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Creation from 1/8" Plate - Early Ford trans crossmember

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Anderson, May 4, 2013.

  1. Anderson
    Joined: Jan 27, 2003
    Posts: 6,492


    Been wanting to tackle this for a while now. The tubular stuff in the chassis just wasn't to my liking so I had to come up with an alternative.

    Here's a before shot...

    I like the simplicity of F1 transmission crossmembers but wanted to use the biscuit style mounts, so I made my own crossmember. I started with the face...spent a lot of time on the pattern getting it just right. I didn't have a piece of plate big enough to span the whole width so I made it in halves. It was easier to fit that way too. After they were fit to the frame I welded them together. Once I figured out where I wanted the exhaust to run, I cut those notches out of the plate and tacked it into the rails.


    Then I set the transmission in place with the biscuits to make the top pieces for the crossmember. Started with a pattern then cut it out again in halves. All the cutting was done with either an electric angle grinder or an air powered cut-off wheel. The shaping was also done with the grinder. I didn't have a hole saw the correct size for mount holes, so I got most of the way there with a unibit and finished them out with a carbide bit in the air tool.

    The bends in this one were made in the vise with a little help from a hammer. Not beautiful, but functional :D I made these so that where the edge of one piece meets the other there is a valley to fill with weld. They don't overlap. All welding was also done with a MIG.

    Then, the fun part! Making the bottom piece. I cheated here and picked up some 1/8" x 1.5" bar from the hardware store. All I had to do was bend it. I made a makeshift roll from a piece of an old torque tube clamped to my workbench. I started with the center curve first and worked out to the ends. You can see the "learning experience" piece at the back of the bench when I tried to start bending from one end...oops.


    Got it as close as I could then started tacking it in. Again I started in the center and worked outwards. That way I could tweak the bar after each tack weld so it matched the plate perfectly. I left the ends long so I could cut them off to the exact length once I got everything fitting nicely.

    Then welded it all up, dressed the welds, and metal finished it. I will finish welding all the pieces to the frame rails and box around all of this before the chassis is done.


    The last hot rod I built used square tubing or pre-made and purchased stuff everywhere. I've been working with a lot of plate on this project and having a lot of fun too. Just because what you need doesn't exist doesn't mean it can't! Thanks for looking guys!!
    Last edited: May 5, 2013
  2. MrMike
    Joined: May 21, 2010
    Posts: 138


  3. Als27T
    Joined: Jun 2, 2010
    Posts: 41


    Well done! I've been pondering something similar but hadn't hit on an approach to accomplish it. You've provided both an inspiration and some very useful techniques that should lead me to a successful conclusion. Thank you for sharing! I'm subscribed!
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  4. Hackerbilt
    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
    Posts: 6,250


    Very is the entire frame! ;)

  5. AeroCraftsman
    Joined: Jul 29, 2004
    Posts: 329


  6. Very nice! (I'm thinking of a similar design, but much smaller, to utilize the trans. mounts
    in the 'X' member.)

    Good choice on the motor, too....
  7. Pete1
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 2,023

    from Wa.

    Don't forget the angle braces to the center of your new cross member.
    Remember, you are applying 80% of the forward driving force through those 2 rubber mounted ears behind the transmission. The other 20% goes through the front motor mounts.
    Ok for a stock engine.
  8. Anderson
    Joined: Jan 27, 2003
    Posts: 6,492


    I'm debating that. Thinking of adding front legs like a '32 k-member, but have to see how my brake pedal setup is going to work with that. The rear half would be easy though.
  9. Koz
    Joined: May 5, 2008
    Posts: 2,360


    Very, very nice! A man after my own heart. Looks like a nice start on that beastie. I love stuff that looks like it might have been adapted from somewhere else. I especially like the choice of the Olds.

    Keep posting.
  10. jlibert
    Joined: Mar 23, 2007
    Posts: 105

    from fresno

    man, that is lots nicer than a tubular mount. Good work.
  11. chaddilac
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 13,877


    Really nice job Eric!!!!
  12. BobMcD
    Joined: Jan 25, 2013
    Posts: 322


    Nice work. Thanks for posting!
  13. 41 Dave
    Joined: May 23, 2005
    Posts: 2,594

    41 Dave

    Anderson, That turned out to be a very clean and simple crossmember. Very neatly done. Will be checking back as you build your rod.

  14. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,906

    need louvers ?

    Really neat! Adding front legs as stated above would be a great idea, and I have always advocated a full "X" when ever possible but I can see where it will be an issue with your brake pedal assembly. Going out back like you said would be easier, and probably quite a bit more dramatic in it's effect on stiffness.

    See, when ElPolacko was designing his bolt in rear "X" member legs for deuces that were in Rod & Custom a few months back, I was kinda playing "fly on the wall" and watching what was going on. He found the vast majority of twist was coming from the longer, less supported rear section of the frame. The two rear legs that he designed and now offers took care of a lot of this twist, even with the font legs not in place. (not that in that case there would ever be a reason to run without them) Increased beam stiffness too. You already have the cowl hoop going for you up front to help stabilize things, and by going from frame rail flange to frame rail flange with your cross member you have added some super meaningful vertical stabilty as well.

    Sorry, I always get a bit windy on your threads because I really like where you are going with this car.
  15. I love stuff like this. For guys that are just starting out this can be really intimidating... it doesn't have to be. Basic tools, some trial and error... awesome results.
  16. Anderson
    Joined: Jan 27, 2003
    Posts: 6,492


    Thanks guys!! Hope it provides some inspiration or at least serves as an example.

    All I've ever had around here are basic tools...and I usually end up not upgrading because I've been using this stuff so long I've gotten pretty accustomed to doing it that way. That said, I sure would LOVE to have a nice Baleigh 3 in 1 shear/break/roll machine and a throatless shear :D :D :D
  17. austinhunt
    Joined: Nov 26, 2011
    Posts: 533


    My grinder and I became good friends when I made the engine cradle in my truck. Thanks for this post, I might just use the exhaust hump idea and rebuild my trans crossmember!
  18. arvonian
    Joined: Feb 28, 2013
    Posts: 35

    from Virginia

    Nice job there!
  19. I almost asked about this on your build thread. I like how it turned our & probably was less work than modifing a f1 unit
  20. Motomike43
    Joined: Jan 13, 2013
    Posts: 156


    nice design. looks great
  21. TexasSpeed
    Joined: Nov 2, 2009
    Posts: 4,618


    Joined: Jan 16, 2013
    Posts: 88


    Nice work, Thanks for posting.
  23. CGkidd
    Joined: Mar 2, 2002
    Posts: 2,867


    Very nice simple design easy for someone to do with a little time and elbow grease.

    Sent from my DROID device using the TJJ mobile app
  24. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,648


    Nice piece. I may hafta copy this idea.
  25. Anderson
    Joined: Jan 27, 2003
    Posts: 6,492


    Thanks again guys. Was hoping to have some legs built (or scavenged from another Ford frame) by now too but haven't had the time.
  26. damagedduck
    Joined: Jun 16, 2011
    Posts: 2,342

    from Greeley Co

    Very nice-N-clean!

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