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Newbie front suspension question?

9023 Views 23 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Splatt
I have a 1953 Ford Mainline 2dr.... Do I have to cut the front subframe off at the firewall & weld in the 2X4 sq tube in. Can I fab in the front leaf springs to the existing frame or will it look funny? Is this the wrong way to do it? I know it would look a lot cleaner with the boxed 2X4 sq. tube but if I can accomplish the same look & function by not cutting the frame I rather not. Please help.
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Dustin here is a pic on the web that I found not sure what the ford frame looks like, pics would be helpful,,[email protected]/5842188752/lightbox/
Hey Dustin, Rich's photo looks like the guy cut off the stub and did rails. You can do either. The main reason for cutting off the front frame is weight savings. Two sq. tube rails with a crossmember must weigh a lot less than the stock stuff.

I went the other route and kept the stock frame and mounted the parallel leafs to mounts that I welded to the bottom of the frame. With all the work that I have done on the car, I probably should have stubbed it, but this works.



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You can do either. Whatever works best for you and if the original frame is designed in such a way that it is not in the way of the axle, new steering box location, shock placement etc. You just really need to get your parts in your head to look ahead for anything that would cause problems. But as Mike did above. It can be done and it works out great. And can save a lot of fabrication. Since most all of the original body mount locations and engine etc mount points can stay the same. It can even be the smart move at times where someone may becomne overwhelmed by the additonal work that a stub causes and it could even kill the build. In my case I did the stub knowing my limitations for accurate placement of the axle and not really trusting my weldng skills for such an important part of the car. I had a professional build the front stub and put on the axle assembly.

I have full confidence in the frontend now where I'd always be wondering otherwise. Or actually just sceeered as hell, heh. Just some opinions on my part. Mark L

Mark L
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I used my stock frame to install the new straight axle, but mine had a straight axle previously, so I had new mainsprings built for the Speedway axle kit and then removed the 2nd spring as it was too long with the shorter mainspring. I reused the stock spring shackle location at the rear, but welded the new spring perch alongside the frame on a new mount up front. Then just mated it all up to a new Corvair steering box on the frame.
Each installation is different, and I'd bet with some fabrication work you can make the stock frame rails work fine. Might even be able to reuse the stock steering box dpending on ride height, and location of the old box.
As was said before, pix would help us a great deal. Give us a view of what you're working with.
Sorry guys been workin late & goin to bed early. Heres a few pic's of what I'm workin with. The steering box is rear mount just in front of the firewall and I hope I can use it in the stock location with little modification.

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After having a look at that frame, I'd be tempted to blow that engine crossmember out and keep the rails and box them. But, it would probably be much simpler to stub it. Decisions, decisions.....
Im pretty sure I'm capable of stubin' it but just not sure how to go about it. I guess Im worried about getting stuck on something I can't figure out. I think the stock frame cleaned up & boxed and maybe extended a little may look pretty good. This will kinda be a learn as I go project & don't want to get in over my head, but don't want it to look weird either. I think mt94ss front frame work looks really good. If mine will come out as clean as that I think i would be happy with it. Thanks everyone for the input & pic's. Anymore input is greatly appreciated & needed.
I agree with Str8axle. I think I'd chop out the crossmember, box in the portion of the frame that's not presently boxed, and then fab up mounts for the straight axle and new motor. You can get it looking clean and streamlined without having to stub it.
Rear steering box will most likely work with your drag link at the rear, and your steering arm bent down to reduce angle and bump steer.
I would anti up on that also, I believe the front K-member is riveted in, just grind the heads off and drive them thru with a punch, that way if things are not looking like your not liking the outcome you can always bolt the crossmember back in, anyways I believe you can box the front, build in a set of engine mounts and suspension mounts without to much of an issue.

Ok guys I've been throwin' around ideas for a while and think I have a game plan. I going to remove the center Big Ugly crossmember then clean, smooth & box everything ( like y'all suggested) and weld in this engine crossmember from Speedway...

then, I'm going to take the very front crossmember that the front end bolts to (in the picture, the very front support with that center bracket)and flip it around & box it in to give the frame that boxed in look I like. I also will be ordering (if everything goes as planed) the Speedway Gasser straight axle kit with Chevy spindles. What do Y'all think?
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Sounds great! I don't think you'll regret going with the Speedway axle. I think they're a great item!
I got a Speedway axle a few years ago and I think that they are better now. Measure your track width and make sure you get the axle that is most similar. Also, I wish that I would have gotten the bigger brakes (I have a '55 Chev) because the 9.5" pinto versions I think are too small. Looking forward to seeing progress on your car.

I went with GM metric disc brakes on my Speedway axle. Combined with the GM drum brakes on the rear, and a Subaru power master, they'll send you through the windshield if you aren't wearing your harnesses when I hit the brakes hard! Excellent stopping power!
If you're lucky, you'll be able to retain your stock steering box and rear steer that axle, keeping things nice and simple!
Well I got the engine & tranny out today.... I'm off from work tomorrow, so I'll start the boxing & cleaning up the frame process. just tring to come up with the plan of attack.
Hey Tex, I'm doing the same car with the existing frame rails. Axle is from a 49 F1 pickup. Here's where I am currently.
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Hey Splatt, that looks good. Nice and clean.
Hey splatt, that looks nice! Stop by the new members page and say 'hi' and tell us about you and your car.

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