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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A friend of mine recently bought a 46 Ford couple in awesome Condition. Flat head V-8 old drive line.

He wants to modernize power train,driveline,front suspension,wiring,lights . It will be a cruiser only ,no hot ridding ,just a highway cruiser.

So I am thinking 302 crate motor
5 speed auto trans,
modern ford rear axle
New front suspension
new steering system
front disc brakes
new wiring system
updated lights.
Note : nothing extravagant just a basic cruiser
ball park price parts only. Don’t rail me on this . You all have more experience on pricing than I do.
 

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How deep are your buddy's pockets? What you described is pretty much what they do on some of the TV shows. Full chassis swap. Figure $25k-$30k in parts, alone. Roadster Shop, Heidt's, etc. Or...... drop in a junkyard 5.0 or LS motor/trans, later model rear, Must II front suspension, Painless wiring harness, etc. Maybe a couple of grand in parts. Can't advise too well since we don't know his financial situation or his skill set.
 

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A friend of mine recently bought a 46 Ford couple in awesome Condition. Flat head V-8 old drive line.

He wants to modernize power train,driveline,front suspension,wiring,lights . It will be a cruiser only ,no hot ridding ,just a highway cruiser.

So I am thinking 302 crate motor
5 speed auto trans,
modern ford rear axle
New front suspension
new steering system
front disc brakes
new wiring system
updated lights.
Note : nothing extravagant just a basic cruiser
ball park price parts only. Don’t rail me on this . You all have more experience on pricing than I do.
It’s worth a lot more money in factory condition, if all he wants to do is cruise it’s better left stock.

Bogie
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It’s worth a lot more money in factory condition, if all he wants to do is cruise it’s better left stock.

Bogie
He’s 70 ish , has the money ( Business owner ) and you should know those old cars are not all that great . The tranny does what they all do from that era . He’s no differant than most of this site , upgrade for comfort and mostly worry free driving a couple hundred miles. So tell me ,if he breaks down some where ? Who’s going to fix a car that’s older than most mechanics now , beside getting parts the same week ? He’s not a mechanic .
Seem like this site , never mind
 

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This site what? If you don't like answers, don't sweat it. Read the next one.

Best thing for reliability, in my opinion is an LS swap.
Since it's newer, today's mechanics would be able to fix it.
Use the factory ECM and the overdrive transmission. Smooth as silk, cruise control if you get a DBW model, aftermarket AC to finish it off.
 

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Simple stuff!
Sell the stocker for 5-10 grand and buy one already built to his liking.
30-40 grand buys what he wants.
A quick search on Hemings show a dozen of them.
 

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S10 2wd frame with a wheelbase that matches the body. ($800-1000)
Keep the steering, brakes, and suspension stock.

Stock silveradio 160-200k 5.3 LM7 with a 4l60e set up standalone with the factory ecm with vats removed and a microsquirt for transmission controls. ($3000).

8.8 out back with 3.73 gearing will make for a nice street setup($1000)

Drop the body over the above making cuts as neeeded. And add another $3000 for the other stuff to make it run, drive, stop.

So were at $8000. You can add another 1 or $2000 to that with your own touches. But as long as you stay focused keeping the budget under 10k is realistic.



Now we get to the time aspect which kills most builds.

Your talking 80 to 300 hours here depending on your building situation and experence. 8 months to 3 years would be a realistic timeline.

A shop could do it in 4 to 6 months. But would also charge you 20 to 30k more on top of the 10k in parts.

Notice I did not talk about body at all up to this point. Paint, interior, glass, etc can easily add 5-8 k in parts and around 12-15k in labor. But I will assume the body is good.



So you have a very rough basis above to make decisions upon. If it sounds good to you then you can start discussions with a local shop. If your inclined to build it yourself know that most builds fail because they are not thought out or someone gets into the "while I am here" mentally.

On the engine as an example. 180k junkyard engine I would do head gaskets, exhaust gaskets, oil pan, timing cover, and run it. Sure you can get into other stuff "while your here". But its one of those things better played with after the wheels are moving.



Or. Just buy one done. Often cheaper and it is alot easier on your back. It wont be your car. But it will be close.
 

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You have a couple if choices as I see it. I have a 46 coupe, BTW.

First is a frame swap, but with a custom made chassis from one of the major suppliers like Heidts, Fatman or TCI. This gets you everything you need, chassis wise in one purchase. It will have the updated suspension, with options and should be a bolt in swap. Bolt in is somewhat of a joke in the hot rodding world since very little is truly bolt in, but the custom frame from a reputable supplier should put you miles ahead. They will be able to incorporate mounts for whatever engine/trans package you want, within bounds of reason. Some engines, like say a Coyote Ford MAY require major body mods to fit.

I am not a fan of late model frame swaps. While they offer a cheap modern chassis, they require extensive mods to the floor of the car to make work, usually. Here you would have to realistically rate your ability to make these mods in a safe, workmanlike manner. The mid-60's GM cars like the Chevelle have been known to work out wheelbase and width wise.

Second choice is to modify the chassis already under the car. The 41-48 Fords had a decent chassis that is strong enough for a cruiser. Mine has held up to a 383 stroker with no issues. It currently has a 350, but I plan on going back to the 383 soon.

The 46 chassis has an X-member for torsional strength and that should not be removed unless you can add the strength back in some other manner. The X does limit transmission fitment severely. Something the size of a TH350 will fit with minor trimming but larger overdrive transmissions will require major surgery to go in. A standard SHOULD go in ok too. My future plans may include a 5 speed manual in place of the auto it has now.

Not sure if they are still in business, but Chassis Engineering used to sell bolt in suspension upgrades like parallel leafs in the rear and I believe they even sold a bolt in Mustang II front kit. The stock front suspension is not terrible if its in good shape. The 46 was at the end of the straight axle Ford production and they had worked out most of the issues. In some builds, depending on transmission, you can simply lower the A-frame (wishbone) mount lower on the chassis and retain it. This allows the front end to work as Ford intended. Just rebuild the stock stuff, add disc brakes and update the steering box edit: and add tubular shocks to rreplace the stock lever shocks. Several folks used to sell adapters to add a small Saginaw power steering box in place of the stock Ford box. Adapting the steering column would be up to you, but should be fairly simple with all the aftermarket steering components available now.

You could order a complete 9" Ford rearend width brakes in whatever width you need from several suppliers.

Late model master cylinders can be adapted to the existing pedal and stay under the car. Power brakes can be adapted as well.

Engine choice is a personal thing. The reason that a lot of these old cars wound up with Chevy engines actually has to do with Ford's decision to move the distributor to the front of their later model engines. This required the oil sump to be in the front too and that interferes with stock Ford front cross member, requiring a bunch of major fab work to fix. Also, Ford engines tended to be longer than Chevys. These issues can be worked around by swapping oil pans (Bronco) and replacing the water pump with something shorter. A kid working with home tools in the 50's could by a set of motor mounts and a bellhousing adapter and stick a 265 or 283 Chevy in an old Ford in a few weekends. Not so much with the Ford v8's. Most people back then didn't have access to the fab tools we take for granted nowadays. That trend continued for many years after parts became available to swap the Fords into a Ford much easier. The Chevy in an old Ford is still easier, IMO, but the Windsor Fords go in pretty easy now, too. Can't help at all with the Ford transmissions.

Price? The flip answer is whatever you want to spend, but in reality, figure no less than $30 to 40$K (most likely more) if you do all the work yourself. High five figures to low six figures (and 1 to 3 years depending on their backlog) if you have it done by a pro. Paint and body alone could easily eat up $10K or more. As was said, if that is what your friend wants, it makes much more sense both time and money wise to sell the current car and buy a completed street rod that may only need a few tweaks to be the car he wants.
 

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It’s worth a lot more money in factory condition, if all he wants to do is cruise it’s better left stock.

Bogie
But go ahead and make sure the brakes, suspension, steering, and electrical system are in good shape. From what I've seen, tons of stock replacement parts are available for 46-48 Fords.

For the modern upgrades you mentioned, plan on spending $30K or more just on parts. I have a buddy that did that on a 37 Chevy that already had a 350 V-8 and Mustang II front suspension. Paint, body, electronics, AC system, wheels, tires, OD auto trans, shifter, exhaust, and on and on. And that was in 2003-2016 dollars!
 
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