Final Frame Details
With the frame pretty much complete its time to tackle a few minor.. but important details before the first coat of primer is sprayed.
The suspension was stripped off and the frame was mounted on a make shift rotisserie. The easiest way to do this is to use a couple engine stands. All you need to do is fab up a couple square-tubing replacements for the front and rear spreader bars and then bolt them to the engine stands. This gives you the ability to spin the frame and work on any part fairly comfortably. It will also allow me to easily spray primer and paint with great coverage.
Note: There are risers clamped to the rear section of the engine stands. Most engine stands rotating angles are raised slightly and you have to raise the rear of the stand in order for that angle to be parallel to the ground. If you don't do this your rotisserie will not work correctly, if at all.
With the frame on the rotisserie the first "detail" task was to add a couple "C" notches. Although I don't believe they will be needed with this Pete & Jakes rear suspension system, there is no reason to take any chances. It only took about two hours to cut, weld and finish these notches and they will save you if your suspension ever compresses to the point where the axle tube would have contacted the lower frame rail.
These "C" notches were cut from the original sections of the axle tubes that were saved when the rear end was narrowed. They are almost a quarter inch thick and after they were cut in half I used a vice to spread the radius a bit before they were welded in place. This will ensure the axle tube will fit into the notch without contacting the front or rear edges.
The next order of business was seat belt mounts.
There are varying schools of thought when it comes to mounting seatbelts in a fiberglass car. Some believe that the belts should be anchored to a reinforced section of the body's floor while others believe they should be mounted to the frame.
Which method you choose is up to you however the most important thing to remember is to make sure they are mounted to something solid and not just to fiberglass. Fiberglass is strong but in a collision it will not keep a seat belt in place. Either mount them to the frame as I have or to a steel reinforcement that is integral with a roll cage or internal body reinforcements.
These mounts (circled in red) were made from 1/8" steel and should be plenty strong enough to maintain the integrity of the seatbelts in almost any collision. All that's left is to dress the welds and they are done.
At this stage it pays to "think ahead" so that you don't find yourself wishing you had made a modification after paint and then having to figure out some less than ideal solution to the problem.
In this case its headlight wiring. Some people prefer to just run commercially available wire looms from the bottom of the headlight mount to the frame rail and that's fine. It's clean and simple.... but those looms would not have been available to someone building one of these cars back in the early 60's. So we needed a backyard solution that might have easily been done back then.
In this case what I did was use a piece of large brake line as a conduit to run the wires through the shock mounts to the inside of the frame where they will be run back inside the rail to the body.
This was done in conjunction with boxing the shock mounts. I had previously boxed the top side and purposely saved doing the bottom side for this vary purpose.
The brake line was tacked in place and the wires easily fit through.
Now all that is left is to cover the exposed wires with either a black fabric "loom" material that was available back then or if you can't find anything else, a short piece of the plastic loom material that is commercially available today. This makes a very clean and unobtrusive installation.
One final task is to figure out the location and style of front turn signals. Once again there are several thoughts on this subject. Some prefer the "expensive" antique headlight assemblies that have integral turn signals mounted on top of the headlight bucket, and others prefer the modern variety that have a turn signal bulb inside along with a halogen headlight bulb. The latter will not fit in with our overall theme so we have a choice of finding those expensive units or doing what a lot of people back then did which was to use motorcycle turn signals mounted to the frame rail.
These units are pretty much generic looking but are actually repros of Harley units. They are small, only about 3" long and will be unobtrusive but still legal. I have not drilled the holes for these yet but they will mount in the locations circled in the picture below in red.
That's about it for this update. Currently the Hemi's block and rotating assembly are at the machine shop for a bit of work and the heads will go down soon. Once I have the machine work done I'll be assembling the engine and getting the rest of the running gear together. The reason I switched gears here is because my shop is not heated and in order to finish the priming, body work, and painting of the frame I'll have to wait for warmer weather. I'll get back on the frame in a couple months.
Check back often for more updates...
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