Subframe Connector Problem? - 460 Ford Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 07:55 AM Thread Starter
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Subframe Connector Problem?

Maybe I should have done this already but I was going to weld in my subframe connectors last night on my 1993 Mustang. I found that the connector would sit flat on the back frame rail. However the front of the subframe connector contacted the front rail and then the frame rail moved up and away from the subframe connector the further back that I went. Has anybody else had this issue or do I have a real problem here?

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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 08:31 AM
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It's a little difficult to figure out what exactly you're talking about without pictures. That said, it might simply be that the subframe connector wasn't bent/manufactured correctly. You're sure the car is square and doesn't have any wreck damage, I presume. ???

For what you're building, I'd forgo the weld-on (to the bottom of the frame rails) subframe connectors and build/install some through-floor subframe connectors. A simple Google search will lead you to several threads in which guys have photo'ed builds where they made and installed their own through-floor subframes in Fox cars. They will make the entire car that much stronger (than subframes simply welded to the bottom side of the frame rails) and also can tie into your cage and vice-versa, leading to additional strength in the chassis.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 09:14 AM Thread Starter
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No wreck damage as far as I know. The car appeared to be straight and drove fine. No uneven tire wear either. I'll take a picture of what I'm talking about after I get home this evening. The subframe connectors themselves are just straight, flat pieces of tubing. They sit flat up against the rear frame rail but not flat up against the front frame rail.

I've seen how other people tie the front & rear frame rails together by cutting the floor and running mild steel rectangular tubing. I'm not sure if I'm up for all of that right now. I'm really ready to just drop the motor in and go play with it. I'm getting sick of working on it all the time. I'm ready to have some fun with it.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 10:40 AM
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Ahh...well the frame rails are not on the same plane so a straight piece of tubing stock (round or rectangular) will not sit against both frame rails flatly. The front frame rails taper up into the floorboard. This is why your subframes are not sitting flush against both frame rails. Look at Maximum Motorsport and similar subframe connectors. They are, basically, tubing stock that has been bent in partcular areas so the tubing fits flush against both frame rails.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Ahh...well the frame rails are not on the same plane so a straight piece of tubing stock (round or rectangular) will not sit against both frame rails flatly. The front frame rails taper up into the floorboard. This is why your subframes are not sitting flush against both frame rails. Look at Maximum Motorsport and similar subframe connectors. They are, basically, tubing stock that has been bent in partcular areas so the tubing fits flush against both frame rails.
Well that explains it. And thank god I might add... You had me scared that something was bent. That was the first thing that went through my head as well. I've read a lot of your posts. You seem very knowledgeable and articulate so I pay attention when you take the time to type something up. The subframe connectors that I got were of the bargain variety off of eBay for $49 bucks I believe. Now I know why there are that cheap. Perhaps I need to go upscale and get some that are more of a form fit. Either that or fabricate some metal that will form fit the front frame rail and subframe connector and then weld it all together.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 01:45 PM
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Yeah, if you're talking about making some weld-on subframes (that weld to the bottom of the frame rails), it doesn't take much to make your own. Really all you need is about a 12' stick of 1"x2" steel tubing (I've used .120" wall chromoly when I made my own) and a large hydraulic press. Measure from the front frame rail where it starts turning up at the firewall to the rearmost part of the rear frame rail/torque box. That's the length of tubing section you'll need. Cut your tubing to length and and then take it to the hydraulic press with something like a big steel drift between the press/hydraulic cylinder bottom and the tube (with the base of the press open so the tubing can bend down when the press is trying to push the tubing down). Bend it a bit at a time and then take it over to the car to get the contour correct. Once you have one side (front or back), it's simply marking the spot on the tubing where the other bend should be (on the other side of the tubing) and then repeating the same. If you want, you can then notch the ends of the tubes to fold the "bottom" side ends of the tubes to the "top" sides and then weld them closed so the subframes are closed...i.e. doesn't simply look like tubes welded to the bottom side of the car.

The Maximum Motorsport full-length subframes are, essentially, this very thing save for they have some seat supports and other brackets supplied/welded to them. They also include some braces that weld in between the torque boxes and the bulkhead (where the front of the rear seat bottom would be at)...or at least they used to. Here's a pic to give an idea of what I'm talking about: http://www.maximummotorsports.com/co...MMFL-5B_LG.jpg

I installed two sets of those on cars I've had. They're nice subframes and at about the best non-through the floor subframe I think there is. But that said, they're like $250+...you can get a 12-16' stick of .120" wall chromoly tube for $40-50 and with a little bit of time with a chop saw, grinder, a hydraulic press and a few other tools and a bit of time build essentially the same thing on the cheap.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zac View Post
Yeah, if you're talking about making some weld-on subframes (that weld to the bottom of the frame rails), it doesn't take much to make your own. Really all you need is about a 12' stick of 1"x2" steel tubing (I've used .120" wall chromoly when I made my own) and a large hydraulic press. Measure from the front frame rail where it starts turning up at the firewall to the rearmost part of the rear frame rail/torque box. That's the length of tubing section you'll need. Cut your tubing to length and and then take it to the hydraulic press with something like a big steel drift between the press/hydraulic cylinder bottom and the tube (with the base of the press open so the tubing can bend down when the press is trying to push the tubing down). Bend it a bit at a time and then take it over to the car to get the contour correct. Once you have one side (front or back), it's simply marking the spot on the tubing where the other bend should be (on the other side of the tubing) and then repeating the same. If you want, you can then notch the ends of the tubes to fold the "bottom" side ends of the tubes to the "top" sides and then weld them closed so the subframes are closed...i.e. doesn't simply look like tubes welded to the bottom side of the car.

The Maximum Motorsport full-length subframes are, essentially, this very thing save for they have some seat supports and other brackets supplied/welded to them. They also include some braces that weld in between the torque boxes and the bulkhead (where the front of the rear seat bottom would be at)...or at least they used to. Here's a pic to give an idea of what I'm talking about: http://www.maximummotorsports.com/co...MMFL-5B_LG.jpg

I installed two sets of those on cars I've had. They're nice subframes and at about the best non-through the floor subframe I think there is. But that said, they're like $250+...you can get a 12-16' stick of .120" wall chromoly tube for $40-50 and with a little bit of time with a chop saw, grinder, a hydraulic press and a few other tools and a bit of time build essentially the same thing on the cheap.
That sounds easy enough to do. The only problem is I don't have access to a hydraulic press. I just have access to a CEO and a bunch of regional Vice Presidents. But with that being said there has been a time or two I would not have minded bending some metal around them!! Oh well. That is life driving a desk all day long. I'm going to check out the Maximum Motorsport ones. If they are a good fit and will strengthen up the unibody then what is another $250 bucks... I already have a ton of money into this thing! Thanks for the advice Zac. I appreciate it.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 02:33 PM
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No problem.

And I'm certainly not trying to spend your money. I know the MM subframes are nice pieces...I've used them/installed them, myself, on the '90 and '92 cars I had. I built my own on another '90 I had after that and built several other sets for friends and installed them.

I will say that through-floor units make are a night-and-day difference even over the MM/full-length weld-on units. I understand your sentiment about wanting to simply get the thing going. That said, if you decide you might wanna go the through-floor route, a good read (while the work is a bit sloppy, in my opinion) and good guideline of how to do your own through-floor subframes is here: http://forums.corral.net/forums/road...or-instal.html

Chassis Engineering, Wolfe Racecraft, Griggs, etc., all sell through-floor subframes but I don't think any of them actually are as good as ones that install INTO the frame sections such as what the referenced link above shows. I built a '93 with a set of through-floor subframes I built (similar to the link) and ran the tubing back into the rear frame rail deep enough that it acted as reinforcing member for the control arms/torque box. I drilled out the tubing, sleeved it to the diameter of the control arm bolts and then used a long bolt to locate the tubing in the rear frame (with the bolt running through the control arm) and plug welded the tubing in place...then finished getting the rest of the tubing in place, tack welded, then finish welded everything up. That car, even without a cage in it, felt and drove SOLID.



EDIT: I went back to the website and realized the non-powder coated MM full length subframe connectors are like $135.00. That's not too bad a price, all things considered. I'd guess you'd go that route (versus the black powdercoated ones...which cost more) as you'd paint them the same color as the car anyhow.

Last edited by Zac; 04-18-2012 at 03:03 PM.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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I may eventually try to run the through the floor connectors like you are talking about. I really like the idea of connecting them into the torque boxes. I may end up doing that next winter durning the down time. After looking at the MM connectors it looks like they are just cut and welded back together at the proper angles with some reinforcing plates welded on where the tube was cut. It doesn't look like they actually bent anything. I'm thinking that I could do that with the ones that I have right now. It doesn't seem like it would be that difficult. I'm not sure why you would want to get them powder coated anyway. You would have to grind off part of the powder coating to get a good weld. The ones I got were black powder coated and I chuckled when I was taking the coating off where I thought it would be flat on the subframes to weld them. That is when I discovered my issue... And I sure didn't want to weld them in at that point like they were. That is when I decided to back up and punt.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 03:43 PM
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They (MM) are bent ever-so-slightly, I assure you. Look at the drawing at the bottom left of page 7 of the online install instructions: http://www.maximummotorsports.com/co...iff/MMFL-5.pdf


You could probably do the same thing with the ones you currently have. No sense in reinventing the wheel or spending more money on others if you think you may cut them back out to install through-floor connectors next winter.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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They (MM) are bent ever-so-slightly, I assure you. Look at the drawing at the bottom left of page 7 of the online install instructions: http://www.maximummotorsports.com/co...iff/MMFL-5.pdf


You could probably do the same thing with the ones you currently have. No sense in reinventing the wheel or spending more money on others if you think you may cut them back out to install through-floor connectors next winter.
WOW!! Those actually come with instructions!! No wonder they cost more. I'm going to use those instructions, cut, weld and brace my current subframe connectors and see if I can come up with something that will work. My cheap ones did come with brace that bolts to the seat studs so I will be able to do basically the same thing. Again I appreciate all the info. It really helps. I'm off to a T-ball game tonight though. My boy has a game. I'll have to start on this little sub-project tomorrow night. Like I said in my build thread. Everything takes me 10 times longer than I think it will. I should have also said that it coast 10 times more that I think it will to. I dumped $2300 extra bucks on this, this month and I didn't really even need to. I just wanted to!! It is a disease!!

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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 06:45 PM
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Link to others that had discussed this issue

http://www.corner-carvers.com/forums...ad.php?t=16864
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-19-2012, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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Link to others that had discussed this issue

http://www.corner-carvers.com/forums...ad.php?t=16864
I appreciate you posting the link. It appears that others have had the same issue with SFC's that were supposed to be molded for the front and back frame rails. I'm just going to have to modify mine to work with either side. ....yet another custom job. The fun never ends.

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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-20-2012, 09:45 PM
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I make subframe connectors that are similar in shape of the stock frame rails, weld to the floor the entire distance of the car, weld to the stock subframes, tie the outer rocker assy to the new and old subframes and tie all that together to the front and rear tourq boxes. They are made out of sheetmetal that is thicker than all of the stock parts, make clearence for all of the lines and what not , and has a seat brace that weld to the new subframe connectors.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-20-2012, 09:49 PM
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Forgot, you don't need to cut anything on your car to install them, just pull the front seat, sill moldings and kick panels, lift the carpet so you don't burn it and can be done in a few hours.
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