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1957 Dodge D100

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Michigan Vinnie, Jan 18, 2008.

  1. Michigan Vinnie
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
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    Location:
    Berkley, Michigan

    Michigan Vinnie Member

    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
    AKA Michigan Vinnie
  2. oneredryderone
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
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    Location:
    S/E michigan

    oneredryderone Member

    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
  3. gahi
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    Moab, UT

    gahi Member

  4. Michigan Vinnie
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
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    Location:
    Berkley, Michigan

    Michigan Vinnie Member

    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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  5. cool57
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
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    Location:
    Springpatch, IL

    cool57
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. 57 Fords
    2. Pavement Scrapers
    3. Riviera - Buicks finest

  6. INXS
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
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    326
    Location:
    Upstate New York

    INXS Member

    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!
  7. red sled
    Joined:
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    Angle parked in a parallel universe.

    red sled Member

    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.
  8. brewsir
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2001
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    3,288
    Location:
    Benicia Ca. USA

    brewsir Member

    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.
  9. 50dodge4x4
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2004
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    Location:
    Freeport IL

    50dodge4x4 Member

    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

    Attached Files:

  10. 56pu
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
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    50
    Location:
    Sarver,PA

    56pu Member

    My 56 is on a 94 caprice chassis, and its going to be a lil too wide... [​IMG]
  11. tragic59
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2002
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    765
    Location:
    Central Valley, CA

    tragic59 Member

    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
  12. tragic59
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2002
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    765
    Location:
    Central Valley, CA

    tragic59 Member

    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
  13. Michigan Vinnie
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
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    Location:
    Berkley, Michigan

    Michigan Vinnie Member

    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
  14. plym_46
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
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    Location:
    central NY

    plym_46 Member

    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.
  15. 50dodge4x4
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    Freeport IL

    50dodge4x4 Member

    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
  16. George G
    Joined:
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    Location:
    Stony Plain Alberta

    George G Member

    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.
  17. Mark in Japan
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
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    Location:
    Melbourne, Aust

    Mark in Japan Member

    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!
  18. Crazy Backyard Builder
    Joined:
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    Location:
    Studio City, CA.

    Crazy Backyard Builder Member

    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.


    CBB
  19. studebaker46
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
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    Location:
    wright city,mo

    studebaker46 Member

    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
  20. Michigan Vinnie
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
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    Location:
    Berkley, Michigan

    Michigan Vinnie Member

    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
  21. chrislehr
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
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    76
    Location:
    Austin, TX

    chrislehr Member

    Woooow.

    I am looking into purchasing one. (translation - seller hasnt called back, but I already hit the bank and have cash in hand)

    57 d100, 1/2 ton - think its a long bed - no VIN yet. Fleetside (stepside)

    315 poly, 3 on the tree.



    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I had a 1970 when I was 18-22 or so, that was a 227 slant 6 with the three on the tree as well..
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Im really looking forward to seeing this thing soon - those are pics from the ad!
  22. 50dodge4x4
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2004
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    3,179
    Location:
    Freeport IL

    50dodge4x4 Member

    A long bed in a 57 D100 would be pretty unusual, but being around Mopar as long as I have been, I've learned to never say never. The standard step side bed length was 6 1/2' long. You will have to let us know if you get the 57. Gene
  23. chrislehr
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Posts:
    76
    Location:
    Austin, TX

    chrislehr Member

    I didnt.... deal fell through.

    Instead, today, I picked up a 1970 Chevy C10 (actually Custom 100) for 2800.

    350, carb'd, auto, orange, long bed.
    [​IMG]
    Im pretty thrilled.
  24. roadkillontheweb
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Posts:
    1,333
    Location:
    Grimes Iowa

    roadkillontheweb Member

    I used to have a 1957 Dodge D100 panel truck and I was looking pretty hard at the front suspension from an 1970s Chrysler Cordoba that used a front to rear torsion bar setup and was also a bolt in/out unit like the Volare unit but since the bars went front to rear the unit could be narrowed to meet correct track width. It also has rack and pinion. disc brakes etc.

    I believe it is also discussed in the Tex Smith book? too bad the adjustable ride height bolts are mounted at the front of the bars instead of the back like in earlier years. They could be replaced with hydraulic cylinders to change ride height at will.
  25. luckystiff
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2002
    Posts:
    1,387
    Location:
    hickory, nc

    luckystiff Member


    the jag xj will be the easiest of all swaps. even easier than volare. i've got a 56 and thats what i was planning to do in it. i've got something new coming home this week so i put the 56 up in the classifieds here since it'll be put on the back burner with to many other projects for to long and i figured i'd see if it got interest.

    but i've done all the measuring on the dodge and the jag and it's a GREAT fit and like said you get kick ass brakes and r&p to boot. will sit low if you mount it like the jag mounts stock or if you notch the frame and solid mount it you can pretty much all but sit it on the ground. and they are usually pretty cheap.

    i also was planning on putting the jag irs in it. again i don't think it would be all that hard to do...ken....
  26. IM4GOTN
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    Posts:
    12
    Location:
    Sierra Vista, Arizona

    IM4GOTN Member

    57-60 dodge two wheel drive frames all narrow in at the nose of the truck
    I did a camaro clip widening my frame shifted the cab mount holes. brackets for the rest.
    check FATMAN Fabrications.

    good luck
  27. GK From PA
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Posts:
    3
    Location:
    Indiana PA

    GK From PA Member

    Hi Vince, I have a 1957 Dodge D100 panel truck and am searching for doors, a hood and a winshield. Do you have any extras of these or any suggestions where I might seach......thanks, GK From PA (Greg)

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