As I’ve been working on the truck over the last few months I’ve come across a few things that I don’t like about the truck. Namely, the frame and suspension suck.
From what I was told by the previous owner, at one time he had a late 70’s Nova front click put under the truck. Looking at the truck from the side you can see this effect:
Notice the extreme rake? I just don’t like this at all with the truck’s ass up in the air. From the rear there is a noticeable lean to one side where the frame wasn’t welded together square and plumb.
My idea is to buy or build my own frame and put at least independent front suspension under it and maybe an independent rear as well.
Digging around on the web I came across two manufacturers that are offering manufactured frames for a 56 F-100. Total Cost Involved and Art Morrison. But after checking out their prices I just can’t justify spending seven grand at a minimum to get a new frame.
So I started shopping around for an original frame with the idea that I’ll either box an original frame, or build a new one using the original as a template.
After posting on the HAMB I found someone in Missouri who had one for sale. We scheduled a time and place and one day in February I drove up to Springfield Missouri to meet him and pick up the frame. I drove back the same day. Got up at 4 AM and got home at 11 PM. Got it taken care of in one day so I still had Sunday to mess around the shop.
Then work happened.
I got really busy with work and I wasn’t able to make it down to the shop (other than ensuring that the place didn’t burn down) from March until late September and that was only because I took some time off from work.
I took a week off from work after spending a few preceding weeks thinking about what I was going to do on my week off. I thought I would just go buy some steel and build a new frame in a week. Boy was I wrong. It must have taken me 3 days or more to clean up the shop and get it in a position to start working on the F100.
The last time I was in the shop I was working on a woodworking project so I had all the woodworking tools out and sawdust everywhere. It took some time to put all the woodworking tools up and move the table saw over in the corner.
After that was taken care of, the next step was to get the original frame in order so I could start using it as a pattern. It still had the original spring shackles and leaf springs attached and boy was it heavy. Not having a plasma cutter at the time I proceeded to remove the spring shackles from the frame by drilling out the rivets. It must have taken 6 hours of work for each spring. So after a couple of days, I had the leaf springs removed.
I then moved on to trying to separate the cross members from one of the frame rails. My thinking was that it would be easier to deal with if I was working with one frame rail instead of the entire frame. I made some good progress getting the one frame rail separated before my week off hit and I ran into my next project.