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Old 04-03-2005, 12:13 AM
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frame swap for '57 olds wagon

i have a '57 olds fiesta wagon, with a great body and interior, and have discovered how badly rusted the frame and suspension is. i knew it looked bad but did not know how bad it was until today!! UNSAFE!!! anyway, i have a friend who has a '73 chevy caprice rolling chassis that i can have!!! for free. there is a difference of 3 inches between the center to center (front spindle to rear axle) between the 2 frames. the caprice is 3 inches longer, i can also have the whole floor of the body up to the firewall of the caprice if i want. does anyone have any experience with a swap like this? or am i off my rocker here? i want to build the wagon regardless, i am just hoping i can do it with a free frame and not have to buy one!!! anyone??? have any suggestions or ADVICE??? thanks, ken

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Old 04-07-2005, 08:36 AM
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You likely will never find anyone who has done that specific swap so all you can hope for is general opinions. All things being equal, I ALWAYS urge people to avoid frame swaps if at all possible. That is one project that almost guarantees an unfinished project taking up garage space for decades. ALWAYS update the stock frame if at all possible. However, if you are correct and the stock frame is trash, AND you have the patience for a LONG, difficult but very rewarding project, get that free frame and go for it! You must re-position the rear axle for an exact wheel base match, otherwise the thing will look odd. If your frame is shot, your floor boards are probably gone too. Best of both worlds, since your donor car comes w/ floor boards, plan on cutting out the old ones and welding the new one in place. Although it is a huge task to perform, this will get rid of the equally huge task of fitting the new frame to the old floor. I think the total replacement will be easier in the long run.

All that being said, take a ton of detailed measurements and sketches from each car and compare the similarities an differences and come up with a fairly detailed plan of how to merge the two. If the suspension, motor, passenger compartment, seating areas, floor attachment points, firewall, bumper mounting points, etc., etc., etc., all can be matched up with a little work, go for it!
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Old 04-08-2005, 02:02 PM
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If you are serious!!

Then hopefully you have a place to dothis where you can be for a while..lift the body off of the existing frame and do some serious measuring to see just what you will need..Expect to spend some serious time on homework and research..

Sometimes it is just better to bite the bullet and buidl a new tube frame..

While you may find a suitable frame it will take some time to sort out just what you will need and a lot of the time we wind up going with the tube style chassis..

Just my thoughts

OMT
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Old 04-08-2005, 07:20 PM
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thanks for the advice you guys, i appreciate it. i did a lot of measuring already, and my only concern is the 3 inch difference in the wheel base,the width, floor, firewall, front supension, all are extremely close, ?go figure? i was thinking along the lines of cutting the perimeters of the bodys from the floors and setting the wagon down, body-drop style, and filling in with "filler" metal. i have done several body drops so i am not too concerned, i think i could do this one too. i guess maybe i just needed an extra "vote of confidence"...thanks again...ken
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Old 04-08-2005, 10:18 PM
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You MUST do a Project Journal on this or we will send out a hit squad and track you down like a common pygmy!
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Old 04-09-2005, 05:23 AM
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Caprice frame

A careful examination of that Caprice frame will show that GM put a joint in it at the rear and front clip ends..I know I have one out here..If you carefully cut at the joint you can take out the 3" you need so the wheelbase will be correct..Of course you will need to jig carefull to get it square..but you know that one..

then carry on..the idea of the "body drop" seems good to me..

Lets see the progress pics as you go..

OMT
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Old 04-09-2005, 10:11 AM
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The Olds Rear Diff

Don't send that diff of to the scrap yard, I think most of the Olds and Buicks in that vintage have a stout third member style diff that is LSD. You'd likely find a buyer for it, someone building a 60's style gasser or the like.
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Old 04-09-2005, 01:32 PM
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SCRAP YARD?!?! trust me i only get stuff from the scrap yard, i could never send anything to one, i would give it to someone who could use it before i would even consider that sin!! ha. ha. and many thanks for the hint/advice on that joint area!!! i saw that weld seam but never thought about it that way, and i think that pretty much solves my problem/delimma!!! also what by the way is a "project journal"?? just pictures i post up of the progress??? i gotta get the body off the caprice, and then i can wheel the "fiesta wagon" in the garage and have some working room. is there other ways of putting pictures on the computer if you don't have a digi. camera??? thanks again all...ken p/s: OMT where in wash. state are you?? i am in Spocompton (spokane)!!!
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Old 04-09-2005, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chopperimpala
also what by the way is a "project journal"??
WHAT IS A PROJECT JOURNAL?!?!?!?!? Only the best feature of this board, that's all!! Here is mine but there are dozens and dozens of Journals with great how-to info.

Good point on the Olds rear end. Yes, there are a bunch of gassers out there who would LOVE to get their hands on it! I would arm wrestle you for it except I run a '56 which is slightly different than a '57-'64 so I can't use it. Rod & Custom or Hot rod had a real tech article a few months ago on adapting a Ford 9" pumpkin to the Olds axle housing so you can keep the nostalgic look w/ up-to-date gears.

You can take Kodak 35mm shots, have them developed, scan them w/ a flat bed scanner, edit them in PhotoShop, save them as JPEGs, then upload them. Get a digital!!
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Old 04-10-2005, 09:09 PM
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You can take Kodak 35mm shots, have them developed, scan them w/ a flat bed scanner, edit them in PhotoShop, save them as JPEGs, then upload them.


damn!!! i can barely say all that let alone DO IT!!! i'm looking into the digi cam thing, i just don't spend a lot of time on a computer to warrant it, but maybe this is now the reason! i'll think hard about it, and i'll look at you journal to get an idea what to do!!! ken

Last edited by chopperimpala; 04-10-2005 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 04-10-2005, 09:34 PM
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You will absolutely LOVE a digital camera. It will revolutionize your picture taking, I promise.
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Old 04-10-2005, 11:07 PM
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I'll get a c.d. from my regular camera at the photo developers ocasionally when I can't use the digital, pretty easy to upload into a journal that way also. I've got a mess of pics but no patience to upload them into my journal or album. Last time I put pics in my journal it took me 20 minutes to do about 5 pics. I gave up, too many people to share computer time.
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