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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My favorite junkyard has a lot of truck cabs for me to pick from and a few truck bed candidates from which I'm thinking I can probably put something usable together. 5 years from now, maybe the kids will be moved out or maybe they won't, but chances are I won't need to haul a family of 5 around in the truck so I can do something a little more fun - but I foresee I'm still going to need a truck from time to time.

Being that I've got a 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis and any other plans I have for it seem like there's a better way to do what I was thinking, I've been toying with the idea to take a pickup cab and plop it onto the frame, and hey as far as I'm concerned if the frame is too long, I can just make my truck bed longer. I don't think I've ever felt like I've had too much truck bed. (parking difficulties aside on my modern truck, for which I blame the cab not the bed)

So I got to wondering. I'm sure this is a fine way to bring a cosmetically classic 1957-1960 Ford F100 body onto the road, and I see plenty of videos of tires smoking and all that, but I'm after something I can take to Home Depot and haul 2x4's or drywall sheets home, and something I can take to the boat launch that can handle my 16' boat and trailer at least up and down the ramp if not on the freeway bringing it back home from up north when I need to store it for the winter or do annual maintenance.

So question is, will the crown vic frame swap do the job or will there be other things I want to consider to properly build this kind of setup for actual truck usage?
 

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Lets remember our grandads towed all kinds of stuff with their 50s station wagon. I dont know if I could even afford enough 2x4s to build a deck anymore to even worry. You'd be fine for light duty every day stuff
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Incidentally my more immediate project list includes a '55 Mercury station wagon with a 390, and I was hoping to use it to tow a 1950 Wolverine boat but my mom sold the boat... To a teaching friend so it's still around. But there's quite a weight and towing difference between that and my 16' fiberglass inboard outdrive Four Winns...

For sure this probably won't be the most iffy thing I've tried in my lifetime. But I feel like my progression in age makes me more inclined to be concerned about red flags like shaking and ride instability than in my younger days, so I want to get ahead of that and plan out what I need to remember to do the job right.
 

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If the frame is bare; Id add some extra braces and call it good.
Agree, some added bracing to get the bed supported and load spread out over the full section of the rear frame, and either side of the frame kick-up over the axle so the weight from a moderate load is spread into more of the frame.
I would suggest aftermarket performance tubular rear control arms in place of the stock stamped steel stock stuff. Might need a spring change, or maybe figure in some sort of overload helpers like air bags.
Is the suspension up to the task of truck duty?
With some thought put into bracing to distribute the loads, I'd say equivilent to S-10 truck (1/4 ton bed loads) or 1/2 ton truck light towing loads like boat or small camper.
A wouldn't suggest towing a car on a trailer with it though.....although a lot of guys did it just fine in the 60's and 70's with Station wagons or full size cars.

As far as the bed goes, it will tend to be shallow if you want a flat floor wide enough to lay a plywood sheet in., since it has to sit above the axle and suspension kick-up the frame has....a deep bed requires a big hump in the bed floor to fit over the frame.

I've run across a few of those Ford Panther chassis/truck body swaps around the web....it is being done, you might try looking for a Facebook group, or a Subcatagory in a vintage Ford truck forum or a Crown Vic/Grand Marquis forum
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As far as the bed goes, it will tend to be shallow if you want a flat floor wide enough to lay a plywood sheet in., since it has to sit above the axle and suspension kick-up the frame has....a deep bed requires a big hump in the bed floor to fit over the frame.
I wouldn't worry terribly much about having some bumps in terms of function. I can't really lay a full plywood sheet down in a 6.5' bed as it is, I leave the tailgate up and support my drywall on 2x4 boards. That aside, it might look kinda funny. I'm okay with using the truck fuel tank, but the coil springs might be a problem... Might be enough to make me consider going to leaf springs. I'll have to weigh my options when I have all the parts in front of me.
 

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I wouldn't worry terribly much about having some bumps in terms of function. I can't really lay a full plywood sheet down in a 6.5' bed as it is, I leave the tailgate up and support my drywall on 2x4 boards. That aside, it might look kinda funny. I'm okay with using the truck fuel tank, but the coil springs might be a problem... Might be enough to make me consider going to leaf springs. I'll have to weigh my options when I have all the parts in front of me.
Chevy 1/2 ton trucks used long arm and coil spring starting in 1963? up through 1972....and that is the exact same rear suspension still in use in NASCAR cars to this day....it is pretty good, so no reason to butcher a set of leaf springs under the Crown Vic fram....just swap to a stiffer coil spring or add some kind of adjustable override for when you carry a load. Air Lift style bags that fit inside the stock spring would be an easy solution.

figure on the rear bed sheetmetal probably weighing less than the stock Crown Vic body/trunk/roof/rear glass from the back of the driver seat to rear bumper, and that the car was capable of 500 lbs of passengers in the back seat and 400 lbs of luggage in the trunk in addition to that.....there's a 1/2 ton capacity right there.
 

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Swapping an F100 onto a Crown Vic is not a new swap, whatsoever! And, it's SUPER EASY!!! The short bed F100's and Crown Vics wheelbase are within an inch of each other. I have a buddy that didn't his swap in about 3 weeks, only working onnit some evenings and on weekends. So, not a terribly daunting job! You'll probably want to search for a Ford F100 Forum and read through a bunch of builds. I'd imagine that after reading through a handful of build threads, you'd learn all of the shortcuts, learn all of the major mistakes to avoid, and have a very firm grasp of the task ahead, and how to proceed! One bite at a time. It's not a very hard swap! I swapped my '53 GMC onto a '96 S10. That was pretty easy, too! Just a lot of measuring. I also grafted a Camaro Subframe toy '59 Apache frame. That was considerably more work than swapping the '53 over to the S10 frame. Swapping frames is mostly just a lot of measuring!

I stripped the S10, draped all of my electrical harnesses over the engine, mounted the cab, then re-routed wires. Hung the fenders and bed, fabbed some brackets, and then there was just basic buttoning up. Big job, but each individual task was pretty simple. Make lots of lists, take lots of pictures any time you disassemble stuff. And have fun!
 

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Regarding functionality, you'll be driving a car, that will hold more weight. You need to be cognizant of that. It will no longer be a half ton or three quarter ton truck, even though it has the same amount of bed space. That's how my '59 Apache is. For all intents and purposes, it's a Camaro. Though, I've hauled sheet or two of plywood with it here and there.
 
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