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.
|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. |
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?
|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. |
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.
|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. |
Rear UCA mounts: To keep things neat and clean I removed the rear upper control arm frame mounts when I installed the 3-link.
|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. |
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.
|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
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.
|E-Brake relocation: I fabricated brackets to move the Lokar E-brake handle to the top and towards the rear of the transmission tunnel. |
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.
|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. |
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!)
|"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.
"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.
|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.
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 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.
|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. |
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.
|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. |
Petal Extension: The previous owner moved the petal-box brackets approx 2" forwards to fit his 6' 2" body a little better.
|PPG Metal Prep : This what the metal prep did to the frame. It was almost a "rusty" looking color. |
PPG Metal Prep : A little closer view of the color.
|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. |
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.
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.