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F.M.J suspension swap #3191878
11/18/23 06:37 PM
11/18/23 06:37 PM
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Canada
CrAzYMoPaRGuY Offline OP
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CrAzYMoPaRGuY  Offline OP
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I own and have owned lots of J body Cordobas,
I like the way they drive, not an issue lol
GENE!!! I know you have tried one. I'm looking at installing the front suspension in a 1960 Dodge Town Panel, for a daily driver. I have J body clips already. (Yessss, I have Dakotas here and there too lol)
I'm wondering how you attached the F/M/J clip you did, and how the track was (not sure what vehicle it went in)

ANY INPUT???? lol

Thanks


CrAzYMoPaRGuY
Re: F.M.J suspension swap [Re: CrAzYMoPaRGuY] #3192123
11/20/23 12:15 AM
11/20/23 12:15 AM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,641
Freeport IL USA
poorboy Offline
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Given the choice for use on a 60 Dodge town panel between an F,M & J crossmember and a Dakota, I would go with the Dakota. Yes, I have done both.
The FMJ clip was great when it was the only affordable Mopar option back in the day (1992 ish), when I built my 54 Dodge pickup.

The biggest deal with the "F" body clip is you have to fabricate everything forward of the firewall. At the time Tex Smith had a book on using that crossmember on a 53 Dodge pickup, and that book was the authority, but the book was missing important numbers (like the lengths of the tubing) and the info on welding the tubing to the OEM framer was incorrect, the truck sat way too low. The forward front frame rails were 4 pieces of 1/8" wall 2" x 4" tubing. As I remember the deal (it was a long time ago), the 4 mounting points for the crossmember have wider spacing at the front then they do at the back. The rear pair tubes are welded onto the OEM frame at about the firewall. I believe I had to cut the bottom flange off the OEM frame because if I welded the tubing below the bottom flange, the truck sat way too low, and if I inside the OEM frame and above the bottom flange it sat pretty high.. There was a recommended 4" over lap between the OEM frame and that rear tubing. Then the front tubing was added on the outside of the rear tubing with a 4" overlap. Before you welded the tubing to the OEM frame, each piece had to have a notch cut out for the rubber body bushing to sit in, then you had to weld in a "new" bottom on the tubing to hold the rubber bushing, and you had to cut an access hole in the inside so you could bolt the cross member to the finished frame. You also had to make a clearance notch on the outer bottom edge of the tubing to clear the bolted on cross member. Then you had to fabricate a front cross member so you had something support the radiator and to bolt the front bumper to. There was serious modification to the firewall for the motor to clear (my 360 motor sat 6" into the cab and you also had to modify the floor for the steering column. The steering column was a challenge as well because the distance between the firewall and the steering box mount on the cross member is very close.

On the Dakota, were you thinking using the entire Dakota frame, or just the front clip? Someone here has recently clipped a 57 Dodge pickup with a Dakota frame, I would look at that. If you use the entire Dakota frame, the area behind the seat is kicked up above the rear axle, and it will raise the rear floor of your panel about 6" or 7". Probably not want you want to do with the Town Panel.

i have a couple old pictures here of my 54 frame before it went under the cab(most of the pictures went with the truck). if I can get my stuff to cooperate with me. Taking pictures of pictures is always a challenge. The pictures posted are my 54 with the F,M,J clip. For reference, the front edge of the running boards did not clear a 12 oz Pepsi can, and the bottom of the front bumper had some really deep gouges in it. The cross torsion bars could not raise the front end more then an inch, and then that 1" lift didn't last very long before it was back down where it was. If I had it to do over, I would have welded that rear tubing into the OEM frame another inch higher then I did. It was a fast hard lesson about how to drive a very low truck. It drove great (once you got in it) Back then I was still pretty skinny, but the steering wheel (with a tilt) was very close to my belly.. We put 40,000 miles on it before I found something I thought I had to have worse. That 54 pick up is the only previously owned vehicle I would ever considered wanting back.

If I can post the frame pics, I'll add them later.

Picture 037.jpgPicture 036.jpgPicture 038.jpg
Re: F.M.J suspension swap [Re: poorboy] #3192126
11/20/23 12:51 AM
11/20/23 12:51 AM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,641
Freeport IL USA
poorboy Offline
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Crappy pictures of pictures.

100_1082.JPG100_1084.JPG100_1086.JPG
Re: F.M.J suspension swap [Re: CrAzYMoPaRGuY] #3192544
11/22/23 12:53 AM
11/22/23 12:53 AM
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Dandridge TN
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Dabee Offline
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Agree with Poorboy on using the Dakota front end. Here is the link for the 55 Dodge truck I did with a 2004 Dakota front end.

https://board.moparts.org/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php/topics/3093763/1.html

Re: F.M.J suspension swap [Re: CrAzYMoPaRGuY] #3195611
12/06/23 07:59 AM
12/06/23 07:59 AM
Joined: Sep 2021
Posts: 20
SWFL
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Tie Rod Garage Offline
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SWFL
If available, I feel the 1996 and older dakota frames are the best choice. 97 and newer make wheel choice more difficult, but that can be solved too.


1941 Dodge WC, 493 cid twin turbo FAST XFI
2002 Dakota R/T RC
Re: F.M.J suspension swap [Re: poorboy] #3208643
01/27/24 10:17 PM
01/27/24 10:17 PM
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Posts: 16,480
Canada
CrAzYMoPaRGuY Offline OP
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Thanks Gene!!! As soon as I wrote this my computer pooched. Back up and running geez


CrAzYMoPaRGuY
Re: F.M.J suspension swap [Re: CrAzYMoPaRGuY] #3208644
01/27/24 10:24 PM
01/27/24 10:24 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 16,480
Canada
CrAzYMoPaRGuY Offline OP
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CrAzYMoPaRGuY  Offline OP
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Like an idiot I've now collected all years of Dakotas for a donor. 1994 to 2001. Regular cabs, extra cabs, long box and shortbox, lol
Thanks guys!!! It's finding a good panel shell that isn't easy!!!


CrAzYMoPaRGuY
Re: F.M.J suspension swap [Re: CrAzYMoPaRGuY] #3208648
01/27/24 11:04 PM
01/27/24 11:04 PM
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Posts: 10,641
Freeport IL USA
poorboy Offline
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Years ago my son had a 56 Dodge panel (it is the school bus yellow thing in the back ground of some of the pictures posted on this thread). My son sandblasted the inside of the body, and we patched up the rear wheel wells, then installed an LA 360 727. it was still on the original frame. He had some leaf springs removed from both the front and rear spring packs and drove it through most of his high school years. He sold it to a guy in our local area, and that guy lost his license with it and sold it to someone else near here. That thing was scary to drive because the ends of the front leaf springs wore grooves into the other leafs, when ever it hit a bump, you never knew which direction it was going to take off in.

The reason I posted it is because every so often that panel shows up for sale. The guy doesn't know squat about it, and the asking price is $5500 every time it shows up. The ad runs it course, then you don't hear about it until the next time it shows up again. It currently is in black primer. The panel would probably be a great body shell for a Dakota frame swap. Its about due to show up again, but we are probably a long way from you.

Re: F.M.J suspension swap [Re: poorboy] #3208655
01/28/24 12:06 AM
01/28/24 12:06 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 16,480
Canada
CrAzYMoPaRGuY Offline OP
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CrAzYMoPaRGuY  Offline OP
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Definitely far lol
There is a panel in Saskatchewan, about an 18 hour drive each way- looks decent but the body has patches for sure, the owner told me. I don't want to buy and find out there is a nightmare under the paint. He's asking $15,000 Canadian pesos. Runs and drive with a 318/904 but that's a lotta money for using a questionable shell !?


CrAzYMoPaRGuY
Re: F.M.J suspension swap [Re: CrAzYMoPaRGuY] #3209805
02/01/24 03:33 PM
02/01/24 03:33 PM
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Dandridge TN
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Dabee Offline
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Yes good panel trucks are hard to get. Sold this one about five years ago. Sat in my barn for over six years and never touched it. Put it on marketplace and sold in two days.

IMG_0925.jpeg
Re: F.M.J suspension swap [Re: Dabee] #3229589
04/27/24 09:21 PM
04/27/24 09:21 PM
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Posts: 16,480
Canada
CrAzYMoPaRGuY Offline OP
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CrAzYMoPaRGuY  Offline OP
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Looks like a nice panel!! We have a local panel same year as that, 440 powered.I'm looking for a 1958 to 1966 Town Panel.


CrAzYMoPaRGuY
Re: F.M.J suspension swap [Re: CrAzYMoPaRGuY] #3229735
04/28/24 01:18 PM
04/28/24 01:18 PM
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Central Florida
larrymopar360 Offline
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Gene, I see at least one Ford and one Pontiac mixed in at your Mopar Ranch tsk laugh


Facts are stubborn things.
Re: F.M.J suspension swap [Re: larrymopar360] #3229806
04/28/24 07:19 PM
04/28/24 07:19 PM
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Freeport IL USA
poorboy Offline
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Originally Posted by larrymopar360
Gene, I see at least one Ford and one Pontiac mixed in at your Mopar Ranch tsk laugh


if you are referring to the rides in the background in the picture of the truck frame, that picture was taken at my old shop where there was an auto repair shop, a towing service, and a guy that sold springs and body parts that owned a junk yard years before that shared a common "parking" area. Those rides in the background belong to the other guys.

In my history was 1 Oldsmobile that was my dad's car, the first car I ever drove, and the Buick that was the first car I bought. I had 1 Ford I traded in that took 3 weeks to get rid of, and 3 Chevys, two were part of a package deal that both went to the neighbor that used to have the junk yard, as soon as I dropped them off, (he met me in the parking lot and bought them both), and one that got sold before it ever made it to my house (the kid that went with me to drive it home bought it). I have had the misfortune to have to work on those other cars through the years, I made some pretty good money repairing and patching up those rust buckets. The only official non-Mopar in my ownership papers was that 1st car, the Buick, between it and dad's Olds before it, I learned those GM cars couldn't handle my driving habits.

I am guilty of parting out and scrapping a lot of performance era Mopars though. None of them would have survived this long.

Edit: I did have to go back and look at the cars in the background of that frame picture. The dark blue 5th Ave would have been my son's high school ride. The school bus yellow panel one the one inside pic was his project. The green cab in the same pic was what went on the frame.

Last edited by poorboy; 04/28/24 07:26 PM.
Re: F.M.J suspension swap [Re: larrymopar360] #3230924
05/04/24 01:38 AM
05/04/24 01:38 AM
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Canada
CrAzYMoPaRGuY Offline OP
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CrAzYMoPaRGuY  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by larrymopar360
Gene, I see at least one Ford and one Pontiac mixed in at your Mopar Ranch tsk laugh


I've got ONE Chevy too!!!!! lol


CrAzYMoPaRGuY






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