Following our how to build street rod frame Parts 1 and 2, Bob Hamilton explains why and how to build street rod frame front section separately from the main frame rails. This is just one method of how to build street rod frame that you’ll discover in Bob’s StreetRod 101 Hot Rod Frame and Chassis Construction DVD.
Bob describes the process in his own words.
On to the front section in this series on how to build street rod frame. One of the reasons I built this in sections is the fact that small pieces of tubing are easier to handle than a ten foot section – especially when I am doing this as a one man project. The other reason is that there is going to be a round tube front cross member and it is easier to use a hole saw to cut the tubing than a torch. I have used that method in the past and that’s why I do it this way today. Notice that the hole is offset to the top of the frame rail. This is to accommodate the taper in the lower part of the rail that I mentioned earlier. The tube is heavy wall – schedule 80 pipe. This piece was actually scrap from a welding yard and was used for boiler tubes at a power plant. It is good to use heavy wall tubing as opposed to thin wall. Years ago I saw a T-Bucket that hit a chuck hole and the force just peeled the spring perch back and tore the cross member to shreds. I’m a quick learner! Also notice how the rails are aligned and held in place for tacking. Again, use the pins to measure the distance to the holes on each side. I can’t tell you how important measuring is on a project like this.
Here is the front crossmember tacked and partially welded in place. The frame is upside down. Notice the difference in material from the cross member to the top of the rail. Again, this is for the taper that will be cut later.
The street rod frame in progress is right side up and measurements were taken again. This frame is within 1/32nd of an inch of being square. Not bad for a street rod frame build on a simple table top frame jig.
Time to get down to setting the frame at ride height. Notice the stands used to hold the rear end housing, rear of the frame and the front. These simple stands are invaluable aids in any street rod frame build and I show their construction in my StreetRod 101 Hot Rod Frame and Chassis Construction DVD. The rear end is set so that the center of the axle housing where the wheel bearings go is half the diameter of the tires to be run. For example, if the tire diameter is 28 inches then the center of the axle will be set at 14 inches and the stand height built accordingly. The frame height is up to you. I always allow at least 1 1/2 – 2 inches for the frame to settle when loaded and at least 3 to 4 inches for axle to frame clearance. The angle of the frame is also up to you. This frame is going to have a greater forward rake than most cars I build. This is the effect that I am trying to achieve. Remember, this car will have a suicide front end. Therefore, I can have a greater angle on the front. If I were running a stock type suspension, the frame would be higher to accommodate the spring and axle under the frame.
Another view showing the setup. Notice that the frame is leveled from side to side. If this is not done, all of the brackets will be off and the car will ultimately sit awkwardly.
I make all of my own brackets, spring perches, and other assorted needed accessories. The spring perches along with a lot of other information are shown in detail in my StreetRod 101 Hot Rod Frame and Chassis Construction DVD. The rear spring shackles on the bolt end are cut down so that the head of the bolt (grade 8) will not turn. I make a lot of things for my cars and wind up saving a ton of money. Street rods on the cheap are great and just as much fun and look just as good!!
Mocking up the rear spring using bailing wire, masking tape and spacers to take the place of the actual spring leaves. The spring perches and axle brackets along with the spring shackles are all necessary in order to arrive at the correct distance for the spring to be installed. When all are in place, the spring shackles should be almost parallel to the ground when installed. This way when the frame is fully loaded, the spring shackles will ride at about a 45 degree angle. After this is figured, set up the brackets to the axle and tack in place.
We’ll continue Bob’s street rod frame build how-to in tomorrow’s Part 3 installment. But by now you’ll probably want to go ahead and order Bob’s incredible how-to DVD on street rod frame and chassis building so you’ll have ALL the information you’ll ever need on how it’s done.
You’ll enjoy the experience of observing Bob show you how to build street rod frame variations in his home shop. Sit back and learn from Bob’s years of street rod chassis building experience. Here are just some of the things you’ll learn about how to build street rod frames the trouble free and easy way in this 4 1/2 hour video:
- The trick of using cardboard to mock up radius rods and pivot points to test movement
- Trick for ensuring you use the correct brackets for rod ends
- See how to build street rod frame jig and fixture for making your own rod ends using grade 8 bolts and tubing
- How to properly tap your radius rods and/or panhard bars using a home-constructed tap guide bushing
- Discover how to make clamps to hold tubing in your vise better than the vise’s tubing clamp (if it has one) so that you can avoid deep gouge marks in your tubing
- A great lesson on how to properly tap threads
- See how to make your own rear radius rod brackets and make the front one stronger and cleaner looking
- Allowing for paint clearance in your brackets
- How to construct a rear panhard bar
- The technique of building a boxed front crossmember
- How to standardize on common material sizes to make your fabrication quicker and easier
- An innovative fixture to easily line up your spring perch bolt brackets
- How to make your own spring retaining brackets
- How to set up spindles and steering arms and how to build your own steering arms
Click here to order your own copy today!