Another chassis fab thread

Wanted to update this thread for those of you that had followed along. Life has been real hectic and progress has been fairly slow. A lot has happened even at the slow pace I have been able to work on this project. I have the rear suspension completely finished.

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The front suspension is a completely different story...

Unfortunately it had to go... You can see the new clip on the table in the background.


The new clip is a front steer Laughlin Racing Products piece. It is what they have been running for the last 30 plus years. There was no steering pieces available for the rear steer clip that I started with. So the logical call was to change to something that I could find plenty of parts for. Got lucky and came up with this clip with the first phone call. All the pieces except upper control arms. It is just not possible to find an upper with the fitment I need so we will take a good set of uppers and use the pivot shafts along with the ball joints to fab what I need.

The new front clip is on and fully welded. I did install it 1'' higher to give the front a slightly lower stance. The bottom of the front crossmember is 1/4'' lower than the main rails. As are the lower control arm support struts that run back to the main rails. I needed jackscrews for the front so I ordered some 1 1/8'' threaded rod from MSC and made 2 on my lathe. The square on the top is a 1/2'' drive 9/16'' Craftsmen socket that the socket end was cut off of. Bored the end of the threaded rod to the OD of the socket and Tig welded it in. I cut the sockets out of a junk set of jackscrews that I had. Surprised me what they were when I got them out...

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Next will be the cab mounts that you can see laying on top of the rails and then running board mounts. I should have it home in my shop soon.
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Tying up loose ends now. Had to fab both upper control arms in order to get the length and ball joint offset needed. Steve has a pretty neat and simple jig for just such a job. Made it easy. We installed an existing set of arms that were to long but had the correct ball joint offset and set the Caster & Camber on that wheel. We then installed it in the jig with the shims as it was on the chassis to set the ball joint position. Once that was set we cut the arms off the shaft and ball joint ring. Installed the shaft with just 2 alignment shims which will allow for any fine adjustments needed down the road. Slide the ball joint ring in place and then trim and fit the arms to fill in the blanks.

Left side set up


Right side setup


Jig fixture and setting up the right arm.



Both arms finished and installed with the final Caster & Camber adjustments. Very happy with the results. Very good Camber gain too. All 4 calipers and rotors installed with the proper shims to align the calipers. Cab mounts installed too.


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Active Member
Really nice, accurate work. Good to see you back and moving forward on this, to me, a pretty big project. Great facility you have there to work in.
Take care, looking forward to the next installment.
I was looking at this thread and realized that I had totally skipped the install of the ne clip. So I thought I would add a few pics of that for those that would like to see the fit up. This is with the new clip squared and center with the original rails and the table. It is also 1'' higher than the old clip which effectively lowers the front 1'' verses the ride height of the old clip. The original rails are still the length they were for the old clip and you can see how I marked them for a longer transition between the clip and the rails. Better fit this way. Had to move the table support back for clearance.


Here are the main rails cut back and ready for the transition. Fit the top triangle to finish the transition. Installed the lower A-arm strut back to the rail kick up.




Fishplates to tie it all together



That should pretty much fill in the gap that I missed.

Really nice, accurate work. Good to see you back and moving forward on this, to me, a pretty big project. Great facility you have there to work in.
Take care, looking forward to the next installment.
Thank you sir. All I do is try to do the best I can do with what I have. I am happy with the progress so far. Once I get it home it will be on hold while I try to help my buddy Bruce finish up his Blazer project. It has a little bit of priority over mine.

He and the chassis made one of the Greenville Tech Facebook pages.

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Last picture taken before it left Tech. Exhaust finished except for the turn downs which will be fitted to the body.


He has been busy with work and has not gotten very much done since it went home. He has put the body on the chassis along with the big tires and wheels. First thing we need to do when we start back on it is plumb the brakes and the fuel system. Then we will blow it apart, finish the body work and get some color on everything. He is actually way closer than I am so it wont take that long. We already had close to 2 years invested in metal work before it went to Tech and I figure another year left to get it done. Lots and lots and lots of one off parts have been fabricated for it. Some of it was because you couldn't buy Blazer unique parts at the time. And some of it was because we wanted things to fit better or different.

Probably 2 1/2 plus years left on mine. I have not even touched the sheet metal or started on the engine.
Working on the front of the frame rails. I am going to leave them 4'' short as I am undecided on running a bumper or not. More than likely I will run a bumper. If I do then it will be sucked back against the pan so the stock frame length is to long anyway. Right now I am mocking up the transition from the rails on the clip to the rails that will make the end of the stock frame location.

Here is a shot of the pieces that will end up as the front of the frame. They are sitting on a fixture to level them and allow them to be squared to the chassis. You can see the height difference that I have to transition. The radiator support crossmember will be welded between these as well.


Here is a couple of scrap pieces of tubing I clamped in place to locate the forward end of the rails and to use to start a drawing of the transition so that I can figure the lengths to cut.


Had to go buy a 20' stick of 2'' X 3'' X 11 gauge tubing ($85.00....) this morning so that I could make the transition pieces. The horizontals need to be 8 1/4'' long and the transitions will be 7 3/4'' long. Should be pretty quick now since it is already laid out and just needs to be checked with a paper pattern.

Ordered a set of high end gas shocks for it yesterday and was told that they will have to be built. Guy said that was a week out and then shipping from the left coast will be another week.... Pretty much down to the frame ends, tie rods and fabricating the front shock mounts at this point.

Was doing some research on the Wilwood site and discovered that my front 6 piston calipers are backwards.... Per Wilwood, when you have different sized pistons like mine do, the rotor should enter the small piston end and exit the big piston end. Mine are the other way around... I need to tear them down and rebuild them anyway so I think I can invert the bleeders and the cross over line so that they can mount on the opposite side they are on now. You can see the bleeder screws are on the little piston end and they need to be on the big piston end...


Discovered that I have 2 different sized tie rods. Not a big deal, I just need 4 of one size or the other. I have the correct nuts for the smaller tie rods. Neat pieces as they have to span the slot that the slugs fit in. You can see the overspray on the steering arm where they were installed previously.




I got the tie rods sorted and installed. My parts guy had plenty of either size so I got 2 that would work with the nuts that I already had. Also got the frame horns and the radiator support installed. Just have to cut some fish plates to add to the joints like the rest of the chassis. Going to leave the radiator support just tacked until I hang the front sheet metal and finalize the radiator horseshoe mounting. The factory used a single center mount on the radiator support so the frame and body could flex. This frame wont have much if any flex so I am planning to add mounts to the outer edges of the radiator support. This will also lend some adjustability to the front sheet metal when it comes time to line everything up. Started fabricating some tabs to mount bump stops for the front control arms. Had to figure the travel and then lock it in the upper most travel position to figure out a location and a bracket design. Ended up pretty simple with a U shaped piece that will weld to the bottom of the frame rail behind the coil spring bucket.


Suffered another setback today... Found out that they don't make street pads for the rear calipers that I have. Got the front street pads in the mail today. So its back to my parts guy and trade these rears for another set of rear calipers that I can get street pads for... Fun, fun.

Getting closer.

I got the suspension bump stops fabricated and tacked to the chassis. I angled it outward so that the bump stop is parallel to the control arm surface when it engages the arm. You can see in the pic where it lands on the lower control arm. Should do all it needs to do.


Also got all the fixtures cut off and now they actually look like frame horns. Also made fillers to close the end of the tubing. Still have to cut and install the fish plates.



Got the fish plates cut and installed on the right side. Also added a lower brace to the frame horns. More for the look of the piece than actual structural. Same size tubing that ties the rear of the clip to the main rails.


And I cut up the right upper control arm... I just was not happy with the welds. Sooooo… I am going to have them Tig welded by a friend of a friend that builds jig fixtures all day for overhead cranes. Pretty simple this time around. Just bolt them in the fixture to locate the pick up points and then cut them apart to fill in the blanks again. Tack the pieces and drop it off. After I get this one welded I will have to do the same with the left upper. I think it is the smart thing to do.


The high dollar shocks I ordered finally came in. The rears are backordered. I needed the fronts so that I could make upper mounts and they are what showed up.. Took the first one out of the box and it seemed really stiff to compress and then almost impossible to expand... Seemed excessive. Opened the other box and tried that one. It was a limp noodle. It would compress and open as if there was nothing in the shock but air. Opposite ends of the spectrum... Got an RMA for them and cancelled the rears... Very disappointing to say the least. They are going to Charlotte and will be put on a shock dyno... I told the guy that I would like to hear the results.
Hehe... Just talked to the guy that is going to weld up my control arms. Really nice guy and coincidentally he worked at Ronnie Hopkins Engineering building Nascar race chassis and all the associated parts. Hopefully he can turn them around pretty quick and I can get this thing finished.