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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently acquired a 50 Olds wagon and would like to upgrade the front suspension and drive train and it looks like a front clip swap might be the way to go. If any of you guys have done such a swap on an early 50's Olds, I would like your advice. What works (and what doesn't) etc.

I would also like to downsize the bumpers. It looks like 51 Chevy bumpers might work. ?

Thanks in advance for your replies,

Bud in San Antonio
 

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Bud, when you say entire front clip are you looking for a donor or thru a vendor? I've done several 50-51 Chevys and used MII style each time. I think your frame is a standard top hat design which isn't bad for flex but I like to add a K member in the middle to further support and null any frame twist. Might want to look into the Weld it series crossmember, quality stuff. What are you going to use for rear suspension?
 

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Bud, I applaud you for deciding to attempt one of the most rewarding hot rodding projects in the hobby. I have done many of them and have been more than satisfied every time. If you take your time and read instructions well, you can complete this operation for very little money.

Things like positioning the wheel/tire in the center of the wheelwell where it looks right, as well as raising the entire front clip up in relation to the recipient frame before welding the two of them together will go a long way in setting the rake where you want it without having to resort to stupid stuff like cutting coils or installing lowered spindles. I have written out quite a lot of this and recorded it in the Hot Rodders wiki. I will try to find links to all of it for you........
https://www.crankshaftcoalition.com/wiki/Frame_swaps

Do your research and find a car or truck that has a front track (centerline to centerline of the two front wheels) that is very close to your Olds. A '50 Olds had a 57 inch front track, not sure about other years.

Here is an S-10 frame swap that was written by, I think, Cobalt327 and then added to by other writers, just like most of my contributions.
https://www.crankshaftcoalition.com/wiki/S-10_frame_swaps
The S10 works well, however the steering box is out front and some fellows find that it looks a little clunky on a car other than the S10. Whatever you do, DO NOT shorten a clip to make the track narrower. This will wreck the front suspension geometry and produce an evil-handling beast. Speaking of wreck, have a front-end technician put his seal of approval on the alignment of all your parts before beginning your project.

Some other useful info......
https://www.crankshaftcoalition.com/wiki/Wheelbase_database
https://www.crankshaftcoalition.com/wiki/Wheelbase,_track_width,_and_differential_measurements

Please read through all the links I have provided here, then if you have a question, ask it here or send me a Personal Message.

I have found it helpful in the past (when I first began doing clip swaps and frame swaps) to purchase plastic kits, 1/25 scale of each of the players in the swap and then cut and glue plastic together until I get to a satisfactory conclusion. Having a 4" or 6" dial caliper can be very helpful. You can measure the kit components and then multiply times 25 to find the "real world" measurement of the part or parts you are modifying.

There is one thing that I would not do, and that is to use aftermarket crap with a production front clip. If, for instance, I wanted to use a '76 to '80 Ford Mustang 2 front clip, I would use it like it came from the factory, with the long diagonal brace for the bottom control arm. I would study the angles of the long bar and how it was connected to the car in the rear of the bar. Most guys don't use the diagonal bar, instead opting for aftermarket bottom control arms that I find inferior for the purpose of controlling the car at speed. Ford Motor Company designed a simple and effective bottom control arm system that worked really well. Don't throw it out in favor of an inferior design made up by some yahoo in a mortgaged shop. Just letting off a little steam Bud. HAHAHAHAHA.

Richard is my name, although most of the fellows here call me "tech".
 

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Jag ?

My son has a 36 olds and we are planning on doing a JAG
xj swap. The olds and Jag have almost the same track width. There are a few Jag swaps with a few picts on the HAMB forum. I like the gag because they are cheap. WE still have 4 on Pallets and a donor car parked behind the farm garage. We paid $ 100 to 150 for jag front or rear at wrecking yards. we pull them. You need to keep at least part of the jag steering column. U joint system. You keep the your frame rails with the fender-bumper- radiator mount and cut off the frame bump out that hold your original front spring and add new flat plate. There is a ford van front shock that is shorter than the jag that will work. You have to fab upper shock mount and weld in the jag cross member.
here a link to jag in a 53-54 chevy the frame is clost to your olds in width etc
https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum...-1953-chevy-coupe-w-pics.513236/#post-5658856
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks all of you guys for the advice and the links. I'll follow up tomorrow and probably come back with more questions.

Bud
 

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Bud, I'm in the process of putting a Corvette I.R.S. under the '39 now. Got to thinking and noticed there were several complete suspensions for sale (front and back) from 'Vettes. What I should have done when building the car was use both but that's 20/20 hindsight. Plenty of options out there pick one and build a stout and stable chassis for years of trouble free rodding.
 

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Think outside the box! Find an old Toronado and swap in the FWD clip, or the entire frame!
This would make an interesting swap, although the front track width is 63.5" and the rear is 63.0", so some means of fabricating fender flares to cover the tires would have to be undertaken. AGAIN, DO NOT NARROW THE FRONT TRACK WIDTH. Doing so will ruin the handling and steering characteristics of the car. A fellow could also fabricate spacer panels to put between the fender and the body to widen out the fenders to cover the wheels and tires at the front.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldsmobile_Toronado

General Motors used the same front wheel drive design in the Cadillac Eldorado beginning with a 429 V8 in 1967 and running through 1976 with a monster 500 cubic inch engine design.
https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2016/...ve-production-car-the-1967-eldorado-turns-50/

There was also a Buick Riviera version, but it came with a lesser motor.
For hot rodding purposes, a fellow would want to use a '67 to '76 Eldorado or '66 to '76 Toronado.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
1950 Olds wagon bumper

I've seen a couple of photos of 50 Olds with what appear to be Chevy bumpers.

I like the look, and, if they would work, would be a less expensive option to chroming the ones I have.

Anyone done this swap?
 

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I've seen a couple of photos of 50 Olds with what appear to be Chevy bumpers.

I like the look, and, if they would work, would be a less expensive option to chroming the ones I have.

Anyone done this swap?
It depends on the series you have. The 68 and 88 series use the chevy type body, and the 98 uses the Buick type body.
 
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