How To

How to Install a Mini Tub Kit

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  • Detroit Speed & Engineering’s deep tubs for Camaros and Novas are nearly 3 inches wider than the stock wheelhouses and are made of 18-gauge steel. - 1
  • Here’s the project Camaro’s trunk prior to the deep tub installation. It is imperative that the car is square and level before starting the procedure. Also, the trunk hinge brackets must be removed before the old wheelhouses can be removed. - 2
  • The first real step in the procedure is stripping the interior of the seats, upholstery, side panels and carpet. Paint and seam sealer also should be removed. - 3
  • Of course, the rear suspension must be removed, along with the driveshaft, shocks, leaf springs and fuel tank. The undercoating must be scraped off, as well. - 4
  • This shot shows how the floor was cut in preparation for the complementing cross member kit, which repositions the upper shock mount to allow more suspension travel with a lowered and narrowed suspension. - 5
  • Here’s a stock wheelhouse, showing the frame rail that must be cut to make room for the tubs. The frame will be notched and boxed. - 6
  • This photo shows the notched frame, with the new deep tub tacked into place. DSE supplies a template for cutting the frame. - 7
  • Another shot of the partially completed project, this one showing the full tub inside the fender. It’s generally not necessary to stretch the outer wheel opening, as you would with, say, a full pro-street conversion. - 8
  • Note the tape marks around the perimeter of the fender opening. Numerous measurements regarding the depth of the frame rails, the depth of the original inner fenders, the depth of corners, and more, are taken to ensure the project remains square and equally matched on both sides of the vehicle. - 9
  • On the inside of the car, the deep tub protrudes a couple more inches into the rear compartment of the car. Compare this with “before” photo that showed the stripped interior and you’ll see the difference in space taken up by the new tubs. - 10
  • Once the tubs are tacked into place, the trunk hinge brackets also must be relocated and mounted to the tubs. - 11
  • The back corners of the rear seat must be modified to clear the new tubs, but only slightly. Basically, the seats and a couple of springs are notched on each side. The modification is subtle but necessary. The stock seat cover will fit over the slightly modified seat. - 12
  • Here’s the finished deep tub installation. Compare it to the “before” photo at the beginning of the story and it’s hard to tell this isn’t a stock setup, especially with the seamless integration of the trunk hinge brackets. - 13
  • The installation of the tubs, however, doesn’t mean the project is over. A narrower rearend is needed and if the car received the shock cross member kit, as was the case with our project vehicle, a narrower fuel tank also is required. The stock tank, however, will fit if just the wheel tubs are used. - 14
  • To determine the width of the narrowed axle, DSE first places the new, fat rolling stock in the fenders to judge the look. This way, the wheels and tires are positioned just right and the axle is modified correctly on the first try. - 15
  • Although the project isn’t completed, this photo provides a good idea of how the Camaro will look with its new, wider tires. DSE says the deep tubs in a first-gen Camaro will accept 315- or 335-series rubber and recommends wheels with about 5.5-inches of backspacing. - 16
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by Barry Kluczyk  More from Author

Tubs Of Fun

Big, fat tires are all the rage these days – it seems even soccer moms gotta’ have dubs for the minivan.

Of course, hot rodders have been into wide treads forever, but the popularity of “pro touring” vehicles has pushed the limits of how much rubber can be stuffed inside the fenders of older vehicles, particularly in the rear fenders.

For first-generation Camaros and 1968-74 Novas, Detroit Speed & Engineering’s (DSE) has the solution with their Deep Tub kits, which replace the stock rear wheelhouses with wider, “mini tub” versions. These tubs provide room for rear tires up to 335-mm wide and give an almost factory appearance.

Detroit Speed’s tubs look like the Camaro’s inner wheelhouses, but are 2.75 inches wider. They are made from 18-gauge steel. The company also offers sub-frame connectors for Camaros and Novas, as well as an upper shock cross member. The kit, which lists for about $1,300 (vs. $400 for the tubs alone) also comes with offset shackles needed to relocate the leaf springs, but as that is more or less a straightforward swap of the shackles and springs – but we’re focusing just on the tubs in this story.

We followed the installation of the deep tubs on a ’69 Camaro. DSE offers the parts as DIY kits and includes detailed instructions, but it’s not a job for those who aren’t familiar with welding. There is a lot of craftsmanship involved and ensuring a correct and straight final product requires skill. This is especially true when taking into account the project is being performed on a 35-year old vehicle that has likely seen some chassis flexing over the years.

The rear “frame rails” must be notched and re-boxed to accommodate the tubs and tires. It’s a procedure that, while relatively straightforward demands experienced welding and metal-finishing skills. Cutting into the stock rails also reveals the early F-cars’ built-in weakness – they aren’t very thick or sturdy.

Installing the tubs requires some minor modifications to the rear seat, but still allows the stock seat cover to be used. DSE says a 110-volt welder will handle the job, but a 220-volt tool is recommended.

The accompanying photos aren’t meant as an instruction guide, but more of an overview of the tasks involved in outfitting a vehicle with the deep tubs. But if you do attempt the project yourself, DSE has one big piece of advice: measure everything before cutting.

You don’t want your wide rear end to look crooked!



Detroit Speed & Engineering

185 McKenzie Road

Mooresville, N.C. 28115

(704) 662-3272


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