Project Orange Krate - Gettin' Tubbed

We Had To Make Room For Some Serious Rubber In Our Second-Gen Project Car, So Out Came The Cutting Wheel, Sawzall, Welder, And A Few Hammers.

Chuck Vranas Sep 1, 2010 0 Comment(s)
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When you come upon a car for the first time, nothing conveys an "all business" attitude more than a low-slung, aggressive stance. If it's perfectly dialed in, it will surely leave you with a long-lasting impression. Done wrong, however, and you'll walk away scratching your head wondering what they could have possibly been thinking. It doesn't matter if the car is in primer or coated with plenty of dazzling vibe, getting it to sit right takes a number of revisions to achieve not only the look but also the handling ability to back it up.

Camp_1009_03_o Project_orange_krate Deep_tubes 2/29

If you want to run a wicked set of wheels and fat tires out back, there's only one way to kick off the party-mini-tubs. We made a call to Detroit Speed Inc. for a set of their deep tubs (PN 040403) for second-gen Camaros as we knew Project Orange Krate would be sporting 12-inch-wide Boze Lateral-G wheels out back wrapped in 335mm-wide BFG rubber. This will be the first step toward giving our second-gen project car extra attitude and necessary grip. Since it will be spouting out upward of 500 hp to the tires, we're going to need some biggies. Detroit Speed's deep tubs are constructed from rock-solid 18-gauge steel in the USA and are engineered for a perfect fit while also retaining the factory look. The kit also includes a set of front and rear steel flanges, design templates to help you through the installation, and a detailed set of illustrated instructions.

To take on the installation, we turned to Peter Newell and his team at Competition Specialties in Walpole, Massachusetts. Team member Brian Jordan prepared the car for surgery and was ready to burn some metal. First off, he removed the interior and trunk panels to protect them from the upcoming welding and grinding. For easy access to the wheelwell areas, the gas tank and fuel lines were removed, as well as the complete rearend, brake lines, emergency brake cables, and driveshaft. With the underside and interior of the car picked clean, Jordan got started.

Camp_1009_04_o Project_orange_krate Sparks_flying 3/29

A good rule of thumb as he moved forward was to "measure twice, cut once." With the templates provided by Detroit Speed Inc., it was a breeze laying out all of the correct incisions required to get the job done. Jordan, a master at his craft, took the time to utilize the templates and illustrate just how user friendly they made mapping out the cuts.

Hold on tight because we'll be tackling the rearend and rear suspension installation next!

A "special thanks" goes out to our good friend Ray Williams, who runs the Sherwin-Williams store in Medford. He supplied us with all of the cutting and sanding discs as well as the SEM products to complete the job.

Camp 1009 06 O Project Orange Krate Rear Differential 4/29

There are a number of steps in preparing for the installation, including the removal of the fuel tank. Competition Specialties team member Brian Jordan drained the tank and lines, and then removed them to not only allow greater access to the work area, but also for safety reasons since there will be plenty of welding and grinding to come. With the entire rearend assembly loosened up, he lowered the car and safely removed the rearend. Since the assembly will not be reused in our application, it can be sold off at the local swap meet.

Camp 1009 07 O Project Orange Krate Cutoff Wheel 5/29

Once drilled out, the section was removed using a hammer and chisel. To clean up the area, he followed with a cutoff wheel to trim away any burrs and sharp edges.

Camp 1009 08 O Project Orange Krate Seatbelt Hole 6/29

After removing the tab on the template from the previous step, the template was replaced in order to trace the cut line using a yellow marking crayon.

Camp 1009 09 O Project Orange Krate Rear Deep Tub 7/29

The rear deep tub inner wheelwell template was trimmed and secured into place for that area. It also was marked with a yellow crayon.

Camp 1009 10 O Project Orange Krate Inner Wheelwell Template 8/29

After cutting out the front deep tub inner wheelwell template, it was set into place and secured with a body magnet. Note the bull's-eye mark to represent the new front seatbelt hole, which is required.

Camp 1009 11 O Project Orange Krate Drilling 9/29

The installation requires the majority of the interior and trunk panels be removed to provide access to the inner body panels. Jordan began the resurrection, starting with the removal of the seatback support, after marking it with the template provided by Detroit Speed. He used a spot-weld bit to drill out all of the factory welds.

Camp 1009 12 O Project Orange Krate Hammer Punch 10/29

With a hammer and punch, Jordan marks the spot for the new seatbelt hole.

Camp 1009 13 O Project Orange Krate Masking Tape 11/29

To extend the cut line upward and along the seatback from the interior to the trunk area, 2-inch masking tape was used to link the templates together. This cut line was also marked with a yellow crayon.

Camp 1009 14 O Project Orange Krate Spot Welds 12/29

After drilling out the spot welds, which connected the inner and outer wheeltubs, Jordan used a Sawzall to remove the original inner wheeltub. Note that this is only a rough cut. It will get finessed as the job progresses.

Camp 1009 15 O Project Orange Krate Stock Wheeltub 13/29

Here you can see the initial opening with the stock wheeltub removed and masking tape noting the amount of trimming still needed.

Camp 1009 16 O Project Orange Krate Inner Rocker Panel 14/29

Next, Jordan proceeded to the rear of the inner rocker panel and measured 23/4 inches from the bottom of the panel, marking it with a solid line. He then proceeded upward to the top of the overlapped panel and, using a cutoff wheel, removed the overlapped portion adjacent to the new wheeltub.

Camp 1009 17 O Project Orange Krate Proper Eye Protection 15/29

Wearing proper eye protection, Jordan proceeded using a cutoff wheel to remove the floorpan and trunk pan along the areas marked by the 2-inch tape. This created proper clearance for the deep tub.

Camp 1009 19 O Project Orange Krate Factory Wheeltub 16/29

The area was then trimmed and deburred using a small grinder topped with a 24-grit disc. This image lets you see exactly how perfect the removal of the factory wheeltub went.

Camp 1009 21 O Project Orange Krate Flanges 17/29

Peter Newell stepped in to lend a hand by bending the front and rear flanges into shape. Using the provided front and rear inner wheelwell templates and a vise, Newell was able to obtain the correct curvature required by the templates. Note that these bends will give the flanges the overall shape needed, which may require some final adjustments once they meet up with the car's structure.

Camp 1009 22 O Project Orange Krate Deep Tub Test Fit 18/29

With the deep tub test-fit in place, Jordan used a blue Sharpie to mark a line along the inside of the floorpan all the way to the trunk pan onto the tub. This marking will be used for reference when punching holes for spot welding points.

Camp 1009 23 O Project Orange Krate Small Grinder 19/29

Using a small grinder topped with a 24-grit disc, Jordan ground both the inner and outer surface of the flanges clean to prepare them for welding.

Camp 1009 24 O Project Orange Krate Welding 20/29

The front and rear flanges were welded into place using a Lincoln Electric MIG welder. Jordan made sure to properly protect his sight by using a Lincoln Viking 750S Vari-Shield helmet.

Camp 1009 25 O Project Orange Krate Inner Fender 21/29

At this time Jordan checked the deep tub for proper fitment to the body's inner and outer structure. The exceptional design of the tub was apparent when the test-fit proved there would be little, if any, trimming needed.

Camp 1009 26 O Project Orange Krate Exhaust Pipe 22/29

Once the deep tub was removed, it was time to test-fit the front and rear flanges and tack-weld them into place.

Camp 1009 27 O Project Orange Krate Pipes 23/29

After the flanges sufficiently cooled, they were treated to a coating of SEM Weld-Thru Primer (PN 39873) to protect them from any potential corrosion once the job was complete.

Camp 1009 28 O Project Orange Krate Inner Tub 24/29

At this time Jordan checked the deep tub for proper fitment to the body's inner and outer structure. The exceptional design of the tub was apparent when the test-fit proved there would be little, if any, trimming needed.

Camp 1009 29 O Project Orange Krate Recess Hole Punch 25/29

Jordan used a recess hole punch to create openings for spot-welding every 13/4 inches apart on the outer lip of the deep tub.

Camp 1009 30 O Project Orange Krate Deep Tub Placement 26/29

The deep tub placement was finalized and secured into place using a number of Vise-Grips in preparation for welding. Note that the light gray area around the outer lip of the tub is part of the front and rear flanges. These will require a minor trimming with a cutoff wheel.

Camp 1009 31 O Project Orange Krate Detroit Speed Deep Tub 27/29

Settling for nothing short of perfection, Jordan's installation of Detroit Speed's deep tub kit looks like it was installed that way from the factory. Now, there's ample room for the 18x12 Boze wheels and 335 BFGs that will take up residency in the rear of Orange Krate.

Camp 1009 32 O Project Orange Krate Deep Tub 28/29

Settling for nothing short of perfection, Jordan's installation of Detroit Speed's deep tub kit looks like it was installed that way from the factory. Now, there's ample room for the 18x12 Boze wheels and 335 BFGs that will take up residency in the rear of Orange Krate.

Camp 1009 33 O Project Orange Krate Welding 29/29

Let the welding begin! With everything in final position, Jordan let the sparks fly from both outside and inside the car as he plug-welded the deep tub into place.

Sources

Competition Specialties
508-510-7043
www.competition-specialties.com
Sherwin-Williams Automotive
Cleveland, OH
800-798-5872
http://www.sherwinautomotive.com

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