New Frame 68 SS - Impala Tech
Restoration Corner Aimed at Originality

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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-10-2015, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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New Frame 68 SS

While attempting to replace the body bushings on my 68 SS Fastback I came across a couple of soft spots in the frame. After closer inspection, there were 5-6 holes in the top of the frame.

Soooo, I contacted All American Classics out in Vancouver, WA about a replacement frame. Frame was only $600 with $400 for shipping out to the East coast.

The frame was near perfect. Had it sandblasted and epoxy primer/ PPG painted.

Here's my question. I also found 3-4 dime size to quarter size holes in the floorboards. Should I fix the floorboards first before swapping out the frame???

My thinking was to swap out the frame and then fix the holes once it's bolted down to the new frame.

I plan on taking a lot of pictures about this whole process so hopefully it will help someone else starting this process.

thanks,
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Brian

1968 Impala SS Fastback 383 stroker
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-10-2015, 08:55 PM
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I would pick option #3: Remove the body from the bad frame, and fix the floor before putting the body back on the new frame. This way, you can get to everything, top and bottom.

Two doors, four doors, wagons, and ragtops.
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-10-2015, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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3rd option

I was thinking about that too. Just didn't know if welding in little patch's would move the floor around and then become difficult to connect to the new frame. It definitely would be easier to access the floorpan without the frame in the way.

I have just about everything for the new frame. Fuel lines, brake lines, front and rear suspension, disc brakes, dropped spindles, etc. Installing all that would give me time to fix the floorboards before sitting it back down on the frame.

thanks,
Brian

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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-11-2015, 09:03 AM
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If you have holes rusted through the size of a quarter then the rest of the metal has probably rusted to the point were it is weaken enough (the solid part having thinned) where you can put your foot through it.

If you are going to do a body off restoration (repair) whether patch panels or a partial floor pan replacement then consider buying a used Rotisserie (or building your own following the plans found on line that can be built out of metal bought at scrap metal pricing which right now is as low as it has ever been).

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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-11-2015, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
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frame

I checked the floor pretty extensively and it's only bad in a couple of areas that will be replaced with the floor pan replacement panel. I'll post some pictures once I get the body off the frame.

I have a rotisserie already. It's just it's being used on my Grand National.

thanks!
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Brian

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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-11-2015, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnfast87 View Post
Soooo, I contacted All American Classics out in Vancouver, WA about a replacement frame. Frame was only $600 with $400 for shipping out to the East coast.
That is a real good price. Almost hard to believe, lol. Do you know if it is US Made ?

Also let us know how you like it.

Bill

-Parting Out over 75 '58 to '73 Full Size Chevy Cars-

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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-11-2015, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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frame

The frame doesn't come like in the pictures. I spent $850 more on the blasting, epoxy primer and painting.

The frame is a 1968 Impala frame. Don't know if it's US or Canada. Does it matter??

I was amazed at the shipping costs. Only $400 to go from West coast to East coast. Took about 6 days to come in. They used DHL Freight.

I saw the frame when it came in on the shipping truck and it was in really good shape. The guy from All American Classics said that they don't use salt up in Washington so the frames don't rust. My sandblaster was amazed at how good the frame was.

Here is the website:

http://www.allamericanclassics.com/

They have parts cars for Impala's from 1958 on up.

Brian

1968 Impala SS Fastback 383 stroker
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-11-2015, 03:34 PM
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When you stated "Replacement Frame" I took that as a brand new reproduction, lol.

What you bought was a very good used frame.

Bill

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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-16-2015, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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The disassembly has started. Got the front bumper, grille and hood off today. Once I get the rest of the front sheetmetal off I will then yank the motor/trans. out.

I will send some pics of the front springs tomorrow. What a nightmare!!! The previous owner must have cut a coil or something. Looks like the springs have coil bind and each coil is warped. No wonder it was a nightmare to steer straight!

I'm kind of afraid to see what else I'm going to find.

Brian
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Check out this front spring!!! It's amazing what you find when you start tearing the car apart.

Driver side fender came off relatively easy. Couple of stubborn rusted bolts holding the fender to the inner fender but a pair of vice grips and impact wrench and the bolt heads snapped right off. I'm replacing all the bolts/screws in the front end anyway.

Brian
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-28-2015, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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Made a lot of progress on the frame swap restoration project this weekend. Front sheetmetal is removed, engine is out and all body bushing bolts are removed.

I would like to meet the engineer that thought it was a good idea to put cage plates under the floor for the 2 sets of body bushings. He and I would go a couple of rounds!!!
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Brian

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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-02-2015, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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More progress on the frame replacement. Old frame is out. Now it's time for removing the rearend and front suspension stuff.

I saw a couple of bad spots on the frame but had no idea that the area between the inner rocker panel and frame was so rotted. You really can't see up between those 2 panels because it's only about 3/4" wide.

Glad I went and got a new frame.

I do have a question though. What's the easiest way to remove the front and back springs if there is no weight on the frame???
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Brian

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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-02-2015, 01:56 PM
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Rear springs will fall off once you loosen the shocks. There isn't a lot of stored energy in the rear springs because the rear drops down so far. That is not true for the front springs because the ball joints hold the upper and lower control arms so close together that there is a lot of potential energy stored in the spring if you let the ball joint free without a safety chain to retain it (you want to remove the shock first because you can break the shock if you let the full force of the spring hit it in extension).

With the frame off the car and the weight off the frame you will need to use spring compressors to safely remove the front coil springs. You can rent them from your corner auto parts store for a lot less than your co-pay for an emergency room visit.

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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-02-2015, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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I don't know if I can get my spring compressors in between the coils. Did you see the coil bind in the previous picture Dave?

I was thinking about chaining the springs to the control arms and then using a reciprocating saw to cut a coil. I don't think my plasma cutter will cut that thick of a coil spring.

Brian

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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-02-2015, 02:31 PM
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You can cut them in place to get them out with a Sawzall (there isn't much that a Milwaukee Sawzall won't cut with the right blade). Since those springs have had the heat treatment destroyed by heating there isn't that much energy stored any more. In fact they may just fall out once you break the ball joint loose.

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post #16 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-03-2015, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Dave!

I'm going to tackle removing the springs today.

Brian

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post #17 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Finally got everything off the old frame.

Now it's time to reassembly everything back together. I bought everything brand new so it shouldn't take to long. First up, is the fuel lines and brake lines!
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Brian

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post #18 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
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Finally got everything off the old frame.

Now it's time to reassembly everything back together. I bought everything brand new so it shouldn't take to long. First up, is the fuel lines and brake lines!
Before anything goes in the garbage check the old rubber bushings for the steel sleeves that are inside the bushing and keeps the bolt from crushing the bushing. They look just like aged rubber now only rusty on the inside and are probably vulcanized to the sleeve. You want them because they are rarely included with a bushing kit. A little time in a sand blast cabinet and a coat of self etching primer and you can paint them so they don't get thrown away on the next re-build. Maybe yellow for a red bushing or white if your bushings are black.

Big Dave
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post #19 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Good Idea Dave. I have a big pile of bushings, old control arms, bolts and washers that I'm sure I will have to go through. Remember me asking about the square bushing mount right in front of the rear tires?? I have the bushing with square sleeve. It definitely is different than what the vendors are sending out.

I think I found my steering wandering problem too. When I wiggle the rag joint I notice the pitman arm moves but the Center link joint is really lose. Between that and the new upper/lower control arms I'm hoping everything tightens up the car.

thanks for the help,
Brian

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post #20 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-15-2015, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Made some good progress on the frame off restoration today. Started putting the front end together and taught my 11 year old son how to remove and reassembly the 10 bolt posi rearend. My little gearhead. Clutch packs looked like brand new. Will be swapping out the 2.73 gears with a nice performance 3.55 gear. I just hope it holds up to the horsepower of the motor.

I found the sloppy steering problem I was having. The rag joint had 1/2 of the teeth stripped off it and the pitman arm to center link joint was all galled and loose.

I did want to recommend the rearend holding bars that bolt to a motor stand. Bought them at Summit for $49 and served me well. It was so nice to be able to work on the rearend without having to slide it around on the floor.
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Brian

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post #21 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-16-2015, 09:12 AM
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Your restoration is looking good.
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post #22 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-16-2015, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Larry! It's hard not to just put everything back together and drive it but I know that by going through each and every bolt it will turn out really nice and last a long time.

My bolts/screws budget has tripled though.

Brian

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post #23 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-17-2015, 03:03 AM
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I would much rather buy the parts you need from the original OEM source (Lake Erie, & Rockwell) but they are no longer made here in the good ole US of A.

Instead there are companies the scrounge around to find the OEM quality fasteners in the correct grade and finish to restore your car. Not as cheap as going to the big box store to get screws and bolts but at least they are the correct tensile strength to do the job. (grade eight bolts from China is often not even grade five when tested). I have bought from these guys in the past to find the bolts I need to finish a basket case project car where all of the fasteners where all cleaned of grease and then allowed to rust when placed inside a plastic bin for a decade or more.

http://www.amkproducts.com/default.htm

I use ARP fasteners for all of my engine builds buying a single box containing every fastener needed EXCEPT for the main studs and the head studs that I use in place of bolts (which requires line honing the block to accept the main studs because the difference in the clamping force distorts the caps differently enough to affect bearing clearances). You can not reuse the bolts you find as you have no idea if they have been over torqued in the past; or reused twenty or more times fatiguing the bolts.

Here is an importer that specializes in automotive asteners beyond just hex cap screws and bolts (spring clips and specialty fasteners) if you need a hard to find part. But note how many of the parts listed are made in China (5,613) vs Canada (26) or Mexico (zip) which are our NAFTA partners that get to put made in USA on parts that were actually Hecho en Mexico back in the sixties. Also note that like Mexico we make none of these parts anymore; which is why I retired early, as I was an Industrial Engineer that doesn't speak Chinese.

http://www.alibaba.com/showroom/oem-auto-fasteners.html

Big Dave
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post #24 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-17-2015, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Dave! I've used AMK for my Chevelle. Great stuff.

Don't get me started on Chinese policies in this country.

Brian

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post #25 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 12:39 PM
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How is that project going? Local yard still has the 68 Impala sedan if you need anything. Yard has closed but owner is still selling parts to locals. Clean metal in firewall, cowl, and rockers / floors.

I would use solid blocks or build cribbing out of 2" x 4" 's or 2" x 6" 's to support that body, btw. One hit on one of those wall blocks, and it could fracture and all come down.
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