Originally published June 2007 on our old website.
This is the first in a series of almost 70 articles in the ’32 Build’ category.
We mounted the body on the bare rails and rolled the wheels in place to see what looked “right”. We then stepped back from the car to get a better look. note: the frame is not built yet – the body is sitting on two rails that have spreader pieces lightly tacked in place.
frame rails: 10132D, American Stamping
boxing plates: Welder Series
’32 hiboy roadster body: k3200, Kilbourne
FYI, we’re using the following tires and wheels:
Front tires – BFGoodrich P185/65R15 touring T/A
Rear tires – BFGoodrich P285/60R16 radial T/A
Front wheels – Wheel Vintiques 14 series Gennie, 15×6 3-3/4″ backspacing
Rear wheels – Wheel Vintiques 14 series Gennie, 16×8 4″ backspacing.
Put a level on top of the tire to get “true north”. Mark this location on a piece of tape on the body. Also mark the rails by placing a square on the rail, through the centerline of the wheel. This step is crucial to getting the wheels centered in the wheel well, so make sure to take your time to get it right.
Macho, macho man. Paul Horton manhandles the ENTIRE engine block AND tranny into position. What he doesn’t want me to tell you is that it’s made of plastic. You don’t have to use a crane and you can save your beer because you won’t have eight buddies over mocking the engine up.
We used boards to get the motor where we wanted it to sit at the front, and also to establish where the center section will go. We pushed it to the firewall as close as we could, but still allowing room for the removal of the distributor. Watch for the fittings on the passenger side of the tranny- they can be a hassle if you forget about them. We didn’t want to cut the floor, so we left a bit of room for them.
I know, I know. “When did you get the frame together?” I guess I was so excited about the build, and since cameras aren’t logical tools used in the construction of a street rod, I forgot to take some pictures. The body was used to get the exact width of the frame we needed to build. This way, it doesn’t matter where someone else says to put the body – we know for sure that it will work, the first time.
I’ve got the four-bar brackets welded to the frame, so all that’s left is to install all the components. We will be using a Super Bell Alum-I-beam aluminum axle- the one pictured is being used so nothing bad happens to the aluminum one. A Magnum brake kit with Wilwood calipers and Pete & Jakes chromed spindles all look top shelf together. No, that’s not a chrome rotor- it’s the Magnum polished aluminum caliper bracket, and it also hides the 11” rotors nicely with rounded edges.
brake kit: 4100, Magnum Axle
caliper brackets: 4101, Magnum Axle
hiboy 4-bar kit: WS2082, Welder Series
axle: 1102AD, Super Bell
In this picture, I’m running a tap into the steering arms. When they’re chromed, sometimes it’s difficult to run a bolt into them. This makes it much easier. Notice the cardboard I put down. Just in case something falls, it won’t get damaged.
Here’s a closer look at the front brakes. There are chromed spindle stops on there now. That’s a Welder Series’ hiboy front four-bar kit, which has bars that go all the way back to the cowl line. A mono-leaf spring will get the front in the proverbial weeds. mmmmm… those chromed spindles sure complete the package.
Calipers: I can’t remember the part number, but they’re from Wilwood
Steering arms: 1107C, Super Bell
Also, notice the protection I taped to the back of the steering arm- it will hit the batwing if one is not careful.
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.
Going way back to this post on exhaust air speed and air ride tune-ability, we’re finally starting to get serious about figuring out the ride height of the ’32, instead of just air pressure. Air pressure is ok for an overview of ride height… if you know what pressure the bags have to be at, with a given load. What we were finding in the ’32 (and maybe it’s because it’s a relatively lightweight vehicle), is that just because the pressure in the bags was 50 psi, didn’t mean the car was sitting where we thought it was. The PSI could read the same with 2″ of ride height variation, depending on the load.
Bags are at 50 PSI and there is 2″ between the wheel well and tire. Add 200 pound passenger. Ride height goes down, PSI goes up, wheel well gap decreases. How much pressure do I have to add to get the gap back at 2″?
Enter the ride height gauge.
We had a few ways to accomplish this, but the idea is pretty simple. Get rid of the pressure gauge (I could care less what pressure is in the bags… I want to know where the car is sitting!) and substitute with a ride height gauge. The gauge would measure actual ride height; optimal being in the middle, with low and high on either extreme. The gauge would measure the relationship between a point on the body and a point on the axle, and show that relationship on the gauge. A friend of mine with an air ride equipped ’76 Mercedes was thinking along the same lines with a thermometer type gauge that would be hard lined to the body with a solid inner cable (think choke cable) that would move similar to the mercury in a thermometer, indicating the ride height.
Another friend (there’s two so far!) actually made a prototype light sensor that would turn on an LED when the beam was broken, indicating optimal ride height.
We discussed the idea with John and Zac at Classic Instruments and they suggested two fuel tank sensors, one mounted on either side, running to a three way switch (driver side/off/passenger side) and then on to a custom printed “fuel” gauge. Two days after telling us they’d first get on it, we have the gauge and two fuel level senders sitting on the bench! Next step will be figuring out where to mount them.
I’ve got a whole air ride theory article in the works, relaying my experiences and hunches over the last two seasons of driving a light car with air ride on the rear. Until then, here’s a tip for controlling your rate of decline, allowing you to fine-tune the ride. I’ve found it’s more effective to arrive at a constant and happy ride quality by ‘coming down’ on the ride height you’re shooting for, rather than squirting little bursts into the bags to get to a predetermined ride height/quality.
I put a tiny, tiny hole in a hole plug and screwed it into the exhaust port. Next time the correct size hole plug shows itself around these parts, I’m going to drill an even smaller hole in it and replace this one.
Over the winter, we’re hoping to create some sort of easy ride height gauge for the ’32. Stay tuned…
This is another article from the ’32 build archive.
Odds and Ends / Powderific
Since the last “miscellaneous stuff” email, there hasn’t been a whole lot going on with the ’32, let alone much more miscellany. In highway terms, it’s “driving on the shoulder”. There are some items on the excuse sheet we’ve hung in the window, however.
First, the space we use to work on the car has been seized by hundreds of odds and ends, all with pallets as magic carpets. The people who were renting the building where we were storing this “stuff” moved, so we had to take it all out. It’s invaded our car building space; thus a chunk of the delay can be blamed away. Second, the powder coaters had some electrical issues while they were trying to set up their oven. The story is a bit longer than that, but all that’s important to me is I can’t be help responsible
In any case, we did get our powder coated parts and they look really great. We are doing most of the removable frame parts (bars, batwings, adjusters, brake pedal, etc.) in flat black. I have a thing for flat black. I would take a punch for flat black. So, with these parts in hand, I’m able to start reassembling the frame! Now if it wasn’t for all these odds and ends… I think I’m going to have an egarage sale. If you like, sign up for our newsletter and you’ll be able to see what edds and onds we’ve got and how cheap you can get them.
Now the next step is to make the frame black too so we can start putting the pieces together. I can’t believe the clarity of the parts even after the powder coating. The welds aren’t muddy looking, and the finish is very consistent. I hope it’s as durable as it is good looking. I’ll keep you posted on the frame painting process.