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Hot Rods flattening a 36 - 40 front crossmember

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by flatheadfever, Nov 26, 2014.

  1. I picked up a 36 Ford frame quite cheap and some 39 axles.
    Flattened the rear cross member and got about a 5-6" drop from stock.
    I was thinking of flattening the front cross member about 2".
    Here is the question.
    Will raising the front cross member 2" interfere with a flathead or OHV engine installation?
    The reason I am dropping the chassis this way is that it is not costing anything and i can retain mostly stock suspension. I will take a few leafs out and maybe reverse the main spring.
    I might have to the notch the rear section of the frame for clearance.
    It is still in the planning stages and is subject to change!
    Eventually I plan to install a 46 cab and 38 deluxe front clip on this chassis.
    I have 46 brakes, 46 rear truck axle and wide five rims and drums. I would to find a flathead but might settle for a 283.
  2. I wonder if I should have posted in the custom or hotrod forum?
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2014
  3. oldsman41
    Joined: Jun 25, 2010
    Posts: 1,157


    don't think it matters which forum. you have had plenty of lookers which means we need a post when you do it. I hope somebody chimes in cause I have been thinking about this also.
  4. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 26,937


    Thanks for posting that photo! That looks like a scean right out of the early 1960's around here. Bob
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  5. RAK
    Joined: Jul 15, 2011
    Posts: 64


    fever, if you raise the center of that crossmember it'll interfere with the flathead pan in front, it's pretty tight. I used a Posies front spring and 1" longer shackles from Tardels and that gave me 2.5" of drop without changing anything else.
  6. I am thinking the same way wouyld work for me. I dont want to mess the steering up too much. I have a 58 gmc that steers like shit from lowering it too much on the springs.
    I will try the longer shackles and maybe have a new main spring made or de- arch the one i have and lose a few springs.
    Flattening the rear can give you up to 6" but then you get close to botteming out.
    Not sure if I going to run a flathead or 283 yet.
    I have to repair the centre of the front crossmember ( center pulled out from a loose u-bolts years ago) so I thought that would be a good time to hack it up.
    My goal is to lower it with limited funds and not mess up the steering since my stock 38 is shows me how nice these cars can drive.
  7. Asphalt Demon
    Joined: Jan 19, 2014
    Posts: 293

    Asphalt Demon
    from Australia

    Not as familiar with 36 to 40 crossmembers but I have sectioned quite a few 42/46 front crossmembers upto 2.5 inch with no ill effects. They drop down a lot, you cut your 2 inch parallel section out , weld bottom of crossmember to top. I weld a flat bar across the top to help it stay aligned whilst reworking it . And a large bolt or thread bar to help centre the two prices going back together through centre hole, spring locater. I'm sure you could use this method , johnny
  8. I think i got it. Any pictures?
    I was planning on cutting the centre out with the the u-bolt holes and then move everything up. some pie cuts and bends the sides up, a couple of slices to move the top rail up and fill in the pieces.

    I was surprised how soft the original steel is. My recep saw worked as good as the mini grinder. Nice to weld as well.
  9. RAK
    Joined: Jul 15, 2011
    Posts: 64


    Guys, I understand that to lower the front end this way you would have to raise the center of the crossmember, right? I had to pull the pan on the flathead I (used to) have in there once and it was tough to do due to the lack of clearance at the front.. I don't recall exactly how much there was but it couldn't have been much. Did you raise/move the engine mounting position after the crossmember mod?
  10. the front of the oil pan on the 283 in my `36 ford is about 1/2" above the U-bolts on the stock front crossmember. it's a tight fit between the stock firewall and the radiator. if the center had been raised 2" like you are suggesting no way the 283 would have fit without cutting something else or having the engine at a weird angle

    unless i'm not fully understanding what you are trying to do?
  11. mr.chevrolet
    Joined: Jul 19, 2006
    Posts: 6,610


    here's a 40 frame with a SBC. no pan though.

    Attached Files:

  12. RAK
    Joined: Jul 15, 2011
    Posts: 64


    IMG_20141117_145519_258.jpg This is my 40 today as I am installing a SBC, it's attached to a 39 trans & torque tube. The pan is from a mid-90's PU and has the shallowest front I could find so there would be more room between the crossmember and the pan. An ordinary passenger car pan would be deeper in front. You might get 2" of crossmember drop in there but it would be tight, the FH pan is deeper in front.
  13. This a picture of 36 cross member of buddy in NZ I think. This is the one I've been thinking about.

    image.jpg image.jpg
  14. Asphalt Demon
    Joined: Jan 19, 2014
    Posts: 293

    Asphalt Demon
    from Australia

    Both the cars that i have with this mod are still flatheads. I'm sorry I cannot post pics. The above mod on the nz car is really the same result with slightly different method. The method I use is cut parallel above the flat of the crossmember.on the sides of the member, then raise bottom up. I like this method as majority of the welding is on the sides of the crossmember and not getting banged / worked by the spring in action.looks like you would be limited to round two inch max drop on these.johnny
  15. I think I'll try to achieve my drop with a little bit from the cross member, spring and shackles
    Should be able to get 3-4" and not mess up the steering geometry.
    Asphalt Demon likes this.
  16. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 7,949


  17. I removed the rear crossmember and created some extra work as I will rivet it back in as original. I'm not removing the front one.
    I don't really like the limited penitration my 110v mig welder gives do I am using my stick welder.
    I might use fish plates as well and have it stronger than original just to be sure.
    The old steel in the cross member is nice to work with.
  18. I can't speak to flathead,
    But with a SBC you need to get the waterpump out of the radiator by moving the engine back, at this point its clear of the crossmember for any alterations.
  19. Is that for both short and long pumps?
  20. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,911

    need louvers ?

    There is no room for a long pump if I remember correctly.

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