Yet another crazy question, but here goes. I have a 81 Camaro that I race locally. A friend mentioned "X-ing Out" his frame. Mine is not. What are the advantages/disadvantages of this. Does it make that big a difference? Any and all info. would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Post by Warren and Toni Draughn on Jan 8, 2007 17:20:20 GMT -5
Installing an X-brace underneath a car is helpful for strengthening the frame and/or body of a car. In builders practices, using at least three mounting points to connect any two points together creates a triangle pattern that is the most efficient and effective way to increase strength on anything you may be building.
The X-brace pattern creates a four-way triangle when it connects between the left and right mainrails of a car versus having, say, two straight-across tubes like additional crossmembers. Using an x-brace on a totally tubular chassis is critical and must be in place to substitute for the absence of existing strengths such as with a floorpan section or rocker panels (several layered panel sections directly underneath the doors) of a uni-body car like the Camaros and others like it that use a sub-frame (front clip) attached to a unibody (main body of the car).
In the case of the Camaros particularly, depending on if the roll cage is solidly anchored into the rocker panels on both sides of the main body with the front and rear feet points of the cage solidly welded to steel plates that have been welded directly into and on the rocker panel sections (not just plates that have been welded into the floor boards only), usually an x-brace is not absolutely necessary.
The rocker panels are roughly equivalent to heavy 2 X 3 square tubing with the strength that is built into them from the factory. They are also a main safety feature of any car in strengthening the areas from front to back where an openable door section is, plus resisting an impact from the sides. In cars that are convertible, these rocker panels are even more strong to compensate for the lack of a supporting solid roof structure.
However, if the roll cage is not attached to the rocker panels and has been installed on plates welded onto the floorboards only, installing connector rails (straight rails made from usually 2 X 2 square tubing that welds to the ends of the front clip and welded to the underneath area just inside of the front spring hanger area of the unibody) and a small X-brace (anywhere between 2 X 2 or down to 1 1/2 X 1 1/2) is recommended. This will help strengthen the unibody area and help prevent excessive twist in the chassis if the cage is not anchored into the OEM rocker panels.
When installing an X-brace on any car, carefully check for clearances of the driveline when the suspension works. The center area of the X-brace needs to be well forward of the middle section of the drive line to allow clearance. If this clearance is not checked, you stand a chance of "machining" your driveshaft into by rubbing the X-brace. Also, when located well, you can place a 1/4 X 2 strap over the top of the driveline and weld it onto the x-brace for a driveshaft loop, needed for most tracks.
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