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Technical FRAME, S-10 frame swap....Tech

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by -, Jan 23, 2004.

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  1. I'm gonna try my best to explain how we put 47 -54 Chevy and GMC trucks on S-10 frames. It is a fairly easy process and results in a great riding truck. The pictures I will post are from my 48. Please excuse the dirt and grime. I use it daily. The first pic is of my truck along with John's and Mikey's. All three are on S-10 frames.

    John's truck was built without changing much on his frame. We used the S-10 brake and gas lines, gas tank and rear suspension. We did change the rear to a Camaro rear. If you leave the rear suspension alone you will have to move the rear fenders back an inch or two. You can make a little of that space up by drilling a new locating hole in the spring perch on the rear.
    Here are a few tricks that we use when building these.

    First we like to use the long bed standard cab pick up. You can use a short bed truck but will have to shorten your bed in front of the rear fenders. I have seen it done before but it looks out of proportion to me.

    Second we like to mount the body a couple of inches off of the frame. As you can see all three trucks are plenty low. My truck is mounted 3 inches off of the frame. I am running airbags with stock spindles and with the bags down the fenders are 1 1/2 inches off of the ground. Johns truck is mounted 3 3/4 (height of a 4x4) off of the frame. Before we put the bags on his truck he ran dropped spindles and one coil cut out of his springs. We had to put bags on it after he destroyed a set of fenders. It was about 3 inches off the ground without them. Mikey's truck is 5 inches off of the frame. We mounted his higher because his interior was done and we didn't want to put a hump in the floor for the tranny. My truck needed a good size hump for the tranny but did not need a tunnel for the driveshaft. If I would have mounted the body any lower I would have needed one.

    Thirdly we move the bed up about 3 or 4 inches. If you don't the inside of the bed looks too shallow due to the kick up in the back. The fenders are kept where they would be mounted before the bed was moved up.


    Attached Files:

    Pablo servin likes this.
  2. OK...let's start with the frame. There are two body mounts that should be cut off. The fron body mount (mount"B") can be cut off and thrown away. The rear body mount (mount "A") cut off as close to the frame as possible. It can be used for the front body mounts for your "48". You will have to flip them around and switch them side to side. Clean off the side of the frame where the rear mount came off. The rear body mount for your 48 will be in the same area.

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  3. Next you will have to cut the front frame off a little. I took my steering box off and cut the frame about a half inch behind the front of it. Cut both sides equal.

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  4. Now you are ready to mount your body. I level the frame from front to back. Leave the front tires on the frame and it is best to use a bigger tire so you can judge if the wheel opening is in the right place. Set the cab on the frame with small 4x4 blocks holding the body up off of the frame. Check the floor of the cab to make sure it is level. You may have to move the 4x4s to get the cab floor level. Bolt you front fenders onto the body with the panel that holds the hood latch holding them together. Move the body back and forth till you have the wheels centered in the wheel opening. Then square the body side to side.

    Now you are ready to install the front body mounts. You can use the old mounts (boy mount "A" in previous picture) or you can use a peice of 2x2 tubing with a plate welded on top. After the mounts are welded in drill down from the top and bolt it down.

    Here is a pic of the rear body mount used for a front body mount.

    Attached Files:

  5. For the rear body mounts you can use the original 48 shackle mounts. You will have to drill new holes for it.

    On my 48 I used 2 1/5 inch square tubing cut on an angle with a plate welded on top. The tubing fits in the channel that runs across the back of the body. After welding the tubing in, I drilled the new holes from the top.

    After the front and back mounts are in you can take the 4x4s out.

    Here's a pic of my rear mounts.

    Attached Files:

  6. We have done the front fender mount several ways and you may be able to come up with a better way than we have.

    Basically I make legs that bolt where the radiator mount bolted originally. I use 1x2 tubing with a little "foot" welded to the bottom.

    You can also see that the bottom of the radiator is kicked forward to clear the steering box. You may have to offset the radiator to the passenger side a little too.

    This pic is of the leg that holds the front sheetmetal in place and mounts the radiator. I added the crossbar but don't think it's needed.

    Attached Files:

    Pablo servin likes this.
  7. Here's another shot of that leg and radiator

    Attached Files:

    Pablo servin likes this.
  8. Here is a pic of the foot welded to the bottom of that "leg" that holds the front end in place. You can see it's bolted to a peice of 3/8 steel I welded to the frame. That peice of 3/8 steel is drilled and tapped.

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  9. When you are ready to mount the motor, I have found the best way is to use a peice of 3/8 steel. We cut the steel about a half inch bigger than the motor mounts. Use the "saddle" kind. We drill and tap the plate for the mount to bolt to it. Bolt the plate and mounts to the motor. Set the motor in. Slide it back and forth til you like where it's at. Level the motor side to side. Now you can tack the plates in. If your bolts stick through the mount plates, you will have to mark where the bolts hit the S-10 frame and drill holes for them to go through.

    Here is a pic of the plates in my 48

    Attached Files:

  10. One of the cool things about the S-10 swap is the motor sits high in the engine compartment. Makes it a little easier to work on and looks a lot better.

    Here's a pic of the motor in my 48. Yeh I took the air cleaner off and haven't put it back on yet. The motor is just a junk 305. Again I drive the thing daily so it's gonna be dirty in the winter.

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  11. Once the cab is bolted down you can get ready to trim the back of the frame off. Measure from the back of the cab to the back of the frame. I think the standard 48 bed is six and a half feet. Check before you cut!! I cut a couple of extra inches off to make room for lights and a hitch. To finish the back of the frame off I weld a peice of 4x4 tubing across the back. Before I put it in I usually put a receiver for a hitch on. You never know if you'll want to tow something.

    WEW!!! that's more typing than I've done in my whole life. You'll have to wait to see how I make the bed fit till the ice melts out of the back of my truck.


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  12. dondanno
    Joined: Mar 20, 2003
    Posts: 679


    Cool Clark thats a great way to go about a frame swap that looks right. Danny
  13. Thanks...Danny.
    It works for most 40's pick ups. Some of the "tricks may be different. We did a 48 Ford a couple of years ago and I think we mounted it directly on the frame. Plan on doing a 46 Dodge in the future.
  14. burger
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 2,348

    from burbs

    best. post. ever.
  15. jdubbya
    Joined: Jul 12, 2003
    Posts: 2,435


    I have known a few guys to use these frames on various fat fendered cars with great success. And I know that the parts are easy to come by. Great tech post, and the trucks look great, awesome stance! [​IMG] Thanks- Joe
  16. 53choptop
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 1,197


    AWSOME POST!!!!!!!

    Holy crappola Clark, it seems like you read my mind, I was just searching on the Hamb for threads on who had done this before. I knew I had read it here in passing.....I was almost there right until you posted this. My brother and I are in the process of buying an "junked" s-10 and had several long-bed, short bed questions... HAMB=mind reading .....This is some erie stuff..

    The Hamb is everywhere you want to be........!!!!!!!

  17. I've been saying I would do it for a long time now but I was waiting for better pictures. These will do but they could have been better.
  18. KCMongo
    Joined: Jun 19, 2003
    Posts: 246

    from KC

    Thanks, so much SoWhat.
    I've been hoping for those for a while as you know I'm in the middle of doing this swap myself and was hoping for the pics. Mine would be going a lot faster if I didn't have to do a ton of work on the cab I've got and I could concentrate on the swap itself. I didn't know you were running a 305 in yours too, which is what I've got to put in mine. What tranny you using?

    <font color="red">Ryan: This has my vote for tech post of the week!!</font>

  19. Mongo... The truck has a 700r4 in it. The 305 is just a temp thing. I stole the 350 out of it for the roadster. The 350 we were going to build for it ended up being junk. Whenever money gets better it needs a good motor.
  20. studeboy
    Joined: Feb 12, 2003
    Posts: 539


    Thanks for the great post Clark. I have been looking forward to seeing pics of your truck since we had this conversation a few weeks ago. The pics will come in handy when I get ready to mount the Stude on my frame. Been busy tryin to run electricity so I can insulate (just in time for an early spring.) Thanks again. Eric

    ps I am jealous of the scenery you have to look at.


    Hemi Powered 49 Studebaker P/U (someday)
  21. Great post, makes me want to buy a cab and bed to put on my S-10 driver.
  22. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,696


    Does anyone have any information on putting a 1940 ford pickup on an S-10 frame?
  23. plmczy
    Joined: Aug 3, 2001
    Posts: 2,408


    Clark, your doin a 46 dodge truck? I wonder if you could use a dakota frame for this also. I was offered a early 50's dodge B-1 for free, I'm thinking I should get it. later plmczy
  24. Tony
    Joined: Dec 3, 2002
    Posts: 7,350


    damn good tech post!

  25. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,633

    from Garner, NC

    Damn fine work. This tech week has absolutely rocked...
  26. kustombuilder
    Joined: Sep 18, 2002
    Posts: 7,754

    from Novi, MI

    good post. i tried to get StudeBoy to drag his stude cab and frame over here all summer (it's only about 5 miles) but he never got around to it. i figured we coulda had the majority of it done in a weekend. i think he wants me to drag my welded and plasma cutter over there though so we can do it in his garage.
    anyway. great tech.
  27. BELLM
    Joined: Nov 16, 2002
    Posts: 2,590


    What year frame did you use? Good post!
  28. onelow48
    Joined: Jun 29, 2003
    Posts: 262

    from Maryland

    Ha Bellm! I did this setup. If memory serve's 83 up.
  29. Great Tech, So What!

    I'm gonna print this to show some friends. Should launch a bevy of early chevy PU's around here.

    Thanks again!

  30. Skate Fink
    Joined: Jul 31, 2001
    Posts: 3,472

    Skate Fink
    Member Emeritus

    ........NEWS FLASH!!!! MEDIA WHORE GETS TECH POST OF TH WEEK AWARD!!! [​IMG] (awwww, just kinnin' boss, GREAT work! Hell, even MY dumb ass can almost figure it out!)
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