Frame swap question

Posted By: JWK57D100

Frame swap question - 09/16/20 05:41 PM

I have decided for sure to swap the body on my 57 D100 to a dakota. I went back and forth about doing the front clip or the whole frame but decided to go with the complete swap. I think this will make it easier in the long run keeping the drive train lined up and not having to make more mods outside or the body mounts and transmission tunnel. The thing I need help with is year choice for the donor truck, I have found an 88 and 98 for close to the same price and I know with the mid 90's model it has the 6 lug and I would loose a good deal of bed space. Is this going to be the same on each year or would the older frame have less rise in the rear of the frame. Thanks in advance guys.

Posted By: Old Ray

Re: Frame swap question - 09/16/20 08:10 PM

The resident expert and guru on frame swaps will be along shortly, but if the wheel bolt pattern is a concern they can be changed to a five bolt, as I have done on a '92.
Would fuel injection or carb be required?
Posted By: poorboy

Re: Frame swap question - 09/17/20 02:35 AM

96 is the last year the 6 bolt wheels can easily be change back to a 5 bolt. After 97, The front hubs and suspension was changed, and none of the 96 and older stuff works.

All the Dakotas have the raised rear frame. It kicks up to cover the fuel tank, which is inside the frame rail, then just does not drop back down. If you have a high side box from 50 or so, or newer, you can get a 13" deep box. Its the nature of the beast.
Whichever frame you use, expect to have to modify it to match the wheel base of whatever body your going to use. Its easier to shorten a frame then it is to make one longer, and between the front fuel tank cross member and the back of the cab is the easiest place to shorten one.
You also probably should expect to move the firewall back into the cab at least an inch or two, other wise things like firewall clearance, radiator clearance, and front axle position in relation to the wheels in the front fenders gets really close.

I'm currently putting a 49 Dodge on a 93 4x4 chassis, and I'm using the 318 drive train out of a 95 Dakota. The 48-53 cab and front clip are about the shortest front end Dodge made. I have the entire drive train bolted to the factory Dakota stuff, and I used a Dakota firewall spliced into the recessed area of the 49 firewall. I wish I would have moved the firewall back another inch, or two. The motor to firewall is very close, and I had to cut the top 8" off the Dakota radiator support. I also had to notch both corners of the nose to clear the radiator. There is about 2" of clearance between the radiator core and the front nose piece sheet metal. There won't be an AC condenser in there. I also have to fabricate all the metal to attach the nose to the radiator support. The truck is nearly to fire up and move under its own power.
When I get to the point it moves, I suspect I'm going to have to cut the front fenders and move the wheel arches 2" towards the rear, and probably raise them up an inch or two to clear the 235/ 75/15 tires. Had I moved the firewall back into the cab 2". I would have moved the cab forward those 2" and I would have had more room in front of the radiator, and the tires may have better cleared the fenders, maybe.
Both the Dakota donor, and the 49 have 6 1/2' beds. I'm going to use the box floor and front panel and cut the sides off to mount the 49 box sides. The Dakota rear axle (96 6 bolt) is a couple inches narrower then the 49 was, so I will have to cut the 49 box sides around the tires and wheels for clearance. When I cut the Dakota floor, I will also cut the wheel tubs to match up to the cuts in the bed sides.

1) shortened frame. Notice how high the cross member is just in front of the rear axle? That cross member is one of the two the Dakota fuel tank is strapped to. One of the bed cross channels actually sits down inside of that cross member. That little nub thing ahead of the raised fuel tank cross member is the front box mount. This frame was cut between that front box mount and the raised cross member. The standard fuel tank still bolts into place without modification.

2) this is my cab with the firewall and the trans tunnel cut out. I should have trimmed back to the flat pieces, and recessed the entire firewall back 2".

3) Dakota firewall welded in place. This cab had a pretty heavy gauge floor pan installed that I didn't remove. Modification was required to get the lower Dakota's firewall to match up with the cab floor pan.

4) The process of setting the cab on the chassis takes time. You have to trim, and cut stuff to get it to fit at all, then you get to cut it some more to get clearance as you slide it around to get it into position. This is a good picture of how the fuel tank fits on the frame. You can also see I had to cut a chunk out of the back of the cab, and a section of the cab rear floor to clear the fuel tank. Inside the cab, you can see the firewall is still intact, and the hole for the trans is pretty small. This may have been only the 2nd or 3rd test fit. All the cut holes ended up being about 3x larger then what they were on the 1st cut, but you go at it slow, so you keep everything as close as you can. The motor was bolted to the frame, so you measure, and cut small holes, then see how it fits. Mark how much more you need to cut, lift the cab and roll it back away from the frame and cut to your marks, then test fit again. i lifted the cab off the frame at least 5 times that day. At the end of the day, the cab was sitting on the blocks to get the firewall cut out (picture 2).

Don't be mislead, this is not a simple slam it together in a few hours project. This is the 5th one I've done. I'm retired now, I started this project July 8th, and have probably put in a good 25-30 hours a week on it. I started with an already shortened frame and a cab (and all the sheet metal) that sat on top of the frame, with the front cab mounts welded to the frame. I had a running, driving Dakota donor, and i have experience doing this. Realisticly, I'm probably 50 -60 hours away from driving it up and down my driveway. Then all I have to do is install glass, install wipers, fix the cowl vent, install a dash, do the interior, and do body work and paint. The goal is to have it a daily driver by spring, with or without paint.
I'll try to get pictures of the front end tomorrow. Gene

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Posted By: JWK57D100

Re: Frame swap question - 09/17/20 03:13 AM

Thank you for taking time to explain a little of that and add some pictures as well. I know that this will not be a quick project by no means and have done some research on the process, videos don't make the job easier though. I do know that I have to shorten the frame and if I go with the 88 it will be about 4 inches to make everything line up and have the wheels located in the fenders properly. I did not know where would be best to shorten it so thanks a ton for that information. I had also planned on trying to use the Dakota firewall and maybe the floor itself if I can get it to line up right but we will have to see about that. I am building a 360 to replace the 318 that is in the truck now and did expect to have to relocate the firewall I just had no idea how far. With the 88 I am looking at the steering column looks very basic and I was curious if you used any of the dakota steering columns in any of your builds to line up and convert to power steering? Again, thank you so much for the time and help with this. I will make sure to have a post on here as I go forward and if you don't mind I may ask you for advice if I get stuck.

Posted By: Old Ray

Re: Frame swap question - 09/17/20 03:30 PM

Gene is my hero and I am not worthy.

But to just offer info on the other alternate you mentioned I did the Dakota front frame clip on my '56 wagon.
Many benefits (for me), the frames are exactly the same width (@ sweet spot) and no rear frame mods required for the car body.

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Posted By: poorboy

Re: Frame swap question - 09/18/20 01:41 AM

Jeremy, I've used the Dakota column on the last 3 frame swaps, because I've also used the Dakota wiring harness to keep the efi. After 92 or so, the Dakota column had a factory air bag. When they went to the air bag, they also added an under the dash black box that everything under the dash runs through. With the addition of the black box, all the in truck switches changed from simple off/on to a variable voltage reading. Turn the wipers on, you get a change in the voltage coming from the switch, change from low speed on the wipers to high speed results in another voltage change, and if you shut the wipers off, you get another voltage change. As a system, it all works, but to use components individually it all becomes a nightmare. After market wiring, switches, and the components they operate would solve the issue, but the last 3 conversions involved a functioning system with very good wiring and I was too cheap and in too big of a hurry to change it all out.

I've also used the Dakota floor pan (if it was good), when it made sense. I did a 39-47 and the Dakota pan was just too wide, nothing really fit or lined up. I probably could have used the Dakota pan on my 49, but the original floor was replaced at one time, and they used 1/8" plate. I did use the firewall, and the trans tunnel (back to the 49's seat bracket). I also used the Dakota HVAC box, it bolted to the firewall intact (the 39 cab was not wide enough to use the Dakota HVAC box, and my 48 Plymouth coupe was just short of being wide enough, on it I cut off the recirculating duct and redid it). The 49 has a functioning fresh air vent that opens and closes on top of the cowl, I'd sure like to keep that, but I'm going to have to redesign the lever that opens and closes it because the Dakota box occupies the area the lever used to reside in. I also will be using the Dakota AC (if I can figure out where to put the condenser) and that will need a fresh air inlet to draw outside air during both heat and AC cycles. I'm still giving both the fresh air systems a great deal of thought.

A windshield wiper system is another project. Everything involved with the original truck wiper system was gone on my truck. Those wiper would stroke in opposite directions. I can use the entire Dakota system, if I make brackets and re-engineer everything. All the modern wiper stuff strokes the wipers in the same direction. On my coupe I installed an idler pivot that changed the direction of the one wiper arm, it works, but requires a consistent re-lubing. Something I won't be able to do on this truck.

If the high box floor really bothers you, you can also use the Dakota front clip and splice it to the rear frame on your 57. Behind the trans cross member, under the cab, would be a good place to splice your frame in. If you splice it under the cab, all your original springs and box mounting will still work. You won't be able to use the Dakota fuel tank, but other tanks will work. You can get other tanks for use with EFI electric intake fuel pumps, or for carb use with or without an in tank pump.

I'm willing to help with anything I can, I'm on Moparts nearly every night. Gene
Posted By: JWK57D100

Re: Frame swap question - 09/18/20 05:13 AM

Thank you both for the advice and help.
The steering column having everything already wired was another reason why I wanted to use the dakota column and my lack of patience for trying to wire it all again.. That and it would also be easier when I go to connect the power steering and everything if I just use the existing column, like the brake system. I do have the motor and the windshield wiper assembly minus the actual blades so I will have to figure that out with the newer column. I'm not good enough to try and fit the ac system in this one so I will have to just handle the heat or keep it home that day I guess. I want to try and use the firewall and as much of the floor pan/trans tunnel as possible to avoid having to fabricate a new one. When you used the floor pans before on your builds did the cab mounts stay intact with the pan or did you still have to fab new ones?
The higher bed floor doesn't bother me that much really to be honest. I considered just doing the front clip but with the dakota drive drain being offset to the right I didn't know how much trouble that would have caused with lining the trans up with the rear end later in the build so for me it seemed easier to just use the whole frame, insert any advice if I am looking at it the wrong way or over complicating it. A question for you and Ol Ray both about the frame shortening and front clip swap. I have welded most of my adult life and am confident in my welds but not in my ability to align the frame correctly. Did either or both of you do your own modifications on the frames or did you have someone do it? The shops here in California want half an arm to just shorten a frame by 4 inches so I am just curious how you guys went about it.

Posted By: Old Ray

Re: Frame swap question - 09/18/20 02:14 PM

I think my Donner was a '92 with no air bag / variable voltage but I will confirm the year if it is not. I used the OEM column but it is never easy into a different body.
This is the only picture I have of the column at this time.
As far as the frame splice, after much research and consultation with Gene, and me over complicating things, the key items where:
compressing the front springs by redi-rod (all thread) to ride height, taking the front of frame / A arms angle measurements, and most critical squaring the frame to the original wheelbase.
All the other items will have to be adjusted to fit, engine setback, etc. My car was a registered vehicle and did not require an inspection.
Your frame probably is a different width so some of this is not applicable. I have a rambling disjointed build thread here:

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Posted By: Dabee

Re: Frame swap question - 09/18/20 09:59 PM

Here is a link to a build I did back in 2013 you may want to read. I have put over 53,000 miles on this build with no issues

Good luck on your build. It’s a lot of work and a real adventure but worth it in the end.
Posted By: poorboy

Re: Frame swap question - 09/19/20 03:29 AM

Jeremy, Mopar as been offsetting the drive train in the frame for years, as have most manufacturers. Unless you have a really short driveshaft, the U joints can accommodate a 30 degree angle at each end, as long as the angles are not trying to bend the shaft into a U. That would amount to about a 3"-4" offset.
Usually, when you do a frame swap, you usually have to move either the cab mounts on the floor, or you have to move the cab mounts on the frame, and a lot of times, you end up moving both. The front cab mounts on a Dakota are way out wide, and most of the older stuff isn't wide enough to use the Dakota mounts in their original position. If, for example, your 57 cab is 60" wide, and the Dakota floor pan is 65" wide (not actual measurements) your going to have to trim the width of the Dakota floor to fit your cab, and what you trim off will probably be at the cab mounts on the Dakota floor. Very seldom is the rear cab mounts in the proper position.

Cab mounts can be pretty simple. You add a bracket to the outside of the frame, a 3" wide piece of angle iron will work, or a 3" channel iron will work, or even a 1/8" thick piece of formed metal with side walls and a top plate. The end of the bracket needs to stick out from the frame somewhere between 3" and 6" (though I've made them longer then that), and about an inch in from the outward edge of the top flat plate you need a 1/2" hole. You want that bracket the same on both sides of the truck, and at the same location on the frame. Then you need a rubber bushing, flat rubber, a block of wood, or an actual body mount rubber bushing (I prefer the actual cab mount bushings) that is at least 2" on diameter with a 1/2" hole through the center to act as a cushion. The top of that cushion needs to be above the frame, and it will sit on top of your bracket that is welded to the side of the frame. You need the place on the floor pan that lines up with the hole in your bracket to be reinforced, read that as at least double floor pan thickness, I use a piece of 1/8" flat that is larger then the cushion diameter. My preference is for that reinforcing plate to at least be tack welded (I fully weld mine) to the floor pan with a 1/2" hole that lines up with the hole in the frame bracket.I use a 1/2" grade 8 bolt, with a flat washer under the bolt head, push it through the hole in the floor pan, through the rubber bushing cushion, and through the bottom bracket. Then I add another flat washer, and a luck nut. Tighten the bolt until the rubber just starts to compress. You can get way more fancy if you wish. You can add a recess so the bolt head is below the floor pan surface, and you can add a rubber under the frame bracket. Actual cab mount bushings have a step bottom that would fit into a larger diameter hole cut in the frame bracket.They also have a steel sleeve the bolt passes through, and usually there is another piece of rubber that goes under the frame bracket with a very large formed steel washer. The actual body mount bushings cut down on the chance of the bolt rubbing on the sides of the hole and making noise. That also help to keep the rubber from being squashed too much and having it start to fail.

Frame shortening: All the area around the weld joint needs to be cleaned to shinny metal, inside, outside, for at least a 1/2" either side of the weld. You have to make sure both frame rails are the same length, and are square with each other. You also need to be sure the upper control arms on the Dakota front suspension maintains the same degrees of angle. They are not set flat to the earth, the front control arm bushing is higher then the rear bushing to get a proper wheel alignment and good driving traits when your driving. All frames have alignment holes formed in them. Their purpose to to get the vehicle pulled back to straight after a crash. Those alignment holes match the same location on both sides of the frame and there are 8 or 10 pairs of them on each frame. Find a pair on the front clip, well forward of where your splicing (or shortening) the frame from. There should be a pair just before the frame kicks up to accommodate the front suspension. Locate a pair well behind where your going to splice. Mark both pairs so you an find them easily. With the frame on stands (8 of them, 2 on each side of the frame cut lines, and two on the front section, and two on the rear section, once the frame is cut, the jack stands will be the only support for the frame sections) set it up so the rails are level. Check the frame for straightness, measure each side from the front alignment hole to the rear alignment on the same side, and write that number down. Now do a cross measurement from the front hole on one side to the rear hole on the other side. record those numbers. The measurement from the front to the rear hole on each side should be the same (+ or - 1/8"). Both cross measurements should also be the same (+ or - 1/8"). If they are not, you need to get your frame straightened before you cut it.

So the frame is straight. Lets say I'm going to shorten the frame 6". I will clean up the area that will be welded on both edges before I cut it. Then using a square, I will draw a vertical line at least 4" in front of where I'm going to cut and remove the chunk. Then, again using the square I will draw another line at least 4" behind where I'm cutting the chunk out. That is going to give me two square lines 8" apart, after the chunk is removed. I'll do this on both sides. Carefully measure out where the cut lines will be made. It may be best to leave yourself a little extra 1/*" off the cut line, then grind the extra off to be sure the cut is in the correct position. If the jack stands were properly place, once the first cut was made, nothing should move after the cut was done. Make all your cuts and clean up the edges. Slide the front frame and the rear frame section together. Make sure everything is still flat and aligned. At this point I will clamp a short piece of tubing or angle to the outside edges of the frame rail (on both sides), and I will also clamp a tube or an angle to the bottom edge. Then I will measure the distance of my drawn lines. If that is good, I will do the measurements of the alignment holes. If we are still good, tack weld all 4 corners of the splice on both sides, and check my lines, then check the alignment holes. Then I will make a series of short 1" long welds (the same area on each frame fail), checking my measurements after each pairs of welds. After a couple pairs of welds, I will remove my tubes angles and clamps. Are you getting the idea how badly I want to be sure is staying square? Repeat until its fully welded.
After the welding is done, and the frame is nice and square, I will probably also add a diamond shape piece of 1/8" plate (fish plate it) over top of the joint. The place I usually do my splice is at the channel section of the frame. Often times I will use the piece I cut out to box the channel section. Gene
Posted By: Old Ray

Re: Frame swap question - 09/19/20 01:47 PM

bow bow bow
Posted By: JWK57D100

Re: Frame swap question - 09/19/20 11:12 PM

Thanks for all the information, most of that makes sense without actually looking at the frame right in front of me. Found a 91 regular cab, long bed that I should have by the end of the weekend. Let the fun begin and Ill keep plugging away in here for advice and updates.
Posted By: JWK57D100

Re: Frame swap question - 09/24/20 04:52 PM

Picked up my donor truck yesterday for less than 500 bucks. I paid about 60 bucks more than I wanted to but I finally got it. The frame is in good shape and has a little surface rust but nothing that can't be removed really easy. The floor pan on the truck is in great shape as well and there is no rust at all on the bottom of the cab. I have to pull the carpet to see what the top is like but I think it will be clean to us as long as it fits. I am still trying to decide if I want to build a carborated 360 or drop a 5.7 Hemi in it. I have been talking with the guys at hot wire to see how their harnesses work and I think that might be an easier option than I thought. I still have a long way to go before I am ready for that but I want to plan ahead as much as I can. Once I get going I will start a thread with good photos and details of the process.

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Posted By: 70runner

Re: Frame swap question - 09/24/20 11:10 PM

That is a really nice looking trailer wink
Posted By: poorboy

Re: Frame swap question - 09/25/20 01:49 AM

I've installed 3 Hot Wire harnesses. One 360 Magnum EFI, and (2) 5.7 Hemis. Their harnesses flat out work. They are a plug and play, you only need to connect 4 wires to you vehicle and you have functioning EFI. Should there be a problem, their tech line is outstanding, they walked me through a screw up I did on the 1st one.
I'd install their harnesses in everything if I wasn't so cheap. Gene
Posted By: JWK57D100

Re: Frame swap question - 09/26/20 05:37 PM

As always coming through with first hand knowledge, thanks.

It's not a bad looking trailer at all, the guy that pulls it though..... he's not bad either.
Posted By: Dabee

Re: Frame swap question - 09/29/20 11:04 PM

Originally Posted by poorboy
I've installed 3 Hot Wire harnesses. One 360 Magnum EFI, and (2) 5.7 Hemis. Their harnesses flat out work. They are a plug and play, you only need to connect 4 wires to you vehicle and you have functioning EFI. Should there be a problem, their tech line is outstanding, they walked me through a screw up I did on the 1st one.
I'd install their harnesses in everything if I wasn't so cheap. Gene

up installed a Hotwire harness in my 5.7 powered 55 Dodge Truck in 2013. I have over 52,000 miles on it now with not one wire problem. They make quality stuff.
Posted By: JWK57D100

Re: Frame swap question - 09/30/20 07:07 PM

I have started stripping the dakota down and thinking ahead about shortening the frame. I need to shorten the frame 16 inches, give or take once I get precise measurements, which will have the bed mount hitting the crossmember, The chalk lines on the frame are close to what I need to cut out to make the wheels fit under the 57 body right. Do I just grind them off and reposition them? That seems like the thing to do in my head but I want to see what you guys have done or if this has ever been an issue. I know the cab mounts have to be fab'd so that isn't my concern really. There will be more of these to come I am sure and don't mind the boxed drawing I was thinking about ways to cut and weld the frame.

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Posted By: Dabee

Re: Frame swap question - 10/01/20 12:45 AM

Looks close to what I have done. You are on the right path.
Posted By: poorboy

Re: Frame swap question - 10/01/20 12:46 AM

The mounting points on the left are for the front of the bed. The one on the right is the gas tank support. There should also be a pair of bed mounting points just to the back side of the gas tank support.
What are you doing with the bed floor, making a wood floor, or using the cut down Dakota steel floor? For that matter, are you keeping the Dakota fuel tank?

Often times, the bed mounting points on the left side of your picture will sit behind the "new" cab and may be positioned in about the correct location for the front bed cross member, you will want to check that. If the front bed mount bracket is used, the standard front cross member on the Dakota's steel bed floor lifts the floor high enough to clear the fuel tank's frame mounted cross member. If your using the Dakota fuel tank, there is enough leeway for the front tank strap that tank cross member can be fudged towards the rear up to an inch or so for additional clearance on the bed cross members.

When I built the 39 Dodge, I ended up removing the front bed mounts on the frame because there was too much space between the cab and the front of the bed. I also was using an 8' Dakota bed so I bolted the bed floor to the frame using the 2 pairs of the center most bed mounting points, and then shortened both ends of the Dakota bed and made new brackets. As long as what ever your using for a floor in your bed clears the top of that fuel tank frame mounted cross member, its probably easier to make new brackets for your front bed mounting bracket.

By the way, if your using the Dakota steel floor, and a rear axle not from a Dakota, you will need to add a spacer about 2" wide to both sides of the Dakota bed floor where you cut the wheel wells out. And, if your using the Dakota rear axle, your going to have to mini tub your 50s' step side bed sides, they won't clear the rear tires. Gene
Posted By: JWK57D100

Re: Frame swap question - 10/02/20 02:47 AM

I want to stay with a wood bed in the truck even though I will drop a few inches from the swap. The tank on the truck is cracked but I am going to use it to see if I can fab a gas tube to use the original gas cap on the cab and if i can I'll just get a new dakota tank. The dakota I got has the 8 foot bed too so I will have to play around with the bed mounts but I think once I get the frame stripped and start mocking up the new body and cab it will help. I think I was trying to put the cart before the horse and if I need to remove those front box mounts or reposition them I will be able to get a better idea once I set the cab on it. I plan to use the 8 1/4 rear end that came in the dakota so I will have to workout fitting the tires in the wheel wells too. This just gets better and better!
Posted By: JWK57D100

Progress - 10/15/20 03:33 PM

I have the frame stripped down to where I can start planning to shorten it. From what measurement I have taken so far I am going to shorten the frame where the front box mounts are located. The cab opening from the frame won't clear the old cab mounts but I still have a bit more measuring to do to see if I can just cut the old cab mounts off and use the box mounts where they are. I wish the next few weeks were as fun and quick as the last week of just stripping the truck down but I know that wont be the case. I will keep posting pictures as the build goes on.

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Posted By: poorboy

Re: Progress - 10/16/20 12:42 AM

Usually, between the front fuel tank bracket (the high bolt on one) and the front bed mount (just in front of where your rear jackstands are) is about the best place to shorten one. You can take as much as 10" out of that area and still use the front bed mount and the Dakota tank. If you use a Dakota tank, you will need to notch the back of the cab to clear the front of the tank (4" above the floor and from the center of the cab to just outside the frame rail, about 6" into the cab). Most of the 50s trucks had a fuel filler hose that went through the cab floor at that point, so you would have to patch that hole anyway. If I could get my pictures off my old camera, I could show you a picture of the cut out and the floor patches. The biggest Issue I see with using the original gas fill hole in the cab is getting the Dakota fill hose to it and still have enough drop to fill the tank. The front bed mount cross member will be what causes the biggest issue..

Most often I've discovered that you can keep and use the back 1/2 (the front bed mount) of the cab/bed mount bracket. Usually the cab mount part is too high, too far back, and not in a good location for a rear cab mount on old cabs. I usually make a rear cab mount bracket (in the past I've used a piece of 3" wide channel, or a 2" wide piece of angle iron that got welded to the frame). Match up the new bracket with where the original rear cab on the cab your using are located.That way, unless I'm replacing the entire cab floor, I can re-use the original rear cab mount floor bracing and just update the actual rubber cab mount.

For about $100, you can buy a set of Energy Suspension replacement cab mounts for a Dakota. With the kit, you get 4 rubber bushings with a steel insert that goes between the frame brackets and the body with 4 rubber pieces that go under the frame brackets. You also get a pair of radiator support bushings with the steel inserts and a pair of the rubber bottom bushings. You need to supply the bolts and washers, but the bushing kit is pretty cost effective. You really need to look for the 6 mount rubber kit, they really want to sell you the $250 all inclusive kit. Gene
Posted By: JWK57D100

Re: Progress - 10/16/20 02:03 AM

I will look into cab mounts and bushings for sure, thanks. I have to take 16 inches out to get the right WB for the wheels to line up right under the fenders so I'm pretty sure I am going to have to make my cut on each side of the cab/box mount or lose the fuel tank bracket. If I take 16 inches from the middle of the bolt on bracket and the cab/box mount they will be touching each other if I could even get it to fit with them both. I was measuring everything today and the front box mount is only about a 1/2 inch off. If I lose the gas tank bracket that is what I will do and just have to use the 57 gas tank, which seems a little easier in my head but this is the first time I have done this so chime in if I'm mistaken. I double checked the measurements from the front of the frame to the center of each wheel to make sure the 16 inches was the right length, used the measurements of the 57 cab, fenders and bed to make sure it would all fit correctly. I know the important part is the cross measurements before and after I shorten the frame but I just wanted to double check everything before I started cutting.
Posted By: poorboy

Re: Progress - 10/17/20 04:08 AM

If your going to go EFI, the Dakota tank with the fuel pump inside is a very good option, but if your going to do a carb, I wouldn't worry about using the Dakota tank.
As far as the frame length, do you still have the 57's original frame around? By far the easiest way to get the correct wheel base is to maintain the 57's wheel base numbers. The biggest issue with using the cab , front clip and box is its way too easy to be off an inch or two. Things like how much space is between the cab and the box and exactly how the wheels it in the wheel opening can get you off a couple inches without even catching it until your assembling parts. Gene
Posted By: JWK57D100

Re: Progress - 10/19/20 03:11 PM

Yeah, I used the 57 to get the right wheel base measurements and figure out how much I need to cut from the Dakota. I was using the cab measurements t make sure everything else would fit close to how I expect and give me an idea of the brackets I need to make or move. The main reason I started down that rabbit hole is the 57 frame from the center of the front wheel to the front of the frame was about 7 inches longer and that got me wondering if the front grill and everything would fit the right way.

I was leaning towards a gen III hemi but I think I am going to stick with building a carbureted 360 and maybe stroking it. Most of the ones I can find are 2500-3K with 100k miles on them and that's just the engine. By the time I get a transmission and rebuild the 5.7 it would only be about 1000 to build a fresh 360 that I would put the first mile on, technically. That's probably something I should have decided before I started but I wasn't even sure the 5.7 was possible as easy as it is now until recently.
Posted By: Ray 47WH

Re: Frame swap question - 12/28/21 02:03 PM

Wow! What a super how-to ! My first post here and my first project. I have a ‘47 dodge truck and a 2nd gen ( 2001) Dakota quad cab 2wd.
I have stripped the body off the running dakota 4.7L,
and want to use the drive train as much as possible. I saved the wire harness just in case and it sounds like this was a good idea considering the variable voltage thing.
Being a quad cab it is considerably longer (130.4 inch w.b.) than any other dakota swap I have found online. Gene , I don’t suppose you have shortened the frame on one of these? I don’t expect cab mounts to match even though there are 3 sets of them, and I expect the ‘47 floor pan and firewall will need some modifications.
So glad I found this site!

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Posted By: poorboy

Re: Frame swap question - 12/29/21 01:02 AM

Ray, I've shortened about 6 Dakota frames in the past. Would have been 7 except the last build came with an already shortened frame that was done well, so I didn't have to do it. I do not have any experience with the Dakota frames past 96 (the frame style before your frame), but I suspect those are about the same. I believe the 97-03 Dakota (and 99-2003 Durango) frames still have the straight side rails between the about the firewall and the kick up for the rear frame end.

I did shorten a frame from an 05 Durango, I can tell you those redesigned frames are a royal pain to shorten, the side rails are not straight anyplace.

As long as your side frame rails are straight, about the best place to cut them is at the front edge of where the fuel tank ends, and remove the section forward of that area, but being a quad cab, it may be easier to remove the extra length under where the original Dakota cab sat. The plan would be to remove the section at a location where the two pieces you will be joining together have about the same shape. If you remove the section forward of the fuel tank, once its all welded back together, you can still mount the fuel tank in its original location. That solves a lot of problems.

I did a 39 Dodge (a 39 is the same cab as a 47) pickup on a 92 Dakota frame, but that was 3 builds ago, memory may be a bit fuzzy, There is a build of my 39 on the rat rod site look in the rat rod 30s truck section. The thread title is "a 39 Dodge pickup on a Dakota frame". it may be down the list a ways, but there were pictures of the process from the frame cutting to rolling down the road.

As I recall, I ended up moving the entire drive train back a few inches on that Dakota frame. The 39-47 trucks have a very short front clip. I mounted a 360 and had to cut the firewall back to the inset the original inline 6 sat in, and even then the radiator set inside the grill shell a bit. Motor placement is critical in those trucks, the cabs are very small, and you really can't afford to move the firewall back very far. I'm 6' 1" and 270 lbs, I had to sell the 39 because it was too uncomfortable for this old man to drive more then an hour.

You will have to cut both ends of your frame as well. The rear needs to be cut off right behind where the rear spring shackles attach to the frame. The front will have to be cut off at the front side of the spring pockets because the Dakota frame kicks out too wide from there. The grill shell will not fit around, over, or sit on top of the Dakota front frame stubs, I think I had to trim my grill piece to fit between the Dakota frame rails. On the front, you will have to add fabricated frame front stubs to get the frame back to the front bumper, the original Dakota frame stubs wouldn't be where you wanted them anyway.

I suggest, after you gave shortened the frame, you sit the cab on the frame, find a way to position the grill where it needs to be using the hood to establish the position of the grill shell and the cab relationship, then attach the fenders to the grill and position everything so the tires are centered in the fender openings. This will determine your cab position. Gene
Posted By: Ray 47WH

Re: Frame swap question - 12/30/21 01:32 PM

Gene, thx. I have the Dak in a different province, and plan to trailer the ‘47 body over to it in February for a test fit.
Plenty of bodywork to keep me out of trouble until then.
Posted By: Old Ray

Re: Frame swap question - 12/30/21 05:23 PM

Originally Posted by Ray 47WH
Gene, thx. I have the Dak in a different province, and plan to trailer the ‘47 body over to it in February for a test fit.
Plenty of bodywork to keep me out of trouble until then.

Hello Ray, this is Ray from B.C. .(Gene is my super-hero.) Not sure if what I am doing is of interest to you but i have done a Dakota front frame transplant on a 1956 Canadian Dodge (Plymouth) two door wagon.
I have used all the Dakota drive train including the Fuel Injected 318 and also have retained all the original wiring for now. I hope to be running this summer (and the last one and the one before that) and will eliminate some unnecessary wires latter.
I have a disjointed rambling build thread on here and with some progress (?) not posted. at :

ray's '56
Posted By: poorboy

Re: Frame swap question - 12/31/21 02:10 AM

Ray 47wh, I was looking at the pictures of your front fenders, those wheel openings look really big to me (might be the way they appear in the pic), are those off a big truck, like a 1 1/2 ton or something? If they are big truck fenders, you may want to hold off doing much body work to them until you can have a look when the truck is on the Dakota frame. The big trucks had something like 24" wheels and really tall tires. The front edge and the rear edge of the wheel openings were cut more open to accommodate the larger diameter tires when they were turned. The back end of the big truck fenders also hang much lower then the rear edge on a 1/2 ton frame. the Dakota frame tends to lower the body on the frame to begin with, the big truck fenders may actually drag on the ground when the truck is sat on the Dakota chassis.

one of the few advantages of the big truck fenders is you don't have to be as concerned about the wheels being centered in the wheel opening, because you will likely want to add some material to both the front and the rear of the opening. Could make it easier because you can adjust the added on pieces to shift the wheel opening forward or rearward as needed, you can do that while you are dealing with the too low rear end of the fender. Not such a big deal if you still have body work to do yet, but it really sucks if the body was ready for paint.

I've done a few of theses Dakota frame swaps, but on the last one I still had to cut the wheel flair on my 49 Dodge pickup front fenders and move it forward about an inch and a half. If I would have had all the body work done, I would not had been a very happy camper. Pics of the fender flair being moved on my 49 Dodge truck. Gene

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Posted By: Ray 47WH

Re: Frame swap question - 01/01/22 02:23 PM

Old Ray. Thank you. Following your build. And yes, Gene is the go to guy!
Posted By: Ray 47WH

Re: Frame swap question - 01/01/22 02:33 PM

Gene, you have a good eye. My front fenders are indeed from a big truck, 3 ton. They are in really good shape so I am still undecided as to how they will work / look on the Dakota. It’s good to know they can be modified, but not a simple task for sure, or maybe I find a pair from a half ton? My plan so far, is to get the truck running, halt the rust, then if I win the lottery get it nicely painted.
Having fun
Ray 47WH
Posted By: poorboy

Re: Frame swap question - 01/01/22 09:18 PM

Ray47 wh, finding 1/2 ton fenders for a 39-47 truck may be a challenge. WW 2 interrupted the truck production at the beginning of the 41 model year, and the 1/2 ton truck production was halted in favor of the big truck production for the war effort. In 1942, all civilian truck production halted, every thing built was military use only. As a result of the 1/2 ton production, most of the early versions of the 1/2 ton trucks took a real beating because of having to cover the war years. Though civilian truck production restarted at the end of 1945, most of those very few trucks produced were 1 ton and 1 1/2 ton trucks. 1/2 ton truck production began with the 46 model, but material shortage and labor problems kept the productions a bit lower. Too add insult to injury, most big trucks didn't have any rear fenders, only the limited number of 1/2 ton, 3/4 ton, and fewer 1 ton pickups came with rear fenders.

Then add that Dodge actually made two versions of the front fenders, the difference being the location of the headlights on the fenders. The early version placed the headlights more towards the grill shell from the peak on the fenders. From 43 through 47, the headlights were moved onto the fender peak.

Modifying the big truck fenders isn't real bad, basically, you just have to add a pie shaped piece to the front of the wheel opening, and then add another pie shaped piece to the rear part of the wheel opening, then raise up the lower rear section (or cut it off). Since so few actually exist, as long as you make it look right to you, you should be OK. I just didn't want to see you do a bunch of body work on those fenders if there was modifications to come.

From time to time, front pairs and rear pairs of fiberglass fenders are produced for those 39-47 (may be listed as 45-47) 1/2 ton trucks, but they tend to run a batch of them, then everyone sells the same supplier's fenders, and after they have been gone for a while, they run another batch. Those glass fenders are very pricy when they exist. Waiting, thinking the price will come down is folly, pay the big bucks, or pass on them.

As far as the painting is concerned, I fully understand. I have a source that will spray the paint on my stuff, and he does a lot better job then I can, but its not a show quality job (I'm not paying for a show quality job either). Even then, the cost of the paint has gone crazy in the last couple years. In 2018 I had my buddy paint my 48 Plymouth, at his cost, the two colors of paint material (a quart of each color, hardener, and thinner) was nearly $300, today those same colors is almost 3x that price, at his cost, for me to walk in and buy it nearly doubles it again. That doesn't cost what I'm paying him to spray it, the coupe took up space in his paint booth for 3 days. I had some money set aside for painting my 49 pickup, but some of that money has been used for unexpected parts. The oil based primer I brushed on to protect it with for the winter is growing on me... Gene
Posted By: moparx

Re: Frame swap question - 01/02/22 04:33 PM

this may be way out there, but would it be possible to use a pair of aftermarket [imported] fenders, from say, a mid to late chevy, and cut out the round wheel opening to use to fill in the opening of the big truck fender ?
i know this type fender is basically "flat" in the front to rear plane, but when cut away from the top curvature, and the rear flange area by the door, it may be workable to add to the other fenders ? shruggy
i'm no body man, but just throwing something out there as an idea.
Posted By: poorboy

Re: Frame swap question - 01/03/22 01:19 AM

There are probably dozens of wheel openings that can be used to fill the gap on the big truck fenders that would work out great. If there is a local source where a guy can hold in his hand a wheel arch patch piece from a few different vehicles, he could probably choose one that matches up with the fender curves pretty well. I've done this in the past, and it works out pretty well. The problem with that concept is until you can put the new piece against the fender, you really can't tell how close its going to be. if you have to order a patch panel from someplace and then find out it just won't work, what can you do then? Will they accept the return, is there a restocking fee, and how much is the shipping cost both ways? A guy may soon have a collection of wheel openings because it cost more to send it back then it was worth. The fenders on these trucks have a pretty dramatic compound curve just past the wheel opening, especially on the big truck fenders. A nearly flat panel with a reinforced opening lip may not conform to that compound curve very well, or it might work out good. Then the patch panel needs to be long enough to reach both sides of the Dodge fender wheel openings.

Before you get too involved with any of this, you really need to have the fender bolted in place. To bolt the fender in place, you probably will have to trim the lower part of the fender (the heal of the fender) near the cab. Do that 1st, before you deal with the wheel opening. I say this because often times, when the fender is bolted in place, it is at a different angle (and location) then you thought it would be in.

Most of the time, a guy can buy a pretty large piece of 18 or 20 gauge flat sheet metal for less money then one wheel arch parch panel. Then he can use the excess metal for other patches he may need. The top of the wheel opening on these Dodge fenders has a pretty flat arch to them because Dodge basically opened them up for the front and rear tire clearance when the wheels were turned. Basically, all that needs to be done is to put back the part Dodge removed from the front of the wheel opening, and put back the part Dodge removed from the rear of the wheel opening. Those pieces are a basic triangle shape, one point is towards the center of the wheel opening, the bottom point is the bottom corner closest to the tire, and the 3rd corner is where the patch piece meats at the end of the original wheel opening front or rear edge. Use the cardboard material that holds your favorite beverage to make a cardboard pattern for the front of the wheel opening, and another cardboard pattern for the rear of the wheel opening. Cut and trim the edges so you have enough cardboard material to cover the areas you will need to weld, Tape the cardboard in place, then make the curve you need so it looks right to you. The nice thing about using cardboard is if you screw it up, you may be able to tape it back together, or you may have to drink more beverage to get another piece of cardboard. That cardboard pattern can be used for both front patch panels, or for both rear patch panels. You will probably want to round off the corner closest to the tire, and the side near the tire, and the side at the bottom that covers the gap between the original fender and the tire will need to be reinforced a bit.

Once you have your pattern the way you want it, add 3/4" to the full length of tire edge. This extra material will be bent back against itself. You will also be adding an extra 1/2" of material to the bottom edge of the patch, This extra material will be bend at about 90 degrees in (if you rounder the tire corner, add an extra 1/2" to that edge as well). When the pattern is done, transfer it to the metal (including the extra material). Mark your edges and cut the metal to match the pattern. Keep the pattern for the other side.

The curve on the tire side is the first part to form. Make sure you have a good visible line for your curve. Using a fairly narrow plyers (about a 1/2" jaw width), slowly begin bending that extra material towards the inside of the wheel opening making sure the end of the plyer jaw is at the line. You want to bend a few degrees at a time, all the way around the curve, then start another round of a few more degrees of bend all the way around the curve. Repeat the process until you have about a 90 degree bent lip At that point, a light hammer tap along the bend should smooth out any kinks in the bend line. Then continue with the few degrees of bend all along the again and repeat until the bent edge is nearly as flat as the plyers will allow. At that point, the remaining bend is done lightly, and slowly with light hammer tapping. Use the flat head part of the hammer, very carefully, being sure the hammer contact with the metal is light and square with the surface. Place a very smooth piece of thicker steel on the outside of the patch piece and from inside of the patch piece, lightly tap the bent edge together, all along the curve a few degrees at a time, and repeat until the surfaces are tight against each other. Any flaws in the smooth piece on the outside of patch will show up on that surface, and if you hit it too hard, that will also deform the outer surface. Once the gap is pinched closed, you can form any curve you need to match the fender curve.

You also need to add a reinforcing lip on the bottom edge of the patch piece. On this one, add a 1/2" of extra material (if you have rounded the tire corner, add the extra 1/2 inch to that area as well). The same process is used on the bottom edge as was used on the curved edge, except you can stop forming the edge when you get about a 90 degree bend towards the inside. I suggest you make one front patch and one rear patch for one fender using the same process and tack everything in place, then do the other fender.

The patch piece should be clamped to the fender and positioned as desired. Once happy, you need to mark where you will be welding the patch onto the fender. That area that will be welded needs to be shiny clean on both sides o\f the fender. Once cleaned up, clamp the patch to the fender and tack it into position. Be sure its properly located before you fully weld it. its much easier to cut a few tacks and reposition then it is to cut a fully welded line to reposition. I would recommend that you make and tack both the front and the rear patches on a fender before you fully weld it. Gene
Posted By: dart67

Re: Frame swap question - 01/05/22 12:35 AM

Gene, the length you go to in explaining your method is unbelievable. After reading over it several times ( I'm a slow learner), hell I get to thinking I can do it!

By the way, I got the frame welded, fish plates welded over that, and closing in on mounting 55 dodge cab to 55/92 dak frame. In the middle of extending garage for more workspace now.

Posted By: poorboy

Re: Frame swap question - 01/05/22 02:14 AM

Thanks for the kind words. Good to hear about your progress. Keep at it, you can do this!

Often times I feel like I'm writing a book when I respond to some of this stuff, but I want to be sure to make this stuff as clear as I can, or it wouldn't be worth reading.

if I ever write something that isn't clear, please ask for clarification. I'll take another shot at making things more easily understood. I've done so much of this stuff over the years that much of it is automatic for me to do. I may forget a step or two along the way. Gene
Posted By: Ray 47WH

Re: Frame swap question - 06/05/22 03:03 AM

Hello again Gene
I have progressed to the stage where I have the 47 dry fitted onto the 2001 Dakota drive train. After laying out the bed,cab and front clip I have come up with a wheel base of 116 inch which is in agreement with Dodge for a 1/2 ton . All good so far. 15 inches needs to come out between bed and cab. Wide front frame horns have been lobed off the dak, as close to the crossmember immediately in front of the control arms as possible. A quick bracket was made to hold the U support against the crossmember and allow for up and down adjustments for now.
As per your previous advice I expect to have to add pie shaped pieces to the big truck fenders I’m using, but first I am unsure if I have placed the front clip back far enough on the dak frame? The front axle appears to be roughly in the center of the hood pieces. I am not sure if that’s where it goes?. A search of 39-47 side views hasn’t helped ( most fotos are taken at an angle for aesthetic reasons)
There doesn’t seem to be much room for the U shaped radiator/ grill support to go further aft without major cutting of it or the dak foremost cross member? It is a 4.7L v8 and even with fan removed and the radiator going to be squeezed forward, things are bunching up between the U support and the front of the engine pulleys.
I wonder if from this foto you can eyeball the front axle placement. Should the center of the wheel sit further forward in the fender? (The front fender is not fastened to the cab yet )
Thx a bunch!

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Posted By: poorboy

Re: Frame swap question - 06/06/22 01:27 AM

Ray, from looking at your photo, I believe the grill bottom needs to go back towards the cab a little bit, and it may also need to drop down slightly. The firewall to hood, and the hood to grill shell both need to have a uniform clearance or it throws the entire look of the truck off. This is important because the grill shell and the cab relationship puts everything on the front end in position.

Do you have the lower grill section? On the 1/2 ton, the lower grill section bolts to the top part of the grill, then the front of the fenders bolt to both pieces. this will pretty much put the wheels into the proper position on the truck, which will likely be farther forward in the wheel opening then it appears to be in your picture. I believe your front fenders are sitting too far forward. On a big truck, the rear end of the front fenders were under the doors, you may have to shorten the length of the fenders to clear the opening doors, but the 1/2 ton fenders cleared the doors.

On my 39, I ended up using a champion aluminum radiator for a 50-54 Chevy truck. It is narrow and tall, more narrow then the original Dodge truck radiator. That radiator fit entirely inside the dodge truck grill, as far forward as I could get it. I had to trim off some of the outer ends of the tin work from the inside of the grill slots to have clearance so they wouldn't rub against the radiator.
I don't have very many of the pictures I took left from the 39 build, most got lost in a couple back to back computer crashes, and the site the build was on appears to now be defuncted. These 4 are the best I can do, The first two (a left and a right shot) show how far into the grill shell the radiator sat. That is a Magnum 5.9 (360) motor. Also notice the in hose radiator fill. The radiator cap is 3-4" inches forward of the front edge of center of the hood.

In the 2nd two pictures(left and right sides) of the grill shell you can see in the top of the grill shell openings the amount of material I trimmed out for radiator clearance. Also notice, the bottom of the grill shell is not a factory piece. Under the chrome grill center piece is a fabricated piece of sheet metal because I wasn't running front fenders. That lower piece kind of has the look of the old steam train engine cattle movers. I still have that lower grill section here if you need one. The front of the fenders bolt to it. .

I built brackets out of 1/8" flat stock and welded them to the top of the frame, then added brackets to bolt the radiator to those brackets. The grill shell then bolts to the radiator support. Things were very tight there. I'm sorry I don't have pictures of that. The biggest deal there was to be sure the center of the grill shell was in line with the center of the cab, the frame rails are NOT centered with the cab, the frame is offset about 2" towards the passenger side. When you make bumper brackets, you will have to accommodate for that offset with the bumper brackets as well. I managed it with everything out in the open, it should be easy under the original lower grill piece in place. Gene

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Posted By: poorboy

Re: Frame swap question - 06/06/22 01:37 AM

Ray, just a straight on side shot of my truck to get an idea where the front tires lined up with the hood on my fender less truck. Its been a few years, but I believe I built my truck with the idea of possibly adding fenders at a later date (the fenders I had were in really bad shape), but you might want to look a other pictures online to see how the wheel and hood center line up. If I hadn't lost my original pictures I had pictures of the 47 truck that was complete, so that picture may still be floating around out there on line.

After looking at the side view of my truck, it appears to me my front suspension mat be a bit too far forward, but it may be the angle of the pic.

Maybe the center of your front wheels are good, and the rear position of the fenders are good, but the length of the wheel opening is too long. The big truck fenders may be longer in length then the 1/2 ton fenders. Take the extra length out of the center of the wheel well, and adjust the curve of the wheel opening to adjust?

After you reposition the grill shell, maybe you should put the front of the fender into position and mark the center of the wheel, then put the rear of the fender in position, and mark the center of the wheel and see how fat it is between the two marks.

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Posted By: Ray 47WH

Re: Frame swap question - 06/07/22 04:15 AM

Gene thanks for the pics and great advice! I do have the lower portion of the front grill attached but it’s not clear in my foto. I had not thought of removing a portion of the center of the big truck fender, that is another possible option. I plan on adding air suspension so I may remove the coils and see how various ride heights may also affect the way the wheels look in relation to the rest of the truck. And of course there are quite a few wheel sizes and tire profile combinations to daydream about. I will also give more thought to cowl-hood-grill alignment as you suggest.
Thank you again!
Posted By: blackcat1

Re: Frame swap question - 08/03/22 09:28 PM

[b][/b]If you have a truck with a conventional, non unibody frame and an accident has caused the frame to bend or buckle you will likely need the frame to be replaced. Frame swaps or frame change outs are very large, time consuming jobs and can only be performed by professionals with the proper equipment and know how.

Posted By: poorboy

Re: Frame swap question - 08/04/22 01:09 AM

Originally Posted by blackcat1

[b][/b]If you have a truck with a conventional, non unibody frame and an accident has caused the frame to bend or buckle you will likely need the frame to be replaced. Frame swaps or frame change outs are very large, time consuming jobs and can only be performed by professionals with the proper equipment and know how.

Blackcat 1, yes, I agree, it would be better to replace a badly bent or buckled frame then it would be to straighten it, depending on how badly it was bent. Frames have successfully been straightened for many years.

I also agree that frame swaps or change outs are large, time consuming jobs. I believe they can be performed by many people that are not professionals. It requires a lot of thought, a lot of measurements, and it requires some specific skills and specific equipment.

Lots of frames have been changed out and many have even been modified successfully by many members here that are not "professionals". Someone calling themselves a professional, even if they have a piece of paper backing them up, doesn't mean they are more qualified then every person that doesn't work in a specific occupation. I've seen a lot of card caring professionals screw up a lot of stuff because they didn't know what they were doing.
Posted By: moparx

Re: Frame swap question - 08/04/22 06:28 PM

" I've seen a lot of card caring professionals screw up a lot of stuff because they didn't know what they were doing."

Amen to that statement ! up

chassis modifications can be done successfully by the "non-professional", provided the "measure 16 times, cut once" principal is followed, and one's welding skills are up to the task so as the modifications are done in a safe manor. by that, i mean the modifications will not compromise the integrity of the chassis, thereby causing safety concerns going down the road.
as to straightening a frame, before a person starts, try to obtain the frame blueprints. these drawings will give you datum points to start your measuring, and will tell you how bad the frame is tweeked. almost all old FSM have these drawings in them. at least the FSM's i have for late 30's, 40's, and 50's have these drawings in them.
if you decide to try to straighten it, remember it will need to be tied down securely, somewhat leveled out as best you can on the non-bent portioned, and slightly over-pushed on the bent section to allow for spring back of the frame material. as to how much over-push is needed, only you can determine that at the time you are doing the push-pulling of the straightening process.
i made a frame table from 6 and 8" I-beam when i built the chassis for my humpback panel truck. i kept the table within a short 1/64" [.015] tolerance to insure the chassis i built would be true and straight.
a person does not have to build a table as i did, but the point is, to make sure the frame is tied down very securely, so as to make absolutely certain your measurements remain constant, and you won't be chasing the frame around due to flexing issues.
i'm just stating my personal experiences, and my opinion.
your mileage will vary.
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