'55-59' Chevy Truck Frame Clip w/G-Body? - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board
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Old 10-30-2008, 09:23 AM
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'55-59' Chevy Truck Frame Clip w/G-Body?

I have spent hours pondering the idea of cutting off the front of my frame on my 55 second series frame to install an IFS clip. I have narrowed it down to a GM swap for various reasons. The Volare and AMC Pacer clips look relatively easy, but I am not comfortable on the aftermarket support of these parts as years go by. I am on a budget, so the MII front ends are out of my price range. I like keeping the truck GM, and the F-body clip is well documented and probably the most installed, with great aftermarket component support. I am finding these hard to locate anymore, and if someone has them, they typically want $350-$500 because they are "Camaro or TransAM". Even the Nova stuff seems to be getting harder to find. Anyway, I have decided to clip a G-body IFS onto the front of my '55. The G-body stuff still seems realtively easy to find and also has great aftermarket support. Spindles are the same as the S-10's. I did find some pretty good pics and documentation on using the Monte clip that was done several years ago. I tryed to e-mail the guy who posted the information, but it didn't go through. If anyone has recently completed this type of clip, or has any more details or learning curves that would help out, I would really appreciate it.

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Old 10-30-2008, 10:03 PM
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I just installed one in my 56. It did involve some fabrication for mounting the front sheet metal. And because it is a front steer chassis the steering box ended up poking through the radiator support. When I did mine I moved the front clip forward because i wanted the wheels to sit in the middle of the wheel well. If not moved forward the steering box location would not have been an issue. This form has more info.
55 to 59 chevy truck owners or this one Chev pickup steering and suspeension

Last edited by RODDER18; 10-30-2008 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:48 AM
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Thanks for the info. Are most guys pushing the front end out 1-1/1 to 2" for the wheel to be centered in the wheel well? I guess I have never realized that detail. Your truck has a great stance and rake, exactly the look I am going after. The factory wheelbase is 114" , so you are more like 116" wheelbase now I am assuming? My truck I am working with came as a disassembled project, so I have a factory rolling chassis with 6 cyl, 3 speed, factory rearend, cab and front core support bolted onto the frame. I am picking up the Monte Carlo this weekend, as well as another '56 frame to work with on the front clip. Do you have any pics of the front core support interference if I push the front end out 2" like you did? I am just curious what I will be looking at to modify the front core support if I do this. Thanks.
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Old 10-31-2008, 09:11 PM
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If you do lower it as much as I did you will want to move the clip forward about 1 1/2 inches. If you don't the wheels will hit on the rear of the fender opening. Also if you use the Monte Carlo rear end you will have to install inner wheel wells in the rear as the tires will hit on the bed sides. I have some pics and will post them of the steering sector / radiator support problem. I do plan on installing a rack and pinion steering set up at some point. They are now available for the Monte Carlo and would solve this issue. I was told that a rack from a 1993 Camaro or Firebird will work.
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Old 10-31-2008, 09:31 PM
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This was taken looking down from directly above the steering sector. You can see how the radiator support is cut away and the sector is up against the support brace. Any closer and it would hit the grill. If you have the cash I would install a rack and pinion as it is now available for the g-body.
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Old 11-02-2008, 03:11 PM
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Thanks for the pic and the info. I did get the Monte Carlo yesterday, and pulled the rearend (3:08 Limited Slip) and cut the front clip off at the front body mounts. The rearend was a bonus, as the car was totalled from a rear end collision that pushed the sheetmetal into the tires, so we couldn't roll the car very well. We just winched it onto my trailer. When I cut it out, it had the rear sway bar and also limited slip to my surprise. I may sell it to fund other things I need for the truck. I do have a 3:55 12 bolt from a 70 Nova that I built a few years ago. I will probably use that for a better fit.

On another note, I have tried to find a reference point for the front spindle/axle on the Monte Carlo on the net, but can't find any dimensions or reference points. I did see someone noted that it was 1/2" in front of or behind the top shock mounting point, that it flip flopped from on side to the other. Do you know what most guys use as a reference on the Monte clip?

One thing I "think" I have established is the centerline of the factory straight axle. I have two frames, a '55 that is original and has the factory running gear in it, and a '56 that is a bare frame, without any original brackets removed. Both of them have the 1/2" pilot hole located on the top of each frame rail in the engine compartment area, real close to the factory front brake line connectors coming out the side of both frame rails. I hooked a tape measure on the front end of the frame (not bumper brackets) and pulled it back towards the rear of the truck. I get 29-1/2" to the center of the holes on both frames. I have looked in my factory assembly manual, and in Section 2, Sheet #24, it shows the "Centerline of Front Wheels", but doesn't reference them directly from the front of the frame end. It does show a "Front of Dash" reference line from the front of the frame, and that dimension of 43.240" inches, minus 15.750" shown from the "Front of Dash" reference line back to the "Centerline of front wheels". This give me an axle center line of 27.49". Both of my frames have these holes located at 29-1/2" . Let me know if I am on the right track or 2" way off!
Thanks again for your help on everything.

Last edited by fasteddy51; 11-02-2008 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 11-03-2008, 10:18 PM
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I wish I could help but I don't remember any markings locating the front axle. I just marked the floor with the axle location before removing it. and also dropped a plum line down and marked the area for the radiator support holes. I then measured from the center of the rear wheels to get a wheel base to start from and fabricated the front sheet metal mounts. when I was done everything lined up. It was a lot of measuring and re-checking. Not to mention having the front clip on and off again multiple times to make sure the tires were in the center of the wheel well. I also removed the front shocks and used ready rod and plates to simulate ride height and removed all of the shims from the front end.
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Old 11-04-2008, 01:32 PM
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I was planning on making a jig that I could bolt to key positions on my original '55 frame, and make it to where I could locate the factory location of the core support mounts and axle centerline. Once I cut off my original '55 frame, the jig would be used to locate the new axle centerline (1-1/2-2" pushed towards the front of the truck)of the Monte clip, as well as the core support mounting locations. I was planning on grafting the previously cut-off portion of my '55 frame back onto the very front of the Monte clip, making that work. Essentially, sandwiching the Monte clip between the firewall forward, and the very front end of the truck. I am still trying to get reference of the Monte axles if I can. I posted the same question on the G-body forum, and I'll see what I get.

On another note, you used 1/2" threaded rod and washers to compress your Monte suspension down to a set ride height. What is a good way to know how far down the suspension should be set, or does it matter right now while I am welding in the clip? I know the truck originally was around 3700#'s or so, pretty close to the V-8 Monte Carlo. Should I find a V-8 Monte, and check the distance the frame rails are from the ground, just to get a good starting point? Depending on wheel and tire specs, and whether I am going with 2" drop spindles, I am sure they all have an effect. I am wondering if these issues determine the "angle" of how the Monte clip is welded in or not.

On the question of frame angle, do you set an angle when welding the front Monte clip to the '55 frame? I was planning on leveling the '55 frame, and welding in the clip of the Monte frame level with the '55 frame, essentually making the top of both frames level, and making the top of the Monte frame align with the top of the original '55 truck frame. I do want a rake on the
truck, but have heard that if you just weld everything level, using the top frame rails of both the '55 and the Monte will automatically lower the front about 2". I also plan on mounting my rear axle on top of the original rear springs for right now. and updating that end of the truck when time and money become more available at a later time!
Thanks, Ed
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Old 11-04-2008, 07:21 PM
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Yes I made sure that both frames were level. As for for how far to tighten the ready rod, just make the lower control arms level. Its not as far as you would think. Using a jig is a great idea and I have seen others do it that way. The front of my frame is from the pickup and grafted onto the Monte frame.
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Old 11-09-2008, 08:33 PM
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After studying your pictures of Project X, I noticed several more details. I am assuming that the truck has had two different front ends, after changing out the straight axle? I couldn't tell, but the first one looked like maybe an AMC front end? The second front end, (current one ) in the truck is the Monte clip. Looking at the Monte clip, it looks like the top frame portion of the Monte clip is 2-3" above the top rail of the original truck frame, yet installed level with the truck frame; staggered to gain the front end drop?
Also, I am assuming because you grafted the Monte clip on this way, you aren't using drop spindles? If this is the case, what is the difference in the top frame rail height from the truck to the Monte frame rail height?

On the rear end, I am assuming you are using the G-body rear end and cut off all of the factory four-link brackets (including the "ears") for the upper control arms? I know the rearend is narrower than the factory '55 width, so the bedsides were cut out to gain additional clearance for wheel offset? What hardware did you use to mount the rearend, and how many original rear springs are you still using? I didn't know if you purchased a kit, or just used universal u-bolts and spring perch parts from a local trailer or chassis supply house. I also gathered that you used a front spring mount on the rear mounting location of the rear springs, to lower the rear springs mounting location. It looks like the bracket will interfere with the original bed wood because of the height of the bracket above the frame rail? Are you just going to carve out under neath the wood bed when it is replaced, and if so, how much of the bracket sticks up past where the wood bed would go?

Finally, what size rims and tires are you using for the front and rear of the truck? Actually, it would be great to know the outside diameter of the tires so I can judge the amount of drop I would like. I know this is a ton of questions, but I seriously like the look and stance of your truck! This is exactly the direction I am heading for mine. I don't have a bunch of money to spend right now, and if I can narrow down some of these details, it will help me a lot.

Last edited by fasteddy51; 11-09-2008 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 11-12-2008, 11:35 PM
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Yes. I did install a Gibbons kit first. It is a Cordoba front end made to fit a TF truck. The kit worked ok but did not get it low enough and did not have much ground clearance. I cut the Monte front end off behind the control arm mounts and slid a piece of 3" square tubing inside the front clip. Boxed the original frame and mounted the 3" tubing on top of the original frame rail. This way the truck is lowered and no I did not use drop spindles. This is as low as I could go and still have trans clearance. The rear end is from the Monte and I cut off the ears off and mounted it on top of the rear springs. Lower mounts are from an S-10 blazer. I will post more pics as I finish up the rear. The frame will be notched and a piece of half round 3" pipe will be welded in. It has plenty of room at the center. Its a 3200 or heavy half so two of the smaller springs were removed. Wrap the springs with duct tape before removing them. That way you can put another bolt back in to hold them together. Then remove the rear spring mount and flip it upside down.
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Old 12-01-2008, 07:23 PM
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Ed, here is a pic of the chisel i used to remove the rivets. Its an Old Forge #1969 They were sold around here by the Cornwell tool dealer.
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:01 AM
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Thanks for the heads up on the chisel. Man I have spent lots of time trying to drill out rivets to remove the front spring mounts etc. I have tracked down a Cornwell tool guy and he is checking on getting one for me.
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Old 12-05-2008, 06:38 AM
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Progress Pics

I thought I might try to attach a few pics on the progress so far. Thanks for all of your help!
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Old 12-13-2008, 11:06 PM
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Sorry for not posting sooner. Just been busy. Looks like you are making progress.
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