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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
Thank you.

I have been mig welding for nearly 50 years now, howbeit mostly with .045 wire (not .023) welding 1/4" to 1/2" plate. I haven't done any work on car bodies since my late 20's. I'm sure that many people have (or could obtain) the skills involved to make car body modifications. They include being able to mig weld (probably the easiest form of welding skill), being able to use a hand held grinder with cutoff disks (packs of 10 from Harbor Freight Tools for $8), being able to 'mock-up' cardboard templates (courtesy of cereal boxes) with a scissors in order to transfer them to sheet steel, and of course the nerve to hack up your car.

Admittedly (and in fairness) it does require a fairly good understanding of engineering (both structural and mechanical) in order to avoid making some stupid design mistakes which can affect both my safety (and the safety of others). Fortunately for me, I tend to 'overkill' my projects (making them more capable than necessary from an engineering standpoint), but this isn't necessarily "good engineering".
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Because I shifted catagories on the forum its a good time to take some more pictures to let members see progress to this point and to get a better idea of where I am at myself.


Here are pictures of the profile of the originally ‘raised’ Taurus which I started with, the original profile picture which I modified with a ‘cutout’ of the extended section which I visualize (which has been guiding my efforts), and the car as it stands right now before and after I rough framed in the rear wheel wells.


I added a few additional pictures for anyone who may be interested.


It may not be one of the long-trunked cars out of the early sixties, but it is close enough for me and its a hell-of-alot less expensive and will get far better gas milage.



More to follow…..



Automotive parking light Wheel Car Tire Automotive side marker light

Tire Automotive parking light Car Wheel Vehicle

Automotive parking light Wheel Tire Car Plant
Automotive parking light Wheel Car Tire Vehicle







Additional pictures

Automotive parking light Car Automotive side marker light Wheel Tire

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Wheel Tire Car Land vehicle Vehicle
Wheel Car Tire Land vehicle Plant
Automotive parking light Car Tire Wheel Vehicle
 

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Maybe it's the perspective the pics were taken from but I have his feeling when you are done with the rear you're going to end up deciding to kick out the front a bit
 

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1999 Taurus SE Wagon (dohc, ax4n)
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I want to know more about raising it (steps, parts, set backs, any known failures so far, etc) as well as see some pics of that Crown Vic next to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
Maybe it's the perspective the pics were taken from but I have his feeling when you are done with the rear you're going to end up deciding to kick out the front a bit


My cell phone does seem to have a 'fisheye' type focal point. Take a look at these two pictures (taken from even shallower angles).

I don't think that I will extend the front, but I do wish that I had moved the rear axle back another 1.5" to 2" for aesthetic balance.

Car Automotive parking light Wheel Land vehicle Tire
Tire Wheel Car Vehicle Automotive parking light
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
I want to know more about raising it (steps, parts, set backs, any known failures so far, etc) as well as see some pics of that Crown Vic next to it.

Shall I start another thread, on the project of raising the 2004 Taurus? By the way I 'raised' the 97' Crown Victoria in the background a few years ago (at both ends). I stopped driving it early this year (decided to 'downsize' to a smaller car). By the way I listed the 97' Crown Victoria for $4000 on Craigslist earlier this year but received no offers.

Pictures of Crown Vic

Note: I gained 3.5" in the front end by using "Thunderbird" front spindles and Chevy Truck lower ball joints for the front suspension. Not only is the raising of the front end of this car done entirely with stock parts (admittedly I had to alter the tapper slightly on the Thunderbird knuckle to match the Chevy Trucks ball joints) but its ball joint (in a 'compressive' orientation) is actually far more robust than the original Ford lower ball joint in a 'tensile' orientation. The rear end was raised using Nissan van leaf springs.



Wheel Tire Car Automotive parking light Automotive side marker light
Automotive parking light Wheel Automotive side marker light Car Tire
Tire Wheel Automotive parking light Automotive side marker light Car
Tire Wheel Vehicle Automotive tire Hood
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
I will take some pictures today (after the fact) of the modifications that I made in raising the Taurus. Unfortunately, I am in the habit of deleting pictures (instead of keeping them) because they would eventually drive me 'nuts' (looking over old pictures of past projects).

I will post a description of what I did to raise the Taurus along with the pictures that I take today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
Regarding raising the vehicle, it was relatively easy. As it turns out this kind of “front wheel drive” car (and it is my fist car with front wheel drive) has almost its entire mechanical assembly mounted in a carriage which is joined to the car’s body with a total of four bolts in a basically square pattern at the front of the car. And I mean almost the entire mechanical assembly including the engine, transmission, front suspension (except the upper strut mounts), the steering box and linkages, etc. This means that the entire front end of the car body can simply be raised off of its mechanical assembly with four columns.


The beauty of raising the entire front end this way, instead of simply moving the spindles down through longer struts or stiffer springs, is that everything maintains its ‘factory’ geometry (no wheels ‘pitching’ inward or outward) resulting in much better control for the finished car.


A word of warning, this project does require some basic skills with both a mig welder and a cutting torch (a plasma cutter would have been even better because it doesn’t involve blowing a flame over parts before starting a cut, but I didn’t have one).


Being lazy and forgetful of where I leave parts, I thought to myself that I better plan to remove and modify an absolute minimum in the project of raising the car.


Starting with the front end, I used an engine hoist to raise the front end of the car and placed a stand which I custom fabricated out of a channel and some pipe that I had laying around my garage. I lowered the car until its two frontal body rails rested on this channel stand at positions just behind the front end mechanical carriage assembly (very stable and safe), and leaving enough clearance to lower the mechanical cradle assembly 3.5”.


First, I removed the front wheels and the battery. Next, I evaluated what the minimum that I would have to remove or disconnect would be. I disconnected only the things that were necessary, disconnecting the exhaust or hoses was not necessary. Basically the things that I had to disconnect were the items attached to the car’s body (that would not be moving downward with the engine craddle assembly). They included the upper engine mount (attached to the car’s body at the passenger side strut tower housing), and the steering wheel interconnecting shaft (joins between the steering box and the back of the steering wheel shaft).


After this I loosened the brackets which mount the brake hoses to the frame rails. All of this was done so that I could lower the “carriage assembly” 3.0”. Note, I raised the front end of the car a total of 3.5” by lowering the engine craddle assembly 3.0” and the strut tower mounts a total of 3.5” (figuring that a .5” difference in the suspension geometry was insignificant).


I placed a floor jack under the carriage assembly, removed the four bolts which connect it to the cars body, and lowered it 3.5”. Next I removed the four carriage mounting bolts at the four corners of the engine craddle assembly. I cut four 3” sections of 1.5” schd 80 pipe which I had in my garage and centered and welded the engine mount “cups” which engage the rubber body mounts to the four 3” columns. I purchased four 3.5” longer mounting bolts, preped the surfaces on the body rails for welding, remounted the carriage assembly using the four new columns, then I welded them in place back to the car body (in essence raising the front end of the car 3” up off of the carriage assembly). As I mentioned earlier, an advantage of raising the front end in this manner is that all of the steering and drivetrain geometry remains “stock” (I am simply raising the car body off of it).


Next I disconnected the upper ends of the front suspension struts (three nuts per side - easily assessable) and lowered the suspension from the upper mounts. I then cut out the tops of the frame “cups” where the strut towers mount (Note: While it was easy to simply say that I “cut the tops of the frame “cups” where the strut towers mount to out”, this was by far the most difficult part of the project because I could not get a cutoff wheel or reciprocating saw blade in there, so I had to use a cutting torch (watching out for hoses and wires, etc.). I cut them off for two reasons. First, and of primary importance I would not be able to access the strut tower mounting nuts in a new location 3.5” down from their current position if I did not cut away an opening to get tools in to tighten the nuts. And second, it is far easier to weld a new mounting plate for the new upper strut mounts from above than from below. So I prepared a cardboard template tor cutting out the mounting plates out of 3/16” steel plate. A cereal box comes in handy for the template material, you simply get a scissors and shape it down until it fits in the opening 3.5” below the stock position. I transferred the shape and the strut mounting holes over to the steel plates, cut them out and drilled them, then welded them back into the wells 3.5” below the stock position (pictures). I did have to fabricate and weld a new bracket on for the new position of the upper engine mount 3.5” lower to maintain proper geometry for the new position of the upper engine mount (picture).


After touching up my welds with some paint, I remounted the strut towers and the upper engine mount, and reassembled the front end.


Moving the “engine cradle” down 3.0” did require that I slightly modify the shifter cable mount (picture), and I had to cut the two ends off of the steering interconnecting linkage and weld in a tube to make it a little longer (pictures). The new angle of the steering interconnecting linkage did require that I modify its firewall boot (picture). I kind of ‘mickey-moused’ it, but it isn’t really a functional part of the project, and I was frankly too lazy to do-it-right (which would have entailed cutting its entire mount out of the firewall and rewelding it into the proper ‘new’ location).





Raising the back end was a matter of moving the car’s suspension mounting brackets 3.5” downward. There are three mounting places to consider per side. The center “control arm” mounts (2 per side) which connect to a kind of box on the centerline of the car, the trailing arm mounts (1 per side) which are intergreted into the car’s rear frame rails, and the strut tower mounts (1 per side) which are buried far up in cups up in the cars rear wheel wells.


Looking at the geometery of the rear suspension I figured that I could get away with leaving the old center “control arm” mounts alone (that 3.5” at the wheels did not interpret to too much angle of the control arms to justify the modification, especially since I decided to leave the gas tank in place and did not want to do any welding close to it).


The trailing arm mounts were another story, Because they are much shorter than the control arms and even more importantly do not pivot (but rather are attached with rubber grommets), their mounts would have to be moved downward. So I formed a couple of new brackets for the mounts out of 3” by 3/8” hot rolled bar stock, made cutouts in the bars to recieve the rubber grommets, put bends in the bars so that the mounting faces were basically perpendicular to the trailing arms when mounted (approx 85°), and welded them in place.


The easy part was over and now I had to move the strut tower mounts downward 3.5”. I did this by disconnecting the strut towers, lowering them away from their mounts, and welding in a pair of new mounts that I had fabricated from 3/16” plate which I had drilled to mount the strut towers in their new positions. I welded these new 3/16” plates to the edge of a piece of 3” by 3/16” bar stock which I had bent to follow the contours of the old strut mount caps, in essence forming a kind of box which I could weld back up into the strut wells to the existing mounts. It turned out that this new arrangement had the added bebefit of making access to the strut mount nuts at the top of the strut towers possible through the wheel wells instead of the rear deck of the car (which involves removing the rear seat, and shelve cover). I reused these mounts in the current modifications to the car and they can be seen on page 2 of this thread on the June 28th post.


Once I had all of these mounts welded in, and touched up with paint, I reassembled the rear suspension, and mounted the new wheels (a story in itself - having custom offsets).



Tire Automotive tire Wheel Synthetic rubber Rim
Automotive tire Musical instrument Idiophone Automotive wheel system Gas
Automotive tire Bumper Synthetic rubber Tread Automotive exterior
Automotive tire Tread Synthetic rubber Grey Stairs
Automotive tire Hood Motor vehicle Tire Tread
Automotive tire Hood Motor vehicle Vehicle Car
Hood Motor vehicle Automotive tire Vehicle Automotive exterior
Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive fuel system Rim Automotive exterior
Automotive tire Tire Motor vehicle Wood Rim



Pictures continued on next post.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
Getting back to the rear end of the car, I have to figure out how to finish it…..


The now narrowed ‘gap’ between the bottom of the trunk lid and the top of the bumper is not high enough to place a light bar. In addition, I feel that it is too narrow side to side to get turn indicating lights far enough off of the centerline of the car to look good.


As I see it, I am going to have to place the new rear lights somewhere in the outside corners of the rear of the car (to the outsides of this opening). So, at this point, I am planning to fill this opening with a few sheets of 18 gauge which I will contour to meet the bottom rear of the trunk lid and extend down to the top of the bumper. I will add a license plate recess to match up with the one at the top of the bumper.


Before I do all of this, I need to figure out where I am going to place the rear lights.




Just as "jag1959" observed, and I agree with him, the rear end does look long (in reflection I may have overdone it). Anyway, I'm stuck with it now.

On a personal confession, with its now long 'rounded' back end from the Buick, and the 'rounded' front end of the Taurus that I started with, and the four wheels all sticking out past the body; I'm getting a kind of "platypus vibe" out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
Regarding rear light placement. I thought about welding in some short sections of cylindrical tubing to the rear corner sections of the car and install “bullet” type lights to them, but now I’m getting an idea which made me feel like a fool for not thinking of it in the first place…… (It may even “square out” the rear end of the car a bit to help quell the “pladypus” vibe.)


…..A bull has ‘horns’, right? A Taurus should have ‘horns’ somewhere, right?


…..I modeled the rear end of my lengthened Taurus after the 1960 Chevrolet Impala’s and Buick Electra 225’s, and Chrysler 300’s. I got to thinking about all of these cars, and they all have something in common besides long rear ends. Each one of these cars also have ‘fins’. Whether they are oriented vertically (the Chrysler 300), horizontally (the Chevorlet Impala), or somewhere in between (the Buick Electra 225), …..they all have ‘fins’.


Given my problem with finding somewhere to place the rear lights, and the fact that the trunk of the Buick Riviera turns in and is relatively narrow at its back end, I may be able to place some ‘horizontal’ fins on each side of my trunk lid that could hold the rear lights.


At this point it is my plan to try to find some triangular lights that I might be able to incorporate into the rear of a pair of ‘fins’.



More to follow…..
 
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