing leave more room for exhaust and such ?
.........

It takes up room....
If I didn't make that comment totally clear, I am sorry. I was comparing it with an X or K member, compared to those, you have more room for exhaust.

Listen, building a frame from scratch isn't a big deal for me and you, but not for everyone. And it isn't that cheap either, quite a few hundred bucks for the tubing, at least around here.

TCI, beautiful frames, I used one of their very first back in 1980 or so. But what in the heck did we all do before these frames? We made the original work. What did we do before bolt on disc brake kits, Walker Rad, Bit-ch-in (purposely mis-spelled to trick the censor) products, we FABRICATED the parts needed to make the rod. Just because we have them available doesn't mean we must use them, that is not the only way. Heck, this is why you see the same cookie cutter cars at events. What if you are building a 28 Essex, you fabricate all this stuff.

Steve, there is nothing what so ever, ZERO, "unsafe" about boxing the stock model A frame. If you do it right,weld the cross members in, get good penatration on the welds, there is NOTHING wrong with it. I did one years ago using a kit found at a swap meet, worked like a charm. I don't know if this kit is available but it made things pretty easy and if you count the cost of the metal anyway, it was not much money. However, making patterns is as easy as pie as well. Just make sure you either drill large access holes under the body bolts so you can get a nut on it or weld a nut into the frame prior to boxing. Of course I don't mean weld a "nut". Get a one and a quarter by two inch or so piece of 1/4" metal and drill and tap a hole then weld that into place for your body bolts. Ideally you cut the plate so it just slides into the channel. Barely tap it in so it is about a sixteenth in and tack it. When you weld your bead, you will be doing so right on the corner of both pieces and will need to grind off very little weld to create a beautiful rounded corner just like the outside of the rail. Of course, I hate the "Don't grind off too much weld" mentality. IF YOU WELD CORRECTLY YOU CAN GRIND OFF ALL THE EXPOSED WELD THAT IS HIGHER THAN THE PARENT METAL. But don't get me started there. Honestly, if you put the plate so the top of the edge is exposed and you weld the edge of the plate to the edge of the frame with decent penatration, you have a beautiful frame. Tack it here and there and cross measure a LOT, using many different "control points" to ensure you have it SQUARE before and DURING welding.

Like I said, if you were custom building a car from scratch you would HAVE TO fabricate all this stuff. After a while it comes easy, for that matter after a while, making that frame from tubing would come easy. If you choose to do so there are plenty of people here that would help you. I isn't going to be safer, it isn't going to look better (before these Kmart frames, people actually did some nice rods) but it would be faster if you were up to it.

Below is my brothers 1922 Buick roadsters frame. You won't find one of those in a catalog, we wanted to run an original frame (the whole theme of the car was a 50s hot rod BEFORE the rat rod craze ) and with a little modification a pair of 28 Chevy rails fit nicely to the curvature of the body. Now, it would probably been easier to make one from scratch being this one has all new cross members and all that was really used was about 80% of the rails, but we WANTED those 1928 Chevy rails. It is fully boxed of course and it doesn't twist one single bit with a 425 (or so) HP 413 CI Buick Nailhead that pushes it 0-60 in four seconds flat.

Brian
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Last edited by MARTINSR; 12-28-2005 at 06:55 AM.
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Old 12-28-2005, 07:41 AM
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in australia we have to use original chassis or we cant get full rego, what i do is build replica original chassis and then box them in , then tell the engineer who inspects it that its an original chassis and they beleive it, every body does it over here

a tip though tac your boxing plates in first then if you can install the k member or x member, engine and gear box mounts ect before fully welding the boxing plates that way you have more support in the chassis and is less likely to buckel

as long as you have a good chassis to start with it will be fine, but defenetly box the chassis and add a k or x member it wont hurt to over engineer it

if you dont add a k or x member or box the chassis its going to flex pretty badly one way to check for chassis flex is to put some masking tape over the door gap then park the car with one wheel on a gutter or speed bump then get out and have a look at the tape, if the chassis is flexing to much the tape will either ripp or wrinkel or if you have stock A model door latches it can pop the door open, but enough rambling on, either way is going to be fine rectangular tubeing or boxed original, what ever way you decide to go make sure you add a k or x member
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