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47-54 Chevy truck S-10 frame swap
As posted by SoWhat on the HAMB Here...


I'm gonna try my best to explain how we put 47 -54 Chevy and GMC trucks on S-10 frames. It is a fairly easy process and results in a great riding truck. The pictures I will post are from my 48. Please excuse the dirt and grime. I use it daily. The first pic is of my truck along with John's and Mikey's. All three are on S-10 frames.

John's truck was built without changing much on his frame. We used the S-10 brake and gas lines, gas tank and rear suspension. We did change the rear to a Camaro rear. If you leave the rear suspension alone you will have to move the rear fenders back an inch or two. You can make a little of that space up by drilling a new locating hole in the spring perch on the rear.
Here are a few tricks that we use when building these.

First we like to use the long bed standard cab pick up. You can use a short bed truck but will have to shorten your bed in front of the rear fenders. I have seen it done before but it looks out of proportion to me.

Second we like to mount the body a couple of inches off of the frame. As you can see all three trucks are plenty low. My truck is mounted 3 inches off of the frame. I am running airbags with stock spindles and with the bags down the fenders are 1 1/2 inches off of the ground. Johns truck is mounted 3 3/4 (height of a 4x4) off of the frame. Before we put the bags on his truck he ran dropped spindles and one coil cut out of his springs. We had to put bags on it after he destroyed a set of fenders. It was about 3 inches off the ground without them. Mikey's truck is 5 inches off of the frame. We mounted his higher because his interior was done and we didn't want to put a hump in the floor for the tranny. My truck needed a good size hump for the tranny but did not need a tunnel for the driveshaft. If I would have mounted the body any lower I would have needed one.

Thirdly we move the bed up about 3 or 4 inches. If you don't the inside of the bed looks too shallow due to the kick up in the back. The fenders are kept where they would be mounted before the bed was moved up.

OK...let's start with the frame. There are two body mounts that should be cut off. The fron body mount (mount"B") can be cut off and thrown away. The rear body mount (mount "A") cut off as close to the frame as possible. It can be used for the front body mounts for your "48". You will have to flip them around and switch them side to side. Clean off the side of the frame where the rear mount came off. The rear body mount for your 48 will be in the same area.

Next you will have to cut the front frame off a little. I took my steering box off and cut the frame about a half inch behind the front of it. Cut both sides equal.

Now you are ready to mount your body. I level the frame from front to back. Leave the front tires on the frame and it is best to use a bigger tire so you can judge if the wheel opening is in the right place. Set the cab on the frame with small 4x4 blocks holding the body up off of the frame. Check the floor of the cab to make sure it is level. You may have to move the 4x4s to get the cab floor level. Bolt you front fenders onto the body with the panel that holds the hood latch holding them together. Move the body back and forth till you have the wheels centered in the wheel opening. Then square the body side to side.

Now you are ready to install the front body mounts. You can use the old mounts (boy mount "A" in previous picture) or you can use a peice of 2x2 tubing with a plate welded on top. After the mounts are welded in drill down from the top and bolt it down.

Here is a pic of the rear body mount used for a front body mount.

For the rear body mounts you can use the original 48 shackle mounts. You will have to drill new holes for it.

On my 48 I used 2 1/5 inch square tubing cut on an angle with a plate welded on top. The tubing fits in the channel that runs across the back of the body. After welding the tubing in, I drilled the new holes from the top.

After the front and back mounts are in you can take the 4x4s out.

Here's a pic of my rear mounts.

We have done the front fender mount several ways and you may be able to come up with a better way than we have.

Basically I make legs that bolt where the radiator mount bolted originally. I use 1x2 tubing with a little "foot" welded to the bottom.

You can also see that the bottom of the radiator is kicked forward to clear the steering box. You may have to offset the radiator to the passenger side a little too.

This pic is of the leg that holds the front sheetmetal in place and mounts the radiator. I added the crossbar but don't think it's needed.

Here's another shot of that leg and radiator

Here is a pic of the foot welded to the bottom of that "leg" that holds the front end in place. You can see it's bolted to a peice of 3/8 steel I welded to the frame. That peice of 3/8 steel is drilled and tapped.

When you are ready to mount the motor, I have found the best way is to use a peice of 3/8 steel. We cut the steel about a half inch bigger than the motor mounts. Use the "saddle" kind. We drill and tap the plate for the mount to bolt to it. Bolt the plate and mounts to the motor. Set the motor in. Slide it back and forth til you like where it's at. Level the motor side to side. Now you can tack the plates in. If your bolts stick through the mount plates, you will have to mark where the bolts hit the S-10 frame and drill holes for them to go through.

Here is a pic of the plates in my 48

One of the cool things about the S-10 swap is the motor sits high in the engine compartment. Makes it a little easier to work on and looks a lot better.

Here's a pic of the motor in my 48. Yeh I took the air cleaner off and haven't put it back on yet. The motor is just a junk 305. Again I drive the thing daily so it's gonna be dirty in the winter.

Once the cab is bolted down you can get ready to trim the back of the frame off. Measure from the back of the cab to the back of the frame. I think the standard 48 bed is six and a half feet. Check before you cut!! I cut a couple of extra inches off to make room for lights and a hitch. To finish the back of the frame off I weld a peice of 4x4 tubing across the back. Before I put it in I usually put a receiver for a hitch on. You never know if you'll want to tow something.

WEW!!! that's more typing than I've done in my whole life. You'll have to wait to see how I make the bed fit till the ice melts out of the back of my truck

We have used the S-10 headers and ones they call clipsters. Any of the shortie headers that dump at the back of the motor will work. We have also used manifolds from late 70s GM cars. The trick is they have to dump at the back of the motor.

I made my brake pedal from a Metropolitan pedal. Sorta hard to get pics. A universal brake kit from someplace like Speedway could be made to work easily. Most of the time we use the S10 pedal and master cylider.