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Technical Channeling a 34 Ford Pickup Chassis Question

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Ratspit, Jan 31, 2018.

  1. Ratspit
    Joined: Dec 6, 2017
    Posts: 19


    I am building a fenderless 34 Ford pickup and want to channel the cab a full 6" over the stock frame rails. Also planning on boxing the rails. The problem I have is that the channeling negatively affects my seat height in the truck. It would be much better if I had a couple extra inches. One of my thoughts was to section the frame 2" under the cab. Anybody modified the frame rails like this or have any other ideas?
  2. dumprat
    Joined: Dec 27, 2006
    Posts: 1,963

    from b.c.

    I have a 34 pick up.
    Unless you are one of the dwarves from sleeping beauty or don't intend to drive the truck don't channel it. The cab is pretty damn small as it is.
    Nailhead Jason, barrnone50 and X38 like this.
  3. I think you mean Snow White. Everything else is correct. ;)
    barrnone50, dumprat and millersgarage like this.
  4. There's a few tricks, they all involve work though.

    What's important to you about the channel job? Serious question.

    Is it to hide the frame ?
    Is it because the cab is too big?
    Is it because the proportions are off?

    A combination of tricks can get you what you want, and still keep what you need.
    A simple and easy channel job accomplishes 2 things. First it makes the cabin smaller and by making the cabin smaller naturally it moves the stock body lines down.

    There are thousands of hot rods on 4" tube frames. No reason you couldn't section a stock frame to that, but you need to know what your doing and how to weld. This one lowers the body lines and appears to cover 2" of frame.

    You could also add to the bottom of the body. Get the patch panels and move them down then see how to connect the inners. This one amplifies the the look of a chop, making a mild chop appear more radical. A stock door has a certain ratio of widow opening to over all height, a chopped door changes that ratio, adding to the bottom also changes that ratio. This one moves towards covering the frame and change in proportions.

    Dropping the floor pan down inside of the rails is another labor intensive trick.
    Most will set 1" tube on top of the frame for a floor structure. It's easy but that tosses out another inch you really need. This one helps the cabin space.

    Stretching the doors and roof is another one. This one changes proportions and adds cabin space. A Stretched door that has the bottom added to keeps the proportions.

    If you combined all of those tricks you could have a very good looking 34 truck. It would appear as radical chopped, full channel and a 6' tall guy could drive. Unheard of !! Because it's a lot of work. Just don't do too much of either one. Keep the ratios of length to height in mind and keep it balanced.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
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  5. Ratspit
    Joined: Dec 6, 2017
    Posts: 19


    Thank you for all the ideas. I think the key is to do a little bit in a few places to get where I want to be. Yes more work but maintains the proper proportions.

    Here is a picture of the interior of Jimmy Shine's truck. He belly panned the floor to get room. Also looks like he spread the rails to follow the body. I don't see much bracing in there. Perhaps welding the body directly to the frame stiffened things up enough.

    Attached Files:

  6. Ratspit
    Joined: Dec 6, 2017
    Posts: 19


    Here is another picture showing how the rails were notched to fit the seats.

    Attached Files:

  7. Corn Fed
    Joined: May 16, 2002
    Posts: 2,252

    Corn Fed

    Just raise the roof 6".
    56don and barrnone50 like this.
  8. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 39,697


    If 6 is too deep by a couple of inches than channel it 4 and step ( Z) the frame. That will put your rocker panels/door bottoms in the same place and leave you a little room to sit.

    Another option that no one will agree with is to drop it the fill 6 then put your floor boards on the bottom of the frame instead of using them as part of the cab. Lots more work but you'll be the only one in town with a step down pickup.
  9. A belly pan for the floor is great idea, it's more of a unibody construction.
    Works well but there's some redesign of the normal under car stuff.
    Metalshapes built a roadster like that. Pretty damn cool
  10. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 39,697


    Most of that stuff usually gets run through the tunnel. It is difficult to make it fit and unless you're narrow in the hips like Mr Shapes and me the cab gets a little uncomfortable. But it is a real refinement that we don't usually consider. It definitely becomes an exercise in thinking. ;)
  11. Ratspit
    Joined: Dec 6, 2017
    Posts: 19


    Belly pan would work if the rails were spread. Otherwise they're in the way right now. I hadn't considered Z'ing the frame.
  12. So spread them and curve them to fit and follow the cab.
    This first pick is the frame under my Vicky.
    The stick is straight for reference. In top view it follows the body, in side view it's a 33/34 profile. The main rails are 6"x2"x3/16 box tube curved to fit and follow the body.


    Here's most of a stock 33/34 frame under my coupe (build thread in signature)
    It's spread out and the curve is manipulated a bit. The tails are custom built to better fit the ass end of the hand built coupe parts.
    image.jpeg image.jpeg

    There's a few ways to get the frame to follow the body.
    If you're planning on section in the 6" rail down to 4" - well a 4" tube will fit in the harbor freight roller and with a little sweat you can roll that 4" tube into S curve you want.

    On the Vicky frame I split the tube into 2 pieces so I had 1"X 6" C channels. I bent them with just a big table, heat, clamps and an engine hoist to the template I made of the body. Once I had them where I wanted I tacked the halves together, set the rails and built the frame.

    You could also get some pieces bent into an L shape and have the short side edges shrunk or stretched to follow and then weld them together corner to corner. There's a few guy here who have the big ass shrinkers, and lots of fab shops have them too.

    I hate this way and personally won't do it - but you could also cut slices in it and bend it around then weld them back up.

    As far as putting a Z in a 33/34 frame, they are already Z-ed up pretty good in the front and the back. If you run an A crossmember up front pushed forward a couple inches and a Modified 35-40 crossmember in the back with a little C notch you can get the frame TOO low in a hurry.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
    barrnone50 likes this.
  13. fleetside66
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,125


    It's been awhile, but I dredged up these pics. The frame is "Z"'d, which is key, because I chopped it 3." The cab is channeled over the frame 5-1/2." The floor structure is essentially even with the top of the frame rails. It all works, but I'm only about 5'9." It was like the old Isaac Asimov short story..."Slow Scupture"...don't rush it, ask questions, sleep on all the steps & go with your gut. It's funny, looking at the prior pic, I never realized it was so similar to the Jimmy Shine truck channel.
    P1012391.jpg P1012537.jpg P1012538.jpg P1013414.jpg
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
  14. falconsprint63
    Joined: May 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,287

    from Mayberry

    Mine was chopped and chanelled originally. At 6 feet and 270 i went back and forth a LOT about how to build this time. Finally bit the bullet and de-channeled it. Just keep in mind ergonomics in your build.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    31Vicky with a hemi likes this.
  15. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 1,779

    sloppy jalopies

    I drove a 5" channel and 5" section '33 ford 5 window... I sunk the floors under the seat, flush at the frontv and tapering down to 2" in the rear, very skinny seat back... nippler.jpg
  16. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,185


    IMG_5635.GIF I sat in the shine truck when he was building it, it was very comfortable as I had a 6" channeled 32 pickup at the time which was not , I drove that truck 12,000 miles that summer I was 22yrs old 6' 165lbs ... I don't think I could do it again..

    Belly pan idea is good and worked well in the shine truck ,BUT if you have a trans much bigger than that little 39 ford box your. It going to get much gain .. an s-10 t-5 maybe

    The shine truck was still tight to fit so it depends mostly on body type
    31Vicky with a hemi likes this.
  17. Ratspit
    Joined: Dec 6, 2017
    Posts: 19


    Looks like Shine modified the lower portion of the fire wall too. Possibly gained some leg room.

    Attached Files:

  18. Rocky
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,071

    Classified Editor

    When I bought my 33 pickup it was already partially channeled over the frame and the cab was welded to the sides of the rails with angle iron. I put the seat [Ford van 3rd seat] flat on the frame and sat in it [I'm 5'9"] and had the neighbor kid come over and measure from the top of my head to the truck's unchopped top.....Cutting 5.5" gave me one inch head room.
    It was a little close but T-man, Janglehead and I cruised it around Kansas City all afternoon and night with no problems.
    33atspeed.jpg 33interior.jpg
    continentaljohn likes this.
  19. rodbuilderUK
    Joined: May 26, 2006
    Posts: 9


    Mine is channelled the full 6" with a 1 3/4" chop, it is very tight for space, I am 5'7" 180 lbs any bigger and it would be a struggle but look great.



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