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Question - 49-54 Chevy dudes -Suspension

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Gigantor, Aug 20, 2006.

  1. Gigantor
    Joined: Jul 12, 2006
    Posts: 3,825

    Gigantor
    Member

    Gentlemen- I picked up a 1950 Chev Styleline Deluxe "parts car" today from a guy who started the project but abandoned it. One of the things he did when he was planning on pro-streeting this car was saw off her front end and weld on the crossmember, suspension, and steering linkage from a 1976 Monte Carlo. He was building a 454 to put in it, but something about the setup of the steering box being in the way of the motor and his radiator support, yadda-yadda-yadda ...
    This gets me to thinking ... Since I had planned on installing an IFS Fatman kit on my car (buku dollar$) anyway, is there a way to utilize the MonteCarlo front end with some modifications? Maybe I'm just daydreaming here, but I'd like to know what my options are.
    Idealy, I want my front end to kiss the ground, and have power steering ... haven't thought this far ahead, but since I just got this today, I thought I would ask for some HAMBer advice.
    Thanks.[​IMG]
     
  2. Gigantor
    Joined: Jul 12, 2006
    Posts: 3,825

    Gigantor
    Member

    p.s. yep, for those who care, those are authentic Maine lobster traps in the background
     
  3. striper
    Joined: Mar 22, 2005
    Posts: 4,498

    striper
    Member

    I have a 76 Holden front end in my 52. Steering box looks to be in about the same spot, on the other side. I moved my radiator support forward about 2-3 inches. That meant the rad hit the hood so I also dropped it a few inches. Had to cut a section away out of the front stone tray. If you are patient and work your way through it, it'll work. Before you start though, measure everything up and make sure the graft has been done properly and that you have the ability to get it as low as you want.

    Pete
     
  4. Clips are common on these cars...usually Camaro or Nova clip with a rear-steer is preferred, but I'm sure people have used the front-steer version (refers to the location of the gear box). I believe the Monte Carlo is the same clip.

    There are many things to consider that have been covered better than I could articulate in one post. Check these threads and post up any questions.

    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/search.php?searchid=856735

    Bryan
     

  5. I believe altho the Monte front is a good one- it is a little wide and would require a very small wheel to clear fenders.....Most of these early subframe conversions were narrowed around 3" then installed.
     
  6. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,027

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    first off congratulations on purchasing one of the most stylish cars ever made!!

    here's how I got it figured. since the monte stuff is already there see if you can use it with whatever motor you are going to use. see what it is going to take to get the sheetmetal mounted... all that stuff. how are the welds? crappy welds go a long way in deciding how the rest of it was put together.

    IMHO people who clip a 49 - 54 chevy are not thinking clearly. mustang II almost installs itself it's so easy.... but that is a subject for another day.

    do some measuring...be sure this guys work is square. hang a fender, be sure the wheels are in the right spot in the fenderwell. for a 49 to be acceptably low the centerline of the spindle needs to be at about the top of the original frame at the point of the axle centerline....

    from the back of the rotor to the back of the rotor on my mustang II equipped 49 coupe is 51.5 inches. that's the only point of reference I can measure right now. it's good enough to see if you are in the ballpark as far as width.

    now the box.... I can't see where it would interfere with a small block.. you may need to get fancy with your steering U-joints...

    my "professional" opinion just by looking at where everything is in the picture would be that you are not going to get low enough without cutting coils and screwing up the ride. check fatman for narrow tubular A-arms or dropped spindles.... the best way to do it would be find another uncut frame and mustangII it. another option is the fatman clip they make just for these types of problems. cut off the monte stuff, add the fatman clip.

    PM me if you have any 49 questions... I've had 4 so I may be able to help
     
  7. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,027

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    here's a pic of my mustang II on my current ride.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Man I hate subframes. The track width is too wide to get the tires looking right in the wheeelwells, ya gotta check the wheelbase, the quality of the welds, the square of the front in the chassis.... then you still have to figure out how to rehang your sheetmetal and a radiator.

    Most often the subframe is done because somebody thinks it's cheaper than a Mustang 2- but they're not counting labor for either (MII is less labor on that car) and they're comparing the cost of a USED JUNKYARD subframe to a BRAND NEW complete MII. That's apples and oranges- rebuild your subframe with all new components and count all the labor, then tell me which is more cost effective.

    Junk that piece of shit, there's a reason that guy passed it on.
     
  9. striper
    Joined: Mar 22, 2005
    Posts: 4,498

    striper
    Member

    I probably wouldn't do it again...but since it's there you might as well use it if you can. As mentioned mine is a bit wide and it is a pain trying to get it low. Drives nice though. Hanging the sheetmetal isn't that hard. Do your homework and do what works for you.

    Pete
     
  10. stickylifter
    Joined: Feb 21, 2005
    Posts: 1,270

    stickylifter
    Member
    from Detroit

    Yep, exactly what he said. I got an M2 from Chassis Engineering and love it. It's in a 50 fleetline.

     
  11. Gigantor
    Joined: Jul 12, 2006
    Posts: 3,825

    Gigantor
    Member

    Wow Guys -
    Thanks for all the helpful advice. The whole idea of moving the radiator support forward and down, figuring out a way to hang the sheetmetal anew, arrange some strange u-joint configurations to the steering box, not be able to lower it like I want to, refurbish all the existing suspension components, cut the coils, run smaller tires/wheels, and rely on welds I've got to consider sloppy IMHO and figure out if they're sqare, plus any other hang-ups I haven't even encountered yet lets me know the answer straightaway ... Mustang II it is.
    Oh well, you can't get something for nothing, just thought I might have hit the jackpot. Thanks to all for taking a minute to talk me out of this ... and to Striper, I admire your obvious level of expertise and ingenuity, but the hassle, while it might be slightly cheaper in the long run sounds like it's beyond my ability or at least the ammount of work I want to put into it when I could save up and spend a few more bills to do it right.
    Cheers.
     
  12. Alright- now that you're headed in the right direction- I'm going to throw in a couple of my MII opinions...
    First and foremost- DO NOT BUY A SOUTHERN RODS FRONT they are total junk. Search Southern Rods, you'll find a post by me that details exactly why.

    second- you don't HAVE to buy an all new, complete kit. You can get used control arms, spindles, from a junkyard. By all means, I think you should rebuild everything, but you can save a little if needed, by starting used.

     
  13. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,027

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    I highly recommend the FATMAN FABRICATIONS ultra low setup if you are going to replace the frame with a good one. spend the bucks and get the tubular A-arms... they are now selling stainless for the same price I paid for regular steel.

    the ultra low drops the whole thing another 2" without dropped spindles or cutting your springs....
     
  14. I guess posting up my search didn't work earlier...seems to return no matches once I've logged out.

    Anyways, I just did an advanced search for the word "clip" in thread titles. There have been discussions on clips vs. MII as well as a very informative post by ElPolacko on the structural integrity of some of the MII kits.

    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=115209

    If you change your mind and go with the clip, you can get narrowed Mustang control arms that will compensate for the width of the sub-frame. You can also get dropped spindles, various air-bag setups, and everything else you can get with the MII kit. Either way, though, careful measurements and good welds are necessary for both.

    FWIW, I'm running a FatMan MII ultra-low kit with bags. I was set to clip my car, even had the sub-frame, but researching the subject changed my mind. If you need any info, feel free to PM me.

    Bryan
     
  15. Gigantor
    Joined: Jul 12, 2006
    Posts: 3,825

    Gigantor
    Member

    Thanks for the tips again guys.
     
  16. Slide
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 3,025

    Slide
    Member

    Be sure to read this thread before you plunk down all your fun tickets for the Fatman kit. I'm not saying don't get the kit, but just go in armed with the knowledge of the whole story.

    I'll second stickylifter's vote for Chassis Engineering, and theirs is adjustable.
     
  17. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,027

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    one more opinion here... maybe not for you since your car has already been clipped,,,, but perhaps for those who still have a solid original frame.

    DO NOT CLIP.... unless of course you finished product is going to be a gaint piece of crap.

    there is a reason that an ALL NEW mustang II suspension costs more than some messed up junk yard clip. think about it.
     
  18. Gigantor
    Joined: Jul 12, 2006
    Posts: 3,825

    Gigantor
    Member

    Not to worry 49ratfink - The pic at the begining of this thread is of the PARTS car I bought with the frame already clipped. MY COUPE frame is still a virgin - a dirty, rusty virgin, but untouched all the same.

    p.s. I'm still kind of up in the air whether to use the coupe body or the 2-door sedan body... damnit - I need to make a decison! Who has these kinds of dilemas?! Seriously!
     
  19. Build 'em both! :D

    I can't remember if you said whether you planned on chopping your car, but if you do, that may help make your decision...with the difference in the trunk length, the chops look different depending on which car and how you chop it (I just realized that sounded painfully obvious :eek::rolleyes:).

    Bryan
     
  20. Gigantor
    Joined: Jul 12, 2006
    Posts: 3,825

    Gigantor
    Member

    That's tough Bryan - I thought that primered Coupe of your friends that you posted looked damn fine, as well as the Swedish Coupe that was on the thread you linked us to. On the other hand, the proportions of the sedan seem to lend themselves better to the heavily chopped look (as low as humanly possible) - just out of curiosity, do you recall how much your friend chopped his/her coupe? Thanks!
     
  21. I completely agree...the sedans do seem to take a heavier chop that the sport/business coupes. They also take a "Moonglow" style chop (so I've heard it called, when more is removed from the rear) much better than the other body-styles...IMO.

    I just checked with my friend...he said it was evenly chopped 4", but of course some masaging had to be done to get that look. The guy who chopped it is a HAMBer, but I know he's busy in the shop with a ton of projects and probably won't see this to comment.

    Bryan
     
  22. Gigantor
    Joined: Jul 12, 2006
    Posts: 3,825

    Gigantor
    Member

    I appreciate the info - from what I can see, that's a beautiful chop - it looks almost natural - hard to believe they removed 4 whole inches.
    This is going to be a hard decision - I wish I could physically stand by the two cars and compare, rather than relying on 2d photos at various angles. This decision will affect everything else about my build and I'd REALLY hate to look back on it with regrets and "what ifs?"
    Thanks again, Bryan.
     
  23. Anytime...always nice to have a choice, but then you're stuck with a decision :D

    Looking forward to the progress pics.

    Bryan
     
  24. sprbxr
    Joined: Oct 26, 2005
    Posts: 198

    sprbxr
    Member
    from Peaks, VA

    Since the M2 swap kits are plentiful, which ones are the ones to get? I know I will probably get 5 different answers from 5 different people. Fatman, Heidt's, Chassis Eng., Speedway........

    Justin
     
  25. Slide
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 3,025

    Slide
    Member

    They each have their strengths and weaknesses. I am most impressed by Chassis Engineering's... um... engineering. I also like the adjustability of theirs. It's a bit more expensive than the others due to the fact that it's bolt-on (so is the OEM front end), and it's adjustable. CE could also teach a lot of other companies a lot about customer service. There are many on the HAMB who will agree that even if the products were identical, their CS is he best.

    Heidt's has had a bit of trouble in the past, but it looks like they have their issues resolved. And their kit is easier to install than Fatman kit. (Most other companies, TCI, etc. sell kits that are VERY similar to Heidt's setup.)

    Fatman has an ultra-low kit that is definitely the lowest, but you better be dang good at reading a ruler and have a bigger welder to install.
     
  26. I agree with Slide's post.

    I went with the Fatman Ultra-low kit...I really like it, but I have friends who weld professionally and would not have trusted my novice weld skills on this kit. One of the reasons you have to take a lot of measurements with this one...the instructions suck! If I thought FatMan cared, I'd re-write 'em. Seriously, there were a couple head-scratchers that I may not have figured out without help from a couple HAMBers that have had experience with the kit. Truthfully, this kit is not for the beginner. Not that it's overly difficult either, but and entire front suspension and brake kit might need more that two pages of instructions.

    There were a couple missing parts, but the customer service was good enough to allow me to let it go....replacement parts were delivered without much hassle.

    I have to agree with another post...I can't say the steering is that much better than a good stock suspension. I don't have serious camber issues, though, and I have a ton of travel with my bags (7-8").

    My dos centavos.

    Bryan
     
  27. Gambino_Kustoms
    Joined: Oct 14, 2005
    Posts: 6,561

    Gambino_Kustoms
    Alliance Vendor

    im a fat man fabracations dealer and aliance vender
     
  28. RacerRick
    Joined: May 16, 2005
    Posts: 2,753

    RacerRick
    Member

    Front steer clips are a PITA on 49-54 chevy's. The gravel pan, rad cradle, inner fenders, and more have to be cut for the steering box.

    The only front clip I have seen that is narrow enough stock is an S10 clip, and they are front steer.
     
  29. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 20,970

    Roothawg
    Member

    I just started my TCI M2 install last night. Pretty straight forward. It is pretty much a bolt on but I am gonna tack weld the crossmember just for giggles after bolting it in.
     
  30. If you want a FatMan kit, go with Gambino Kustoms....I did and got a MUCH better deal that I would've from FatMan or anywhere else. Plus, Alex knows his stuff...there are parts of the kit that work much better when modified. Brake calipers, air-bag cups, and notches for the R&P are just a few things that come to mind...you know, the kind of info that'd you'd get from a HAMBer.

    Bryan
     

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