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59 Lark Crossmember solution

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  • Transmission / Overdrive: 59 Lark Crossmember solution

    I have had 2 Larks: both of which had the chassis crossmember cut out in order to accommodate chevy transmissions. In both cases, this was done before I had the car.

    I want to replace that partially-removed crossmember for better support and to help prevent the doors from sagging; this support seems to "hold up" the front doors, so Im wondering if removing part of that has caused the doors to mis-align among other issues.
    I have a replacement piece, but I will probably need to either have a new part made that will make room for the transmission, or cut out some of this new crossmember to fit around the transmission (not preferred since that will lose structural integrity). Anyone have any recommendations on how to go about this? Should I go to an offroad fabricator and have them use the intact crossmember as a template to create a new one?
    My Lark is not super low, but lower than stock, may be lowering it a bit more in the future, so would like to make this piece as low-profile as possible.

    Im hoping someone has a trick or recommendation on how to best go about this.
    Im in Los Angeles if there are local businesses that can handle this.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

  • #2
    Just have a Welding Shop make a curved "Cradle" to connect the 2 Halves of your existing Crossmember and sell the spare Crossmember to someone in the Club with an original Car who needs it.

    Lowering it AGAIN? Lowered ONCE should more than do it!
    You will be dragging both the Crossmember AND the Exhaust Pipes and crashing the Front Stone Pan on every Parking Lot Wheel Chock!

    Yes, that Crossmember does support not only the Door Posts, but the Cowl and Floor.

    Click image for larger version

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ID:	1812478 If you can't see all of the Sidewall and some of the Tire "Shoulder", it's just WRONG!
    Last edited by StudeRich; 12-02-2019, 03:05 PM.
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner


    • #3
      How can I argue with a beautiful photo like that?

      Thanks for the advice. Im taking it to a frame shop later this week, and we'll see what they say.


      • #4
        Here is the assessment from the frame shop:
        1. It looks like one of the 2 remaining pieces of the crossmember has had some damage and needs to be repaired (drivers side)
        2. They want to repair that drivers side crossmember piece. To me, all that looks to have happened is that the underside of it, where all the holes are, has been crushed a bit. Probably due to someone using it as a jack point. So Im not sure I agree with the need to repair that. I am going to try to get under the car in a week or so and see if the geometry is off or not, but I don’t remember that piece being that damaged last time I looked.
        3. They dont think I should use the full crossmember replacement that I have- and really; I only have that as a reference to make sure that the dimensions are good. I wasnt really thinking that would be cutup or usable for this repair. Im planning on selling that at some point.
        4. They want to add a metal bar between the 2 frame rails, that would bolt up to the frame. They were talking about using some thick metal (looked like 1/4” steel) to really just make a “strap” between the 2 frame rails. That seems like its not really going to help all that much.

        My biggest concern is that since the middle is missing from that crossmember, wouldnt the support provided underneath the door hinges be affected and be causing some sort of body sag?
        The frame guy, along with everyone on here, doesnt seem to think that is an issue.

        So at this point, Im just going to leave the frame as-is, and spend my money on other parts of the car.


        • #5
          This isn't a Lark, it's my Hawk, but I removed the stock crossmember in order to fit a GM transmission too. I replaced it with one I made from square tube. Perhaps something like it will work for you. It mounts with a bolt on each side between brackets on each frame rail that I made from 1/4" plate (yes, overkill, but it's what I had). The frame brackets also incorporate rear engine mounts; the original ones went away with the stock crossmember.
          Click image for larger version

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          Here are the frame brackets. The side on the floor goes against the inside of the frame rail. The unpainted part is the bracket that mounts to my engine mid plate for the rear engine mount.
          Click image for larger version

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          My crossmenber does hang a bit lower than necessary. I "quesstimated" it before the trans was in place. It does keep me from crushing my exhaust if I bounce over a speed bump too much though, it hits at the same time and place as does the exhaust. I'd guess it also helps protect the oil and trans pans too.