Below is just about all the info I have on putting as S10 frame underneath an advanced design truck. Some info is from folks completed the job and list problems experienced, I’ve never seen it done so I don’t have much info to contribute but here’s what I have……
Hello, My friend and I just done an S-10 swap for my 51 Chevy truck. In my opinion, it is the way to do it. First of all, you get everything you need for this do it yourself swap with the S-10 truck you buy at the local junkyard. I went and got a regular cab, long box frame. With the frame, came the tilt steering column, power brake booster, wiring harness, fuel tank, all pedals, and seat, if you choose to use it, and a rear end out of a 4 wheel drive S-10 for $150.00. I think the mustang 2 front ends that people put in these trucks cost about $1500.00 or so. Quit a difference in cost thus far. Plus, with the S-10 frame, you can thank General Motors for having the geometry all set for you unlike the mustangs front end swap and the rear end swap you have to do yourself. Yet again, saving time so you can cruise earlier then later. Another advantage is the fact you are now playing with a frame that is 30+ years newer then the original one. Plus, now you can buy parts for this right from your local parts store. Cheap and easy to get. I had the frame already to weld on the brackets, that I purchased form Ez swaps. Keep in mind, this was my first ever body swap of any sort. My friend that helped me, had allot more experience with this then I had. I can not thank him enough for what he did for me. The thanks are endless. Anyway, back to the truck, I did have the frame ready for the new kit. It took about a good solid 3-4 hours to install this for me. I thought that was pretty good considering my lack of experience with this. We then installed the cab of the truck. All on the first day. The next wekend, we installed the small block chevy engine with trans and the front clip. This is just my thoughts on this, but if you are well prepared for this, you could probably get this truck on the street with in a couple of good solid weekends. Considering you had adrive shaft made and what not. Enclosed is a couple of pictures for you to see what the truck looks like. If you have any questions, I would be more then willing to try to answer anything you may have.
I started with a 1948 3/4 ton truck, an 1982 S10 long-bed and 1953 short-bed. I purchased the kit from E-Z with a 2″ body drop and motor mounts for the 4.3 V6. I used a V6 because I was able to use the stock fan as well as not worry about overloading the suspension oppose to the V8. With the V6 and 700 R4 transmission it has a very smooth ride. I also used the rear-end from a 4×4 S10 for the extra width and 2″ wheel spacers in the front. With this it fills out fender well spacing. The mounting instructions were very clear. I removed all existing mounts and measured and marked for new mounts per the instructions. I bolted first to make sure that everything would mount up as it should and after brief assembly, disassembled and welded it permanently. I used 2″ spindles and 2″ lowering blocks plus the 3/8″ locating plate from the kit that assists in centering the rear axle in center of the rear fender. The guys from Code 504 were extremely helpful with any questions as well as suggestions for radiator and wheel spacers, engine and transmission combinations, etc. I was a machinist for 14 years and can appreciate the quality of design and craftsmanship that was put into this kit. I am very pleased with my purchase and would recommend this to anyone doing a conversion.
Emails from folks who fought the project with salvage yard donor frame:
I have a 1951 half-ton and I’m in the process of putting an S-10 frame under it. It is going very well, especially considering this is my first rebuild project ever. It has many similar advantages to a Camaro clip or Mustang IFS including power brakes, power steering, independent spring suspension and lowering the truck. The major differences with the S-10 are the cost, simplicity, and keeping the truck the same. For the truck, I bought the frame with power brakes, a rear end, steering column, gas tank, transmission cross member and motor mounts for $450. I didn’t need the rear end or column, which were about $150 of that. I should have gotten the S-10 brake pedal and gas pedal/ throttle linkage while I was at it instead of going back later. I then ordered a You-weld-it V8 motor mount set for S-10 from Jags that Run for $45. Then it was easy to put the 350 engine in. With a simple homemade adapter piece, the 350 autotrans fit on the s-10 tranny cross member. The S-10 rear end can’t handle a V8 so I put in the rear end from the donor car with 4 U-bolts. Some angle iron and wood blocks to mount the cab, and raising the bed floor two inches and the body is mounted. The 1951 radiator bracket is bolted right on to the frame rails (if you use the ’51 radiator like me). The wheel base OF A LONG BED 83-88 is about 3/4 of an inch different from the 1951’s. The S-10 has to be long bed, an extended cab might work, but no guarantees. We cut off about 10 inches of the frame behind the rear axle. The truck has a much lower stance (about 6 inches off the ground in low spots). Running boards are the next body part after the engine work and wiring and they might be tough. Don’t know about bumpers either. The S-10 gas tank is mounted to the frame behind the cab, perfect for a filler neck to come up through the wood in the bed. This eliminates the gas tank in the cab problem. To do the swap it requires some good old American ingenuity, but not tons of car knowledge. It is discouraging for the truck to be in many pieces. With a different steering column, and a steering shaft extension, and a Power steering pump on the engine, I have power steering, power brakes, and IFS for less than $500. This also keeps the suspension all s-10 for easy parts. MY TRUCK IS NOT CURRENTLY ON THE ROAD, however I hope to have it that way by the end of the month. S-10 seems to make to much sense to me to do it any other way. It also gives me a huge sense of accomplishment to feel like I built it ground up.
Being one of the few that has actually done the S-10 swap, I guess i ought to throw in my 2 cents. The frame swap has its pros and cons. I put an 1988 S-10 long bed frame (but not 4×4) under my 1951 3100. The ride is much better, I have front power disc brakes, power steering, a bed mounted gas tank, and its is much easier to find suspension parts for an s-10 that a 50 year old truck. I purchased motor mounts from Car Shop Inc. that enabled me to set a 350 on the s-10 frame. Motor mounts could be built for an old engine, but it would be plenty of trouble. The swap is not for the faint of heart. I had my truck disassembled taking up all of a 2 car garage for over a year. Of course, I was still in High School , so learning was my top priority (yea right!). The cab mounted fairly easily, with the back bolting right on, and the front needing some angle irons and shims to sit level. The bed is mounted on wooden wedges to compensate for a different slope of the frame rails. Also, the frame is a little longer so I still need to find 3/4 ton running boards and lengthen the bed about 3 inches just to make it look right. You will also need a new rear end and drive shaft because, though some say otherwise, I don’t feel that the S-10 shaft and rear are designed for the torque of a v8. Finally, the S-10 swap is much cheaper. I bought a rolling stripped frame with master cylinder, gas tank, and steering column for $400. The hole process cost much less than having a Camaro clip put on, but it was probably more work. I was quoted $3000 to have a camaro clip put on. However, if I had had the money to do that, I would be farther along on the project than I am now. Get ready to spend a lot of Saturdays working with this truck if you plan an S-10 swap.
Would a s10 4X4 frame work with a 49 GMC? Would a 292 engine fit?
The S10 frame is easily shortened, so if you start with a long one, making it the right length is not a big deal. The 4×4 has a wider rear axle, and fits better than the 2wd rears do. The S10 guys have to move the transmission rearward to fit a V-8, so I’m betting putting the 292 in would require even more rearward movement of the transmission and transfer case and such.
The S10 chassis I have dealt with are either 108, 118, or 122.9 inches. The 1959 should be 114 inches for the short bed or 123.25 for the long bed. The longer S10 chassis works perfect for the long bed 1959. The short bed takes little bit of finagling. The more popular approach is to take the 118 in. chassis and place the cab and adjusting the bed to take up more of the difference of the wheelbase. Though I still recommend the Blazer chassis as it’s already boxed and has less of a kick up in the rear. If you look at most of the old trucks the wheels aren’t actually centered in the fenders, this allows you a little room to fudge it around. It’s not a swap that is for the weak at heart and if you have no fabrication skills I suggest you seek a little help.
Motor Mounts for putting a 350 on an S10
I purchased motor mounts from Car Shop Inc. that enabled me to set a 350 on the s-10 frame. Motor mounts could be built for an old engine, but it would be plenty of trouble. The Car Shop Inc. motor mounts are a deal at $80 a pair. They will allow you to use an engine fan and shroud. That looks like a good outfit to keep track of, they sure have the engine mountings for the S-10 under control. But I think on you AD’s & TF’s you would want to mount your engine farther aft than the S-10 conversion. On my ’54 the motor mount C/L is on the front wheel C/L this gives you about 1″ Firewall clearance for the HEI also the crank c/l is centered on frame rails, as the original 235 was.