It’s been winter for a little while up here, but just recently has the snow been starting to stick around longer than past the mid morning sun. A local car club is having their meeting here next week, so we thought it would be nice to have something for them to look at! There are also a few things that we want to get done over the winter. I’ll go over that list in another post.
We’re closing in on 30 000 miles (if you include the trips made when the speedometer wasn’t hooked up) since August 1, 2009.
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 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.
I think I’ve made the 60+ ’32 Build articles a little easier to filter by grouping articles into subcategories. Check it out by hovering over the 32 BUILD button in the blue bar, highlighted in the picture (but the picture is just an example of what the blue bar actually looks like):
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.
OK, I know, you’re thinking “Duh- the steering wheel’s on the left.” And now you’re thinking “…unless you live in a country which requires you to drive on the left side of the road” (For a great site on which countries drive on what side, check out http://www.brianlucas.ca/roadside/), although this doesn’t absolutely determine which side the steering wheel is on.
While putting the steering wheel in the center of the vehicle may be a priority for some readers, this article deals specifically with making the top of the steering wheel point up when you’re driving straight.
Step 1: Unbolt the Pitman arm. You don’t need to completely take it off- just detach it from the steering box so when you turn the steering wheel, the wheels don’t turn.
Rotate the steering wheel all the way in one direction, then mark the top. I used masking tape so I didn’t have to write on the leather.
Then, rotate the wheel in the opposite direction and count the amount of rotations. When it stops, mark the top again.
Divide the amount of rotations in half, then backtrack that amount, and the ‘left’ and ‘right’ marks should be about horizontal. Mark the top, just so you don’t forget.
Your steering box is now centered (and centred too).
The Pitman arm should be pointed forward when the wheels are straight ahead. “Forward” is different than parallel to your frame rails, remember. It should be parallel to the centerline of your frame.
The tie rod ends on the drag link should be LH and RH threads, so it’s easy to just spin the bar to lengthen or shorten the center to center distance. Don’t attach the Pitman arm to the steering box before you have it pointed straight ahead – then you can adjust the bar until the splined hole in the arm is directly below the output shaft on the Pitman arm.
If you’re confident you’re Pitman arm is pointed straight ahead, there are ways to adjust the steering wheel rotation without affecting the Pitman arm.
1. Unbolt the steering wheel from the hub (if you have one), rotate the wheel, and bolt it back on. Since there are usually 5 or 9 bolts, this isn’t a very macro method.
2. Unbolt the hub from the steering column. It’s usually splined, so you can get a finer adjustment than unbolting the steering wheel. A combination of 1 and 2 may be required if your horn wire is interfering with the hub. You’ll know what I mean when you get there.
3. U-joints: If you have used splined steering shafts, you can rotate the shaft in a U-joint by a spline or two. This can cause some negative effects down the road though, if you ‘misalign’ the joints out of phase. You’ll know what I mean if it happens- you’ll have a few stiff spots as you rotate the steering wheel.
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)” »
We’re installing stock door handles, and we’re going to try to get them as close to the stock location as possible. We took measurements off Robert Rowe’s steel ’32. The only thing we’re missing is hinges, but I think it’s ok because we have an aluminum steering box. Some parts of this car are going to be old looking, some are going to be new looking. P.S. It’s our car. We used masking tape in the approximate location of the handle. Masking tape is always a good thing to have when you’re building a street rod.
We used a caliper to scribe a line in the masking tape at the right length in from the edge of the door. Stock door handles had the mounting plate screws parallel to the front door edge.
We did the same thing on the inside, although our plans changed later. The line of tape going down is where the window channel is. It’s a good idea to keep that in mind so you don’t plan to put your latch where there will be interference later.
Hot Rod Latch
We sliced, diced, welded, and made it work. The silver thing is the door handle mounting kit from Rocky Hinge. Part #HL001. We ended up welding it right to the bearclaw latch, because we wanted the door handle as close to the stock location as possible. The other thing we wanted was a bit of delay in the handle rotation before the latch was tripped, so that the handle isn’t as touchy as the latch. The short stroke is great for power actuators, but not so great for human powered handles- you drop a booger on the handle and you’ll trip the latch. That’s why there’s the gap between the “actuation cylinder” and the arm on the latch. One more thing to keep in mind: the door jamb is not perpendicular to the ground. If you weld the door handle mounting piece perpendicular to the latch, the handle will be drooping towards the ground. Measure the angle between a body line and the angle of the front of the door, then transfer that to the latch.
Continue reading “’32 Update: Installing the Door Handles (article 8, archived)” »
The Bear deck lid has a recessed rectangle that’s a good place to start for an access hole. I put masking tape around the inside perimeter of the hole, and will cut out the area inside the tape. This way, we can make up an aluminum cover later on to hide the hole, and it will be recessed. I’ve got the center marked on the other piece of tape.
The time consuming part of the deck lid latch is getting the slot in the correct spot. Mark the area with masking tape, measure your mounting hole centers, then figure out where the sweep of the “flag” is going to be. The distance from the flag to the outside of the deck lid is very important in our case, because we’re not using the bracket that goes on the body. We’re going to mount the handle so that the ‘flag’ will brush against the inside lip of the trunk when it’s closed. That way, there won’t be anything for the suitcases to catch on! I can’t possibly explain all the little dimensions I had to take- just remember to allow for the thickness of the fiberglass, and also the curvature of the trunk lid.
Voila… pretty trick, eh?! We’ll be using flathead allen bolts to clean it up even more.
Continue reading “’32 Update: Trunk Latch/ Handle Installation (article 9, archived)” »
Here I will make a latch for the trunk handle. The mechanism that came attached to the piece from Vintique isn’t long enough to do what we want done. In our application, because we don’t want anything really protruding into the trunk space (as in a plate for the latch to hook on), we wanted to add length to the original “mailbox flag” to make it long enough to tuck inside the lower lip of the body (or roll pan… not sure what to call it). It won’t latch into anything, but because the trunk lid swings out before it swings up, it shouldn’t need a hook and latch.
The tricky part is going to be making sure the “flag” is in the exact location we need it to be in so that the lid isn’t too loose, or too tight. This was done in the last article. So now, we’re just going to install it and hope I didn’t mess up the measurements too badly!
I started with a length of 1/8″ rod. I was originally going to make the locking “flag” out of 1/8″ plate, but I found this bar and the plate didn’t stand a chance. I cleaned it up a bit with a ScotchBrite pad.
The starting bend was made around a 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ tube that I clamped in the vise. The other bends were done around a 3/4″ bar, with a set of pliers to bring the 1/8″ bar in tight to the 3/4″ bar.
Continue reading “’32 Update: Trunk Lock (article 10, archived)(video added)” »