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Old 08-10-2006, 12:23 PM
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want to konw hwat this is all about...

hey everybody,i am very unexperienced in the world of fabrication. a few things i think i need to know first though, what is the difference between a street rod, hot rod, and rat rod? i like working on cars and trucks and stuff. i have never actually fabricated anything though. i have been very interested in maybe building some sort of hot rod. i jsut turned 16 so money is the biggest issue for me. i got plenty of time on my hads. i should for at least a couple years still. so far the esiest way to build a rod looks like the way this guy said in another post

"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note that small foreign cars DO NOT have a frame! There are very few exceptions, such as the old Honda S600 roadster and other MG Midget/MGB sized Japanese cars, but they will likely be expensive. Pickups, on the other hand, all have full frames with few exceptions. Cboy pointed out one problem -- the bulky and relativel ugly front suspension.

That said, I've often considered such myself. I'd start with the smallest pickup I could find -- an old Dodge Ram, Mazda, Chevy LUV, Ford Courier, Toyota, all early to mid 70s -- nothing as new as a Ranger or S-10. Should be able to get one for near junk prices, though the engine is liable to be junk also (who cares?). After stripping off the body (but don't destroy/dispose of it just yet!), I'd mount the engine where I wanted it and and look at that front suspension. One way to handle that would be to hide most of it. Put the radiator in front of it and see how that works. If you can live with the looks mount the cab right behind the engine. If the back of the cab clears the rear wheels perfect! Cut the top off the cab and use that for your "tub"!! Build/buy a model A/T looking bed, do a little metal work around the cowl (probably stretch/fair it out a bit), and get a radiator shell. Motorcyle style fenders for the front is fenders are required. The four cylinder front springs will be about right with the engine set back, and the pickup rear leafs should be about right too. Moving the engine so far back puts more of the load on the rear springs than the empty truck had, and less on the front springs.

If the cab is to wide it would be easier to take a chunk out of it than to build your own tub. Unless you want to build something more along the lines of a T roadster -- pretty much a flat deck with "wrap around" bucket seats! Not sure you could get that licensed though. With the truck frame and cab, you could legally license it as a whatever year truck, another reason for using a modified cab as a tub. Might have to section the cab too, or chanel it over the frame. That would be some work, but would eliminate a lot of paper work for registering the thing.

So what to do about the front suspension if it just doesn't look right? "Front half" that frame! Cut it right behind the old crossmember and make a stub frame for a straight axle. That will greatly reduce the fab work and material cost. New steel isn't that pricey, but the way. If you have to pay someone to weld it that's a different ball game!!"

i have acces to a ford courior i could get for free to do the build. im not tryign to build a show car, just somthing for fun. thanks for any tips or imput

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Old 08-10-2006, 12:31 PM
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If you got all the tools and equipment that you need as well as a good place to work on it...plus some money to get what you need and a williness and desire to do this...then go for it. Do not cut corners with steering, brakes, suspension, or anything else that involves safety.
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Old 08-10-2006, 01:18 PM
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Welcome to the site playsinthedirt. Great to see all of your enthusiasm. You seem to have thought about this quite a bit. You have been very creative in your thinking about how to go about this project. Now stop and look at what you have said. You don't want to spend much money because you don't have very much. You are concerned about how your rod will look. It sounds like you will have to pay someone to weld as you don't have that skill. But what you are talking about is cutting apart, shortening, narrowing and welding all this back together. If your front suspension is ugly you will have to "Front half" that frame! That will also require welding. So you will be defeating the purpose of using that truck body and frame. In my opinion, and you will get a lot of them on this site, it is an idea that will give you a lot of grief.

What you want is a roadster without buying an expensive roadster body. If you want to cut up a existing mini truck body and weld it all back together you might as well start with clean new steel and build a T bucket type frame and find an old 20's or 30's cowl and build a body. If you spend some time and check out the project journals on this site you will find several members who are building their own bodies from scratch or from the cowl of an old sedan. Some of the more simple ones would be easier to build than cutting up your truck body and piecing it back together. There are other sites as well that have build pics of people who are building there own bodies and frames.

Why not take that Courier and strip it apart and sell off what you can. Use that money to buy yourself a cowl and some steel for the body and some rectangular tubing for the frame. Find someone who can weld and in exchange for their work do odd jobs for them. If you do a good job and work hard maybe it will lead to a part time job that will help you pay for the other things you will need. As well you may be able to learn some new skills that will help you with the build.

This is just one way - and there are others - of going about getting you driving a rod. Good luck with your project and don't give up on your dream.
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Old 08-10-2006, 01:27 PM
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so if i used this method how much of the stock suspension/steering/brakes would i have to modify? would i leave it stock, but buy new springs and brakes. obviously im going to have to change the steering colum. does anybody have a picture of a truck with the roof chopped off. im curioius to see what that looks like. thanks
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Old 08-10-2006, 10:25 PM
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If one goes back to the original concept of what we now call Rat Rods that was about finding a lite car for cheap and putting in a bigger motor from the wrecking yard and fixing the brakes and steering so it was safe and worked..

using something like an S-10 frame one can move the engine and radiator back so the radiator is about the center of the axle and then fabricate a grill and fender arrangement to cover the suspension so it looks pretty decent..using fenders allows the "uglies" to be covered so the car woudl look better..Bit of planning is required in the styling dept so the final looks good..

Sam
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Old 08-10-2006, 10:53 PM
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Check out wishnevsky's journal for something like what you are talking about:

http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/jour...ge=1&reverse=1
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Old 08-11-2006, 07:05 AM
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Hey Plays,

Always good to see the younger generation getting involved in hot rodding. This may not be the answer you wanted to hear but I think your first and best investment of a limited budget ought to be in a basic wire feed welder and second, a decent compressor and associated air cutting tools/grinders and third, a 4 1/2" electric cutter/grinder. The nice part is you already have access to a free donor. By investing in the cutting tools and welder you can you can take apart the donor and begin learning to weld the scraps back together. Better yet, take a welding course in your high school if it is available.

Basically hot rod fabrication is just cutting apart existing metal and then welding various pieces of that metal into what you want. So to tackle any major rod project like you are considering you need to get as much experience as you can doing those two basics: cutting stuff apart and welding stuff together.

I think if you talk to most folks on this forum they will tell you that the best teacher is experience. And to get that experience, you need access to some of the basic tools of the trade.

Don't know if that helps at all...but it's how most all of us got started.

Dewey
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