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Old 05-04-2005, 03:11 AM
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alternative to dropped spindles?

Hi all, here is another stupid question, but I have to ask.

I want to drop the front end of my 54 Chevy but spending $510 on new dropped uprights and dropped steering arms is a bit much. Is it possible to modify my crossmember so that the whole thing sits a few inches higher in relation to the frame? This way I would keep all the stock steering and suspension components, retain all the factory geometry and still get a drop.

Hope someone can help with this.

Rich

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Old 05-04-2005, 05:16 AM
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I would think that this would take a lot of the strength out of the frame, and be more expensive in the long run. How about lower profile wheels and tires....maybe cut 1/2 a coil out of the springs? You can't cut the springs too much, but a 1/2 coil shouldn't hurt too much, and you would be suprised how much difference it makes.
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Old 05-04-2005, 05:46 AM
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I wasn't thinking of cutting the frame rails at all, but rather modifying the crossmember so that the uncut frame rails sit lower by a couple inches, and then I would also channel the whole body a couple more inches over the frame.



This is what the front end setup looks like, and as you can see the frame sits on top of the crossmember. I am wondering if I can't notch that crossmember to let the frame rails sit into it and then weld it all up with whatever extra boxing I might need for added strength. I don't see why this would weaken anything.

One problem I do see however is in mounting the motor because the crossmember would end up higher in relation the the tops of the frame rails, but even that seems as if it could be solved with some clever fabrication.

Perhaps I could not just notch the crossmember where the frame rails sit on top of it, but section the centre section out completely and re set it lower, so that it ends up at the same level in relation to the frame rails as it started. Then I can see a need to really beef this up where it has been sectioned and rewelded.

To me, this seems relatively painless, inexpensive and straightforward, but I am not experienced in this so I would appreciate it if you or anyone else could point out to me exactly where I will run into problems and exactly why and where I will be weakening things.

Thanks for your patience.

Rich

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Old 05-04-2005, 06:52 AM
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You can "z" the frame but that would be terribly hard to do and if dont come out right you just messed your whole frame up. If you wanna do it cheap I'd either take it to a shop and let them heat the springs and compress them more, or cut a coil of, or get springs from a diferent car that'll fit but are smaller.



Mike
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Old 05-04-2005, 06:57 AM
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I need (or want) more drop than can be achieved by cutting down the springs. So you guys really don't think much of my idea to modify the crossmember?

What does it mean to "z" the frame?

Rich
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Old 05-04-2005, 10:10 AM
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Z-ing a frame

Old traditional Hot Rod trick..cut the frame at an angle and then move one piece down so the top of one piece welds to the bottom of the other..you can cut a board at a 45 degree angle and see how it works..

I do not see any reason not to do something like that on that chassis..Just have to watch the steering linkage clearance..and the frame horns will need to be reworked so the bumper brackets come out in the right spot..

Just notching the cross member is probably your best bet in this case..As long as you get it all boxed back in and the welding is good it should be just fine..

Do something similar in the rear so the rear and front match in height..

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Old 05-04-2005, 05:21 PM
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A "z"'d frame (or sometimes c'ed) is when you cut the frame in two and reweld the section higher than original. Here's a pic of the rear z in cboys rat



You can read about how he z'ed his frame here


Mike
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Old 05-05-2005, 01:21 AM
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I took a good look at the crossmember, and it's actually bolted onto the frame! It doesn't look like it would be a difficult modification, and I would have the advantage of keeping the stock suspension geometry, I won't even have to cut the springs, and I can get probably 2 1/2 to 3" out of the ride height. I'll probably either air bag it for more drop, or channel the body another 2" or so, not sure which yet, maybe both.

I have to modify the rear of the frame anyway because of my retractable roof, basically I have to cut the frame rails off rear of the axle and bring them more than a foot lower than they currently are. I have to sink the whole trunk floor all the way to the level of the bottom of the spare wheel well. This will also involve relocating the gas tank, and doing away with the leaf springs altogether. Instead I'll locate the axle with bars (but it's a torque tube setup, so I have to be careful how I do this), relocate the shock mounts and air bag it.

Rich
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Old 05-05-2005, 06:15 AM
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what i might suggest is that instead of modifying the stock crossmember, why not go to the JY and find a mid 80's set up of some sort that already has a subframe that doesnt have so much :height: to it where it bolts to the frame ? doing this would lower your car quite a bit on whats still a "stock" suspension

a nice benifit is that 80's tech is WAY ahead of 5 tech, and youd thank yourself for the new ride quality

plus replacement parts for it are only as hard to find as the nearest parts store, not special order from a catalog or such

since most front framerails are flat where they bolt to frame, it shouldnt be to much work to slide a whole differnt suspension under your frame and fab new mounts to hold it in

if your frame happens to be to narrow rail to rail, simply take some square tube and weld it to the outsides of your frame and bolt the suspension in to that

if your frame is to wide "C" the frame inward around the xmember, and back out again so that all the bolt holes in front wind up back where they belong

always remember that you dont want the oil pan lower then the crossmember, oilpans should be about a 1/2 inch HIGHER then the xmember, that way road hazards wont drain your oil for ya
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Old 05-05-2005, 06:26 AM
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Definitely a good suggestion, but the problem is availability. Junk yards here in South Africa generally don't have 80's full size Chevy's in them, and parts aren't available at a local auto spares stores.

I'm trying to use what I have as much as possible.

Rich
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Old 05-05-2005, 09:40 AM
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i didnt even notice ur location , maybe the steering box on "the wrong side" should have tipped me off that you dont live in the USA / canada area

well in that case, id agree with notching the crossmember and drop the frame down into it

just make sure you either:

A) keep the front wheels exactly where they are
B) Intentionaly adjust the location of the front wheels forward/backward so that the tires wont rub on the fenders over bumps or while turning

since the xmember wont have nearly as much height for strength, either weld the crossmember to the frame, or place boxing plates inside the crossmember and have it extend out so that you have "ears" that you can use to bolt the xmember to the sides of the frame for strength

youll have to rais the steering box the same amount to keep the linkages all at the proper angles, and raise the swaybar so that the ams are level when the car is sitting on the ground

best of luck , and by the way, i love the retracting roof design u have planned
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Old 05-05-2005, 11:23 AM
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lowROLLERchevy, thanks for the compliment. The mechanism for the roof is not done yet, it's still being modelled, but it is at the point where there is no question that everything fits within the confines of the space available (but requires dropping the trunk floor and relocating the fuel tank), and that it will work in the end. It's getting tweaked all the time as I don't want to pay for components to be CNC machined and laser cut only to find there are problems on assembly. Surprisingly it's also not going to cost a lot, as I am building this car on a budget.

I have been wondering if there is any market out there for a kit that could be tailored to different applications. I'm not sure if enough people would be interested in building a retractable hardtop into thier cars for it to be worth developing a kit from this prototype.

Rich
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