Frame Failure!!

All good things come to an end.  In this case, the “original” (and I say that loosely) frame has endured a frame failure.  Yep.  There is a tear several inches long on the passenger side along the rear suspension mounts.  Upon closer inspection the driver’s side has stress marks and I’m sure it is not far from failure too.

I noticed the problem back in November of 2010.  While driving, I started hearing some unusual sounds and sure enough after putting the car on jackstands a close inspection revealed the tear.  No pictures yet, but I’ll have some soon.  Suffice to say, the frame is toast and there is no way to repair it.

Unfortunately, the TR6 frame is extremely flimsy and quite frankly it is poor at best.  And no, I’m not saying this  because mine failed.  I’m saying this for the benefit of those folks that think they can put larger or modified stock engines and the frame will be able to withstand the extra power.  Well, if you believe that you are fooling yourself.  These frames are made of 10 gauge material and is not of the best design.  It is a “U” shaped affair with an extra plate, spot welded.  Add to that years of rust from within the tubes and you have a recipe for failure.  My frame was in excellent shape when I started the project and was reinforced and properly prepared.  Even after all that attention, it failed.

I’ve had several people ask why “original” frames have held up with V8’s and mine failed.  I guess it boils down to the fact that I have put 15,000 miles on my frame and have actually stressed it enough to cause it to fail.  So if you are considering something like what I have done with bowtie6, I would highly recommend thinking all your options.

And so the next step in the evolution of bowtie6 begins…

A new, bespoke frame is in the works.  The new frame is being made of square tubing with fresh stock.  No expense is being spared on the materials.  The frame will use the factory stock front suspension components with one big difference:  the springs/shocks are being replaced with true coilovers.  The great advantage of this will be there is no more need for a spring compressor since the coilover is not only adjustable but fully encapsulated and there is spring under tension to worry about.

As far as the rear suspension?  The crappy factory trailing arms will be ditched along with the Nissan diff currently in bowtie6.  Instead I will be using an 8 inch solid axle, with four point suspension, coilovers and swaybar.  Why?  Well, the IRS is really not an option.  For the expense of new halfshafts, new diff, and all the extra “stuff”, I can have a fully posi-traction custom built solid axle that will withstand plenty of horsepower…

Which leads to the next major improvement…

Yes, bowtie6 is getting a new engine.  The 3.4 litre V6 currently in bowtie6 is pretty much maxed out.  There is no more I can do to it.  Plus the ECM is not programmable.  So what are my options?  A brand new ECOTEC 2.4 litre 177hp crate engine and matching 5 speed gearbox has been sourced.  ECM reprogramming?  No problem – this engine’s ECM is fully re-programmable.  Needless to say, the sky is the limit…

I’ll have more info on my ECOTEC in the next installment.

2 thoughts on “Frame Failure!!

  1. Jose Marrero

    Hello, Mr BowtieTR6.
    Your Web Site is nothing short of just Awesome! The stories, pictures and info are just amazing. I truly appreciate the hard work you put in to maintaining your car and this great site.
    I am an original owner of a ’74 TR6 and am in the process of doing some major up grades. The new frame has specially peeked my interest. Will they be available to the public? I know it won’t be cheap, but will they be cost effective, being that their hand made.
    Jose M. San Francisco Bay Area, CA

    1. bowtie6 Post author

      Allright!! Somebody in City by the Bay is reading my blog!!

      I’ve been to San Francisco twice and every time it has been a delight. Love the city, love the climate. I sure wish I could have bowtie6 there one day, and drive down Hwy 1 south towards San Simeon or north to Ft Bragg.

      Thanks for your comments – they are highly appreciated.

      Regarding the frame: this is a question that has come up before. We have discussed this, and the short answer is “yes”. For this, I would suggest you discuss your particular needs directly with my cousin. Send me an email at info at bowtie6 dot com and I can give you the necessary info so you can get in touch with my cousin and discuss a frame with him.


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