500 to 1938 El Camino

FauxPontiac

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500 into 1938 El Camino

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FauxPontiac

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Narrowing the frame 2" starting with front suspension crossmember.

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Caddylackn

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Very nice work.

What year and model frame are you starting with?
Is your crossmember brace/form just for mocking up, or permanent?
 

FauxPontiac

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It is a 1980 Chevrolet 3/4 ton 2WD long bed frame. Since a 3/4 ton is roughly 10" wider than a 1938 passenger car (this started life as a 2-door sedan), I have to find a way to skinny things up in track width:

1. Cut 2" out of every crossmember. This is more than a number I just grabbed out of thin air. They made something called a cab and chassis 1-ton in the 70's and 80's. It was a dually devoid of a pickup bed; usually destined to become a wrecker. Those 14-bolt full floater axles are about 6 inches narrower than a standard dually 1-ton Corporate 14-bolt. And as far as the perches, they are exactly 2" closer together. They did this with 1" skinnier spring perches on either side of the frame (cab and chassis frame rails are still the same distance apart as a regular dually). So by losing the 2" in the crossmembers, my axle will plug right in without even cutting the perches off. The 14-bolt has a whopping 10.5" ring gear and 1.5" thick axles.

2. 2" wider than stock fiberglass front fenders: 2+2+2=6"

3. Dually front wheels, but instead of using the extended pig snoot front rotors that a normal dually uses to offset the wheels out because they want to maintain interchangeability of the wheels, I will be going with an abbreviated pig snoot rotor. Normally that would not be enough clearance to the calipers, but I plan on using 17" steel Dodge dually rims instead of the 16" rims the Chevy was equipped with.

I won't know how correct I am, until I get the frame narrowed, the 1980 3/4 ton front suspension rebuilt and mocked up, and the body on the chassis. Then I will recheck my track width vs my front fenders.

The rectangular bar in the second group of photos was just a temporary fixture to maintain the relationship of the two sides to each other and prevent warpage during welding. Note the DOM round tubing with the pin. Once cut apart, the two sides could be pinned back together. The fixture is out of the way now. The unusual doubler on the bottom stays. There will be a doubler on the top eventually to back up the butt welded seam, but I must first determine what if any alterations will need to be made to fit the engine.

It will be a dually, roughly 8 foot bed, have the passenger door length of a 2-door sedan making for a much more spacious cab than the typical phone booth pickup cab. They also sit lower than a pickup cab, and have shorter windows.

Photo of the front suspension crossmember after welding back together. 2nd photo is the cab a chassis 14 bolt in the foreground, and the single rear wheel 14-bolt in the background. Note how the perches are closer together on the cab and chassis axle, and the reduced WMS. 3rd photo is the normal dually pig snoot rotor. Mine will be shorter. Fourth photo: All crossmembers now cut for 2" width reduction; except the transmission crossmember, which I will build from scratch. Fifth photo: rare 3.21 gear set for the 14-bolt I found. Mine is probably a 4.10. I will probably go with a Detroit Locker.

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Darius

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FAUX,

You've obviously given this project a lot of thought as there is nothing conventional about your undertaking! I don't remember any other project here on the forum that began with such beefy components. How in the world did you come up with this approach?

bro. d
 

FauxPontiac

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FAUX,

You've obviously given this project a lot of thought as there is nothing conventional about your undertaking! I don't remember any other project here on the forum that began with such beefy components. How in the world did you come up with this approach?

bro. d
I am going to have to get in my Way-Back machine to answer this question.

Twenty three years ago I almost completed a different frame for this. It involved a 2 foot stretch of the '38 frame and an IFS. I discovered that I could not fit a very wide tire in the back, because I had installed side saddle springs vs the original '38 frame undermounted springs. So I set the frame to the side to start collecting a different set of parts so I could start over. I felt I could do better, and also thought that a Mustang II IFS was a little light duty (it was only going to be a single rear wheel truck then). I eventually acquired a 1980 3/4-ton minus the engine and transmission. I was never a huge fan of the SBC, and in the mean time I was learning about the Big Cad from Street Rodder. I would go around buying them up, and eventually gathered up a 1971 472, a 1972 472, a 1975 500, and a 1976 500 Eldo.
 

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FauxPontiac

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That original frame did not go to waste. It was kind of in the way for a long time, then one day I made medical history and separated the siamese twins of my English Wheel and engine crane which I had built prior (the really tall boom when stowed, did not go under my garage door very easy. I was also getting too old to "catch" the English wheel when lowering it). I constructed a plain boom for the crane, and my English wheel now needed a new home. It found its home on that frame. I built an additional smaller C-frame to use as a pneumatic planishing hammer. The 3/4 ton Chevy truck happened to have a 1/4" 4'x8' steel plate in the bed for a fifth wheel mount. That plate was welded to the top of the frame to become a giant work station for working sheet metal. I can lay a sandbag down, hammer, pivot left for the English wheel and pivot right to use the planishing hammer. The pogo's in the back store sheet steel, and underneath you can stick 3 Cadillac motors. It weighs in at about 2300 lbs.
 

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FauxPontiac

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In between the original English wheel project, and the work station project, I rebuilt an International Scout II. It was originally just going to be a winter beater that I was going to fix the rust on. As I kept cutting away the rust, there was not much left. It took many years of welding. Hanging out with the 4WD crowd introduced me to the world of big axles. The Scout has Dana 60's front and rear now. I learned a lot about the Corporate 14-bolt. I would have gone that route with the Scout, but they need the pumpkin shaved to avoid catching rocks (it hangs down too much). Other than a low hanging pumpkin, the 14-bolt has no Achille's heel (except maybe for weight-I had to build a special fixture with scissor jacks for removing and installing them). The whole deal with a dually for the '38 is because I thought it might be nice to leave 4 stripes instead of just two.
 

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FauxPontiac

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I bolted in the 2" narrowed front suspension crossmember; sliding the right frame rail over 2" to meet the left one. I placed a 2" shim on the outside of the frame rail at the wooden goal post and refastened the rails to the wood. Then I welded the rest of the crossmembers together. It was good to have made the wooden fixture, because it holds everything square and level. Dana/Hayes was the original supplier for the carrier support bearing and that crossmember so I made that doubler to be the same shape as their logo.

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Darius

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WOW!!

If I smile pretty MAY I Please have some of the energy pills/drink you must be gulping down?

bro. "needy in the worst way," d
 

FauxPontiac

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New leaf spring bushings from AC Delco. These were more difficult to get out than most, due to a very thick wall exerting a lot of outward pressure on the inside of the eye. First, I separated the inner core from the outer sleeve by grinding through the rubber with a hole saw. Then, my normal method of folding them in slightly then sticking the fork tail air chisel bit and running it through to the other side did not work because the very first one broke it. I resorted to grinding a trough from one side to the other with a carbide rotary file. That was enough on the smaller diameter ones to make them so they could be hammered out with the bushing driver set. The bigger ones did not give up so easily, and they had to be hammered out with the air chisel and a round bit. I might not have bothered doing any of this but two of the six bolts had to be cut through with a thin cutoff wheel because they were seized inside the inner core. I have new hardware from Fastenal. They were cheaper than the big restoration house. That almost never happens.

Actually, my accelerated progress is only due to a furlough. Things will get back to a more normal pace soon. I have been at this project since 1997; but have only really worked on it a couple of those years at most. :oops:

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