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FRAME SWAP


Manny Perez
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SORRY ABOUT THE CAPS BUT CATARACTS DO NOT HELP.   I HAVE A 53 BUICK SPECIAL 4 DR. THAT HAS BEEN IN STORAGE FOR 67 YRS. 1954 WAS THE LAST TIME DRIVEN AND IT HAS 9000 ORIGINAL MILES.  I AM BUYING A 1996 S10 EXTENDED CAB TO MOUNT THE BUICK ON THE S10 FRAME.  HOW MUCH OF A FRICKEN HEADACHE AM I LOOKING AT.  WHEN YOU ARE 76 CLOSE TO 77 HEADACHES ARE NOT A WELCOME THING, CAN'T TELL IF FROM BLOOD PRESSURE OF FROM THE ENDEAVOR I AM GOING TO UNDERTAKE.  ALL I SEE IS POSTS OF PEOPLE PUTTING OLD CHEVY AND FORD PICKUPS ON S10 FRAMES BUT I STILL HAVE NOT SEEN ONE POST OF ANYONE PUTTING A PASSENGER CAR ON ONE.  I NEED HELP ON THIS.  IF ANYONE HAS DONE IT, LET ME KNOW IF ANYONE KNOWS WHO DID IT, LET ME KNOW WHO.  YOUR HELP WILL BE GREATELY APPRECIATED.  I SAW TWO COMMENTS FROM SOMEONE SAYING TO SOMEONE ELSE "THE SPECIAL WILL FIT ON THE S10 FRAME, SAME LENGTH" BUT I DO NOT KNOW WHAT YEAR SPECIAL HE WAS TALKING ABOUT.  GOD BLESS ALL AND PLEASE HELP ME IF YOU CAN WITH ANY INFO OR PICS. THAT MAY BE FLOATING AROUND THAT I DO NOT KNOW WHERE THEY ARE.  HAVE A GREAT MORNING Y'ALL. IT'S 2:49 AM MAY 10TH, 2021.

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Not to discourage, only to be brutally realistic but it is a formula for a disastrous failed project for you and your Buick.   Either repair the Buick as it is to be safely roadable or sell it and buy another 1953 Buick Special if that is the car that is special to you.  There are still plenty of good, enjoyable Buicks of those years available for reasonable prices, no need to put yourself through the misery of a project. 

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As Alex metions go to the H.A.M.B. if this is what you have to do. This forum is not the place to discuss how to turn an original car into a restomod.

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This type of job is not for the inexperienced or  faint of heart..This  job requires great skills and forethought and extensive modifaction of countless items and you will be hit in face at every turn with problems  that you will have to sort out. Many solved issues(you think?) will not be ,and you have try to work it out again..

The job will fast to become OVER- welming.

 

Either give the project to a custom shop with your budget( probably not less the $40.000.) Or buy a well sorted out,already done resto-rod in the vintage you like. They are out there.

 

Unless the chassis is rusted beyond salvage, you may just think simpler and go with a newer V8 and automatic.Brake upgrades and 12 volts.

 

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  As a man in his 80’s, talking to a man past 75, it’s known as your brain out running your body. Happens to me all the time and hopefully very early in project. 

   Dissimilar frame swap, NO. Dissimilar frame swap at your age and problems, NO NO NO.

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As a younger "hoodlum" hot-rodder, I'll echo that while this can be done, it's infinitely more work than most people think. I'll ASS-U-ME that you can find a late model chassis with the correct wheelbase and track width. That's the easy part. Fabricating body mounts, modifying (and fabricating) the floor pan, mounting the core support and front fenders, and connecting the steering require more fabrication.  There are rare cases where such a swap is less work and popular enough for kits - the 1947-54 Chevy pickups are a good fit on the S10 pickup frame (imagine that!) and you can actually buy a bolt-on kit with all the body mount bracketry. No such kit exists for a one-off swap like your Buick. Expect to have to fit the body on and off the new frame dozens of times to get it right. That means a two post lift and a lot of time and labor.

 

At the end of the day, yeah, it can be done and yeah, it's a massive amount of work just to make your Buick ride like a pickup truck. A far better solution for updating is to get a complete front end kit from Fatman Fabrications. This mounts to your stock frame and provides updated suspension, steering, and brakes. Not inexpensive but less work and reasonably well engineered. The torque tube conversion to open drive has been done many times.

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14 minutes ago, Alex D. said:

That question would be better answered over on the H.A.M.B. where the hoodlums there have done frame swaps.

 

6 minutes ago, Walt G said:

As Alex metions go to the H.A.M.B. if this is what you have to do.

The HAMB will instantly delete ANY mention of doing a frame swap using modern frames.  That is fact.  The Hamb is about traditional rodding modifications that were done prior to their strict cut off date of 1965. 

 

Most frame swaps that are attempted by very inexperienced fabricators end up as unfinished projects that cannot be resold, and then get junked or parted out. 

 

However, I do understand why a late model frame swap is considered by inexperienced vintage car owners; and that these people fall in 2 basic categories:

 

-one is that they want the car to behave like a modern car in all respects like handling, braking, dependability of newer components.

 

-two is that others simply feel that it would be cheaper that having their vintage engine and components to be correctly rebuilt for dependability.

5 minutes ago, Jubilee said:

As a man in his 80’s, talking to a man past 75, it’s known as your brain out running your body. Happens to me all the time and hopefully very early in project. 

   Dissimilar frame swap, NO. Dissimilar frame swap at your age and problems, NO NO NO.

I totally agree with what Jubilee had the courage (or sensibility) to write.  Meaning that most inexperienced people of any age get completely overwhelmed the minute that they lower the old body onto the newer chassis and then see that absolutely NOTHING fits.  Being past age 70 you then realize you simply will run out of sunsets before ever finishing it.

 

 

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Two choices:

 

Restore it yourself by keeping the project straightforward with a swap for an identical frame that's not rusted out. (if it really needs to be changed)

 

Give to your grandson to do an S-10 frame swap, so you'll still be around to see it completed.

 

Craig

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Good reason to steer clear for all of the above reasons, and it may end up being titled according to the driveline. If you use an S10 frame and all of the running gear your old buick will now become an S10 pickup!

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Nothing wrong with jumping into a project like that. Just be aware of what you are getting into. Everyone's comments above are true. Your car, do what you want. Lots of choices for sub frames. Most are really bad choices. Some are workable, with a lot time and effort. And in some cases, it can work out. A 53 Buick is a nice smooth riding car. Lots of old school ways to lower these cars. And a engine swap can be done, with brake upgrades. My 49 Hudson is all stock, with just a engine and transmission upgrade. Very nice driving car. A complete sub frame under this car would not improve the driving quality for daily use. Yes a newer suspension and brakes will perform better. But will you need that improvement for your intended driving? I have done a 53 Buick before. A front clip can be a better choice, over a sub frame. No right or wrong when it comes to your car. But once you start changing things it snowballs. What do you want the car to be? And what will be it's purpose? 

IMG_20210509_170529103_HDR.jpg

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Manny, I don't think you have any idea the amount of work you are in for. Do you have a shop at your disposal? Do you have welding and fabrication skills? Why not rebuild/restore/modify what you have? If your looking for upgrades you could add power disc brakes, power steering, 12 volt system, A.C. etc, a heck of a lot easier than replacing the entire chassis. Plus, you're not turning a 9000 original mile Buick into junk.

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Posted (edited)

 I installed a 38 Buick coupe on an 88 Cadillac sedan frame and it was easy for me as there was no floor or bottom of the sides in the 38 to worry about.

 Everything had to be made, lots of welding and as noted, many a times lifting and re trying the fit.

 I am capable of welding, cutting bending and wondering what to do next.

 If this is your first time, FORGET IT .

  For tools you need, plasma cutter, 8' sheet metal brake and shear, cut off off saws, grinders, mig welder, more clamps than Harbor Fright stocks, misc. hand tools (at least $2000 worth) and don't forget the almighty hammer!  (at least 7 different types) 🛠️

 

( Oh! I forgot a couple bottle's of Excedrin!)

Edited by Roger Walling (see edit history)
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Manny,

You left out some important info. "Why" are you wanting to swap frames on a car with only 9,000 orig. miles?

Is it rusted or damaged beyond recovery? Or are you just looking to "upgrade" the car?

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2 hours ago, 46 woodie said:

Manny, I don't think you have any idea the amount of work you are in for. Do you have a shop at your disposal? Do you have welding and fabrication skills? Why not rebuild/restore/modify what you have? If your looking for upgrades you could add power disc brakes, power steering, 12 volt system, A.C. etc, a heck of a lot easier than replacing the entire chassis. Plus, you're not turning a 9000 original mile Buick into junk.

MY MAIN CONCERN IS IF THE S10 EXTENDED CAB WILL BE OK FOR THE BUICK. I KNOW I WILL HAVE TO FABRICATE BODY MOUNTS. BUT WILL IT FIT, 121.5 BUICK AND S10 122.0. THAT IS PRETTY CLOSE.  THE ONLY REASON I WANT THE SWAP IS THAT I FIND THE FRONT UPPER CONTROL ARMS ON THE 53 VERY FLIMSY , DRUM BRAKES AND 53 WAS KNOW TO HAVE POOR BRAKIG AND IT HAS A TORQUE TUBE WHICH DOES NOT ALLOW FOR INSPECTIONS ON THE DRIVE LINE.   WILL IT FIT ???

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I DO HAVE A SHOP, WELDER, ACETELYNE, AND WORKED BESIDES BEING A FOREMAN AT A CHEVY ASSY. LINE, ALSO WORKED ON THEIR JIGS AND FIXTURES MAINT. DEPT WHERE I LEARNED A LOT OF STUFF IN WHAT TO BUILD AND FOR WHAT. ALL YOU SAID ABOUT ADDING IS MORE COSTLY THAN A SWAP THAT ALREADY HAS ALL THAT.  I REALLY COULD NOT CARE ABOUT HAVING A DIFFERENT CHASSIS ON THE 53. ITS FOR MY USE AND DO NOT INTEND TO SELL IT.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR THOUGHTS BUT MY QUESTION HAS NOT BEEN GIVEN AN ANSWER YET.  WILL IT FIT ????

 

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With enough work anything will fit. Personally I would do an open drive conversion , and a Camaro / Nova sub frame conversion. Or even better adapt the Camaro front end pick up points to the stock frame . More work in some ways , but keeps the basic stock frame.

Expect to invest hundreds of hours on what ever way you go.

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1 hour ago, Manny Perez said:

MY QUESTION HAS NOT BEEN GIVEN AN ANSWER YET.  WILL IT FIT ????

The answer to that question is, with enough time, enough money and enough people anything can be made to fit.

 

The real question is should a man your age with cataracts that can't see a computer screen without typing in all caps be attempting such a huge project? In my humble opinion the answer to that question is NO.  And for getting help from an antique car club with helping you chop up a nice '53 Buick with 9000 miles... don't expect much.

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2 hours ago, GregLaR said:

Manny,

You left out some important info. "Why" are you wanting to swap frames on a car with only 9,000 orig. miles?

Is it rusted or damaged beyond recovery? Or are you just looking to "upgrade" the car?

GREG, THE CAR HAS ONLY PAINT FADING RUST, ONLY BAD IS THE BUMPER, IT LOST ALL THE CHROME FELL RIGHT OFF PLUS I HAVE THE OLD FASHIONED TWO ROTTED AREAS ON THE FRONT DRIVER AND PASS. FLOOR PANELS. THAT IS IT. I DO NOT WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH POWER TRAIN OR ACCESSORIES OR BRAKES THAT ARE OVER 67 YRS. OLD EVEN WITH LITTLE MILLEAGE ON THEM.  I JUST DO NOT TRUST IT. WITH THE S10 IM GETTING ON WED. I WILL HAVE EVERYTHING THIS BUICK DOES NOT.  A/C, PWR. BRAKES, ROTORS, OPEN DRIVE, ETC ETC.  I PLAN TO PUT MY 305 0R 307 CHEVY VAN 1985 REBUILT BY SPECS BALANCED AND BLUEPRINTED NOW IT'S A 326 DUE TO THE MATH ON IT WITH THE 350 COMPLETELY REBUILT TRANNY.

 

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Posted (edited)
56 minutes ago, Ronnie said:

The answer to that question is, with enough time, enough money and enough people anything can be made to fit.

 

The real question is should a man your age with cataracts that can't see a computer screen without typing in all caps be attempting such a huge project? In my humble opinion the answer to that question is NO.  And for getting help from an antique car club with helping you chop up a nice '53 Buick with 9000 miles... don't expect much.

HAVE YOU EVER PUT AN S10 ON A 53 BUICK YOURSELF ?  I AM LOOKING FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS DONE IT, AND WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, NOT AN ANSWER FROM SOMEONE WHO HAS "HEARD" IT WON'T FIT.  I KNOW THE CAPS SEEM TO BOTHER YOU, SORRY ABOUT THAT.  DON'T WORRY ABOUT MY CATS, I STILL QUALIFY AS A POLICE BLUE MAX SHOOTER EVERY YEAR TO KEEP MY NATIONWIDE CCF WEAPONS LICENSE. AND I HAVE SEEN OVER 400 COMMENTS SO FAR HERE AND EVERYTHING IS ABOUT  SWAPS BUT VERY LITTLE ON 53 SPECIALS, VERY LITTLE ABOUT CAR FRAME CHANGES, ALL FRONT CLIPS OR REAR CLIPS OR REAR END SWAPS.  BTW, I CAN, WITH THE HELP OF A PROFESSIONAL WELDER AND FABRICATOR FRIEND CUT A FRAME AND LENGTHEN IT OR SHORTEN IT OR MAKE IT WIDER OR NARROWER.  THAT IS NOT A PROBLEM.  I AM MORE WORRIED ABOUT HAULING THAT BUICK ASS END ON A DOLLY FROM GA. TO FL. THAN THE WORK I SEE COMING.  I WAS NOT A SUPERVISOR AT A CHEVY ASSY. PLANT AND A JIG AND FIXTURES MAINT. PERSON TO LET ALL THAT KNOWLEDGE GO TO WASTE AND NOT USE IT WHEN I HAVE TO.  MANY WAYS TO SKIN A CAT .

 

 

THANKS FOR YOUR THOUGHTS. 

Edited by Manny Perez (see edit history)
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My apologies. But I, like a lot of people around "Antique Automobile" websites, consider 'Antique Automobiles' to be a part of a cherished history. They are something that should be cherished and restored, in something close to their original state. What you are considering amounts to butchery of something that deserves to be treated with respect to what it was.

Beyond that. Just an observation of human characteristics in general. This is one of those things that if one has the skills, knowledge, and experience, enough to truly understand the answer? One would not need to ask the question. The answer is obvious.

Thousands (many thousands, literally) of people have begun such projects that they have not and will NEVER get anywhere near done. (My dad was one such person, when he passed, I had to dispose of half a dozen such projects. And he was an engineer with excellent mechanical skills!)

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  • Ronnie locked this topic

This topic has been locked. It clearly violates the forum rules that say in part:

 

"...  AACA’s forums do NOT promote other forms of the automobile hobby such as street rods, hot rods or restomods.  As an organization we have respect for all forms of the hobby but these forums are to recognize and serve those that have the same beliefs as our organization. Discussion of modified vehicles will be removed including: street rods, hot rods or similar vehicles."

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