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Front Engine Dragster

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by wesleywaldeier, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. wesleywaldeier
    Joined: Oct 14, 2009
    Posts: 2


    Looking at building a fed, was wondering if anyone has built an S&W kit or any of the other prebent chassis kits out there. How are they to build if you have built one, and how close to the originals are they? (do they still look like the old school ones?) If buying an actual old chassis is the way to go how much modifying do you have to do to make one NHRA legal?
  2. Gasser1961
    Joined: Nov 25, 2008
    Posts: 1,105


  3. Candy-Man
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 1,702


    "Rooman" here on the hamb/ Keith is the guy for your FED build......
  4. 150J/F
    Joined: Jan 2, 2010
    Posts: 154


    S & W and Mark Williams kits are well designed and the chassis will pass NHRA
    certification when you are done BUT it takes some serious tools, equipment and
    skills to build at home. Can you TIG weld? Got a long table...alignment bar, etc.?
    Talk to some people that have done it. Really old chassis are spooky. Lots of
    work to modify for current certs and they tend to rust from the inside.
    Register now to get rid of these ads!

  5. H.A.M.B. member 58FED also builds replicas of the old frames.
  6. HemiRambler
    Joined: Aug 26, 2005
    Posts: 4,033


    It CAN be done at home - having a bender is a huge PLUS. Having a chassis table is a nicety not requirement - I built mine on saw horses. An alignment bar is definitely required. If you enjoy the journey as much as the destination then I would definitely consider doing the build yourself. If that isn't important to you and you have the dough then there are definitely some great builders here on the HAMB. As has been suggested - you definitely can't go wrong with Rooman!

    An old Chassis may be more trouble than it's worth - especially if you want to CERT. Look before you leap!!

    Doing one at home is alot more work than you might think - depending on what you are willing to take for granted and what you want to determine for yourself. And then there's all the little brackets and piece parts that can nickle and dime you to death ifd you're buying them. Good Luck!!
  7. H.G. Wells
    Joined: Mar 11, 2006
    Posts: 386

    H.G. Wells

    Yea, what he said.

    I bought an old one and updated it to current specs and spent way more than I would have to start with a new one. Yes you can do it at home if you have the tools and skills, and with a little creativity you can do it without a chasssis jig. But it will probably not be as good.

    Remember your life may depend on the welds and design. Are you that good?

    If you think hiring an expert is expensive, try hiring an amature.
  8. Ruiner
    Joined: May 17, 2004
    Posts: 4,148


    There are plenty of good chassis builders here on the HAMB, along with a wealth of information as to everyone else's hiccups along the way of building their FED's, so you can see what not to do as well as get advice on how to make everything work properly...Dolmetsch is building his own 6 banger FED, Kerry is building a blown hemi one, amongst many others...welcome to the HAMB...

    PS, you might want to do an intro in the intro section of the forum, just so we can get to know you a little better...
  9. Littleman
    Joined: Aug 25, 2004
    Posts: 2,605

    Alliance Member
    from OHIO, USA

    You can build one just as good without the jig....the jig is nice for building a bunch of them, you can build in for various lengths........your only as good as your last measurement ! No matter what you build. As far as design, look around, they all follow a perscribed layout, most are the same with slight differences in locations, no voodoo their...If you can build a car at home from the ground up ....more than likely you can build a digger and advance your skills. I just helped a local chassis guy bend and tack one up....He alway's told me diggers were the easiest thing that he built out of his shop...It truely was simple once we got into it..Do you want to learn?....maybe do not have the time and or feel more comfortable having someone else tig it what you have to do if you alway's wanted one............Littleman
  10. bill wallace
    Joined: Oct 26, 2006
    Posts: 104

    bill wallace

    First you need to join NHRA & then purchase a rule book. Second you need to contact SFI & buy the specs from them for a front eng dragster. If you can buy a kit that has all the pre bent parts & meets the curent specs that will save you a lot of work & time. There are several ways of building an accurate jig to build on using a single beam all the way to a chassis plate. As several folks have already said if you have the tools, the experiance,& the time& money go for it.
  11. wesleywaldeier
    Joined: Oct 14, 2009
    Posts: 2


    Thanks for the help guys. I hang out with about 5 other old hotrodders and weve all tossed around the idea of an old school fed but no one has ever built one. We have built all of our cars so far, and built our own frames. I really would like to try and build the chassis, and with our combined know how i think we can do it. I was just wanting to hear from some guys who had actually done it, to see if its a hudge undertaking.
  12. rooman
    Joined: Sep 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,651


    You are welcome to come and visit at my shop anytime. Indy/Brownsburg is not too far from Iowa and I always have at least one FED in the shop. Right now there are three new ones and a couple of originals here.

  13. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 4,388


    Buy a NEW aluminum ladder and quality sawhorses, and you can make your own chassis table. Many of the kits can be bought tack welded together, or the major components finish welded. Butch/56sedandelivery.
  14. Rex Schimmer
    Joined: Nov 17, 2006
    Posts: 747

    Rex Schimmer
    from Fulton, CA

    If you are looking to build a early style chassis, contact Keith Tardel, he has kits for the early Chassis Research K88 chassis.

  15. v8 Bake
    Joined: Dec 23, 2007
    Posts: 288

    v8 Bake

    Hummmm so now I'm old?
  16. I am on my second FED build. (with an altered in between these two.) I must say i really enjoy building them. It is very interesting work for me in my retirement. If you work in small steps and dont worry about scheduling the finish it is a very rewarding venture. Not expensive either just time intensive. I make a lot of stuff first in wood or cardboard to see if it is what i want before I finalize it in steel. I build in mild Steel because i personaly work well with it.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2010
  17. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 3,630

    from Ks

    I'm going to make the next one longer, this one is a little short. :D Lippy (in the snow today) in Ks. [​IMG]
    Joined: Sep 14, 2009
    Posts: 56

    from JONES, OK

    Lippy, can we get more pics of yours. I want to sell my racetruck and build one also.
  19. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 3,630

    from Ks

    I have a bunch. I don't want to step on this thread so, PM me your e-mail I'll send some, any part special? Lippy
  20. Yeah, I'd like to see some of your front. You know for ideas, maybe you could post them on the Eagle Field thread I don't think Rocky would mind.

    Now for the guy who started this thread. S&W and Mark Williams are great places for parts and ideas, I bought blueprints from Williams and use them for a guide line. My car is going to be Y-Block powered and you just can't go strictly by the plans with an odd engine (too wide at the starter). If you are going sbc or Hemi the kits would prolly work fine but in my limited expieriance I would say a jig is a must, especially if you are doing your first, I have found how hard it is to keep everything centered and in line.

    That being said, go for it! I'm having a blast building mine. :D
  21. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 3,630

    from Ks

    You sure Rocky won't throw something at me? Let's see. ;):D
  22. pfield
    Joined: Dec 6, 2013
    Posts: 1

    from Maine

    I am looking for a fed or altered chassis to finish building and just have fun with, looking around the north east any info would be greatly appreciated
  23. dusterdave173
    Joined: Dec 30, 2010
    Posts: 223


    I have a CenPen chassis that I scored online--they are tacked in a jig and that makes it a breeze to wind up with a good straight deal and puts you miles ahead of a pile of tube. I am almost finished after two years--Some folks find fault with Johns chassis but after living with it 2 years now I appreciate lots of good things about them--very strong--many are available from folks that won one or never started--he has sold over 100 of them --so one of the best starts out there IMO

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