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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone have pics of their ladder bars they have built? I was thinking of building a set, 1 inch square tubing, 1/8 in wall. I figured that way I could build them to hang lower and make them around 42 to 48 in long. I was planning on solid heim joints, and that would hit me at $161, ends, jam nuts, tube adapters. By the time you figure steel, and axle brackets, this could get expensive. Might have to go to plan B and do some scrounging.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Come on, got to be more than that. Anyone on here that I could purchase brackets off of? I don't have a plasma cutter, wish I did, so it would be easier just ton buy them. I have 3 1/2 axle tubes, if someone could cut me out a set I'd appreciate it. I'd rather give someone on here the money.
 

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I went with 1.25" round tube with .090"wall. I'm not sure 1" would be enough, unless it had plenty of bracing. I also looked at weld bungs for heim joints first, and based my tube size on commonly available weld bungs for 3/4" heims. I've reworked my mounting a couple times, and finally have one that works and doesn't bind my suspension.
First try.


Final setup.




Had issues early on with too much travel, and the ladder bars allowing the pinion to move too much. Later went to a tighter design, and the whole suspension suffered from a harsh street ride. The final setup allows enough movement to make a decent ride, but still hooks up well. I added the brace to the end of my axle mount later also. I was worried about tearing the thin axle tube, and the flat bar brace off the back side existing bracket just gives more strength to the mounting point.
 

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Vall, looking at your bars makes me wonder if mine are under built. I built mine with 1" square 3/16" wall tubing and obviously less laddering. I also see that your shackle is on the bottom side. If there's no down side to that I may turn mine down also. I also think I should add a brace to the back side of my axle mounts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Vall, I was thinking about the bungs. Square would be easier to work with, but installing round bungs in square isn't good. I was going with CM heims, 5/8's in rear, and 3/4 in front. May even use 3/4 in rear. It's been years since I ran ladder bars and they were always solid in the front. What is the shackle deal you got on the front?
 

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I acquired a pair of really ugly ladder bars a few years ago. I think they just welded nuts on the ends of the square tube for bungs. Not cool. If I think of it, I'll bring them home from my storage building tomorrow night and see if the 3/4 heims are any good. If they look OK, and you want them, I'll send the heims to you for the shipping cost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Ol Blue. If they are CM I'd be interested. I've had bad experiences with the cheaper ones. What kinda center to center measurement are you all doing at the rear. Paul Horton has rear brackets with the coil over shock mount all made together. They are 5 1/4 but only have 1/2 holes. I'd have to go bigger on them.
 

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Vall, looking at your bars makes me wonder if mine are under built. I built mine with 1" square 3/16" wall tubing and obviously less laddering. I also see that your shackle is on the bottom side. If there's no down side to that I may turn mine down also. I also think I should add a brace to the back side of my axle mounts.
Your 3/16" wall thickness will really add to the strength, but the single tube at the front makes that the weak point. Normally ladder bars run both tubes the full length, and simply bring them together at the front. The added cross pieces just make for more strength. I've seen them with more and less than I have. I had a certain amount of tubing, so just kept cutting it up until I used it all up.

VHT, the shackles at the front are to allow my springs to work, and not create a bind as the springs compress. Since the axle actually moves rearward as the springs compress, the shackle allows that, but still keeps the axle from rotating, and the pinion turning, which creates tire hop. If I didn't have the shackle, I'd have to go to floaters on my springs, or a coilover shock setup. Most drag only cars with leaf springs, and ladder bars use floating mounts on the spring, to allow the axle to move freely as the springs travel.
 

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PS-Round weld bungs inside square tubing work great, but only if the bungs fit the tubing size. They need to slide in and fill the tube well. When I use weld bungs in square tubing, I still drill 4 holes in line with the bung, and plug weld them, just as I do with round tube. Then weld in the corners, and the rest of the end. They're plenty strong once they're plug and perimeter welded.
I've also seen those nuts welded on the end of tube that Gary mentioned. Might be OK where strength isn't a big deal, but suspension wouldn't be one of those areas!
 

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Here's a picture of my ugly bars and of one of the heims I got cleaned up. The rod end is stamped Spherco TRE-12 and USA, available for about $14 on Amazon. Not traction bar quality, for sure, but OK for steering shaft support bearing (which was what I had in mind when I saved them form the scrap pile).
 

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"the shackles at the front are to allow my springs to work, and not create a bind as the springs compress"

Something I neglected on mine:



And MAN did I ever suffer for it ! ! Took a smooth riding little hot rod and turned it into a coal cart. Hooked up like crazy but made it into a death trap on the street ! !
 
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