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Discussion Starter #1
Not sure of this has been covered before, anyhow most Mopar fans know that installing a independent front suspension can be rather challenging on dodge trucks from this time period. A few thing that make it tough: frame has an hour glass shape, front axle has too much weight due to the location, much too far back so weight distribution is not ideal, using a Chryler v8 which has the starter is on the driver side making little for exhaust and steering.

So my dad is working on this project for friend, a very nice 54' Dodge d100 step-side with a LA 318, using a oil pan from 60's dodge delivery truck with a front sump oil pickup.

Here is a few pictures, stilling have an issue with front axle weight, springs are just not strong enough, with 2080 lbs on the front axle, we have just ordered beefier springs with ratting of 1800lbs so hopefull that will help.





















 

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Discussion Starter #2
Forgot to mention, we where at the exhaust shop getting the duals installed, all of which had to be custom work.

While we where there this very nice 64' Newport come in for some exhaust work.

 

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I've heard of the Volaré front subframe being popular, which theoretically would mean the Aspen, Diplomat, J-body Cordoba, Mirada, J-body Imperial, M-body Fury, and M-body 5th Avenue would probably also work in many applications.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
TWX said:
I've heard of the Volaré front subframe being popular, which theoretically would mean the Aspen, Diplomat, J-body Cordoba, Mirada, J-body Imperial, M-body Fury, and M-body 5th Avenue would probably also work in many applications.
Yes very popular setup, but does not work too well in the dodge truck. The Frame rails are very uniqe and thus must be cut out and new ones fabercated to make the Volare setup work.

The Volare is populare choice for Chevy pickups of this eara and is nice choice, since you can adjust the torsion bars.

I have to get some picture, but in our 57' dodge we put in a Pacer front suspension and that worked great, but getting replacement parts is very tough. Lucky I found some NOS parts on eBay.
 

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I know it would have required cutting the firewall and doing a little surgery to move the firewall into the cabin a little bit, but the engine looks as if it should have gone back about five inches based on the location of the rack and the upper control arms in comparison to the engine itself, moving more weight rear of the front suspension and allowing a rear sump pan on top of it, along with shifting more weight to the rear, and allowing the exhaust to come out the right locations, but, all in all, several manufacturers have done a very similar routing to purge exhaust, 1949-1962 Cadillac actually had a crossover pipe from one side to the other and another dump out the back. I do have to say though, nice job all around.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
dana44 said:
I know it would have required cutting the firewall and doing a little surgery to move the firewall into the cabin a little bit, but the engine looks as if it should have gone back about five inches based on the location of the rack and the upper control arms in comparison to the engine itself, moving more weight rear of the front suspension and allowing a rear sump pan on top of it, along with shifting more weight to the rear, and allowing the exhaust to come out the right locations, but, all in all, several manufacturers have done a very similar routing to purge exhaust, 1949-1962 Cadillac actually had a crossover pipe from one side to the other and another dump out the back. I do have to say though, nice job all around.
We did that for one of our personal 54' Dodge pickups and that did help, however to get the motor far enough back to make a differance you will loose some of the cabin space. One that truck, we did cut out front frame rails and used a late 60's Chevelle front suspension, which worked very well, but was a major undertaking. In that truck we had a 383 so it was heaver as well.

Next time I am at my Dad'd I will take a shot of the Pacer front suspension, that worked so nice!

Also I might add, 49 - 53 dodge trucks have straight frame rails, so it is much easier to use a Volore suspension.
 

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While my Dad and I were driving home this weekend, we talked about future projects with the Dodge Trucks 54-57(we have a few) and after seeing what this guy did with his 53' Dodge truck, we very impressed. He used a 90's Chevy s-10 Frame, that has everything you need and can easally handle a V8. They are plentifull and cheap. So just maybe we might try this with the next project.
 

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A few people have also used the Dakota frame, which at least keeps it in the Mopar family.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
dana44 said:
A few people have also used the Dakota frame, which at least keeps it in the Mopar family.
that is also andoption, however it is much wider than the S10 so that can also be a draw back.
 

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That can be an advantage, more stability side to side. Part of that depends on the actual width of the truck itself and the wheelbase width, wheelbase length is not an issue, that's a cut or stretch item. In both cases the new body mount pads have to be fabricated to match the body mount locations to the frame.
 

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I'm surprised nobody's moved a '50s body to a '70s frame for one of these (yet?).
 

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It seems people do it more for the S10 or Ranger frames, probably because they are a little more common. A bare Dakota frame is actually very versatile with the body off it. When I dismantled mine, I had a friend that is a Ford guy and great fabricator say he was impressed with it in shape, beefiness and design.
 

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well as some of you are aware I am doing one of these myself, its a 56, I have struggled for years with getting this right with little advice as the car shows always have the usual Ford/Chevy trucks, and yes they seem way easier to modify, I started this project too many years ago when my kids were young, my original intention was "retro rod" dropped front straight axle, flipped rear 8 3/4 but although I had the stance right, everyone told my it would ride like crap with a springer front end, so I bought a Volare clip and tried installing it in the hourglass with custom mounts but the steering, starter, etc was all wrong, so after many years of frustration I am once again taking a different path, all though slightly different than the ones above, you see I am a die hard Mopar guy and I just cant put "brand x" parts on a Mopar so I purchased a 1983 2wd shortbox Dodge frame, the box I am using in my 56 is from a 1979 "Warlock" so it will bolt right on and line up with the plastic fuel tank that comes with the frame, the front suspension geometry will be correct for the frame complete with disc brakes and p/s, the only problem I see is cab to frame fit but my son has a 1980 s/b step, so same frame and I cant see why it wont work with a few mods, I also have the steering column from the "Warlock" so that will help, I am getting the frame on the weekend from out of town and trailering it back, I will keep you posted on the swap and HOPEFULLY this spring I will have it at the local show circuit!, p.s. your friends truck looks sharp and has inspired me again!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
mopar56 said:
well as some of you are aware I am doing one of these myself, its a 56, I have struggled for years with getting this right with little advice as the car shows always have the usual Ford/Chevy trucks, and yes they seem way easier to modify, I started this project too many years ago when my kids were young, my original intention was "retro rod" dropped front straight axle, flipped rear 8 3/4 but although I had the stance right, everyone told my it would ride like crap with a springer front end, so I bought a Volare clip and tried installing it in the hourglass with custom mounts but the steering, starter, etc was all wrong, so after many years of frustration I am once again taking a different path, all though slightly different than the ones above, you see I am a die hard Mopar guy and I just cant put "brand x" parts on a Mopar so I purchased a 1983 2wd shortbox Dodge frame, the box I am using in my 56 is from a 1979 "Warlock" so it will bolt right on and line up with the plastic fuel tank that comes with the frame, the front suspension geometry will be correct for the frame complete with disc brakes and p/s, the only problem I see is cab to frame fit but my son has a 1980 s/b step, so same frame and I cant see why it wont work with a few mods, I also have the steering column from the "Warlock" so that will help, I am getting the frame on the weekend from out of town and trailering it back, I will keep you posted on the swap and HOPEFULLY this spring I will have it at the local show circuit!, p.s. your friends truck looks sharp and has inspired me again!
Sounds awesome! Cant wait to see pic's!

I should have covered it, I guess I forgot, another way is to use a AMC Pacer front clip, fits right in the hour class shap frame. I will dig up some pics.
 

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ok, where the heck was this info when I needed it! lol, if I had known about the amc clip I would have went that route but I am commited to the truck frame I have now
 
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