This month we will be looking at dismantling your car's frame section. I would like to start with the Tri-five class. Since the body, suspension and steering systems and the powerplant are mounted on or to the frame, their life and operation depend in a large measure on its strength and rigidity. In dismantling the frame, you need to examine it very carefully for rust or damage. Example: convertible framerails have a reinforcement plate on each side, below the outer rail; these are almost always rusted away. The frame is the foundation of your car and you can't cut corners on this section. The rebuilding of your frame will make or break your restoration!
You need to think about your vision very carefully with regards to the frame section. Not just about the powertrain. Suspension, steering and brakes are just as important! Stock cars are sometimes the hardest to do. The frame and body are designed to reinforce each other, providing structural strength for durability and safety. Your car's suspension has many working parts that will need to be replaced (ball joints, bushings on the upper and lower front control arms, etc.) Similarly, the rearend assembly also has bushings that are just as important. Shock absorbers for stock cars are hard to find. However, for street cars I would use a good gas shock. New steering components such as tie rod ends, Pitman arm, idler arm and so on are a must! I always replace the front coil springs, too.
Now you need to look at your brakes in the same way and replace all working bolts here, as well. Always think safety! I have an old friend, Herman Smith, who runs H&H Classic Parts in Bentonville, Arkansas. He is the one I always go to for my Tri-five needs. I went to see Herman to take some pictures and look at some new products on updating the Tri-five. I was amazed with all the new products that are on the market today for these cars. Updating with disc brakes or power steering is a snap.
Remember to always tell your vision to the vender, if they don't want to take the time to help, you don't need their parts or services. Companies such as H&H Classic Parts and Darryl Nance's, D&P Classic Chevy in Huntington Beach, California (the author of Tri-Five Tech Talk in Super Chevy), will also help you in your vision and with all your parts needs. Take time to read his article each month.
Next month I will try to help you with tips on painting your frame, suspension and powertrain. We will take a look at the "Gold Class" frame to a very nice driver. Remember you will love it when your plan starts coming together. --Ron
To contact the author of the Resto Tip of the Month,please call or write him at:
R&R Motor Sports
1629 E. Main, Dept. SC
Siloam Springs, AR 72761