my truck is sub-framed with a 79 buick frame. the original frame had no front cross member(at the very front) it had horns and wasnt squared off like mine is now. im attempting to install the front sheet metal , grille and all related supports. the fenders have been on for a while but the grille hasnt been installed for several years. when i went through my stash of parts to re-install i found the lower grille support and braces were missing. i bought them off ebay and tried to install today and its a no go. the lower grille support/splash apron bolted up to the core support as it should but stuck out about 4 inches too far. i then tried to install the grille without the lower support and it bolted up but it sat right on the frame cross member. the braces and supports are very important to me because i hate the rattles and body movement. makes an old truck feel like a piece of crap when its not. i can cut and modify the splash apron to make it work but i feel like that front member is going to be in the way no matter what. can i cut that off? if the original didnt need it i should be fine.
Whether your truck is from the twenties or 20-teens, you need a frame crossmember between the bumper and engine crossmember. It holds the steering box part of the rail still so it doesn't crack and rip out, and it stops trees and poles when you hit them hard. If you cut one out, weld something just as strong back. Proper design here could mean the difference between life and death in a minor accident. The truck sounds dangerous to me, 1979 car frames are not designed to support truck bodies. Thats why cars and trucks use different tires. Is it a front section from a Lesabre or whole Skylark subframe or what? My suggestion would be to contact the person who Buick framed it and ask how it is supposed to fit together. Those parts may not go on there anymore on purpose. I would also want to carefully measure and inspect the frame mods before investing much time in fixing up the vehicle. Don't saw off a hunk of frame and make it worse by just leaving it, adapt and redesign the piece until it allows both mounting of the panels AND proper structural integrity.
i had planned on welding a support tube between the rails a few inches back.should have mentioned that. when i had the frame work done i took it to a frame shop to check to make sure the welds were strong and that the graft was straight.the frame shop said everything was good. i have driven on it for many years now. im not worried about the sub-frame not being sound. i do agree that if i cut the part out i need to be cautious and careful about it. to be honest now that i have had a full day to think about it i believe it would be simpler to modify the lower supports than to cut the frame rail. its just lame that it didt go as planned but to be honest i should be used to it. custom actually mean pain in the ass.
Pictures of the front end would be helpful at this point OKC ...
too late for pics now. i installed the grille. i looked for instructions for the installation and aligning of the front sheet metal and there really isnt anything out there. so i made it up as i went and here is what i did. i loosened all the sheet metal on the front end so i could lift and shake the fenders inner and outter easily. then i installed the grille leaving all the bolts loose. on the top i used speed bolts. i then installed the rod bracing that go from the core support to the lower grille support. however the lower grille support doesnt fit so the supports went to the grille itself instead of the supports as it usually would. i then tightened the supports from the fenders to the core support. the rod braces and fender braces to the core support put everything basically in line. i then went back and tightened the grille bolts. i put the wheels back on set it on the ground to let everything settle then put it back in the air so i could get under it and tighten all the fender bolts. it went on straight and the hood latch lined up well on the first try. im still missing the rod braces that go from the fire wall to the fenders but those can be added easily enough when they come in the mail. it looks so much better with the grill on. now i need a bumper to make it complete.
im revisiting because i realized i didnt use the proper terms. i dont need to cut the front cross member off i need to trim it. now that i have all the front end on i see its going to have to be done. the cross member is about 6 inches tall and i will need to trim out about 1.5 inches from the top across about 70% of the length of it. as it is now my grille bulges out at the bottom. once i trim it i can weld another backing piece in place to return the strength i cut out but it has to be trimmed.
i did the trimming today. i didnt get a chance to test fit my part so im not sure i trimmed enough but i believe i did..used 4 saw zaw blades..