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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

Let me introduce myself. My name is Nico, and I bought a 55 Chevy Truck a few years ago. The truck wasn't running, and it was my senior project in high school to get it in a running condition. I installed a 350, with unknown specs, as well as upgraded the brakes to disc brakes, and installed a power brake booster. Then I moved off to college, and the truck sat as is. I'm now 20, and hope to collect as much information that I can to help me finish my build.

First off, forgive me if these are repetitive questions that gets asked a lot. I'm new to TriFive's and custom fabrication with older cars. Being how my automobile roots come from imports, mainly my 99 Honda Prelude, I have a lot of questions.

First question, I came across a deal on C-5 front suspension set up from a Corvette, and I think it would be a great upgrade from the stock suspension, but I don't know what I would need to do in order to fabricate it to the stock frame. What in addition to purchasing the front clip would I need for an ideal C-5 front set up? Is there any diagram that I can follow to see how to install the suspension set up?

Second question, I plan to make a wood bed for the truck, rather than buy one, but can anyone provide me with a starting point on how to fabricate one. Can I buy the brackets which would hold the wood in place to make my own bed? The current bed has a piece of metal welded in replace of what used to be a wood bed, and other than that I think all other parts can be used in making my own.

Third question, in the cab of the truck, there are like pockets or holes between the floorboard, and the rear wall. Is there any need for these holes to be exposed? I'm not too sure what they are there for and that's what I would like to know!

As I come across more questions with my build, I hope that this would be a good place I can seek help. Thank you to the OG builders, and I hope that you guys can help me out through the years of my build.
 

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:wavey: hi nico! i'll move this back to the top for you.
 

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The 'vette suspension would be pretty trick in your truck, but its not gonna be simple. Search here for posts by "Chevynut", he uses C4 setups in passenger car frames, the pictures may give you some idea on what you would need to do to get the C5 stuff installed.
Gotta say this is not a minor undertaking, there are alot of critical angles and dimensions you have to pay attention to.. see this page: http://1929fordhotrod.com/johnsblog/tag/c4-corvette-hot-rod-front-suspension/
Look at the 5th picture down, you can see the top a-arm is tilted back, this is "anti dive" which gives stability under braking, you'd also find that the top arm is (slightly) closer to the firewall than the lower arm, this is to create caster angle - caster is what causes the steering to straighten up when you let go of the steering wheel after turning a corner.
There is also camber to get right. If you don't this these angles right the truck wont drive nicely and/or wear its tyres badly.. there is alot to consider.
All this is quite apart from getting the thing installed straight in the first place.

It is obviously possible but you really need to know what you are doing with all this stuff, it would be horrible to spend lots of time and effort putting the clip in the truck and then find its not right.

All is not lost, I don't know how different C4 and C5 stuff is but I found these companies: http://www.progressiveautomotive.com/sweet.htm http://www.flatout-engineering.com/
they make a crossmember for your truck, the advantage here is all the angles are correct - you just need to get the crossmember in straight (I guess they provide instructions, not sure). If the clip you bought is compatible you can re-use the hubs, brakes, a-arms etc. If not you need to find C4 stuff.

C4 is more popular in the hot rod scene because the C5 corvettes had the funky torque tube transmission thing, which is awkward to use and I guess C4 bits are cheaper - If I remember right they are pretty similar to C3 ?
The C4 uses more conventional propshaft system, which means the rear setups can be used easily when transplanted.

Of course you don't have to go with corvette stuff - the good old Mustang II setups are out there and are available from many suppliers. THis will be cheaper than the corvette setup.. maybe you could spend the savings on a nice big brake setup from Wilwood or BAER Brakes.. (note Wiilwood are a site sponsor so should be available to help with tech enquiries).

Another option is to use a 2nd gen camaro front clip - basically you cut this off a donor car around the firewall area and then join to your frame. Again you need to know what you are doing - angles, bracing, frame strengthening and good welds!

Far as the bed goes, I believe you should have a structure (I think made of upturned C section or small box section) running side to side in the bed, you then have some wooden planks laid on top of the strips, the planks are held down but metal strips that are bolted down to the C/box section.
You can buy kits for the trucks that have the strips, planks, bolts etc - google for truck parts, there are several suppliers I believe. I found this article that briefly explains installation of such a kit in a '50 chevy truck http://www.customclassictrucks.com/...bed_classic_truck_wood_bed_install/index.html

The question here will be what you find under the existing metal "bed" - hopefully someone left all the structure intact, maybe you can see by looking underneath ?

Good luck!
 

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Ok so I found some links for you to read..

Mustang II install in 4 parts
http://www.webrodder.com/article.php?AID=420&SID=16&CID=11
http://www.webrodder.com/article.php?AID=421&SID=16&CID=11
http://www.webrodder.com/article.php?AID=485&SID=16
http://www.webrodder.com/article.php?AID=486&SID=16

Camaro clip:
http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=148978


Heidts crossmember instructions:
http://www.heidts.com/_uploaded_files/in-093.pdf

This gives you some idea of the work that would be involved.
If you do some searching you'll be likely to find more information and guides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks a lot crafty. I haven't bought any of the parts yet, strictly for this very reason, I want to gain all obtainable information possible, sketch out the build, find the right angles for everything before I possbily start this build. Thank you for the links, appreciate the help. Here is the guy I found selling the C-4 & C-5 parts on craigslist,

http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/pts/1941624972.html

Any chance anyone has a stock frame diagram/design picture for the truck, something I can refer to for stock dimensions?

Crafty, I hear that the Mustang II suspension set ups work out well for the gassers, 210's and other cars, but is it a good set up to run for trucks because of the weight difference? I will look into the Camero Clip and do a little more reading on the Corvette set ups. Thanks again for your help kind sir.
 

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I wouldn't run Mustang II in a gasser, wont look right, straight axle or nothing!

Yeah some people say that Mustang II is no good for a heavy vehicle and it does seem that the trucks are heavier, but I would say part of this is down to the correct springs - if you put springs for a 3000lb car in a truck weighing say 4500lb then you could expect it to ride poorly, but with the correct springs ride would improve. The manufacturers of these suspension systems don't just throw them together, there is a certain amount of R&D that goes on - especially when you get into the more custom based stuff from the like of Art Morrision, Jim Meyer etc.

This best thing you can do is look on here and other forums and talk to owners who have done IFS conversions and see what their opinions are.

Also take a look at this thread : http://www.trifive.com/forums/showthread.php?t=48054 might be of some help.
 

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I don't know how receptive you are to changing from a vette to a Camaro clip. I am currently on my 7th 2nd series build so I am not an expert in anyway shape or form. What I have done is gone with the Camaro after trying other front suspensions. You will have lots of disagreement on the "best" so this is not about that. If you want really good handling, access to parts that do not cost an arm and a leg and want a system that is easy to install and does not look like it has been "clipped" then let me know. I have a complete step by step (with pictures) on how to clip directions so that it looks really professional. Nothing hanging down to low and it can be done in a weekend. The best part is that you put the front part of you original frame back on so that your front clip lines up without any problems. This setup drops the truck about 5 inches front and back. You also use a Camaro rear end that fits. I have done all the measurements and research and there are no real issues with fit. The width of the original and the Camaro width (front suspension and rear end) are very similar. I also did the research and found that there is not a problem with weakening the frame if you know how to weld. My first truck I did was about 15 years ago and still on the road with no problems. I just picked up a 79 Firebird for $250 with the doghouse, front and rear suspension. I will spend about $50 on metal, U bolts (rear end) and welding supplies to do a complete swap. I use a Camaro tilt column and the truck handles like a dream. If you are interested please let me know and I will be happy to send you the info.
 

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C4 Corvette Suspension

Hello to all in this thread. Crafty has nailed it but do not be scared to use C4 Corvette suspension in your ride. Actually I am the person that he/she makes reference to http://1929fordhotrod.com . The C4 Corvette suspension is by far superior to the Mustang II and looks a ton better. Your Chevy is a big car and will adapte nicely using the original C4 Corvette cross member. The neat thing about it, is that it just unbolts from the Corvette. This would be he simplest solution. If you have one, and do not like the looks and want something more refined, than by all means build your own cross member. You can use the original C4 crossmember as a template and measure everything you can on it and re-create it. Do not change anything. Any changes in the design will result in poor suspension performance. Crafty has picked up on couple of the design aspects of the C4 suspension, the tilt in the upper control arm and that it is set back closer to the firewall. There is still a fair bit of adjustment in the upper control arms. I will have complete measured drawings available on my website http://1929fordhotrod.com . They should be available within the next few months. They have been set up for the Model A Ford 1928-31 but would be very adaptable to your Chevy. Custom car builders are like the Borg on Star Trek, they adapt. Good luck with your project and suspension choice. :shakehands:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I don't know how receptive you are to changing from a vette to a Camaro clip. I am currently on my 7th 2nd series build so I am not an expert in anyway shape or form. What I have done is gone with the Camaro after trying other front suspensions. You will have lots of disagreement on the "best" so this is not about that. If you want really good handling, access to parts that do not cost an arm and a leg and want a system that is easy to install and does not look like it has been "clipped" then let me know. I have a complete step by step (with pictures) on how to clip directions so that it looks really professional. Nothing hanging down to low and it can be done in a weekend. The best part is that you put the front part of you original frame back on so that your front clip lines up without any problems. This setup drops the truck about 5 inches front and back. You also use a Camaro rear end that fits. I have done all the measurements and research and there are no real issues with fit. The width of the original and the Camaro width (front suspension and rear end) are very similar. I also did the research and found that there is not a problem with weakening the frame if you know how to weld. My first truck I did was about 15 years ago and still on the road with no problems. I just picked up a 79 Firebird for $250 with the doghouse, front and rear suspension. I will spend about $50 on metal, U bolts (rear end) and welding supplies to do a complete swap. I use a Camaro tilt column and the truck handles like a dream. If you are interested please let me know and I will be happy to send you the info.
Thank you very much, I'm very receptive to gaining all forms of information on different suspension choices. If you have a link to your Camaro build, I'd love to look at it. Right now I'm in the process of choosing which one to go with, so I'm pretty much just trying to gain as much information as possible before I start the build. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hello to all in this thread. Crafty has nailed it but do not be scared to use C4 Corvette suspension in your ride. Actually I am the person that he/she makes reference to http://1929fordhotrod.com . The C4 Corvette suspension is by far superior to the Mustang II and looks a ton better. Your Chevy is a big car and will adapte nicely using the original C4 Corvette cross member. The neat thing about it, is that it just unbolts from the Corvette. This would be he simplest solution. If you have one, and do not like the looks and want something more refined, than by all means build your own cross member. You can use the original C4 crossmember as a template and measure everything you can on it and re-create it. Do not change anything. Any changes in the design will result in poor suspension performance. Crafty has picked up on couple of the design aspects of the C4 suspension, the tilt in the upper control arm and that it is set back closer to the firewall. There is still a fair bit of adjustment in the upper control arms. I will have complete measured drawings available on my website http://1929fordhotrod.com . They should be available within the next few months. They have been set up for the Model A Ford 1928-31 but would be very adaptable to your Chevy. Custom car builders are like the Borg on Star Trek, they adapt. Good luck with your project and suspension choice. :shakehands:
Thank you as well! I will be taking time to decide on what to go with before I even start, and it will take me a few months to even come close to saving up enough for a decent build and gaining all the information I can. Ill be following your blog for those measured drawings! The C4 and Camaro set ups are my two choices so far, but I'm still far from fully understanding everything that I need. Thank you for the help!
-Nico
 
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