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Author Topic:   Lets build a new car!!
Dirt Freak

Total posts: 417
posted August 20, 2002 10:28 AM UIN: 13209501
Ok, we got our chassis for next season, and even though this season isn't quite finished, I am anxious to get started. I just acquired an 85 Buick Grand National roller. It is complete minus the front fenders and hood, as well as the drivetrain and a few other misc things. It is gutted, and ready to build. This thing is a dream for a car though. NO rust. It was just worth more in parts than as a whole. Anyway, this was our first year, and we learned a ton. We raced an 85 Monte, so I am fairly famaliar with the chassis. So, now we want to build a car more customized to suit our needs. Anyway, we will start with things not related to the engine first. We will leave that for another day.

The first think I am looking at is a steering box. The car has all of the steering linkage there, but not a steering box. My first question is what to look for in a replacement. Does anyone run a manual steering box? If so, what should I look for? I have heard that one out of an older S-10 will work well. Or, should we stick with power steering, and get a stock one, or one out of another car? What is the stock ratio? Would a faster one be better? This is one thing we really didn't get into on this car, so I really don't know. I know our car this year had a stock monte power steering box, and he had no real problems driving the car.

My next item of contention is the roll cage. I have seen in speedway motors that they have a pretty decent kit for $370. That has almost everything. Anyone use this kit? I am seriously considering doing my own cage as I have built some full tube frames before, out of aluminum and chromoly even, and had very good luck. I am guessing material to do this would be $125-$150, plus the labor to do it. I am not sure it is worth it to do it, but bending tubes isn't too hard. Anyone with any ideas on this? Also, we are allowed to brace the frame, where should we do this? I have a pretty good idea of where I would brace, but I just want to get some other ideas. We run in a class that has a 3400 lb minimum, so a few tubes here or there isn't going to hurt, though I want to keep front weight at a minimum.

My next point of contention is the rear end. I want to use a 9", but they are EXPENSIVE around here. I can buy or make the needed brackets, and build a jig. I just need a little advice. First, I would rather not have to shorten if I don't have to. I have a pretty good selection of cars around here to pick from, I just need a good somewhat common car to pick a 9" from. I would guess that I could use anything 60" wide or less right? That would only be +1" on each side right? What would work out well? I can pick up a whole rear end for about $50 at the junk yard if they have the right one.

Lets see, oh, next is brakes. I know this car has an unusable brake system to start with. Well, the master cylinder anyway. The turbo cars had some sort of an electric power booster, and I am not messing with that. What sort of master cylinder should I look for? Should we use power or manual brakes? We don't run too wild of a cam generally, so there should be enough vacuum to run brakes. Is there any advantage to either? We have fought our brakes all year because they weren't right and I didn't like them, but I didn't do them either. Ours now are manual, and I had to brace the firewall all to **** just to keep it from flexing. Anyone have any good insight here?

Well, I think that is enough for now. That should keep me busy for a couple of months, but if you have any other ideas or advice or anything, feel free to share. I can make about anything I think, and have access to a machine shop and know how to use it, so if you have any ideas you think would work well, give a shout out and maybe I will give it a try.

Oh, one other thing...what should I do for a clutch pedal? Anything that will work easily? Our current car is some cheesy home made pedal assembly that is just crap. It works, but just enough to get by. I am planning on using just a stock z-bar clutch linkage I think.

Thanks guys. I have learned a ton from this site. Can you tell I am excited?


Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 620
posted August 20, 2002 12:25 PM
i race a ford but i can help a little. the guys i race against use a Z28 steering box. it's 2.5 turns lock to lock, i think. they're getting hard to find in salvage yards and a rebuilt one will run you about $150-$200. if you're using a quick steer, you may not need the Z28 box. i think that power steering is a must. i've tried to run manual steering and your tongue is hanging out after a few laps.

68-72 ford pick-up trucks have a 9" rear 61" wide, axle flange to axle flange. it uses the same length axles(30") on both sides, so you'll just need one spare. the pinion isn't centered, but the u-joints will take care of that. a 9" with a centered pinion will have one axle 4" shorter(drivers side) than the other(passengers side).

i build my own roll cages and have never bought a cage kit. it's a lot cheaper to build your own, but if you don't have access to a tube bender, i'm sure that the speedway kit that you descibed is top notch.

i recommend manual brakes. if you can't use an aftermarket pedal/master cyl. assembly, use a master cylinder off of a no-power brake option car or truck.

[This message has been edited by outlawstock17 (edited August 20, 2002).]

Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 1565
posted August 20, 2002 01:15 PM UIN: 54865418
what do you plan on doing with your old car myself i would tranfer everything i possible could.thats what i did last year also. the cage and steering box for sure now there goes 2 head aches out of the way lol as for pedals we use ones out of 70's chevy trucks or s-10s they will bolt right up. as for bracing the frame keep it simple we just put an x in the main frame nothing fancy just an x do the same in the tail section along with a 2x2 square tube to tie the rear horns together. if you are not going to keep your car and have to build a new cage i wouldn't get one of those speedway kits you can get the same thing for about 100 less from csc also jr motorsports has a cage kit that i might use next year also for like 250 and it does not have those gussets holding the halo to the main roll bar i don't like the looks of that set up i'm sure it might work but when it's my **** in there i get kinda picky

Dirt Freak

Total posts: 237
posted August 20, 2002 01:27 PM
On the steering box, it depends on whether or not you can use a quickner, like a Howe. If so, I'd use the 2:1 ratio quickner, (mounted back near the driver) with a Saginaw 605 box. This is the one with the snap-ring top, not the 4-bolt top. The 605 is several pounds lighter.

Now if you can't run a quickner, I'd be finding a quick ratio Z28 or T/A box.

IMO, you can't have the steering too quick...

Also, I got my 605 at the local O'Reilly's. Lifetime warranty. And yes, I replace it every spring.

[This message has been edited by istock59 (edited August 20, 2002).]

Dirt Freak

Total posts: 417
posted August 20, 2002 01:33 PM UIN: 13209501
no steering quickeners

As for the cage, I can bend one up, but I don't know if I want to take the time to do it. As I said, I have built full tube frames before, and they take a while. This wouldn't have near the tolerances that those did, but still. The reason I like the speedway kit is that they are only about 3 hours away from here, and I have actually been to their store before. It costs like $100 to have one of those cages truck freighted, so that would even out the cost some. I have looked at some of those other cages, and they didn't seem to be near as complete. For $370 from speedway, you get a kit with all the options.

As far the bracing goes, our current car has both the mid cross and the rear cross. Do you need a rear cross if you are keeping the stock trunk pan? I really don't see much reason to rip that out, unless someone here can tell me one. We need the weight in the back anyway, and this trunk is SOLID. The floor pan and trunk pan both look like new.

Thanks for the input guys. I appreciate it.


Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 1565
posted August 20, 2002 04:29 PM UIN: 54865418
when i do my new one i'm going to just get the cage kit and do all the rest of the bars myself out of smaller tubing i have no weight limit but in your case the less thats on the car the more you can play with and put it where you want to. i don't like the way they have the front and rear bars on any kit i have seen you will still need to add bars to mount the fenders,a petty bar and kickers to help transfer the weight to the tires also your going to need to add bars in the tail to protect the fuel cell so you will need to cut the truck anyway to make holes for that . yes you need to brace that tail section all you will need to cut out is the spare tire well and you don't want that in there anyway

Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 140
posted August 23, 2002 11:08 PM
Hi John, I think you have got some good advice so far.........I would like to add that you should consider the quality of the materials.......DOM is far superior to the electric weld also cost twice as much........The kit guys do not use DOM for this reason......They would price themselves out of bussiness.........

Use the DOM for the rear hoop,rear hoop crossbar,halo, halo down bars,dash bar and door short, the perimeter of the center section.....

You can use the electric weld for everything else.....front and rear clip and diagonal braces......

For your one car, this is not a huge expense .......For the kit companies, it would be a big expense.......especially in a business where the competition is so tough.......

So.....Most streetstocks do not use the DOM.....and the cars are fine........BUT....I use DOM, and I hope you will also.....I personally hate to hear the word "rollcage" preceeded by the word "cheap".

Best of luck to you John,


Dirt Freak

Total posts: 417
posted August 23, 2002 11:58 PM UIN: 13209501
Well, you are talking about an engineer used to working with 4130 Chromoly tubing, so I do know a little about tubing . I do appreciate the advice though. I am excited. I just hope we keep this car in one piece so we can sell it.


Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 103
posted August 28, 2002 02:23 AM
What did you do for the roll center? spindles , ball joints?........

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