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66 Chevy Chassis swap

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by 66chev, Oct 3, 2005.

  1. 66chev

    66chev Registered Member

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    Hey I got a little project going on here, I have a 66 chevy 4x4 and i am tired of working with all of that old tecnology. I put a new motor in it and i actually like all the old guages, but anyways i want to put a newer style chassis under my old 66 style body. When i say newer i am talking 1983 to 1987. I have done alot of homework and the mounts for the cab line up to within a half an inch. Well any information on what kind of project i am getting into here would be appreciated.

    Thanks
    Levi, 66chev

    Here is a picture of my project truck i am talking about.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. u2slow

    u2slow 1/2 ton status

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    Measure the vertical dimension on the cab mounts. The rear cab mounts on the 73-87 trucks is much higher... might need several inches of body lift under the front mounts to level it.

    I've studied the swap at length with my '66 pickup and 82 C30 chassis :thinking:

    A 73-91 Suburban frame is the better donor for that swap. Or a 70-72 pickup frame for that matter.
     
  3. blazin_blazer

    blazin_blazer 1/2 ton status

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    axels

    from the look of those auto lockers on the front end it already has newer axels under it..why not just put the rest of the drive train from newer model in your frame!
     
  4. 66chev

    66chev Registered Member

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    I though a suburban frame would be much too long for my swap. Do you know what the cab and box mounts look like compared to the 66 mounts. What is a c30 chassis off of. Those Auto lockers are actually just to keep the lube form going all over the place, and they dont do a very good job, they were just some i had laying around. I wa just guessing that they might work in there and they fit. I dont even have my front driveline in there because the Yoke is all banged up and it kept eating up U joints. As far as i could tell Warn stopped making their Maunual lockers for these trucks.


    Thanks alot guys
    Levi
     
  5. 66chev

    66chev Registered Member

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    -A 70-72 Chevy frame isnt a newer enough style. Another reason why i wanted to use that newer style is because i has the newer disc brake setup and a brake booster too.
     
  6. u2slow

    u2slow 1/2 ton status

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    I didn't realize you were going for a shortbed frame. :doah:
    (Burb wheelbase is 129.5"... 2" shorter than longbox pickup)

    The boxes are interchangable... providing you ditch the saddle tanks. AFAIK, box mounting holes did not change from 60-87. I had a '62 box on a '74 frame for a trial fit.

    Cab mounts look similar. Except the 73-87 rear mounts are inboard of the frame (due to the saddle tanks). And the 'front-axle-to-back-of-cab' dimension is ~2.5" longer

    The kicker is the shape of the frame. The 60-72 frames stay low under the cab, and slope upward under the front of the pickup box. The 73-87 pickup frame slopes upward under the cab - reaching full height at the rear cab mounts - and staying flat under the front of the pickup box.

    A K5 frame might work better... if you can do with ~8" shorter wheelbase. :thinking:
     
  7. 78Suburban

    78Suburban 1/2 ton status

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    my 66

    here's my old 66:
    [​IMG]
    now its kinda an abandoned project, but I dumped alot of $$ into it.. one day I might find a 4x4 chassis to swap it onto.. I wouldn't have the heart to tear into my burb.. I like the camping space.. now if I can find a 66 burb, that would be a different story.. I love that body style

    I dumped most of the money under the hood in that truck, and I didn't really know what I was doing, but it is a Mean little rebuilt 283 with a bunch of bolt ons... I used that truck to do massive burnouts at the foot of my drive all the time. runnin straight headers. the neighbors loved me..
    [​IMG]
     
  8. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Its a lot of work,but it will work..

    My older brother had a 66 Suburban ,but it was 2wd!--still a nice truck--I love the arrow shaped tailights and barn doors on the old burbs!--and the cabs on the 60-66 trucks are by far the best looking ones GM had,other than the 55-59 and 70-72's..wish there more left arond here--they are getting very rare now --most have been scrapped due to rust and neglect..

    I have helped convert a 1956 Suburban onto a later (77) burb 4x4 chassis...it wasn't TOO bad to do,mostly it consisted of altering the cab mounts onto a different place on the frame to fit the older burbs body mount location--we used the original brackets and modifed them to fit the 4x4 frame..the suck pill was mounting the later power brake booster--the 56 's master cylinder used to mount on the frame rail under the floor!..it took a lot a fabbing to get the later one in--had to hack the firewall out of the later burb and graft it into the 56 !..your truck probably wont have that problem though,since the brake master is in a "normal location..

    One question though,is why ditch all the old drivetrain??--I realize no power disc brakes can be a bummer,but the "divorced" rockwell transfer case is a rugged one,and very easy to adapt any other tranny to it--and allows a greater amount of lift without driveshaft angle woes..those older Eaton rear axles are pretty beefy too,(if its 8 lug?)--or you could just swap in a 14 bolt FF rear and an 8 lug Dana 44 or Dana 60 front a lot easier than swapping a whole frame in (unless your original frame is rotted or damaged of course!)..

    I think I'd only swap frames if it were a 2wd and you wanted a 4x4--if its a 4x4 already,I'd just modify the existing frame... :crazy:
     
  9. 66chev

    66chev Registered Member

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    Thats some good advice. It looks like that 283 of yours was pretty nice. It probibly looked alot nicer than my trucks. Something i dont like about those those old Rockcrushers are so noisy whey they are at any speed. My axles are only 6 lug axles also. I wish they were 8 lug. The chassis is actually in pretty nice condition, except where the previous owner tried to pull something and pulled the rear cross member that runs between the framerails almost completly out.

    It seems to me that if i go with too much lift with that old rockwell that i will get some driveline angle problems. The back of that transfercase is almost exactly below the back of the cab. I have run into alot of problems in keeping U joints in thise truck also. I have already thrown a diveline while i was using that power that my motor makes. Even though those rockwells are realy strong i still would like to have newer tecnology. Something else is that i dont have any experience in installing different axles. I have gone over that route so many times in my head and i dont realy thing it will be that big of a deal. For now i think going with a new style chassis is the way to go. Moving a few mounts would be pretty easy also.

    Thanks for all your insight.
    Levi, 66chev
     
  10. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Its a choice...

    I can see your point too--sometimes its nice to just roll a more modern chassis with all the newer goodies and power steering,etc,under an older truck..its just a lot more invloved,but either way is a lot of work..if your old frame was rotted or damaged,then it would make more sense to just use a later chassis..and the only way to go of converting a 2wd to a 4x4..I did a few 2wd trucks by using the 2wd frame and a 4x4 parts truck--..I learned its a lot of time going that route!.. :rolleyes:

    Had the 4x4 frame not been junk,it would have been a lot faster and easier to just swap chassis than drill out 50 rivets and swap nearly everything out--there are a LOT of things different on a 4x4 than a 2wd frame--for example,we never thought we'd even have to touch the rear springs--but we learned the hard way BOTH rear spring hangers were different!--after 6 nights of removing the 2wd front axle/crossmember assembly,and installing the Dana 44 straight axle--the truck looked like it was taking a dump!--the rear end was 4" lower than the front! :doah: ..time to sharpen the air chisel again,and cut 20 more rivets off each side! :doah: :mad: --we had to drill tons of holes,and the bushing holes for the front springs rearmost shackles,etc...then the driveshafts didn't fit either! :doah:

    It was a 3 week nightmare,and I'd never been so sore in my life after all the hole drilling and rivet busting!..not to mention being under the truck that long on my hands and knees!...the kicker was after all was said and done,the truck never seemed to track straight--it always felt like it was "crab tracking" driving it down the road,compared to my stock 4x4 I had!..It "looked" fine,and we even had it aligned at a shop,and they said it was "off" as far as toe in a bit,but no major misalignment!..good thing it was mostly an off road rig that didn't see city streets to often or too far!..

    I had a T-221 Rockwell case in my 72 Chevelle wagon I had that was on a 69 Suburban 4x4 chassis with a TH350 and a 454 from a 73 Impala--it was quite the redneckmobile!...I loved that whine the t-case made--everone I passed swore I had a blower on it!.. :D ..it did get annoying after 50 miles on the highway though!.I still miss that car,I should have kept it,but it was getting pretty rusted,and harder to get an inspection sticker for every year..no one wanted to risk their inspection licence by giving me a sticker despite it being properly built and safe as a normal wagon..so I got rid of it for 1200 bucks! :doah: the 454 was worth that alone.. :rolleyes: :crazy:
     
  11. ZooMad75

    ZooMad75 1/2 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I'd swap a D44 from a 73-up truck in there. A buddy of mine had a similar 66 factory 4wd that was looking at doing the same thing. After comparing the front axles and taking some measurements he found that swapping the entire front axle from the jimmy was just about a bolt in affair. He even swapped over the jimmy steering box to the 66 frame by using the weld in frame brace for a 73-87 truck as the base and built up from there. The later axle had the disc brakes of course and all he had to do was use a booster and master from a company that makes disc conversions for these trucks. (smaller diameter booster, better fit) It was simple to swap the stuff over but as always there were some need to fab stuff up. Might want to look at 73 and up truck to make the comparisons yourself. I think it was easier to swap the axle (he kept the eaton in back) than it was to swap the entire frame out for a later one..
     
  12. blazin_blazer

    blazin_blazer 1/2 ton status

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    off topic

    but saw where some1 said they had swapped a '56 suburban over to a 'burb chassis.....i have a '56 panel which is same as the old burban just no windows down the side and my '56 has a 115" wb making the frame candidate for it a swb at 115".....but they did build these panels in a long and short form...so maybe they were working with the longer model....i've been toying with the idea to put my 56 on a swb 4wd chasis as they both measure 115"

    one more thing some1 said they loved the old barn doors on these things...well i have a '96 4 door tahoe that has the rear barn doors and have been wondering if i could find a 2 door tahoe and swap my barn doors for the 2door tailgate and rear hatch window...has any1 seen this swap done ..would it be a bolt on swap as they seem to be the same except for the tailgate versus the rear doors...sorry for derailing the topic i just had my ideas brought up in this thread so i thought i would ask...now back to regularly scheduled programing, unless sum1 wants to answer my ?
     
  13. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    3600 series..

    I remember the Suburban I helped put on a later (1972 K10 burb) chassis was a 3600 series 1 ton Panel --it must have been a longer wheelbase than yours,the 72 chassis had a 127.5" wheelbase on it,and the Burb lined up very close in the wheelwells,so no frame mods were needed..

    Yours is 115"?? a shortbed "K" pickup is 117.5" on the 73-up trucks,that would be pretty close!-(and I think the 67-72 trucks are an inch or two shorter?)--the frame rails might have to be extended to reach the body mounts.on the rear of the Burb....cutting a later long wheelbase frame from an 8' bed truck or Burb in the center and removing a section to match the wheelbase could be done too,but a lot more work..(thats how my 72 Chevelle wagon was done--we took 11" out of a 69 Burb 4x4 frame and spliced it together again)..

    Our biggest hassle was adapting the 72 brake booster/master cylinder to the firewall--we did this swap in 1985,so there wasn't much available for aftermarket setups,so we just rigged the 72 setup to the 56 firewall,and had to make the pedals fit(56 pedals went thru the floor if I remember right)..nowadays I bet you can buy a bolt in power brake setup or something--that would have saved a lot of work..getting the pedal cluster figured out was the most difficult part of the swap if you asked me..! :doah: :crazy:
     
  14. blazin_blazer

    blazin_blazer 1/2 ton status

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  15. rcurrier44

    rcurrier44 1/2 ton status

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    I have been going back and forth about the same swap. I have a 61 chevy 3/4ton that I am going to be retrofiting with 80 (or so) parts this winter. This is the way it sits now.

    http://www.m4x4a.org/ImageGallery/album173/DCP00632.sized.jpg

    I also have a wrecked 1980 long box 3/4 ton that has everything I need on it. The frame is still streight but the body is shot.

    If I were to swap frames I would have to:
    -build 6 new body mounts for cab (none are realy going to line up)
    -bed mounts
    -rear axle leaf perches width

    If I were to keep frame and swap pieces:
    -engine mount fix (not happy with it)
    -tranny cross member fab
    -clutch linkage
    -steering box mount

    The other things I am doing I would have to do with eather setup (52" springs, rewire, steering columb, brake booster, etc). Plus I get the benifit of a stronger frame by using the 1980 frame.
     
  16. supersize75k5

    supersize75k5 OrganDonorRacing.com

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    I would vote to keep the frame, I saw a truck the same body style as yours except the doors had a different pitch, any ways he swapped to a 77 frame and had about a million headaches trying to get the measurments right.

    your frame is similare in nature to the 67-72 frame,

    there are alot of companies offering a booster and mc with a bracket that will allow you to mount it to the frame on the inside of the drivers side, the pedal then comes up through the floor.

    if you just want the bracket and pedal assembly you can get it for less then 200.00 bucks,

    or with a duel diaphram booster and mc you can get it all for around 350.00 and up, the lines are simple to run, and a simple willwood porportioning valve sorte out the mess., just swap in a disk front end d44 for a couple hundred bucks.
     
  17. 66chev

    66chev Registered Member

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    Hey thanks alot all of you, you have no idea how much all that u guys have said has gottem me thinkin. Now i want to get this little project done right now weather it is the end of my bank account or not. Keep the infor comming, ill be sure to keep you all updated on how my project is going.

    Thanks
    Levi, 66chev
     

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