Front crossmember spred

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Art Ebeling
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Front crossmember spred

Post by Art Ebeling » Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:17 am

I trial fitted my radiator on my 1911 that has the engine and front spring already installed and of course the front cross member has spread and the outside of the frame is 23 1/4 so the radiator will not fit down over the frame and the radiator mounting holes are also too far apart. I have read the posts about straightening the front cross member with a chain and bottle jack to bring the frame back to 23" at the outer sides and the radiator mounting holes 21.5 inches center to center. Can this be done with the engine and front spring already installed? Thanks again for any advice, Art

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ABoer
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Re: Front crossmember spred

Post by ABoer » Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:56 am

Art ; I did it without the engine and Spring , but I think you can do it with the Engine and Spring .
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KWTownsend
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Re: Front crossmember spred

Post by KWTownsend » Sat Dec 07, 2019 11:24 am

Yes.
I have done this with the engine in the car.


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Art Ebeling
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Re: Front crossmember spred

Post by Art Ebeling » Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:07 pm

Keith, Can you tell me how you did that? What had to be removed, etc? Thanks, Art

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Steve Jelf
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Re: Front crossmember spred

Post by Steve Jelf » Sat Dec 07, 2019 1:39 pm

I believe radiator off and front spring out is all the removal you need. I would cut a wood block to fit over the front bearing and support the jack. The radiator mounting holes should be 21½" on center.
The inevitable often happens.
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Art Ebeling
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Re: Front crossmember spred

Post by Art Ebeling » Sat Dec 07, 2019 1:52 pm

Thank you Steve. Art


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Re: Front crossmember spred

Post by wayne sheldon » Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:40 pm

Only a quarter inch spread isn't much, and some people would do a little finagle and run with it. However, that is a bad idea. While a quarter inch isn't much, it throws the geometry off between everything from the firewall forward. Everything would be off a bit, the hood, the steering, the general stance of the whole car. So fixing it right is the right way to go.
I have straightened several such frames. Usually, it is easier to do than one might think.
However.
Steel stretches much more easily than it compresses. If a frame is not badly distorted, a simple jacking like Anthonie B shows can do the job just fine! A couple that I have straightened, were much worse than that, One I straightened had spread nearly a full inch. Heating a frame for straightening purposes is certainly controversial. Many offer good reasons why it should not be done. I tend to believe that there is a point of judgement call when heat is needed because the metal has stretched enough, that only shrinking it can result in a best repair. The really bad one I did, I carefully mapped (using a nice straight original as a guide). I determined where the stretched area of the front cross-member was, and rigged a chain binder I have to pull the stretched area back. I then heated the stretched area, leaving the open edges of the channel still cold to give a solid base to return to. Then pulled the chain binder tight, measured, and allowed to cool. When I removed the chain binder, and measured again, I found it so close to perfect (some of that was luck), no further adjustment was needed. I then reheated to a dull red the entire area and cooled it slowly to re-anneal the area.

Yours isn't that bad. A simple pull with a big chain binder or more likely a bottle jack and heavy chain, should work just fine. Although I haven't actually done it that way, doing so with the engine and spring in place shouldn't be a problem. I have seen others that did do it that way.

And for those that may not know about "chain binders". They are normally used to tie heavy loads onto trucks, trailers, ships, or railroad cars. They have two hooks used to catch firmly onto a chain, and a lever that pulls the hooks (and therefore the chain) a couple inches closer together. usually, a couple, or more, are used to hold a load. The lever pulls from loose to over-center so that a properly tensioned chain will lock it firmly in place, however, smart users usually safety wire the handle as a backup. They are made in many sizes, from moderate duty to huge super heavy duty. I have a couple or three of them myself. Including one moderate duty, good for individually pulling a few ton of weight. And one heavy duty (not super heavy duty). I used the heavy duty one to pull the frame front cross-member into shape aided by the torch to help control the area allowed to shrink.


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Re: Front crossmember spred

Post by fschrope » Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:11 pm

I'm not sure that binders/boomers are legal any more on big trucks.

I have several and will continue to use them, but very carefully. I remember once - and it only took once - a fellow unchaining a load of steel from a flat bed semitrailer. He had about a four foot cheater pipe and he pulled the binder handle up. The thing got away from him and I'll bet that pipe flew fifty feet in the air - maybe more. Scary.

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Re: Front crossmember spred

Post by Steve Jelf » Sun Dec 08, 2019 12:28 am

In these parts chain binders are usually called boomers. They turn up often at farm auctions. While they're designed for tension to lock down the handle, it's a good idea to wire it down just in case.
The inevitable often happens.
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Re: Front crossmember spred

Post by Burger in Spokane » Sun Dec 08, 2019 12:59 am

The hydraulic jack will allow much more precise control of the work than a binder/
boomer, and can easily be backed off to check movement, and restarted, over and
over again, until the desired results are attained.
More people are doing it today than ever before !


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Re: Front crossmember spred

Post by d stroud » Sun Dec 08, 2019 5:01 am

Around here, we never wire down boomer handles, but we do wrap the loose chain around them. If you don't have enough loose chain, your chain is too short. :o By the way, a good cheater pipe is a must, along with a healthy bit of common sense!!! ;) ;) Dave
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Re: Front crossmember spred

Post by autoneer » Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:49 pm

I have dealt with this easily before with two pieces of 3/8" fine thread all thread, put across between the top pair of front fender bolt holes. Tighten, loosen and keep checking dimensions. You don't have to remove the front spring either.
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Re: Front crossmember spred

Post by Altair » Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:50 pm

I had a frame from a 15 where the car was converted to a farm tractor and a pair of chains were wrapped around the axle housings then attached to an implement, plow, harrow etc. The chains wore a hole through the axle housings on each (it cost me $300 to have them filled). This towing action stretched the rear cross member out rearward about one inch, so that the bell fitting behind the transmission would not come together. Also the front cross member was twisted as the crank handle was in the housing hanging down and it was driven in to the ground twisting the cross member and severely bending the crank handle. The front end on the driver's was hit and broke the rivets in the crossmember and they were replaced with bolts. This caused the frame to take a parallelogram form. With the front crossmember twisted, the rear crossmember bent back and the frame twisted caused a challenge to make things fit. I did however overcome all the issues. The situation above has me bewildered as to how could the front crossmember be either A.be bent upward or B.the outer portions of the frame be bent downward?


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Re: Front crossmember spred

Post by Rich Bingham » Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:24 pm

Steve Jelf wrote:
Sun Dec 08, 2019 12:28 am
In these parts chain binders are usually called boomers . . .
Is that the “OK boomer” Tim Rogers has been writing about ? 😳
"Get a horse !"


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Re: Front crossmember spred

Post by tdump » Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:25 pm

I can't help but notice any of the crossmembers that are badly spread seem to be on the cars with 2 ubolts going thru the spring clamp instead of 1 in the middle like the later cars.Seems that pulls down on each side of the crossmember ?
When I fixed this issue on my chassis I also noticed the front and back of the crossmember seemed flared outward as if the sping and axle had been pulled or pushed alot forward and backward..So I used a hammer and c clamps to pull them back in straight.That seems to help with bringing the chassis closer together to.
Just best I can remember from working on mine years back.
If you can't help em, don't hinder em'


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Re: Front crossmember spred

Post by d stroud » Wed Dec 11, 2019 3:10 am

Jeff B., where did you find fine thread all-thread? I have looked for it along with the coupling nuts in the past and never did find any. That was about twenty years ago though, haven't looked since. Dave
1925 mostly original coupe.


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Re: Front crossmember spred

Post by John Illinois » Wed Dec 11, 2019 8:55 am

McMaster Carr has grade 8 fine thread rod and coupling nuts.
https://www.mcmaster.com/threaded-rods

John


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Art Ebeling
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Re: Front crossmember spred

Post by Art Ebeling » Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:28 pm

Today I used Jeff’s 3/8 “ threaded rod method and after six or seven times tightening and loosening it was perfect. Thanks for the replies. Art
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