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1971 Chevy Camaro - The Right Stuff
Project Orange Krate Gets A New Front Subframe, Suspension, Subframe Connectors, And Brakes.
Dec 1, 2010
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1971 Chevy Camaro - The Right Stuff
To give Project Orange Krate, our second-gen Camaro, the ultimate handling capabilities both on and off the track, we contacted Detroit Speed Inc. for one of their industry leading front subframes featuring unique hydroformed framerails for the ultimate in strength and stiffness. The complete subframe includes everything your see here and it is a direct replacement for the stock bolt-in unit. Tubular upper and lower control arms combined with adjustable Detroit Speed coilover shocks, splined sway bar, and C6 steering knuckles and bearing packs will provide plenty of performance handling.
Precise engineering of the subframe is evident at every corner, including the contours used in the front crossmember where the power rack-and-pinion bolts into place. Note that the crossmember is designed to accept a variety of engine combinations including everything from a big-block to the standard small-block, LS1, LS2, and LS7 Chevy V-8s.
To perfectly match the braking capabilities out back (spotlighted in the previous issue) we contacted Baer Brake Systems for their high-performance Baer Claw Extreme-Plus braking system featuring their 6S six-piston MonoBlock calipers (manufactured from forged aluminum alloy) expertly matched to their cross-drilled and slotted two-piece 14-inch brake rotors.
Newell then tightened the subframe into place using a 3/4-inch socket and 3/8-inch drive. This will properly secure the subframe in place for the next step.
Detroit Speed's solid body mounts are designed to eliminate any flex between the body and subframe connection. CNC-milled from billet aluminum, their unique two-piece design is then hard-coated (not anodized) to avoid corrosion. CNC-milled stainless beveled washers are included along with core supports and washers. The optional polished stainless body bolt kit completes the installation hardware.
Peter Newell, owner of Competition Specialties, got started by placing the subframe on a rolling pallet and slid the subframe into place. He then located the four body mounting points and installed the lower cup bodies, beveled washers, and polished stainless body bolts into place by hand to secure the subframe to the body.
It was now time to check and make sure that the subframe was square to the body. For this step, Newell chose to use a Stanley FatMax cross-line laser level. A simple plumb line could also be used.
Up front, he used the lower control arm forward mounting locations and dropped a line to the ground to mark the location. Out back, the round flanged holes that are near the front of the rear framerails were used to mark the location.
With the four points marked on the floor, he then measured diagonally between these points to make sure they were within 1/8-inch of each other. Had there been a discrepancy, the subframe could be loosened so any adjustments could be made. At this time the wheelbase was also checked for side to side accuracy.
Detroit Speed's custom-designed, weld-in subframe connectors are fabricated from rectangular steel tubing. The kit features laser-cut brackets to attach the rear of the subframe to the connector. The installation will increase the car's overall rigidity by linking the front subframe to the rear framerails.
Following Detroit Speed's detailed, illustrated instructions, Newell first measured 67/8-inches inward from the pinch-weld along the bottom of the rocker panel and marked the spot.
He followed up by using a straight edge to draw a line with a marker connecting the two points together.
Detroit Speed provided a template to mark the rear of the floorpan. Newell trimmed the template and positioned it using double-sided tape. From there he used a Sharpie to mark the area to be cut.
Following with a Sawzall, he continued cutting the marked areas. Note that it is recommended to cut to the inside of your marked lines since additional trimming can be done later for the final fitment of the connectors.
Next, he measured inward 63/4 inches from the pinch-weld on the rear front seat brace and marked the spot
Newell then continued by marking and drawing another line 3 inches to the inside of the first line. These will be the cut lines for where the subframe connector will be installed.
Wearing adequate eye protection, Newell began the removal of the marked sheetmetal and proceeded to cut the floorplan using a cutoff wheel.
Newell completed the cuts using the cutoff wheel to get through the layers of steel used for the rear front seat brace.
Once the sheetmetal was removed, it was easy to see how the new subframe connector would fit into place. A number of test fits confirmed the need for some additional trimming and deburring for the perfect fit. Note the surgical area was thoroughly cleansed of any old undercoating and contaminants prior to starting the job.
Beginning with the rear of the subframe connector, he inserted the open slotted end into the rear floorpan and raised the unit upwards.
With the connector clamped in place, you can see just how slick the installation will be once everything is completed. Note that the front of the connector may need some trimming where it will meet the subframe, depending on your situation.
No additional trimming was needed in our case. Newell used a Lincoln Electric Power MIG 216 to MIG weld the end caps in place to the front of the connector.
He completed the job by smoothing out the welds using an air-driven grinder topped with a 50-grit disc.
The connector was then clamped into place with the provided inner and outer laser-cut mounting brackets to determine any needed trimming of the brackets prior to final welding. The brackets were ready to be secured into place with minimal trimming. (Note that they are already drilled and ready for your plug-welds!)
He then removed the connector to complete the final MIG welding on his workbench.
You can bet that the car will stop on a dime and give change! Wanting extreme durability and unparalleled performance, the Baer Claw Extreme-Plus braking system will without a doubt make a well-noted difference on both the street and track. Note the custom color painted logo that will match the car's exterior.
Thanks to Detroit Speed Inc., Baer Brake Systems, and Competition Specialties, Project Orange Krate should handle like it's on rails once it hits the asphalt. Stay tuned for our next installment when the car finally lands on all fours wearing its new Boze Lateral-g wheels and BFG rubber.
Newell wasted no time tack-welding the mounting brackets into place
The connector was clamped back into place where Newell tack welded it into its final resting place. Note that since Orange Krate will soon be disassembled for final metal and bodywork, the finish welding of the connector to the subframe will be completed at reassembly. Talk about a clean installation-the Detroit Speed subframe connector is nearly flush to the floor, making it barely visible from underneath the car.
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