Originally posted June 2007 on our old website.
OK, grille me again for not having the camera ready. We put a 2×2 steel tube on top of the frame, with tie down straps used to hold the rear end at the height we wanted it. This height was determined when we had the rear wheels mocked up in the wheel wells. The other (and most important) thing to consider when you’re setting up the rear end is the coilover (or ShockWave in this case) designed ride height. If you don’t, you could be bottoming out or topping out your shocks. That’s bad.
Rear end: Currie Enterprises
Shockwaves: SKW7001, Air Ride Technologies
Rear Crossmember: Welder Series
This is Air Ride Technologies’ ShockWave. It is an airbag with a shock running up the center. At 4″ diameter, it’s not much bigger than a coilover, and we can adjust the spring rate from the driver’s seat. That’s a lot easier than trading springs. Adjustable shock valve dampening, 13″ ride height with 4.1″ stroke, set it up the same as a coilover but have a lot more adjustability. We put a Schrader valve in so we can inflate it to ride height without installing the tank and compressor right away.
You can see the Nine-Plus 11″ drums on the rear in this picture.
Drums: Currie Enterprises
I had to title this picture that way…. Here we’re mildly straightening out the studs in the housing. It doesn’t take much misalignment and the diff. won’t slide smoothly over the studs. We threaded the front panhard bar (it has 3/8-24 threads) over the studs in question, and using a square tweaked them all so they were perpendicular.
I’ll let my dad hold the engine in place, and I’ll worry about the diff. We got the whole shebang; 3.89:1 gears, axles, carrier, differential, plus the 9″ housing kit from Currie Enterprises.
Notice how nicely the carrier is sliding over the studs?
Installing the 4-bar rear axle brackets was easy – just measure the distance between the frame brackets, measure flange-to-flange on the rear end, subtract the four-bar frame dimension from that, and divide by two. The pieces for these brackets come with the Welder Series WS2220 rear four-bar kit. It’s designed for a ’32 Ford but is really easy to use in a lot of frames.
Rear four bar kit: WS2220, Welder Series
Mr Billet Boy (you know who you are!): aluminum axle, aluminum hubs, aluminum caliper brackets, aluminum calipers, aluminum heads & intake- if we used aluminum wheels, we wouldn’t be able to keep the front end down at a launch! It’s strategic. Now I hope the baby moons will fit over those hubs!
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’… Now we can move to the body for a while.
Originally published June 6, 2007 on our old website.
Where did this body come from? This project started out as a roadster! My Dad & Mom have been running around in a ’40 Ford Tudor since the mid-’80′s, when they had my brother and me to take with them. Now my brother lives in Knoxville, 14 hours from them. I’m married and Sarah and I have two daughters. We live a quarter mile from their business, where they keep the ’40. My Dad figured it made more sense to build a coupe (instead of a roadster) for him and Mom, and then Sarah & I can drive the ’40. What a guy!!
Remember the ’70s? Since the body comes with only the front and rear holes drilled (nice, because often the body and frame holes don’t line up anyway). Here we’re just getting an idea of approximately where the body mount holes are.
Body: B323, Bear Fiberglass
Center section: 13200, Horton
That’s better. Now we will raise the body up, and put tape under the floor along the inside of the rails. This will tell us the location of the rails relative to the body. Notice the Welder Series hiboy front 4-bar kit, which brings the bars all the way back to the cowl line. It’s a little detail, but it makes a huge visual difference.
Here we have the inside of the frame rails marked on the bottom of the body. We will lift the body up and put a few lines of tape outside of this line, so that we’ll be able to mark the holes with a pen.
While the body is up, we marked the inside of the frame rails with the location of the holes. Put a straight edge along the centerline, and use that to both measure the center-to-center dimension, and mark the location on the tape.
An action shot of marking the hole center on the inside of the frame. Also at this time, measure from the inside of the rail to the center of the hole. Mark this on the tape. It doesn’t matter how far apart the holes are side-to-side- we established that dimension by putting tape on the bottom of the body along the rails.
We put the body back on the frame, and clamped it in place so that it didn’t move.
We marked a line along the bottom of the body where the inside of the rail is, and marked the location of the hole. Now we can take the body off again and measure out the same distance as the center of the hole. Remember to mark this number on the bottom of the body to make it easier.
We put a chalkline from mark-to-mark. Now we will measure out 1-3/8″ (for this hole) which SHOULD be the center of the hole.
Another action shot! We are drilling pilot holes from the bottom, then we’ll drill the full-size holes from above.
With the body clamped in place once again, we can drill through the pilot holes. We will go all the way through the body, and try to mark the frame (hopefully right in the center of the hole!) with the drill bit. “Officer, I couldn’t have been doing 95! My gauge never moved!” Pay no attention to the paper instruments- something else is planned…
I think the Stones said it best: “You can’t always get what you want”. So we’re a little off. It could have been that we didn’t drill through the body at a perfect perpendicular. We’ll hang the excuse sheet on the window. The rainbow behind the clouds is the 3/8″ plates we welded behind the holes before we boxed the rails. That way, it doesn’t really matter if the hole in the body isn’t directly above the hole in the frame- I outlined about where the plate is.
Some filing had to be done after all the body holes were drilled, so the bolts would go in smoothly.
Here we see Mr. Horton attaching the 700r4 bracket to the insulator, which is bolted to the transmission. He’s not holding the engine up in this picture- we got a handy transmission jack to do that job. You’ll want to get everything mocked up where you want it, so that you attach the bracket to the center section at the correct angle for your car.
Transmission mount: WS70013, Welder Series (after welding)
Motor mount kit: C005, Welder Series
Center the tailstock in the frame, and set it up about 1/4″ high; the insulator will settle a bit. Everything is tacked in place now.
Do you think this is level enough? We used two hydraulic jacks, one under each motor mount, to level the motor side-to-side. A lot of people say to make sure that the motor is level front-to-back, or it won’t run right. What, no one with a hot rod has ever driven through the Appalachians?? It’s not a crucial measurement. It’s more important to have the engine and pinion at the same angle. See Street Rodder’s driveshaft angle setup and Inland Empire Driveline’s power train setup guide for excellent information on this topic.
Here I’m giving the top plate a little pre-bend so it will clear the rubber lip on the insulator. They come with a tiny laser-cut slit across almost the whole plate that makes it really easy to bend, and yet it keeps its shape.
This is the ridge I was talking about.
Continue reading “’32 Update: Motor Mount & Trans. Mount Install (article 6, archived)” »
This is a polished aluminum steering box by Mullins. It has all new innards and looks amazing. Basically, we just installed the Pitman arm, moved the box forward and backward until the drag link was parallel with the tie rod, then moved it up until the top of the upper tab was about flush with the top of the rail. We marked the hole, and then carefully lowered the box out of the way. I was holding it in position with one hand over my head in an awkward manner for about 5 minutes while Cam was moving it around. Try doing that with a cast box!
Steering box bracket: WS2072, Welder Series (after welding)
Before you set up the box, make sure to get the car sitting where it’s going to be driving down the road. If you set the steering up when the frame’s not sitting as low as it should be, the geometry won’t be as good as it could be. Notice the driver’s side motor mount is missing a gusset – we’re waiting until we know exactly where the steering box is going to be before we install the gusset, in case any trimming will be required for steering shaft clearance.
Continue reading “’32 Update: Steering Box Install (article 7, archived)” »
I used these little front panhard tabs (Welder Series part #21942S) to hold the front section of my rear flex lines. I drilled them out to one little size smaller than 7/16″, which is a press-fit for the -3 end of the hose. This way I don’t have to use those clips and a bulkhead fitting. I’ve got a -3 joiner between the hard line and the flex line.
Before I start this article, I want to say a few things about street rod parts. Most of the time, they are designed by the manufacturer to be installed in a specific orientation. Some parts are not. If the installer wants to mount something in a way not endorsed by, but also not discouraged by, the manufacturer, he (generic “human being”) should expect that the part may not work how it was intended to work. Things may not quite line up, or in this case, headlights may point heavenward … Read on…
We’ve liked this headlight/ shock mount combo from Pete & Jakes for a long time. We didn’t think about installing another bracket, because we like the curves and gracefulness. A stock ’32 headlight (the big one) has the mounting bolt coming out of the bottom at an angle of about 30 degrees towards the back. This means that when the bracket is mounted to the frame, the headlight mounting cone has to be tilted forwards at the same angle. Pete & Jakes designed the bracket to be mounted perpendicular to the ground at ride height. I held it up there, and thought I’d like it tilted back a bit, to match the caster of the axle (about 6 degrees). What I didn’t realize I was doing was bringing the angle of the cone more towards horizontal, and when the headlights are mounted, they’re more effective as airplane landing lights. I tried to modify them to work, but came up with an easier idea. The brackets are also designed to mount perpendicular off the frame rail. Because our frame is pinched, and because I’m kind of a sucker for details, I decided to trim a bit off the back side of the tube so the bracket mounts parallel to the axle (perpendicular to the centerline of the frame). Also, because we have the front c-notched, the bracket wouldn’t go on the back side of the shock because it was right over the c-notch. All that means is that the headlights will be an inch or two ahead of where Pete & Jake meant them to be, which means there may be some tire interference.
So, all that said, these are still great looking brackets. I’d use them again. I didn’t use them as intended, so I spent more time making them work.
Instead of grinding, grinding, grinding, I ordered two new cones from Pete & Jakes and lopped off the old ones. With the die grinder, I notched the end to accept the tapered , angled radius of the cone. I had to keep in mind that the headlight bolt couldn’t interfere with the shock which would be mounted right behind.
I know it looks screwed up. But I tacked the cone with it welded to the headlight, so I knew it was at the right angle. In this picture you can also see how much the front end needs to come down – the shock is set at ride height. Since we’re using the short shocks, and the shock mount bracket can’t come down any further on the frame, we’re going to have to figure out some other way of lowering the front end. I guess we COULD use regular shocks, but the shorties look so much… shorter. And I’ve never complained about having to go lower.
We have these monster 12″ long 5/8″ bolts around that I used to set up the other cone to the same angle as the first one.
While holding the bolt with one hand, and tacking with the other, I got it close and then tweaked them to match. You could use a threaded rod for the same effect.
They’ll look lower when they’re off the lift. Before you finish weld anything, make sure that you can turn your wheels both ways!
Booster or No Booster?
If you can’t decide whether to run power brakes or not, or if you just want to experiment like we did, just run braided lines to the master cylinder from the frame. It’s a heck of a lot easier to lower the master cylinder – you don’t have to open the system to check levels. Just unbolt the master and presto whammo, your cylinder is as free as a duck without a leg tag.
(From the archives)
Well, the body is off and it’s time to start welding up brackets and tabs that were just tacked in place this whole time. The plan is to get the frame powder coated semi gloss black, and since it’s not healthy to weld over powder coat, I’m going to try to get all the brackets mounted before it’s sent out.
It’s a good idea to take a bunch of pictures of everything assembled before you tear it down, so you can see how it all went together.
Remember that e-brake bracket I made a long time ago? I just painted it with Zero Rust flat black paint, and I’m pretty tickled with how it came out. I can’t wait to see it installed!
Since I didn’t mount the seat belts when the seat was mounted the first time, I had to make up some brackets to hold the retractors and the fixed end of the belts. If you’re like me and you have access to hundreds of different shapes of brackets, you tend to use something that’s already made instead of wasting time cutting out a shape (and trying to get the second one to look something like the first one), drilling holes, bending, etc. If you’re like me but don’t have access to hundreds of different brackets, here’s a solution: Welder Series’ Plate Page . Have a look around. I’m sure you’ll find something that will make your frame build a lot easier. These particular brackets are Model A rad mount tabs .
Friends come in to have a look and wonder how taking stuff off helps put it together. I tell them it’s like marriage. Anyways, I spent some time on something very small, but I’m happy with the result.
On the right, you can see the stock bolts that came with the brake kit. While functional, they didn’t do much to enhance the chrome spindles and steering arms and the polished calipers and caliper mounts. Since the caliper mounting bolts are 3/8″ button heads, I thought I’d see what I could do to match the other bolts.
The black bolt is the original one. It’s a flat head allen, with 1/2-20 threads. The stainless bolt is a 3/8-16 button head, but it’s obviously too small for the hole. I machined threaded spacers to sit tight in the 1/2″ hole in the spindle. The threaded cone mimics the taper on the original bolt, so it centers itself and sits flush with the outside of the caliper mounting plate. There’s not much clearance between the plate and the rotor!
I took this photo before I trimmed the excess off the bolt – it’s flush now.
Here’s how the tranny cooler lines/ air conditioning hose clamp came out. The top tube runs headlight wires from the body to the grille shell.
For the ends of the stainless tube, I parted a -6 stainless joiner fitting in half, and tig welded them to the tubes. Leaving some hex on the fittings means I don’t have to twist the tube to tighten the fitting.
We had the one side fixed, and now it’s time to match the passenger side. Cam seems to be pretty happy we’re finally mounting the tail pipes!
The emergency brake lines run right where the hangers would sit straight up. Instead of just moving it off to the side a little bit, we thought it would be better to go all the way. The hanger brackets and flanges are Welder Series parts, by the way.
I think we’re going to keep the tips just as they are for now… milled perfectly square. We’ll see – maybe they will get some turn-downs later.
I know, this is a bit out of place. I’m going to start copying the build articles from our website (www.welderseries.com) to the blog so they’re all in one place.
Seems like it’s been a while… sometimes reality is right. We’ve been really cooking at Welder Series which has lent less time to the ’32 as we would like. But being busy is a very good problem! Now that the frame is black, it’s time to start bolting stuff back on. I’m really enjoying looking at the flat black/aluminum/powder coat black contrast. I hope to be able to update this more regularly now that things are moving on the car again.
Another big treat is having Cam back to help with final assembly. He’s helping out over at Lowdown Hotrods and comes by when he’s done there for the day.
Cam attaches the fuel lines to the rail. Cam is so good, he can thread
a bolt in upside-down.
Here’s the brake pedal return spring/brake light switch activator I made.
I know, a mallet and drift in a final assembly picture isn’t a good sign. No paint was harmed in the setup of this photograph.
While putting the aluminum brake line clamps on the tie rod, I discovered that the end mill I used to create the larger hole had shrunk by the time I drilled the third bracket. Two slipped on nicely, but the third wouldn’t cooperate. Here’s how I enlarged the hole just a tiny bit using a rat tail file.
Using a Sharpie, I drew two lines on the inside of the hole.
I gently persuaded the lines to disappear with the file. Having two lines meant that it was more likely that I could keep the file perpendicular to the hole. Working on a black surface was nice because I could see the files as they came off.
I’d say it worked very well! Three or four rounds were necessary because each time you’re just filing enough to remove the marker line, but you know that you’re keeping the hole round.