1972 Vega Pro Touring Project

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1972 Vega Pro Touring Project

Postby megavega » Wed Aug 01, 2007 11:10 pm

This is the pro touring project I have been fiddling with. It is the 7th vega I have owned in my lifetime. I have started with a 28,000 original mile vega, a deluxe trim and interior car with A/c. Oasis green with deluxe black cloth interior. The original buildsheet was under the back seat.
I removed all the original A/C equipment and heater assembly and will be running a aftermarket unit that neatly tucks up under the dash.

First off was converting the front suspension over to s10 equipment, I used new monza ball joints and a set of Bob Gumms taper adapters for the spindals, I then installed brand new brake rotors, wheel bearings, calipers,seals and pads. I didnt take any pics of this as its a pretty well known mod to do to these cars.

Since I was at the front of the car I built a set of custom spilt bumpers for it, I used 2 bumpers for the car and cut off the 2 ends, swapping the left side with the right, I then welded the ends to the cut off original ends, and then these will be replated, these now look like little z-28 bumpers. They also have the outside brackets and inners yet and are sturdy, they dont vibrate around when the engines running. I also installed a set of flat lens h4 bulb headlights, these give the car a euro look, they look neat in person. I had to trim out the center hole for the replaceable bulb and rubber boot to fit thru, as they are alot larger in diameter inside then a stock bulb is,this was done easily with the plasma cutter and looks stock from inside the engine bay.

The following pics are what I started with, the car was very clean but I had to replace the right front fender because of the damage done to it from a john deere tractor brush hog being scrapped down the side. The fender although rust free was junked because the dents were beyond repair in my opinion, they were in the fender lip edge, side,middle, everywhere, and they were better described as gouges deep into the metal. The poor little vega sat for years and years in this previous owners garage and he barely had enough room to get his tractor and farm implements by the car and the fender/headlight ring/bezel took some serious abuse. I had a spare good fender up in the garage so I threw it on. Last time this little car was on the road was 1982 by the inspection sticker in the windshield!!

The wheels are on it just to roll around, it has 17 inch hopsters all the way around.
Attachments
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grnvegabumper.jpg
these are the new split bumpers for the car
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Last edited by megavega on Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:21 am, edited 4 times in total.
1972 hatchback, 28,000 orig miles, 427BBC/twin T4 turbo's/T56 six speed/big wheels, lowered down pro touring style-work in progress....

1973 vega wagon-under the blue flame knife.
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1972 Chevrolet Vega Hatchback


This is the frame I have built

Postby megavega » Wed Aug 01, 2007 11:26 pm

This is the frame I added under the car, it will consist of a 2x3 crossmember attached will be the 2 rear lower control arm mounts,made from 3x3 box tubing. This will be added into the floor of the car, the rear frame has a nice flat section that is double layer metal and quite thick, the crossmember is added to the floor area by a simple 2 inch wide notch, and the snugger the fit the better. After this crossmember is installed you can either add a round tube connector from the front face of the 2x3 run along the rocker pichweld seam or add a rollcage to the vehical. I have built past vegas both ways and both have never had any flex problems. The last vega I built(silver one in avatar pic on left) had a 427 big block chevy/glide with trans brake, I left the line at 5500rpm and never had any chassis problems, it did have a 4 link attached to the 2x3 and a 10 point cage, but exactly the same rear crossmember instalation as this car. No frame rails were run under the car, this also keeps everything open for exh. clearance or whatever.

This car will recieve a rollbar main hoop, no crossbar for rear seat access. Special bent rear strut bars to clear the rear seat passengers head. The car will use a set of windshield bars, halo bar and a set of sill bars. Sill bars are bars that run from the main hoop to the front windshield bars along horizontaly above the rocker panel, these little guys are basicly frame ties for the middle of the car, they also make it quite easy to enter and exit the vehical, and you dont have to climb in over the door bars this way. This isnt a drag car but a car I want to drive anywhere I want in the country, and including a hot rod power tour when its completed.
This way these will basicly connect the car instead of having tubing below the car or cutting out the floor pans to install frame connectors. The floorpan/rockerpanels is the chassis in these cars, thats why the more bends and ripples they have the stronger the metal structure is. I just didnt want to cut the floorpans out for frame connectors, just my way of doing it, doesnt mean its the only way. I have seen lots of ways of doing frame connectors, each has its good and bad point, this is just what works for me. The front windshield bars will also use a set of front strut bars going out thru the firewall resting on top of the front frame horns, to add rigidty to the front frame horns. The windshield bars will also get a small round crossmember going under the dash to tie the cage in from side to side(left to right). The firewalls in these cars are paper thin and there isnt enuff support in my opinion to connect anything worthwile to them.

Here you can see the metal I started with, cut the angles on a chop swa then glued it all together with a mig welder. Its important to clamp this all together and tack all the seams, check for straightness, then reclamp and weld, otherwise youll end up with a hockey stick.
Attachments
vegafrconn.jpg
This is the 2x3" tubing, 3x3" tubing and some 1 5/8" round tube
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Last edited by megavega on Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:31 pm, edited 7 times in total.
1972 hatchback, 28,000 orig miles, 427BBC/twin T4 turbo's/T56 six speed/big wheels, lowered down pro touring style-work in progress....

1973 vega wagon-under the blue flame knife.
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1972 Chevrolet Vega Hatchback

Postby megavega » Wed Aug 01, 2007 11:32 pm

This is the subframe all glued together, its a 2x3 tubing dropped crossmember, and 3x3 tubing for the rear lower control arm mounts, this will require cutting a slot out of the bottom of the sheetmetal and the tighter the fit the better the result, of course it all gets glued in with the mig welder....LOL
Attachments
vegasubfrm1.jpg
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1972 hatchback, 28,000 orig miles, 427BBC/twin T4 turbo's/T56 six speed/big wheels, lowered down pro touring style-work in progress....

1973 vega wagon-under the blue flame knife.
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1972 Chevrolet Vega Hatchback

Postby megavega » Wed Aug 01, 2007 11:39 pm

This what youll be cutting out of the car to fit the subframe up into, you want to slot out the cars original sheetmetal and tuck this up into it, this creates a strong front and rear and wont allow the crossmember to twist while under load. The metal is pretty thick at the rear before the lower conrol arm mounts, you want to make sure you have the same dimension from a fixed point on the car for each side so its in the car square.
Attachments
vegaframe1.jpg
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vegaframe2.jpg
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1972 hatchback, 28,000 orig miles, 427BBC/twin T4 turbo's/T56 six speed/big wheels, lowered down pro touring style-work in progress....

1973 vega wagon-under the blue flame knife.
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1972 Chevrolet Vega Hatchback

Installing the subframe into the floor

Postby megavega » Wed Aug 01, 2007 11:48 pm

The holes for the bolts of the lower control arms are drilled thru the new tubing ends after the install. Useing a transfer punch to fit the original control arm bolt hole in the vega metal and this precisely locates the center of the hole so your location is exactly the same as stock and you can adjust from there to square the rear axle in the chassis/wheelbase/ etc.

You will need to notch the top and bottom edges of the 3x3 tubing for the control arms to have free movement without bottoming out on the square edge of the tubing. I just simply marked them out and trimmed them with my plasma cutter, took all of about 2 mins.

Here you can see how nice and tight the new subframe fits into the slots, I had to get it into place with a dead blow plastic hammer, the closer it fits the easier and better the welding will be. This subframe assembly is invisible when looking at the car from the side, its flush with the bottom of the factory pinchweld seam.

One thing I have made a note of is with vegas, you have to really get the metal your going to weld down to shiny bare metal, they used a primer on these cars that will make any mig sputter and splash slag all over, the cleaner the area the nicer the welds will be when done.
Remember to check your squarness from side to side and a level to make sure its straight up and down. The car is leveled from front to back and side to side and stays either on the car lift or on the jackstands till all the critical parts are glued in the car, this way you can check yourself all the time with a square and a level.
Attachments
vegasubfrm3.jpg
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Last edited by megavega on Thu Aug 02, 2007 1:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
1972 hatchback, 28,000 orig miles, 427BBC/twin T4 turbo's/T56 six speed/big wheels, lowered down pro touring style-work in progress....

1973 vega wagon-under the blue flame knife.
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1972 Chevrolet Vega Hatchback

Postby megavega » Thu Aug 02, 2007 12:22 am

I have installed a 2wd s10 rear axle I purchased from a v8monza site member, it was a 54" wide 2wd s10 rear axle with a Don Hardy bracket kit on it already. It is equipped now with a set of 3.42 GM rear gears, a 28 spline posi unit and axles. I also added rear aluminum drums from a trans am. This should work well with the drivetrain a ls1 series engine with a t56 6spd trans.

I used rear 3rd generation trans am rear coil springs and removed coils from them increasing the rate of the springs ,also to get the ride height where I wanted it. I purchsed a rear swaybar from a monza thats 3/4" in diameter, I want the car stiff and level, like a corvette...lol ,goal is very minimal to no bodyroll, a drift style chassis would be good comparison.
With the s10 rear axle being a half inch narrower then the stock vega rear axle I was able to use a rim with 4" backspacing and neatly tuck the tires up under the lips and give the car a nice ride height but not dragging the ground and ruining the exh. system.
Here is the rear at ride height, I added a tad over 200lbs to the rear area/trunk, I figured a full tank of gas, a chubby rear passenger, and some extra for good measure(carpet, dyna mat,rollcage added, etc.)would be close to operating weight.

I am currently building tubular adjustble control arms for the rear, I will be raising the top bars 2-2.5" from the stock rear axle mounting point, I have to draw out/figure the instant center of the chassis and see where it ends up. I still have all my tuning notes from the big block drag car so somewhere close to where that was should be a good starting point, I can fine tune it from there.
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Last edited by megavega on Fri Sep 14, 2007 12:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
1972 hatchback, 28,000 orig miles, 427BBC/twin T4 turbo's/T56 six speed/big wheels, lowered down pro touring style-work in progress....

1973 vega wagon-under the blue flame knife.
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1972 Chevrolet Vega Hatchback

Postby Sirshredalot » Sun Aug 05, 2007 12:24 am

Hey MegaVega,

Are you gonna run the 4 link or the Torque Arm with that?
If the TA, is there enough clearance for the TA thorugh that crossmember.

Also....that crossmember becomes the lower control arm mounts right?

Do you have frame connectors in it yet? Pictures?
I really like the way that looks and fits...i might just have to do that on my car.

Do you happen to have the Schematic for the angles you used to make that crossmember?

Looks Sweet!

God bless
-Shred
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Postby zeke » Sun Aug 05, 2007 6:19 am

Another great idea for rear strenghtening! Looking forward to see how this turns out. Good work Don.
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Postby Kenova » Sun Aug 05, 2007 11:03 pm

It's nice to see a forgotten gem get a little luvin'. However, you failed to give us the specs (size and back spacing) on your 17' wheels and your tire sizes. You do realize that the suspense is driving some of us a little (more) nuts, LOL.
Keep the pics coming.

Ken
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Postby megavega » Mon Aug 06, 2007 11:53 am

Shred: frame connectors are not need and/or used in this car, the rollcage I have described above will tie the entire car together from front to rear. The sill bars act as a frame connector if you will, from front to rear and the halo bar ties the front to rear together as well just under the roof. The rocker panels and floorboards are also the "frame" in the car, so you want to weld everything you can to any added metal. You can however install 1 5/8" round tube to the front of the 2x3 dropped crossmember, then stitch weld that to the rocker panel pinchweld along the bottom of the car. Theres a nice little trough for the tubing to sit in along rocker edges of the car, and no floorpan cutting is needed this way. I have done that before in other vega's with good results. Make sure you run it up past where the lower fender mounting bolt is on bottom side, so the front frame plates will intersect with the tubing.
This car will be using the 4 link system, with tubular control arms with heim joints and raised brackets on rear axle housing.

One thing I forgot to mention above is I also stitch welded all the factory spot welded rear suspension brackets to the floor, just a 1 inch long stitch weld on all sides of brackets that are on the floorpan. I did this all the way up the rear floor to the shock crossmember panel.

More pics soon. I have tons of pics but just saved the entire disc to my pc, 1 big pic file, so I have been going thru them and put them in order so you guys can understand the build sequence. I am actually alot further ahead on the car then whats on here right now but I am trying to post it all in order. Just trying to sequence it from rear to front , the front is alot more involved as you will see....lol, thanx

Ken: the backspacing is listed, its in the section where the car with wheels on it at ride height is. 4 inchs of backspacing, the tire size is a 235/45/17 on a 8 inch rim. You could go larger with rear tire size if you dont want the car as low as I have mine set up, its just in what kind of look your trying to achieve and your own personal taste/like.
I will be using a 17 x7 front rim with 4 inch backspacing and a 215/45/17 tire. The 235's will clear as far as the width up front, there is plenty of clearance even at full wheel lock to the frame and the tie rod ends BUT they do interfere with the fenders front lower edge when turning, so you either have to section the bottom front lip edge( this is the part of the front fender down by the little brace that runs to frame rail) or just run a slightly smaller tire as I chose to do.(ADD:) When I loweredthe car to the ride heigth I wanted in front, I had to pull a couple slickster moves to make it all work, I machined off some material from inside the rim pad,and machined the rotors to seat the wheel bearing race in further to narrow the frontend track width,otherwise the tire would still interfere with the front bottom edge of the fender when turning, a rim with more like 4 1/2" backspace would be alot closer. I couldnt get the 4.5 backspace as it wasnt available unless custom ordered and the custom price was stupid.more on this when its all done.
Last edited by megavega on Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1972 hatchback, 28,000 orig miles, 427BBC/twin T4 turbo's/T56 six speed/big wheels, lowered down pro touring style-work in progress....

1973 vega wagon-under the blue flame knife.
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1972 Chevrolet Vega Hatchback

Postby megavega » Wed Sep 12, 2007 2:25 am

I think I have figured out this new software. Anyways, heres the first of quite a few rollcage install pics and processes. I started with a comp. engineering 12 point hoop kit, 1 5/8" diameter, this consist of the main hoop, windshield hoop, down bars for windshield, crossbar,and front frame hoop supports. There is also a strut kit you add to this kit if you want the door bars ,diagnal supports,rear bars and welding plates and gussets, I didnt need those so I did not purchase them.
If you remember back to the other post, I am not installing door bars or a crossbar on the cage, I want to drive this car not climb into a jungle jim all the time. Its not a NHRA drag car but a street car that will be driven anywhere, all over. This will keep getting in and out of the rear seat(my kid) very easy.
I made some 90 degree bend 1/8th thick steel brackets, 2 1/2" wide, this gave me a level surface to sit the main hoop on, these were welded into the inside rocker panels, floor boards and the inside qtr panels(inner fenders), this makes them very strong. I also used gussets on the sides of them to box them in and finish them off. These cars dont have a frame so when you can tie into 3 seperate panels, you help to tie the car together even more. This cage along with sill bars and the 2x3-3x3 frame I put under the rear should be very stout and handle the power I plan on running thru the chassis.
Attachments
rollcage.jpg.JPG
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Last edited by megavega on Tue Oct 16, 2007 2:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.
1972 hatchback, 28,000 orig miles, 427BBC/twin T4 turbo's/T56 six speed/big wheels, lowered down pro touring style-work in progress....

1973 vega wagon-under the blue flame knife.
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1972 Chevrolet Vega Hatchback

Postby megavega » Wed Sep 12, 2007 2:38 am

I will have to take another pic of the bases for the main hoop, I cant locate the other ones on the disc.

I also wanted to retain the full interior of the car and fit the cage very snug to the inside so as to not lose any interior or create a eye/visibility issue when driving the car. I was able to locate the hoop in the small pocket between the door panel and the rear panel, there is a little nook there and the cage fit nicely there and wont interfere with anything, I have some pics of differnt angles with the panels mocked up.

I was kinda bummed out I lost the sunvisors with the top hoop bar, there is just no way around it, I will have to figure something else out to replace those later. This way I have the top hoop bar hidden up in the headliner, it doesnt hang below the trim inside the windshield by very much at all, tucked up right behind it.

I also used the front frame support bars for the rear bars, this gives me full access to the rear seat and your head doesnt hit the bar when seated in the rear, they are bent at a 65 degree angle, and welded on top of the rear floor between the rear trunk floor and seat back. I installed small anchor plates of 1/8th inch steel plate and then welded them to the factory rear wheel well braces. I also stitched the factory braces to the inner wheel well, providing more strength then the factory spot welds. I will custom bend up front frame support bars as I had a few differnt ideas where to place them and needed to think about my engine combination I would be running. Theres lots of things that can get into the way up in the engine bay.
Attachments
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Last edited by megavega on Tue Mar 25, 2008 4:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1972 hatchback, 28,000 orig miles, 427BBC/twin T4 turbo's/T56 six speed/big wheels, lowered down pro touring style-work in progress....

1973 vega wagon-under the blue flame knife.
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1972 Chevrolet Vega Hatchback

Postby megavega » Wed Sep 12, 2007 2:46 am

I also have had a slight change in the power plant, I took a small spy photo and will wait till I get the rest of the car completed here, then show everyone what is being used, I also have (2) t3 garrett turbos that go with this engine combo................hint....
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Last edited by megavega on Tue Mar 25, 2008 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1972 hatchback, 28,000 orig miles, 427BBC/twin T4 turbo's/T56 six speed/big wheels, lowered down pro touring style-work in progress....

1973 vega wagon-under the blue flame knife.
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1972 Chevrolet Vega Hatchback

Postby 80poncho » Wed Sep 12, 2007 9:23 am

Hey Megavega, do you have pic's of your main hoop? I am putting roll cage in my car, but I don't like the way the main hoop is looking so far, it's too wide, and then too low on the windshield. I may spring to have one custom made, but still debating....
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Postby megavega » Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:07 pm

main hoop? thats whats posted above, or are you talking about the halo bar??, the one that connects to the main hoop and goes up by the windshield, then the 2 downward front windhield bars attach to that? I have alot more pics I just have to put them all in order to post, let me know which ones you want to see better.

The halo bar is the one in the picture that looks like a "u" under the main hoop, the 2 downward windshiel bars are right underneath of it.
Last edited by megavega on Thu Sep 13, 2007 2:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
1972 hatchback, 28,000 orig miles, 427BBC/twin T4 turbo's/T56 six speed/big wheels, lowered down pro touring style-work in progress....

1973 vega wagon-under the blue flame knife.
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1972 Chevrolet Vega Hatchback

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