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Ranger/Explorer chassis/40 ford coupe

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by RCooke, Jun 16, 2009.

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  1. RCooke
    Joined: Dec 17, 2008
    Posts: 10

    from idaho

    What problems should I encounter by using a 111.6" Wheelbase Ranger/Explorer chassis on my 1940 Ford coupe? Has anyone published anything on this? Is there a preference or any extra problems between 2 wheel drive and AWD? I have a fuel injected 302 that I want to use. The chassis's I am looking at have V-6's so I will have to change motor mounts?

    Thanks for any help you can give me.

  2. kelgar50
    Joined: May 29, 2006
    Posts: 180

    from socal

    Don't do it!You can get a stock frame and build it right a hell of alot cheaper.With any other frame you will have alot of time tring to get everything to line up and fit properly.Why messup a good thing you should be able to p/u a stock 35-40 frame fairly easy.If you already have the ranger than use the parts you can use off it like egine trans rearend.And with the 302 it will not fit right with the 40 the engine is to long you have to cut the firewall to make it fit or buy a waterpump conversion.Im not trying to say don't put the ford in a ford but the problem with the 302 is the lenght of the engine im all for ford in a ford.I get tired of seeing the old 350/350 combo in everything.
  3. I've seen it done and it ended up looking like crap :eek: well it looked really bad and cobbled up,,like the others have said,,use the correct frame,,It will be better in the long run. HRP
  4. fab32
    Joined: May 14, 2002
    Posts: 13,985

    Member Emeritus

    If the body you have is really nice it would be worth the purchase of an aftermaret frame if you can't find a decent stock one. They aren't making '40 Fords anymore, don't turn one into scrap by doing a frame swap.


  5. It'll look great and fit just long as you give me the original 40 rolling chassis. ;)
  6. borntowrench
    Joined: Jan 7, 2009
    Posts: 28


    I am currently building a 47 ford coupe on a explorer chassis (AWD). Depending on how much of the Explorer you plan on using, the frame fit is pretty good. I found the Explorer frame is real close to original, almost too close...After fitting the body to it , it still had that 4 wheel drive look. The original plan was to crank down the torsion bars in front, and add lowering blocks and perhaps de-arching the rear. With front torsion bars you can lower them, but only a couple inches, not the 4 or 6 inches you need. Z-ing the frame, which eliminates the torsion bar rear mounts is the only answer.
    The other problem to consider is the Explorer has the engine mounted up between the front wheels while the older cars had it mounted more rearward (about 5.5 inches in my case).Unless you adjust your drivetrain accordingly, you will run out of radiator room, also remember Fords front sump oil pans that might interfere with the K member.
    My car was (is) a "turd", no floor,trunk floor, rocker panels or body mounts. After researching here, I decided the Explorer was best for my situation, why? 5.0 FI, 4 wheel disc brakes (anti lock),R+P steering, 3.73 Posi rear, AWD, OD trans, airbags, CD player, air conditioning, not HAMB friendly, but all for less than the price of one MII crossmember or 9 inch disc brake conversion kit. I also want a car that I can drive to Florida without having to adjust the points along the way.
    It CAN be done, the question is what do you want to end up with?
  7. rick finch
    Joined: May 26, 2008
    Posts: 2,003

    rick finch
    Member sly devil!;)
  8. Royalshifter
    Joined: May 29, 2005
    Posts: 15,545

    from California

    NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.....don't do it!!!!!
  9. Yeah, if you have to make all new floors that's one thing, but with a decent body sometimes it's 10 times the work to use a cheap option and amounts to stepping over dollars to pick up dimes. I think you'll be more or less on your own for this swap; plan to build body mounts, alter floors, and alter the frame if you don't want it to sit like an off-road truck. By the time you do all that you could have built a nice stock frame or bought a basic aftermarket frame and put it together with bolt-ons - and if you really want an EFI 302 you can transfer all those electronics to any frame you want.

    Also, ship me the floors you cut out of it, we have one that could use some.
  10. Tetanus
    Joined: May 20, 2007
    Posts: 237


    I cant understand why alot of people want to rip out the whole frame just to get a different rear end or front end.Seems like a lot of extra work.If you want the ride and drive of a ranger just drive the ranger.:D
  11. Man speaketh great truth.
    Good way to ruin a car man, find the right chassis, you can get re-po floors and drop your 302 in that.
  12. I really think this is the answer to why people try that so often -

    Too many guys have built plastic model car kits, but have never tried to build a real car before. It's way easier to swap frames on the model cars, than the real ones.
  13. lockwoodkustoms
    Joined: Dec 22, 2005
    Posts: 3,910


    WOW!!!! Some things should not be done and this is one of them.
  14. RCooke
    Joined: Dec 17, 2008
    Posts: 10

    from idaho

    This 40 is a real rescue project. The bottom 4" of most of the cab and the fender wells needs to be replaced. I do have good doors and fair fenders, running boards and hood. Above 6" it is pretty good.The chassis has a 1980 oles 88 front clip set up for a "gasser". Then it was underwater long enough to pretty much rust everything in the front 5' of the frame and clip. When the body sets on the frame the rear is 12" from the ground. There are 42 holes of various sizes in the firewall. Since the floor was apparently under water it is not rusted out but is heavily pitted.

    So work on the firewall, floor, fender wells and patch panels will all have to be done no matter what chassis I use.

    I must want a 40 coupe really bad to fool with it, but I could not let it go to the crusher.

    Thanks for all your replies, you have given me a lot to think about.

  15. RCooke
    Joined: Dec 17, 2008
    Posts: 10

    from idaho

  16. There was a nice complete '40 rolling chassis that had been painted, with updated 9" rear end, stock front suspension with disc brake conversion, SBC mounts, and some torque thrust wheels and good radials for like $1,200 at a swap meet last year. My guess is that a street rodder swapped the chassis for something else. My dad and I stared at it a while considering the possibilities, but we didn't have a '40. Either way, it was a good deal, so they are out there. I'd just wait til the right chassis came along before swapping it to modern rails.
  17. sawzall
    Joined: Jul 15, 2002
    Posts: 4,731


    people will pick on you, and you will be shunned from all social groups.

    a 40 belongs on a 40 chassis

    i've yet to see a chassis swap that didnt move the track width Outward..

    if you're going to need to remount the engine, build new body mounts, and fix rust anyhow.. why not make it easy and go back to the stock configuration.

    fitting a 302 into the stock engine bay is tough enough with the stock chassis.. cant imagine what the results would be with the explorer frame/
  18. RCooke
    Joined: Dec 17, 2008
    Posts: 10

    from idaho

    I found a 37 chassis with a nova front clip, steering behind the axel. Would this work?
    It was on a running 37 coupe but was replaced for unknown reasons by a new chassis.
    Any potential problems?
    Anything special I should check or measure before I buy?

    Thanks for all your comments

  19. CraigR
    Joined: Jun 20, 2008
    Posts: 375

    from California

    It was replaced 'cause a stock chassis is better than a clipped one. Seen a lot of badly done clips, they can be done right, but start fresh if you don't have a lot of experience. Guessing you don't cause you're considering a late model chassis under a 40 coupe!
  20. RCooke
    Joined: Dec 17, 2008
    Posts: 10

    from idaho

    How can you tell if it is "done right"?
  21. Da Tinman
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,226

    Da Tinman

    You cant, you can only tell if its done wrong.
  22. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,331


    NO, NO , NO--as they said--get a 40 chassis and do it right--you will end up with a better car in the long run---40's ain't gettin' any easier to find

  23. It doesn't have to be a 40, it can be anywhere from 35-40 and still work fine. The clipped 37 chassis that he found might be a great deal if it was clipped right. The only problem is you don't know if it was done right unless if you saw it before it was pulled out from under the old 37! I get the feeling he wants IFS etc. from a newer car, and if thats what he wants, there's nothin wrong with that. You build what you want because it's yours!
  24. VonKool13
    Joined: Feb 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,039


    I agree with most of whats been said. If your going to use an Explorer Chassis you should use it under a F1 or F100 up to the unibody years. The wheel base is exactly the same. I have a V8 Explorer that I might do that to when I buy another commuter car in a couple of years. Plenty of beat up F1's and F100's that could use a chassis swap.
  25. Ritchie
    Joined: Dec 6, 2007
    Posts: 12


    Yep. It would be much better on a 40 chassis.
    I am also using a reg cab ranger chassis. But for a 60 ranchero. Dims are very close. brake flange to flange and wheel base. I spent all Summer working on my shop and did not get to work on this project. Heck. Only thing I got done was one car got painted just to see what black pearl would look like. Looks good.

  26. Adonis
    Joined: Nov 29, 2011
    Posts: 2

    from Maryland

    I plan to use an 88 Ranger longbed (114" wb) 4X2 chassis for my 40 Ford coupe. Why? It&#8217;s a cheap alternative to updating everything on the 71 year-old 40 chassis, and results in a lot stronger chassis which will readily accept a modern power plant, with over-the-counter parts availability. The Ranger track and frame rail widths are narrow, the 4X2 comes with rack and pinion steering, and the 114&#8221; wb can easily be shortened to the 40&#8217;s 112&#8221;. Note that everything on the Ranger is located farther forward than on the 40 relative to the front axle centerline (power plant, controls, firewall/cowl, seating, etc.). So just dropping the 40 body shell over the Ranger platform, and simply retrofitting a V8 (using one of the aftermarket kits) will result in problems, e.g., unworkable ergonomics, poor weight ratio, and lack of clearance for radiator. The Ranger chassis can still be used. My plan: install a Ford 302 V8 as close as possible to the original flathead location, shorten the wb to 112&#8221;, mate the 40 body ensuring correct position, height, and pitch, and use aftermarket controls. Result: a lot cheaper than updating the 40 chassis or buying a new chassis, easier installation of a modern power plant, late-model reliability (steering, brakes, suspension, etc.), and over-the-counter parts. I plan to start in 2012. Will update.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011
  27. 1/2done
    Joined: Oct 29, 2006
    Posts: 619

    from Ohio

    Aren't 2WD Rangers twin I-beam?
  28. 40 & 61 Fords
    Joined: May 17, 2006
    Posts: 2,000

    40 & 61 Fords

    Yep! Bought one brand new in 88. I drove it home, and put 4" dropped axles and a rear flip kit in it the next day. It rode like hell, but looked great.

    I also have a 40 coupe(had it when I bought the truck), and would NEVER do a swap like that, and my coupe was a roach. With EMS, Bitchin', etc. there are so may options to save a gennie car.

    We're ALL better off if you save up a little more $$$ and do it right, or pass it on to some one who will, and buy a driver.
  29. George/Maine
    Joined: Jan 6, 2011
    Posts: 949


    I think you will be better with that one.If wheel looks centered and not to wide,front end would be only problem putting fenders on.
  30. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,984

    from Berry, AL

    The later ones are independent A arms. I have a 99 that's been rolled that I'm gonna pluck the 8.8 out of for my Dodge.
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