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Old 04-05-2007, 03:20 PM
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S10 to '49 Olds?

It's getting closer to the time when I _have_ to come up with a solution to the front suspension on my '49 Olds. Every donor vehicle I've checked out has some disadvantage -- most are simply too wide. Cutting a wide one down, IIUC, runs the risk of bump-steer or other handling problems unless you're a suspension engineer.

The Olds has a front track width of 56".

A Volvo 240 has almost exactly the same track width as my Olds (just 0.3 inches wider), but it's a MacPherson strut system -- camber doesn't change with suspension travel or body roll. (Deuce threw cold water on that idea a year or two ago). Just about every donor I've checked which has close to the same track width is either front wheel drive, strut, or the GVWR is 'way different from the Olds.

Over the weekend, I checked out my nephew's S10. He has exactly the same size tires, wheels and brakes on it that I want on the Olds. (I really want his 12" discs, but the stock S10 10.5" would be a big improvement over the Olds). With his modifications, it measured 56.5" center to center (tires). A stock S10 Blazer behind his pickup measured 53.5". I have been unable to find the dimensions of the various years of S10s online.

Does an S10 front clip sound reasonable for this car? Best specs I've found on the Olds show a minimum weight of 3260 and max of 3945, so the S10 would likely need softer springs. There isn't a problem with the ugliness of the S10's front frame because the Olds' is even uglier.

What kind of pitfalls am I likely to hit with this? (Other than getting the S10 frame section aligned properly before welding, as several threads warn about). Is changing the scrub radius by widening the track likely to give handling problems?

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Old 04-05-2007, 03:54 PM
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Is your goal to lower the car or to just improve the ride? My buddy is building a 50 olds, so I am interested in this thread too. If you want to lower the car I would suggest going more narrow. I put a camaro clip on a Studebaker truck. They had the same track width, and when I lowered the ride height I could not turn tightly without the tire hitting the fender. I had to raise the suspension an inch to get things to clear. Is the mustang II clip out of the question, I know it is pricey but it would solve alot of issues for you.
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Old 04-05-2007, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quigman
Is your goal to lower the car or to just improve the ride? My buddy is building a 50 olds, so I am interested in this thread too.
The ride was really soft originally but it sat up high -- no need for a creeper to work under it. What I'm after is to (1) get disc brakes, (2) get a suspension for which parts are readily available, (3) lower it, though not drastically, (4) maintain a ride good enough for long distance, (5) improve handling.

Does that '50 Olds have the coil spring hats built into the frame like this one? Does your buddy have a journal here? I'd love to see that. I was beginning to think all the Oldsmobiles from that era had gone to the crushers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by quigman
Is the mustang II clip out of the question, I know it is pricey but it would solve alot of issues for you.
Yes, I've pretty much eliminated the MII from consideration. This is based on a general feeling of unease after reading all the threads about it that are listed in the Knowledge Base as well as the fact that this weird frame would need clipping anyway. It would be a complete custom job rather than just welding a kit to the rails.
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Old 04-05-2007, 06:00 PM
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First, I think the important measurement is the wheel flange-to-wheel flange distance, since the track dimension changes depending on the offset of the wheels you use. Second, the S-10 uses a full frame, not a subframe. Third, you also need to measure the frame rail spacing if you plan to weld it to the back of the Olds frame.
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Old 04-05-2007, 06:43 PM
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Have you looked into a Fatman's clip? They do list one for 49 Olds. I am putting one in my 37 Olds, and the frame width matched perfectly. The radiator mount was off a little, but it was an easy fix. It cost me $2768 with the freight. Includes everything hub to hub, shocks, springs, power rack, brakes, SS control arms. So far I am happy with it.

Rick
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Old 04-05-2007, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe_padavano
First, I think the important measurement is the wheel flange-to-wheel flange distance, since the track dimension changes depending on the offset of the wheels you use.
That was what was so nice about seeing his setup -- he installed a "B body brake kit" which got him the 12" rotors. The hubs are larger so they increased the track width. Just eyeballing it over the weekend, the wheels had very close to 0 offset. Going to an S10 suspension makes it so I can use the very same kit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joe_padavano
Second, the S-10 uses a full frame, not a subframe. Third, you also need to measure the frame rail spacing if you plan to weld it to the back of the Olds frame.
I know, but access to his truck came unexpectedly. The rails seem to be spaced just right if I cut the S10 right where the rails begin to curve behind the front suspension and if I cut the Olds frame right where its rails begin to flare outward. That's not quite at the firewall so any ugliness I create in the welding will be very visible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 37OldsCoupe
Have you looked into a Fatman's clip? They do list one for 49 Olds.
Thanks, I did check them out a while back. Because of the weirdness of the frame, it would require cutting the frame off at the firewall, just like Progressive's and others. If I have to do that, I might as well do it the old way. I haven't figured out any way to ditch the original suspension without cutting off the frame.
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Old 04-06-2007, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grouch
-- camber doesn't change with suspension travel or body roll. (Deuce threw cold water on that idea a year or two ago). Just about every donor I've checked which has close to the same track width is either front wheel drive, strut, or the GVWR is 'way different from the Olds.
That Deuce guy is bad to do that ...

What is the wheelbase on the S-10 ... ?
As a general rule I am against frame swaps ... but there are a few exceptions ... and a S-10 should be heavy duty enough for the 49 Olds coupe ...

Deuce ...
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Old 04-06-2007, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deuce
That Deuce guy is bad to do that ...
No, it was a blessing in disguise. I focused on the similarity in the track width and the possible problem of supporting the struts in the right position. I didn't consider how inflexible the design is compared to a double wishbone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deuce
What is the wheelbase on the S-10 ... ?
As a general rule I am against frame swaps ... but there are a few exceptions ... and a S-10 should be heavy duty enough for the 49 Olds coupe ...

Deuce ...
I'm not sure of the wheelbase; I hadn't even thought about a full frame swap. The Olds frame is in very good condition, it's just goofy from the firewall forward. That's the part of the S10 frame I would want. It would get me an updated suspension immediately and allow me to use any of the piles of aftermarket parts made for S10's.

I'm not worried about the strength of my welds (as long as I'm not messing with sheet metal ), it's all the stuff I don't know about doing such a 'clip' because of having never done one. That's what worries me.

Somewhere on here there's a journal that points out the use of diamond shaped patches over the straight welds to strengthen them. Might be willys36's journal; I'll check.
[Edited to add: Found it in his journal -- http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/jour...ge=5&reverse=1 the entry title is "Monte Carlo clip for '55-'59 Chev PU -4" and it shows "fish plates" welded to the frame rails.]

Here's a question I haven't seen addressed anywhere: Does the S10 clip need to be positioned at the same angle relative to level ground as it was originally, at rest, and the Olds frame positioned at the same angle as it originally was before the two are joined? I've read about getting the lower A-arms level at ride height and making sure the centerline of the clip matches the centerline of the frame, but not anything on the side view of both.

Last edited by grouch; 04-06-2007 at 05:12 PM. Reason: found info
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Old 04-08-2007, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grouch
I'm not worried about the strength of my welds (as long as I'm not messing with sheet metal ), it's all the stuff I don't know about doing such a 'clip' because of having never done one. That's what worries me.

Somewhere on here there's a journal that points out the use of diamond shaped patches over the straight welds to strengthen them. Might be willys36's journal; I'll check.
[Edited to add: Found it in his journal -- http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/jour...ge=5&reverse=1 the entry title is "Monte Carlo clip for '55-'59 Chev PU -4" and it shows "fish plates" welded to the frame rails.]

Here's a question I haven't seen addressed anywhere: Does the S10 clip need to be positioned at the same angle relative to level ground as it was originally, at rest, and the Olds frame positioned at the same angle as it originally was before the two are joined? I've read about getting the lower A-arms level at ride height and making sure the centerline of the clip matches the centerline of the frame, but not anything on the side view of both.
Since no one has posted on this I will throw my two cents in. First, I have to tell you that I have never used a S10 clip or have any experience with it. I have helped with several Nova/Camaro clip swaps though and what you are thinking of doing sounds a lot like a Nova swap. Although the S10 uses a complete frame you will be treating it like a clip when you cut the front of it off your donor truck. Depending how it matches up to your Olds frame will determine what you need to strengthen that portion of the join. Using a fish plate on each side will work if they match up well. If they do not you can add plates (sort of like gussets or braces) between the two frames to make them look like they flow into one another.

As for positioning relative to ground level at rest - with the S10 frame I think that would be a good idea to keep the same front end suspension characteristics. (to do this you will have to clamp your front springs at the height they are at when the engine is in the frame - I think? - any comments from the other members) But if you think about it a bit the question arises about what happens to the front end characteristics when dropped spindles are used with no comparable change in the rear suspension. I am sure there are some members here that can fill us in on that.

As for the rear of the Olds frame sitting at the same angle to the ground at rest I can only see that a change there will change the "squat" on hard acceleration. Of coarse if you are changing out the rear end you can set it up to take that into consideration when you mount the rear end. The only reason I am mentioning this is that you may find it hard to keep that rear angle and mount your rear end with the new lower height of the front suspension.

It sounds to me that you have thought this out thoroughly as usual and it will work!!! You have measured it up and the next step is to bite the bullet and start cutting bit by bit leaving lots of extra on both sides until you can get them together and see exactly what you will have to do. I feel that you have more than enough intelligence and ability to do this. Go for it!
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Old 04-09-2007, 11:59 AM
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To address your question of =
Here's a question I haven't seen addressed anywhere: Does the S10 clip need to be positioned at the same angle relative to level ground as it was originally, at rest, and the Olds frame positioned at the same angle as it originally was before the two are joined? I've read about getting the lower A-arms level at ride height and making sure the centerline of the clip matches the centerline of the frame, but not anything on the side view of both.

Both need to be positioned at the level they would be in a stock vehicle.
This usually means the main frame rails being level to the floor.

A ride height suggestion that worked well for me on the 51 Merc that I used to have that I used a Nova Stub on.

Block up the Olds at the height you want it to finally set at. You will probably have to use 4x6 blocks and others to get it just right. set it level, don't worry about rake one way or the other you will get that with the rear suspension later. If the rear suspension is already finished and sitting at the final ride height it is a plus. Otherwise you will most likely have to remove the rear tires to do this.
Stand back and say yup that is the way I want it to sit or nope I need to raise or lower it.

Measure a stock height S-10 or the one with the correct sized tires, you want the static height of the bottom of the center of the front crossmember.
This is what you will block the crossmember up at when you slide the S-10 frame section into the remains of the Olds frame. That way you will have the correct final ride height with full suspension travel.

Cut both frames "long" so that you can trim To fit. as you go. It is a lot easier to do a bunch of extra trimming to get things perfect than to answer the "how the hell are we going to put a patch in there" question.
When it is all lined up and square you can tack weld it in enough places that it will stay in position to raise it up on stands and do the finish welding.

On the Merc we were able to tie the back ends of the trimmed stub to the X member of the original frame for added strength.
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Old 04-09-2007, 01:39 PM
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Thanks for the encouraging words, home brew! Cutting the frame is scary so those really help. Even if I were to miraculously cut it exactly right the first time, that would still leave it the sawzall kerf shorter than original. It's not like bolting on some enhancement that can simply be unbolted if it doesn't work out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chopt 48
Both need to be positioned at the level they would be in a stock vehicle.
This usually means the main frame rails being level to the floor.
The Olds frame has a nice flat section along the side rails that will help with that.

I should have remembered that advice about levelling at intended ride height; I've read about all the threads and articles I can find on the subject. It just got lost in the confusion. Appreciate the reminders, Chopt 48.

If I have all this straight in my head (for a change), the 3 lines of reference are the lengthwise centerline of the frame, the centerline of the axle (endpoints being the intersection of the kingpin and spindle at each end of the Olds suspension, and the spindle and a line through the ball joints on the S10), and the 3rd line of reference is a plumb line where the other two intersect. So, if I get all 3 of those lined up with the Olds frame sitting level at intended ride height, with the plumb line making sure that I don't have the S10 cutoff tilted forward, backward or to either side, that's how the cutoff _has_ to be welded to the frame for everything to work right. (I just finished going through a fairly long thread where JohnTN had caster problems with a clip that had been improperly installed by some shop. The thread ended before a solution was described. I don't want that nightmare).

Maybe it would be worth making cardboard mockups of the two frames near where the cuts and joins will be made.

The Olds' wheelbase is 119.5 inches -- http://www.carnut.com/specs/gen/olds40.html
According to what I've found online, an S10's wheelbase can vary from around 108 to 110 depending on the model. IIUC, this has an effect on the "ackerman" (still researching, maybe that's what Deuce was after when asking about it).
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Old 04-09-2007, 05:00 PM
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S10 wheelbases: 108, 118(117.9), or 123(122.9) inches, S10 Blaser: 100 inches.
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Old 04-09-2007, 11:59 PM
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w00t! Thanks, home brew. That 118 and 123 look close enough for me to ignore any Ackerman geometry changes.

It's looking like an S10 can do the job. Now I just have to find one. Cheap. I know they're out there, just not in my area.
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Old 04-10-2007, 12:51 AM
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It sounds like you pretty well have your act together. Take it slow and I don't forsee any problems. Once you have both frames side by side for eyeballing and tape measuring I think you will be ok.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deuce
That Deuce guy is bad to do that ...

What is the wheelbase on the S-10 ... ?
As a general rule I am against frame swaps ... but there are a few exceptions ... and a S-10 should be heavy duty enough for the 49 Olds coupe ...

Deuce ...
wheel base for the reg cab long bed is 117in which what I will be using for my 53 chevy AD 3100
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