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Summary:

Over the years FFR has incorporated many improvements to their frame.   Using ideas from FFR and many of the Cobra trendsetters I decided to strip the car down to the frame and start over.  Either my Minolta F100 is messed up (unlikely) or I don't know what I am doing (likely) when it comes to photography.    My frame is a deeper blue than most of the pictures reveal.  

[Product Image]Radiator Mount: The MKI radiator mount simply had to be replaced.    I'll give my dad credit on this one.  He designed a lower horizontal mount bar (below) that fits under the rad and slides along  the outer rails.  The lower mount bar is attached with adjuster bolts .... (not yet installed) that pull the bottom of the radiator towards the front of the car.  This action squeezes the radiator  between the fixed upper flange (above) and lower mount bar. The result is an easy, rock solid install and if necessary equally easy removal.  

 

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[Product Image]Foot Box Tubes: My MKI did not have any foot-box protection so I purchased the MKII tubes and welded them in.    OK..... it is still not great protection but certainly better than sheet metal.   They also help with chassis stiffness.

The next dilemma will be.....should I cut the sheet metal to fit the new tubes (retain the existing foot box size) so that the carpet will fit or cut new sheet metal to wrap around the tubes (change the foot box size) and have to purchase new carpet?         

[Product Image]Transmission tunnel:  The MKI was not designed with  a transmission tunnel sub-frame.  I used a picture of an existing tunnel as a guide and went a little stiffer with 1" square tubing instead of 3/4".   The compound angles were a little tricky but my Porter Cable horizontal band saw and hand grinder did the trick.  I have admit that my first design missed a few subtle details like rail taper.   So.... I had to make a few changes after this picture was taken! 

[Product Image]Floor reinforcement: Somewhere along the line I lost control and decided to strengthen other areas.   I noticed that the newer frames had a 2" square tube below the door instead of a 3/4" tube.   This replacement activity took an entire Friday evening when it became apparent [Product Image]that I also had to remove and replace the 3/4" -"X"-  floor bracing.                

[Product Image]Drive shaft Safety Hoop:  I fabricated my own unit.   During this process I learned that the FFR drive-train is offset approx 1.5" (towards the passenger side) from the frame centerline.  I understand that this was a Ford design to provide slightly more room for the driver. 

[Product Image]MKII door hinges: The MKI "barely adjustable" hinges had to go.   Removal was a bit tricky but between the Sawsall and cutoff wheel they came off.   The MKII hinges will look and work much better.      [Product Image]

[Product Image]Ground Studs:  I added ground  studs to each corner of the frame, the engine compartment and behind the dash.  You have to look carefully but a few studs are visible.       

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[Product Image]Side-Pipe brackets:   Not much choice here  - custom brackets had to be installed.   Hopefully my extra effort in this area will make the side-pipe attachment a snap.  

[Product Image]3-Link:   Even though I had a new set of Chassis Engineering upper control arms (with Heim joints) I was worried about wheel hop and decided to go to a 3-Link.  I welded the 3-link instead of bolting.  [Product Image]  

Rear UCA mounts:  To keep things neat and clean I removed the rear upper control arm frame mounts when I installed the 3-link.  

[Product Image]5-point safety harness: I added a 3/8" thick floor mount to the driver and passenger side to facilitate installing the 5th point of the safety harness. 

[Product Image]MKII curved trunk hoop:  It's a good thing that this was a simple  install.   This was one of my first frame changes but I ended up removing the hoop (I think twice) when I made the 315 frame modifications.  

[Product Image]Passenger Roll Bar: It was a real challenge to weld the roll bar tubes to the frame.  Just a little too much heat and the tubes would be drawn from their ideal orientation.  It took a few hours but I got the angles just the way I wanted.  

Actually the passenger side turned out so well that I re-welded the driver side for a better fit

[Product Image]Hidden Rear Bumper:  I never liked the idea of a gas tank located in a crunch zone.    To add some level of additional safety I added this rather stiff rear bumper.    As you can see the bumper will be hidden in the trunk.

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[Product Image]E-Brake relocation: I fabricated brackets to move the Lokar E-brake handle to the top and towards the rear of the transmission tunnel.  

[Product Image]E-Brake relocation: I also added a series of brackets to route the Lokar braided stainless brake cables.  Once I route the cables I will document for added clarity.  

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[Product Image]Rear Brake cables: Since I'm going with braided stainless rear brake lines (3-piece kit) from Brakes-R-Us, I added a few mounting brackets.

 

[Product Image]Linwood Battery Box:  I welded two new 3/4" frame rails to support the Linwood battery box.   It had to be placed slightly off center because of the 3-Link.    Now with trunk access to the battery I don't need the remote battery terminals.  (Great idea Mr. Linwood!) 

[Product Image]"315" Modifications: First I removed all the 3/4" tubes attached to the end of the 2"x3" tube.   Then I cut the 2"x3" tube  back as far as possible.  

As it turns out the finished product required quite a bit of metalwork.....but I am very happy with the result.   

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[Product Image]"315" Modifications:  Right around the time I started these 315 changes the first spy photos of the MKIII were on the web.   I made a few changes but basically tried to duplicate the 3/4" trunk tube locations and slight modifications to the rear door frame support.  Together the new frame has a much cleaner look and can easily handle 315 tires. 

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[Product Image]Relocated Rear Shock Tower:  After all my 315 modifications I did not like how the rear shock tower invaded the wheel well.   So.... I removed the rear shock towers from the outside of the frame and fabricated new towers for the inside of the frame.  You'll note that the early frames like mine did not use a heim with a horizontal pin for the upper shock mount.  Instead they used a questionable vertical connection that was sandwiched with rubber grommets.   Later frame versions did away with this design (I am sure it was troublesome). 

With the shocks now inclined roughly 30 degrees, I increased the spring rate to 325lb.   I'm hoping that this mod will also provide a little "progressive" shock movement.     

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[Product Image]Finish:  The FFR finish on the frame was removed with 80 grit aluminum oxide.  The powder coat on the 3-link pieces was removed with 40/60 silicon carbide.  I acid etched the frame and then sprayed with two coats of PPG [Product Image]epoxy primer.  Finally, I sprayed the frame with two coats of PPG urethane.  This is one expensive frame!   

Note:   I have never been a fan of powder coat.  It looks good for awhile but once it starts to peel from the metal it is impossible to fix up.      

[Product Image]Door Opening Reinforcement:   I added a little extra bit of safety by welding in some additional 3/4" tubes below the doors.   This mod comes right from the MKIII.

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[Product Image]Misc.: My wife snuck this shot of me cutting one of the frame tubes (notice the sparks).  I should also point out that these frame modifications were done in a moderately heated (thanks Joe Z. for the heater)  Michigan garage during the winter of 2003/2004. 

[Product Image]Body Mounting Nuts:   Taking the advice of others I tacked nuts to the inside of the body mounts to make it easier (or some say possible) to attach the side body bolts.  Welding these proved to be a bit tricky - I think I "flashed" myself at least once for every nut. 

[Product Image] Petal Extension:      The previous owner moved the petal-box brackets approx 2" forwards to fit his 6' 2" body a little better.   

[Product Image]PPG Metal Prep :   This what the metal prep did to the frame.  It was almost a "rusty" looking color.    

[Product Image] PPG Metal Prep :   A little closer view of the color.  

[Product Image]PPG Epoxy Primer:   I choose a black epoxy since the frame would be sprayed blue.    The first coat covered really well but I sprayed a 2nd coat just be be sure. 

[Product Image] PPG Urethane:    You can see the parts in the background.  This photo was taken after the first coat.   I grossly misjudged the time it would take to spray this frame.   It was a real bear.....very easy to miss something.             

Color Scheme 

I am leaning towards painting the car a Lexus Blue with white strips and white side pipes.  The frame, rear-end, 3-Link, rear lower control arms, front spindles, door hinges, hood hinge and drive shaft safety hoop are all coated with a blue urethane.    The upper & lower front control arms, engine compartment sheet metal, drive shaft, flaming river steering components and Team III rims will be black.   I hope this simple, two-color scheme will be striking. 


 
I can be reached directly at the Legacy Garage at:  klegacy@comcast.net (SR71 on FFCobra.com)
Last modified: Sept 1, 2009