If I could, I’d go to auto mechanics school part time to round out my life as a physician. I love working on cars but know very little and I’m very cautious about knowing just enough to get into something to make the situation worse and render my car not drivable!
B-body MoPars and many other cars have front and rear sub-frames, including mine a ’68 Plymouth Satellite convertible. It has no frame connecting the front and rear subframes together but “connectors” are available to weld in. How would I locate a good welder that could do a good job and not charge an excessive amount, and what type of shops should I call – sheet metal fabrication shops; machine shops; body shops like maaco; auto frame shops or craigslist? Rip off artists are rampant, which is why I am a premium member on your roster. Have a thirst for learning but don’t want to buy a welder and ruin my car due to being a novice.
I applaud your thirst for knowledge and your restraint on knowing when to use it.
Welding in sub-frame connectors on a 1968 b-body is not a difficult task for an experienced welder/fabricator, although I would not recommend it for a beginner. To do the job right the car should be elevated on a lift and it is likely the carpet and padding will need to be pulled away above the weld areas under the car. Additionally all of the welds will be overhead, which can be difficult for many novice welders.
Poor welds will not adversely affect the cars structure, but would diminish the benefits you seek to gain by adding the sub-frame connectors in the first place.
I am not aware of where you are located, so I cannot make a specific recommendation, but after thinking about how I would locate the “right people to help me” if I were in a strange town, I would proceed as follows. I would avoid craigslist, as this would be a total crapshoot. I would also avoid production auto body shops (i.e. Maaco, Abra, or most any other collision shop); these shops are production based, who’s technicians’ work on commission and will shun taking on custom work or will certainly charge proportionately more than custom shops.
I would seek out a Street Rod or Restoration shop; as they would be familiar with making this type of upgrade, as well as know from experience the different types of problems that could be encountered. From my experience the biggest potential problems are sub-frame connectors that do not fit properly or mounting locations under the car that need to be repaired (rusted and/or dented) before installing the connectors.
Because of the straightforward nature of their installation, most shops should be able to give you a solid estimate of expense upon examining your car.
Finally, I would call a few local enthusiasts who have had work done at local car shops and ask for their recommendations. I would focus on those who have cars similar to yours, perhaps contact the president or board members of a local MoPar club or similar, and certainly these guys can help you avoid the rip-off artists as well, as their reputations are often well know to the die-hard enthusiasts.
All good advice, Mark, especially hooking up with the local Mopar Club. Go with the best recommended sub-frame manufacturer and installer – a cheaper installation may not endure the many years you still hope to drive your convertible.
In the world of */body designations, what would the early Chevy 2 or Nova be classified? Help settle an arguement.
The Chevy II / Nova platform is a GM small rear-wheel drive semi-unibody foundation known as the X-body
It was used from 1962-1979.
Some refer to it as the NOVA body as the letters NOVA spell out the four models that used the platform.
NOVA = Nova, Omega, Ventura, Apollo
However the proper GM designation is “X-body”
Have a nice day!
Classic Car Restoration Club
Good answer, I work o. Car when I have to, but I’m a car enthusiast and welder/ fab an offshoot CD-ROM from the trade trade I’m in! lol
Just a reminder: The front and rear subframes are connected together! Chrysler engineering uses the built up (multilayer) rocker structure to connect all together. Plus a convertible has thicker sheet metal to strengthen the floors as well. Subframe connectors are great if you are going to drive it hard, not if you want a stock restoration.
I used 1 5/8 steel tubing to connect my subframes together on my 66 Dart GT. Drill a hole with a hole saw in the crossmember for the trans mount and opened up the rear subframe and welded it all together. It really stiffened my car. On my 81 TC-3, I used 2 x 3 square tubing and welded it to the rear subframe and onto the front subframe with gusset plates. In both cases, the work handled the 360 4 barrel and the 4 speed (later 5 in the TC-3)
Good advice. If you are shopping for a shop to perform this type of work, ask them if they have a lift first. I would NOT go to a Maaco or production shop for this work (owned a Maaco for 20+ years), not their type of work. Another alternative would be a good muffler shop. They have lifts, are used to welding overhead, have experienced welders and would not charge too much.
Thanks so much for your response – extremely helpful, and really gives me a great nudge in the right direction (mopar forums, clubs in Georgia where I live, etc.) One helpful response like yours is more than worth the price of a PREMIUM membership. -Mike (MD gear-head wannabe)
As a Mopar owner (63 Fury convertible) I would recommend the US Car Tool subframe connectors. I have them in my car. You may be able to contact them and they may have a recommendation as to who in your area would best suited for the work. You might also post your query on Mopar specifics sites such as Moparts and For B Bodies Only..
Totally agree. Had the US Car Tool installed on my 69 Charger, along with torque boxes, and inner fender braces.