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TR6BILL
11-01-2008, 08:22 AM
Heard a loud popping on the way to town.

A good reason to NOT go with rear tube shocks, or at least this variety..


Is this repairable? Without removing the body?
https://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y17/billkaram/frame.jpg


Both sides, yet....

elysium
11-01-2008, 08:37 AM
About 3 weeks ago I let my nephew drive the car for a bit. On 3 succesive launches he had the car bucking like something you'd see on the PBR circuit and I too heard the BANG you desribe.Took it up on the lift and saw the exact same situation and three splits in the crossmember as well.
Best solution I've seen so far is Ratco crossmember-much more solid than original. Supposedly you can replace with the body on but I've been advised that there are other fixes worth making at the same time that probably warrant taking the body off-haven't quite decided yet myself.Was a bit shocking how little weld was on that piece at the frame from the factory-must have been a Friday car( or a Monday....or maybe Wednesday......)
Would be interested if you learn anything different in your research.
Elysium

DougF
11-01-2008, 08:48 AM
I just went through this last month. Mine only broke at the bottom. I welded, then plated the areas. I would suggest doing the same to the passenger side as mine cracked there also.

tdskip
11-01-2008, 08:55 AM
Not pretty, and not a fun thing to have happen, but I'm pretty sure that can be reinforced and welded up Bill.

Not minimizing it, just trying to provide a path forward.

TR6BILL
11-01-2008, 09:01 AM
Just got off the phone with Tony at Ratco. The whole crossmember is replaceable with the body on the frame. Thank goodness. The part is being manufactured next week and will be shipped. Whew! Only $350. I have a slick welder that will make house calls and he is ready and willing.

TR6BILL
11-01-2008, 09:03 AM
And he said I can go back to using the tube shock conversion. What he will send is a lot beefier than stock.

elysium
11-01-2008, 09:17 AM
Good deal on the follow up with Tony-he has been helpful when I have contacted him in the past and I have his linkage and am well pleased with it. My concern is that in the wracking to tear up the back supports the front may be compromised as well( plus I have read that usually the front right goes first) Saw applications where folks weld 1/8" plate on top of the front crossmember to brace the front pins. Made me think it might be worth shedding the body to do so. Also gives a prime opportunity to address pitfalls with the trailing arms as you hear of many problems in that area as well. As to the patches-we tried to effect a temp solution by welding plates over the tear and spot weld the crossmember to the frame and it re-tore the same day. 30++ years of metal fatigue didn't give you a whole lot to work with. Of course as they say, YMMV

Brosky
11-01-2008, 09:26 AM
I'm just glad that no other damage was done.

To you or the car....

elysium
11-01-2008, 09:31 AM
Bill
Good news coming!

Opa
11-01-2008, 10:44 AM
I don't think it matters who's tube kit your using,If the shock is your suspension stop,it will tear up the frame.Make sure the rubber bump stops are doing what they are supposed to do.I had to raise my T/A stop at least a 1/4 inch. Also had to modify stop inside rear fender.To check this remove the coil spring and lift the T/A thru it's complete travel arc making sure the shock itself is not the stop.

martx-5
11-01-2008, 12:13 PM
And he said I can go back to using the tube shock conversion. What he will send is a lot beefier than stock.

Everything on Tony's frame is a lot beefier then stock. I've been there from the birth of this whole frame manufacturing that he's doing, and he was well aware of all of the weak points in the stock frame having seen many of them over the years and how they've failed. Also, as you found out, he's usually there on Saturdays, as that's when the Triumph club guys go there to work on their cars. I'm there most Saturdays to help out. He has a fully equipped shop with a lift and is very accomadating in the use of his equipment...just make sure you clean and put everything back where it goes, as he's a stickler for organization. It shows in the products he offers. Every detail must be right.

I'm sure you will be very happy with the repair piece that Tony sends you.

DNK
11-01-2008, 01:35 PM
Bill -Did you ask if you can revamp to their Coil-over set up?

TR6BILL
11-01-2008, 03:38 PM
I spent the afternoon removing the old frame cross member. Not fun. I dropped the trailing arms and slid out the springs. Easy. (left the trailing arms suspended from the front brackets.) I used my plasma torch to cut away at the cross member where it was welded to the frame, leaving enough to grind back later with a disk. The diff had to be lowered about an inch to clear the long bolts from the cross member. Still not enough room so I plasma torched one off. (don't pick up a piece of metal while it is still hot, ask me why....) Finally finessed it out one side and lifted the diff back up and have it suspended with a bottle jack. I know I will have to drain my fuel tank and remove the steel line that passes right beside the cross member. I will wait for the new piece, fit it, clean all my steel, and call the welder to come to the house. Thank goodness he has a welding truck and makes house calls. He is a slick welder. I strongly suspect that I will have to remove the differential, Tony says no. Guess I will go online and read his instructions over the weekend. The bracket for the tube shocks (BPNW) was in fine shape. Just the cross member was light gauge steel and all that torquing did it in. I will look at the bump stops as well. Not sure how that would affect the cross member. I'm tired. That is a lot for an old man to do. Still nursing a burned thumb.

DNK
11-01-2008, 06:05 PM
What about the coil over?

TR6BILL
11-01-2008, 07:01 PM
What about the coil over?

Way more than I want to spend.

poolboy
11-01-2008, 08:34 PM
Burned thumb ? You must have insurance for that, huh, Doc ?
Well at least you've discovered the weak link in your set-up.

elysium
11-01-2008, 09:52 PM
From feedback I got from Tony we're about halfway there anyway with rear tube shock conversion-wouldn't be all that far ahead with the coil over for the money.Only thing I would like to figure out is how to introduce rear sway bar with this set up. In the coil over I belive he uses the old tube mount point for the sway bar.I think you have to weld new mount point to the frame for the sway bar in our configuration.

Opa
11-01-2008, 11:49 PM
Bill I have the BPNW tube shock kit as well and the problem with this kit(and all others i've seen) is that the distance between the top of the shock mount(bracket) and the T/A mount point is inadequet for the amount of travel the T/A does,thus making the tube shock the suspension stop. The original setup has two stops. One on the lever shock arm and the other inside the rear fender.The frame where the shock bracket mounts to was never designed to be a suspension stop.
My brother has a 74 TR6 and back in 1992 made his own brackets at a metal works shop. When I compared my kit to his "homemade" brackets, mine are almost an inch different in height. The reason for the shorter bracket is so one can run a 205x70 tire.My bro. cannot run a 205 as it will rub the top of the mount.
I had to shim the bump stop on the T/A up about a 1/2 inch.and ran a plate across the upper stop inside the rear fender.The other stopper which was under the lever shock arm is redundant once you go to a tube shock.
I have about 12000 miles on them so far with no problems.

Opa
11-02-2008, 12:01 AM
a pic of how I shimmed stop on T/A.

TR6BILL
11-02-2008, 06:39 AM
I don't think it matters who's tube kit your using,If the shock is your suspension stop,it will tear up the frame.Make sure the rubber bump stops are doing what they are supposed to do.I had to raise my T/A stop at least a 1/4 inch. Also had to modify stop inside rear fender.To check this remove the coil spring and lift the T/A thru it's complete travel arc making sure the shock itself is not the stop.


Actually, if one uses the tube shock conversion, the lower bump stop is not used as such at all and the shock is indeed the bump stop. Assuming the lower bump stop really only comes into action when either the car is on jacks and the TA is fully let out or the car is airborne and the suspension does the same. Not sure if this happens that often. Tony maintains (and his website shows) that the frame is heavily reinforced in this area and his new cross member is made of a much heavier gauge steel. I will go back to the tube shock conversion and hope for the best. The installation of the new cross member entails cutting off the lower bump stop (to be rewelded later if stock lever shocks are used). I will just leave it off because I will use tube shocks. I am using Spax rear shocks, by the way.

TheSearcherMan
11-02-2008, 08:46 AM
Well. here is my 2 cents worth. Unless you are going to race your car, the stock shocks are just fine. I would also expect that they could be stiffened by the shock dude in NY if you desired. I have the original shocks on my TR6, beadblased, clear coated, no leaks. One good thing about our present economy, hopefully alot of these destrustive, unsafe, unecessary modifications will stop. I would suspect that it would be possible for the frame to break in such a way, and at such a time, that could cause an accident, and kill/cause injury to someone in another car. Also, to get insurance through the best companies, you will have to lie and say the car is not modified. So, there you go, you may not like it, but it is what it is.

TR4nut
11-02-2008, 09:06 AM
Searcherman- your 2 cents aren't even worth that.

Bill- sorry about that setback but you sure seem to be getting with it, already have a fix in progress in less than a day is impressive. It is a pain, but I encourage you to consider pulling the tank before you get the welder out there. I did the same when I had the front diff pins welded back in my 71 many years ago. The peace of mind is worth it.

Randy

mikespain
11-02-2008, 09:51 AM
Sound bit of advice,empty tank is almost worse!!!

TR6BILL
11-02-2008, 01:08 PM
Pulling the tank. (have a leaking sending unit gasket that needs to be changed anyway)
Pulling the diff. (will have the welder-guy weld in those front diff mount plates that I got from TRF 7 years ago!)
Pulling the hubs. (need to lube the outer U-joints that are unreachable anyway) (as well as check all my fasteners holding the hub to the TA, prolly need to re-sert most of them)
Dropping the TA to access the frame better. (Need to change the rubber flex hose on the rear brakes anyway, go with armored, and change all my brake fluid, overdue)
Drop the dual exhaust (access to the frame better)

So maybe this was a good thing.

TR6BILL
11-02-2008, 01:09 PM
Oh, and Searcherman, keep your 2 cents......

Opa
11-02-2008, 01:31 PM
Bill, next time your talking to Tony at Ratco,ask him about using the tube shock as an upper suspension stop. Get his opinion on it.
It just seems to me that since the tube shock kit as we know it, bolted to the original mounts,that broken frame incidents are more prevelant?

DNK
11-02-2008, 02:35 PM
What about the coil over?

Way more than I want to spend.

Your a dentist
What else do you have to spend money on?

TR6BILL
11-02-2008, 02:48 PM
What about the coil over?

Way more than I want to spend.

Your a dentist
What else do you have to spend money on?

Let me count the ways.........

Brosky
11-02-2008, 04:42 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:]So maybe this was a good thing.[/QUOTE]

Ah, yes............I know it well...........

The familiar justification, uttered once again from the owner who has repeatedly succumbed, to the trials and tribulations of owning and driving a 30+ year old British car.

This all too frequently played melody covers a myriad of issues, from basic engine repairs that turn into complete overhauls, to complete paint jobs after front end accidents.

Also, never let us forget the infamous clutch replacement that ends up costing over $3,000 due to a slight HVDA or OverDrive modification, just because "we were in there anyhow". Or the replacement of a few connectors that turns into a complete wire harness replacement.

Yes, once again, it's like an old love song from ones younger days. The fond memories come flooding back...........

BryanC
11-02-2008, 07:20 PM
Actually, if one uses the tube shock conversion, the lower bump stop is not used as such at all and the shock is indeed the bump stop. Assuming the lower bump stop really only comes into action when either the car is on jacks and the TA is fully let out or the car is airborne and the suspension does the same. Not sure if this happens that often. Tony maintains (and his website shows) that the frame is heavily reinforced in this area and his new cross member is made of a much heavier gauge steel. I will go back to the tube shock conversion and hope for the best. The installation of the new cross member entails cutting off the lower bump stop (to be rewelded later if stock lever shocks are used). I will just leave it off because I will use tube shocks. I am using Spax rear shocks, by the way.

TR6bill,

I think you may have misunderstood what Opa was saying. There are two bump stops. The lower one, as you correctly point out, only works when the suspension is in full droop - such as on jackstands. That one doesn't see much load - just the spring pushing the trailing arm down. This one only works with the lever shocks and you can use the tube shock to limit travel in droop instead - so you can leave it off.

However, the other one - located on the trailing arm - is used when the suspension is compressed. If you don't shim or otherwise modify that bump stop, then at full compression, the shock becomes the bump stop. This means that all of the force from bottoming the car goes directly into the crossmember that was broken on your car. If the bump stop on the trailing arm is shimmed it will hit the box on the inner fender and the force will go into the body / frame structure instead. That keeps all of that load off of the crossmember. Perhaps the RATCO frame can take that pounding - I don't know. Shimming and / or adding a 1/4" plate to the bottom of the box isn't that hard - especially if you're having welding done anyway. Sounds like cheap insurance to me. Mine is shimmed.

Bryan

Opa
11-02-2008, 07:35 PM
Thanks for the clarification, Bryan. That's the point I was trying to make.

TR6BILL
11-03-2008, 02:49 AM
Ditto.

SCguy
11-03-2008, 09:10 AM
I'm running tube shocks on my TR6 as well. At this point, my bump stop is not shimmed, but I'll be shimming shortly after this thread and appreciate the discussion.

TR6BILL
11-03-2008, 01:40 PM
Larry, you might want to talk to the guys at British Parts Northwest. I just got off the phone with them and relayed my dilemma (it <span style="font-weight: bold">is</span> their shock conversion) to them and asked for suggestions. Now, that said, we had a pleasant conversation and I had heard of the problems with the crossmember before I bought the unit. They are the ones that manufacture the unit and sell direct and also to TRF and Vicky Brit. He said he, unfortunately, gets this complaint of a crossmember falling apart at least 3 times a year. And that is only the ones that finally surface; I feel many of them are cracked and folks just don't know it yet. Anyway, the guy from BPNW said to add a piece at the top, in the fender well, of about 1" in thickness, not to add to the TA. I will explore that option when the welder comes in a few weeks. Also, because I am convinced my new crossmember will be substantially stronger than the OE, I will be OK going back in with it. Still will look at some kind of way to reinforce the whole setup when I do the fix. Thinking cap on. There has got to be a simple fix, besides what I am doing.

GregW
11-03-2008, 04:09 PM
Thinking cap on. There has got to be a simple fix, besides what I am doing.
Shorter shock bodies?

TR6BILL
11-03-2008, 06:37 PM
Just got an email reply from BPNW (nice guys, and one of our vendors) and they said that after I get the new crossmember welded in place, I should install my shocks without the springs and raise the TA up as high as it will go to see if the shock bottoms out before the bump stop engages the ledge inside the wheel well. His guess was that I might want to add as much as 1" of thickness, by welding, of a new layer of steel to the bump stop (I doubt I will need that much). Guess I will need to get a feel for the correct amount and guesstimate the thickness of plate I can add. Notice that the plate seems to be cupped. Not sure if they came this way or repeated bottoming out may have cupped it thin metal stop. The rubber bumper that does all the bumping shows plenty of use.
Darn New Orleans pot holes!

Opa
11-03-2008, 07:04 PM
Thinking cap on. There has got to be a simple fix, besides what I am doing.

Shorter shock bodies?

Shorter shock body would make it worse as the shock would bottom even sooner.
Bill
I think if the shock bracket itself were to be an inch or more longer (taller) inside the fender that may help.Then you would need a longer tube shock giving the T/A more swing putting the stoppers to use before the shock bottoms out.It's the shock bottoming before the stopper hits the stops that tears up the frame.imo

But this (i'm thinkin)brings on a whole bunch of new problems .First you would need a narrower tire,or a different offset rim to bring tire further out(away from inner fender,maybe a 17" rim??) to avoid tire rub at the top of shock bracket,second there would (possibly?) be more stress put on the frame mount due to longer leverage on the bracket.(no engineer here)

The tr6 rear suspension does'nt travel in straight lines. Camber angles change as the suspension goes up and down.This is easily noticed when the springs go soft,the top of the wheel goes in and when the car is lifted, top of wheel comes out (positive and negative camber)This same action takes place when motoring along. The heighth(upper length) of shock bracket and width of tire has to be checked with the spring removed,a jack placed under the T/A and lifted thru it's full upper range (max neg camber)and checked for clearences.

I thought it easier to shim as I did rather than go thru all the R+D of redesign.
Hope some of this makes sense as my last posts seemingly were confusing.....my apologies...just tryin to save your frames guy's

vettedog72
11-03-2008, 07:20 PM
I can't remember if I shimmed those bump stops when I made my tube shock conversion. But with Doc's warning, I will make sure the stops will bump.