View Full Version : Neat trick

04-24-2003, 10:12 PM
This may have been though of before,but we have a few guys around that are building street rods out of mini trucks like the Ford ranger and so on.Well the problem is most of these trucks are to light in the rear i.e. no traction.So what to do?Can't have a steel wieght in the bed might come lose in a wreck,so then it hit me get an old set of frame rails to use as lead molds.We got a set filled the bolt holes with bolts capped the ends and poured whal-la custom fit wieghts that bolt on and no mess in the bed.

04-25-2003, 09:43 PM
Yes I thought I saw this in an earler post and indeed I did,who ever thought it up thanks.

04-25-2003, 09:54 PM

wouldn't adding that weight change the balance and handling of the machine.


04-25-2003, 10:29 PM
Back in the old days, we used lead shot in 2 1/2 inch capped pipe for balancing weight. That was when you could still buy lead shot in 100lb. bags for about $10. I like the shape cast method. Make sure those things have steel backers (or giant fender washers) because they can still pull through a bolt/nut. I haven't checked in a long time, but NHRA used to outlaw "free weights". NASCAR uses the cast method weights too but I think they have to be contained within the frame rails (Boxed). These RULES were developed for safety on the track but the same "safety techniques" can be used on the street too. That's where seatbelts came from.

04-25-2003, 10:45 PM
Yes,it does change the balance, very much in fact,the little trucks are really light in the back end,the main idea is to keep the back end behind you in a curve and also hold the slicks down on the strip http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif I didn't mention what engines we are dealing with,the one guy I helped out has a 86'ford ranger with an MPI 302 and a narrrrroooowwwww 9"Ford with lots-o-rubber,even though its a stock motor out of a Linclon Towncar its a lot of motor for the little Ranger(about 3,000lbs less sheet metal)sucker takes off like a rocket and he ain't even done anything to it yet.

04-26-2003, 12:18 AM
Wierd... yep.. done that. I welded a 5 inch thin wall pipe onto the 9 inch rear (filled with water) in a 56 ford, 428 cobra jet engine set back 6 inches, C6 tranny, Oldsmobile F85 white seats.. (important part) it would launch so hard the seat brackets broke several times making me bend two steering wheels and nearly land in the back seat. (1975 was the year) sprung weight vs unsprung weight on axle?
My uncle thought it was a rollin coffin, before he died of cancer, I found my prize club sedan ford in ashes in the driveway. I always thought he burned it to try and save my life. Maybe?

04-26-2003, 02:01 AM
I much prefer gaining traction by increasing the tires grip on the road and increasing the contact patch. This can be accomplished by increasing the tire width and running a softer compound, etc.
I assume with the narrowed rearend, you are using a four-link rear suspension with a panhard rod for lateral location. If you increase the weight transfer to the rear, with a properly designed suspension system, traction should be no problem. Adding lead inertia to the vehicle is counterproductive, (although your technique is clever). NASCAR cars have a high minimum weight requirement. They add as little dead weight as possible, preferring to burn up the weight up as stiffer frames, roll cages and such.
Tire compounds have come a long way in the last 15 years or so. Soft tires don't last long, but they sure do stick nice! Balancing good handling with good rearward weight transfer can be tricky, but mandatory if the truck is to be driven on the street with any regularity. Tiny front tires and 90/10 shocks have no place on the street IMHO. Anti sway bars set up for close to neutral handling go a long way, as do low profile tires. To get a reasonable sidewall height and maintain an adequate contact patch often necessitates going to a 40 series aspect ratio and/or expensive large diameter rims.

04-27-2003, 11:41 PM
JOEL,you do have a point,but when we can nearly pick the rear end off the ground by hand it makes things worse to add tire width.In a car the wieght is there by design,all that sheet metal adds up quick,in a truck there just isn't any,I know from lifting the beds off these trucks that at best they only wiegh 200#or so,so you got all this power and can't go anywhere without spinning tires.Nascar I put in a class by themselves,they build a tube frame and cover it with sheetmetal,and it still wieghs a lot less than a production car/truck which is what we are dealing with.

04-28-2003, 12:57 AM
I think I understand, and I feel your pain! All I can tell you is that I been racing for over 20 years, and have raced many trucks with NO bed on them in an effort to lighten the vehicle. A friend had a blown chevy in a lightned mini truck, Hauled ass, never spun the tires unless he wanted to. I'm not too proud to admit that some of them pulled on me more than once. While it is certainly a challenge to overcome weight bias, it is one that can be overcome with suspention and tires.
IMPORTANT-I assumed that you had a pozi-trac differential, if not, you can easily DOUBLE your available traction.
Remember, rail framed dragsters have very little weight, and this is what makes them the fastest vehicles. In the early days, they would smoke their tires all the way down the strip. Don Garlits figured out how to stop doing that, and dominated the sport.
The NASCAR comment, was just to point out that they use weights only to have a safety factor when they go on to the scales. The minimum weight requirement is 3500 lbs, very HEAVY! F-1 cars are much lighter and have much more horsepower.
Just want you to go as fast as you can!

04-28-2003, 09:49 AM
I only have a (modified) 4.0L in my '94 ext cab ranger and I still have to pay attention to keep from spinning the street tires, and that's with the factory limited slip differential. Weight distribution is definitely a problem, but I also can't help thinking that there is a stiffness problem as well.

The frame rails on mine are a hollow channel with metal on only 3 sides (as are most, I assume). Cross-bracing is also very minimal. I know that street rodders often reinforce the rails by welding sheets to the 4th side, a trick I plan to copy. I was also contemplating adding cross bracing in the rear to further help torsional rigidity. I guess what I'm saying is that there's a lot of opportunities to improve stiffness in addition to the weight distribution problems.

04-28-2003, 09:52 PM
INTP,have you had any cracked windsheilds or back glass?If so you have discovered a small flaw in the Ranger that has to do with rigidity,I have an 86'swb and a 90'lwb ext cab and both are limp rags as far as cabs go.I solved my problems with cab mounts that I custom made myself from softer rubber so they would give a little instead of racking the cab and so far they have helped at least as far as cracked glass.Joel,getting back to the wieght issue we are only talking about a couple of wieghts about 150# each so no big deal,the suspension is largely factory eccept for a few mods like torsion and traction bars i.e. you step on either side of the back bumper and both sides go down the same.the rear end is locked down in the front so there is no angular movement on the pinion the thing is stiff as it can be without modifying everything in sight.

04-28-2003, 10:13 PM
Wierd... how much mod's did you have to do to get the 5.0 in the ranger. I have a 94 lowrider, currently with a 4.0 V6 w-5 speed. The motor is still in too good of shape to worry with, but.. when it goes I wanna V8-auto. I was all excited about the 4.6 till I found out it was a terrible swap.

I got a fiberglass camper shell.. it adds enough weight. Still will smoke em with the V6.

04-28-2003, 10:43 PM
Not to bad on the 302 had to move the rad foward .500" and make a few things fit like the trans mount cross member.The 351 however is a lot more involed,steering is the first, it required a perverted pitman arm and custom headers,then firewall had to be expanded and so forth,also heavier coils in front a real pita.The 302 was smooth and have recently been told that a kit exists for doing just that so long as you stick to a c-4 tranny with a short neck.

04-29-2003, 12:36 AM
As a matter of fact, I did have a windshield crack because of stress. It was right after it was replaced (hit by a rock), so the company did the second swap for free.

FWIW, there are supposedly several places that have ranger swap 'kits' for 5.0L/T-5. When my mustang gets its new 351W engine (after the economy picks up, that is), the truck will inherit the 5.0L. Don't think it will mind hand-me-downs...

04-29-2003, 11:14 PM
Go for it!Just be sure to put a block of wood under the gas pedal till you get it figured out http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

steve schaeffer
04-30-2003, 12:11 AM
in my experience drag racing, you can develop a chassis to overcome your weight bias. it may not be as easy as adding a bunch of weight to the ass end, but definitely more intriguing. you should read up on some theory from chassis engineering or jerry bickel's book. very good info for the physics involved in a car. i have a 68 chevelle that weighs 3500 #'s, and most of the weight is in the front end. (60/40 weight bias, which is far from ideal), i run 10.40 w/1.45 60 foot times, and i accomplished this by designing and adjusting a chassis setup to make the car work. the many variables that i tackled included body flex and twist, which is a major cause of traction loss/speed loss/parts breakage. first and foremost i can tell you to tie everything together with a robust cage.,and possibly motor plates in leu of having standard motor mounts. if you wrap your truck up, its like a spring and it wants to unload. the key is to prevent any of these unwanted articulations. above and beyond that is your rear suspension setup, if you are running leaf springs, i can tell you right now, you have to change some things to make that work. think about it.,you load the engine up, then let the brake off, what happens? the rearend "wraps up" and you move forward, the problem is that you have twisted the rearend on the springs, and the springs want to unload, and ultimately thats what happens. to overcome this, you have to do some engineering, which may involve using housing floaters, or eliminating the leafs alltogether and going to a coil over setup. if that makes sense, then we can talk about instant center which is the imaginary point on your vehicle where all of you force is focused. it can be figured by drawing a line from your tire contact patch up through the front "eye" of your rearends bottom pivot, and then where the line from your top pivot intersects the forementioned pivot, is your instant center.if this is located too far back you have a hit and snap situation, which causes the vehicle to hit the tires and unload. not desirable. the whole key is weight transfer and lift. this is often confused as the front end rises and the back end sinks.,not true. actually the front end rises as does the back end if the tires are planted. im sorry for the vagueness, but what i have said is true and for you to understand, you just need to read up on it. national dragster also has a column every issue about chassis design and adjustments. i respect your lead weight idea, and dont totally discount it, as you need to get some equilibrium on your forward/rearward weight bias, however, the rest is there for the taking and involves the proper components, design, testing and implementation to get there. i know it took me quite a few runs to get my car dialed.
my rule of thumb is to take weight off to make a car faster, not add it. i have heard and have seen it for myself that a 100 lbs is equal to a tenth in the quarter, im sorry for being short in info, its hard to sum up all of the physics of a car, but it is worth your investigation and i hope i have poked your nugget to check it out.

04-30-2003, 01:25 AM

I would ditch the soft body mounts for solid alum. Box the frame (closing in the channel), and cross bracing. You don't want the diff "locked in as tight as it can be", just don't want it to wrap up and cause wheel hop. I would be ecstatic if I could decrease the weight on my vehicle by 300lbs.
Going fast is fun!

04-30-2003, 07:05 AM
Going fast is FUN.. till it costs you 6500 for excess 100 in a 45. (personal experience)

04-30-2003, 09:29 PM
Okay,one more time,everything that can be done has been done as far as rigidity,unless we were to mill the chasis out of solid titanium!There is no flex none what soever.The body/cab mounts is for passenger use to keep window glass intact,saves money on inspection stickers too http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gifThe rearend cannot ever no longer throught out all space and time torque up,it can't move side to side or torsionally either,in fact the only thing it can do is go up and down on about a 6' radius and only then about 1-1/2"and thats on a John Wayne road with a load in the bed,why anyone would want to haul gravel in their street rod is beyond me but hey to each his own.The weight bias with the 302 dropped in is about 90-10 yes thats right really bad!We only did the wieghts after all other options were exhuasted.Basicly we took a truck whos factory version would get stuck and spin wheels on pavement if you spit on it and made it worse! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif Mash on the gas and round and round we go and where we stop nobody knows http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gifIts kinda bad you know road-ditch-road-ditch-crunch http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

05-05-2003, 01:07 AM
Another trick, used in the '50's was to box in the frame rails and seal them, then, fill them half full of water. Upon accelleration.......

05-05-2003, 08:22 AM
Weird.. as far as flex.. sometimes if it don't flex it breaks. (aircraft)
I got this 54 ford sitting here with a 5.0 AOD. motor is not that great, but I got computer and all. You got me thinking of rebuilding and just using the ford car as storage (and a toy) till I wear out the ranger.
personally, I would rather drive a older customized and personalized car-truck than a new one. I got Raped at the ford dealership on my last new ranger. Rangers are the cheapest american work-construction vehicle available thou.

Do you have underhood pictures of any conversions? drawings of motor mounts?
I will gladly pay you tuesday for a hamburger today. (wimpy on popeye)

05-05-2003, 10:52 PM
I got a buddy with a 351w under his I bet I can talk him into taking a few snapshots,I also have an old 86'Ranger w/2.3 efi,Things got760,000 on it and I would rebuild it but I am dying to try a 302 conversion of my own,but I must get a new roof up first above all else.I can not at all complain about the Ranger thou they are dependable easy to work on when they do break,as for new cars I could probibly afford one but I would have to live in it http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif A wise man once told me that a new car is the worst investment a person can make,I do believe him,seems like you never get finished paying and its worth a lot less the minute you drive it off the lot,the little 86'Ranger was my dads,he traded it to me when he bought his current car,he got it four years old with 120,000 on it after its first career as a delivery truck,it came with that puke German built excuse for an automatic (pos)100,000 later My brother and I swapped it for a five speed,I was amazed at how all the holes and brakets were there for the standard.The little 2.3 is rock solid motor for its size,I once got a big cone head lathe from a friend down the road and brought it home a 14'trailer behind the Ranger 9,000#!The little rascal had the nerve to want fith gear too!I also like the fact that they actually have a frame under them.I got a buddy thats a Chevy fanatic,he swears by the mighty 350 and his swb 1/2ton(even though he has built a new one at AUTO ZONE one piece at a time)I flat embarassed him one day, I was giving him a ride in my Ford(to get more Chevy parts)when he said something about my little truck,thats when I floored and barked tires through fifth gear.After that I took him back to his chevy where the only original part is the vin number http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif P.s.I'm strong to the finish cuase I eats me spinach I'm Popeye the sailor man!whoo!whoo! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

[This message has been edited by wierdscience (edited 05-06-2003).]

05-05-2003, 11:24 PM
Hey! Don't make fun; I have one of those after market Chevy trucks too. Bone stock 302/2V C10 automatic that gets scrach in both up-shifts (with empty bed).
The cab, bed and one door is original!

05-06-2003, 03:33 AM
Are you sure it's not a 305 or a 307? The 302 was the 67-69 Z28 motor, and also not a 2Bbl. Hey, that wouldn't be one of those old V6 truck engines would it? I remember a GM truck motor from the 60s that was somewhere around 302 cubic inches.
Not being a smartass, just full of natural curiosity.

05-06-2003, 09:28 AM
"I got Raped at the ford dealership on my last new ranger. Rangers are the cheapest american work-construction vehicle available thou."
Isn't the Ranger a relabeled Mazda B2000?

05-06-2003, 01:45 PM
Other way around. The Mazda is a relabeled Ford. Mazda stopped making their own truck in 93. Reliability dropped after that.

My 69 Z-28 has 340,000 miles on it. It is one very reliable chevy.

05-07-2003, 03:53 PM
My '94 ranger came with Mazda emblems http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif

It's been very reliable for the first 85K miles, despite my best efforts http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

05-07-2003, 04:05 PM
My 94 has a mazda transmission and american? motor. A lot of appearance is custom now thou.

The 99 I bought new, they would not answer when I emailed ford to find out how much was made in america. It meant a lot to me at the moment.
The 94 is a better truck than the 99 was, I kept the 94 and traded off the 99. The 99 had electrical problems about once a month. The 94 just needs tires every six months to 1 year.

They race that lil 2.3 ford, they have forged pistons, rods, cranks, ignitions, carburetion, heads, etc.. and cheap. I wish I had started the 4cyl inline bike with a 2.3. I was not aware all the hop up parts available.

But all you chevy knockers.. I got a 350 that has been in 7 (seven) different vehicles now. It did wheelstands in the last one, a 77 monza spyder w/iroc 5 speed.

05-07-2003, 10:29 PM
The Rangers I have,one has a Mazda crash box 5-speed,it sounds like it has rocks in it but I haven't been able to kill it yet,the other has a Isuzu 5-speed that is a lot quiter than its Mazda brother but both are good trannys,the 86'I have came with a Gernam Borg box automatic and like I said POS the stupid thing had valve problems to the extent that every so often you would shift it into reverse and get wiplash,then you would find that all the teeth had stripped out of the TC spline.Some will insist that this is Ford's fualt,but I say to them 700r!Only electrical I ever had was with a computer ground .29 electrical connector fixed it.I did also lose a fuel pump at 320,000 but I rack that up to dirty gas.The 350 chevy is infact a good powerplant as is the 283,327,385 and the 366 big block is excellent in all respects although it is a truck motor.I do not however like the two bolt starter mount,all they are good for is draging starters down the road when you are late for work http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gifThe solenoid is in the wrong place and does too much,I prefer the Ford system and the OLD Chevy system put it on the tranny and keep the electical on the firewall.Have any of you ever seen the movie Dantaes Peek?The one where Peirce Brosman jumps into four different Chevy trucks and all crank on the first shot?Pure fiction he should have got the familiar click,click-cut to horrible flaming death http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif Personally I like the Olds 350 and 403 works of art,much better design but expensive though,My main thing against Chevy is they try to do too much with to little,my little 2.3 Ford has five mains and the rods are almost as big as the 350 mains,basicaly lots more bearing for the money,the dirt trackers around here have found this out and the number one guy runs the 2.3,the little motors will churn out the HP and do it all day at 10 grand!They only time I ever got a 350Chevy anywhere near that the pistons vaporised and went out the exhuast!One other reason that I am sticking with Ford is on fuel injection conversions,a 302 or a 351 is a 302 or a 351 regaurdless of year model,you can go to the junk yard and pull the intake,plentum and extras out of a late model and they will bolt up and work,you cant do that on a Chevy seems they changed everything about 95'Their fuel injection sucks anyway all fifteen different varietys http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gifChevy guys can't race Fords and Ford guys can't race Chevys thats all there is to it.I presonally like Ford good sheetmetal and good motors make a good combination,others like to work on theirs every weekend http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif