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Hey guys, I am getting ready to put a '71 Camaro front clip under my '59 Chevy Apache and have a few questions. I have heard differing opinions/info about this and don't want to have to redo it or end up with something I'm not happy with. First is ride height. I am not in the "lower is better" camp. That said, a little bit lower (maybe 3"-4") would be great but not much more than that. So, I have seen guys putting the top of the rear extensions of the Camaro clip even with the top of the stock truck frame, some with the bottom of the extensions sitting on the bottom of the stock truck frame, and some with the extensions under the stock truck frame. Can anyone tell me about how much drop each of these set-ups give? Second: I have been told, in order to keep the stock wheelbase, that I will need to start with the clip about 1" farther forward than the stock dimension and after the truck is loaded (with motor/tranny, etc.) it will be where it should be. However, I watched one video where a guy did that and ended up with the front wheels off-center of the wheel well (to the front, as in the wheelbase is now too long). Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Steve
 

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I think, going by the post, you're in a place where it would be best to not look for other's advice on where to cut, how to position. You know how you want things, so take charge and work it out for yourself to insure they get there. Not meaning to sound like a jerk, but to be encouraging.

Take the subframe assembled with suspension and use all-thread where the shocks go to lock in components where they should be when the vehicle's all done sitting on the ground, i.e. normally where the lower ball joint center and lower inner bushing centers are flat on-plane. Then have the wheels and tires you want to use installed and mock up the subframe rolling on flat ground (the garage floor) so that the subframe rearward legs are level, the way GM designed Carmaros, so that caster adjustment will work. Next, bring in your truck/frame sitting at the height you want it at the rear with the wheels/tires you plan to use, and at the front. Start measuring, maybe use cardboard panels coming up off the garage floor with shapes traced, and cut the Camaro part and the truck part until they can meet. Might take days but careful work will get you that thing you want. It's unlikely the two frames will ever fit together perfect, you just get them close and butted-up, then use cardboard to pattern fill-in parts to make out of the right thickness steel sheet (probably around 10ga) and weld in so that it winds up looking like a one-piece frame.

Do know this, if the bottom of the Camaro crossmember winds up on the same plane as the bottom of the truck frame, you've got "lowered". If the Camaro crossmember is above the truck frame bottom, you've got "really lowered". To have the truck sit like stock, the Camaro crossmember bottom will be below the frame bottom. In any event, again work it all out with the Camaro suspension locked in to proper static ride height, as it should be on the road. When the vehicle is all done you can mess with springs to make sure that's where it winds up then.

Hey if someone can tell you to just cut/weld here/there and it all works, great. However, I in my life have had far better luck with working things out for myself, key component of that is "taking the time".
 

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I did one of these back in the early 90s on my 51 Ford F1. I didn't really know what I was doing, but it worked out. I did sit a bit low when I was done. Here is a pic.

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See how the sub frame is a bit higher than the 51 frame? I think I should have made it even across there. Here's how it looked after the body was put back on.

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All that said, there are much better options these days to update your truck. I know money is likely a factor, but worth looking into.
Also, a 71 is pretty old. Does it have disk brakes? If not, I would be looking at a later subframe. Just sayin'
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies guys. I realize there is going to be a certain amount of head scratching, measuring, and figuring. I am just just hoping that, given that there have been plenty of guys who have done this same conversion, I could get an idea of what relationship of Camaro clip/truck frame gives what level of ride height. I am perfectly capable of doing the graft but it would just be so much easier if I knew what alignment levels would give me the height I'm looking for. Also I know there are aftermarket set-ups out there but, like many others, cost is a deal. Also I am building a "nice" driver, not a high end show truck. Anyway, thanks again for the input. Steve
 

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I have done several clip on 47 to 59 trucks here is a tutorial U did on one 47-55 Chevy/GMC truck frame clipping Your mileage may very. If you set the front Camaro crossmember about 7" off the road that is generally the correct ride height. Cutting them the way I do the Camaro frame ends up about 1/2" higher than the truck frame at the splice.
 

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lots of options for ifs on these old trucks. make sure a 50 year old clip fits your needs
there is a forum for old chevy trucks here The 1947 - 1959 Chevrolet & GMC Pickups Message Board - The 1947 - Present Chevrolet & GMC Truck Message Board Network
my 58 TRUK has a fatman must II ifs up front, it gives me the ifs ride plus disk brakes
any modification up front requires all new motor and trans mounts, steering and brake systems, nothing is reusable

the reason for moving the clip forward 1 to 1.5 inches is the lower you go, your wheel stays centered in the opening
the opening is tapered on the back, the lower you go, the more you move it forward

keep in mind that you'll also need to lower the backend unless you want a lot of rake
TRUK has a 3rd gen trans am rearend flipped on top of stock springs, it makes for pretty level ride

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here you can see the why in moving the wheels forward

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