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Buying an old Dragster Chassis

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Nick32vic, Nov 15, 2006.

  1. Nick32vic
    Joined: Jul 17, 2003
    Posts: 3,027

    Nick32vic
    Member

    So I know where this old F.E.D. chassis is. One of my buddies was toying with the idea of getting it.

    I remember someone talking about how the tubing on these old chassis may have weakened over time and wouldnt be safe for use.

    How do I tell if its solid to use or not? We are gonna go look at it on Saturday and It would be nice to know if I need to look for any fatigue in the chassis.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 13,210

    Jeff Norwell
    MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    I remember that too Nick.....My concern would be stress,Check the welds and the biggest would be rust (internally)in the tubing.
    If the chassis was stored indoors.....prolly nothing to worry about.. but if it was kept outside in the elements...who knows?
    Is or was it a certified chassis?
    If you could get it cheap..use it a mock-up(?)
     
  3. nobux
    Joined: Oct 19, 2002
    Posts: 639

    nobux
    Member

    Probably the only way to know the inernal condition of the chassis tubing would be to have the entire chassis sonic checked. It will probably need to be sonic checked anyway to get re-certified.
     
  4. recardo
    Joined: Aug 31, 2006
    Posts: 833

    recardo
    Member
    from Winslow

    Maybe take some string and see if you can make an X across the frame with the same length. There's some real turkeys out there. Bottom line for me, it has to look nostalgic. Might have to drill a hole to see what the wall thickness is. It might just be too thin by todays standards. If it's the right thickness, and it looked good, I'd probably buy it even if some of the welds had to be redone.
     

  5. Nick,,,a lot depends on who built the chassis. If it is a Fuller chassis or one by another notable builder of the past, then I would say it would be solid depending on if it had been wrecked or not or how it had been stored. However, if it was home built,,very be careful. You have no idea what material was used on a home built one. I bought one a year or so ago. I was told that it was Scotty Fem Chassis Research frame. WRONG...the thing turned out to be made of very thin wall galvanized tubing and I couldn't cut it, weld it or work it without extreme difficulty. Plus it was weaker than shit. I ended up keeping the rear end, the front end and the steering and throwing the frame away. Lesson learned the hard way here.
     
  6. Hey if its cheap buy it anyway. If you cant use it, it would make cool wall art!!
    Show us some pics when you can
     
  7. Wesley
    Joined: Aug 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,670

    Wesley
    Member

    keep in mind that ALOT of old dragster chassis were made of exhaust tubing, even more just werent built right. That is why there are so many rules on building a chassis today. Hell, I built my roadster chassis 15 years ago and have had to add tubing, braces and now gussets to keep up with the rule changes. When I got the car certified the first time in 95 the tech man pointed out several braces and crossmembers that I had installed in the original build that were not required but probably would be(and subsequently were) required in the next couple of years. My point is do your research carefully and be prepared to use the old chassis as a pattern to build a new chassis to current specs.
     
  8. rooman
    Joined: Sep 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,052

    rooman
    Member

    Nick,
    if you plan to run the car at any nationally sanctioned track it will need to comply with the current SFI standards. That goes for Goodguys and NPCA events too. Depending on the age of the frame it will probably not pass that inspection. Most of the early cars were built out of .049 wall tubing and while that is OK for the forward part of the frame the spec for the cockpit is .058 or thicker depending on the location of the tube and the level of performance.
    We often have people approach us wanting to know how much it would cost to update an older frame and in most cases it is cheaper to build a new one. Time is money and it takes a long time to cut out and replace tubing even if most of the main rails meet the spec.
    If the car is cool looking and in reasonable shape it is usually better to restore it as a cacklefest deal and preserve some history.
    Give me a call at 317 852 4547 if you need any more info,

    Keith Burgan
    aka The Roo Man
     
  9. usmc50lx
    Joined: Oct 3, 2006
    Posts: 711

    usmc50lx
    Member
    from St.Louis

    Nic where is this chassis at if its in st. louis for 2,000 it isn't in the greatest shape just wanted to warn you there are sections of bracing that are sawzalled out and it is rough, IMO this might not be the car but just trying to help a fellow HAMBer out if it ain't the car I speak of well hell yeah buy if its in good shape,I just know not to many F.E.Ds are in this area.
     
  10. H.G. Wells
    Joined: Mar 11, 2006
    Posts: 386

    H.G. Wells
    Member

    Listen to Rooman on this one. I would have spent less money starting from scratch on mine. NHRA is mainly conerned with the portion of the frame that surrounds the driver, in my case I ended up back halfing a chassis and just using the old rear end and part of the front chassis from the motor forward. If this old car has a chassis tag you can find out the history with a little research, if it does not have a tag it is just buyer beware. Short of driling a hole or using a sonic tester it is hard to tell the thickness of the tube. When you go look at it take a copy of the current NHRA rule book with you and decide what will have to be done to get current. Even if you never plan on running an NHRA event most everyone goes by their rules as a base.
     
  11. Graybeard
    Joined: Aug 1, 2006
    Posts: 37

    Graybeard
    Member
    from BC

    As a former employee of the great sanctioning body based out of Glendora, I can assure you, both Rooman and Mr. Wells are right on target (how's it goin' Rooman...miss reading your byline on Dragracentral....W.S.). You might, however have stumbled over a neat piece with history though. If that's the case, I wouldn't be too quick to discount the value. Some of that old pipe is worth plenty today.
     
  12. Roadsters.com
    Joined: Apr 9, 2002
    Posts: 1,783

    Roadsters.com
    Member

    Wow - you know some of the women in the Glendora Mud Wrestling Federation?

    Bet you've got some stories to tell.

    Dave
    http://www.roadsters.com/
     
  13. Glen
    Joined: Mar 21, 2001
    Posts: 1,789

    Glen
    Member

    Since were talking old chassis...I thought I would share this. It belonged to my father in law.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Nick32vic
    Joined: Jul 17, 2003
    Posts: 3,027

    Nick32vic
    Member

    Thanks for all the help guys. I learned some stuff, but unfortuanately usmc50 said he looked at the chassis in question and it needs lots of reworking. Which is probably not worth it to my friend.

    I really appreciate all the help!

    Glen, thats AWESOME. Do you have more pictures? What engine was in that?
     
  15. willys_truck
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 778

    willys_truck
    Member

    I posted the post about a old dragster frame, he bought the chassis and put a bad*** engine in it. The first time he tested the engine out the chassis folded up. The guy lost both of his legs and almost bled to death. The chassis looked great from the outside, but it had rusted from the inside out and was thin as paper in the place it let loose. Just built a new one, or how much do you value your legs???
     
  16. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,033

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    how old is it? my buddy got a 65 or thereabouts chassis research rail. I believe the tubing was .038 chromoly. whatever it was it was thin as exhaust tubing. it had been beaten, lengthened, tweaked and twisted. he ended up using only from about where the motor goes on back.

    these frames were made to be abused and thrown away.

    it will never be safe or legal. he's just using it as a prop for his vintage speed parts collection. it will run, but never down a track.
     
  17. recardo
    Joined: Aug 31, 2006
    Posts: 833

    recardo
    Member
    from Winslow

    Nice go kart. I love the roll-bar support :eek:
     
  18. 6-71
    Joined: Sep 15, 2005
    Posts: 542

    6-71
    Member

    I am glad to see that your friend decided not to buy that old chassis. many of the "home built" chassis were very poorly engineered and even more poorly fabricated.. a couple of years ago there was a local running a 60's top fuel car,it broke apart at speed and he was seriously injured. it was powered by a small block chevy at the time of its demise.
     
  19. 32viper
    Joined: Jun 3, 2004
    Posts: 277

    32viper
    Member

    If the chassis were totally bare, I would pass. If the chassis had a rear, front, steering or other old parts then think of it as buying those parts.
     
  20. willys_truck
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 778

    willys_truck
    Member

    Like you stated, if the frame has a lot of nice vintage parts on it, go for it. Heck, you could always use the frame as a pattern for a new (safe) chassis.
     
  21. Glen
    Joined: Mar 21, 2001
    Posts: 1,789

    Glen
    Member

    It was a crosley engine.

    [​IMG]
     
  22. Hanksville Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 23, 2006
    Posts: 247

    Hanksville Hot Rods
    Alliance Vendor
    from Denver-ish

    Wow, that's waaay thinner than exhaust tubing. I'd love to have an authentic old FED chassis but I'd just take the measurements and use it as a prototype to bend up my own with new chrom-moly, NHRA-legal tubing.
     
  23. Samiyam posted pics of that thing on the HAMB years ago. I remember the conversation.
     
  24. usmc50lx
    Joined: Oct 3, 2006
    Posts: 711

    usmc50lx
    Member
    from St.Louis

    yeah the chassis in question here was pretty beat up had seat and axles and steering on it though I thought of it as a cacklefestkinda car display only play on the street illegally but was missing alot of bracing when someone got close to it with a sawzall.don't know the cars history but the owner used to have the backup wheelie wagon an econoline p/u with hemi in the bed and body turned backwards.
     
  25. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,591

    Rand Man
    Member

    That's a neat little HA/GR you got there Glen. What ever became of it?
     
  26. beegator
    Joined: Apr 14, 2006
    Posts: 208

    beegator
    Member


    [​IMG]
     
  27. jonski und29
    Joined: Oct 13, 2005
    Posts: 134

    jonski und29
    Member

    I looked at an f.e.d. this summer in Tennessee. It had some rust, rear and front end, steering set-up, but no body panels. Even though both parts were there, in was cut in half (frame was actually cut, I guess for moving it). It would have gone back together and made a good conversation piece, but by no meens race it.
     

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