Chassis and Engine Assembly


In this section I will try to explain in several steps how I prepare and assemble the chassis and engine parts for a single car. I usually do the majority of the chassis first and then the engine (this gives the chassis parts that help hold the engine in place a chance to dry more than if you do the engine first and also shortens the time you wait before installing the engine!) PLEASE NOTE: that I will not always follow the instruction sheet but I will use the part names in the sheet (these names are from a 1997 Monte Carlo sheet other kits may be different).

You will need some rubber bands and clothes pins here. The rubber bands I use are from broccoli bunches from my local supermarket (they are about 2" in diameter and 1/4 to 5/16 wide!)

IMPORTANT NOTE!!! You must go over all of the parts you are going to assemble and scrape the paint from the points where the parts are to be glued. I will list all of the parts in each step... scrape the parts on the step before beginning assembly! Also to aid in determining where these points will be you may want to look ahead in the kit inst. sheet to see what will be attached to these parts and where so you won't have to try to do it with the parts on the model!!!

Do this first: Remove the part of the parts tree around the front of the "frame" this will be used later to make the "Earnhardt bar" (this part is not in the kit) if it is a 1997 or later car! (I have these pieces from all the 1997 MC and Pontiac kits I've done and will use them as needed for any kit I build MC, Thunderbird or Pontiac!).

Step 1

Parts list: "upper arms", "frame", "pedals", "firewall", "cage side"left and right, "roll bar", "steering shaft', "stiffener brace", "stiffener bar", "seat", "shifter". Remember to remove paint from gluing points on these parts before starting assembly!!!

First assemble the cage sides and the roll bar and fire extinguisher and set them aside to dry. Next follow step 2 A and B in the instructions. Jump to part 3 C and D. Note: before glueing the seat to the floorpan apply the little seat manufacturer decals to the headrest and then cut out the 5 point harness trimming as close to the decal as possible. Then glue the 5 point harness to the seat using clear craft glue! This will give the belts a more realistic look (they won't look painted on!!) Also one note regarding T-Bird kits: Since the radiator and oil cooler are one piece they must be glued on at this point!!! (the attachment point between them must go between the frame and the cage front end!) At this point the cage sides/rollbar assembly is probably dry enough to attach to the frame. If you haven't made sure all of the mating surfaces between the frame and these parts have the paint removed from them do so now! Alright first apply glue to the sides of the frame where the cage sides will meet it, the sides of the firewall, and the areas where the cage and frame front ends meet (including the little grooves just behind where the radiator sits!) Then take the cage/rollbar assembly and lower it over the seat and spread it apart at the front until it sits down on the frame. Note: you may have to spread the rear a little to get it to go down! Immediately apply one rubber band at each end of the assembly (one across the top of the "roll bar" and one at the firewall") make sure all parts are aligned at these areas. Then carefully align the front of the cage frame parts and use clothes pins to hold them together and also place the "radiator" (don't glue it!!!) in it's place in the chassis front and wrap a rubber band around the snout and radiator to hold it all together. (if necessary, no two kits are alike some require this some don't!). This ends step 1. Allow this assembly to dry over night! Picture of Completed Step 1

Step 2

Parts list: "stiffener bar", "petty bar", "hose"s (cockpit air inlet). "rear shelf", "kicker bar assembly". Remember to remove paint from contact points!!!

You may now remove the rubber bands from the frame rollbar cage assembly! Follow step 3 F-H and J in the kit instruction sheet. Picture of Completed Step 2

Step 3

Parts list: "oiler tank", "shock assembly" rear, "spring"s, "arm assembly", "rear axle""front axle"(go together to form rear axle), "pump belt", "coolant pump", "inner wheel" (2), "outer wheel"(2).

I am going to deviate from the kit instructions here. I always clean the paint from the ends of the "rear axle" and also clean up the small molding ridges that are left behind (I wire my models down most of the time so this may seem pointless) so that when I push the inner wheels on in this step they will "roll" freely. I then press one "outer wheel" in to each of the two tires for the rear and then press the "outer wheel"tire assemblies onto the two "inner wheel"s. Now follow step 4 A-D in the kit instructions (I cannot stress this enough make sure that ALL contact points are clean of paint because this is what lines up and holds the rear end in place solidly!!!) Picture of Completed Step 3

Step 4

Parts list: Parts from step 1 in the instruction sheet (engine parts), "exhaust pipes", "drive shaft", "frame braces", "steering column", "steering shaft", "dashboard top", "dashboard front".

Follow step 1 A-C allow the engine to dry for several hours... while the engine is drying paint the gauges on the dash with aluminum paint, then assemble the dash and steering (per step 5 in the kit instructions) and set aside to dry ... then once the engine is dry follow step 4 E-G in the kit instructions.

Step 5

Parts list: "top stiffener bar", "top brace", "mirror", "fan shroud", "radiator", "upper hose"(radiator), "lower hose"(radiator), "shock assembly"(front), "lower arms", "inner wheel"(2), "outer wheel"(2).

Follow step 3 I of the kit instructions and if necessary put a rubber band around the assembly to hold it together. Note: On the T-Bird kits the "top stiffener bar" is made to fit diagonally from one corner of the cage to the other but I usually cut it off just behind the padding and install it in the center parallel to the side top bars! While allowing the last assembly to dry work on the "lower arms"/front wheels assembly. Again making sure all contact points are clean for assembly (especially where the "lower arms" and the "frame" and the "upper arms" contact ... this is what holds and aligns the front end of the model)!!! Take the "lower arms" and again clean the paint from the ends of the spindles and also clean up the small molding ridges that are left behind as you did on the rear axle! Again snap the "inner wheel"s onto the "lower arms" and assemble the "outer wheel"s and tires. Push the "outer wheel" tire assemblies onto the "inner wheel"s and set aside! Next glue the "fan shroud" and "radiator" together and then glue this assembly to the front of the frame. Next glue in the "upper hose" and "lower hose" (radiator) and then the "shock assembly". Lastly glue the "lower arms" wheels and tires assembly in place making sure all contact points are aligned once the glue has set for a few minutes you can turn the completed chassis over and the weight of the chassis will keep the front suspension in place!

Step 6 Final step!!!

If the model you are building is a 1997 or later take the part of the parts tree that I told you to save for the "Earnhardt bar" I take and heat this piece with a candle just until it will bend but not distort and bend it to an angle close to that of the windshield and then cut it off about an eighth of an inch from the bend at one end and then cut it a little longer than needed to reach the "top brace" and adjust the length until it fits and Glue it into place! On some cars this bar is bare and is the same color as the chassis on others it has padding over it! Now is a good time to apply the wheel and tire decals!!! Well that's it!!! You're probably saying YIKES!!!!! But you won't believe how good it all looks when you get done!!!

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