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Old 06-01-2004, 01:46 PM
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59 Chevy pickup frame woes!

I have a 1959 Chevy short bed step side pickup that I just purchased. It is someone's unfinished project where they attempted to change the front clip and absolutely butchered it. I am wondering at this point if I should try to repair the butch-job of the past owner, or if I should look for another 59 frame to start over, or whether I should find a more modern rolling chassis and swap the sheet metal from one to the other. The front clip appears to be a Nova clip that is about 3/4" narrower on each side than the original frame. The original frame was cut off midway between the engine mount and transmission mount. The original frame and the newer clip section have been fairly significantly slotted, sectioned and bent. The person that attempted to change the clip has cut-off the front frame horns of the donor clip and the front frame horns of the original 59 frame. They then sectioned, bent, and welded the 59 frame horns to the sides of the new donor clip. The sheet metal looks OK from a side view, but the truck looks like the front end would fall off if you drive it down the road! Are there any truck or car frames that are fairly close in geometry to the '59 frame? How does one find the geometry for older vehicles. I purchased a Chevy factory assembly manual for the '59, so the geometry for the 59 can be easily found. I would like to be able to simply swap the sheet metal parts from the vehicle I currently have to a donor chassis. I dont mind having to shorten or lengthen frame sections. However, I would like to have something that already has the correct wheel width for the body I have. Modifying body mounts and locating/drilling holes is not a big issue either. I just want something that is going to be a nice driver when I am done, with modern brakes and suspension parts that are easy to repair and replace. How should I go about the process of finding experienced help in my geographic area for this project? I am a firm believer in asking for help from those more knowledgeable and experienced than I. Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 06-01-2004, 02:20 PM
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A properly done clip is a thing of beauty but a bad on is not only ugly but will kill you or someone else. Sorry that it sounds like you got and ugly one. I don't know what will fit your 59 but I'm sure that knowledge is here. When I did my 53 Ford sedan, I had a rectangular tube frame section made up on a frame table and slid it about 1' into the existing frame, measured about a million times and ways and welded it in. I used an 80 Chrysler K-member and wound up with power steering, disk brakes and torsion bar suspension. The car handles like a dream and I couldn't be happier with the outcome. I almost scared myself to death when I cut the old front end of and looked at it laying on the ground thinking "what have I got myself into now??" Don't give up it's a lot of work but worth it in the end.
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Old 06-01-2004, 04:18 PM
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Thanks Pony,
I have all kinds of cheerleaders that are giving me the courage to get started. What I really need is the voice and guidance of experience to give me the correct information and helpful advice as to how to proceed with the project, and what advantages and disadvantages there are along the way. The sheet metal for the truck I have is really nice for a '59. I am eager to get it on a rolling chassis that is safe and will make it a nice driver.
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Old 01-01-2006, 02:18 PM
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Lil Pine, how's your project going? What did you end up doing? I'm working on a 57 chev short box stepside. I used the Volare front suspension. One nice thing about this mod is that you retain the original frame so mounting the rad support and front sheet metal etc. is just the opposite of removal.
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Old 01-01-2006, 02:59 PM
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I understand that the 78-87 Monte Carlo, and similar GM front frames are a much better fit under the late 50s Chevys than the Nova/Camaro clips.

BTW...I am moving this to the suspension forum.
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Old 12-25-2006, 04:45 PM
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Butch Job Repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by Li'l Pine
I have a 1959 Chevy short bed step side pickup that I just purchased. It is someone's unfinished project where they attempted to change the front clip and absolutely butchered it. I am wondering at this point if I should try to repair the butch-job of the past owner, or if I should look for another 59 frame to start over, or whether I should find a more modern rolling chassis and swap the sheet metal from one to the other. The front clip appears to be a Nova clip that is about 3/4" narrower on each side than the original frame. The original frame was cut off midway between the engine mount and transmission mount. The original frame and the newer clip section have been fairly significantly slotted, sectioned and bent. The person that attempted to change the clip has cut-off the front frame horns of the donor clip and the front frame horns of the original 59 frame. They then sectioned, bent, and welded the 59 frame horns to the sides of the new donor clip. The sheet metal looks OK from a side view, but the truck looks like the front end would fall off if you drive it down the road! Are there any truck or car frames that are fairly close in geometry to the '59 frame? How does one find the geometry for older vehicles. I purchased a Chevy factory assembly manual for the '59, so the geometry for the 59 can be easily found. I would like to be able to simply swap the sheet metal parts from the vehicle I currently have to a donor chassis. I dont mind having to shorten or lengthen frame sections. However, I would like to have something that already has the correct wheel width for the body I have. Modifying body mounts and locating/drilling holes is not a big issue either. I just want something that is going to be a nice driver when I am done, with modern brakes and suspension parts that are easy to repair and replace. How should I go about the process of finding experienced help in my geographic area for this project? I am a firm believer in asking for help from those more knowledgeable and experienced than I. Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
1972-75 Chevy Blazer k5 style is within 1 inch of wheel base,
and width. A friend in my area set a 55 chevy stepside on one of these chassis worked without very little modification. RJ
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Old 12-25-2006, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RANDY JOHNSON
1972-75 Chevy Blazer k5 style is within 1 inch of wheel base,
and width. A friend in my area set a 55 chevy stepside on one of these chassis worked without very little modification. RJ
I find it hard to believe that the Blazer wheel base is that close to a pickup, even a short box.......
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Old 12-25-2006, 11:11 PM
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Iknowone of those cabs will go on a 1970 suburban chassis without a lot of mods..one needs to rework the body mounts to fit the cab but all in all it works out just fine..

If you are after a low rider I would certainly look at the GM metric chassis and see if that could be made to work..Those can be altered in the wheelbase dept if so desired or needed..

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Old 12-26-2006, 04:38 PM
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lilPine If you go to the hotrodders lounge you will find the thread "55to59 chevy truck owners" in the thread Tom Meyer has a project journal that shows his camaro front clip installation.There are allot of guys with these trucks and allot of journals that could be a big help to you.good luck on your project
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Old 01-15-2007, 05:42 PM
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59 frame

Hi

I have a 55 2nd frame that i would let go for little of nothing.
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Old 01-15-2007, 05:45 PM
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So, put it in the classified section...advertising is not allowed on the main board.
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Old 02-18-2007, 07:26 AM
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There is absolutly nothing wrong w/a GM clip. Check it for squareness & if okay reweld if it looks weak. You will love the way it drives. Check out a comparison of IFS at www.meyerbrosrods.com
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Old 02-18-2007, 12:15 PM
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I would Do Some Careful Measuring

Lil Pine, My research has indicated that a Camaro clip will be one of the best options for IFS on your truck.

I would be glad to give you as many measurments as you need to see if the graph is in there correctly. I would at lease measure it completely. Like Don says, if it is square, you can weld it up better, reinforce it, etc to make it work. This seems to be the path of least amount of work. Some pics would help us give you the best advise. On Don and I's site, there are several pics on my Camaro Graph.
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Old 02-18-2007, 01:09 PM
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Tom's original 1957 Chevy truck frame




My 1966 GMC 1/2-ton frame
In this picture, the original trans crossmember (which looks very similar to the 57) is still in place. It was removed later, and replaced with one that sits further back on the frame, and supports the transmission tailhousing.





I would be curious to know if the frame widths are the same or close?
IIRC mine was around 37" ... which is the same as the 73 - 80 Chev/GMC.
If yours is close to that you may consider doing the same front cross-member swap that I did.

I'm just comparing my last photo with Tom's frame. There is about a 6-7" frame rise where the suspension fits, whereas Tom's frame looks pretty flat ... so a frame graft may be necessary with my idea too.

Edit:
Here is an (upside-down) side-view of the frame showing the "kick".


All of the pictures above are thumbnails from my project journal. If you are interested, look in my journal for the hi-res versions, along with the explanation of the very minor alterations.

Last edited by 66GMC; 02-18-2007 at 01:17 PM. Reason: Added side-view pic of frame
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Old 07-01-2009, 12:44 AM
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the newer frame 73'-87' track width is to wide. i have a 59' on a 70' chassis and i feel its a poor combo. also have a 55' with a aspen clip and it seems to fit ok but then you have to address the huge mopar steering box that is right in the way for a drivers side motor mount. you end up building what resembles a small bridge. you also need to reinforce the idler arm mounting area as they were a weak part of the front end allowing excess flex even when new. done the camaro clip and they do work well. the 78'-87' a-body is also a good choice. really comes down to your budget.
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