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Username Post: Has anyone modified there frame to make it stiffer?        (Topic#348584)
asahi1234 
Contributor
Posts: 120

Reg: 06-19-14
12-06-17 11:14 PM - Post#2717154    

I was wondering if anyone has made modification the there frame? What i was thing to modifey my frame. By adding 3/8 thick steel to all surfaces of the frame to make it handle better. I cannot afford a new frame. If you have do you have pictures of it. Or is there other ideas that you have done? Thanks for your input. I have already done the Global West front steering. It is great.




 
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gofastwclass 
Contributor
Posts: 915

Loc: In the garage
Reg: 08-19-14
12-07-17 06:57 AM - Post#2717162    
    In response to asahi1234

For what it's worth, 3/8 steel is extremely heavy, it is far thicker than the frame material itself and it is a pain to work. Remember weight is the enemy of good handling, if you are trying to make the car handle better I would stay far away from that idea.

There are a few areas on the frame that will allow more flex than I feel is desirable and those can be addressed - but with thinner material that matches the existing areas. However, there are a few much simpler things that will help stiffen the vehicle. One is adding the four factory convertible only body mounts in the middle of the frame. I did this modification after my floor install (see my signature) and that made a huge difference.

Starting with a solid body (some of these cars LOOK solid, but I KNOW mine is solid because I attacked ALL the hidden rust in the floors and rockers. Replacing (if damaged) the body mounts immediately behind the axle is a famous spot for rust to hide on these vehicles.

Making sure all three pieces of your rockers are truly solid. See my build for pictures. The rockers and transmission tunnel on these cars are probably 30% of the stiffness. Rusty rockers will mean a flexible body. If you live somewhere like me more rocker panels are rusted on these cars than people believe because they can't see the damage from the top.

Replace all the body mount rubber isolators.

Repair any rusted spots where the body isolators and the frame touch.

Make sure the body bolts are all tight.

Replace the rear suspension bushings. Depending on your goals, use tubular control arms and poly or firmer bushings all around (I know you already did the front).

Install or make something like the Global West rear frame to upper mount stiffeners.

Wider wheels and tires. Depending on how stock you want to look from the outside you can get wider 14" steel wheels and still run factory hubcaps.

Etc.

Most of this can be done without disturbing the exterior paint on the body. Obviously you aren't going for a 100% restoration with the GW goodies on the front, but you will still look reasonably stock at first glance to most.

Hope these ideas help.

1961 Impala mild custom build

I build my own stuff...


 
models916 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 4781

Age: 67
Loc: Addison, IL
Reg: 05-28-10
12-07-17 06:57 AM - Post#2717163    
    In response to asahi1234

The Low Rider guys have this all figured out


http://empire-customs.com/store/product.php?id_pro...




 
4EyedTurd 
Contributor
Posts: 128

Reg: 02-04-14
12-07-17 08:14 AM - Post#2717177    
    In response to gofastwclass

Do you have a picture of where the convertible mounts go? I think I’m going to copy you when I do the floorpans

-64 Belair 6.0/6spd


 
pvs409 
"6th Year" Gold Supporting Member
Posts: 2171
pvs409
Loc: Sergeant Bluff, Iowa
Reg: 01-10-05
12-07-17 11:52 AM - Post#2717194    
    In response to 4EyedTurd

Here are pictures of a 62 Impala convertible frame that I just sold(bottom picture). This frame and all 61 to 64 convertible frames have 4 extra mounts (12 total mounts on convertibles compared to 8 on all other body styles) and the top and bottom of the "convertible frames" have plates welded to the frame front to back.

The black painted 62 convertible frame (top picture) shows the 4 extra 61 to 64 convertible frame mounts.

Paul


Attachment: DSCN8933.JPG (165.37 KB) 16 View(s)


Picture showing 4 extra 62 convertible only(61 to 64) mounts and convertible frame bracing welded to the top of the frame


Attachment: P1030758.JPG (263.6 KB) 13 View(s)


Picture of 62 convertible frame I just sold - shows 4 extra convertible mounts and 2 front mounts for firewall This convertible frame has factory bracing welded to the frame from the front mounts to behind the rear wheel mounts


57 BelairHT 283/270hp 4 spd
62 ImpHT 327/300 4 spd
62 Imp CV SS 327/300HP 700R4
62 ImpHT SS 409/482 stroker 4 spd
62 Imp SS 409 - 5 spd Convertible under frameoff
Web http://paulstensland.com/


 
gofastwclass 
Contributor
Posts: 915

Loc: In the garage
Reg: 08-19-14
12-07-17 09:03 PM - Post#2717251    
    In response to 4EyedTurd

  • 4EyedTurd Said:
Do you have a picture of where the convertible mounts go? I think I’m going to copy you when I do the floorpans



Paul's images should give you a pretty good idea where they go and how they look.

I also have pictures of the mounts I made in my build topic and how I welded nuts on the body side.

In my opinion, the simplest method is locating them with the body on using the floor. There are four factory holes on the only two floor braces that go the full width of the body. The front brace is under the front edge of the front seat and the rear brace is under the front edge of the rear seat. I used these holes to locate and design the mounts I made using cardboard for a template.



This is an image one of the members of this site hosts on his personal site. It has dimensions on where the rear two of the four mounts go so you can locate them on a bare frame if necessary.

1961 Impala mild custom build

I build my own stuff...


 
asahi1234 
Contributor
Posts: 120

Reg: 06-19-14
12-07-17 10:51 PM - Post#2717261    
    In response to gofastwclass

I think i will go with the extra convertable mounts. Sounds like the way to go. My 62 has alway been a Texas car. But i know the inner rocker panel are rusted. But cannot tell what the inside rocker panel condition is. So i will probably replace the complete rocker panels just to be safe. The rest of the car is really solid. I was planning on doing the rest of the Global West rear suspension upgrade. I have purchased the tubler control arms from Global West but haven't installed the yet. Thank you for your help. Thats why i love the forum we get really good advice.



 
asahi1234 
Contributor
Posts: 120

Reg: 06-19-14
12-07-17 10:51 PM - Post#2717262    
    In response to asahi1234






Edited by asahi1234 on 12-07-17 10:55 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
models916 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 4781

Age: 67
Loc: Addison, IL
Reg: 05-28-10
12-08-17 06:20 AM - Post#2717284    
    In response to asahi1234

What's with that crossmember on the frame you sold? They did a nice job, whatever it's for.



 
japete92 
"4th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 972
japete92
Loc: No. Virginia
Reg: 01-18-13
12-08-17 07:57 AM - Post#2717298    
    In response to asahi1234

  • asahi1234 Said:
I think i will go with the extra convertable mounts. Sounds like the way to go. My 62 has alway been a Texas car. But i know the inner rocker panel are rusted. But cannot tell what the inside rocker panel condition is. So i will probably replace the complete rocker panels just to be safe. The rest of the car is really solid. I was planning on doing the rest of the Global West rear suspension upgrade. I have purchased the tubler control arms from Global West but haven't installed the yet. Thank you for your help. Thats why i love the forum we get really good advice.



In my opinion, your are kinda pissin in the wind adding the convertible stiffening. Those structures were designed to attempt to replace the strength lost by removing the roof. What they will do for deflections at the suspension points is guess-work. It may help to some very minor degree, but 'bang for the buck'? I don't see it.

Sway bars, control arms, springs, and shocks are the proper 'tools for the job'.

Just trying to be helpful.




 
pvs409 
"6th Year" Gold Supporting Member
Posts: 2171
pvs409
Loc: Sergeant Bluff, Iowa
Reg: 01-10-05
12-08-17 08:37 AM - Post#2717303    
    In response to models916

  • models916 Said:
What's with that crossmember on the frame you sold? They did a nice job, whatever it's for.



The crossmember was made by a friend who also added a 2 nd upper rear control arm to the black painted frame. That black painted restored frame was disassembled again and powder coated and reassembled - it’s under my 62 SS 409 Convertible that’s about 90 % complete on its frame off restoration.
The cross member is for a Richmond 5 speed transmission that I installed behind my 409 motor in my convertible.
It was the 2 nd crossmember he made, for a Richmond 5 speed, he did one for a 61 Impala Hardtop with a smallblock - I saw it & said can you do one for me. He is a body shop guy - restores GTO’s, Chevy’s etc - his body work is out of this world...

Paul

57 BelairHT 283/270hp 4 spd
62 ImpHT 327/300 4 spd
62 Imp CV SS 327/300HP 700R4
62 ImpHT SS 409/482 stroker 4 spd
62 Imp SS 409 - 5 spd Convertible under frameoff
Web http://paulstensland.com/


 
gofastwclass 
Contributor
Posts: 915

Loc: In the garage
Reg: 08-19-14
12-08-17 06:53 PM - Post#2717348    
    In response to japete92

  • japete92 Said:
In my opinion, your are kinda pissin in the wind adding the convertible stiffening. Those structures were designed to attempt to replace the strength lost by removing the roof. What they will do for deflections at the suspension points is guess-work. It may help to some very minor degree, but 'bang for the buck'? I don't see it.

Sway bars, control arms, springs, and shocks are the proper 'tools for the job'.

Just trying to be helpful.




Yes, the extra mounts (and other convertible only bits) were trying to keep the body stiff without the top, however I would argue those mounts should have been there from the start. Have you ever moved one of these frames without being attached to the body? They aren't nearly as stiff as one would think. Two guys can flex the frame by hand. The body without the frame will also move in amazing ways - even a rust free one.

Having experienced it first hand after replacing the entire floor I can guarantee tying the two together in the middle is what these cars really need. To test the theory, I drove my car for two or three weeks after I had completed the floor install before I added the additional body mounts. There was an immediate difference leaving my driveway (which is fairly flat if you've seen my first drive video). If you think about the distance from the firewall (first true body mount) and the center of the axle (second true body mount) is over seven feet. Add in that a hard top car has no B pillar, there is a LOT of room for improvement. This is without the last 50+ years of driving, use, abuse and rust being a factor. Newer similar sized full frame vehicles used body mounts on closer centers for a reason.

An alternate option is something like a Roadster Shop chassis which is far outside the scope of my needs and with the "cheap" one being $10,000 it is also out of most people's budget.

For a few hours fabrication time and four body mounts or a complete convertible kit, you can add the center four. Even better, while working you could replace them all just to be sure. Bang for the buck level? I would say it's pretty high.

I would say you need to ride in my 61 Impala, but nothing on mine is stock so it isn't a fair comparison. My 62 Impala on the other hand is stock and it is a flexible like a wet noodle - but I still love it.


1961 Impala mild custom build

I build my own stuff...


 
DonSSDD 
Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 6797
DonSSDD
Loc: Nova Scotia, Canada
Reg: 08-21-01
12-09-17 05:46 AM - Post#2717379    
    In response to gofastwclass

They were completely acceptable with stock body mounts for about 1.4 million xframe Chevies per year from 58-64. Adding more mounts will be an improvement, but an unnecessary one for most applications.
If you are stressing the original structure with say air or hydraulic suspension, really extreme stuff, you need more stiffening.
Check you tube for videos of drag racers for x frames, lots of videos with the driver side front tire off the ground. Not many problems at all from breaking frames. They can be made to run flat off the line to to a faster ET and stability, but most who do that do not add strengthening to the frame. They add suspension components.

Lots of x frames running in the 9's now, many are street legal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfrNI9qSCK0




63 Pontiac Parisienne Sport Coupe(CDN Chev mechanically (409, 4 speed),62 Bel Air SC (sold), 59 El Camino (sold), 62 Bel Air SC(sold), 63 SWC Vette (sold),
Member #2194


 
japete92 
"4th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 972
japete92
Loc: No. Virginia
Reg: 01-18-13
12-09-17 07:51 AM - Post#2717387    
    In response to gofastwclass

"Yes, the extra mounts (and other convertible only bits) were trying to keep the body stiff without the top, however I would argue those mounts should have been there from the start. Have you ever moved one of these frames without being attached to the body? They aren't nearly as stiff as one would think. Two guys can flex the frame by hand. The body without the frame will also move in amazing ways - even a rust free one. "

The extra mounts do not stiffen the frame. They stiffen the car (body attached to frame) hence their use when the top is removed. Making any judgement about the two parts (body and frame) disconnected from one another is superfluous.

You are certainly entitled to your opinion (which I respect) but I do not agree.





 
japete92 
"4th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 972
japete92
Loc: No. Virginia
Reg: 01-18-13
12-09-17 07:55 AM - Post#2717388    
    In response to DonSSDD

  • DonSSDD Said:
They were completely acceptable with stock body mounts for about 1.4 million xframe Chevies per year from 58-64. Adding more mounts will be an improvement, but an unnecessary one for most applications.
If you are stressing the original structure with say air or hydraulic suspension, really extreme stuff, you need more stiffening.
Check you tube for videos of drag racers for x frames, lots of videos with the driver side front tire off the ground. Not many problems at all from breaking frames. They can be made to run flat off the line to to a faster ET and stability, but most who do that do not add strengthening to the frame. They add suspension components.

Lots of x frames running in the 9's now, many are street legal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfrNI9qSCK0







I couldn't agree more. I've logger a couple hundred thousand of those miles myself in both convertibles and sedans.



 
gofastwclass 
Contributor
Posts: 915

Loc: In the garage
Reg: 08-19-14
12-09-17 10:32 AM - Post#2717397    
    In response to japete92

I understand what was acceptable in the 1960's, what works and has worked for a long amount of time. I also understand how to improve certain aspects of those things and why they worked.

I'm not a drag racer or a lowrider, I prefer turns with my speed. I'm more of a street driving corner carver and the modifications I have done and refer to are geared toward that end. Since the original poster said he has Global West front steering and mentioned he wanted "...to make it handle better" leads me in the direction of improved cornering and not straight line acceleration or hydraulics.

Adding the additional mounts increases the rigidity of the entire vehicle which I feel is a good thing. Apparently modern engineers feel rigidity is important as well since each batch of new vehicles are stiffer than their predecessors.

Pete and Don, I guess we are going to have to respectfully agree to disagree on this topic.

1961 Impala mild custom build

I build my own stuff...


 
DonSSDD 
Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 6797
DonSSDD
Loc: Nova Scotia, Canada
Reg: 08-21-01
12-09-17 01:09 PM - Post#2717410    
    In response to gofastwclass

No, I already "agree" that what you did to your car improved it for cornering and stiffened it. But what you did was not necessary for my enjoyment of my x frame.

Lots of people come here and discuss issues they have after they have made an "upgrade" (by their definition) that they would have been better to leave the car the way it was built. I like my car the way it is, I also like what you did to your car. The upgrades were done right because you understand what you are doing.

Don

63 Pontiac Parisienne Sport Coupe(CDN Chev mechanically (409, 4 speed),62 Bel Air SC (sold), 59 El Camino (sold), 62 Bel Air SC(sold), 63 SWC Vette (sold),
Member #2194


 
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