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Old 02-05-2020, 02:41 PM
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64-67 A-body frame

I have a 67 Lemans Convertible. I'm more of a B-body guy so I'm a little short on info. My frame is tired, has 270k on it, and has been repaired twice, so I'm looking for a good frame to replace it and add a frame stiffening kit.

Will all GM A-body 64-67 frames interchange?
What (if anything) is different about convertible/hardtop?
Short question... what frames will slide under my 67 LeMans drop top?

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Old 02-05-2020, 04:19 PM
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Convertible frames are fully boxed under the rocker area....hardtop frames are not. El Camino is boxed , but would require swapping the very rear crossmember IIRC.
'64-67 are 115" wheelbase. Hardtop, post coupe, convertible. All are interchangeable across divisions.

'68-72 are 112" wheelbase on the Hardtop, 2-door post coupe, convertible....and 116" wheelbase. 4-door sedan, wagon, El Camino
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Old 02-05-2020, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curtis73 View Post
I have a 67 Lemans Convertible. I'm more of a B-body guy so I'm a little short on info. My frame is tired, has 270k on it, and has been repaired twice, so I'm looking for a good frame to replace it and add a frame stiffening kit.
Cut your existing frame out between the coils and build a boxed, X'd, and stiffer frame from new steel. If needed you can cut out in front and behind the coils leaving just the coils in place.

After a butload of measurments and checking of course.

Your talking about replacing one ancient frame with another.

If your smart and careful you can cut and weld in new steel with the suspension and steering remaining the same.
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Old 02-05-2020, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericnova72 View Post
Convertible frames are fully boxed under the rocker area....hardtop frames are not. El Camino is boxed , but would require swapping the very rear crossmember IIRC.
'64-67 are 115" wheelbase. Hardtop, post coupe, convertible. All are interchangeable across divisions.
No, they are not interchangeable. Early cars had down-flow radiators. Later cars had cross flow. The space between the front frame horns is different. Also, Vista Cruisers and Buick Sportwagons used a 120" wheelbase, fully boxed frame.
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Old 02-05-2020, 08:40 PM
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Well, nuts. My Hollander interchange book is a '78 so it stops at '68. Find somebody with the right book, it may have a short list of cars it directly swaps with. Might be tough finding a perfectly good stock frame unless you buy a car, which is likely just a different set of problems. Competent repair is probably the least expensive option. How's that for a wishy washy, speculative, probably maybe answer?

The fact is, an older salvage yard interchange manual has the answer to your last question.
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Old 02-06-2020, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cerial View Post
Cut your existing frame out between the coils and build a boxed, X'd, and stiffer frame from new steel. If needed you can cut out in front and behind the coils leaving just the coils in place.

Your talking about replacing one ancient frame with another.

If your smart and careful you can cut and weld in new steel with the suspension and steering remaining the same.
Agreed, however most of the repairs to my frame fall outside of that center channel. Left side rear up-curve is toast, as is the front right. Well, not toast, but repaired by the previous owner with some pieces of treadplate and a stick welder.

I priced out buying the sections of the frame to just cut out and replace, but until I do that I'm looking at $600 when I can find a rust-free Arizona frame for $350, then tack on my Speedtech stiffening kit.

I've also been down the Art Morrison and Schwartz Performance rabbit holes, and not only can I not afford $15k on a chassis, they come with unobtainium brakes and parts and are also more than I need. I'm shooting for a fair-weather road-trip/daily driver, and I don't want to be 500 miles away and realize a Wilwood caliper has seized and it's $300 and a week to get a replacement. I would rather have an LS camaro caliper that I can get for $30 at AutoZone and keep trucking. They can work with me and spec simpler parts, but that is a bit counter-intuitive. Like putting a 4 cylinder in a corvette.
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Old 02-06-2020, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericnova72 View Post
Convertible frames are fully boxed under the rocker area....hardtop frames are not. El Camino is boxed , but would require swapping the very rear crossmember IIRC.
'64-67 are 115" wheelbase. Hardtop, post coupe, convertible. All are interchangeable across divisions.

'68-72 are 112" wheelbase on the Hardtop, 2-door post coupe, convertible....and 116" wheelbase. 4-door sedan, wagon, El Camino
That's good to know. I have a speedtech stiffening kit which includes the steel to box the center, so it sounds like a HT frame under my convertible would be fine.
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Old 02-06-2020, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe_padavano View Post
No, they are not interchangeable. Early cars had down-flow radiators. Later cars had cross flow. The space between the front frame horns is different. Also, Vista Cruisers and Buick Sportwagons used a 120" wheelbase, fully boxed frame.
When did the radiator change happen? When you say "early" do you mean 67 and down, or did the radiator change happen in something like 66? I have a 67 and I found a 64 Chevelle frame in really good shape.

Trying to remember... I think I have a downflow radiator in the LeMans.

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Old 02-06-2020, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curtis73 View Post

I've also been down the Art Morrison and Schwartz Performance rabbit holes, and not only can I not afford $15k on a chassis, they come with unobtainium brakes and parts and are also more than I need. I'm shooting for a fair-weather road-trip/daily driver, and I don't want to be 500 miles away and realize a Wilwood caliper has seized and it's $300 and a week to get a replacement. I would rather have an LS camaro caliper that I can get for $30 at AutoZone and keep trucking. They can work with me and spec simpler parts, but that is a bit counter-intuitive. Like putting a 4 cylinder in a corvette.

I work 3 with 4 off and will just drive for 8 or 10 hours and explore what a place has to offer.

I been in that caliper situation as well as others. I just cut and crushed the line driving home on the rears. But I have had msd (junk) fry and a belhousing crack both leading to expensive tow bills. I feel you and also base most of my builds off of factory junk or stuff that can be found at home depot.

I stopped focusing on the southern states years ago.

You should try North Dakota, Minnesota
border to North Dakota, or Utah area. Those rides are clean and not crazy expensive.
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Old 02-06-2020, 05:06 PM
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I could be wrong, as I didn't deal with all brands, but the '66 Chevelle, '67 El Camino, '67 GTO, and '67 Olds 442 I've worked on all had downflow radiators.....I thought the changeover to crossflow began in 1968.
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Old 02-06-2020, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curtis73 View Post
I have a 67 Lemans Convertible. My frame is tired, so I'm looking for a good frame to replace it and add a frame stiffening kit.
Try these guys....
Chassis & Custom Suspension Manufacturers*| Auto Weld Chassis
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Old 02-06-2020, 09:14 PM
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https://grandrapids.craigslist.org/p...070588564.html
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old 02-07-2020, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by techinspector1 View Post
I did call them, but after a lengthy discussion (very helpful) we figured that piecing it together would be one step past my facilities. I'd be more or less doing this in my driveway. Having them make a complete frame would be cost prohibitive. Still, a great resource.
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Old 02-07-2020, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericnova72 View Post
I could be wrong, as I didn't deal with all brands, but the '66 Chevelle, '67 El Camino, '67 GTO, and '67 Olds 442 I've worked on all had downflow radiators.....I thought the changeover to crossflow began in 1968.
Oldsmobile started using cross-flow radiators in the 1966 A-body cars. I have a 1966 442 and a 1967 Vista and both have crossflow radiators. The 64-65 cars used downflow - I have a 1964 Vista also. I have no experience with when other GM divisions switched, but for Oldsmobile, it was with the 1966 model year. And the factory service manuals, parts books, and assembly manuals all back this up.
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Old 02-07-2020, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe_padavano View Post
Oldsmobile started using cross-flow radiators in the 1966 A-body cars. I have a 1966 442 and a 1967 Vista and both have crossflow radiators. The 64-65 cars used downflow - I have a 1964 Vista also. I have no experience with when other GM divisions switched, but for Oldsmobile, it was with the 1966 model year. And the factory service manuals, parts books, and assembly manuals all back this up.
The '67 442 I worked on radiator could have been swapped, and very possibly was as it wasn't the original engine, it had a 425 from a '66 big Olds in it. '67 442 Convertible, automatic trans.
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