1966 Frame Questions - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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1966 Frame Questions

Hi All,


I just inherited a 1966 impala. It is all original, soft top. The other day, I finally had a chance to put it up on a lift and found major frame rot on the driver's side and a huge piece of angle iron welded onto the passenger side.


I did a forum search and I clearly see that I should replace the frame. I am not clear on which years/models will interchange, though.


I found a 1970 convertible frame that is within a days drive for me, will that work without major modification/parts swappage?


Or - does any one know of a good source for frames? I live in Maryland so the closer the better.


Thanks in advance
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 07:50 PM
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I believe '65 to '70 would work, but there are some differences. I would have to check on it to be sure, but I believe '65 and '66 are the same.

Also I just re-read your post and it looks like you have a '66 Convertible yourself as you have mentioned "Soft Top". Unless you mean Vinyl Top ??

Let us know for sure for further help.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 10:12 PM
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Convertibles are unique and have the strongest frame. The newer car years use a different length upper and lower control arm on the back so you will need to find replacement used control arms to fit a '70 convertible or buy aftermarket replacements made out of tubular steel.

Big Dave
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 07:27 AM
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Arent the convertible frames boxed? They are on my 65 Pontiac so a hardtop frame would be too weak.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 62BillT View Post
I believe '65 to '70 would work, but there are some differences. I would have to check on it to be sure, but I believe '65 and '66 are the same.

Also I just re-read your post and it looks like you have a '66 Convertible yourself as you have mentioned "Soft Top". Unless you mean Vinyl Top ??

Let us know for sure for further help.
I have a soft top - meaning a metal roof with a cloth/vinyl wrapping. My car is NOT a convertible but the frame I found is from a convertible.

The rust is too extensive. I would assume it would be more cost effective and better in the long run to just find a good frame, and start with that.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 10:33 AM
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I've done several frame swaps. The 65-66 frames are interchangeable. Small differences like bumper mounting holes. All body styles will interchange, Coupes, 4 doors and wagons. Convertibles will work also but have extra body mounts and the trans cross member is narrower because of the extra metal under the door section. 67-70 will also work with a little more modification work. The front and rear suspensions are mostly the same but dont interchange with 65-66 cars.
So with your car you can choose between 1965 and 1970 cars depending on the frame you find, but I would recommend a 65-66 frame.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 12:36 PM
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I also agree on sticking to a '65 or '66 Frame.

Also Convertible Frames are so hard to find, it would pretty much be a waste to put on under a Hard Top.

If for some reason, you don't go with the '70 Convertible Frame, let us know if you would as it would be interesting to check into it.

I have some '65 and '66 Frames here and I'm not that far from you, but I don't have any ready to go at this time. They are presently all still under the cars.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 03:43 PM
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Goto: Classic Auto ( Automotive ) Parts, Car Wrecking: Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, More

I bought a 1968 perfect frame from them for $699. Cost $300 to ship it to Vermont.
Looks like they have over 10 '66 junk cars. Great vendor to work with. I would recommend them.

Search the archives for my frame build. You can take a look at what I received.

Brian

Brian

1968 Impala SS Fastback 383 stroker
1970 Chevelle LS2 6.0L
1986 Buick Grand National (on the rotisserie)
2007 Dodge Ram 1500 w/ 5.7l Hemi
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 01:42 PM
 
 
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If no one told you.

Go with a convertible frame, its heavier but it will hold your car together. And please check the vin on it before you buy it . It's located on the top rear of the frame driver side. There is a vin check (NCIB) that can check and see if it's stolen and make sure you get a proof of purchase. And check with CHP if you change frames what they are going to need otherwise if you sell it you are going to give buyer problems and yourself. Thank you
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 11:29 AM
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The S-I-L's frame is an SS Caprice. I found her frame to have an extra set of body mounts on the frame directly above the rear axle. I would surmise that this is a convertible frame for the added strength of being an SS.

Chris
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 01:23 PM
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There is no difference in an a SS than in any other car as SS denotes a model (chrome and trim as opposed to a high powered motor and heavy duty suspension. All the SS option buys you (in my opinion) is bucket seats.

The extra body mounts are for the hydraulic cylinders that lift the top on a convertible. There should be an additional cross-member as well as the body mounts.

A convertible frame is stamped out of a heavier gauge of metal (usually 8 gauge instead of 10 gauqe metal) with a taller C channel under the body to prevent the car from snapping in two when you open the door. As such the frame is stronger (stiffer) than a standard passenger car frame which allows for a higher level of performance.


Big Dave
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 62BillT View Post
I also agree on sticking to a '65 or '66 Frame.

Also Convertible Frames are so hard to find, it would pretty much be a waste to put on under a Hard Top.

If for some reason, you don't go with the '70 Convertible Frame, let us know if you would as it would be interesting to check into it.

I have some '65 and '66 Frames here and I'm not that far from you, but I don't have any ready to go at this time. They are presently all still under the cars.

62BillT, I saw the frame on craigslist, in philidelphia. it has been stripped and painted.
1970 Impala Convertible Frame and body

Quote:
Originally Posted by dadstoy View Post
I've done several frame swaps. The 65-66 frames are interchangeable. Small differences like bumper mounting holes. All body styles will interchange, Coupes, 4 doors and wagons. Convertibles will work also but have extra body mounts and the trans cross member is narrower because of the extra metal under the door section. 67-70 will also work with a little more modification work. The front and rear suspensions are mostly the same but dont interchange with 65-66 cars.
So with your car you can choose between 1965 and 1970 cars depending on the frame you find, but I would recommend a 65-66 frame.
this is the help I needed. i really appreciate it everyone!!
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dadstoy View Post
I've done several frame swaps....
any tips you (or anyone else) can give me to facilitate the transplant? I am fortunate enough to have a large garage and a lift.


TIA
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 06:36 PM
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The emergency brake cable coming out of the lower driver firewall is a pain. The rag joint for steering column can be tricky. Most body mounts come out easily when sprayed with PB Blaster a few days ahead of time. If they spin in their cage nuts you will have to open up the floor above them to access the nuts with a wrench. The 4 at the firewall require a wrench and a impact gun. I put 4x4 blocks between the frame and body to help with removing the mounts. If you need any other info, just ask.

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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So, I found a 1966 Bel Air wagon to use for the frame. most of the frame bolts are just spinning, and of course they are the ones that I have to presumably cut the floor to get to. any reason not to sawzall or grind the bolt heads off instead?

also, any reason to take the front clip off? I took the inner fenders off to get to the frame nuts there but don't see any reason to remove all the other stuff...
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 12:47 PM
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It seems like trying to cut through the bolt results in the bolt spinning. I usually cut a hole in the floor to access the top caged nut. The 4 at the firewall I usually just use Vice grips on them.
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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Quote:
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It seems like trying to cut through the bolt results in the bolt spinning. I usually cut a hole in the floor to access the top caged nut. The 4 at the firewall I usually just use Vice grips on them.
I got the firewall ones no problem (used a 1" wrench). The ones that are spinning: I have 1 in the drivers rear by the bumper, and then the ones in front of the rear wheels.

in the wagon, i'd have to remove the rear seat to get the ones in front of the rear wheel? and in the back by the bumper, the wagon is build a little different - not sure how i'd get to those through the floor (no trunk) - maybe at an angle?

i'm trying not to hack this thing up too bad because I am sure someone might be interested in the body or at least parts of it...
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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 07:02 PM
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The bolts are behind sheet metal. Not to difficult to get to. Ive had problems with wagon mounts before. Is the wagon a 8 pass with the rear seat facing the rear window?

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