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vetteguy22

510 subframe/chassis upgrades

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Hi guys,

I’m wondering if any of you have upgraded/strengthened your undercarriage to help compensate for motor/horsepower increases.

If so how did you do it and do you have any pics you can share?

Ive got some ideas but would love to see what others have done.

Thanks,

Rob

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That’s all that is needed. I was thinking about running a 1x3 box steel from the front to the back tieing the front and rear subframes together for more rigidity.

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Not all. The 4 dr is stiffer than the 2dr. If you run a roll bar, a real one not a bolt it, that's probably enough.

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It is a 4 door. Not planning on a roll bar. Was thinking if I ran the 1x3 1/8” wall box tubing from the front to the back, it would give me a solid place to attach the new trani mount along with making the chassis more rigid.

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I've seen several V8 powered 510s, without any extra done to them other than a cage.

These were all out track ready cars, with sticky track tires, not some treaded street rubber.

Flat add-on sub-frames never add as much stiffness as a light weight cage, even bolt-in.

 

But you seem to have already made up your mind on using a poorly designed hay wagon approach,

so I ask you..........

Why are you asking us ?

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I don’t plan on installing a cage. This will be my wife’s car and she will want full use of the back seat since she has a service dog and it will be easier for her to put in the car seats for the grandkids. That being said, the car. Will be used at the autocross track also.

G-Daux you mention flat add on sub frame. I’m guessing you mean the 1/8” 1x3 tube I mentioned. I was hoping by using tubing that would help.

im not set on anything, just trying to come up with the best pan of attach before committing to anything.

just wanting to get the experience of others who are more experienced with these cars than I am.

does someone make a cage that fits tight in a 4 door?

thanks,

Rob

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Only if you have one custom made.

But running a cage on the street is quite dangerous due to the driver not having a helmet, and any altercation without head protection can cause head injuries when the skull, with only a floppy neck holding it, swings around & contacts a piece of tubing, even if you have foam padding on it.

Imagine someone hitting you with a base ball bat, wrapped in 1/2" of poly foam...

It isn't going to help much, is it.

 

I really don't think, that with street tires, you will need any chassis stiffening, due to the lack of grip.

And if you bolt on track tires for an event, you can also bolt in a cage.

The 6-point Cusco/Safety-21 cages are FIA certified, and bolt-in.

Is it as good as a full tube chassis car ?

No, but they are for 200 mph wall impalements, which you don't need for auto-x.

In fact, I doubt if a cage is even necessary in a 510.

My son barrel rolled his one night while kicking a Camaro's ass, and hit a water running across the street just as he hit 4th, got sideways, then hit dry pavement.

There wasn't much left of the car, but he was just as little sore for a few days.

 

What type of power are you going to ?

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Thank you for your help. The car will be pushing 260hp with a built super charged motor from a 2003 Exterra.

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A wife's service dog chauffeuring, grandkid toting, grocery grabbing, autocross slaloming 4 door 510...hmmmm.  Sounds optimistic ? Especially the child car seats using 50 year old seatbelts and no LATCH attachment points

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I’ve installed the Exterra seats, front and back and upgraded the seatbelts to 3 point belts all around.

i know it won’t be winning on the auto cross course, but she will still have fun.

she will have to leave the winning to me in my Vette,haha

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Seam welding will help immensely, but I would also consider a strut tie bar (home made or bought) and a steering box brace.

 

A good roll cage will help a ton also, but it sounds like you aren't too excited about adding one. You could do a low profile cage. Something that pokes through the dash to the strut towers, but then runs low across the front door openings and ties into the rear suspension/rear bulkhead.

 

I have never considered under carriage strengthening, as I would normally build a cage instead, but some well placed square or rectangular tubing might help a little. The problem with that approach is that the gained strength would be for-aft strength, and maybe some twisting strength, but there would be no additional suspension mounting point strength gains, which is what the 510 needs the most.

 

BTW - you don't need to fully weld the seams in the engine bay (or anywhere else for that matter). A simple stitch weld about every 3 or 4 inches will do the trick. Include the box section of the "frame rails" in your stitch welding for maximum results.

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Thanks for the ideas. I will definitely stitch weld the car first.

i agree with the strut tie bar but not sure how I will be able to do that with the motor I’m using. I’m working on that idea also.

I just noticed that you are in Cool CA.

i was in Placervile for over 28 years.

Rob

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So I had a chance to check out the engine compartment this evening and have figured out a way to make and install a strut tower brace which I’m sure will help dramatically.

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Dramatically? no, I don't think so. 

 

Just how much do the struts move together or apart anyway? a few mm... or do they? Can an average or above average guy really drive their car hard enough to actually say they feel a difference?  Or is it just that in theory it should do something? Like 3 angle valve job.

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Vetteguy,

Don't mind Mike, he still thinks the earth is flat, and probably buys stock size tires when they are on sale at pep boys.

 

Mike, the early Cusco 2-piece strut bars had an aluminum adjustment turn buckle in the center of the bar, with aluminum nuts.

I had stopped importing used ones out of Japan, after every one I got in had either split nuts, or the turn buckle was broke.

Now that is all steel on the new ones, due to the mystery forces that you won't acknowledge being there.

So in modern scientific terms, less just call it DARK STRUT TOWER MOVEMENT, or DSTM for short.

 

For those of us who really push our cars, and have tires a little softer than charcoal,

strut towers, and 510 steering box braces are beneficial.

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16 hours ago, vetteguy22 said:

What is the best way to post images?

Try Imgur, If I can figure it out...anybody can.

 

21 hours ago, vetteguy22 said:

I’ve installed the Exterra seats, front and back and upgraded the seatbelts to 3 point belts all around.

i know it won’t be winning on the auto cross course, but she will still have fun.

she will have to leave the winning to me in my Vette,haha

Wait, Xterra seats fit in a 510? Missus Kelmo is going to be a bit miffed some day in the future when she goes out to the garage and finds her seats missing.

BTW, what year Xterra for the seats?

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I purchased a 2003 supercharged Exterra with the intention of using the motor and front seats for my 510 build. Thought I might be able to use some other parts as well. After installing the front seats I looked at the back seat and thought what the heck, let’s give it a try. It took some work but I made it work. Also am using the center console, rear view mirror and even the carpet until I do a complete interior. I’ve taken the speaker system out and the rear panels from the cargo area of the Exterra and installed them in the trunk of the 510.

Im thinking about using the power window motor and actuators also.

Ill try to post some pics later on.

Rob

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1 hour ago, KELMO said:

 

 

Wait, Xterra seats fit in a 510? Missus Kelmo is going to be a bit miffed some day in the future when she goes out to the garage and finds her seats missing.

BTW, what year Xterra for the seats?

 

No... really???? Cause if they fit a 510 they may fit a 710 goon too. I changed the fronts with those from a Subaru but the Subaru rear fold down is too wide for the 710. Pictures please.

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8 hours ago, G-Duax said:

Vetteguy,

Don't mind Mike, he still thinks the earth is flat, and probably buys stock size tires when they are on sale at pep boys.

 

Mike, the early Cusco 2-piece strut bars had an aluminum adjustment turn buckle in the center of the bar, with aluminum nuts.

I had stopped importing used ones out of Japan, after every one I got in had either split nuts, or the turn buckle was broke.

Now that is all steel on the new ones, due to the mystery forces that you won't acknowledge being there.

So in modern scientific terms, less just call it DARK STRUT TOWER MOVEMENT, or DSTM for short.

 

For those of us who really push our cars, and have tires a little softer than charcoal,

strut towers, and 510 steering box braces are beneficial.

 

Still not convinced they actually DO anything. Hood would be pinched or hood gap would be noticeably opened when driving. Even if there is DSTM it won't stop them both moving left or right together. Beneficial? Can it be measured and separated from the placebo effect?

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Basedon first hand knowledge that a stock, un-caged 510 body tub can split itself in half over a career of hard use, I will say that any bracing is beneficial. I wish I had the presence of mind to take pics of the first 510 I ever owned, when we tore it apart and threw away the body tub. It was literally falling apart at the seams. No, it wasn't from rust either. It was a street car that was track driven regularly.

 

Another bit of valuable hindsight would have been to not throw the car away at all, but to stash it on the pallet rack to fix it someday. 510's were cheap back then.

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23 hours ago, vetteguy22 said:

Thanks for the ideas. I will definitely stitch weld the car first.

i agree with the strut tie bar but not sure how I will be able to do that with the motor I’m using. I’m working on that idea also.

I just noticed that you are in Cool CA.

i was in Placervile for over 28 years.

Rob

Yep, been in Cool for about 12 years now. Came from the East Bay. Couldn't stand what the bay area was turning into...

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