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Old 08-18-2013, 09:03 AM
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Building a frame

Hey guys, I'm planning building a Schwartz style Chassis for my Cougar and I would like to know if anyone has any experience with building a frames. I'm just looking for suggestions on where to get started and what things to consider like squareness and ride height. I dont want my car dog tracking down the road.

Please no comments on how hard it is and why I should just buy one, I dont have $9000 bucks and I actually enjoy projects lol

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Old 08-19-2013, 08:57 PM
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Ok, I rounded up some photos of the chassis from the Schwartz Performance to give me an idea of where to begin. I'm confused as to how you determine the ride height or the kick up angle for the front suspension, but I guess I can use the old beat up unibody specs measurements from the Cougar as far as width, length and angles. Well, here goes nuthin!







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Old 08-19-2013, 09:05 PM
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Keep in mind I have never built a frame, so this may be useless information.
However, seems the simplest way to go about it would be to put the body on a rotiserie, and build the frame to fit the bottom of the car from the firewall to the rear. Once that is completed, put the car back on the floor on jack stands or whatever gives you the ride height you want, then build the section that is in front of the firewall. Once everything is mocked up and tack welded using this method, you could pull the body off the frame and weld everything up. Again, all of this seems feasible but may in reality be completely dumb?

Kelly
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Old 08-19-2013, 09:56 PM
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Thx Kelly, your ideas are good, no judgement in this forum bro. A rotisserie would be good to make things easier and use gravity to my advantage. I guess I could use the kick up angle from the firewall to the front of the car. The Cougar has a flimsy frame under there already so I guess I can follow those lines. I'll take some pics so you get an idea of what I'm talking about.

I 'm gonna buy some square tubing on my next paycheck, so that will give me some time to plan out the angles properly. I wonder what thickness it's supposed to be to be safe. I would imagine fairly thick, like 10 gauge.
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Old 08-19-2013, 10:15 PM
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Again, I have NO experience with frame building, but for some reason .090 comes to mind, but I may be thinking of round tube? I hope someone with more experience in frames would jump in. Maybe you could try to PM New interiors, he has build a few frames if I am not mistaken, I'm sure he could provide more useful information.

Kelly
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Old 08-20-2013, 04:11 AM
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Here are some pics of the work I've done on the full frame I designed for my Bad Ast Astro Van project. As you can see I also built dedicated tables to set up the jigs for constructing the frame and I have a lot of "stuff" to gaurantee the rails are straight and square.









Frame squared up to the jig tables.






Getting the back half jigged up, squared and welded.


Getting the "twisty" rear rails squared up was the big problem.










I also designed the front and rear suspensions for the van. Here is the Front Lower Control Arm fixture set up and ready to go. We were able to fit both lower arms together and get them tacked with this simple jig.

This a pic of the lower ball stud cup with an uncut arm ready to be fit into the fixture.

I did the bends on a pro-tools bender. The tubing is 1.25 O.D. by .156 wall. All of the connecting structure is.25 inch steel.
Did a little thinking on these cuts. Compound angles make for difficult cuts to keep everything tight for tig welding. Cut long, grind to fit...

Didn't do to bad on fitting the arm... Only made one "test coupon" fitting the first one.


Fitting the forward arm. This is with a nice bevel added for welding.



Every thing tacked up and waiting for the lower shock mount. That'll be tomorrow.


As you can see it takes a lot of tools and space to build a frame. If you don't have the tools start purchasing them. A good horizontal band saw is a necessity and a good verticle saw is also a must have. A mig welder at the minimum, a tubing notcher isn't a must have but does come in handy and you saw all of the large angle plates and C clamps I used to set things square with no question.
The biggest hurdle is getting the chassis designed so it is functional and safe and will work better then what is under the car right now. If you can't do that you are wasting your time...
If you have any questions at all just ask.
Mark
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Old 08-20-2013, 06:57 AM
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Mark, looks like it is coming along nicely. Like I told the OP I have no experience building frames and do not want to give anyone bad advice, especially on a frame. I do have a lot of experience with heavy gauge metal work from my dads shop, so the idea of it isn't completely a guess, just the proper method and technique. Thank you for posting, I look forward to seeing more posts and gaining more knowledge about this.


Kelly
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Old 08-20-2013, 03:10 PM
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Looks good man! That's exactly the kind of info I was looking for. what tools do you suggest I get to first and what did you use to make the table in the first place?

Tubing bender
Tubing notcher
Horizontal band saw
Plenty of levels and clamps


Is a Chop Saw any good in work like this? Also what did you use to adjust the height of the frame if it wasn't level? I would imagine some sort of stand with very fine adjustment capabilities. How did you get those "twisty" rear frame rails into that shape?
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Old 08-20-2013, 03:55 PM
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tools

What car is this For ? I like my Milwaukee deep cut portable band saw, I haven't used the horizontal band for a few years. I made a stand for my portable, but you can buy them, I have a 220 V belt drive chop saw with a drop in vise for 45* and a mid price HF with the adjustable angle vise, I have a bunch of RV trailer adjustable jack stands, just don't overload them, Are you planning on buying mandrel bent tubes for the frame rails or making your own ? How much of the car floor are you keeping? are you planning on a full roll cage? lots more questions?
I have a 1/2 ton southworth 4 ft X 4 ft. steel top lift table and a roll around steel table I used for the last couple chassis , For the next one I am making a heavy frame table from the telescoping framework from a Big 30 ft fork lift, I will have one to use and one to sell< it has a lot of 1/2 thick web channel and 1 in plate structure , super tough and will stay straight if you drove a tank over it. I keep a few horse shoe nails in the welding tool box, they are miniture wedges and help full for fine tuning pieces.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:52 PM
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Not sure how many I have built,,, But this one might give you some idea's...Making A Willys Frame !!!!!!!!

As far as tool's...You don't need to go out and buy a Tubing notcher and
Horizontal band saw..

A good chop saw and a welder is what you need the most..
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:19 PM
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TImothale, thanks for your help too man, The car is a 1967 Mercury Cougar. I plan on widening the track width of the car and flaring the fenders and planning on a full roll cage. I plan on making my own mandrel bent tubes. As far as the car floor, I would like keep as much of the floor as possible, but at this point im open to ideas. It will be a few weeks before I can afford the tools and materials, which will give me time to work on the plans.

The plan is a big block supercharged 429 Check this article out that inspired the whole deal 1967 Mercury Cougar - Popular Hot Rodding Magazine
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:00 AM
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front suspension ?

The stock spring towers will have to go,
there are kits to install Mustang II style with tubular A arms, and a inner fender.reinforcement plate The stock metal must be good. I was an engineer at Ford when those were rolling off the assembly line. The major load path was from the front structure, cowl top and bottom, over to the rockers and back to the rear for spring mounts, as mentioned a roto to work on the chassis standing up would help Another question will your chassis be a roll around like the Schwartz Performance or be built as part of the stock body. I have a Capri 5,0 HO that had the mustang problems , cracks. broken welds. etc/ I bought a sub frame kit and added reinforcing tubing underneath to the rockers then a ladder, cross members each side and lots of tie plates, the cross pieces aligned where I mounter the roll bar, front cowl to shock towers and sq tubing around the radiator support, I looked at it the other day and I need to pull the rear seat and carpet and add plate where them rear suspension mounts are. I used to live next to a guy that built 10 to `15 circle track cars a year and he did not use a tubing notcher, he had a milling machine in his shop. He used to use his band saw then finish with a 4 in grinder , said it was a lot faster.
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:46 AM
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I have a Dewalt chop saw and I think that JD has some really good tube notchers for sale too.

As far as shock towers, I was gonna remove them anyways. Shock towers and big blocks don't go well together. I plan for the chassis to be roll around like Schwartz, I like the way their cars handle when coming around corners, it hugs it really well with very minimal body roll, check it out Schwartz Performance 1969 Mustang Fastback 5.0L Coyote first drive - YouTube">Schwartz Performance 1969 Mustang Fastback 5.0L Coyote first drive - YouTube" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350">
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:00 AM
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tubing notcher

I have a tubing notcher, I mounted it to a steel plate and added angle iron tabs to hold tubing at angles that don't work for the regular indexing, It was handy when I was building a T bucket chassis. good quality hole saws and lots of oil .
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:06 AM
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This is from a post i did on notching tubing back in '06...
I set my tubing notcher up on one of my jig tables but it will work on any bench or table top you have handy.
These pics show my Harbour Freight tubing notcher clamped to a 90* angle plate. This is simple to set up and doesn't require a lot of thought...

From the backside...

Cutting the first notch is the easy part. No orientation, no length to worry about. Just clamp the tube in the notcher and do the deed.
Cutting the second notch is where some planning needs to be done. Getting the LENGTH and the notch ORIENTATION correct is critical to having a usable part versus something to practice welding on...
To do the second notch I bolted a short piece of the mating tubing to another angle plate and use this to nest the "first" notch into while cutting the second notch.

This way I can establish the correct length AND notch orientation in one easy step... Set the tubing length between the outside diameter of the tubing and holesaw, in this case 23 inches, square up the jigs, clamp it all down and cut the second notch. Once it's set up any additional tubes will be identical to the first so measure twice and cut once...

Cutting the second notch...

Mark
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