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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
49 chevy truck Chassis swap 80 Camaro questions *UPDATE with Pics

Ok I bought a 1980 Camaro and We will be picking up the 49 Chevy truck tomorrow. So I have a few questions.

1. What rear end came with this truck and can I use the Camaro rear end instead?

2. Same question for the rear suspension.

3. Does anyone have a step by step for doing this chassis swap? New Interiors thank you for your help so far.

4. Should I use the wiring harness from the Camaro?

5. What else can I use off the Camaro?

6. Brake system for the rear and suggestions?

I know I may be asking alot here but this is my first time to swap a chassis and work on a vehicle older than me. I'm really pumped about tackling this though. I would appreciate any input, links, pictures and suggestions for doing this project. This is why I love these forums how did we ever get along without them.

Thank you in advance
Mark
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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"Chassis swap"? The Camaro is a unibody and has no "Chassis".

Brian
 

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Revolution Calling
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Brian doesn't the 2nd generation Camaro have a 'sub frame' in the front that is sometimes used for this type of thing? Like, say to ditch the straight axle?

Blankenship: You can use a lot of things, column, brakes, PS, seat, it's up to your imagination. I'd probably simplify the wiring from the '80 and use the more modern fuse box.

Best of luck.
 

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I used a 76 Nova for my 51 Ford F1........The Camaro rear should fit, probably have to move the spring perches. I used the F1 springs and made new shock mounts.....Also used the master cylinder etc from the Nova. .....Grafted the Nava front clip top the Ford frame.
 

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Blankenship said:
3. Does anyone have a step by step for doing this chassis swap?
Here's an article I wrote for the wiki, putting my thoughts on paper for a young fellow who wanted to do a frame swap on his International pickup truck, using a Dakota frame. It is by no means a step-by-step instructional, but you may gain something from reading it....
http://www.crankshaftcoalition.com/wiki/Frame_Swap
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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You are right that the Camaro has a sub frame you can splice onto the Chevy truck frame. I have done it, I do NOT recommend it.

Mark, listen, that truck has a Beautifully simply frame, leave it as is and work on other mods. I have had a truck like that for 35 years. And the biggest mistake I think I ever made was putting the Camaro clip on it. It was done right, it was just "not right" putting it on there. It is too wide, it requires some serious modification to the inner fenders and rad support, it is just "not right".

There are a zillion bolt on modifications available for that original frame. The rear end will bolt in right on the stock truck springs. There are springs available that will lower the truck and give it a better ride.

You need to make up your mind what you are going to do with the truck and how far you are going to go. You can make a super nice little hot rod with very little mods and be out having fun in a very short while. Or you can do a complete rebuild with four wheel independent susp and a blown big block.

But using the stuff you have from the Camaro is not the right way to go if you ask me. JUST BECAUSE you have it is usually a big mistake.

There are MUCH better components out there for your truck.

Brian
 

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Sorry... But there's nothing you can do to that front end to make it ride as good as the Camaro.... :nono: Yes you can make it ''better'',But no where's close to the ride you get with the Camaro/Nova...If you want one a little narrower, Go with the nova..It's 1.5'' narrower hub to hub...I do recommend the Nova over the Camaro..It is a lot of work to do a clip...But to me,It's a much better ride when done right.. Make sure you remember it's a job to do it..Good luck.. :)
 

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31 five window
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If money is not a problem,Martinsr is right. There are many MII style front suspensions that work very well but they are expensive.If like most of us you are on a tight budget then the Camaro or Nova is a great way to go. I speak from actually doing it.Just remember the rear came with a torque tube rear so the center bolts on the rear springs are in front of the rear end. This means when you put the Camaro rear end in you will have to make custom perches to locate the rear behind the bolts to keep the wheels centered in the wheel well.Hope this helps.Martinsr,How about some pics of the clip job on your truck?This might help him to see what it looks like so he can make a more informed decision. :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I rode in my friends 53 just a little while ago with a Camaro clip and was blown away with how well it handled and the ride, this thing just gave you a huge adrenaline rush. He did not do the clip himself and it was not done right it was just welded to the frame not reinforced or anything so he will be redoing it. He gave me one hell of a ride And I'm convinced this is the way to go. Thanks everyone for your comments if there is anything else you find please let me know.

Thanks

Mark
 

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SPI Thug
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i have done many of the gm clips. they are by far the best thing to use . the ride and drive is much better than the mll . i have never had a problem with it. done right is is as safe as it can be. i do not do cut and butt. the trick is to put a 1 in spacer under the forward cab mount. this will raise the front for clearance of steering and core support. i run 225;s on front and they do not hit.
 

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I do a cut and butt, in a way... :D But also plate all the way around the butt, And pass each side of the butt about 6'' then flow it out into the two frames..And box the old frame back some.. :)
 

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srb23 said:
u can use a extended cab s10 chassis it works great u have to add motor and trans mounts, running board mounts, and cab mounts evey thing else works great

I like to avoid the s-10 frames as much as possible.. Too much trouble putting big motors in them.. :D And I don't fine the ride as good as the Camaro/Nova.. :)
 

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SPI Thug
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i guess i always do overkill. this is how i have done them for years . fast and easy . i'm doing some stuff with s10's now. using s10 front clip on my 46 ford. the chassis mate up just under the front seat. has about 8 in of overlap.
 

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shine said:
i guess i always do overkill. this is how i have done them for years . fast and easy . i'm doing some stuff with s10's now. using s10 front clip on my 46 ford. the chassis mate up just under the front seat. has about 8 in of overlap.

That's nice, Just not my way of doing it.. I know that would be super strong that way,,,But I trust my weld's enough the way I been doing it....I really don't know how many I did so far.. :confused: We did do a 40 dodge 4 door with a s-10 clip,That thing was made for that car..The frame line right up.. very nice fit..But you have to back it up and the wheel well because the steering box hits the grill... But you can't tell it's back..


This is how I like to clip a car... ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks everyone for your input and the pic's I'm starting to see how this thing will come together.
well I got the 80 Camaro and we just picked up the 49 chevy truck. I gotta admit I'm a little bit nervous about where to cut the frames and where to weld them back together. I want this truck to be right for my dad. I will take the body off tomorrow. I could not believe how good the body is on this truck I went over it with a fine tooth comb and only found 1 small spot of rust. Helps that it has been stored inside nothing like the other trucks we have looked at before finding this one. Did I mention we have been trying to find the right truck for 2 years now? :sweat: I'm not the best welder in the world even though my dad says I'm alot better than I give myself credit for. Still I dont want to make any mistakes on this does anyone know someone who is experienced near East Texas that may do the chassis part? We are in Marshall Texas about 30 miles East of Longveiw.

Everything else I can do myself and want to. I will post pics tomorrow.

thanks again ALL!!! :thumbup:
 

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Blankenship said:
Thanks everyone for your input and the pic's I'm starting to see how this thing will come together.
well I got the 80 Camaro and we just picked up the 49 chevy truck. I gotta admit I'm a little bit nervous about where to cut the frames and where to weld them back together. I want this truck to be right for my dad. I will take the body off tomorrow. I could not believe how good the body is on this truck I went over it with a fine tooth comb and only found 1 small spot of rust. Helps that it has been stored inside nothing like the other trucks we have looked at before finding this one. Did I mention we have been trying to find the right truck for 2 years now? :sweat: I'm not the best welder in the world even though my dad says I'm alot better than I give myself credit for. Still I dont want to make any mistakes on this does anyone know someone who is experienced near East Texas that may do the chassis part? We are in Marshall Texas about 30 miles East of Longveiw.

Everything else I can do myself and want to. I will post pics tomorrow.

thanks again ALL!!! :thumbup:

Wish you was closer,, I would show you how to do it..Remember Its a job for someone that has never done it,,,Good luck,, Need help just ask,,There is some here that is willing to help... ;)
 
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