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Old 09-24-2013, 11:39 AM
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1953 Chevy Pick-up with 1977 Nova subframe

I will be grafting in a 75-79 Nova subframe into my 1953 Chevy 3100 Pick-up.

I noticed that the front tires sit farther back in the wheel well when there is no engine/transmission in these vehicles.

How do you guys go about properly locating the front ends when grafting in a newer subframe such as mine?

Thanks!

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Old 09-24-2013, 12:16 PM
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The center of the lowwer ball joint is your center line to work off..

I have done many clip's this way..

If your doing a nova with rear streeing.. You might want to move it forward a little... Making up the steering can be fun with rear streeing box..

Here's a nova clip in a 58 chevy I did..

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Old 09-24-2013, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by NEW INTERIORS View Post
The center of the lowwer ball joint is your center line to work off..

I have done many clip's this way..

If your doing a nova with rear streeing.. You might want to move it forward a little... Making up the steering can be fun with rear streeing box..

Here's a nova clip in a 58 chevy I did..
Thanks!

Being a 75-79 Nova, this would be a front steer unit. Do I just center the center of the lower ball joint in my fender well?

How much clearance do you have between the heads and fire wall?

Do you have any pictures of the frame graft areas?
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:36 PM
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Or you running a big block or small block?

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Old 09-24-2013, 12:38 PM
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Randy has done a number of these clips, I have done one, so I dumbed it down to ensure that it was proper and I didn't screw up some how.

I wanted the front end at ride height so there was nothing to figure out with the arch of the control arms and where the center of the hub was going to end up with it compressed down at ride height. I don't know how much of an issue this is but I too had seen so many of these trucks with the wheels too far back I didn't want to do what ever it was they did so I put it at ride height so I couldn't screw it up.

I removed the shocks and put a piece of all thread in their place. I tightened the nuts on the all thread compressing the springs down to where I had measured was the distance between the rubber bumpers on the control arm and the crossmember on the car I took the sub frame from at ride height. It was a 78ish Camaro and was very near the same weight as the truck so to use this measurement made sense to me. With that sub frame at the ride height it would be when the truck is done I trimmed the frame and sub frame to mate.

I put the rear of the truck at the ride height I planned for it with the frame sitting on jack stands.

I rolled the sub frame up to the frame temporarily clamped it in place after measuring the wheelbase. I then put the front sheet metal on the truck to find that it was in deed a little too far back! A quarter inch can make a difference! I moved it forward until it was right and tack welded it in place, removed everything and finish weldng it.

One very important thing I also did was to check the angle of the upper control arm shafts on the donor car at ride height with a protractor and make sure they are the same on your truck when you put the sub frame into place. It can then be aligned properly without any offset shafts and crap like that (I learned that from a guy who had to do just that) It can be aligned just like the donor car was, nothing for the alignment shop to figure out and have their head explode when they are asked to align your customized truck.

I didn't like how wide the Camaro was, WAY too wide for these trucks, and the front steer is a mess if you ask me. With a rear steer it will be a LOT better so you don't have cut up the rad support all to hell. If it's the same track width as the Camaro which I thought the Nova was, I highly recommend going a different route, a Mustang II, an 80ish Malibu is a few inches narrower. But honestly, with it lowered down where we all like'm that Camaro front was WAY too wide and needed very narrow tires with a negative offset wheel to work without hitting the fenders.

Brian

Edit: I just read that it was a front steer......I would HIGHLY recommend against it. Unless you plan on changing out the rad support and extensive mods like a cross flow rad and that sort of thing, I highly recommend against the front steer. The box ends up exactly where your rad support is and it has to be cut up pretty bad to clear the box.
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:49 PM
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The Nova is 1.5'' narrower then the Camaro..
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:09 PM
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Or you running a big block or small block?
Small block
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Old 09-24-2013, 02:34 PM
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The mounting of the sub to the 53 frame will of course look a lot different than Randy's beautiful job on that 55, the AD (47-54) frame is much narrower than the 55-59 so they don't line up as well.

That 1.5 inches will make a heck of a difference, but in my opinion it's still too wide if you want to run any wider than 6" wheels and narrow tires.

Brian
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Old 09-24-2013, 02:49 PM
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I used a 76 Nova subframe on my 51 F1.....This was back around 1991, and I knew nothing of how to do this....Right or wrong, I grafted the clip to the Ford frame and didnt cut off the frame rails from the Nova clip...My thought was that all that extra weld area would only add more strength to it.......Must have done OK as its still holding up 22 years later.





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Old 09-24-2013, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by MARTINSR View Post
The mounting of the sub to the 53 frame will of course look a lot different than Randy's beautiful job on that 55, the AD (47-54) frame is much narrower than the 55-59 so they don't line up as well.

That 1.5 inches will make a heck of a difference, but in my opinion it's still too wide if you want to run any wider than 6" wheels and narrow tires.

Brian
Why not cut the top and bottom of the channel frame and widen the 53 frame rails out to align better with the Nova, then plate and box the existing frame for support?

Out of curiosity, what backspacing would you be need to run on the front wheels?
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by poncho62 View Post
I used a 76 Nova subframe on my 51 F1.....This was back around 1991, and I knew nothing of how to do this....Right or wrong, I grafted the clip to the Ford frame and didnt cut off the frame rails from the Nova clip...My thought was that all that extra weld area would only add more strength to it.......Must have done OK as its still holding up 22 years later.
Nice work Poncho! Heck, most new vehicles are lucky to even last 22 years, so I would say you did better then "OK."
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heilman181 View Post
Why not cut the top and bottom of the channel frame and widen the 53 frame rails out to align better with the Nova, then plate and box the existing frame for support?

Out of curiosity, what backspacing would you be need to run on the front wheels?
Of course you can do that, I simply made plates to make up the difference between the two. All I am saying is it won't be like the one Randy posted, those sub frames work way better on the 55-59 than the 47-54, for a number of reasons.

On the back spacing, I don't remember. But I do know that I did have a Camaro front remember and as Randy said they are 1.5 inches winder. But with that front I had 14" stock Buick Sport wheels on it with little 185-195's or something like that and the tires hit the fenders when you turned them, and it wasn't by any means dumped on the ground. So these fronts are much wider than the stock front end.

They can be made to work as many people have done, but it isn't a simple project. And like an engine swap where the motor mounts are the least work of the whole project, it's the exhaust, clutch linkage, firewall clearance, rad change, that is where all the work is. The mating of the frames is the least work in this project. Making clearance for for the frame, steering box and control arms in the rad support and inner fenders and bumper mounts is miles more work than the joining of the frames, that's the easy part.

If you didn't want it very low, that would change everything. There would be miles more room for the steering box under the rad support for instance. But if you want to get it down low and having the stock suspension work as it did on the Nova, there is a lot to plan for. I don't remember all of my particulars, I changed up the whole theme on the truck so I sold that frame for a stocker that I am going to run 49-54 Passenger car front suspension.

Just giving you a heads up on this stuff, it's not a quickie job that's for sure. Below is my truck and how it sat so you have an idea. The rear was lower when I set up the front suspension with the frame on jack stands. Also remember that my top is chopped and the cab is sectioned, just look at the fender to tire for reference as the rest is not stock.

Brian


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Old 09-24-2013, 04:20 PM
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This truck has a 85 monte carlo SS clip and rear end in it you can see wheel placement the front is narrow as compared to the 77 nova so I cab run 14x8 wheels with3-3/ 4in back spacing 215 70 14 tires ..rear has15x12 with 295 x70x15,,i have been told the front is same as s10 don't know that for sure but the SS has a larger front anti sway bar also front steer which I needed to clear my big block engine did not have to cut my radiator support or cradle ,just welded a tab and the cradle sits on top of it without the rubber pads.
that is just mine ,these other guys have probably built more of these than me ,so I would follow there advise.
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Old 09-24-2013, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
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Of course you can do that, I simply made plates to make up the difference between the two. All I am saying is it won't be like the one Randy posted, those sub frames work way better on the 55-59 than the 47-54, for a number of reasons.

On the back spacing, I don't remember. But I do know that I did have a Camaro front remember and as Randy said they are 1.5 inches winder. But with that front I had 14" stock Buick Sport wheels on it with little 185-195's or something like that and the tires hit the fenders when you turned them, and it wasn't by any means dumped on the ground. So these fronts are much wider than the stock front end.

They can be made to work as many people have done, but it isn't a simple project. And like an engine swap where the motor mounts are the least work of the whole project, it's the exhaust, clutch linkage, firewall clearance, rad change, that is where all the work is. The mating of the frames is the least work in this project. Making clearance for for the frame, steering box and control arms in the rad support and inner fenders and bumper mounts is miles more work than the joining of the frames, that's the easy part.

If you didn't want it very low, that would change everything. There would be miles more room for the steering box under the rad support for instance. But if you want to get it down low and having the stock suspension work as it did on the Nova, there is a lot to plan for. I don't remember all of my particulars, I changed up the whole theme on the truck so I sold that frame for a stocker that I am going to run 49-54 Passenger car front suspension.

Just giving you a heads up on this stuff, it's not a quickie job that's for sure. Below is my truck and how it sat so you have an idea. The rear was lower when I set up the front suspension with the frame on jack stands. Also remember that my top is chopped and the cab is sectioned, just look at the fender to tire for reference as the rest is not stock.

Brian
Brian...It's isn't very much different then the one I did.... My very first clip was on my 1948 Chevy truck and I did it with a camaro clip,,, The frame's don't line up as good as the one I showed,,, But it isn't enough to talk about,, Very easy to line up...and then box it in like I showed with the 58,,, No more work then the other,, It's all the same work..

As far as checking the a-arms.. You don't even have to worry about that the way I do it..

The lowwer frame rail's on the back off the camaro clip is level under the camaro,, Before you cut them off, Level them with the ground..Then tack a angle Iron running front to back in the center of the crossmember,(level with the back level as well,,,This will give you something to level the frame in the truck once the back frame rail's are cut off,,,Line everything up, Level it,Weld it in...No need to check the a-arm's this way... And no need for a front end alignment...I did many clip's and never had to have one done...
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Old 09-24-2013, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
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Brian...It's isn't very much different then the one I did.... My very first clip was on my 1948 Chevy truck and I did it with a camaro clip,,, The frame's don't line up as good as the one I showed,,, But it isn't enough to talk about,, Very easy to line up...and then box it in like I showed with the 58,,, No more work then the other,, It's all the same work..

As far as checking the a-arms.. You don't even have to worry about that the way I do it..

The lowwer frame rail's on the back off the camaro clip is level under the camaro,, Before you cut them off, Level them with the ground..Then tack a angle Iron running front to back in the center of the crossmember,(level with the back level as well,,,This will give you something to level the frame in the truck once the back frame rail's are cut off,,,Line everything up, Level it,Weld it in...No need to check the a-arm's this way... And no need for a front end alignment...I did many clip's and never had to have one done...
There you go Randy, there had to be a way of course, I was so concerned about the angle being right on that upper control arm shaft because I had seen a horror story. I assume you are aligning them yourself then? Because of course they need to be aligned after such a project. Your explanation of how to keep that level makes a lot of sense!

Brian
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