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Old 01-18-2008, 12:58 PM   #1
Michigan Vinnie
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Default 1957 Dodge D100

I recently pick up a 1957 Dodge D100. Several years ago I spotted an article about using an Aspen/Volaire front suspension cradle for old trucks. It was aimed for the early/mid 50's Ford and Chevy trucks, but I think it could apply to an old Dodge. I'm looking for an in-expensive way of lowering this truck while improving the ride and handling. I'd like to avoid cutting the frame if possible, but at this point I'm open to any suggestions.

Does anyone have any info on the Aspen/Volaire set up? Any other methods of lowing this truck while keeping/improving the ride. I want it low, but I plan on driving the dickens out of it.

Thanks,

Vince
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Old 01-18-2008, 01:02 PM   #2
oneredryderone
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Default Re: 1957 Dodge D100

one of 'tex' smith's books has a step-by-step on a low buck sub-frame for early 50's dodge pickups......seems like it was "how to build mopars". got to be on his website.

thanx----redryder
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Old 01-18-2008, 01:07 PM   #3
gahi
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Default Re: 1957 Dodge D100

Dropped axle.
http://droppedaxles.com/DODGE_AXLES.html
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Old 01-18-2008, 02:28 PM   #4
Michigan Vinnie
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Default Re: 1957 Dodge D100

Thanks for the reply. I think I may have that book already. Time to go move some boxes out of the attic.

Michigan Vinnie
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Old 01-18-2008, 03:16 PM   #5
cool57
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Default Re: 1957 Dodge D100

El Polacko on the HAMB does a real nice front suspension (I've heard) based on a Dakota. http://www.industrialchassisinc.com/
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Old 01-18-2008, 03:49 PM   #6
INXS
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Default Re: 1957 Dodge D100

I have a '57 Dodge D100 that I did the Volare front suspension. The shape of the Dodge's front frame rails where they bow inward does not lend itself to making this as easy of an install as it is on the Fords of the same vintage.

The issue is with the steering gearbox. I had to cut the driver's side frame rail and spread it outward about two inches and then weld in a new secton of 2x4 box tubing to connect the jogged sections of frame together again, allowing enough room for the gearbox.

As with the F100 install some trimming of the lower portion of the rails was necessary to get all the alignment angles correct. The Volare clip really doesn't look like it belongs in the truck when it's all said and done. Sort of has that "made something fit" look. But it's a driver and no one really sees it anyway.

Power disc brakes and the easy adjustability of ride height were my goal and I'm satisfied with the result. It handles as good as a Volare ever did

Were I faced with another Dodge Truck to clip I'd probably look at other options such as have been mentioned already.

Enjoy your truck- the '57's are cool in an ugly sort of way!
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Old 01-18-2008, 05:26 PM   #7
red sled
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Default Re: 1957 Dodge D100

Quote:
Originally Posted by cool57 View Post
El Polacko on the HAMB does a real nice front suspension (I've heard) based on a Dakota. http://www.industrialchassisinc.com/
Ditto that. Lowered the front end 4", and re-mounting the front body parts is no problem. Plus you get power rack&pinion, disc brakes and IFS. Cheaper in the long run.
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Old 01-18-2008, 06:16 PM   #8
brewsir
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Default Re: 1957 Dodge D100

Or maybe you can put it all on a newer truck chassis with IFS...maybe an S10 would work well (might be a little narrow though) Maybe a full size chevy truck would fit well...get out the tape measure and start measuring at the local junkyard.
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Old 01-19-2008, 12:12 AM   #9
50dodge4x4
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Default Re: 1957 Dodge D100

So, how much different is the frame from a 57 compaired to the frame from a 54/55/56? I've done the Volare clip on a 54/55 frame before. Were I to do another it would get a Dakota frame clip. Either way, you will be cutting your existing frame. The only way to not cut your frame would be to put in a dropped axle.

I have a real crappy picture of my 54 frame clipped with the Volare and a couple pictures of the truck as it sat. Gene
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Old 01-19-2008, 12:29 AM   #10
56pu
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Default Re: 1957 Dodge D100

My 56 is on a 94 caprice chassis, and its going to be a lil too wide...
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Old 01-19-2008, 01:51 AM   #11
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Default Re: 1957 Dodge D100

Here's a list of other cars that used the same K-member set-up. Should make it easier to locate a donor.

76-80 Dodge Aspen
76-80 Plymouth Volare
77-89 Dodge Diplomat
82-89 Chrysler New Yorker
82-89 Chrysler Fifth Avenue
77-81 Chrysler LeBaron
82-up Plymouth Fury
80-83 Chrysler Cordoba
80-83 Dodge Mirada
81-83 Chrysler Imperial
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Old 01-19-2008, 01:54 AM   #12
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Default Re: 1957 Dodge D100

Also, a gentleman named Del Christensen wrote up a nice little how-to book for installing one of these K-members under pretty much any car(or truck)... He sells them for $15 or so, and they're probably well worth the dough just to cut your planning time down. He outlines the ways he's overcome some of the problems that you'll come across in the swap. His e-mail is: midnight340@yahoo.com
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Old 01-19-2008, 06:52 AM   #13
Michigan Vinnie
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Default Re: 1957 Dodge D100

Thanks everyone for your inputs. The photos do help visualize how it goes. Regarding the list of donor cars; I assumed that the M-body cradles were a little wider. Am I wrong? I took a peak at the Dakota set up. Might be too pricey at this point, but I'll look into it a little further. I'll look for the Tex Smith and the Christenson (SP?) publications. Any other thoughs before I tear this apart would be greatly appreciated.

Michigan Vinnie
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Old 01-19-2008, 09:32 AM   #14
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Default Re: 1957 Dodge D100

If you have recycling yards with older stuff around, see if they have any AMC Pacer's. These have a bolt on front cross member that carries all the stuff. You get R and P, disc brakes, a decent amount of lowering.


http://www.chevytrucks.org/tech/ifs.htm

also search this forum for some info.
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Old 01-19-2008, 09:34 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1957 Dodge D100

All of the Mopar f, m, & j cross torsion bar subframes are the same. The only difference I have seen was in the diamiter of the sway bar. Unlike the straight torsion bars that were available in different diamiters for different weight carring purposes, Mopar only made one set of the cross bars. They were for the slant 6 and small blocks, as big blocks were not installed into those cross bar cars. The cross bars do not do well at lifting the front end very long, they tend to flatten back out rather quickly. Be sure you get the hight where you want it.

On my 54, we drove the crap out of it. The bottom of the front bumper had gouges in it from dips in the road and there was also more then once the center of the running boards were scrapping the ground. I had the hight of a Pepsi can under the front edge of the running boards, which was the lowest point. In the Tex Smith book he tells you to put the tubing on top of the existing frame, which is too low. On my truck I cut the top flange and installed the tubing 2" into the frame (raised the front end 2"). I also added 2" to the length of the distance between the cab mount and the joint of the two sections of the 2" x 4" tube. It sets the front wheels forward in the wheel wells but gives more clearance for steering column to box issues and improves tire to fender clearance.

I just looked at my book,titled: How To Build Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge Hot Rods. My book was published by Tex Smith Publishing and was dated 1990.
Gene
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Old 01-19-2008, 10:20 PM   #16
George G
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Default Re: 1957 Dodge D100

Years ago I used a Chassis Enginering kit to mount a pacer front suspension under a '36 ford. It was too wide for that application. Problem with Pacer is that you will never find reasonably priced rebuild parts. Ancient history.
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Old 01-20-2008, 12:25 AM   #17
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Default Re: 1957 Dodge D100

A lot of guys in Australia are using a Jaguar XJ6 (series 2) front member....it seems REAL easy to install under your chassis using the original rubber bushings and has Power R&P steering and killer brakes in a fully self-contained crossmember - just make upper shockmounts....... downside is, that your truck will handle like a smooth, sporty, luxury car

I dont know why they dont seem popular in the US.

Get your tape measure out!
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Old 01-20-2008, 01:53 AM   #18
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Default Re: 1957 Dodge D100

They are popular to do on Ford F1 and F100's, a friend of mine did it on his truck and said it was a really nice setup.

The best part was he bought a rear ended XJ6 took out the front suspension complete. Then he parted the rest of the car and got the front suspension for free.


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Old 01-20-2008, 05:41 AM   #19
studebaker46
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Default Re: 1957 Dodge D100

vinnie, if i were you i would go with the tried & true mustang front crossmember i did a volare on 57 dodge and the volare works well but like the guy said looks out of place. check out a mid 80s dakota v-8 rack&pinion and any la v-8 will fit just my 2cents thanx ssstudebaker46
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Old 01-20-2008, 10:23 AM   #20
Michigan Vinnie
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Default Re: 1957 Dodge D100

WOW!!! Lots of really great inputs. Right now I have two other projects I'm working on. The truck will hit the streets this spring with the old suspension. In the mean time, I have plenty to look for at the upcoming swap meets and bone yards in the area. Like most of these things, it turns out with what you stumble across at the right price. Right now I have a line on a Pacer front clip, but the XJ6 deserves a look.

The talent and ingenuity I've seen on this message board is simply outstanding. It's single digit temps today (9 degrees) here in Michigan. I'm inspired. I'm going to brave the cold, fire up the heater and go play in the garage today.

Michigan Vinnie
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