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Technical Yet Another Shoebox Ford Front End Question.

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by C Stroh, Aug 12, 2017 at 6:14 PM.

  1. C Stroh
    Joined: Saturday
    Posts: 4

    C Stroh

    Hello, 20170222_165408[1].jpg
    After stalking the board for a few months I decided to Join up.

    I've got a 1949 Ford 2 door sedan that I've disassembled and started the whole strip and repaint routine. The underbelly and frame are stripped and repainted and I'm ready to start painting the inner fenders and front suspension.

    I plan to build this car as a homebuilt hot rod without going too nuts on it (satin paint, AC, decent interior, 12V upgrade). It's getting a sbf 302 with a c4. I plan on making a daily driver out of it so I've decided to swap out the stock steering box with a power steering box of whatever I can make work. I also plan on a power disc brake conversion.

    And now the question. How does the stock suspension feel and handle on these cars? I don't want to invest a whole bunch in rebuilding this front end if it would be better to clip it, (I have an S10 clip available but It's going to need a full rebuild). The Fords factory independent suspension looks so much better than the old straight axles but I've never driven one so I don't know how they handle. Remember, this is going to be a daily driver that I'll take on the highway. I'm not racing this thing.....excessively.

    Just curious what the general opinions are here. I've seen some of the better write ups on these cars here than anywhere else so I throw my question out in these waters.

    Any input is appreciated.
  2. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 6,630


    I can easily steer my 1950 Ford with one finger. Why change the steering box?
    F-ONE likes this.
  3. C Stroh
    Joined: Saturday
    Posts: 4

    C Stroh

    Remind me never to arm wrestle you then....

    I like my power steering.
  4. '49 Ford Coupe
    Joined: May 19, 2011
    Posts: 579

    '49 Ford Coupe

    For what it's worth, I did the S-10 / power steering thing, and I LOOOOOVE it... so if you have some patience, don't mind welding things and taking LOTS of time to measure, spring for it.....

    Here are links to show how my s-10 front clip went into my the Jag rear end..

    Here is a link to the home page for all the other stuff....

    Good luck... you've got about 5 years to go...ahahaha
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  5. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 6,630


    The original size tires and the factory steering are easy. Theres no need to spend money and make an effort to change anything.
    guthriesmith, F-ONE and Tuck like this.
  6. Tuck
    Joined: May 14, 2001
    Posts: 5,297

    Tech Editor
    from MINNESOTA
    1. Early Hemi Tech

    F-ONE likes this.
  7. My avitar is a daily driver with some upgrades. Home built from a large pile of parts in my Home shop and driveway. You mention early axle to the 49 system. You also need to be aware of the thing they have in common. King Pins! The number one issue with Old Axles and the 49 is lack of understanding and GREASE! With proper up keep a Grease Gun and constant checking of tire pressure you can be pretty pleased behind the wheel.
    From reading your comments on the S-10 I would say your banking on that being the fix all easy way out. I say do your own Home Work and actually do some test fit of front sheet metal over that frame section. I know there are several of them out there and all this talk about doing Clips will for sure get this closed. Go back and read the H.A.M.B. rules and lets keep talking about your 49 project. Just drop the chassis mod part.
    The Wizzard
  8. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 882

    from Alabama

    These cars had the reputation as being one of the best driving cars of the era. I had a 50 Coupe with the original steering and front end. It was a great little car. Power steering for drivability for one of these, IMHO a non issue.
    Ford heavily marketed these cars to women drivers. In good condition with reasonable sized tires power steering is not needed.

    I have come to despise Jags, S10s and Crown Vics. Yeah....sometimes it works out when done by a pro but most of them wind up as Craigslist Specials.:rolleyes:

    These were legendary cars that handled good for the time. They were kind of special. They have been called the car that saved Ford Motor Company.

    Watch how 50 Ford in the city scene handles.... (it was really a 51 with 50 front sheet metal)
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017 at 3:34 AM
    '49 Ford Coupe likes this.
  9. clunker
    Joined: Feb 23, 2011
    Posts: 1,258

    from Boston MA

    You mean the ones where: "95% of the hard work is done, just waiting for your finishing touches", that really means "I've taken this thing apart and altered it irreparably and I have no idea how to put it back together and make it work or I would just finish the last 5% myself and have a real car to sell or drive"? (I'm a CL junkie and those are my favs.)

    Try to lube and adjust everything, see if it gets better. I had a 50's Ford and it was smooth and easy, car just needed to be moving.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  10. Firecat7
    Joined: Dec 11, 2011
    Posts: 237


    good gawd... drive a '50 .... then drive a 1985 Malibu. Wont take long to figure it out.
  11. dan c
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 1,029

    dan c

    i never had a problem with stock steering--except for the built-in slop. i've seen electric steering from a saturn vue adapted, though. goes under the dash, but takes up a lot of room!
    mitchum's "50" sounded like a flathead when he started it up!
  12. I've had my '49 about 5 years and did a thread on it when we drug it home.

    Stock steering and upgraded with a lowering spacer in front and heavier sway bar. I'm running bias WWW tires but radials would likely be more friendly. I need to replace the front bushings but haven't done it yet. Car handles good for what it is.
    We even drove it to the Roundup and back from here in central Oklahoma.

    I get great help and specialty parts from Chris & Holly at SHOE BOX CENTRAL in Oklahoma City. Whatever you need, they likely have it. Google their catalog.

    And welcome to the HAMB......................
  13. vilanar
    Joined: Feb 9, 2009
    Posts: 46

    from Finland

    If everything is in good condition and well greased it drives awesome. Steering is effortless.
    Great car and perfect for daily driver. Good advice to contact Shoebox Central with your needs.
    C Stroh likes this.
  14. C Stroh
    Joined: Saturday
    Posts: 4

    C Stroh

    Man. What a turn out. I posted here for a reason and im not disappointed. Thanks for the warm welcome.

    My former ride was a 1950 f1 pickup with an 88 ranger front clip, 302 aod. My dad and I did the work and it drove like a dream. The original frame had been hacked by some fiend with a blow torch so i didnt feel any obligation to save it.

    But, I have been struggling with the idea of butchering the frame on this one. Im no purist. But the thought of chopping this one up is very uncomfortable to me.

    And yes. I know full well of the craigslist %95 complete deathwagons. The s10 front i refered to was used on a victimized 59 apache. Its not often you see a front clip about 3 or 4 inches off center to make up the frame width difference. One side was blob welded to the original frame and the other had random pieces of steel wedged and blob welded to bridge the massive gap between the clip and 59 frame. It was a work of art.

    My plan is to find or piece together a disc conversion with a brake booster.

    I may try the original steering box at first but im still not sure how thats going to respond with the extra weight of a 302 and c4. That is yet to be determined.

    Like i said. Im no purist im building a 1949 ford so I can have a 1949 ford. Im not into the whole corvette frame swap with an LS plug and play drive train. Thats a nice setup but i want it as 1949 as i can get with a few modern comforts.

    If it was good enough for Robert Mitchum its good enough for me.

    Many thanks for all the input so far.
  15. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 8,100

    from Quincy, IL

    There in NO extra weight with the 302 and C4.... quite the contrary! The SBF and C4 combo are considerably lighter than either a Ford flathead V8 or straight 6.

    C Stroh likes this.
  16. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 882

    from Alabama

    The 302 is 100lbs lighter than the flathead six or V8
    C Stroh likes this.
  17. C Stroh
    Joined: Saturday
    Posts: 4

    C Stroh

    Really? That simplifies a lot then. I had no idea. I always though the flathead was tiny.
  18. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 4,781

    seb fontana
    from ct

    Imo weight diff is pretty much nill...The ONLY reason to change the steering box is for a quicker ratio; which depending on one's strength necessitates a power assist..Fatman working with Borgenson has come out with a power box conversion, should put the turns lock to lock at about 3.6 or so..$$ but will behave great...

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