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Old 03-04-2010, 10:55 PM   #1
KING CHASSIS
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Default Front Engine Dragster How To Build One

I build my front engine dragsters on a simple jig table. Alot of the 200 MPH dragsters of the 1960s were built on the floor. So having a table is just a easier way of leveling the car and having a flat surface to measure from. And is easier on your back.
After you have figured out what motor , trans and rearend you are gonna use. You need to make some jigs.

First thing you need is a alignment bar. This will travel thru the motor back to the rearend. To make shure that these two are perfectly aligned. I have a piece of thick wall aluminum tube. With sleeves that slide on to it. To make up the difference between the outside diameter of the tube and what the outside diameter of the main bearings in the motor are.
Second thing is a empty 3rd member. Remove the inner and outer pinion brgn races. And machine aluminum pucks. That fit where the bearing race use to be. With a hole in the middle that your alignment bar can slide thru.
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The only time a 5point cage looks good on a front engine dragster is when it is upside down!!!

Last edited by KING CHASSIS; 03-04-2010 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: Front Engine Dragster How To Build One

Next thing is to know the diameter of the rear tires. Make a stand to hold up the rearend exactly half the diameter of the tires. Place the motor and rearend all together on your jig. Make a saddle to hold the front of the alignment bar. Have this exactly in the middle of your table or jig. Or if your workin on the floor have a line drawn down the center of the floor. Drop a plumb bob down to the center line, from center of the pinion. Make shure the rearend is level.

So now if the rearend is level and the motor and rearend are centered on your centerline. It is time to start layin pipe.
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The only time a 5point cage looks good on a front engine dragster is when it is upside down!!!
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:01 PM   #3
KING CHASSIS
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Default Re: Front Engine Dragster How To Build One

There are many different ways to build a dragster and different tube diameters of tubing you can use. Consult SFI and NHRA rule book for correct placement and tube diameters and thicknesses.

But I bulid my cars with the same size tube for the top and bottom frame rails all the way thru. Some cars step down to smaller tube as it goes to the front of the car. When splicing tube together use a sleeve inside the joint and rosette weld it in. 3" on each side of the butt joint. This makes the joint real strong.

Remember when laying out the tubes. A starter has to clear. Spark plugs have to go in and out. Think about all that kind of stuff. And also have a oil pan on the motor to know if it is going to clear the ground. Most new dragsters are build with out any "dump" . "Dump" is the front of the motor leaned towards the ground . But I build mine with "dump" just because I love the look of it. My dragsters have the old style to them. I just think that it adds to the character or sole of the digger.

You can run your main frame rails any way you want. Look at a bunch of dragster pics. And you will see that they are alot different once you really start lookin hard at them.
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The only time a 5point cage looks good on a front engine dragster is when it is upside down!!!
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: Front Engine Dragster How To Build One

Cut and install the differential uprights. Make shure that the top and bottom rail are plumb to each other. And tack into place. Make plates to mount the rearend. I use 3/16" 4130 moly. Stack them all 4 together and drill all of them at the sametime and cut them all out together. Then cut them apart. Two will be welded to the housing and two will be welded to the frame. The two that weld to the frame will need to be notched out more around the differential so it doesnt hit the welds on the housing brackets. Make shure the rearend is still level and the motor is still sittin where you left it. If you have it mounted in a jig this will all stay with out moving. With them all bolted together tack weld the plates to everything.
There is more to this step rules wise. Always consult a SFI book for the demensional details.
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The only time a 5point cage looks good on a front engine dragster is when it is upside down!!!
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:06 PM   #5
KING CHASSIS
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Default Re: Front Engine Dragster How To Build One

Always work off the center line to make shure everything is not shifted side to side. How far the motor is away from the rear axle depends on what kind of trans your gonna run. But these days people have the motor further out to keep the car out of a wheelie. But for the looks of "the old days" I only put my motors out just far enuff for transmission stuff to barley fit. I like my motor as far back as possible.
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The only time a 5point cage looks good on a front engine dragster is when it is upside down!!!
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Front Engine Dragster How To Build One

Now at the front you can connect the top and bottom rails. Just cut a pie shape out of the top rail and drop it down on to the bottom and tack in place.

Now you can make motor mounts, attach the torsion tube and add all the other up rights next to the motor and around the seat.

Make a seat and add the roll bar.
For roll bar specs check the SFI book.
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The only time a 5point cage looks good on a front engine dragster is when it is upside down!!!
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:15 PM   #7
KING CHASSIS
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Default Re: Front Engine Dragster How To Build One

Now you can add the front axle, wish bones / radius rods and steering.

This is just a brief discription on how to build a front engine dragster. There is alot more detail to it. But most HAMBers are craftsmen and when you guys get into one. You will have the common sence on how to make shure it is being done correct. Main thing is work off the center line. Use a plumb bob. And make shure everything is level and square.
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The only time a 5point cage looks good on a front engine dragster is when it is upside down!!!
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:19 PM   #8
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Default Re: Front Engine Dragster How To Build One

Too cool!
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:19 PM   #9
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Default Re: Front Engine Dragster How To Build One

And here it is with a borrowed set of wheels and tires and a body on it.

I hope that some of you guys give it a shot . So we can see abunch of these cars at the race track again.

This car was built to NHRA specs for 7.50 and slower. For Dean Seavers and Mark Havery out of Northern California. It will be a Jr. Fuel style car with a injected small chevy and a powerglide trans.

Partner up with two or three friends and go racin 1964 style.

Front Engine Dragsters Forever.
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The only time a 5point cage looks good on a front engine dragster is when it is upside down!!!
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:23 PM   #10
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Default Re: Front Engine Dragster How To Build One

Beautiful post, thanks for taking the time!
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:28 PM   #11
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Default Re: Front Engine Dragster How To Build One

SWEET!!!! I have been fully instructed by John Shoemaker while growing up in his shop and studying his jig..... This is a great little re confirm on what I've been taught! I am so much moving towards building a car that it's not funny any more.... This is a great post! Thanks again Dude!

Robert M.
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:30 PM   #12
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Default Re: Front Engine Dragster How To Build One

I wanna build one of these! If it does wheelies, I don't have a problem with that.
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:20 AM   #13
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Default Re: Front Engine Dragster How To Build One

Quote:
Originally Posted by THE-SYNDICATE View Post
SWEET!!!! I have been fully instructed by John Shoemaker while growing up in his shop and studying his jig..... This is a great little re confirm on what I've been taught! I am so much moving towards building a car that it's not funny any more.... This is a great post! Thanks again Dude!

Robert M.

We're super jazzed with our King Chassis car (it's the one in the pics Brian used to illustrate. I'm headed down to B'field on Saturday to pick up the wheels and tires, and then we get busy fabbing up controls and all that jazz. It'll be a year or two before she's track-worthy, but we're gettin' there. Mild SBC to start, which will probably see us running high 9s, and then as funds allow, we'll lean on 'er and hopefully end up in the mid-8 second ETs.

So Robert- we're in Sacramento and it would be cool to have someone to run with, since what we're doing doesn't really fit into a class easily. Keep in touch when you take the plunge!

Dean
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Old 03-05-2010, 09:47 AM   #14
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Default Re: Front Engine Dragster How To Build One

Awesome! I am guessing the 1959 model is not designed to pass NHRA tech?? That would be a fun car...
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:43 AM   #15
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Default Re: Front Engine Dragster How To Build One

Quote:
Originally Posted by voxnut View Post
We're super jazzed with our King Chassis car (it's the one in the pics Brian used to illustrate. I'm headed down to B'field on Saturday to pick up the wheels and tires, and then we get busy fabbing up controls and all that jazz. It'll be a year or two before she's track-worthy, but we're gettin' there. Mild SBC to start, which will probably see us running high 9s, and then as funds allow, we'll lean on 'er and hopefully end up in the mid-8 second ETs.

So Robert- we're in Sacramento and it would be cool to have someone to run with, since what we're doing doesn't really fit into a class easily. Keep in touch when you take the plunge!

Dean
Dean,

Will do for sure.... I have a few pieces here and there and my basic Chassis table is built and in my shop already. The real bitch is that I had a perfect 8 3/4" CHRY rear end out of Jessie Perkin's Fuel Car and tossed it out several years ago.... I thought, "Shit I'm never going to build another one of these....." What a dumb Shit.... Oh Well.

~Robert M.
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:03 AM   #16
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Default Re: Front Engine Dragster How To Build One

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard D View Post
I wanna build one of these! If it does wheelies, I don't have a problem with that.
Has anyone picked up one of these yet and ran it at an NHRA track?
I have been looking at that site for about the last six months and I'd REALLY REALLY REALLY like to get one an put a hyperpak slant 6 in it and run the dogsnot out of it, but I'm afraid of getting bounced by NHRA tech... watching the HA/GR threads for the last couple years, it doesn't seem like this car would tech well- but damn, is it SEXY! :P

JK
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Last edited by RileyRacing; 03-05-2010 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:10 PM   #17
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Default Re: Front Engine Dragster How To Build One

Quote:
Originally Posted by RileyRacing View Post
Has anyone picked up one of these yet and ran it at an NHRA track?
Won't they let you slide if it's over 10 seconds?
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:15 PM   #18
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Default Re: Front Engine Dragster How To Build One

According to the HA/GR guys, it doesn't look like it-they are classified as a FED no matter what. Again, this is ONLY from reading the threads on HA/GR, I haven't actually been to the track to ask! I need to slide down to Milan Dragway when it opens and question the tech guys... it's gotta be safer than a crotch rocket, right?

JK
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:25 PM   #19
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Default Re: Front Engine Dragster How To Build One

Geezus Brian, I just come to terms with the fact that I need to sell my Fed project(most of it's gone, anyway), and you post stuff like this! Makes me think I'll just hang the chassis from the ceiling...

Great thread, though!
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:37 PM   #20
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Default Re: Front Engine Dragster How To Build One

Way cool Brian....
This world NEEDS more front engine dragsters.....
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