Looking for advice for building up frame-boxing, reinforcing, control arms...

regalman4925

regalman4925

Royal Smart Person
May 9, 2007
1,324
15
38
Omaha Nebraska
#1
It has been some time since I have posted a thread or done much on my g bodies. I have been playing with these cars buying, scavenging salvage yards, building and parting them out for over 2 decades and have taken a good part of the last few years off of the cars due to kids, career, splitting with an ex, buying a bigger house and having to move my collection of parts.... Anyways, I am getting back to my cars this winter and trying to put together a plan of attack, I have decided the only way to do this right is frame off restorations. Both cars are pretty much 100% rust free cars, I have been collecting the best of the best parts that I can find for literally longer than I can remember. I have a 84 regal astro roof car that is a T clone with the turbo hood, complete turbo interior, GN spoiler.... The second car is a 86 T top 442 that is mostly a stock build as of now with the exception of having a gm crate 350 ram jet engine except it has a holley stealth ram EFI on top of it instead of the ram jet intake. I plan to keep the 350 in one car and doing a ls6 or similar in the other car. I think as of now the 442 is keeping the 350 mainly because its easier to make it work with the KZ 200 4R trans that I am insistent on keeping in that car and I plan to keep the stock gauges (actually the 87 120 speedo). The regal is likely getting a dakota digital cluster so the ls engine in it with a electronic 4 speed trans makes sense to me. both cars need to be painted, both have the interiors about 75% done. My focus right now is going to start with the frames and undersides.

Being that I have a hard time just leavings things alone I am planning to box frames, add supports around the rear shock area, control arm mounting areas, rear bumper support and I already have all of the front F41 supports, radiator support to fender.... One car has the blazer brake upgrade, the other is getting the blazer spindle with wither LS1 or C5 brakes. So being i have not been in the game in awhile I am not super aware of all of the new stuff out there for items such as control arms, shocks, springs and so on. I am wanting to do tubular control arms front and rear, the rears don,t seem to be an issue to me considering they are farily affordable from multiple reputable manufactures and they are not nearly as important as fronts for handeling. The front ones are a different story, what brand is best bang for buck? Which ones will do the most to correct geometry issues? I have stock arms with poly bushings on both cars right now. Are the lowers even worth the cash to see anything in improving handling? I have been wanting AFX spindles since the day I drove my buddies car that had them, that car handled amazing because of them, that will be a future upgrade on one of the cars. does anyone sell plates for boxing the frame? The one set I saw somewhere seemed to be discontinued, I have access to a plasma cutter but if i can spend 100 bucks and save the time I would rather go that route. I have already read up on the process of welding them in and having to watch your heat to prevent any bending or twisting.

What kind of advice can I get on cleaning up the underside? I did my last regal body with it off the frame on stands, laying on my back and it SUCKED. We have a fab shop at work and plenty of scrap material to put together a rotissery for little of nothing out of pocket so I am planning to do that

Is powder coating worth the cash? I was quoted 750 to sand blast the frame and powder coat it locally.
 
pontiacgp

pontiacgp

Canadian Prime Minister
Mar 31, 2006
23,156
4,045
113
Kitchener, Ontario
#2
If you want to improve the front end consider changing the upper control arm bracket so you can use even length upper control arms. The angle the upper control arm bracket in on is designed for antidiving which upsets a car going into a corner and also caused bump steer. As far as boxing the frame I used a14 gauge sheet and cut out what I needed. If you don't have the capacity to cut the steel if you have a Metal Supermarket or the equivalent near you they can cut the pieces to size for you.
 
Rktpwrd

Rktpwrd

Royal Smart Person
Feb 2, 2015
1,716
3,405
113
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
#4
In case you’ve never seen it or have but forgotten about it, check out my build thread for lots of pics and ideas on boxing your frame.

https://gbodyforum.com/threads/the-juggernaut-build-thread.55095/page-4

Starting at post #40 and continuing on for quite some time.
All done by myself, in a simple home garage. Should be enough to get your creative juices flowing.
 
regalman4925

regalman4925

Royal Smart Person
May 9, 2007
1,324
15
38
Omaha Nebraska
#5
pontiacgp, do you have any more information on relocating the front upper brackets? That's not something i have read anything on so far. the front suspension and correcting geometry issues are among my top wants on this car. I am shooting for a well handling car over very fast. I do have access to a full fab shop so I can cut it out without issues, that's one of those things that to me would be worth it to buy pre cut, if I could find those for a 100 bucks or so and i save 4 hours in the shop, it's worth it to me and my schedule that is a bit busy. More than likely i will be fabbing those myself from what i have read.

fleming442, I have my reasons, if you don't like it please come make me a offer I can not walk away from and you can drop your old technology in it.

rktpwrd, I have looked over your build many of times and love it. I wish i had the attention to detail that you have not to mention the fab skills. Did you have any issues with the frame twisting or bowing with all of the welding you did on it? That is one of my biggest worries right now. I am a fairly experienced welder and work at a place that we have have professional welders that happen to be friends.
 
pontiacgp

pontiacgp

Canadian Prime Minister
Mar 31, 2006
23,156
4,045
113
Kitchener, Ontario
#6
pontiacgp, do you have any more information on relocating the front upper brackets? That's not something i have read anything on so far. the front suspension and correcting geometry issues are among my top wants on this car. I am shooting for a well handling car over very fast. I do have access to a full fab shop so I can cut it out without issues, that's one of those things that to me would be worth it to buy pre cut, if I could find those for a 100 bucks or so and i save 4 hours in the shop, it's worth it to me and my schedule that is a bit busy. More than likely i will be fabbing those myself from what i have read.
you just cut the existing bracket off and use something like this. You can then use the F body upper control arms which are equal length. Before you cut the existing one off take some measurments from points on the frame to the ball joint location with the stock set up, also measure the height of the ball joint from the floor so you can weld in the new bracket and maintain the position of the ball joint with the equal length control arm. Just remember to allow to have shims to tweak the set up.

proxy.php?image=https%3A%2F%2Fpitstopusa.com%2Fimages%2FM14596778.jpg&hash=46b8ac11d046bb2d83c09f85ac361306
 
regalman4925

regalman4925

Royal Smart Person
May 9, 2007
1,324
15
38
Omaha Nebraska
#7
Do you have any links to info on doing this? I am not finding anything by using google so far.
 
pontiacgp

pontiacgp

Canadian Prime Minister
Mar 31, 2006
23,156
4,045
113
Kitchener, Ontario
#8
Do you have any links to info on doing this? I am not finding anything by using google so far.
you probably won't find anything on google and it's not that difficult, it is a modification that is not permitted on circle track G bodies and anyone who has raced the G body on an oval will know how much the anti dive screws the car up when entering a corner. I didn't do the mod on my GP cause I don't race it on a track and I think it's a bit extreme for a street car. I don't know how far you want to go and you have the tools to do it so I thought I throw it out there.
 
Rktpwrd

Rktpwrd

Royal Smart Person
Feb 2, 2015
1,716
3,405
113
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
#9
rktpwrd, I have looked over your build many of times and love it. I wish i had the attention to detail that you have not to mention the fab skills. Did you have any issues with the frame twisting or bowing with all of the welding you did on it?
Thanks very much, I really appreciate the compliments.
I had some minor warping in the very center of the frame rails, but with the amount and intensity of the welding and grinding I did, it was almost inevitable.

If you plan on boxing yours, I would strongly recommend welding on some temporary “scabs” across from side to side to keep everything parallel and within spec. They can easily be cut off later. Measure, double check everything, and brace things in place as much as you can ahead of time. (Keeping the transmission crossmember bolted in place may help with this too, but I wouldn’t rely on it solely).

To correct the slight bowing out of the rails I encountered after everything was done, I simply wrapped a heavy duty ratchet strap around the middle and tightened it up pulling the rails together. I had to do this a couple times to coax the rails to move, but but by doing this and going slightly further than was required, I got them pulled back and within spec.

Hope this helps,

D.
 
8

84 CUTLASS 388

n00b
Sep 27, 2012
4
4
3
#10
I used two engine stand that I attached my frame to. I was able to turn the frame to access the bottom. I picked both engine stands up for $60 off Craigslist
 

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