reinforced k frame - is it worth it

Suspension, Steering and Chassis

  1. cudajames

    cudajames FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    I am about to pull my 273 and upgrading to a 408 (original v8 k frame)

    Since engine, tranny, cooling will all be removed as the engine bay is cleaned up

    Would it be worth it to reinforce the k frame? Firm Feel has a kit (any other kits out there)

    Could kit be weld to the k frame in place or I would have to drop it as well?

    I will be adding the Schumacher torque strap(TQ64a) as part of the engine swap

    thanks

    james
     
  2. halfafish

    halfafish 66 Valiant, hot-rod in training FABO Gold Member

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    My two cents worth, yes it's worth doing, especially as it will be mostly bare while you work on everything else. It will improve your handling a bunch by taking the flex out of the K-frame. I'm doing the same thing in my car, and I bought the same kit from Firm Feel. I'm local to them and asked the guy to run me through where all the pieces go. I took photos, and reviewing them I think it's safe to say this would be impossible to do without pulling it out to weld it up. There are a lot of pieces and they go all over the place.

    If you decide to go this route, send me a PM and I can email you the photos of what part goes where. They had a K-frame lying there he used for the photos. I'm not sure if there's a ton of difference or not, but my kit and photos are for a slant, not a V-8.
     
  3. lilcuda

    lilcuda Well-Known Member

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    Not a bad idea to reinforce it. I would take it out of the car, mainly to get it really clean and inspect it for cracks. Can't weld it with grease & paint on it. With the engine out, it's pretty easy. I did it with the engine in.

    If you decide to do it, the guy who did the welding on mine still has his shop. He's a fantastic welder.

    Here's my thread from quite a few years ago when I did it.

    K member removal - engine in car
     
  4. MoparMike1974

    MoparMike1974 Well-Known Member

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    Remove it, have it sandblasted. Inspect very well for damage. Repair any damage and then fully weld and reinforce. Lastly paint or have it powdercoated.
    The weld jobs on K frames can be hit or miss. I have seen some really nice ones and also some that looked like a child welded it.
     
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    • 1994redram

      1994redram FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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      I ended up using a propane torch and burning out the 45+ years of oil and grease on the pinch welds. I stitch welded those up and added the reinforcement plates on. I did it all outside the car, but it can be done while still installed.
       
    • RustyRatRod

      RustyRatRod 30 Degrees Outta Whack FABO Gold Member

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      @Jim Lusk would be a good one to ask as he's done a lot of this type thing. He can probably give you some tips.
       
    • 70aarcuda

      70aarcuda Master Hoader of SBM FABO Gold Member

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      I have done two of them...one in the car and one out of the car....cut and boxed it .....now even the milodon oil pan will fit them...
       
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      • BrianT

        BrianT Let's go!

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        While my engine was out I switched from a /6 K member to a V8 version. I had the new member sand blasted and that revealed the poor factory weld jobs. We didn't add any extra gussets but all of the factory welding was gone over and completed or improved upon. Here's a few areas where we weren't impressed...
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      • Jim Lusk

        Jim Lusk Well-Known Member

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        Get the k-member out and cleaned up. Unless you need the car running there's no real good reason not to. I've got a hot tank so every k-member spends a day or two getting cleaned. I have found some very ugly original work and some very ugly repair work...This was my son's K-member. We've put about 35k miles on this one without noticing the damage. I removed the pin (I have a jig that puts it in the proper position) and repaired the k-member. The "repair" prevented the pin from fully seating. 20180916_132039.jpg 20180916_132050.jpg 20180916_132109.jpg 20180916_144626.jpg 20180916_144633.jpg
         
      • cudajames

        cudajames FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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        Well, the engine/tranny have been removed to reveal? Is there suppose to be a hole near the steering box? i think the k frame will benefit from being reinforced

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      • Jim Lusk

        Jim Lusk Well-Known Member

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        That hole looks like it should be there, but I'd look at others to be sure.
         
      • Kern Dog

        Kern Dog Well-Known Member

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        My guess is the 1963-1966 A body K members would benefit the most from shear plates and gussets compared to the later years. The early K members have more open spaces that theoretically would allow flexing.
         
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        • lilcuda

          lilcuda Well-Known Member

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          Yes, it looks correct. Not really a hole, but just where they didn't weld the mounting pad for the steering box. I plan to go over and take a look at the k member on James' car soon to compare it to what mine looked like.
           
        • lilcuda

          lilcuda Well-Known Member

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          BTW, James, start spraying the k member mounting bolts with PB Blaster now and let them soak before trying to remove the bolts. Don't want to strip those!
           
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          • C130 Chief

            C130 Chief Mechanical Genius

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            There are a couple photos of the pre-cut kits installed: Firmfeel Mopar Suspension and Steering
            I would suspect the improvement in an early A would be noticeable. Up there with subframe connectors and torsion boxes.
             
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            • jos51700

              jos51700 Well-Known Member

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              To be a little more specific, it's worth drilling CAREFULLY 1/8" holes in the frame rails inline with the k frame bolts (just enough to break thru, and no more), about an inch above the bottom of the rail, and spray penetrating oil in those holes to hit the threads directly.

              I sent my k frame to Firm Feel and had them reinforce it. Money well spent! Came back fully welded with washer gussets around the lca holes and the steering box mount reinforced. It was noticeably heavier.

              It was noticeably more rigid when driving. The car wallowed around corners before but it very even afterwards. Shocks and sway bar made it corner level but the k reinforcement made it predictable.
               
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              • MOPAROFFICIAL

                MOPAROFFICIAL Well-Known Member

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                I have a '68 dart 340 gts k in my '67 valiant and I'm definitely boxing it out for not only strengthening... but space.
                 
              • famous bob

                famous bob mopar misfit

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                I have the complete k frame w/ everything still bolted to it, I plan on rebuilding it and boxing it out one of these days, my magnum force front end doesn`t ride real good, but handles great on the dragstrip-------------

                for what ever that`s worth-lol
                 
              • 69 M-CODE CUDA

                69 M-CODE CUDA Member

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                FWIW, I recently added the Firm Feel reinforcement kit to my K frame. I did it while removed, as I'm basically restoring the rest of the car right now. Took it to the local NAPA and had them bake it in their oven and it came out looking brand new. I've been told that you have to get them REALLY clean, or you could be half way through the project and have difficulty getting good welds, because the old grease is leaching its way out of there. Mine came out great using this procedure.
                 
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                • 383Scampman

                  383Scampman Well-Known Member

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                  I realize that k-frames from 64-66 are different than 67-72 but this what I did . I cut the middle out of the K (the upper part)leaving the front 1/2 intact . got some 11guage metal and boxed in what I removed . Rewelded the mount for the steering box . I did this so I could remove oil pan without raising the motor and to stiffen it up . works great with the BB and deep oil pan . ENgine brace also .
                   
                • famous bob

                  famous bob mopar misfit

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                  I got the idea from Jim Hale about 7-8 yrs ago, he one laying in one of his shop floors. He used 1x2 rec. tubing, it fit perfect and looked great, would be stronger than a single plate weld too.
                   
                • cudajames

                  cudajames FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                  K Frame removed and dropped off to be tanked. Firmfeel reinforcement kit should be arriving today

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                  • cudajames

                    cudajames FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                    Firmfeel kit arrived - 11 pieces for the early a ( i believe 8 pieces for 67-up) I will post picture when I mock it up on Monday before dropping it off to be welded

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                    • cudajames

                      cudajames FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                      k frame back - some of the welds will probably need to be retouched/redone. And here is a mock up of where the pieces go, the little eyebrow looking piece may not be used, doesn't fit so well. The piece that the strut rod passes through will have to be enlarged for the after market adjustable rods to work

                      I will post pictures after everything has been welded

                      big thanks to Halfafish

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                    • MObarracuda

                      MObarracuda Well-Known Member

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                      I reworked my k-member when I had the engin out of my ‘67 barracuda. I was given a k-member out of a 71 demon. I used that one for the improved idler arm design. I copied the firm feel parts (sorry firm Feel) and made all of my own stiffen weld in plates.

                      If you don’t burn out all of the old oil you will be grinding out all of the bad welds.
                      10F14ED9-B078-4702-B705-D0EADF62A59A.jpeg

                      Use cardboard to make patterns F3E1D77C-7DC9-4E1C-8C5A-CA040D2AF12B.jpeg

                      I made the renforment plates bigger to increase the surface area to dissipate the load just because I could not because I knew better 6F837D56-D8C8-4BFA-9EEF-E75517191736.jpeg
                      Weld the steering bracket to the k-member
                      F80FC574-C1F7-4D00-9E7D-26071A13921B.jpeg

                      Shape the metal to the gap A3CCB604-2E2A-4D1A-9DAE-33CE97157541.jpeg

                      Compound Bends B98C550A-177D-4284-A7DE-AFA8F3BDE7B2.jpeg A8D23962-6042-41B9-9AA0-C231A8A3B95F.jpeg

                      Weld around the pipe inside the k- member. Be careful not to build up the weld taller than the height of the tubes 679FCDC7-F5F2-44AB-994E-CEE1C730AE03.jpeg

                      Grind the weld back to the original height of the tubes.
                      E24F74D4-8F4B-4CF5-AA4F-2A010483EB05.jpeg

                      Here is the k-memeber seam welded all the way around, gussetted, bad factory welds reworked, skid plate added to the bottom and powder coated. I haven’t driven the car yet so I can’t tell you if it matters. 47BF0998-F70F-42C7-B10B-B59E3421CB40.jpeg
                       
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