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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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I have a 1948 Dodge pick up with a 108" wheelbase. I am looking for a late model Dodge chassis to bolt the body on but I have no idea what I'm looking for. Help :confused:
There is no frame no where, it doesn't exist to "bolt" the body of your truck onto. ANY Frame that isn't a 1948 Dodge (47-49 or what ever years that were exact) body will NOT "Bolt on".


Using ANY other frame requires LOT'S of fabrication, time and money.

Have you looked into upgrading the original frame? What are your expectations? Do you plan on driving across country all the time? Rock climbing? Daily driver in town? What are your expectations for this truck when it's done?

Brian
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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16,464 Posts
I can't for the life of me figure out how someone thinks it's cheaper to change frames and drive trains to late model and be CHEAPER to maintain? That was the very reason why I got rid my late model complicated throw away parts junk and got a good old simple car to use every day. I don't get it, sorry.

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm sure if I went original rebuild, the old truck would out last anything on the road but at the same time I don't have the money to special order the parts for it, although it would be cool
 

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WFO
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I'm sure if I went original rebuild, the old truck would out last anything on the road but at the same time I don't have the money to special order the parts for it, although it would be cool
A Dakota can be had at 112" WB (details here), and will allow you to run a LA V8 MOPAR engine. Disc front brakes, automatic and AC if you want, etc.

Another possibility is an S-10 regular bed (108.3" WB). Can be found stock w/the 4.3L V6 or kits available to fit a SBC. More here.

Wheelbase data

WB, track width measurements

Good huntin'.
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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16,464 Posts
I'm sure if I went original rebuild, the old truck would out last anything on the road but at the same time I don't have the money to special order the parts for it, although it would be cool
If that is what would be cool to you, DO IT! Listen, if you just started digging into this you are finding the parts are hard to find. Move into the vintage Dodge truck "Community" and you will be blow away at how easy it is to find parts!

First off, truck parts are available for YEARS from many different manufacturers including the original.Trucks are used MUCH longer than cars as they are work horses. Because of this Dodge probably kept parts for that truck on it's shelves for decades. I bought new parts from GM for my 48 Chevy (we are talking 47-53 trucks only parts) up into the 80's!

Your truck is a VERY simple design, they are so ridiculously simple. The motor is used for years, parts are easy to find.

It would blow you away at how you may likely find brake parts for your truck at a local parts store, we are talking a REAL parts store not a McParts like Peppy boys or Kragen or something. I walked into a parts store here in town that services the shops who repair cars for a living. They had in stock the wheel cylinders and master cylinders for my 59 Rambler! The engine parts, they could order, they had the distributor cap and rotor in stock, brake light switch, fan belt, and all kinds of other parts, IN STOCK.

If you want the original truck stuff, just start looking, take your time. I have on my cel phone the number of an AMC parts place that is only about 35 miles from me. I can call him and get anything for my flat head powered Rambler and it would be in the mail the next day if I wanted it bad enough.

Move into the Dodge Truck "community" find a good Dodge truck forum, you can get anything you need and most of the time it doesn't cost any more. You need to do some homework, it may cost a bunch, I don't know your truck. But I am suspecting it is not that big of a deal being it's a truck. Believe me, changing everything over costs a LOT more usually. It's a myth, a total myth that updating is cheaper. I rebuilt my motor, clutch, all the brakes we are talking complete, lines and all. I did the whole thing for about $2000. This is having the motor rebuild of course, I didn't even put it together. Swapping out the drive train and brakes and everything with something super common would have still cost more.

I watched ebay everyday making "newly posted" Rambler parts a favorite in my book marks. I could click on that every day and see what was just posted. I bought all kinds of stuff on there "buy it now" for pennies on the dollar, NOS brake shoes, steering parts, a steering wheel, horn button, this is all for a 1959 Rambler, all there ready for me to buy and now I drive the car every day and LOVE it.

If that is what you want, do it, you don't need to spend a ton of money to "update" it.

Brian





 

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Member - AMC/Rambler "guru"
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A 79 Dodge full size van DOES have a frame. The steering would have to be re-worked though.

If you want to update with minimal work just pull the engine and drivetrain. A 48 Dodge should have a solid axle in front. Those are easy to maintain. While it won't ride the best on a bumpy road, it will be fine on smooth pavement, and as good as 70-80s 4x4 trucks (solid axles in front) all the time. The engine is the main problem as far as maintenance. The manual trans shouldn't be. With the old engines you could be stuck on the road if you have a problem. Say if a water pump goes out -- you might be stuck for 3-4 days while one is next day aired in, and that won't be cheap (hotel room or shipping!). It would be a lot cheaper to make motor and transmission mounts (or might be a kit!) on the existing frame and change the engine/trans/rear axle (you need to match ratio to the engine and trans used). That takes some work, but not nearly as much as modifying a frame to fit the old body.

That said, what you are asking about CAN be done. A friend has a 50s Studebaker on a Dakota chassis. He cut the floor and firewall out of the Dakota and Studebaker (which needed floors anyway) then trimmed the Dakota to match the Stude dimensions. A "little" welding later he had a good fit. The front clip took a little more work. He used the firewall from the Dakota so he could keep the AC unit and all. He's happy with the work, but it did take a while.
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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16,464 Posts
"Built on the B platform (later AB), the full-size vans entered production for the 1971 model year. Due to a one-welded-piece "Uniframe" design, the Dodge platform was lighter, stronger and featured a lower cargo floor than the competition, at the expense of NVH, the resulting lower center of gravity improved handling versus the competing products."

Dodge Ram Van - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Brian
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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16,464 Posts
I have driven odd ball cars my entire life, never had to rebuild the motor on the side of the road. :D Honestly, if it's maintained you are good to go. Or have that water pump and a fuel pump in a box under the seat.

Let's face it, are we going to have the tools to change the water pump with us? If so, put a water pump in the tool box.

It's all in what are the expectations of the owner, I understand that. We are all different. It's like when I went looking for a new Mini Van for my wife (new-used) we had one with rear air and a long wheel base. I found a real nice one without the rear air and a short wheelbase. I thought for a minute, "how many times did we NEED that rear air"? A couple of trips a year it made a difference, a small difference. How many times did we NEED that longer body, two or three times the 10 years we owned it! So I chose to get the shorter, rear airless van. My wife immediately noticed how nice it got around parking lots and the tighter turning radius which was welcome in 99.99% of the driving we did! So instead of buying something for the 1% I chose the van that was real nice and ended up with something much better for the 99% of what it will do for us by mistake!

My Rambler, I drive it every single day and on short trips out of town to car shows. That is all I want out of it right now. There is no reason what so ever for changing anything. I have extra parts at home and that is where it will go if I were to break down. No, I don't want to drive it on a thousand mile trip but that is more about the low gearing it has. But with a few changes like an overdrive or a T-5 late model tranny and I could go anywhere and wouldn't hesitate. But right now, my expectations are exactly what I am doing, a daily driver around town.

I always like to point out, a hell of a lot of these cars were driving across country 50 years ago, they must have been "ok" for it. :D

I am not disagreeing with your Frank, just the other side of the story that's all. I CAN see both sides, I just so much rather have the original frame under it, me personally and I am just tossing out the options to others to think about it so they don't end up doing something that really wasn't their true love.

Brian
 

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Member - AMC/Rambler "guru"
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My "problem" was that when I was in the USAF my Rambler was my second car. Couldn't keep a collector car to travel over the US with otherwise. Last time I needed a water pump it took two weeks to get the right one. Probably could have called Galvin's and got it in 3-5 days though, and got the right one the first time.

After that I decided the old 196 wasn't going to do for a daily driver that was expected to make long trips on occasion (I was driving it from Warner-Robins GA to Elgin, IL -- just west of Chicago -- once a year for a while). Keeping it maintained wasn't an issue. but a chance water pump, starter, or generator going out could leave me stranded for at least three days, four if it happened on a Friday night. That's not too bad, but I decided I needed a newer engine.

I was at home when the water pump needed replacing. I was on a trip to some training in New York City (Governor's Island Coast Guard Station) from my dad's house in Leesville, SC (where I live now) when one of the caps on a lower trunnion came out. Had to have it towed off the interstate in Maryland. Made arrangements to "store" it at the tow company for the two weeks I'd be gone and rented a car to continue. Only 3-4 hours lost. Ordered the part in NYC, it came in about three days before I had to leave. Rented a car, returned to Maryland, put the cap from the new joint on (didn't change whole joint!) and drove it back to SC. Didn't want another one of those incidents! I always tack weld the caps on the lower joints when rebuilding now -- just enough to keep it from working loose.

There are lots of little things in an old car that can break or fail like that. Some you can work around, some (like the joint!) you can't. You have to figure out how much of a risk is involved and how much you can afford to take. I had to make that call, and simply got a slightly newer Rambler that I could get parts for more readily. I went a bit further and upgraded to the 4.0L EFI Jeep engine (same as a 64 Rambler 6 with EFI added, for all practical purposes) instead of the 232/258 carbed engine, but any of those would have had the same affect. Other things can still go out, but I can work around most of them. a fuel pump quitting on the EFI engine, since I have an in-tank pump, would be a major issue now! You can't get rid of all risks, just minimize the major ones.

In the 14 years I drove my 63 American w/196 I only had that one issue with the lower trunnion joint really leave me stranded. I guess that's minimal risk enough...
 
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