As is often the case with lengthy projects, the fruits of your labor involve WOT, smoke, and laying some big-time patch. Pissed-off neighbors are an added bonus.As is often the case with lengthy projects, the fruits of your labor involve WOT, smoke, a Everyone digs a big set of meats. They make potential adversaries submissively quiver down to their ball joints. They quietly hint at a massive stockpile of lethal munitions packed under the hood. And as long as they don't poke too far out of the wheelwells, they look great. If you're not down with Pro Street, the key to tastefully achieving maximum contact patch is minitubbing your street machine. However, the extensive custom fab work it requires often forces guys into a life of wacky wheel offsets and grotesquelyly protruding rubber. Fortunately, that's no longer the case for '70-'81 Camaro/Firebird F-body owners with the release of Detroit Speed & Engineering's new minitub kit. With a team of former GM engineers at its disposal, DSE is best known for its cutting-edge suspension systems for first-gen F-bodies. The company has expanded its product line to include second-gens, and plans are in the works to develop parts for GM A-bodies as well. The minitub kit includes a pair of Deep Tubs, steel framerail closeout panels, upper shock mounts, offset shackles, new spring pockets, leaf-spring pads, shock plates, an upper crossmember, an instructional DVD, and all necessary hardware. Be forewarned that this isn't a job for the novice, or someone who merely has a tack weld or two under his belt. A first-timer can expect to invest 40-50 hours installing the minitubs. Even so, DSE says the job would take three to four times as long without the luxury of its prefabbed kit, which equates to a big stack of C-notes if you're paying someone else for the labor. Likewise, DSE has made great efforts to simplify the installation process as much as possible. "We have invested a lot of time into making the DVD understandable for both professional shops and backyard warriors," says Kyle Tucker of DSE. "Pictures and instruction manuals help, but the DVD clearly illustrates every step along the way." Our cameras were on hand as the DSE crew installed its new tubs on Sriyantha Weerasuria's '73 Trans Am. DSE's comprehensive minitub kit retails for $1,699. Optional drop springs and matching rear shocks are available for an extra $600.DSE's comprehensive minitub kit retails for $1,699. Optional drop springs and matching rea DSE PARTS LIST DESCRIPTION PN PRICE '70-'81 Camaro/Firebird without leaf springs 041221 $1,699 '70-'81 Camaro/Firebird with leaf springs and shocks 2-inch drop 041222 2,294 '70-'81 Camaro/Firebird with leaf springs 3-inch drop 041223 2,294 DSE scraped the undercoating off the underside of the wheelwell and then removed the seam sealer from between the trunk pan and inner fenderwell. Before any cutting begins, the vehicle should be level and well supported off the ground. As long as the wheelwells are removed one side at a time, body flex isn't an issue.DSE scraped the undercoating off the underside of the wheelwell and then removed the seam The seatback is attached to the factory wheelwells with a support brace. After drilling out the spot-welds, DSE detached the brace from the tub with a cutoff wheel. Since the entire tub was to be removed, this cut along the tub did not have to be all that precise.The seatback is attached to the factory wheelwells with a support brace. After drilling ou Using the template provided with the kit, a cutline was marked around the front inner wheelwell, and the relocation point for the new rear seatbelt mount was center-punched. A template for the rear inner wheelwell was also used in the trunk to mark the cutline. Where the templates should be positioned was fairly obvious, as they closely follow the contours of the wheelwells.>>The red thing shaped like an arrowhead is a magnetic welding jig used to hold adjoining pieces of sheetmetal together during welding.Using the template provided with the kit, a cutline was marked around the front inner whee A 2-inch-wide strip of tape was used to extend the cutline upward along the seatback. The tape connected the front and rear wheelwell templates to create one continuous cutline from front to back. Heavy-duty magnets helped position the templates.A 2-inch-wide strip of tape was used to extend the cutline upward along the seatback. The DSE cut out the factory wheeltubs using a 31/432-inch 3M cutoff wheel. Since this was only a rough cut, the cutlines established in previous steps were not utilized just yet.DSE cut out the factory wheeltubs using a 31/432-inch 3M cutoff wheel. Since this was only The new DSE minitub was test-fitted into place with self-tapping sheetmetal screws that attached it to the outer wheelwell. The DSE tubs-while 211/42 inches wider than stock-have the exact same contours as the factory tubs.The new DSE minitub was test-fitted into place with self-tapping sheetmetal screws that at After grinding off the paint on the portion of the framerails directly beneath the tub's lower lip, DSE technicians traced along the edge of the tub. This line served as a locating guide for the new inner wheeltub support flange.After grinding off the paint on the portion of the framerails directly beneath the tub's l With the tub held in place with locking pliers (outside of car) and self-tapping screws (inside of car), the tub was secured to the support flange with spot-welds spaced every 2 inches. Since the tub isn't a critical load-bearing member, spot-welds suffice. The procedure was repeated inside the car, with spot-welds replacing the sheetmetal screws one at a time. Finally, the welds were ground flat.With the tub held in place with locking pliers (outside of car) and self-tapping screws (i Using the supplied template, a new rear seatback brace was fabbed from 18-gauge steel. It was then spot-welded along the seatback and the wheeltub. Since the installation of the tub was complete at this point, 3M seam sealer was applied where the floorboard, seatback, and trunk pan mate with the tub.Using the supplied template, a new rear seatback brace was fabbed from 18-gauge steel. It To provide additional tire clearance, the DSE kit includes a new crossmember that relocates the upper shock mounts inward. Before it was installed, the stock shock mounts were cut off of the framerails.To provide additional tire clearance, the DSE kit includes a new crossmember that relocate The bottom edge of the upper shock-mount tab needed to be positioned 231/48 inches above the bottom edge of the framerail. The end cap was rotated around the tube until this dimension was met. Once the end caps were tack-welded to the crossmember, the entire assembly was removed from the car, and a seam was welded around the perimeter of the end caps. Next, the crossmember was repositioned on the framerail and welded into place.The bottom edge of the upper shock-mount tab needed to be positioned 231/48 inches above t The leaf springs needed to be relocated. So, using the factory bolt holes, the leaf-spring pocket relocation templates were positioned along the framerail and floorpan. The cutlines were then marked and cut.The leaf springs needed to be relocated. So, using the factory bolt holes, the leaf-spring Next, the new leaf-spring pocket was welded to the framerail. DSE used the factory bolts to hold it in place while welding.Next, the new leaf-spring pocket was welded to the framerail. DSE used the factory bolts t Closeout panels were welded to notch the frame and clear the new spring location. Since the depth of the cuts will vary from installation to installation, the closeout panels had some extra material on them that needed to be trimmed to fit.Closeout panels were welded to notch the frame and clear the new spring location. Since th Back in the interior, the relocation point for the rear seatbelt mount that was center-punched earlier was drilled out to 11/42 inch. The supplied seatbelt bolt mount was then positioned over the hole and traced. Four 91/432 holes spaced 90 degrees apart were drilled inside the marked perimeter. While using a bolt to hold the seatbelt mount to the underside of the floorpan, the holes were plug-welded, then ground flat. Finally, the mount was welded to the bottom of the floorplan and the bolt was removed. The entire tub install procedure was repeated on the other side of the car.Back in the interior, the relocation point for the rear seatbelt mount that was center-pun To prevent rust formation, all metal surfaces on both the inside and outside of the car were painted and/or undercoated. DSE prefers 3M Underseal black rubberized coating for the wheelwell area, which comes in a 20-ounce aerosol can. After everything is dry, the rear suspension and fuel tank can be reinstalled. Besides the obviously massive meats, note the inward kink of the leaf springs and the billet offset rear shackles.To prevent rust formation, all metal surfaces on both the inside and outside of the car we Before reinstalling the interior, the final step was to modify the rear seats to make room for the larger tubs. The outer corners of the seat-bottom frame were notched inward 2 inches, and the seatback frame was narrowed by 2 inches as well. Since the seats are narrowed by a nominal amount, the seat padding and covers can be reinstalled without modification.Before reinstalling the interior, the final step was to modify the rear seats to make room Whereas 295/35-18 tires were a tight fit prior to the minitubs, the wheelwells now swallow up 335/30s with a few millimeters to spare. That's roughly 1312 inches of magnificent section width. ENDWhereas 295/35-18 tires were a tight fit prior to the minitubs, the wheelwells now swallow SOURCES Detroit Speed & Engineering Mooresville NC 7-04/-662-3272 detroitspeed.com By Stephen Kim Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!