Tubular front end

JacobM03

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1992 Thunderbird Sport 5.0
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I am planning on doing a tubular front end for my 1992 tbird.

Would anyone have already done this or would have any advice or knowledge as to where would be best to cut and what diameter tubing would be best?

My goal with this would be to open up the engine bay more, have a removable front end and possibly save a bit of weight.
 
AJE, @supergordo made a great video write up on it


My goal with this would be to open up the engine bay more, have a removable front end and possibly save a bit of weight.

Elaborate on removable front end? These are unibody cars and the critically integral shock towers are the intrusive part so you’re not going to be able to open things up from the top any better than just opening the hood. The AJE will grant a lot more underbody access though
 
He wants to cut the entire front end off and make it more of a tube chassis car. 🤔
 
What you could do is cut forward of the shock towers and use the integral frame as a tie in point. If you plan to daily drive the car I recommend against this.

Cutting forward of the shock tower preserves the suspension geometry while opening up the engine bay for turbo piping, intercoolers, or whatever you'd ever want. You're going to need to either figure out rods with mounting points or a way to get the tubes to hit some of the mounting areas on the bumper, and you'll likely have to hold the sides with drift ties.

A lot of guys in the drag bird forums I've read do this with relative safety, granted they are generally fabricators.
 
Yes I basically want to make the front end of the car a tube chassis past the shock towers.

I already have the AJE subframe on order and have the car apart at the moment.

I was just wondering if anyone has already done this on an MN12 chassis to see examples and inspiration on how they would route their tube frame.
 
You won’t see much benefit doing it ahead of the shock towers, all that’s there is the aprons frame rail horns and core support. I could see doing it from the firewall forward(see doing it, not recommend doing it) but if you’re keeping the towers and going tubular ahead of that, I don’t see any advantage at all, not for weight savings, not for clearance, not for rigidity
 
You could do a really cool looking F1 car wing in the front; it might even improve gas mileage.
A custom radiator trans cooler layout would be cool.
Cowcatcher for those annoying people on the sidewalk...
OOOh! Remember the car in Unreal Tournament that had the blades that swept out from the sides! That would be a popular mod this political season! :
 
Look at Nascar under hood for chassis ideas and then mold a complete front end with the fenders, hood and front bumper in one piece fiberglass.
 
I am planning on doing a tubular front end for my 1992 tbird.

Would anyone have already done this or would have any advice or knowledge as to where would be best to cut and what diameter tubing would be best?

My goal with this would be to open up the engine bay more, have a removable front end and possibly save a bit of weight.
What is your plan for this car? Drag racing? Road racing?
 
If you are doing a tube frame, you want to go from the front suspension back. I did a full tube frame on a 63 falcon.
the front cap was removeable. This chassis mod is not a simple one. But it can be done by a race frame shop, or If you have the welding skills, you can do it too.
 
When I had the lemons car, at one point it got crashed pretty hard in the front end, and I had to section one frame rail and replace the complete rad support and bumper bar. I thought about doing something like this for weight savings, but when I got everything cut off, there really wasn’t much weight to save. The frame rails and bumper bar are probably lighter than anything of equivalent strength that you would make out of roll bar tubing. The rad support is just sheet metal, doesn’t get much lighter than that. The apron panels are also just sheet metal, but also aren’t structural, so if you wanted more access you could easily just cut those out entirely. Really the only thing I think you could gain from something like this would be clearance for an intercooler setup, and even then, there are easier ways to accomplish that.
 
Do our fenders unbolt, or is that a foxbody thing?
 
Thanks rod. I was just curious. Rod, you've done some awesome fab work; did you ever consider doing one? Your truck is pretty cool.
 
When I had the lemons car, at one point it got crashed pretty hard in the front end, and I had to section one frame rail and replace the complete rad support and bumper bar. I thought about doing something like this for weight savings, but when I got everything cut off, there really wasn’t much weight to save. The frame rails and bumper bar are probably lighter than anything of equivalent strength that you would make out of roll bar tubing. The rad support is just sheet metal, doesn’t get much lighter than that. The apron panels are also just sheet metal, but also aren’t structural, so if you wanted more access you could easily just cut those out entirely. Really the only thing I think you could gain from something like this would be clearance for an intercooler setup, and even then, there are easier ways to accomplish that.
What suggestions do you have for easier intercooler setups? Trying to shove a bigger radiator, oil cooler, trans cooler, and intercooler space because a luxury really quickly lol
 
What suggestions do you have for easier intercooler setups? Trying to shove a bigger radiator, oil cooler, trans cooler, and intercooler space because a luxury really quickly lol
Some trimming of the back of the bumper beam helps a lot. If you take 1” off the back side of the bar, it will still be almost as strong, but leave a lot more room. Also ditching the hood latch for a pair of pins frees up a significant amount of room.
 
Thanks rod. I was just curious. Rod, you've done some awesome fab work; did you ever consider doing one? Your truck is pretty cool.
Thanks. A tubular front end? I'd consider it for a drag car, but I don't see myself doing another MN12.
 
What is your plan for this car? Drag racing? Road racing?
Street car some road and drag racing, always liked tubular front ends so was wondering how it would be on an MN12 and if anyone had already done it. Mainly for looks and opening up abit the engine bay.
 
From a looks perspective it might look clean when it's all fresh and new but without the towers aprons and fenderwells the engine and everything else will get stone washed by the exposed tires if it's not a trailer queen.
 
The only instance I know of it actually being done was some football player apparently had an MN12 bird as his first car, and he had a NASCAR shop redo it, and they did a complete tube chassis front end with NASCAR suspension and a Coyote. I can’t find pics of it now, but I remember at the time being very unimpressed with how it looked under the hood.
 
The only instance I know of it actually being done was some football player apparently had an MN12 bird as his first car, and he had a NASCAR shop redo it, and they did a complete tube chassis front end with NASCAR suspension and a Coyote. I can’t find pics of it now, but I remember at the time being very unimpressed with how it looked under the hood.
Tim Tebow, I am also a part of a FB page that is all drag birds. MN12s are few and far between but there are some.
 

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You can also buy a full tube kit from S&W

 
Street car some road and drag racing, always liked tubular front ends so was wondering how it would be on an MN12 and if anyone had already done it. Mainly for looks and opening up abit the engine bay.
I also just found a couple in the FB tccoa
 

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This is all to say that it is possible to do this with enough time, effort, know-how, and money. The kicker is that I have found these are all purpose-built drag, drift, or race birds. Don't do this and drive it on the road.
 

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