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Old 12-23-2006, 01:12 AM
KernCountyKid's Avatar
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Notched frame, did I weaken it??

Ever make one of those late night decisions that turned your stomach the next day? I'm in one of those situations. Against my better judgement I notched the frame to make room for the headers. I'll have actual pics tomorrow, but I got a drawing and some links to get the discussion going. I need to know if (A) I need to do plate welding to strengthen up the rails or (B) I'm cool and I can 'go with it', which I doubt.

The frame mounts for the motor mounts are bolt on. There is no crossmember. They hang low in the frame, but do have an angled bit of plate that extends into the frame for support - hard to explain, see pictures. Directly behind the frame mounts is where the notching took place. I did not notch the bottom of the rail, just the top. The paint drawing is a birds eye view, with a side view of how the frame mounts work down at the bottom. This is a AD series 49' Chevy truck frame, which are pretty tank-like. But any big notches in ANY frame is a bad idea. I see no way to do any kind of conventional boxing, so what methods am I looking at for making this safe? It doesn't have to be pretty. Just safe.

At first I was really freaked out, but hey - this is hotrodding. Anything can be fixed.


FRAME MOUNTS PICTURE (LARGE)
ENGINE PICTURE (LARGE)

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Old 12-23-2006, 01:56 AM
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I am no sort of frame guy, but that looks weak to me.

A guy I used to know dropped a V8 into a little ranger (common swap now, but back then....). He notched one frame rail similar to your left side to clear a header pipe. He took a piece of heavy wall pipe and welded it vertically in the frame (where your cut out piece is).




Does that make any sense? You could do two pieces where the dual cutout is on your drawing. As far as the other side...no clue what you could put in there.

Waiting on pictures. i want to see how this plays out.


BTW: Where in AR are you located? Hopkins welding is in heber springs (I think).

Last edited by Brian_B; 12-23-2006 at 02:17 AM.
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Old 12-23-2006, 02:23 AM
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Noched frame

Cut some of the motor mounts (the leg going inside of the chassis) enough to allow you to place a 1/2 steel plate the shape of the inside of the chassis. Make it a reasonable length for support. weld.

As Brian B stated we need pictures.

I can't remember where I seen this, " There are no mistakes only more welding" All Is not lost. ..russ
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Old 12-23-2006, 10:01 AM
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What happened to the crossmember that went
under the original Bell housing??

K
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Old 12-23-2006, 10:06 AM
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Just looking at that 2nd picture with the engine in place....If you cut the tops of the frame rails, I would say that you weakened it immensely...............
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Old 12-23-2006, 10:53 AM
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No doubt about it the frame has been weakened considerably however it is nothing to be upset over because there are several fairly simple ways to fix this. One using pipe sections has already been mentioned and you could also plate the inside of the frame with a flat piece and weld it to the top and bottom of the frame rail, do not weld it vertically on the ends however. This is just a couple of ideas and others may have more good ways of doing this so don't worry this can be fixed so that it will not be a problem and it should not be all that hard to do.
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Old 12-23-2006, 12:53 PM
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You're right, Hopkins Welding is here in Heber Springs. Small shop, but nice guys.

I think I understand so far. Either I'm looking at verticle pipe welded in or a length of plate set back in the rail, sort of resembling an 'I' beam. I'll have pictures up around 7 this evening, I'd appreciate any more advice you all have. Thanks for the encouragement so far.

Last edited by OKSoda; 12-23-2006 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 12-23-2006, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bates_k
What happened to the crossmember that went
under the original Bell housing??

K
The original rear end and that crossmember are both long gone now.
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Old 12-23-2006, 03:36 PM
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frame notch.........

hi,first i would cut that protrusion off of the left frame rail.to make the opening a U shape. then i would take a piece of 1/4 in plate cut to the height of the cut out.bend and fit outside the chassis(in a vice) after getting close to the shape i needed i would weld it on 1 end. then using the torch and c clamps i would pull it into the chassis,welding it to top rail,and bottom to inside of chassis. DO NOT WELD ALL AT ONCE. good tacks only,do the same for other side. then i would go from side to side welding small amounts at a time,so i didnt warp the chassis. after securely welding, i would make a 1 /4 in plate and weld to the bottom of the chassis. at least 12 inches for and aft of the cutout....im boatbob2
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Old 12-23-2006, 05:19 PM
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Ok, got out to the shop today and it really is a mess. Yuck. I have a set of pics up in the project journal, take a look. I can further explain if anything isn't clear. Some of it is a little blurry.

PROJECT JOURNAL PICS
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Old 12-23-2006, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OKSoda
Ok, got out to the shop today and it really is a mess. Yuck. I have a set of pics up in the project journal, take a look. I can further explain if anything isn't clear. Some of it is a little blurry.

PROJECT JOURNAL PICS
I just finished looking at the photos in your journal. I have resized the photos for faster loading and viewing in this post.

I was not able to see whether you had also notched the bottom of the frame rails in your photos. The drivers side looks to be the most challenging to repair as you also have added a "box" in an even wider cut in the frame rail to mount the steering box. What you have now (as you already are aware, is not a good or safe situation)

I think it would be easier (and better) to remove the headers (sell them) and weld the sections of the frame back in place. Then add plates to box in the inner portion of the frame rails from the front cross-member all the way back to about where the trans cross-member is located. The area where the steering box is located would have to remain open obviously.

Fabricate your own custom headers to fit the repaired frame. Have you considered fender well exit headers? They would go over the frame rails.

You have a lot of work ahead. Good luck and please continue your journal.






Last edited by Frisco; 12-23-2006 at 06:28 PM. Reason: added photos
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Old 12-23-2006, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatbob2
hi,first i would cut that protrusion off of the left frame rail.to make the opening a U shape. then i would take a piece of 1/4 in plate cut to the height of the cut out.bend and fit outside the chassis(in a vice) after getting close to the shape i needed i would weld it on 1 end. then using the torch and c clamps i would pull it into the chassis,welding it to top rail,and bottom to inside of chassis. DO NOT WELD ALL AT ONCE. good tacks only,do the same for other side. then i would go from side to side welding small amounts at a time,so i didnt warp the chassis. after securely welding, i would make a 1 /4 in plate and weld to the bottom of the chassis. at least 12 inches for and aft of the cutout....im boatbob2

I definetly understand the best way to go is to lose the block huggers and replace all the material I removed. Esentially start over. But what about the method that boatbob2 describes here? I don't have a torch so any bends in the plate would have to be pieces that are arc welded together to make any curves or bends. I have few resources and little money left so making what I already have work is desireable. Someday all this, including the gearbox notch, will go and the whole front end with be solidly boxed in. If I can make this current situation safe and solid now it will at least keep the project moving.

Oh, and thank you for adding the resized images.
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Old 12-23-2006, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OKSoda
But what about the method that boatbob2 describes here?

I don't have a torch so any bends in the plate would have to be pieces that are arc welded together to make any curves or bends.

Someday all this, including the gearbox notch, will go and the whole front end with be solidly boxed in.

Oh, and thank you for adding the resized images.
Think of it this way. Whether you had a torch and were able to get nice radius bends to the boxing pieces or did it the way you described with multiple flat plates welded together; all you would end up with is basically a "crushed" section of frame rail. This is not good at all. The area where the steering box is located is especially weak and would remain so even by boxing the frame because you would have to leave that section open. Strange thing is (to me) it looks like the steering box would have cleared the engine without cutting away the frame and fabricating up the boxed section that is there now.

Your "someday" statement is the way to go now.

Your welcome as to the photo resizing. The pictures in your project journal are still the same as what you uploaded. What I did was copy your originals to my computer, resized them, and uploaded them to my photo album so they could be posted in this thread. Easier for everyone to follow when the photo is right here.

Keep us informed as to your progress.
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Old 12-23-2006, 07:40 PM
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I believe the gear box notch was made to keep in line with the original steering column location, not because of engine clearance. U joints could have accomplished all that without the notch. Someday thats the way I'll do it.

I'll have to think about it and take all this into consideration. Simply put and to the point, I don't have the money and equipment to do it the right way. At least not right now. It's a hard truth. Unless I can psych myself up to really tear into it I may just have to go with the 'crushed box' idea. I guess if it was easy it just wouldn't be any fun!

I want to hear anymore ideas you all have. Here's a sketch I made to clear it up some:

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Old 12-23-2006, 09:19 PM
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I understand that cashflow is an issue here, but you might want to consider
Sanderson's cast iron headers for that.

about 3" is all the space they need.

If you have a GEN V or GEN VI block there is some minor block grinding to make
'em fit.

They actually take up less space than a stock manifold.

I had to use them for the Gen VI 454 in the Elky---could find nothing else that would work.

Bryan
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