Frame limitations for a '37-'38 Chevy truck frame. - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board
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Old 08-18-2013, 10:25 AM
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Frame limitations for a '37-'38 Chevy truck frame.

Hey guys, just planning out the next steps on my build. I have a '38 Chevy half ton, which has the same frame as the '37's.

Im just a bit worried as to how much HP/TQ I can put under the hood, but Im quite leery, as the frame is only 1/8" thick steel, thats formed into a 4" steel C channel.

Bone stock these trucks came with a WHOPPING 85hp 3.6L/216cu straight 6. I was hoping to put a 400-500hp LS2,LS3,LS6 or LS7 under the hood with the T56 Borg Warner 6speed manual.

So Im curious as to whether or not that sort of HP/TQ will twist the frame into a metallic pretzel or not.

Some people remark that its a wise idea to swap out the frame for an S10 frame, but doing so, absolutely nothing will line up, as the two trucks are radically different in every aspect.

What would you guys recommend? Just heavily modifying the stock frame? or making a whole new tube frame or what?
Im not too interested in creating a dragster, but I just want a DD truck that has some giddy up to it, and is usuable as a truck when I want it to be, as in towing stuff or some hauling.

I figure I'll be using the Hiedt's front and rear end packages available as bolt-in kits for these specific model years of trucks, for IFS & IRS... but not too sure if this is even a good idea considering how thin and (likely) weak the frame is all things considered.


Thanks a ton for reading this and offering any help you can. Its much appreciated.

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Old 08-19-2013, 10:28 PM
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Um, anybody?
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Old 08-19-2013, 10:39 PM
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box it ?

the normal procedure would be to have it blasted, inspected, then boxed and add a new K cross member and you might have to modify the suspension kit pieces. I don't know if any of the chassis companies build a new frame yet.
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Old 08-19-2013, 10:42 PM
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old roads

In the old days the chassis was built to with stand all the old dirt, gravel, rough, washboard roads. over work, overload, on the farm, not horsepower..
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Old 08-20-2013, 01:04 AM
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Yeppers, best way unless you steal from 38(thicker steel if brain remembers right)
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Old 08-20-2013, 06:54 AM
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Yea, clean it up and box the rails and build a strong crossmember to carry the trans and support the forward suspension points for the rear suspension. What are your plans for suspension?
Keep in mind that, if you aren't drag racing with slicks and a four speed, your chassis will not really see all that much shock. Street tires with no traction to speak of will be spinners, not hookers, so over building the frame is not necessary.
Mark
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Old 08-20-2013, 07:46 PM
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^ Awesome! thanks guys, I wish you were all closer, that way beers would be on me. I agree on that whole sandblasting aspect, but there are so many holes drilled for the spring stops etc.. I have a lot of welding & grinding to do to fill them all in. Also, what style of K members would you recommend? and where is a good place to get them?

This is probably the rear end that'll work. Its available in a variety of widths, which is great. IIRC, I'll need a 56-58" width.

Heidts Superide IRS HOT ROD AND Muscle CAR Independent Rear Suspension | eBay



For the front end? I was thinking this.
1937 38 39 Chevy Pick UP Truck "Heidts" Mustang II Front END Complete | eBay


Whats your guys' opinion on both kits? What can be expected performance wise with either or both kits?
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:19 PM
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Fatmans' makes a chassis for 37-38 chevy trucks - here's a link: 1937-1938 Chevy Truck Chassis - Fatman Fabrications Fatman Fabrications
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:44 AM
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^ Holy, wow. I had no idea they even made one, for $8500, as a complete package, that seems to be a wicked deal. Thank you SO much!
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