Category Archives: Bespoke Frame

New custom built Triumph TR6 frame

The New Frame…


The new frame has been completed and it is stunning.  My cousin Jim Thompson did all the final welds yesterday and the frame is now ready for media blasting.  Why?  I want to get a nice, clean surface so primer can stick nicely and then many coats of top quality chassis black paint will be applied.  I’m not doing this again, and I want to make sure the frame is 100% good to go.

Jim was able to make the pads on the frame so the factory GM Solstice mounts could be used.  This is a good thing:  they are double isolated as to not transmit vibration plus they have a special affair that if the rubber does fail, the mount locks and keeps the engine in place.  Granted, the engine-side mounts had to be custom-made.

So what does it look like?  Take a look:

The picture above shows the front of the new frame.  You can see the steering rack mounts as well as the two suspension towers.  The factory “A” arms will bolt right up and will be fully adjustable for caster/camber/toe.  All beauty of all this will be that all the factory components bolt right up.  And, last but not least:  note the brace at the top of the towers:  this ties the whole thing together.  No flexing.

On this picture you can see the mid-section.  I know – the picture is not sharp but I was so excited and the iPhone was not exactly ‘steady’.  On the top of the picture you can see the “U” shaped extensions which will have the body mounts drilled.  You can also see all the gussets that have been added for strength.  Still missing:  the transmission mounts.  There will be a mount added that will tie the back end of the tranny.

And finally, the back end of the frame.  This photo is not the best and there is a lot of details that can’t be seen.  Suffice to say, the tail end has a slope similar to the factory frame.  You can also see the mounts for the a) coilovers, b) the control arms and c) the bump stops.  Remember there will be a narrowed, solid axle with posi-traction mounted here with a four point control arm suspension.

I realize these pictures might not exactly make sense right now.  Soon (actually, very soon) I’ll have the frame fully assembled with the front and rear suspension in place.  I’ll have full documentation on how all that looks.

As a side note:  weather today was awesome.  I had a chance to ride in Jim’s TR4 today with the hard top off.  It was amazing!  I realize you the reader must be pretty fed up with me stating how great the Ecotec is, but honest:  it is an awesome engine.  We went for a ride today and Jim kept the revs up high.  This thing gets the job done.  We have been doing research on boost and that would really take things to the next level.   Seriously, if you are thinking of using an ‘aftermarket’ engine for an LBC you need to consider the Ecotec. It will honestly amaze you!

Ecotec Motor Mounts, Rear Suspension and Headers…

Oh yeah!  Today we have some really cool pictures.

The frame is starting to really take shape.  The front suspension is pretty much done.  The following picture shows how things are looking right now.  The front suspension towers are in place, coilovers and lower plates.  No more spring compressors, just the real deal:  coilovers.  The front sway bar has also been located as well as the steering rack.  The square stock bar in front of the pulley is not part of the build so don’t wonder what that is there for.  Finally, there are quite a few welds that need to be finalized – right now there is a lot of stuff that is tack-welded.  Oh…  And the Ecotec is now mounted on the table in order to finalize where it will be residing.

The next picture shows the driver’s side motor mount.  Since the frame is being made from scratch, we can use the original mounts.  Nothing wrong with them.  However, these are the ones that attach to the frame not the ones on the engine block.  Those would have been way too wide, so new plates have been made.  Look closely, and you will see the factory intake has been removed.  When fitting an Ecotec on a TR6 the original intake has to go – otherwise it will be in the way of the steering assembly.  There will be a custom-made intake so more room can be dedicated to the steering.

Next, let’s take a look at how the rear suspension is looking.  This is really trick.  Here we have a four point suspension also with coilovers.  They are not in place but they are identical to the fronts – however the spring rates are different.  The control arms are all finished with heim-ends; my cousin used polyurethane ends on the TR4 but they soon failed.  I’ll have a future article on that.  The diff is not in place yet nor the axles.  This will all be ordered soon.  The plan calls for a 3.80 to 1 axle with posi-traction.  This will give the car a great response at speed.  Special note must be taken:  this is not a drag car, instead it is being designed to excel at speed.  This is what the rear looks like:

Finally today’s real work of art:  the new headers for the Ecotec.  The headers have been hand-made, from stainless tubing.  The flange on the block is GM – they sell a special flange that gives an excellent base for the headers; there is also a GM flange similar to this, for the intake.  The header does not have a bung for a O2 sensor – that will be placed on the bottom tubing, after the flange.  These headers should flow very nicely and since they are very close to the block, it will prevent the body from having to be cut.  All this stuff is being built for a reason!

And finally, another shot of the lower part of the headers, showing the motor mount on the passenger’s side.  This mount has a special heat insulator – that is stock from the factory due to its close proximity to the header.  Cool, huh?

Like I said before, things are being tack-welded now.  Much easier to cut a tack-weld than if it were permanently welded in case we have to make adjustments when the body is fitted.

Comments?  Questions?  Drop me a line…

New Frame Update…

New frame update…  Last post I had pictures and talked about the new front suspension on bowtie6‘s new frame.  Quick post today…

The mounts for the front sway bar are done and the look trick!  The sway bar is stock,  mounted on poly bushings – it worked well on the prior setup, so this will be our starting point for the new frame.  This is what it looks like:

Front sway bar mounts.

bowtie6‘s New Frame Takes Shape

Whew!  This has been a long week.

Worked on bowtie6 a little today.  The rear suspension came apart and took the transmission tunnel apart also.  Let me talk about the tunnel:  when the V6 was grafted into the TR6, we made an all aluminium transmission tunnel cover.  It is secured on a special square tubing edging that was welded to the floorboards.  My main concern with the Ecotec was that the transmission tunnel cover would be too small.  Well, by taking the tunnel off today we were able to determine there will be enough room.  We had to make room to run the exhaust pipes on the V6 and since the Ecotec dumps on the passenger’s side, we will have enough clearance.

Then today’s good news:  My cousin Jim has made some extraordinary progress on the front suspension.  Here is a small gallery showing the new front section of the new made-from-scratch frame.  You can see the new front suspension towers and the new coilovers that are so trick!  With these guys in place, ride height will be adjustable and best of all:  no more spring compressors in order to take things apart.

If you look close enough, you can see the steering rack mounts  Yes, those are aftermarket rack mounts and they work quite nice.  Needless to say, the rack has been positioned in a very special location in order to prevent bump steer.  The rack is stock TR6 – they are nice enough.  The front suspension also shows factory rotors, however the calipers are uprated Wilwoods with four pucks each.  They have proven to provide very good stopping power.

Take a look:

Frame Failure – Continued

In an earlier post, I described bowtie6‘s frame failure.  Today, I have some pictures of the “issue”.  First, a little background…

Rear suspension

Rear suspension closeup

Soon after bowtie6‘s initial dismantling the frame was carefully inspected.  Although the frame was in excellent shape the rear differential mounting pins showed typical TR6 wear and tear: two of the four differential mounting pins were cracked.

Since a bigger engine was to be installed, we reconfigured the rear suspension.  A completely redesigned mount was made to hold the Nissan R200 differential as well as the coilovers that would replace the lever action shocks and springs.

The pictures on the right show the rear suspension from the passenger’s side.  You can see the coilovers, rear disc brakes and the suspension mount holding the top coilover perch.

This brings us to the following photo gallery showing the frame damage.  The frame rail has suffered a serious, unrepairable stress crack.  I have inspected the driver’s side and there too, I can see a stress fracture although it is not as severe as the one on the passenger’s side.

I’m sure there will be plenty of critics analyzing the frame failure from these pictures and coming up with all kinds of root causes for the failure.  Quite frankly, the thing is what it is.  I got 15,000 from what I thought was a very good frame but this endevour has proven to be more than this frame could handle.  The extra power the engine gained from the cam and head work plus the stress of getting hammered by the control arms caused the frame to eventually expire.  Since the rear failed this extensively, I have reason to believe other parts of the frame have also suffered stress.

As soon as the frame comes out again to see the light of day, I plan to do a full autopsy by cutting it up and documenting stress points, failure points and basically show where the frame held up and where it did not.  I’ll have that in a future article which should be very interesting to read.

And now for a little reflecting…

These frames are now 35-40 years old.  These frames are also marginal at best.  Sure, with the anemic tractor engine on the stock TR6 the frame will probably last, but not by much.   However, if anyone is thinking of adding any real horsepower then really think what you are planning to do.  These frames can be reinforced to hell and back (done that), boxed-in (done that), have gussets added (done that) and have every weld reinforced (done that), and yet they will fail.  Quite frankly, I am very happy this thing gave up the ghost – now a new frame is being built to last and handle the new ECOTEC engine with no “issues”.