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Old 12-06-2019, 10:46 PM   #1
Tempest67
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51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

Hello Everyone,

Been a long time Pontiac fan (completed a 67 Tempest and a 64 Lemans convert) and thought it was time to try something different.

My wife has always loved old trucks but I was concerned of them "driving" like an old truck. Then I found this website and it opened my eyes to a S 10 frame swap on a 47 - 54 AD GM truck, her favourite.

The worst part of a restoration, in my opinion, is the body and paint work. The dust, the dirt, the grinding, the amount of time and effort required to prepare a body panel for paint was more than I was willing to do, again.

So last November (2018) I found a complete 1951 5 window, and 3 weeks later found a 1994 S 10. (Long box standard cab) and the project began.

The goals are -
1. aim for a budget of $15K (that's about $12 K US)
2. small block Chev (would love to use a Pontiac V8, but was worried that they are just too big for the small engine compartment) and I can grab a SBC for less than 1/2 the price to rebuild a Pontiac.
3. solid, reliable, safe vehicle that could be used as a daily driver
4. standard transmission
5. clean comfortable interior.


I have been working on this for about 1 year now, and have almost completed mock up, and it is almost time to tear it all apart, and prepare for the final build.

So, just like all the other builds, I will start at the beginning, and add pics as we go.

...also, it is named Dale because the original owner (I found Insurance slips from the 60's under the seat) carved his name 'DALE' on the hood.
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Old 12-06-2019, 10:52 PM   #2
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

the first issue I found was a weak frame, ... so I re-enforced it

the drivers side was worse than the passenger side, but I did both sides anyways.

ripped a 6 x 4 rectangular steel tube length ways and bolted and welded the 'L' shaped piece to either side
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Old 12-06-2019, 10:57 PM   #3
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

Then onto motor mounts, purchased the mounts made for SBC in a S10, but 1 side did not fit..?? So, I welded in a spacer, and now it fits
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Old 12-06-2019, 11:05 PM   #4
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

Then onto Trans mounts.

I used the cross member from a 93 full sized pick up, and it was perfect.

By now I found a SBC 350 and a NV3500 trans. I know the NV3500 is not the strongest in the world, but this will just be a cruiser.

Used some angled steel and gusseted each end and welded it to the frame
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Old 12-06-2019, 11:16 PM   #5
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

Now, the Cab Mounts. I had seen several designs, and decided to cut up some 6 x 4 steel tubing.

first, I cut a piece of cardboard to get the shape. I wanted the mount to sit ON the frame.

Then I marked the shape on the steel tube, and cut.

For the front mounts, I cut a piece of steel and mounted it on top, but for the rear mounts, I simply cut the mount hole through the steel tube.
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Old 12-06-2019, 11:24 PM   #6
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

As the build went on I kept finding parts, found a 60/40 split bench seat from a 95 full sized GM. I wanted the 60/40 as my wife wants to drive this and she is 5'2", and I am 6'2", so I wanted her to be able to adjust the seat up, while I remain back, and I did not want to go with buckets.

Also grabbed a rear end from a mid 90's Blazer, as well as new Ball Joints, tie rod ends, 2 inch drop spindles, rotors, calipers, flex lines and pads and shoes and drums.
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Old 12-07-2019, 12:00 AM   #7
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

Looks like your well on your way.....lots of good info on the s10/AD swaps on here....keep at it
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Old 12-07-2019, 12:23 AM   #8
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

I'm along for the build...Jim
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Old 12-07-2019, 03:33 PM   #9
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

looking good! get after it!
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Old 12-07-2019, 04:46 PM   #10
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

OK, now on to the rear end.

I picked up a Blazer rear end, 1996 I think, put it under the existing leaf springs, with a 2 inch drop block, and all fit fine....except, the U-Bolts that come with the kit are, 1 - too wide for the S 10 rear, and 2 - too thin....you know when you get something and you try to make it fit, but you know something is wrong...that is the feeling I had with these U Bolts.

So I went to a local spring shop and they made me 4 new, 3/4 inch rods that were the exact fit..... now it is right. (I will cut the ends when the truck is ready for the road)

from the pics you can see the new brake lines and wheel cylinders, and new shoes and brake hardware already installed inside the new drums.
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Old 12-07-2019, 04:59 PM   #11
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

OK, so now the engine is in place with the trans, the rear end is in with lowering blocks, and the front end is all new with 2 in drop spindles...time to bring the cab home.

Just an FYI, the S 10 frame is in my 2 car garage, under the 4 post hoist that my 64 Lemans is sitting on, and the 51 is up at my brother's farm.

So I went to the farm, removed the front clip and doors, and brought the cab home. and a big Thanks to Hussey for the engine hoist cab lifting bracket that I made from 2x4's....works like a charm
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Old 12-07-2019, 05:17 PM   #12
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

OK, now on to the rusty cab.

This was a truck that spent its life in Manitoba, and I would think sat in a field for the last 30+ years, so the rust was typical.

I replaced the front cowls, inner braces, inner kick panels, on both sides as well as the front drivers side floor, and the entire rear floor. The only flooring that was decent was the front passenger side.... but I had to make a battery box top as it was missing.
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Old 12-07-2019, 05:28 PM   #13
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

I was hoping that the rear floor could be patched, but when I removed the factory seat frame it became clear the the entire floor was needed.

So, here we go, first I drilled out the spot welds for the 3 rear support brackets of the cab, and made a paper template of the floor. (2 pieces of metal)

Then I traced the patterns onto some sheet metal, rolled some beads, and welded it to the floor.

When this was done, it looked OK, but the floor has some 'play in it', as the seat frame obviously provided much support for the floor.

So, I installed another cross member from side to side of the cab, about 6 inches behind the rear of the transmission access plate.

I then sprayed some undercoating black paint over the underside of the floor
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Old 12-07-2019, 05:38 PM   #14
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

I also replaced the cab corners, inner and outer.

You have all seen cab corners replaced before, and this truck is no different.

I strongly recommend doing this with the cab sitting on the firewall....I had to stand on a milk crate a few times, but sure beats lying on the floor.
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Old 12-07-2019, 06:07 PM   #15
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

OK, now this truck is designed by my wife, and she really does not like the blue, she is OK with the Patina look, but she wants the colour of the truck to be that soft green , called Ocean Mist.

So I started experimenting on the tailgate. (the colour green in the pics is NOT Ocean Mist)

First I cleaned and prepped the tailgate and painted flat black (pic was taken before paint was dry, that is why it looks shiny), then painted it red oxide (with a brush), and then added some oranges and yellows.

I then sprinkled road salt (I saw it lying around the in the garage) all over the tailgate. This is to prevent the Green paint from reaching the red oxide, and hopefully leaving a 'patina' look.

Once the green paint dried, scrape off the road salt and sand to your desired level of patina.

Here is the experiment,
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Old 12-07-2019, 10:43 PM   #16
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

nice use of salt masking, I wouldnt have thought of that!
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:58 PM   #17
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

Ok, THAT is awesome! Playing out the rest of the truck in my head...How well are the more vertical areas going to play out? The Hood, Roof, tops of the Fenders ect. all should work very similar (which is where you will be wanting the drastic "wear-through" anyway) as the gate. Laying the Doors down but not the cab could lead to a "mis-match" in looks. Maybe a rotisorie to turn the cab? Did you let the Red-oxide dry before putting the salt on or was it still tacky? Carry On, I love it! Lorne
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Old 12-09-2019, 11:19 AM   #18
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

Lorne,

Good Question. I contacted Reaper71 (Mark) about the vertical parts of the body, as he did this on his build 'Orange Peel', and he said if you spray water on the panel, the salt (table salt) will stick, you can then paint it when it dries, and then scrape the salt away later, but I have not tried that method yet. (check out his Orange Peel build...it is awesome)

The other option that I have considered, is turning the paint feed screw way down low on my paint gun, and 'misting' the paint over the existing blue paint only, while leaving the patina alone..... I think if I can spray out a "spatter' I can get the look.... I hope....stay tuned
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Old 12-16-2019, 04:13 PM   #19
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

OK, I have the cab on the frame, the drivetrain in place, and the front sheet metal mocked in place (I will cover the rad cradle in another post)

Time for the box, rear fenders and the running boards.

Here is my design for the running boards. I'm not sure why, but I wanted them to be removeable...maybe that is because I could move them if I put them in the wrong place, ... or so I could take them off and work under the truck more easily... ??

First, I removed the middle support from the underside of the running boards.

Then, I ripped a 3x2 rectagular steel tube length ways so I ended up with 2 'L' shaped pieces that ran the entire length of the running board - and welded it in place (I ran a 4 inch seam every foot or so, and the ends)

Then I made 4 braces out of square tubing, and added gussets to each brace, and drilled 2, 1/2 holes in the vertical part of each brace.

Then, with square tubing 1 size larger , (the square tube used on the running boards fits into this square tubing) I made 4 pieces, drilled 2 holes in each piece to match the holes in the running boards, and notched each brace to accept the gusset......make sense?

I then attached the rear of the running board to the front of the rear fender, placed a jack under the front of the running board, and raised it til the gap between the boards and the cab was parallel/even, and I tacked on the outer square tube to the frame.

Now, if I want to remove the running boards, it's 3 bolts at the rear fender, and 4 bolts through the brackets, and the running board drops down.


In the pics, the brackets are only tacked in place, I will seam weld them when the cab is removed.
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Last edited by Tempest67; 12-16-2019 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 12-16-2019, 04:17 PM   #20
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

and here they are tacked in place.
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Old 01-10-2020, 11:27 AM   #21
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

Well, I completed another little project, the front parking lights. First I planned to switch them over to 1157 (dual filament) bulbs, I purchased the sockets, and realized they are too big for the housings. So, I decided on using 3, 194 bulbs.

I cut off the back of the housing, drilled 3 holes in a piece of sheet metal, filed in the cutouts for the 194 sockets, formed the metal and welding it to the back of the housings, installed the amber bulbs, and attached the new glass lenses.

The plan is to have the middle one on for the 'running/parking' lights, and the outside 2 will flash for the signals.

Don't know if these pics show the difference in brightness, but I think it will be fine.
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Old 01-10-2020, 11:34 AM   #22
Tempest67
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

Here is the finished grill,
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Old 01-10-2020, 02:50 PM   #23
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

good work so far!

if you want the parking light to be dimmer, just put a 1000-2.2k ohm resistor in line, you may have to play with the resistance value.
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Old 01-10-2020, 04:25 PM   #24
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

Thanks Russ, I will keep that in mind, but won't worry about that til it is on the road, in the Spring, I hope.


Now the Rad Cradle, I have seen some designs that seemed like a lot of work, so I was trying to find the simplest way of doing this.

I started with the 19 x 22 rad (I will need to take it to a friend to get the lower outlet turned around and welded, - aluminum) and placed it on an L shaped piece of steel. Measured the height I needed for the rad to fit, and then cut the original rad cradle and welded it to the L bracket

I then cut 2 pieces of 4 X 4 steel tubing, lengthwise, to make 2 U shaped pieces. They were then tacked to the frame, just clearing the steering box. I knew if I just cleared the steering box it would fit , thanks to this website, and I can always shim it up if I need to. (but not down)

After installing 2 rubbers on the L bracket, and trimming it to allow another 2 inches of air flow, the fenders and hood were attached and I placed the rad in it's spot.

All lined up fine. I did add 3 small bolts to attach to the upper frame of the rad, but not sure if I will use that, or bend up some metal and add some upper rubber pieces. will be determined at final assembly.

I also ovaled the 2 holes on the top of the U brackets to allow for front to back adjustment of the rad cradle.

There is no right way or wrong way, this is just what I decided to do

see pics below
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Old 01-14-2020, 01:39 AM   #25
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Re: 51 Chev on a S10 frame, named Dale

Wow! You have some pretty great ideas for ways to get the results you are after! Can't wait to see this one turn out!
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