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Technical Looking for knowledge- frame modified on '50 Chevy

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by brokedownbiker, May 6, 2020.

  1. brokedownbiker
    Joined: Jun 7, 2016
    Posts: 572


    I'm in need of some advice on my latest project. I have a 1950 Fleetline that I bought mostly in pieces- a stalled project the PO had been storing for ten years. It came with a '78 Camaro front clip and a 350/TH350 combo (none of which will be used). I've started inventorying parts and it looks like I have a complete car in boxes. I'm aiming for building a mild custom, static lowering, no bags or hydraulics; I do want to upgrade to front disc brakes but that's about it. Drivetrain will be 235 or 250 6 cylinder with auto trans.

    The problem I have is this- the frame has already been modified, it has a (drum-brake) Nova front clip on it and I'm not impressed with the quality of the work. (I don't understand the logic of swapping the original drum brake front suspension for the Nova drum brake front suspension anyway). I would have preferred the stock suspension but it is what it is, now I'm trying to figure out the best path forward.
    Would it be feasible to find and re-install a stock front frame section or would I be better off: A) staying with the Nova clip or B) using the Camaro clip.? Or should I go the whole route and look for a stock frame or rolling chassis, I'm told that the 2 door and 4 cars use the same frame so I can use anything from 49-52 if my info is right.
    Thanks in advance for the advice!
  2. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 1,358

    from kansas

    Pics are needed. I need to see the point of where the two frames meet.

    I've actually did both thru the years. Molded in front sub frames into oem frames and also removed sub frames from older frames and reinstalled original front stubs.

    But I need some good pics.
  3. Scrapin’Metal
    Joined: Mar 19, 2018
    Posts: 57


    Cutting off the Nova Subframe will leave you with half a frame. Now trying to adapt a sectioned factory frame to your half is difficult due to the Construction of the top hat type of frame. Anyplace you will weld will be a weak spot. Unless you. Make up new reinforcements and brackets to bolt and weld in.
    Best bet is to see ho square your current situation is and reinforce that.
    Do a disc brake upgrade. (Leeds brake) and go from there.
    Swapping to a Camaro leads to other problems and also width issues.
    67-69 width differs from the 70-79 Camaro as well as from and rear steer.
  4. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 8,217


    Sell your frame to someone who wants a clipped frame and source an OEM frame. Less work and you'll be happier in the long term. Just my thoughts.

  5. deathrowdave
    Joined: May 27, 2014
    Posts: 2,245

    from NKy

    The Camaro was not the answer for the new suspension in that car . I have done a few Mustang 2s , stock crossmember and stock frame . Easy swap . But what you have in my opinion is a front end that is to wide anyway . As far as fixing yours , it would be tough . There just isn’t much to start welding and repairing on there as stated it’s sheet metal formed into a top hat shape . Even if you find an OEM frame it would be near impossible to graft the front to it back on safety .
  6. fastcar1953
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 2,228


    Find a different frame. Waste of time to deal with what you have. Sell it to someone else. Stock frames are great on those cars. Never understood frame graft. It's not cheaper .
  7. brokedownbiker
    Joined: Jun 7, 2016
    Posts: 572


  8. ...yeah, those Nova clips will never work, I've done dozens of em...this 49's been on the road for 15 years, driven all over the country...yours mite need a little more work...
    my cars.jpg
  9. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 1,358

    from kansas

    The good news is at least they tried to do a good job, didn't butcher it to match them.

    It would take alot of work to repair sooooo..... I see you have 2 choices.

    1_ see if you can find another good frame and just replace it. Defiantly the fastest way.

    2_ if you have nothing but time, some patience, have a good mig welder and some welding skill with a good frame section it could be done.

    Honestly if I had the pieces in front of me, a bare frame, I'd have the sub frame off, rear original frame section ready for the new front section in a weekend.

    Have the original sections back together the next weekend. But remember this is what I do for a living going on over almost 40 yrs now.

    As far as safety concerns, of course there are concerns BUT its not because of the weld seams you would make, because about every manufacturer has made their frames with seams at the cowl since the mid to late 50's. It would be lack of proper welding techniques.

    So if the frames were hard to find or really expensive then I'd look into fixing yours. If they are cheap and plentiful I'd replace it.

    My first one was a 67' sub frame grafted into a 47 Plymouth in 1982. Looking under the car from the side it was almost impossible to tell where one frame section ended and the other began. Lots of detail work in the welding and fitting but it flowed beautifully. Car still around.
  10. fabricator john
    Joined: Mar 18, 2010
    Posts: 88

    fabricator john
    from venice fl.

    fix what ya have ,,,,,, you own it ,,, done right they work well , lemmie guess 67-69 camaros cant be made to handle ,,, id fix it and keep moving fabricator john
    miss you dad
  11. fastcar1953
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 2,228


    Sub frames work if right width. But why spend the money on one just to have to rebuild it. Then graft it in. Hope nothing rusts out after the welding. Getting everything square and level.
    New rebuilt front suspension with disc brake upgrade is cheaper in the long run. v8 mounts are cheap if you want that.
  12. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 1,454

    from Brooks Ky

    Based on what Rusty1 said and the picture he posted, it seems that the conversion does work well when done right.
    I would measure to be sure the front wheels are square with the rear wheels and frame. Remove the body and work on one side at a time. Grind the welds off and remove the junk plate. Then fashion new plates and weld them on right.
    I'm doing a frame "Z" to lower the front of a vehicle right now. I cut a section out and raised the front. I slit the top edges of the frame and will slide plates down inside the frame. The Z shaped plates will have rosette welds thru the frame to the plate as well as a solid weld at the gap. Then a plate that spans/fills the gap will be added to inner plate so the frame becomes essentially flat again. Last I will add another outer plate . By doing this on both sides of the "boxed" frame, the last thing that should have a problem is the Z section. If you build it strong there should be no problem. There are probably some disc brakes that will fit or easily adapt to it.
  13. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,647


    Personally, I would verify that is straight and square, clean it up, and re-weld it.

    Don't make the project bigger than necessary.
    41rodderz likes this.
  14. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 5,199

    from Oregon

    I agree with gimpy . Don’t open that can of worms anymore than you have to.
    gimpyshotrods likes this.
  15. raven
    Joined: Aug 19, 2002
    Posts: 4,614


    Is the present clip the correct width for the car? Is it built good?
    Two questions you need to answer first.
    I had a similar experience with my 49 Fleetine. Ended up replacing the frame and starting over. It was the best decision for me.

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
  16. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,850

    from California

    get a new stock frame and start all over. shit welds equal shit measuring and shit everything else. it is a stupid thing to do to these cars even if done well... notice I did not say done right.
    is the car assembled? are the wheels all in the right place in regards to the wheelwell location? does it sit level?
    never build a clipped car before making sure it was put together properly if you like clips.

    Nova and Camaro are the same clip.
  17. Roger O'Dell
    Joined: Jan 21, 2008
    Posts: 1,140

    Roger O'Dell

    Contact Art Morrison they do a lot of frames. Tell them your problem, they may be able to put you in contact with someone with a stock frame , that has ordered a new one from them that is close to you.
  18. brokedownbiker
    Joined: Jun 7, 2016
    Posts: 572


    I had a nice visit and tour with fellow HAMBer @samurai mike. Got to look at a stock frame and a clipped frame and he gave me some pointers on how to proceed. Once I get the body off, I can do some more measuring to make sure the clip was aligned and square (as far as I have been able to measure without a second set of hands to help, it looks like I'm in good shape (well the frame is anyway lol).
    Since I have two other small-ish projects to finish first, it will be awhile before I can dig in to this car. I'll start a build thread when I do.
    Thanks folks!!!

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