Has anyone ever built their own frame?

Has anyone ever built their own frame?

contdevelop

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Texas
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2001 Tahoe with a new 6.0, 2008 Chevy Trailblazer.
I am doing a frame-up build and priced a new aftermarket CJ7 frame at around $17-1800. That price is ridiculous. I am a good welder and was thinking for a few hundred dollars in materials, I can build my own frame out of 4-inch heavy channel iron. Has anyone else ever done this???

The problem with a standard box frame is they rust from the inside out and if I make an open channel frame, under theory that should last longer.
 
Look on Pirate4x4.com and search for homeade frame.Lots of guys have done it but I dont know about 4" C channel
 
depending on where you are at in TX, there is a Matkins frame for sale in Tulsa, OK on craigslist that might be worth the drive. Last I saw he wanted $1000 for it. I believe its brand new, too!
 
welding up a frame is not a big issue, it is the mandrel bending that would be a problem for those without the equipment. If you are a good welded, see if any of the vendors would sell a knock down frame, would be both easier to ship and cost much less in labor.
Just a thought, plus it seems on of the guys from up north sells just the side rails
 
Thanks for the feedback. I plan to go talk with a guy who has a professional fab shop and see if he can bend channel iron. I really want to use the open channel instead of square tubing. Is it just me or does $1700 seem like alot for a frame. I couldnt find that matkins frame in Tulsa, but thats my luck anyway. I missed out on a new CJ7 fiberglass body by Houston for $650 yesterday.
 
I found the ad for ya. I was wrong about the price, tho. :( He used to have a pic of it, but I guess he took it out.
cj7 on craigslist

These sell for $2500 I think, and he's been trying to sell it for a while. Maybe he will go down in price a little.
 
OH just my thoughts ( OH NO Not again! )about the C-channel.
I wouldn't use it myself. I seem to remember something about structural channel not being able to withstand flex enough over a long period of time to make it worth while. Not to mention it would be fairly heavy, and I bet its not nearly as strong as a 2x3x3/16th box tubing.
I'd rather have properly prepared and boxed 2x3 tube than an open channel. Build it, prep it inside and out, and put something like POR-15 inside to prevent internal rust bugs.

NOTE: I might be wrong on some or all of these points, but someone will come in and let us know what is the right answer eventually! :laugh:
 
Semi-trucks and other heavy equipment uses an open channel iron style frame and those frames last a long time. This is one of the many reasons I want to use channel iron.
 
LOL yea they do. They use a special steel, water-formed at un-godly pressures into shape, then are heat-treated to withstand the stress of daily hiway life. It is not the same steel you want to use!
Ever see the frame on a semi-truck? there are stickers all over it saying "DO NOT weld or heat this frame!"
Anyways, a pick-up truck frame is made the same way, minus the heat-treating. By forming the steel into a desired shape without heating it.
Structural steel is the channel you buy with the sharp corners and a thicker web on the inside radius.

IIRC, A formed piece of steel, meaning going from a flat bar to a channel by using pressure and a mold, is many times stronger than a structural channel of a given size.

CJ, help me out here. Am i mis-understanding or not remembering correctly?

But Hey! I'm not saying you can't do it! but I am trying to make sure you are satisfied with the end result for many years of happy wheeling!
 
Rig frames are modified all the time.You just have to be a competent welder.
Mandrel bent frames are nice but Ive seen some pretty nice frames that were made without the mandrel bends.

"C" style frames offer great flex before breaking,Its just that were used to older CJ frames witch were not designed for 35" plus tires and different drivetrains
 
I'm all in with my little on this deal. you ever try to drill out a frame on a truck?? it aint easy. frames are not a simple cold steel, their an alloy designed to handle the stress put on them over a great period of time. Jeep canned the c channel frame because of weakness and cracking in key points, and came up with the box frame. The cost for an aftermarket frame isn't too bad IMO. Considering the cost of materials, mandrel bends, cross members, body mounts, engineering, welding and getting a frame that is perfectly square and flat with everything where It's suphosed to be seems worth 15-1700 bucks for a 30+year investment. If you're going all out custom and building a caged frame, then yes, I would do it, because the amount of steel bracing and trussing will compensate for the inherent weakness in mild steel in this application.
 
We went from a single axle to a tandem axle on my fathers Rig.He is a certified welder and truck driver.Ive seen him do it and helped.

I trust my father more than anyone on the internet so take it with a grain of salt
 
Then you should build a frame.
 
Im not trying to nor am I telling someone they cant.

e


Just a diference of opinion. I would prefer a properly ingeneered frame for a daily driver vehicle is all, and would not build one. If you have the skills to do one, and are confident that it will be as safe, then go for it. I was just making open forum talk, I meant no disrespect to you or your father, and will refrain from further comment. :chug:
 
Semi-trucks and other heavy equipment uses an open channel iron style frame and those frames last a long time. This is one of the many reasons I want to use channel iron.

Jeep started out using "C" channel frames originally, but after much frame cracking went to semi-boxed and eventually to fully boxed frames. so did FORD trucks by the way.
 
I am glad to see someone tried to build a frame. It look like you used tube steel. How did that come out? One of the things I was cognizant of, was the frame in the front is narrower than in the rear. If the frame was wider in the front that would probably decrease the steering radius. And since the frame is just a box, did you have to use different sized body mounts?
 
:laugh: One thing you have to realize is that Longhorn seems to have a never-ending supply of pics to use for reference, on anything ever done or dreamed of to a Jeep! It never ceases to amaze me.
I don't believe that is his handywork.
 

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