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chassis for Corvair wheelbase
Posted by: jim64 ()
Date: September 16, 2010 12:11AM

I have a '64 sedan that the structural unibody is not safe anymore. Would I be able to use a frame from a body-on-frame vehicle to install my 64 shell? I'm thinking of a car chassis, don't think I want a 'lifted' 4WD style vehicle. Or is it just time to find another Corvair to move my running gear to?

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Re: chassis for Corvair wheelbase
Posted by: j3m ()
Date: September 16, 2010 02:42AM

The fact that you are inquiring about a "chassis"/frame from body on frame vehicle, leads one to believe that you may not understand just how difficult such a project would be, and not to mention expensive.

Forget about it. Unless you are a world-class welder & fabricator and also possess a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering, and just want a most difficult project (eleven on a scale of 1-10) and something that will be very time consuming and expensive to do.

Essentially, what you are suggesting, is similar to what the Street Rodders, do with 1930's & 1940's shells. Much of what , I've seen of some of the fabrication jobs of some nicely painted and upholstered "street rods" should be more accurately referred to as S--t Rods. Simply, "death-traps" constructed by people who have no business building a "road-going" automobile. These morons have no concept of sound construction principles. Just because Billy-Joe Bob can change a tire and sparkplugs and pull a motor and buy a decent quality welder and a sawzall, doesn't mean...

That is not to say that, there aren't some extremely well engineered and thought out street-rods. There are plenty. Most of the good ones are constructed using sound engineering. The Street-Rod industry has many extremely well thought out and pre-engineered frames, suspensions, specifically designed for some of the most popular applications. I know it may appear that these were just cobbled together by "Jethos" who just made it fit any old way, but there is quite a bit of engineering applied/calculations made to make something work.

If you think some of the pre-1960's automobiles were poorly engineered, imagine something that you construct yourself if you don't have a clue. Yes, you will be likely using a hodge-podge of late 1960's thru mid 1980's wrecking yard stuff, that on its own merit was soundly engineered for its day. The problem you have is when you combine/co-mingle/bring-together/connect, such components, you must do so in a manner which strictly adheres to Engineering principles.
I know some of you might think some Billy-Joe Bob's designed both the 1st generation Corvair & Falcon, but though both were extremely crude and completely unacceptable by modern (post 1975) standards for steering/braking/handling/safety, - but your BackYard Frankenstein could be at least 15 years behind the 1960 Corvair/Falcon in those areas!
Ask yourself, do you wish to spend almost what you could to buy a late model used car (2006 - 2010) to build a vehicle that is potentially on par with a 1945 model.
Yes, it is possible to do it. You had better be knowlegeable and skilled.
I'd say it is about as likely as, obtaining a try-out with an NFL team like the Lions, and becoming the starting quarterback by week #4 of the season. Anyone would have a better shot at winning the Powerball Lottery, or qualifying their own independent Nascar team at Daytona 500 field in Feb 2011.

Why build a Frankenstein POS?
That is what happens more than 95% of the time by 'dreamers' and 'idiots with more money than sense'.
Often, these deathraps, get abandoned and aborted before completion as the fool finally realizes that he has bitten off far more than he could chew.
There are probably more than a few, expertly skilled people on this forum that possess the capabilities to build a world class Street-Rod Corvair.
This is one of those few instances if 'you have to ask , THEN DON'T ATTEMPT!!!'
The best analogy that I can mention that best drives home the point is this: It would be like this, if you were given a three minute tutorial on how to defuse a bomb and simply given a pair of wire cutters....
Much better left to those who are qualified EXPERTS....

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Re: chassis for Corvair wheelbase
Posted by: tkalp ()
Date: September 16, 2010 03:56AM

While it is not a one weekend project, doing a frame over Corvair is not "Rocket Science" either. The most popular and successful frame-over conversion is to use the frame running gear and floorpan from a GM "G" body from the late 70's early 80's (Malibu, Cutlass, etc). Over the past decade, Jay Dover has built two, Al Kid built one, Mike Myers also built two. Have attached photos of Mike's Lakewood project he had at Cedar Rapids for the CORSA convention.

My understanding is the the wheelbase is within an inch, the donar "G" body floorpan is cut to fit right inside the Corvair rockers on the sides. The G firewall matches up to the toeboards of the Corvair. TPI injection clears the hood much better than a Carb on a highrise manifold. Windshield wiper motor placement could be an issue, but everything else goes pretty well.

There are other options a MCCA member put a LM 2dr body on a 2002 Cavialer pan, he had to lengthen the pan by 5 inches and add 5 inches to the front end in front of the wheels. I have the Escovair a '64 2 dr. body on a 1997 Escort pan. A carpenter friend built it, had to shorten the Corvair body by 9" (a four-door door will do that) running and driving, all screwed together just needs a lot of welding to finish.

If you need more information, just ask.

tkalp
wichita, ks

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Re: chassis for Corvair wheelbase
Posted by: Kodiak007 ()
Date: September 16, 2010 12:47PM

Art Morrison makes some pretty slick stuff. You could possibly talk them into fabbing something up to work in a Corvair.

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Re: chassis for Corvair wheelbase
Posted by: 66cv8 ()
Date: September 16, 2010 06:25PM

Jim64, what you are planning requires just that PLANNING and lots of it. If you want to get an idea of a sound structure take a long hard look at a few race cars. These are nothing but structure with body panels hung on them.These guys figured it out and if you have the skills to fab up something close than go for it.

I cant tell you how many hours of engineering went in to my car before even beginning work. Then the measuring, cutting, fitting, re-cutting, cussing, fitting again, buying more stock, welding, gusseting, assembly, dissassembly, tweaking, etc, etc, etc,

Don't bite off more than you can chew.

Joe

66 500 Crown 350/4 on road
66 Corsa Convertible 140/4 rough
69 Monza Convertible 140/4 in progress (original 95/3)
Nu Joisey

" A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE IS A DANGEROUS THING"

"STUPID is the NEW SMART"

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Re: chassis for Corvair wheelbase
Posted by: wv-geo ()
Date: September 16, 2010 07:05PM

I bought a bunch of parts off of a guy who was installing a 64 convertible onto an S10 2WD Blazer frame. He got the idea from another guy who did it to his EM.
He was still working on getting the body down low enough for his taste, but he was able to keep the original floor pans under the front seats; hadn't done the tunnel yet but he was thinking about using the one from the Blazer.

A short wheel base S10 truck frame may work also, but it would need to be checked out.

Good luck.

Dan Stark
Hurricane, WV

1964 Corvair 500 Coupe, 140HP, 4spd (Christine)
1965 Mustang Coupe, 6cyl, 3spd

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Re: chassis for Corvair wheelbase
Posted by: j3m ()
Date: September 16, 2010 07:44PM

As some of you know, I've been critical of some GM shortcomings, but in my opinion, the 1978 thru 1987 A/G body full perimeter frame with coil sprung 4 link rear suspension and 108.1" wheelbase is perhaps the best designed full frame chassis ever used on a mass produced production automobile.
It is lightweight, and strong. Geometry and steering are excellent. The frame readily accepts nearly every engine, including Blue Oval and mopar without much hassle. Every single decent GM engine from '65 onwards is a simple and easy fit. Because this frame was used on so many applications, there are tons of aftermarket springs that can give spring rates so you can calculate the best for the size and weight of your engine/trans package.
Absolutely Great frame/chassis.
Everything is available.
The only possible downside is the rear ends are geared for economy and were never designed for maximum horsepower. While not nearly as strong as an old Ford 9" or later Ford 8.8", the factory rear ends in these '78 - '87 A/G bodies are extremely rugged and nearly bulletproof if not allowed to leak or run out of fluid. They will handle much more horsepower and torque than anyone thought before posing any problems. Modest horsepower applications should pose no problems.

This was probably GM's last full - perimeter frame design. The 1976 intro of the '77 downsized full size Chevrolet also had an excellent design. Technology & computers and past experience obviously aided the superior full frame designs of the later big cars '77 models on and the downsized intermediates '78-'87 A/G monte carlo, cutlass, regal, grand prix, malibu, el-camino, etc. GM certainly had their faults, then & now, but in the area of full -perimeter frame/chassis design their marks were A+ all the way.
Ford, also designed a GREAT full perimeter frame, the Panther platform, used under full size, Crown Vic/LTD's beginning with '79 models. It probably is the pinnacle of full perimeter frame/chassis design in a production automobile!

All three are excellent.
The '78 - '87 GM A/G body 108.1" wheelbase would be the most logical choice.

Like I mentioned, I've seen a bunch of screwball knuckleheaded constructions where the ASSembler, started with seemingly logical components only to botch everything so badly that it was trash. Stuff like Camaro/Nova front subframes, mid to late '70's Aspen/Volare torsion bar fronts, etc. These are quality set ups on their own merits, but when hacked into a different shell/chassis, well, the results will depend on the engineering skill of the ASSembler, just as they always do, no matter what kind of serious project.
Even if you feel, you are skilled and knowledgeable enough: I cannot stress the importance of studying, patience, and attention to details, along with careful planning. You don't wanna be one of those who builds a Frankenstein Turdmobile. Proceed with extreme caution! Certainly it can be done, but you must truthfully assess your capabilities and decide whether it is smart for you to tackle such a project, because you are essentially building a car from scratch. Will it be compareable to a Pinto or Cadillac, or possibly something far worse-----...that is the $10,000 question!

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Re: chassis for Corvair wheelbase
Posted by: 66cv8 ()
Date: September 16, 2010 08:13PM

I agree with j3m about the perimiter frame it will solve a lot of fab issues, but still a TON of work to get it mounted square.

And please add a roll bar they ain't just fo roll overs.

Joe

66 500 Crown 350/4 on road
66 Corsa Convertible 140/4 rough
69 Monza Convertible 140/4 in progress (original 95/3)
Nu Joisey

" A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE IS A DANGEROUS THING"

"STUPID is the NEW SMART"

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