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Projects Move rear end or wheel wells.?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by iwanaflattie, May 27, 2019.

  1. Hello.
    Hope you guys had a great memorial weekend.
    Thanks to all of you who served.

    Up for discussion is this topic.
    Which one is easier for you?
    Move the axle forward or back?
    Or cut the wheel wells and reweld sheet metal etc...
    Some times people do frame swaps,or shorten frames..
    It happens.

    I think its the same amount of work for me,but I hate removing rivets.
    Could be easier now thar I have an oxy/ace torch.
    So Im leaning towards moving the wheels openings back, wheel wells,redoing that part of the floor etc..
    Plus I can do all the work myself.

    Plus If I move the axle fwd,Id have to get the driveshaft shortend for close to 300$,mess with brake and gas lines and shock mounts..
    If I redo the wheel openings,I will try to do a more curved one instead.
    IMG_20190526_130617.jpg IMG_20190526_130606.jpg IMG_20190526_130549.jpg
    Btw,i still need to slide the shell fwd a couple inches but theres a bracket that has to be 86d.
  2. Never2old
    Joined: Oct 14, 2010
    Posts: 472

    from so cal

    $300 doesn't sound like much in the overall picture, but you are looking at a bunch of body work anyway what with those trailer windows having to go.
    gimpyshotrods likes this.
  3. deathrowdave
    Joined: May 27, 2014
    Posts: 1,518

    from NKy

    Dude , with that body line and basically flat panels to deal with , I would cut the wheel well out carefully and move it to where it is needed and replace sheet metal as needed and stick a fork in it . It doesn’t look to me as the front is dead on anyway . This could be because of photos . I would Cummins repower that thing and drive it until me or it dies first .
  4. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 42,385


    it'll look funky with the wheels in the wrong place. I have a couple altered wheelbase cars, so yeah, I know what I'm talking about!

    Make the chassis fit the body. That's what you have to do to make old stuff look right.
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  5. Dirty Dug
    Joined: Jan 11, 2003
    Posts: 3,527

    Dirty Dug

    Around here you can get a drive shaft shortened for $100. What Squirrel said is the correct answer.
    cs39ford, gimpyshotrods and Hnstray like this.
  6. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 2,278

    from Oregon

    I was pondering the same thing related to the front wheel centering being off.
  7. el Scotto
    Joined: Mar 3, 2004
    Posts: 4,022

    el Scotto
    from Tracy, CA

    It will look totally stupid if you move the fender opening to where the axle is.

    I’d start with centering the front suspension in the front fender opening then work my way back.
    gimpyshotrods, scotty t and clem like this.
  8. clem
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,265


    I would move rear wheels to match the body.
    Should get a better turning radius also, something worth considering !
    Hnstray likes this.
  9. Yes those trailer windows,roof rack and some rust on bottom skirt will have to go.

    Thats what I was planning and Id love to mess with a cummins on day but Im not ready.

    I had the guys do a photoshop but nothing is set on stone as of now.

    I get quoted 220 just to shorten one new ujoints etc starts adding up.

    Yes,I said its not centered in my last sentence.

    Yes,the front wheels are not centered yet,Thanks for the straighttwd opinion.

    Dam,this is why I post questions like this.
    I didnt think about turning radius.
    The frame came from a step van a couple of feet longer than the vannete.

    Now the question is..
    Cut the frame and reweld or bolt?
    Or drill new holes and bolt spring hangers.
  10. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 2,682


    Are the frame rails just straight rails? If so I would drill holes and move the spring hangers front. At least for the rear. Is the body attached to the frame yet? I would slide the body back to center the front wheels first. Then move the engine back so it fits in the engine compartment. Frame swaps are seldom a bolt in operation
  11. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 10,327

    from Quincy, IL

    I am in agreement with those who suggest the wheelbase of the chassis be altered to place the wheels in accord with the Vanette wheel openings. As others stated, the visual proportions resulting from moving the openings will not be pleasing to the eye.

    “In for a for a dollar”. IMO, basing the decision on a perception of which method is the least amount of work (or less pleasant work) is a false economy. It seems to me that focusing on your satisfaction with final result is more important as you will be living with the results long after the work is done and forgotten.
    scotty t, RMR&C and rockable like this.
  12. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 7,636


    You can shorten driveshafts yourself. For free. I have done it. Use a 3" cutoff wheel thru the old weld, cut the driveshaft to length, hammer the end back into the shaft and weld. Keep the ujoints in phase
  13. RMR&C
    Joined: Dec 26, 2009
    Posts: 3,040

    from NW Montana

    Gotta agree.....move the axle to fit the body.
  14. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 42,385


    it's kind of late to do it right, you should have fixed the frame before sticking it under the body...but you can still take it back out, and get to work. You can't easily take pictures of the chassis now, so it's hard for us to see what's going to be easiest for you to do. If the frame kicks up over the axle, then it's not so easy to move the perches, but if the frame is straight enough for you do move them, that would be the way to go.
  15. KenC
    Joined: Sep 14, 2006
    Posts: 232


    Yep. I did one on a OT pickup, little D50 that got a Ford 2.8/C4. Cut it tacked it, installed and checked with a dial indicator before welding solid. Planned it to be a temporary setup while working on this unproven swap. Worked out so well it never got redone..
  16. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 8,948

    Rusty O'Toole

    Looks like the whole body needs to move back about 6" to center the front wheels in the wheel wells. If you did that, half the discrepancy of the back wheels would disappear. Whether you alter the body or move the axle is up to you. Don't forget, if you move the fender openings you may have to move the inner wheel wells too. I think I would take the frame back out and move the axle. If it is a straight rail frame this should not be too hard. And center the body on the frame better.

    What was wrong with the original frame? It might be easier to put the new axles on the old frame.
  17. Yes the frame is straight all the way,the body is not attached to the frame yet.
    The engine fits perfectly.
    I need to cut the OT vans front mount in order to slide the Vanette body/shell a few inches to center in wheel opening.

    You always have an eloquent and elegant way to respond.thanks.

    Thank you.
    Ive read on the subject but is good to hear good experiences.

    Im afraid thats what will happen.

    Its never too late.
    The body is just sitting on the frame for now..
    It takes me an hour or two to get the frame out...
    But I had to slide it in to see what needed to be done in order to have it safely bolted together.

    So far i have to make 2 front body mounts,torch some old body mounts off and move the axle fwd.
    The frame is straight and fits very nicely under the body..
    I would need to mark the holes on the frame so I can drill them after they frame is out unless I can find a 7" drill bit.

  18. I totally agree with Jim, Move the wheels to match the body, altered wheelbase works on race cars but I don't think it does with delivery truck. HRP
    OLSKOOL57 likes this.
  19. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 4,222

    anthony myrick
    from al

    we removed the spring hangers and located the rear axle where it fit our bus
    the shape of the rear frame section didnt matter cause we C notched it
    the rivets will drill and knock out without damaging the hangers
    the only other way is to shorten the frame
    those wheel houses will look goofy moved back
    wow bus 2.jpg
    same with this one
    placed the rear in the correct location
    cut drive shaft to fit
    van chopped n dropped.jpg
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  20. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 4,222

    anthony myrick
    from al

    we shortened our own drive shaft
    scribed a line down both sides 180 degrees from each other
    cut with chop saw and made sure the cut was square
    cut the weld from the yoke, clean and angle grind the new cut on the driveshaft
    re installed the yoke and lined up the scribe lines. Always make sure the yokes are phased correctly but the scribe lines should take care of this. I always make one scribe line slightly different so I can place the yoke in the same position it was.
    zoom zoom
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  21. Cool...this is very good information I will put it to good use..
    Btw I had to move the springs FWd on my COE I know whats involved and how much work it is,I was tryin to go around that...
    I know.
    Im lazy.
    anthony myrick likes this.
  22. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 4,222

    anthony myrick
    from al

    sinner (Chris Farley voice)
  23. mcsfabrication
    Joined: Nov 26, 2006
    Posts: 770


    I cut driveshafts with a Rigid tubing cutter. Easy and straight.
    anthony myrick likes this.
  24. mlagusis
    Joined: Oct 11, 2009
    Posts: 930


    I would move the rear wheel openings and put flush mounted skirts on the back. Longer wheel base would drive better too.
  25. LM14
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 1,507

    from Iowa

    I would set the front wheels anywhere from 1/2 to 1" forward from the centerline of the wheel well opening, not centered. It's esthetically more pleasing to the eye.

    I would shorten the frame to place the rear wheels where they need to be to fit the body. Again, move the axle about 1/2" forward of the wheel well centerline. To the eye, if you actually center the tires in the wheel wells it will look like it's too far back in the wheel well from most angles.

    The cost of a driveshaft rebuild/shorten is nothing compared to the cost of building a hot rod. Shorten the frame, fish plate and/or box it to get the strength back.


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