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I want to make my '59 Chevy Apache Fleetside 32 into a daily driver and need some advice. I want to change out the front end, engine and transmission, and possibly the rear end. I want this to be able to do highway speeds safely. I also figure I will add power assist brakes and steering. I am a weekend wrencher at best so I need help with what the best components are to bolt on with little or no modifications. Currently, the truck is all stock (235 4 speed manual). I would prefer to leave it manual, but am willing to go automatic if it is too complicated to change to a modern clutch. At this point, my plan is to buy a turn-key Chevy 350 small block engine transmission combo. I have seen Mustang bolt-on front ends. Is this the direction to go? When doing such a build should I change out the rear end to match the front end 5 bolt opposed to the stock 6 bolt as well or just change the gearing?

I jumped into this project headfirst. I have some experience wrenching on motorcycles, but almost no experience with cars, so any ideas would be helpful
 

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A built a 56 years ago. Started with a 59 gmc frame. Used the front frame clip from a 80 gmc. Grafted it onto the 59 frame right in front of the front cab mount. The frames are almost identical. Same shape but about 1/4 inch shorter in height. Matched them up in a ‘z’ shape and welded them up.
That way I got a better front set up including the power steering and brakes. I mounted the booster on the firewall. Even used the junction block and wiring harness. Used the rearend from the 80 too. Slight massage to the dowel holes on the spring pads and it set right in place.
Popped in a 350 and turbo 350 and off to the races.
Got it wired and the original heater working and the new owner left on Christmas Eve in the dark with poorly aimed headlights. It was 20 below. He drove it 700 miles home in 4 days. He was a braver man than I am doing that.
Sorry for the long story!
I did consider a Camaro sub frame or mustang 2 conversion but the 80 gmc was acquired in a trade for a 72 nova. I had 3 grand in the truck when I sold it.
If you’re really bucks up you can even buy a complete custom chassis ready for your cab and box.
Lots more choices these days.
 

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I want to make my '59 Chevy Apache Fleetside 32 into a daily driver and need some advice. I want to change out the front end, engine and transmission, and possibly the rear end. I want this to be able to do highway speeds safely. I also figure I will add power assist brakes and steering. I am a weekend wrencher at best so I need help with what the best components are to bolt on with little or no modifications. Currently, the truck is all stock (235 4 speed manual). I would prefer to leave it manual, but am willing to go automatic if it is too complicated to change to a modern clutch. At this point, my plan is to buy a turn-key Chevy 350 small block engine transmission combo. I have seen Mustang bolt-on front ends. Is this the direction to go? When doing such a build should I change out the rear end to match the front end 5 bolt opposed to the stock 6 bolt as well or just change the gearing?

I jumped into this project headfirst. I have some experience wrenching on motorcycles, but almost no experience with cars, so any ideas would be helpful
at least you picked a 4 eyed beauty to start with, 4 is always better than two.

not sure anyone makes a bolt on ifs for task force trucks. lots of weld on options. typically the ifs choice is 5 lug and then you pick a 5 lug rearend with the gear set you want.

motors are plentiful in the junkyards. gm performance also sells a variety of efi crate motors. erod & ramjet all have computer and wiring harness with them. myself would never own anything carburated, i have the ramjet350 in mine for 10 years, it starts every spring without any tuning or work. i believe the erod motors interface with newer aod trans, my truk has the 700r4 aod in it. i'm not a manual guy anymore, but lots of t56 info in links below

there are many rearends that can go into tf trucks, nothing is bolt in except the rearend currently under it now. no way to gear yours for highway speeds. my truk has a 1986 trans am, 9 bolt with disc brakes under it. 3.27 ratio with the ramjet350 gets me 21 mpg at 80 mph. i'm quite happy with that :giggle:

truk also has power windows, 4 wheel disc, hydroboost power brakes, air conditioning, cruise and very important... 1000 watts of stereo. truk goes 0 to 100 and back to 0 safely 👍


lots of tech on swaps specific to our trucks over here The 1947 - 1959 Chevrolet & GMC Pickups Message Board - The 1947 - Present Chevrolet & GMC Truck Message Board Network
my 58 truk build on that forum is here 58 TRUK intro - The 1947 - Present Chevrolet & GMC Truck Message Board Network
rearend swap info scroll way down IFS and Rear End Swap - Chevy Task Force Truck
there's a thread here that used to be very active 55 to 59 chevy truck owners
 

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Here is my 2cents, nothing new, but it's info!
Use a front clip from a mid-70s Camaro or Monte Carlo: it gives you power steering, power disc brakes, independent suspension; something that is imoprtant to me is that it gives you OEM design and reliability, and it is easy to find maintenance parts everywhere; there is also a lot of aftermarket stuff available (you'll need a big anti-sway bar!). Good or bad, I do not know for you, but it can look pretty much factory, and I like that. Some people believe the Mustang II is not sturdy enough for a heavy old truck...
Put a modern rear end, with the same bolt pattern as the front, you get better brakes and again, parts are easy to find, and you have a wide choice of ratios to match engine and trans. Flat Out Engineering has a bolt-on kit to use a C4 Corvette rear under these trucks, excellent kit, very easy to use! Their Corvette front end kit is weld-on, could be a way to go
For the engine, I would go LS (5.3 or 6.0 liter): plentiful and pretty cheap in junkyards (even low miles), reliable, smooth running.
I cannot help about a manual trans
 
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