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Thread: 1957 Ford Panel front clip change question.
          
   
   

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  1. #1
    bhaas's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 57 Ford Panel
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    1957 Ford Panel front clip change question.

     



    I have a 1957 Ford Panel and I was told I could put a Chevy S10 front end on it with disc brakes. I know I would have to cut the frame and weld in the S10 clip. How hard is this to do? I have all the tools to do it but would like some input on this. Any help and tips much appreciated. Thanks.

    Brad...

    http://12.229.125.18:3128/panel.jpg

  2. #2
    Bob Parmenter's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 32, 40 Fords,
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    Welcome aboard Brad.

    "CAN" is a great term. "SHOULD" is another. You can put anything on anything if you have the determination and the skill. I would question whether an S-10 is really wide enough to work out correctly.

    I assume you are trying to get coil spring suspension to replace the leaves, and discs to replace the drums. The S-10 probably appeals because it's perceived to be "inexpensive" to achieve both goals. If all you look at is initial cost of pieces of hardware that assumption would appear true. However, doing a front clip change is not a job for an amateur unless he is very talented and patient enough to do homework on how to do it right. Taking someone elses word for it (e.g. the S-10 swap) is not a good thing to do. Good that you've asked around before jumping in. I would suggest you spend this season looking at actual installations other F100 guys have done to achieve the same goals you desire. Discuss with them the pros and cons, if they're happy with their choice, and if they'd do it the same way again.

    Changing the front chassis clip also entails re-engineering the mounting points for the whole front sheetmetal assembly. This is a primary reason why some of the more experienced folks will choose a route that retains the original rails and then attaches other, later model components. There are kits to install Mustang II, Cordoba, Volare, and Dakota suspensions under these frames. If you check the Truckin' magazines you'll likely find lot's of ads that represent these suppliers.

    Remember, it might be cheaper to buy a donor clip initially, but if it's installation ruins the truck, it becomes VERY expensive (not to mention disheartening).
    Your Uncle Bob, Senior Geezer Curmudgeon

    It's much easier to promise someone a "free" ride on the wagon than to urge them to pull it.

    Luck occurs when preparation and opportunity converge.

  3. #3
    bhaas's Avatar
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    Are there any websites that go into any detail of how to do this? Pictures would be nice to. I've been searching Google for days trying to find info on how to do this and haven't had much luck. I got lucky today and found this site. So far this is as close as I've come to any info on this. I'm not set on the S10 frame. Whatever works the best is what I want to do. I just need more info. Thanks for the reply.

    Brad...

  4. #4
    Mike P's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 57 Ply, 68 Ply Valiant, 83 El Camino
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    You might also check any local hotrod shops and cruse nights and see what setups have been done in the local area.

    I'm not sure if it's a factor on the 57's or not, but on the earlier ford trucks, the serial number was stamped on the right front frame rail. There was also a serial tag attached to the glove box door with screws, but many states require the inspector to go by the frame number for obvious reasons. This could turn into a real problem if you decide to sell the truck and that section of frame has been removed.

    Having done both Mustang II and Volare front ends I would tend to go with either of those over a swap that requires cutting the front frame rails and grafting a new section on (in all my years, I only know 2 welders that I would trust doing a frame graft). Personally from a cost effective standpoint if your doing the work yourself I would tend to go with the Volare type set up for the following reasons.

    1. The Volare front end is welded in as a unit as opposed to the individual componets being welded to the frame.

    2. The Volare unit uses torsion bars which can be adjusted for ride height rather than having to do spring swaps.

    3. The Volare unit has bigger brakes and calapers than the standard units normally supplied with the kits and uses the 5 on 4 1/2 bolt pattern. (Larger rotors, calapers, and five lug bolt pattern can be ordered with the kits but they are usually an extra cost option.)

    No matter what way you choose to go with a front end swap you need to be aware that it is a VERY time consuming project that takes a lot of patience. Unless you are already familure with the principales, I would suggest that you pick up a good book on front suspensions and front end alignment.

    I'm not trying to talk you out of this project or insult you (I just don't know your experience level) and this is a modification that your life literally rides. When you say you have all the tools, to me that would include;

    A LEVEL concrete pad to work on
    Turntables for the front wheels
    A good Castor/Camber guage
    A good welder and knowledge on welding high carbon steel.

    Good luck in whatever direction you go.
    I've NEVER seen a car come from the factory that couldn't be improved.....

  5. #5
    HORSEPOWER's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 48,61,&51 Ford F100's
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    I'm putting an Aerostar cross member under my 61 F100 right now. I think it's the easiest one I've done yet.
    You can do a search here http://groups.msn.com/slick60sfordfs...6/general.msnw
    There are quite a few people there that have done the same.
    Suffering from HRF (Hot Rod Fever)
    How about you?

  6. #6
    Weeg's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 1953 Studebaker Starliner
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    I never see the AMC Pacer front suspension mentioned? I really don't know why so many in the rodding community ignore this front end? It is a wide front suspension, so is better suited to a truck application. The complete front suspension drops out with the crossmember complete with rack and pinion steering, 11" disc brakes, and 1" sway bar. It is a heavy crossmember at that. Very strong compared to a mustang 2 sheet metal crossmember.

    All parts for this front end are readily available. It runs ford calipers and 11" ford disc with 5 on 4 1/2 bolt pattern.

    It has a good step down in the crossmember that is fairly easy to adapt to most frame rails so there is no need to cut off the front frame rails.

    I have one setting in my shop now waiting for my next project. I've just not found what I am looking for yet. I have completely rebuilt it with new power rack, new calipers, new rotters, new bushings and ball joints and have less than $700.00 in it and paid $100.00 for the unit to begin with. So, why this front suspension is not used more, I really don't know. I'd really like to see those who poo poo it give me a reason, other than the fact their nose turns up in the wrong direction!!

    Dean

  7. #7
    Bob Parmenter's Avatar
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    Good point Dean. I think it's mainly just forgotten. They were pretty popular, say 15-20 years ago. Probably the AMC thing gets in the way too. Although, it could be that some folks are afraid that if they install one their windows will grow too big!
    Your Uncle Bob, Senior Geezer Curmudgeon

    It's much easier to promise someone a "free" ride on the wagon than to urge them to pull it.

    Luck occurs when preparation and opportunity converge.

  8. #8
    Weeg's Avatar
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    LMAO Bob. It had not crossed my mind that the windows may grow to big, LOL.

    Dean

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