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Technical What am I missing Apache front end

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Reidy, May 28, 2020.

  1. Reidy
    Joined: May 13, 2016
    Posts: 84

    Reidy
    Member

    I am considering the option of putting an Apache coil spring front end under my 42 Chev truck. Before you say it is to wide, mine is a Holden (Australian) body with wide front guards and the width should work well. The width of the chassis rails looks like it will bolt in with minimum work.

    A number of people have commented that if I am going to an independent front end I should go for something more modern. Apparently they are better, but with no reason why. I have also noted that there is a whole industry making front ends for swaps. If they are making them someone must be buying.

    So my question is, what am I missing that makes the Apache front end not a good candidate. It has coil springs. If I want I can put disks on. Do these handle like a drunken sailor on shore leave with a busted shoe. Am I going to get some significant extra handling by sending a few thousand more (Australian dollars, yes we really pay that much for some stuff over here)for an aftermarket front end. Is the Apache such a lost cause that even with good shocks and springs I will curse the day I put it in.

    If my thinking is correct that the Apache is not as bad as made out are there changes that make it great.

    Thanks

    Steve from down under.
     
  2. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,076

    squirrel
    Member

    What year truck are you calling an Apache? Chevy used that name from 58-61, as far as I know. 1958-59 had leaf springs up front, 60-62 had torsion bars, 63-up were coil, but they weren't Apaches.

    Perhaps they used different names on them down there, or something?

    But the coil spring trucks from the 60s did handle ok, and if you plan to use the truck as a truck, and want a smoother ride than you'd get with the leaf springs and beam axle, I guess it could work ok. It's a strange thing to do, though...
     
  3. Reidy
    Joined: May 13, 2016
    Posts: 84

    Reidy
    Member

    The seller of the front end called it an Apache. It is the first of the coil front ends. The two reasons for doing this are improved ride and economics. I will be using a 3/4 ton chassis, not the one pictured and was wanting Chev 6 stud steel wheels. The engine will be a mild 261. With the current I beam I have 14" drums and 10 stud wheels so I would have to sort hubs and brakes on the large wheel stub axles. Also my truck has 2 inch wide springs where I need 1 1/2 springs for the smaller chassis. I can get the complete front end for less than the cost of a set of springs.

    I am happy to be educated, and I know you have replied to a few of my questions. I could go either way as I have nothing against I beam. Essentially I only really have two problems, long pockets and short arms and not enough experience to make a truly educated decision.

    Steve from down under.
     
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  4. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 2,968

    oldolds
    Member

    Rebuild parts may be hard to find for that early 60's suspension. I seem to remember ball joints were hard to find. If I were going to do that I would use a late 70's square body front suspension.
     
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  5. treb11
    Joined: Jan 21, 2006
    Posts: 3,452

    treb11
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    '70s Jag front and rear.
     
  6. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,076

    squirrel
    Member

    The torsion bar suspension from 60-62, yeah, parts are hard to find. But apparently is not considering that suspension at all, but rather the 63-66(?) coil spring front end.

    It might be going into the truck in his avatar, which is a rather large truck, more than 3/4 ton?

    Getting more info, like big clear pictures of all the stuff involved so we can accurately identify it, would be a big help.
     
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  7. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 2,120

    31Apickup
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    If you were looking at a 63-66 front suspension, you’d be better off with a 73-87 which already has discs, etc. this is all based if the width would even work.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  8. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,537

    flatford39
    Member

    Sounds like he is using the body only as he mentions using a 3/4 frame not the one pictured. If you are going to go that far you would be better off just just using a 73 to 87 complete running gear and adapt your body to it. I have two of them here I would give you if you weren't so far away. One is a 4x4.
     
  9. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,076

    squirrel
    Member

    keep in mind he's in Australia, where you can't easily find whatever parts truck you want....unless it's a Ford or a Toyopet.
     
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  10. I swapped a 6 lug 63 front crossmember and suspension under a 62 to get away from the torsion bars. the 63 thru 66 trucks rode and drove better than most passenger cars of that era. Its a good swap those disk brakes fronts aint all that much better and have rubber bushings.
     
  11. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 3,823

    indyjps
    Member

    Agree with flatford39, if you can find a 73-87 its worth looking at swapping suspension or whole frame, great parts availabilty and lots of suspension options.

    https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/project-no-buck-49.327069/

    Im a big fan of this build, the whole build is great, it leads off with a front clip job that looks and works right. You could apply the same with whats available in your area.

    Just throwing ideas out.
     
  12. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,076

    squirrel
    Member

    The frames from trucks built after 1959 have lots of up-down action, the rails are not flat like the older trucks. It would look kind of funky, to me. Using only the bolt in front crossmember from a 60s truck is about the least modification possible to get IFS in there.

    I'd be happy with a solid axle, with an upgrade to 1950s brakes.
     
  13. Reidy
    Joined: May 13, 2016
    Posts: 84

    Reidy
    Member

    Thanks for all of the suggestions so far. To confirm it is the truck in my profile picture going on a 115 inch wheel base 3/4 ton chassis. Most of them are probably a great idea but I live in Australia and we need to be protected for our own safety by the government. This means if I do a chassis swap I have to register the truck as the year and make of the chassis. Therefor all pollution and safety features must be incorporated. For me this rules out a chassis swap.

    If I stay with a 42 chassis it is a 42 truck. As for welding in a front clip, it sounds like a great idea. Except the state I live in wont register it. Most likely because the front end will break of and I will loose control and kill hundreds. Sarcasm alert, I know if done properly it will last the life of the truck but the registration authorities don't agree.

    The Jag front ends are great, I owned an XJ6 series 1 for 10 years. Unfortunately the truck is 76 inches across the fenders. A jag is just not that wide. I am not considering the torsion bar set up as it would appear the chassis width is different, and I would not know where to find one.

    Whilst disk brakes a good they were not that common in 42. I can register the truck much easier with the drums, and then it is a relatively simple change to do a brake up grade and keep the authorities happy.

    The other issue I have is parts. A number of people are making good money buying parts, putting them in a shipping container and bringing them to Australia. They put there markup for the time effort and import duties and then sell them to people like me. I would love to have a wrecking yard with a selection of front ends, but I have to go with what I can find and not sell my first born for. In saying that if the Apache is not a good contender I will not waste the money.

    I don't have a good photo of the front but here is a blurry one. It is up against a wall and a big job to push back for a photo. I took the bonnet of for transport and do have a door. It was our old farm truck and drivers doors just slowed things down.

    Steve from down under
     

    Attached Files:

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  14. Reidy
    Joined: May 13, 2016
    Posts: 84

    Reidy
    Member

    Jim

    If you have any tips on how I can get 6 stud wheels and brakes on a large truck stub axle I would be all ears. I have attached a document with bearing sizes. Mine is the H column. As you will not the stub axles and king pins are quite large.

    Steve from down under.

    Wheel bearings.PNG
     
  15. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,076

    squirrel
    Member

    You said you have a 3/4 ton frame? What year is it? how complete? I was thinking 8 lug drum brakes from the 50s, but it may be cost prohibitive to get them where you are.
     
  16. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 3,451

    Budget36
    Member

    I'd look over the clip you want to use very carefully, all the pre-55.2 Chrvy's and GMC's had a narrower frame then 55.2 up....as the earlier ones only ran the inline engines. So you need to measure what your attachment points are.

    Now, that said, I'm fairy certain there are bolt on IFS kits, which might keep you on the correct side of your laws? Plus the benefit of something new and getting parts when/if needed.

    Best of luck!
     
  17. Reidy
    Joined: May 13, 2016
    Posts: 84

    Reidy
    Member

    I have two frames that as far as I can tell are 41 to 46. The first is completely bare with no suspension mounts no bolt in cross member and no rust. I think it is 1/2 ton by the metal gauge. The second has all of the suspension mounts the bolt in cross member and rust in some of the cross members. I believe this is 3/4 ton. The 1/2 and 3/4 ton chassis are very similar looking at diagrams. Both are 115" wheel base. The spring I beam mounts are both the same ditance center to center only the truck is heavy duty. The original truck chassis is reasonably complete except it is to long for general driving and I want it to sit a bit lower so it could fit in an undercover park or garage.

    Mine is the heavy duty one in the attachment. It appears the Army used cab over I beams and wider fenders.

    Steve from down under
    Chev I beam.PNG
     
  18. Reidy
    Joined: May 13, 2016
    Posts: 84

    Reidy
    Member

    I will be still running an inline 6, a 261 chev. The chassis rails on my chassis are about 1/4 of an inch narrower (29 1/2" than the space between the mount points on the chev coil spring chassis.

    Steve from down under
     
  19. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 26,861

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    63/66 an maybe 67/68 are a lot closer to the correct width that he needs rather than the quite wide 73/87 front end. Plus those disk brake front ends that a couple of you are pushing have a 5 on 5 bolt pattern and don't work for his want for 6 lug wheels.

    Howdy Leadbetter used to swap a lot of those 63/66 or so front ends under AD trucks about 30 years ag
    Frame rails are within a 1/2 inch of the same width at the spot that the crossmember bolts on. Most guys use a correct thickness piece of steel plate between the rails and the crossmember to fit themcrossm together and drill holes and bolt them up after getting the crossmember properly located on the frame.

    If it were me and I was taking the crossmember off a donor I'd cut the donor's frame a few inches behind the frame so I had ready patterns at hand to measure from to locate things. That way you have your source of measurements right there beside your truck to take the measurements off to locate steering box and idler arm and sway bar brackets.
    First step is measuring your frame width right at the axle and measuring the donor frame width at the axle to make sure that it is going to work. I have seen those front ends cobbled under a 55/59 that has a much wider frame resulting in a real mess.
     
  20. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,076

    squirrel
    Member

    I guess if you don't have any of the 3/4 ton suspension, then your plan to use the 60s coil front end is a reasonable one. I was impressed by how my 66 Suburban drove, after driving a 59 truck for years.

    The Chevy truck frames changed width quite a bit over the years, but it doesn't surprise me that 42 and mid 60s are very close.
     
  21. MO54Frank
    Joined: Apr 1, 2019
    Posts: 269

    MO54Frank
    Member

    You might get some useful information from the Stovebolt Page website. They have a fairly active forum. Lots of discussions about suspension swaps, etc. As stated, Chevy went to a coil spring front in 63 that went thru 87, but 63 had some unique parts. In the US, at least.
     
  22. Reidy
    Joined: May 13, 2016
    Posts: 84

    Reidy
    Member

    The front end I am considering is from the states. A business about 60 miles from me brings in containers of trucks to on sell. As the container has free space he appears to have all sorts of spares packed in and sells them of to people such as me. There does not appear to be any logic to what extras he brings and it is quite likely that it what ever he can get for very little money. If I want to get a particular part then I have to pay full freight.

    Steve from down under
     
  23. treb11
    Joined: Jan 21, 2006
    Posts: 3,452

    treb11
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Will a later (,such as 55-59) 1/2ton front axle bolt to the springs or even the springs and all?

    IDK but recall posts here of earlier trucks fitted with later axles.

    Edit. Looking at Sids website (www.droppedaxles.com) the spring centers, kingpin centers and spring width are the same.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2020
  24. Reidy
    Joined: May 13, 2016
    Posts: 84

    Reidy
    Member

    I was hopping it would be that easy. You are correct in saying spring centers are the same at 26 3/4" and king pin center to center of 50 1/2".
    What I need is a wider I beam due to the wider fenders. A 55 to 59 has the king pin center to center of 54" which would work, but the spring center to center is 31 7/8". This puts the springs way outside the chassis rails.
    Thanks for the suggestion and I appreciate it. I am hoping someone comes along with a what if that I have not thought of and is the best idea ever.

    Steve from down under.
     
  25. Reidy
    Joined: May 13, 2016
    Posts: 84

    Reidy
    Member

    I have created a post titled " The story of my truck". It is a long read but may help answer a few questions about my attachment to this truck.

    Steve from down under
     
  26. Reidy
    Joined: May 13, 2016
    Posts: 84

    Reidy
    Member

    For those of you watching at home, I think I have found what I am missing.

    The chassis rails are a similar distance apart that a 1/4 or less plate would fill the gap nicely.
    Now for the kicker. After carefully looking at chassis diagrams and taking measurements I realized the the chassis for the coil spring front ends kick up quite a bit.

    Therefor to get back to a good ride height I would have to use dropped spindles and shorter springs. It looks like it is back to the drawing board. I guess if it was that easy everyone would have done it.

    Steve from down under
     
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  27. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,529

    jetnow1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    As Jim (Squirrel) told you several posts prior the 1/2 ton and the 3/4 ton use the same front sheet metal.
    I cannot say for certain on a 41, but know that on the following generation the 1/2 ton front axle will bolt
    on the 3/4 front, they even use the same springs. I suspect the 41 would be the same. This would change
    you to 6 lug brakes, thou I would suggest going to later bendix brakes, I think post 1950 on 1/2 tons. The option to install disc brakes would also include 6 lugs as well as 5 lug. Stock ride height would be maintained, if you desire to lower it dropped axles and/or lowering springs are available. Since you are keeping the 6 cyl this means no changes would be needed to your steering box either.
     
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  28. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,076

    squirrel
    Member

    Oh...I didn't know you wanted to get a good ride height!
     
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  29. Reidy
    Joined: May 13, 2016
    Posts: 84

    Reidy
    Member

    What I meant about a good ride height was something I won't need a small step ladder to get into. For those that read this in the future what I have found is an 60's coil front end should be an easy bolt in proposition. If you have access to dropped spindles and/or lowered springs this should be a good ride height. I don't think you would be able to go real low if that is your thing with this combination.

    Jetnow, I agree that Jim has been very helpful. For my situation I have a bigger truck with wider fenders as shown earlier. Therefore my I beam is about 5" wider than a standard 40's. The trucks also have much larger spindles that won't take a 6 or 5 stud hub. I don't want to change my sheet metal as discussed earlier.

    I have not given up. I may have found a I beam out of an early international truck The spring centers are only 1 inch wider so I may be able to move the spring hangers outboard 1/2 an inch a side. The I beam is 4' wider than a stock 1/2 tone but only 1" narrower than the Big truck one. Therefore the wheels will sit 1/2" inwards. If I can match up some wheel bearings it will be a goer. Also the holes that the steering arm mounts on are so close to identical I can bolt one and ream the other to the next size then ream the first. I will see how this goes.

    If anyone has some 50's fixed end front spring hangers that they would like to sell at the right price please let me know. The 40's 1/2 ton ones have the spring located 3" below the chassis where as the 50's locate the spring 1 1/2" below the chassis. This would give me a bit of a drop for little effort.

    Because the truck has much larger fender openings I am wanting to use a tire of about 30" diameter. Therefore I will want to drop the truck to end up with about 8 to 9" under the running boards. As it sits I have 16" but the wheels are 41"

    Thanks

    Steve from down under
     
  30. irishsteve
    Joined: Jan 10, 2017
    Posts: 721

    irishsteve

    Dont know what if any American cars made it to oz,but for years guys put Chevy Corvair front ends under early frames. The 1990"s Ford Crown Victoria front end unbolts from the car,and has been adapted to 60"s trucks so it might be useable.The 45-54 Chevy car was also a bolt in unit.
     

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