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Conner 04-19-2002 01:24 PM

rebuilding a 54 front end?
hello,my question is about rebuilding the front end of my truck,adding power brakes,power steering,disc brakes,etc....and dropping in a small block.its a 54 3/4 GMC,would this be pratical?and how could i change it from 8-lug to 5 or 6 lug.just getting more conviced to keep the I-beam.thanks

WoodsEdge 04-23-2002 07:43 PM

The easiest way I've found is to go to a Mustang II front suspention. Don't know how stock you want to keep it. I'm building a 50 Chevy panel truck but its going to be a hot rod. I used a Fat Man crossmember and stock Mustang II a-arms and springs with 82 Caprice 11" roters. I'm also using the Caprice rearend with Posie's springs. I also went with a power rack and power brake master cyl. Brent at Fat Mans will be glad to answer any questions you have. This is a fairly simple swap if you can weld and fabricate. Hope this helps, Jack

Conner 04-24-2002 06:20 AM

thanks Jack,if i cant get this rebuild under way i just might have to do a clip or MII.the only thing holding me back from the rebuild id its a 3/4 ton truck with going to change the rear im pretty sure the lugs won't look rightbeing 8 in front and5 or 6 in back.just need to know how to change the front lug pattern.someone on this board has to know.because im in the dark.thanks for the responce though.i appriciate you taking your time.


WoodsEdge 04-24-2002 06:18 PM

Sorry about my answer, Conner, I misread you. If you want to go to disc, I'd call Master Power Brakes in Mooresville, N.C. 888-251-2353. I put disc on a 50 ford, bought only their brackets and they told me what roters, bearings, etc. to use, even gave me part numbers. Good co. to deal with. Jack

Conner 04-25-2002 05:59 AM

thanks Jack,that should put me on the road to the rebuild.appreciate it


Phat 04-25-2002 11:53 AM

Hey Conner. I have built a few 54's and other assorted 47-55 1st. First my own personal truck is a 54 with a striaght axle and with some mods drives great. I can get in it and go 500-1000 miles in a day.(gettin to old to do that..but the truck could) Second all the rods i have built lately i have been using the 3/4 ton frame..its striaght and a good solid frame to start with. Third point(i do this for a living) I would not put the Fat stuff in anything..not even a go cart.I have had more problems with his stuff than you can know.Just finished cutting one all up the other day to get it so the guy could drive it.he uses the wrong rack,the anti dive is screwed up and i have seen with my own 2 eye 3 crossmembers that cracked and broke in the last 2-3 years.(the duluxe fluff and buff kits) If you do go stangII go with TPI-heidts or progressive. In what ever one you do you need to upgrade the brakes to 11inch and caliper to the old style 70's big calipers..not the little metrics. You also need to go full lower a-frames..the stock style strut rod frontend is just plain wrong.If you put a strut rod on a lower a-frame try to move the a-frame up and down in its travel 3-4 inches up and 2 inches down.Guess what it aint gonna happen,plus the caster is not stable under braking.They also break. I really have been using Bob at progressive more .740-862-4696. But the TPI unit is also a real good piece.

Conner 04-25-2002 05:06 PM

im glad to hear the frame is good for hot rodding.i have to ask you since this is your profession.what do you think about the power steering conversion for the straight axle.would the front and rear sway bars and monoleafs be enough to handle the small block or should i add the conversion?thanks for the response.


Phat 04-26-2002 04:33 AM

First off conner if your going to use a smallblock you have to move the steering box if you use the stock one.(it wont clear the ex manifolds no matter which ones you use)I also have not seen to many powersteering kits i could recomend. Most give you problems mounting the front shocks and or bumper and limit your turning raduis on right turns(tire hits the steering box) On sway all means put them on..but do a little test for me it with them on and than disconect the rear one..i have done the last 4 trucks like that and the guys like the rear ones not hooked up(but now you just have to remove it not cut up everything to install it)...I thought they drove better myself but i used to race oval track cars so my driving style is probaley a little screwy. In the end i think you will have done better by using a kit to do the front.The monos do ride ok...not a big improvemnet but good.(if i were to replace brokin springs i would do it,but they are pricy) but start adding up all the parts to do it. I have takin more than one truck apart that had all that stuff in it. I think you must decide what you want from your truck first. Are you just going to go to your local show ??Are you going to get on the highway and drive the thing to events 100's of miles away?? Get a budget together than add 33% to it .But spend the best money on the frontend,it will not be wasted.

[ April 26, 2002: Message edited by: Phat ]</p>

Conner 04-26-2002 07:33 AM

thanks, going to look into this a whole lot more(stock or kit).when i get around to the sway bars,i'll make sure to do what you asked.thanks again.


tucker916 04-28-2002 02:58 PM

Phat, On those 3/4 ton frames, do you shorten them in the rear and put short beds on them? What kind of rear suspension do you usually use?

Phat 04-29-2002 06:54 AM

Tucker Yes i cut the frame behind the cab about but in front of the e-brake holes. Pretty much any suspension you would want..air ride ..leaf springs..This one just got a complete vette suspension front and rear.

[ April 29, 2002: Message edited by: Phat ]</p>

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