Engine swap cradles
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Western NY
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    195

    Engine swap cradles

    My main business is building chassis and suspension for custom cars, but as one of very few fab shops in the area, we get appoached with all sorts of interesting (and not so interesting) projects.
    Last year a few of the local demo derby guys asked us to build some engine protectors for their cars to save damage to the crank, pulleys etc. They were very pleased and brought us a new project last week. These are "universal" engine cradles for transplanting small block Chevy motors into the demo car of your choice, in this case mainly Chryslers.
    The first pics show the cradle they were buying in years past, but fitup was poor and they wanted something with better fit and a bit stronger. Obviously price was also an issue but these guys usually will pay for something that works.
    I designed the brackets in Solidworks and added tabs etc so it would basically be "self-fixturing" with little measuring and hard to screw up. Welding was done by my newest guy, 17 years old and currently in a welding program at the local HS. We are grooming him to start here once he graduates and he is already taking to it very well. I don't have kids so when I can train a young guy and give him something to be proud of it makes me feel good. Also doesn't hurt that he is trained my way and I don't have to unlear bad habits.
    I would like to know what other guys would have charged for these, and I will share what we charged when I get some opinions. They were all built in house, from design to plasma cutting to welding.
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    "Anybody can talk $h!t behind a monitor, I let the quality of my work speak for itself"


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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Western NY
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    195

    Re: Engine swap cradles

    A few pics of the new guys welding, I am very proud of him to come this far in only a few months so don't be too harsh. He is only 17 and has better work ethics than 99% of the guys I have had in here the last 10 years.
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    "Anybody can talk $h!t behind a monitor, I let the quality of my work speak for itself"


    Lincoln Square Wave 255 and 355 Tig
    Lincoln 255 Power-Mig w/ spool gun
    Koike 5 x 10 CNC plasma
    Hyd-Mech DM-10 bandsaw
    Ineco QB-76 NC tube bender

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Glendale AZ
    Posts
    554

    Re: Engine swap cradles

    I can't be harsh on the welds they look like mine. The cradle, looks to me to be $150-200 at least I would feel that's fair as the welding seems minimal and using the plasma to cut the meterial they could be all cut out fairly quick.
    Offering CNC Plasma cutting and welding projects.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    western north carolina
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    48

    Re: Engine swap cradles

    The brackets are well thought out and made. However I question why the tabs do not penetrate through the mating part and get plug welded from the back side. this would also have insured proper placement and alignment.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Australia
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    4,608

    Re: Engine swap cradles

    Quote Originally Posted by skipweidner View Post
    The brackets are well thought out and made. However I question why the tabs do not penetrate through the mating part and get plug welded from the back side. this would also have insured proper placement and alignment.

    Fair enough but....if you're using jig fitup, why bother?
    All it does is create more work and cutting plus, if the base plate needs to sit flat, it would also create extra grinding.
    Last edited by Mick120; 05-28-2012 at 08:11 PM.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    western north carolina
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    48

    Re: Engine swap cradles

    Quote Originally Posted by Mick120 View Post
    Fair enough but....if you're using jig fitup, why bother?
    All it does is create more work and cutting plus, if the base plate needs to sit flat, it would also create extra grinding.
    Why bother using tabs if it is a jig fitup? as for the grinding I see your point if it has to sit flat

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Morton, Washington
    Posts
    3,343

    Re: Engine swap cradles

    Nice work.

    As for the price... what kind of time to you have into the project?
    Last edited by forhire; 05-29-2012 at 01:43 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Western NY
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    195

    Re: Engine swap cradles

    Quote Originally Posted by skipweidner View Post
    The brackets are well thought out and made. However I question why the tabs do not penetrate through the mating part and get plug welded from the back side. this would also have insured proper placement and alignment.
    Very simple....I didn't have anything to look at other than the original piece of junk that didn't fit well , so being in a time crunch and knowing they wanted them fairly cheap I winged it and it worked just fine.
    Normally I would make one and revised it till it was perfect, but I wanted them done quickly and efficently and the extra time to redraw and set up wouldn't have saved me any time or made it any stronger so we ran them as is. I charged 110.00 each for them in qty of 8 and probably have a full day into them. If it wasn't for them bringing us other work here and there I think we would be around 135-160 each.
    "Anybody can talk $h!t behind a monitor, I let the quality of my work speak for itself"


    Lincoln Square Wave 255 and 355 Tig
    Lincoln 255 Power-Mig w/ spool gun
    Koike 5 x 10 CNC plasma
    Hyd-Mech DM-10 bandsaw
    Ineco QB-76 NC tube bender

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Glendale AZ
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    554

    Re: Engine swap cradles

    Guess my 150 was not too far off, but my 200 was way off. I would love to get jobs like that at 110 each and a days worth if work, I could live with the 440 in profits. As it would be part time for me. Now if j could just make 440 a day profit 30 days a month I would be happy.
    Offering CNC Plasma cutting and welding projects.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Flat lands of Colorado, where the wind blows
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    182

    Re: Engine swap cradles

    I hope they hold up, they look a little light to me, but then my son tore the mounts off the block a few times, or the bolts out of them, we had two one inch square bars, (they were some what hard) but we broke both of them when he went to the front of the engine and built a plate that would bolt on up and around the front timing chain cover, and we have had the front of the car pushed back about 6 to 7 inches in some good hits as well, mostly crushing in the fire wall area, (the Chrysler's are better with that torsion bar suspension, and the way the front is boxed in, but if you can not keep the engine from going forward you will lose your radiator,

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Western NY
    Posts
    195

    Re: Engine swap cradles

    Farmerboy, you can see what the original looks like that they brought in and wanted "copied" and that had been in a car for a few years, these obviously are quite a bit different and stronger, but again just a transplant cradle at a reasonable (cheap) price.
    However if they are looking for damage protection rather than just a swap they can spend a few more bucks and buy one of our pulley protectors shown here. These are made of 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch plate and hold up real well to the abuse.
    Attached Images Attached Images      
    "Anybody can talk $h!t behind a monitor, I let the quality of my work speak for itself"


    Lincoln Square Wave 255 and 355 Tig
    Lincoln 255 Power-Mig w/ spool gun
    Koike 5 x 10 CNC plasma
    Hyd-Mech DM-10 bandsaw
    Ineco QB-76 NC tube bender

  12. #12
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    Apr 2012
    Location
    Flat lands of Colorado, where the wind blows
    Posts
    182

    Re: Engine swap cradles

    I like the looks of the green unit, and the pully guard is a good idea,

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    5,711

    Re: Engine swap cradles

    Nice work, Coupebuilder!



    Quote Originally Posted by skipweidner View Post
    Why bother using tabs if it is a jig fitup?
    I was wondering about the tabs too,
    My thought was that maybe the designer had a theory about a place for flex, should things really start to get twisted up.

    ----------
    On a side note - It sure looks like derby rules allow a lot of heavy-duty building now.
    If engine swapping is legal, why even bother with the armored Chevy? Why not go with a small air-cooled diesel and hydrostatic drive?
    Throw an SA-200 in the back seat and use electric drive.
    Why not just hang a car body over a TUG tractor?

    Especially considering how much reinforcement is allowed now, to me, I don't think that any showdown could ever top the time when I saw an already-ran weary weak well-beaten '61 Ford take on a field of fresh big strong cars; probably half of ‘em were Chryslers. The match was way into overtime, by hours, when finally the Ford prevailed over 'em all. In the end the Ford's front end was completely gone, its crankshaft stub was snapped off and the engine's front was busted wide open to where the spinning timing gear parts were clearly visible... but it never quit.

    Good Luck
    Last edited by denrep; 05-29-2012 at 05:38 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    801

    Re: Engine swap cradles

    Nice work Coupebuilder, I think ur price is fair and have repeat customers thats always a plus. Tell the young man nice work as well.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF bay area, CA
    Posts
    2,558

    Re: Engine swap cradles

    For a demo derby car they are MORE than fine. looks great to me.
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  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Western NY
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    Re: Engine swap cradles

    Quote Originally Posted by Dualie View Post
    For a demo derby car they are MORE than fine. looks great to me.
    Thanks for the compliments, I think the fact that indeed they are going in a derby car was lost on a few guys. Even this type of project I still like to make sure the quality of the work is top notch, but I don't go overboard on the welding cosmetics like I do on our street rod stuff.
    "Anybody can talk $h!t behind a monitor, I let the quality of my work speak for itself"


    Lincoln Square Wave 255 and 355 Tig
    Lincoln 255 Power-Mig w/ spool gun
    Koike 5 x 10 CNC plasma
    Hyd-Mech DM-10 bandsaw
    Ineco QB-76 NC tube bender

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