Has anyone successfully used the USCartool A500 Crossmember?

Transmission and Drivetrain Tech

  1. MileHighDart

    MileHighDart Well-Known Member

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    Ok, so I'm installing an A500 into my '68 Dart.

    I bought the USCartool A518 / A500 crossmember. It uses the existing 4 mounting holes that the original transmission crossmember did.

    So I cut out a section of my upper crossmember to make room, and cut just inside of the inner original mounting holes.

    Just tried doing my first test fit of the A500 to see were I may need to make more room.

    As you can see from my pictures, it doesn't appear to me that there is anyway to get enough clearance for the transmission without cutting out more of the upper crossmember, probably outside of the inner mounting hole.

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    • MileHighDart

      MileHighDart Well-Known Member

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      Just sent a tech request off to USCartool to see what they say.
      But I cant figure out why they would make their mount use all four original mounting holes when it seems obvious that the inner ones have to go.
       
    • Darticon

      Darticon FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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      I know I saw another member doing the fab work for just this thing. It looks like you need to just cut off more material because I remember his cuts near those inner eyelets were almost vertical.

      I'll try to find the thread with the photos.

      Ah, ok, I found it here:
      US Car Tool A518 Cross member

      eh, nevermind. I see you were already a part of that thread so probably have seen that. I'll just creep back to my cave...
       
    • MileHighDart

      MileHighDart Well-Known Member

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      Ahhhh, thanks, I'd forgotten about that thread.
      Guess I'll do some more trimming tomorrow and try another test fit.
       
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      • Hemioutlaw

        Hemioutlaw Make America Great Again! FABO Gold Member

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        Looking at your pics I thought you could get the tailshaft angled up and in first but don't think so...
         
      • BigBlockMopar

        BigBlockMopar BigBlockMember

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        I trimmed down the long rib to be a bit narrower going to the rear on the transmission tailshaft, and also on the other side I trimmed some protruding parts off the transmission.
        You need to reweld/reinforce the upper part of the crossmember again, otherwise the entire crossmember will slowly start tearing apart the spotwelds from the floorboards over time. Ask me how I know.
        I had to lay a full weld on front and rear of the crossmember to fully secure it to the floorboards.
         
      • Hemioutlaw

        Hemioutlaw Make America Great Again! FABO Gold Member

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        Welcome to the modern world and the often meaningless phrase touted in manufacturers literature of "Direct Fit" which is often more the exception than the rule. Fortunately your tooled up to circumvent their oversights.....Welders, Benders and Brakes are great assets if you've got the space.

        Carry on Soldier, looking good!
         
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        • 67Dart273

          67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          Does the new crossmember "as is" clear the trans? if so, then it defines your cut-lines on the inside edges.
           
        • MileHighDart

          MileHighDart Well-Known Member

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          I haven't actually bolted the new cross member to the trans yet. I'll try that today.
          I did put the crossmember on the car and drew a line around it with a sharpie and kind of used that as a guideline as to where to start cutting.
           
        • MileHighDart

          MileHighDart Well-Known Member

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          I was also going to grind off the protruding part on the passenger side. And yes I'm going to reinforce the tunnel where I cut out the original part. But did the test fit to see if I needed to cut anymore out before I start welding in any reinforcement.
           
        • plumkrazee70

          plumkrazee70 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          Following.
           
        • MileHighDart

          MileHighDart Well-Known Member

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          I'll post a few more pics later tonight.
          I re-cut the ends of the torsion bar crossmember, just inside of where the bolt tube goes through, so now when I bolt the uscartool crossmember up, the ends I cut are now about 1/4" outside of the opening in the uscartool piece. And I did try fitting their member up to the bottom of the transmission, looks like one corner (left front) of their mount will have to be trimmed, just 1/8" or so for clearance between the mount and the tranny. Right now it touches side of the tranny.
          Didn't have time to test fit the tranny again today, but hopefully tomorrow.
           
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          • plumkrazee70

            plumkrazee70 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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            Awesome. Thanks for doing this!
             
          • RustyRatRod

            RustyRatRod Weenie idiot loser. FABO Gold Member

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            Even if it's a no go, it's simple enough to relocate the inside holes and support tubes further out so you can cut some more of the original cross member out of the way. A little more work, yes, but it will get the job done.
             
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            • MileHighDart

              MileHighDart Well-Known Member

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              Yeah, I'm considering that, there's plenty of room on their mount to move the holes out. I'll make that call after I test fit again and see how it looks.
               
            • 67Dart273

              67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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              Remember, tho, you have to cut that back far enough to get your flat steel upper reinforcement arch back up in there
               
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              • plumkrazee70

                plumkrazee70 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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              • MileHighDart

                MileHighDart Well-Known Member

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                Well, yes I do have some more pic, but I was kinda waiting till I do another test fit and see how everything fits. I did have to do some substantial trimming to the crossmember, and will be cutting the torsion bar crossmember farther out and making a new bolt hole.

                I will show you one thing I had to do, well maybe not necessary, but it was bugging me so I wanted to fix it.
                As you can see in the pictures, the UScartool crossmember was not straight. I cut out one of their welds, clamped a big steel bar to the side to straighten it out, and then rewelded it. Much better now. Before the fix it would fit up onto the car, but you kinda had to bang it into place with your hand. Now it slides right up into place very easily. First two pics show how it was bent, mostly at one end. Other two pics show my fix. The other end is off a little too, but not nearly as bad as the other end so i'm going to leave that alone.
                In the last pic the crossmember is turned the other way, so its the closest end to you that I fixed.

                IMG_20191124_181544376.jpg

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                Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
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                • MileHighDart

                  MileHighDart Well-Known Member

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                  Forget that last line, its the far end in the last pics that I fixed.
                   
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                  • plumkrazee70

                    plumkrazee70 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                    No job. I haven't inspected mine that clearly, yet. Do you have a lift or are you doing it on the ground?
                     
                  • MileHighDart

                    MileHighDart Well-Known Member

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                    Doing it on jackstands, but i have some stands that go fairly high so I have some working room.
                     
                  • plumkrazee70

                    plumkrazee70 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                    Nice. Looking forward to the progress.
                     
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                    • goldduster318

                      goldduster318 Overzealous Car Modifier

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                      The ToddRon Restorations T56 magnum kit seems like a closer fit to your transmission than this clearly poorly thought out kit. I know I did a lot of welding to to do this swap (and floor fab) but it's a nice strong setup and gives you a lot of space for other transmissions that I'm sure could be adapted.
                       
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                      • MileHighDart

                        MileHighDart Well-Known Member

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                        Well, no car mod is complete without a battle scar if some kind. So was just finishing cutting off a little more if the crossmember , and somehow managed to just bump my finger up against the cutoff wheel. Went right through my leather glove an left a half inch long groove in the top of my knuckle. Put a bandaid on it and kept working. But that's gonna leave a mark...lol
                         
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                        • MileHighDart

                          MileHighDart Well-Known Member

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                          Otherwise, it's going well. The trans fits nicely up into the tunnel now. Was trying to get the engine and transmission bolted together, so I could raise it up to the proper height so I could do a.final fit of the lower crossmember. Got one bolt started on the pass side, the one just above the alignment dowel. But on the driver's side I just can't seem to get a bolt started. The trans is on the alignment dowels, in both sides, I can see the threads inside the holes, but just can't get a bolt to start screwing in. Adjusted the trans, up, down, tilted it this way and that, after about 20 minutes I just gave up and went in to clean up for work.

                          I swear some times the simplest thing that causes the most frustration. Maybe slicing my finger open threw me off my game or something. I'll try it again tomorrow.
                           
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