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Thread: Thinking of building a 25.1E chassis

  1. #1
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    Thinking of building a 25.1E chassis

    I'm looking for some opinions and experiences of chassis builders. I want to build a 25.1E legal double frame rail chome moly chassis. I wanted to buy a unwelded kit from Tim Mcamis, Jerry Bickel, Vanishing Point or someone else. I have never built a complete chassis like this but I belive I have enough fabrication skills to do it myself (given of couse of chassis is in kit form with instructions). I am a skilled TIG welder also and welding the CM tubing is no problem. I wanted to run Art Morrison's super strut package up front also. What I am shooting for is a B/Gas street car project with plenty of strength to go faster in the future, although the car would only be driven on weekends and to car shows. I would be building this in a stock 70' Challenger body (not a pro mod chopped car etc.) and I would be building this in my garage ( I'm just a normal low budget guy haha)

    So I have a couple questions maybe some of you pros would be kind enough to help me out with. Who makes the best/easiest unwelded kits? Does a Chrome Moly chassis have to be stress relived? How hard is is to run struts on a seldomly driven street car? Would you talk me into building it or out if it? Any tips?

    Thanks ahead of time,
    Michael

  2. #2
    Administrator RACING JUNKIE bjuice's Avatar
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    read thru the site below..some good do it yourself stories in there.

    i have also spoken with Richard Earle several times..very nice guy.
    Suncoast would be my choice if i wanted to go your route

    if you will click on the WALL OF FAME. you will see my 63 Vette. a VP fuel sign is noticable on the garage door in the background.

    http://www.suncoastracecars.com/

  3. #3
    Senior Member RACING JUNKIE
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    If you are a NHRA member and get national dragster, there is a newly certified (2008) 41 willy's 25.1 with MW rear and strut frontend rolling for $15,000.00, setup for B/BLK and Lenco, that's an unbeatable price if someone wanted to go promod. Area code 775, i think that's Nevada.

    Zip.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for that Suncoast link, i'll definetly keep them in mind, Nice vette too.

    Sounds like a real good deal on that 41 Willys, but I want to try to use the Challenger body I have, and i've been collecting parts for it for a while now. Thanks for looking out though.

  5. #5
    Senior Member DYNO OPERATOR
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    Re: Thinking of building a 25.1E chassis

    Quote Originally Posted by mike572
    I'm looking for some opinions and experiences of chassis builders. I want to build a 25.1E legal double frame rail chome moly chassis.

    So I have a couple questions maybe some of you pros would be kind enough to help me out with. Who makes the best/easiest unwelded kits? Does a Chrome Moly chassis have to be stress relived? How hard is is to run struts on a seldomly driven street car? Would you talk me into building it or out if it? Any tips?

    Thanks ahead of time,
    Michael
    Well to help you with a few, Chrome moly can not be stress relieved by rule any longer due to the likely damage to the tubing that was being done previously. NHRA no longer recommends stress relieving of moly and is not required for chassis applications.
    Struts are great on the street and every where but the street is hard on racing valved shocks and they over heat and get air in them quickly on street duty. A 25 1E chassis has welded floor boards on both sides now and It might just be me, but I do not believe that you will be effortlessly successful titling this chassis car legally for the street but that is besides the point.
    Kits probably are helpful if you do not have a bender and have no plan to work with but I build cars for myself complete for less than $3000 for all tubing and interior tin work welded and complete race ready PLUS labor which is me thank god. The labor is the whole cost to building a car. If you are hell bent on a 25.1e chassis remember that NHRA changes and updates the chassis requirements often which if not used as a 25 1E during it's first 3 years may be a waste of money and tubing for you. It would take a lot of wind at your back to go faster than 7.49 ET.
    25.4 chassis is much less pipe and is legal to 7.50 ET. The floor has to be welded on the drivers side only and is more condusive to updating this way. As a welder you have to treat this moly like you are welding on 18 ga steel. Only go 1/4 at a time and don't try to do the whole weld at one heat cycle. Avoid over heating and pulling the pipe, make all your joints tight and one pass only with .060 crown 8 filler wire or 80 stensel strength.
    Bruce

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    Bruce,

    Well i'm glad the chassis doesn't have to be stress relieved thats a big worry off my back if I make the chassis. Alright I was planning to run Art Morrison super struts, I don't know if your familar with them or not but they seem to look ok for the street, your mainly talking about struts like Lamb having street issues right? Over here in California i've just been renewing my registration on the car and nobody has to check the modifications made so as far as they know it's just a run of the mill 70' Challenger. I do have a Greenlee hydraulic bender but the one part I was shying away from is designing it myself since I have never done a whole chassis before. Do you know how entensive the changes on a 25.1e have been in the past? I wouldn't mind moving a few bars around every 3 years but if they are major changes I might have to reconsider. I'm guessing the 25.2 changes vary heavily like the 25.1e every 3 years? The main reason I wanted the 25.1e chassis is beacause i'm planning on keeping the car for a good amount of time and with the engine/trans combo the car should run mid to low 8's when it is done, so I wanted to have plenty of room to go faster in the future if I need it. I'll definetly look into the 25.4 chassis you got me interested already. When you say the floors have to be welded on both sides you mean the 2 thin sheet metal floor panels have to be welded to the frame right? And this would make future updating harder because you have to destroy the floor panels to move the tubing underneath? Thanks for the welding tips also.

    Sorry to bombard you with all of these questions but I really do appreciate you helping me out with this.

    Thanks,
    Michael

  7. #7
    Senior Member RACING JUNKIE
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    The best idea is to go here and order the spec sheets, they're only $35.00 and that way you won't get any surprises.

    Zip.

    http://www.sfifoundation.com/

  8. #8
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    Zip,

    Yeah, i'm definetily gonna get one of those books before any construction starts, thanks.

    Thanks,
    Michael

  9. #9
    Senior Member MASTER BUILDER
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    A car like yours you almost would have to build from scratch unless one of the top builders has blueprints made up. all of Bruces points he made are true exspecially about the welding in 1/4 sections and not to overheat it or it will become brittle and the welds will crack. The sfi book is the only way to go for the specs and right tubing you need like zipper said. I feel anonther important thing to a build is the planning of the whole car as to where and how everything will get mounted or you will be wasting time and money adding things then cutting them out to move it. remember to also drill small holes ( I use a 1/8 inch) where you joints meet to relieve pressure built up from the weld exspecially on small pieces out they will blow back.you have to have a place for the gases to go. Clean your joints and intersecting places ( I use a scotch brite ) inside and out and acetone to wipe clean. Good luck in your project.

  10. #10
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    To give some clarification on what I said about the floor. The .035 steel flooring must be welded on both driver side and passenger side to the pipe (on the inside of car) and not riveted as I would prefer, so when NHRA decides to add a piece of pipe or up size one, you would have to destroy the flooring and anything in your way to do it. As for the chassis design Ash is correct that each chassis is like a snow flake to clear your car body and fit you. It has been my expeirence over 25 years of building my own cars from scratch (and quite a few others) that over 80% of the job in time is coming up with a design that works with the chassis and laying everything out accurately, within perfect would be OK, not within 1/16". Only 20% of your time is fitting and welding which is the gravy part. The struts that I mentioned that are not likely going to like the street were the Strange, Lamb type agresively valved for drag racing. The rear shocks will need to be street quality also to survive street driving of any regularity.
    The SFI foundation has books that they sell for guys like you and I that just need the rules to build your own car. I think Zip highlighted that for you in his entry. These books do not tell you how to build the car, They are for tubing sizing and angle limits and locations which are very general. Every chassis will look different than another with the same classification level depending on the body they fit. Your finish chassis does not have to be the exact same as the books examples they provide. They are just examples and the writing part is the most important part to follow. You will likely need to check with a chassis builder now and then and possibly a NHRA tech inspector to ask for interpritation of the book for certain things possibly.
    Don't be intimidated by the the job, It is very rewarding work and as a welder you can save the bank by doing it yourself. You are trying to build a car that would cost you $65,000 to order and pick up and there will be a lot of work and learning. Just get a good plan and make it happen for yourself. Remember that SFI doesn't make cars or design them, they make safety rules and strength requirements for the driver only. The car design is your baby.
    Bruce


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