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Donor suspension/axle for 49 Chevy 3600

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by AntiBling, Mar 29, 2006.

  1. AntiBling
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2004
    Posts:
    603
    Location:
    Mitchell, NE

    AntiBling Member

    Heres the situation, well as it is always the situation, Im low on cash, plenty of tools and time.

    So I really want to get started on my '49 3600 this summer.

    My plans for it, I want it on air ride, but I really dont want to spend money on a MII front end or something, nova front ends are hard to find here and if you find one for sale they want 700-800, for that much i would get a MII crossmember and crap I needed insted.

    So on the budget side of things, I got these two cars:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now being its cold now, I really dont feel like trying to rip them out of the weeds right now to measure, so can anyone tell me how wide is the rear axle and the front suspension? Are the frames a close match to my pickups that I could take the front clip of the frame off one of these cars and put it on my trucks frame? Would it be better to use the car frame and adapt my trucks body to it?
  2. OldSub
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2003
    Posts:
    1,067
    Location:
    Seattle, WA

    OldSub Member Emeritus

    Swap one or both those cars for a long box, extended cab S-10 and use that frame instead.
  3. burger
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Posts:
    2,319
    Location:
    burbs

    burger Member

    I like his idea.

    Seriously, if you're going thru all the trouble of swapping frames or subframing, why use a donor that's equally antiquated and difficult to find parts for? The S-10 frames slide right under these and it would be a good opportunity to shorten up your longbed while you're at it.


    hth,
    ed
  4. NONAME
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
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    4,284
    Location:
    HAPPYROCK (GLADSTONE) OREGON

    NONAME Member

    the problem that I see with both your parts cars are the closed drive lines.

    I'm with you! (not for cheap) I just don't want a frame or sub-frame swap it seems that even if the body drops right on, there is fab work or buy a kit to make it fit. Then swap the drive train and mounts and brackets. then there are the brake and clutch assemblies ect. it sounds like a full on job!

    my 54 GMC, It has the drive tran that I'm happy with (IT RUNS!!!) I don't want another project sitting in the shop (I have three dead now) I just need to drop it. the rear is no problem for me but the front end seems limited to a dropped axle and flattened or mono or dual leaf spring. again that 700+ bucks.
    I can't believe that there is no easy way to lower these trucks.
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  5. AntiBling
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2004
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    Location:
    Mitchell, NE

    AntiBling Member

    Well, I have been looking for a S-10 frame. Problem is I live in ND, so 90% of the pickups and suvs here are 4x4. Not to mention I have been looking for a rear end from even a 4x4 being parted out and I havent been able to find one.

    And as far as antiquated and difficult to find parts for? The 53 chevy, how many people on this site are driving these cars with the suspension on it? How many people on this site are running "antiquated" suspensions? And I have been lucky enough that finding parts for classics has never been a problem for me locally. Its a chevy and a buick, so these arent rare brands, so i doubt finding the parts i need, tie rod ends, ball joints, bushings, and brakes, will be too big of problem.

    Lastly, yes it would be a lot of fab work, so would a s10 frame, but the fab work doesnt bother me, I do it for a living.

    So while I appreciate your guys throwing your advice in here, im really just looking for some dimensions right now.
  6. 53Chebby
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2001
    Posts:
    195
    Location:
    Ames, Iowa, USA

    53Chebby Member

    I don't know about the Buick, but the track width on the '53 Chevy in the front is 56 11/16" and the back is 58 3/4".

    The site I found lists the dimensions for your truck as either 56 1/2" front, 61 3/4" rear; or 57 1/8" front and 62 3/8" rear.

    I wouldn't try putting the truck on these cars frames, but it is of course up to you. I don't know if the frames are the same, but I have a 1950 Chevy 3100 and I'm pretty sure the contours of the frames are way different. If you're willing to travel a little, you can pick up S-10 cheap and you could sell your other cars or part them out. I just saw a long box s-10 the other day in Omaha, NE for $150. I would put the word out that you are looking for one and see what comes up before this summer. If nothing does then, I personally would just do some work with the existing frame and suspension in your truck.
  7. AntiBling
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2004
    Posts:
    603
    Location:
    Mitchell, NE

    AntiBling Member

    Thanks for the measurements.

    I might've considered dropping the existing suspension if it was a 1/2 ton, but dropping a 3/4 ton suspension doesnt appeal to me. Not to mention I want to upgrade to disc brakes, which wouldnt be possible with a 3/4 ton.

    And for those of you that think my idea is kinda crazy, I have heard crazier, at least 2 guys in my car club have AD trucks. They say they heard from some article on the internet, saying that the 73-87 frames are like a inch wider than the AD frames. so you can take the front clip off one, make a 1/2 inch spacer for each side, and bolt the clip on!
  8. OldSub
    Joined:
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    Seattle, WA

    OldSub Member Emeritus

    The IFS swap using a '63 (yes, '63) to '87 (starting in '71 they have disk brakes, in '72 they are five-lug 5x5) does not lower the truck and does end up being a little wide. Its a good swap to consider if you want to retain the truck's load capacity, which I don't think is part of your plan.

    Aside from a dropped axle I've not seen a good way to lower the front of one of these that doesn't include a swap to IFS and I've been watching for several years.

    I guess I think you're nuts to consider the swap to one of those car frames, but you'd probably think the same of me if you knew some of my plans... If you go forward I'd like to see pictures of your progress.
  9. AntiBling
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2004
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    603
    Location:
    Mitchell, NE

    AntiBling Member

    Alright, for anyone who doesnt like the idea of me using these cars suspension, does anyone know how close a astro van's suspension is width wise to my '49's? I have a feeling it would be too wide but i figured I would ask.
  10. burger
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
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    2,319
    Location:
    burbs

    burger Member

    I have a 1980 Olds Cutlass (78-87 GM G-BODY) front clip in my '54 3100. The track width is about as ideal as you're going to get... only downside is the front mounted steering box. It wants to fight you at the radiator and for header clearance. I've resigned myself to manifolds!


    hth,
    ed
  11. jetnow1
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Posts:
    452
    Location:
    CT

    jetnow1 Member

    3/4 ton and 1/2 ton use the same springs, so a dropped 1/2 ton axle would swap in easily. Easy to come by with all the mustang2 swaps- put a wanted
    to buy add on craigslist
  12. 73-87 trucks and Astro's are all too wide.
    64-72 Chevelle/68-74 Nova (or clones) all work real well as clips.
    [​IMG]
  13. T Weed
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Posts:
    97

    T Weed Member

    Bling, didnt know you had one of these trucks. I am in the process right now of redoing one of these although just a half ton. I used a 81 monte front clip cause they're narrower than a nova. The only downfall is you have to reengineer the radiator support horseshoe cause it occupies the same area as the steering box. There is a great build up on here title'd " No buck 49 build". I folowed this pretty closely and am pretty stoked with it. The monte carlo shares the same spindles as an s-10 so I had a set of dropped spindles to put on that really made it set nice. On the other hand I have also seen people put 51-54 chev car front crossmembers in these trucks and it drops em pretty good. Again the steering is the most work but I'm sure you could handle that. The s-10 work good too, but you gotta build a lotta mounts. Also a good write up on here too regarding the s-10 frames. I have a s-10 but its the shorty, not too hard to stretch though....if I can help give me a call...Weed
  14. AntiBling
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2004
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    603
    Location:
    Mitchell, NE

    AntiBling Member

    A lot of things change in 8 years! Haven't talked to you since we were still in the shop in Fargo. I bought a shop in western Nebraska this summer, started my own welding shop. The '49 is down here in the shop, but need to get my '54 back on the road first. My vision for this has changed and narrowed down to two things: Build it to look like a NAPCO 4x4 with narrowed 3/4t or 1 ton axles, or build a disc brake conversion for the front axle and swap out the rear. Ideally I want it to be a daily driver when its done.

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