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Old 05-14-2017, 07:21 PM   #1
ken sungela
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Aftermarket chassis choices

Well, here goes, first post. I'm building a '53 3100 for a customer who wants it to ride like a new truck. Factoring in time and cost, I think an aftermarket chassis is the best alternative instead of retrofitting an S10 or other production chassis.
I'm looking at the TCI, Roadstershop, and Street Rod garage chassis. Building each one with comparable bolt on stuff (ie suspension, brakes, rear), the TCi chassis is about $12,500 (4 week lead), $17500 (12 week lead) for the Roadstershop and ? for the SRG. We are leaning toward an LS3 engine with a 5 speed. I'm thinking the SRG chassis will price out somewhere between the other two, I'll confirm tomorrow.

This will be an everyday street truck. I know, its overkill, but this is the direction the customer wants to go.

Anyone have any opinion on what the pros and cons are of each chassis alternative? I've built Corvettes with aftermarket chassis, but have never done a truck.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-14-2017, 07:45 PM   #2
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

dont forget art morrison, they can mandrel bend a frame that is light years ahead of rails with a MII clone.

I would buy the one with the highest number of off-the-shelf parts, a daily driven truck isnt going to sit in the garage or take parade laps and parts will wear out. makes a big difference buying replacement balljoints for $25 at the local store or ordering them in from BFE for 4-5x.

my completely useless opinion is that an LS3 5 speed is a waste in a light truck with no rear weight like an AD. but if he is looking to daily drive a truck with a 17k chassis and ls3, he has more dollars than I do in the decision.

maybe poke around ebay, I bet the truck he wants exists already, and even if he is using grandpas old family truck or some other sentimental donor, it might be faster and easier (and probably less expensive) to just swap some steel onto the already done running gear.
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Old 05-14-2017, 09:12 PM   #3
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

Quote:
Originally Posted by ken sungela View Post
Well, here goes, first post. I'm building a '53 3100 for a customer who wants it to ride like a new truck. Factoring in time and cost, I think an aftermarket chassis is the best alternative instead of retrofitting an S10 or other production chassis.
I'm looking at the TCI, Roadstershop, and Street Rod garage chassis. Building each one with comparable bolt on stuff (ie suspension, brakes, rear), the TCi chassis is about $12,500 (4 week lead), $17500 (12 week lead) for the Roadstershop and ? for the SRG. We are leaning toward an LS3 engine with a 5 speed. I'm thinking the SRG chassis will price out somewhere between the other two, I'll confirm tomorrow.

This will be an everyday street truck. I know, its overkill, but this is the direction the customer wants to go.

Anyone have any opinion on what the pros and cons are of each chassis alternative? I've built Corvettes with aftermarket chassis, but have never done a truck.
Thanks in advance.
From your choices I would go with Roadstershop. If Art Morrison is in the budget it would be my first choice.

I would never use a suspension that uses mainly heim joint as the pivots for a daily driver there are not made for that type of use. Morrison uses normal rod ends and easily adjustable caster camber setup. GT Sport Performance" chassis is the one to get about 17.5k , they have another cheaper version that's pretty much the same as all the rest
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Old 05-14-2017, 09:16 PM   #4
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

I've seen the art morrison chassis..very nice ..
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Old 05-14-2017, 11:05 PM   #5
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

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If Art Morrison is in the budget it would be my first choice.
...absolutely
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Old 05-14-2017, 11:10 PM   #6
ken sungela
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

Thanks for the replies.

Good point on using aftermarket parts. The customer wants to pick everything out and have me build it so he know what he's getting down to the bones. More expensive, but he wants what he wants. The truck is half function, half trophy if you know what I mean.

The only thing I don't like about the AM chassis is all the empty space between the rails, no inner structure to stiffen it up and improve torsional rigidity. Which chassis uses heim joints as pivots?
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:10 AM   #7
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

Industrial chassis - Phoenix

http://www.industrialchassisinc.com/

https://www.facebook.com/industrialchassis/
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:21 AM   #8
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

If empty frame space is a comcern that's nothing a well placed extra x-member couldn't take care of..
After looking at the choices you mentioned that roadster shop chassis looks great
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:48 AM   #9
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

Speedway offers a frame as well. They did that for that build for Hot Rod...
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Old 05-15-2017, 05:56 PM   #10
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

Quote:
Originally Posted by ken sungela View Post
Thanks for the replies.

Which chassis uses heim joints as pivots?
Street Rod garage chassis is almost all rod ends except the ball joints TCI uses the as well

If your twisting 6" x 2" x 0.120 rectangle tubing you don't have a street truck/show, you have a show/race truck
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:37 PM   #11
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

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Originally Posted by joedoh View Post

I would buy the one with the highest number of off-the-shelf parts, a daily driven truck isnt going to sit in the garage or take parade laps and parts will wear out. makes a big difference buying replacement balljoints for $25 at the local store or ordering them in from BFE for 4-5x.
Good point there. Some of the chassis have so many hand made parts in them that if you have a worn out part problem you are stuck with waiting until they can put something together or you are stuck with a stiff cost.

I like Morrision's chassis and they do have one under their daily driver "shop truck" AD truck that is the test mule for their AD truck pieces. Again you are probably looking at 10 K but when you compare to the cost of a basic new truck off the dealer's lot it isn't so bad.

Another one to look at might be the chassis that Steve at Industrial chassis builds. His is a small shop and the wait may be more than you want though.
http://www.industrialchassisinc.com/ He builds to order and can build it mild or full tilt wild with all the trick stuff. No idea of what the shops backlog is though.

Morrison also gives several build levels rather than one cookie cutter chassis https://www.artmorrison.com/trucks.php
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:58 PM   #12
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

The Art Morrision chassis seems really stiff. I havent driven it yet, Hopefully soon.
My buddy has a TCI, I looked at also. didnt care for the 8" frame rails and bracing thru the center of chassis
I will be running LS3 and Auto.
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Old 05-15-2017, 10:12 PM   #13
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

I went through all the same choices and debate. I finally chose the TCI chassis. The frame is very well built and definitely stout. The brakes and suspension are standard parts for the most part available at your local parts store. I've only had a few small issues - all were parts that I either "lost" in my garage or maybe didn't get. TCI has been great just sending me new parts and answering all my questions. It's not on the road quite yet but at this point I'd make the same buying decision again. It's a lot of chassis for the money.
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Old 05-16-2017, 10:48 PM   #14
ken sungela
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

Quote:
Originally Posted by MIKESAD50 View Post
The Art Morrision chassis seems really stiff. I havent driven it yet, Hopefully soon.
My buddy has a TCI, I looked at also. didnt care for the 8" frame rails and bracing thru the center of chassis
I will be running LS3 and Auto.
Thanks Mike, have you driven in your friends truck with the TCI chassis? How would you describe the ride and "tightness" when going over rough roads?
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Old 05-16-2017, 11:34 PM   #15
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

Ken, welcome! I look at times the various chassis choices and if you want the best engineered chassis look at this single item. Usual layout is to move the upper control arm in/out for caster and camber. The best choice it to lengthen/shorten "THE A ARM". This is usually accomplished by threading in/out the inner pivot points on the best systems. The benefit of doing it this way is to NOT induce a bumpsteer issue because the inner pivot points never move in/out.

Old school/less than ideal engineered front end will move a "fixed length" a arm in/out by using shims, eccentric cam washers, or sliding the a arm in/out because the frame has slotted openings.

The "make it handle" thread on this forum spells it all out about bumpsteer. A brief overview is this; the inner pivot points (upper a arm inner pivot=cross shaft, lower a arm pivot= cross shaft, and the inner tie rod end need to be in a straight line. Imagine taking a lazer beam and shooting it over the face of the 3 pivot points and it should go through the center of each in perfect alignment. This also holds true for the outer pivot points, (upper and lower ball joints and outer tie rod end). As little as .050 out of alignment induces bumpsteer, that's not much. Outer pivot points don't move, but MOVING THE UPPER A ARM IN/OUT CHANGES PIVOT POINT ALIGNMENT.

Sorry to say but the new "roadster shop" and their g3 spec cad cam designed state of the art frame uses eccentric cams. If in doubt, read "make it handle" Happy shopping!
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:09 AM   #16
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

Ken, I havent ridden in either my truck or his, neither on the road yet.

Sorry I cant help you on the ride any,
I dont really think you will be getting a bad chassis out of the choices your looking at.
There is a guy lurking on the forums here that is located close to me and he ordered a roadster shop chassis and will be doing an LT motor in it. Last I heard he was waiting on deliverey of the chassis.
I went with AME due to reputation in the chassis industry and I know TCI has been at it for a while, I just didnt like the 8" rails and the bracing thru the center of the chassis.
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:22 AM   #17
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

I am all for after market chassis, buy the best you can afford and you will never look back
My 62 Corvette need to be brought up to the next millennium, so I have started with a good foundation and power plant LS3
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Old 05-18-2017, 08:12 AM   #18
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

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My 62 Corvette need to be brought up to the next millennium, so I have started with a good foundation and power plant LS3
I wish I had the funds for that!. I had a 61 a few decades ago - if I still
had it (and the $) I would have also modded it (with all due respect to the "Bloomington Gold" scene) along the lines of one of my favorites...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3smGsB6jYs
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Old 05-19-2017, 05:52 PM   #19
ken sungela
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

Solid: I've done two builds now using SRIII chassis, unfortunately Mike doesn't make a truck frame.

Art Morrison is only making their high end chassis now, as it has all the latest stuff, so they decided to discontinue their lower cost chassis. Interestingly they said the inner frame cross bracing does nothing to improve the stiffness. Not sure I believe that. A ladder bar design chassis has always suffered in rigidity...I think.
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Old 05-19-2017, 06:05 PM   #20
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

Have you looked at Steve P, Chassis at Industrial Chassis in Phoenix
I used one of his front X-members and all Dodge Dakota bolt ons and 3" rear springs from a Mopar wagon on my 53 factory chassis and it is a much better ride than the Mll on my 55 GMC

Both trucks have many many miles on them and both have Bilstine shocks
The Dakota is a truck suspension and R&P for these trucks and a very easy build with lots of parts, take a look !

Were your SRlll chassis for a C1 or 2
I am still completing mine
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:00 PM   #21
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

stiff chassis only serve to break suspension. the guys who are saying you arent going to twist a 6" beam are right.

a ladder is a great example. get an aluminum ladder and hold one end while your friend holds another, even with all the rungs you can still deflect it, probably pretty substantially.

push with all your might in the direction of your friend on only one leg though and you will never "diamond" all those rung segments. ever. that is the strength of laddering.

the commercial I will always remember is the ford truck frame advert that grabbed opposite corners and got over a foot of deflection.
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:26 PM   #22
ken sungela
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

I built a '63 vette and now a '67. I have a '59 I'm using a box frame chassis with c4 suspension, but that's on hold for now.

I'll check out Industrial Chassis, but its not clear if they sell a rolling chassis or just retrofit parts.

Everything I've read indicates a ladder bar design frame is relatively poor at providing a basis for a well handling performance type vehicle. Good at pulling and hauling heavy loads. It just depends what the goal is.

Diamonding the ladder is not a concern as there are not substantial forces on a car chassis as in your analogy. Its the torsional rigidity that is the concern.
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:39 PM   #23
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

I always liked this twist test..https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qr7qEuaXeGo
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Old 05-20-2017, 12:57 AM   #24
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

Quote:
Originally Posted by ken sungela View Post

Diamonding the ladder is not a concern as there are not substantial forces on a car chassis as in your analogy.

well, thats not actually true. it has torque acting on it in two directions, the engine (logintudinal) and the rear axle (lateral). I was only trying to explain the real purpose of laddering and its not for torsion. the 2x6 box rails are going to have a ton of torsional rigidity, its the box height that is important.

the stiff chassis you are after, the way you are describing it, can be had by adding a cage. but be aware that stiff chassis on the track are wonderfully handling machines, stiff chassis on the street break ball joints, or suspension attachment points, because the chassis has no flex to absorb what a real street provides. even that bed test mongo shows, it is marketing hyperbole to say "we are better because it is stiffer", when the actual extra stiffness can actually come from the bed bolted to the rear frame, and the actual better truck will keep the wheels in contact with the ground.

do what you like, maybe AME doesnt really know what they are talking about, I have taken the classes in statics and dynamics and have hand built a frame before, but I am not saying I am some sort of chassis expert either.
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Old 05-20-2017, 08:33 AM   #25
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Re: Aftermarket chassis choices

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Originally Posted by joedoh View Post
but be aware that stiff chassis on the track are wonderfully handling machines, stiff chassis on the street break ball joints, or suspension attachment points, because the chassis has no flex to absorb what a real street provides.
I have to disagree with that statement. Properly sized ball joints, bushings, and other components are required in conjunction with a stiffer chassis. The correct springs and shock valving are also needed. Newer vehicles have very little chassis flex compared to older models and they generally drive and hold up much better. Corvettes are a very good example. Try driving a newer vette and then go drive one from the 70's or 80's and the chassis flex is very obvious. Even without the flex I'd say the newer chassis components are more reliable.
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