Independent Front and Rear End Information
I recently inquired about IFS and rear end swap on a TF truck, listed below is a compilation of the info received from the oletrucks mailing list. Track width of possible donor front clips, along with rear end widths are at the end…
Information donated by Dave Cushing
When Carl asked recently for information on IFS installs, I quickly put together some pictures of my install. When I started my truck a couple of years ago, I started a web site to show my family and friends across the nation what I was doing; unfortunately, I didn’t keep it up very good. Well, I spent the last couple of days bringing it all up to date, stopping where I am now at installing the engine. This is giving me some troubles, but I should be starting back at it soon. If you all have any questions or comments to make it better, feel free to let me know. Dave Cushing 1957 3100
Information donated by Mark Noakes
Try 73-81 GM 10 bolt corporate which comes in gears from 2:38 or lower to 3:90 or higher. posi/non… comes in camaro/TA/nova/skylark/caddy…. etc. holds my 4000# panel up just fine with 700R4 and huffed 305 with a lead foot. 3.42 gears and 255/60-15 tires… nothin broken so far after 85,000 nasty miles!
Information donated by Keith Durand
I gave up on finding a 9 inch of the right width. There were some trucks out there with the right width, but they had the ford 5 on 5 bolt pattern. I heard that there was a Chrysler E body had a width in the right range. The Chrysler 8 3/4 is also uber strong and has a drop out centersection.
I was at a large swap meet measuring every rear axle in sight. One turned out to be the right width, and as luck would have it, it was a 8 3/4 inch Chrysler. The owner claimed it used to be in a 1970 Challenger.
That was not an E body, but that doesn’t matter. There are some Chrysler products out there with the right size rear end. For 100 bucks, I got a complete axle, drum to drum. It needed new cylinders and shoes. It had a 2.91 gear and no posi. For 100 more bucks at another swap meet, I found 3.55 gears in a non posi centersection. The brakes on this thing are large, I think 11 inch by 2.25 wide. The back of the case is also smooth, like the famous (and hard to find) 1957 Ford 9 inch. Legend has it that the 8 3/4 is stronger than the 9 inch as well. Another interesting option would be the Ford 8.8 inch. Most (all?) had disk brakes. You can find them on Crown Victorias and Explorers for sure. Some of the Mustangs may also have them. The CV ones are too wide, at about 63 inches. The explorer ones might come in about right.
Either the Ford or Chrysler axle will have a 5 on 4.5 inch bolt circle. If you go with the Mustang II setup, you can probably get the disks to be drilled to whatever you want. I am running a Camaro clip, so they don’t match. I like steel wheels, so I got the dual bolt pattern ones. Since the widths worked out well, I have the same type of wheel on each corner. There are a lot of Chevy 10 bolts out there that are the right width. If you don’t abuse it, and don’t want a drop out centersection, these should be fine. 12 bolts exist, but are harder to find.
Information donated by Devin Ranger
I really don’t know anything about this kit (other than what the web site states), but Industrial Chassis offers a Dakota IFS kit as an alternative to the popular Mustang II kits. They tout it as being the ideal custom truck IFS because it was originally engineered for a truck. Here is the link:
Information donated by Jeff Engel
My first decision was: did I want to weld in a front clip from a donor or weld in an MII crossmember? I chose the MII route because I don’t have the skills to do too much fabricating. Not that all front clips require a lot of fabbing, but I just didn’t want to worry about it. The MII seemed easier. The trade off was initial cost.
The next choice was: which manufacturer did I want to use? I knew I wanted to go with someone that has been around a while. For me, that narrowed it down to Heidt’s, TCI, or Fatman. I didn’t like the way the Fatman crossmember attaches to the frame. Looked like it would let the frame rails twist. The TCI and Heidt’s crossmembers looked very much the same. Although, TCI’s setup was cheaper than Heidt’s. I ended up going with Heidt’s. Why? Well, I ended up winning a couple of auctions on ebay for some Heidt’s tubular upper a-arms and Heidt’s 2″ dropped spindles. Since I wanted to use all components from the same manufacturer I ended up going Heidt’s. Instead of buying the complete front end package, I started piecing it together over a period of 2 or 3 months. I got the big brakes from here, power steering rack from there, and a lot of stuff from Yogi’s (They had free shipping on Heidt’s stuff at one time). After I had everything, I had the big brakes, power steering, tubular a-arms, all name brand stuff for less than the cost of buying the complete package all at once from TCI or Heidt’s and it was all new stuff as well.
You have to use the big brakes (11″ Granada rotors with GM calipers is what I used) on the TF trucks. The 9″ rotors just aren’t going to cut it. Also, make sure you use the steering rack extenders so you don’t have to use extended tie rods. This is for Heidt’s, I don’t know about the others. Heidt’s says that using longer tie rods than stock will introduce bumpsteer. Another thing, if you are using a GM power steering pump with the Ford rack, get the spring kit from RB’s. It matches the fluid pressure of the pump to the rack. I can say this, my 56 drives very smooth and handles well with this front end setup. I have been driving it for about 3 months now and have about 300 miles on it. About half of that at highway speeds of 60 to 70 mph. Overall, I am very happy I went this route. The truck drives very “untruck” like.
Out back I used a Ford 9″ rear end from a Lincoln Versailles. This gave me disc brakes in the rear as well as the front. I flipped the stock leaf springs and C notched the frame. The only mod to the rear end was to move the leaf perches out a little. The Lincoln rear end is 58 inches wide I think. This is a little too narrow for the TF truck. It sits low enough that the calipers hit the bed. I am working on making this work and it only hits if I really nail something. Although, I would advise a wider rear end. A wider rear end fixes this and the fact that your wheel selection will be more varied. I used Chevy Rally wheels that were custom made. 16×8 with 2-1/4″ backspacing in the rear and 16×7 with 3″ backspacing up front. If I had used a wider rear end, my wheel selection would have bee better and the CA made my wheels for about $360. In my opinion, this setup rides a little stiff for me and the caliper issue is not acceptable. I would like a wider rearend and maybe the coil overs & 4-link setup from Heidt’s or TCI. My current setup is not as smooth a ride as the front end.
I know you didn’t inquire about this but I thought I would add some additional information on my drivetrain and my choices there. I had a 1985 IROC Camaro that was totaled. So, I took the Tuned Port Injected 305 and 700R4 tranny out of it and put it in my 56 TF. Computer and all. This gives me good mileage and performance. I also used the steering column and the front calipers. The overdrive tranny coupled with my 2.73 gears really helps on the highway. Low RPM, high gas mileage. I had 3.70 gears but they tarted to howl. So, I swapped the center section with another center section that I had from a different project (67 Mustang GT fastback). It drives much smoother with the 2.73’s but not as snappy as the 3.70’s. Another trade off to think about. I have some pictures of the front end, engine and truck on Shutterfly.com if you want to take a look.
Information donated by George Perez
I’m right in the middle of installing RB’s Front Clip on my 55 TF. So far it has been great. I have it in position now and bolted in. It’s now ready for my friend (professional Welder) to weld in. The hardest part of the job so far was removing the rivets holding the Trans cross member in. I guess it was not that hard just time consuming. The Clip slid in with no problems bolted up with a little massaging.
The directions tell you to install the front nose clip to check for alignment so I had to reassembly mine to make sure it all fit right. I went a little further and hung the arms & hubs ET. To make sure they were center in the fender well. I’m Very happy, everything line up perfectly. Hope to weld it up this weekend. As far as the rear end goes I’m not sure what will be a good fit either. I think the 60 inches is the magic number. I have heard that some where before. I will be running a stock 350 with a 700r trans. I too will be using the Truck as a fair weather driver and would like to take it on some long cross country trips. The stock rear end I think is 3.90 geared & I’m not sure if this would be a good match. I would like tochange it for the best fit and ride ET.
Information donated by Dave Williamson
I have a 58 3200 stepside … I put a 1980 Camaro subframe under it and went with a 1978 Camaro rear end. This also keeps the track widths about the same. I don’t remember the exact measurements but seems they were within 1 or 1 1/2 inches of the originals. Now the truck also has positraction and disc brakes up front.
Information donated by Rick Wagner
Are you going to keep the six lug pattern or switch it to five lug? The ford unit is really strong, but not necessary for a low h.p. engine or day to day driving. You can put a Camaro rear end under there and be just fine. Or you can put a truck axle under it and it will work too. Either way you go you will have to modify the new axle to mount to you old springs. This will likely necessitate the cutting off of old spring perches and welding on some new ones after you have located the axle where you want it and set up the pinion angle. Although my truck is an AD truck I did this using a 68 truck rear end. It fit perfectly as far as the width was concerned. I did have to modify and relocate the perches to make it all fit the way I wanted it to. I can not speak for the front end mods you are referring to. Never done them. I did put a sub frame in a 49 truck though. Takes a lot of figuring and such but is not too hard in my book. You do need access to a cutting torch, arc welder and a mig for best results. An extra pair of hands to help would be a big plus too. Also a nice level concrete work area.
Information donated by Rick Coleman
Another IFS to consider is built by No Limit Engineering in California. Check their website. I think their products are outstanding. I have seen their products both on display at rod shows and installed on 55-59 trucks. The unit is really handsome and built specifically for trucks. They also make a slick rear-end 4-link mounting system.
Information donated by Rick Kellum
Check with nolimitengineering.net I bought one from them for a F-100 and it was easy to install. They have them for Chevys too. I haven’t finished so I don’t know how it will perform but I am confident it will do
great. Anything else I can help you with just let me know. Rick
Information donated by Kurt O
I will be watching your replies. I have owned a ’58 or ’59 for 30 years and am putting a ’58 big window, short step side w/fender mounted spare in the garage this winter for a frame off make over. I’ve owned this one for 10 years. Alabama body, real sweet, no rust, no dents. Love that body style, bought a 97 Dodge Ram for the retro look. I had planned on using the volare front end but f rom what I read it is not a good (looking) swap. I will bite the bullet & buy a MII IFS. I still haven’t figured out how low I will go. I want dependability so I am pulling the 350w/holley 650 out and putting a 350 ram air crate motor back in w/350 trans. nothing beats fuel injection and electronic ignition. If you use a S10 rear end how do you match the wheel pattern with the MII front rotors? How long would the light truck rear last with a v8 pushing it? I plan to use the under floor power brake set up, what type of booster will you use there? I will shave and clean up the body. I have heard that the bear claw latches work well for this type of door. Also plan to shave the rain gutter on the roof. Shave the dash to get rid of the ashtray and old stereo butcher job. Want to keep the instrument cluster. Anyone have a good idea or source to swap out the amp gauge for a voltmeter? Vintage air, power windows and tilt steering while Im at it. Im tall and want to relocate the fuel tank to the back to make room for a nice seat. I saw a good article on using a full size truck seat in a ’56 by lowing the seat under the back window ledge. I will need an electric fuel pump & return line for the ram air fuel injection. I want to get rid of the rear lights and adapt some into the fenders. Any good ideas on this item? Hidden tailgate latches too. I’m 45 and have put this off for 30 yrs; I plan to do it right this time. Spent a lot off time putting other street rods together for friends. Proficient fabricator and dreamer, its my turn now. Kurt O Northville MI 1958 3100 1959 3800
Information donated by Jim (Deacon) McGill
Carl I bought a rear from a Camaro and after checking found it was a rear from a 68 chevy pu. Width wise it was a swap. I had to weld mounting plates for the springs. Either one are pretty simple to install. If you mount it like your original you will need to weld mounting plates from a rear end (I bought two from a wrecking yard for two dollars) after you have it centered it and the correct pinion angle established. Set it in the original location and use new u bolts. Then weld shock mounts and build a driveshaft or find one that will fit. Took about 3 hrs.
Information donated by Bob Oliver
Im not sure if I answered you before or not but here is what I am using in my `49 GMC….ifs …1977 Pacer …rear 1979 Lincoln Versaille …this gives me 4 wheel disc brakes, power rack and pinion steering and a ford nine inch …I have swapped the pumpkin and gone to a 389 posi unit…original was 250 gears ,a little too tall for what I want. The truck is not on the road but have ridden in an identical setup and it is great. There is an installation kit available for the Pacer front end and a pretty detailed account of how to install in the oletruck archives somewhere. The rear end is pretty simple it uses original springs setup. If you would like some pics I can take a few and send them to you…………Bob Oliver
Information donated by David B. Cushing
For what is worth, I went with No Limit Engineering’s Wide Ride IFS for my 57, the complete kit, hub to hub was $2400.00. I choose this set up because it was specifically designed for the truck, and the company is located near me, so I had a lot of good tech support. It was all done on the phone though, and they are very willing to help. I can’t tell you how it rides, my truck isn’t any where near complete yet. If you do not have their catalog, I can scan and send you the pages out of the latest version. If you are interested, you can see my installation at: as you can see, it is not for the faint of heart when it comes to welding. It took me and a friend (professional welder) about 17 hours to fully install. Also, I attached the installation instructions so you can see what is involved. The TCI and Hiedts should be about the same. As for the rear end, I went with a custom leaf spring and Ford 9 inch. Dave Cushing 1957 3100.
Information donated by Steve Hanburg
I have a Chevy 10 bolt limited slip from a Monte Carlo in my ’59. A Ford 9 inch is not necessary unless your running bunches of HP and I read where the heavy duty stuff uses more HP to turn it all. I still have the stock suspension up front, but I am considering using the front piece that accepts Monte Carlo A arms and steering components. This clip is jig built and made to fit all fenders, radiator, bumpers etc. You cut the front of your old frame off and slide the new one in place. It uses existing holes for alignment and then is welded in place. You then have a choice of which vehicles to use the steering, brakes and suspension components from. RB’s sells these. The clip accepts 1980-88 GM A or G body components. This lowers the truck 5″ and gives you power steering, disk brakes, modern suspension, sway bar and full ride. And making your hub to hub distance 57.5″. The crossmember comes with the motor mounts installed for Chevy small or big block. All you need to provide are the GM components to bolt on to the clip.
Information donated by Mike Klepp
REAR SUSPENSION: The following is a general list of rear ends and their dimensions to help narrow the search for a possible candidate to replace the torque tube rear end or just get a better set of gears for highway driving. Advance Design Trucks seem to be using rear ends with widths ranging from 58″- 62″. I’m not sure of the Task Force width ranges at this time. Contributing information were Bob Welch, J Forbes and various locations throughout the Web and Automotive Magazines.
Rear Axle Measurements MEASURED ACROSS WHEEL MOUNTING SURFACE
1/2″ 71-77 Ford Maverick 8″,
V-8 Mavericks 8″, All ’75-77 6’s & 8’s Maverick 5 Lug 8″,
49-51 Ford, 57-59 Ford 9″
1/4″ 64 1/2 – 65 Mustang
Mid sized GM Car, Malibu/Monte Carlo (82 up Metric Studs), 80 Granada & Lincoln Versailles, 67-70 Mustang/Cougar/Fairlane, Regal with 10 bolt axle, S-10 P.U., 65-67 Nova
1/2 ” Ford Grenada
55-64 Chevy Car, 67-69 Camaro, 64-67 Chevelle, 68-74 Nova, 71-73 Mustang/Cougar,
60-61″ 64-69 1/2 ton 2wd Chevy/ Some GMC 6 lug rear end 12 bolt Coil spring set up
Possible gear ratio’s 3.70
64-77 Chevelle, 73-76 Torino, 89 Trans Am, 70 2wd 6 lug rear end 12 bolt Possible gear ratio’s 3:08, 3:40, 3:73 70-81 4wd 6 lug reared
71- Newer 2wd trucks use a 5 on 5 lug pattern
71-76 Full Size Cars
GMC and some Chevy’s Dana 44 or Dana 60 with leaf springs 6 lug, Gear ratio’s 3.21 to 3.92. GMC V-6 used a 3.21
Dana 44 used a standard Chevy 1310 yoke, Dana 60 used the heavy duty yoke which takes the larger 1350 yoke.
50″ – 51″
52″ – 53″
’65 Ram American
’28-40 Ford , ’57 – 59 Ford
’39 -48 Chevrolet, ’68 GTO
’36 Plymouth, ’54-56 Ford Pickup
’49 Plymouth, ’61 Chevrolet Impala
’68 – 72 Chevelle
’68 -71 Fairlane/Torino
’65 Ram American
’39 -48 Chevrolet
’69 Dodge Van
’69 Ford Van
Plymouth-Dodge car/pick up
47-54 & 55 1st Series
32 & 33-34
Ford Mustang II/Pinto
Ford Maverick with
Ford Granada with 8″
67-69 , &
78 & up
Monte Carlo, Regal, etc.
Chevelle with 10 bolt
Trans AM (Disc
“E” Body (Cuda)
Plymouth Volare &
Blazer (6 lug)
(43″ perch to perch)
(43″ perch to perch)
FRONT SUSPENSION INFORMATION