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Old 12-29-2018, 12:28 PM   #1
1957Napcofan
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56 3100 4X4 build

I'm new to this forum and looking for advice on what direction to
build my 56 4X4. Truck has a correct Napco front axle, 23 spicer
transfer case and SM465 trans. Plan to do a frame off restoration
but want it to have a disc brake front axle, 3 or 4 speed auto,
power steering and power brakes.

I have read several threads with builds using a later 73-87 frame and
a few that have kept the original frame. Power steering location
seems to be the biggest problem on the original frame. My truck has
a SB with headers and there seems to be plenty of room for a CPP box
in the stock location. Drag link would be the problem?

My only concern with using a 73-87 frame and the EZ-swap kit would
be the height of the truck. As it is now with 33" tires I have just a inch
clearance getting into the garage door opening.

I plan on running 16" stock steel wheels with skinning tires and about 31"
tall. I'm a body-man and fabricator by trade and bought this as my retirement
project. Thanks for any advice, Ron
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Last edited by 1957Napcofan; 12-29-2018 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 12-29-2018, 02:17 PM   #2
mongocanfly
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Re: 56 3100 4X4 build

Welcome...
Looks like a good solid start...swapping a axle won't change your ride height...unless axle diameter is bigger...and that may be your best option....read thru Old57 s build....he did a frame swap..
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Old 12-29-2018, 06:32 PM   #3
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Re: 56 3100 4X4 build

Based on the price of a 73-87 in my area, I would think an EZ chassis swap would be a easier and possibly cheaper way to go but if I had a real Napco, I do t think I would go that route. Old57s thread is a good read either way.
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Old 12-29-2018, 06:33 PM   #4
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Re: 56 3100 4X4 build

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=726477
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Old 12-29-2018, 08:02 PM   #5
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Re: 56 3100 4X4 build

That looks like a nice start. If it's a real NAPCO, you could sell the original NAPCO conversion parts. They're worth good money, but it's not practical to keep them for a daily driver, plus the parts are rare and hard to come by if you break anything. If you decide to put it on a 73-87 frame, and don't use lifted springs, it'll sit about like it does now. If you want modern axles with disc brakes and better gearing, you could put the 73-87 axles under it using the frame and springs that you have now. The CPP power steering might work to do that. Also, a Jeep power steering box mounts inside the frame, so you'd have better turning clearance with the stock straight frame rails. I changed mine to the 73 K20 chassis (3/4 ton), with a big block and heavy duty drive train. I wanted the thicker/stronger chassis for what I will be doing with my truck, like pulling trailers, hauling things, a little 4-wheeling, etc. If you have any questions about the 73-87 swap, I can answer those for you. My thread has a lot of pictures too.
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Old 12-29-2018, 08:13 PM   #6
1957Napcofan
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Thumbs up Re: 56 3100 4X4 build

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old57 View Post
That looks like a nice start. If it's a real NAPCO, you could sell the original NAPCO conversion parts. They're worth good money, but it's not practical to keep them for a daily driver, plus the parts are rare and hard to come by if you break anything. If you decide to put it on a 73-87 frame, and don't use lifted springs, it'll sit about like it does now. If you want modern axles with disc brakes and better gearing, you could put the 73-87 axles under it using the frame and springs that you have now. The CPP power steering might work to do that. Also, a Jeep power steering box mounts inside the frame, so you'd have better turning clearance with the stock straight frame rails. I changed mine to the 73 K20 chassis (3/4 ton), with a big block and heavy duty drive train. I wanted the thicker/stronger chassis for what I will be doing with my truck, like pulling trailers, hauling things, a little 4-wheeling, etc. If you have any questions about the 73-87 swap, I can answer those for you. My thread has a lot of pictures too.
Your thread on your 57 build was the first one I read when I joined.
Really super nice truck.
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Old 12-29-2018, 08:23 PM   #7
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Re: 56 3100 4X4 build

Thanks!
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Old 12-29-2018, 08:30 PM   #8
1957Napcofan
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Re: 56 3100 4X4 build

Do you know what the height of your truck is? My 56 as it sits is 79" and my garage opening is 81.5" Not much room to spare. I thought I read somewhere that the ez-swap
kit raises the body about 6 inches, maybe that's compared to a 2 wheel drive. I can get a complete 73 to 87 frame and axles for about $400 to 600 from a local yard here.

Last edited by 1957Napcofan; 12-29-2018 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 12-29-2018, 08:55 PM   #9
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Re: 56 3100 4X4 build

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1957Napcofan View Post
Do you know what the height of your truck is? My 56 as it sits is 79" and my garage opening is 81.5" Not much room to spare. I thought I read somewhere that the ez-swap
kit raises the body about 6 inches, maybe that's compared to a 2 wheel drive. I can get a complete 73 to 87 frame and axles for about $400 to 600 from a local yard here.
Mine wouldn't be a good comparison for you, because I have 4" lifted springs and 33" tires. Mine barely fits under an 8' door.
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Old 12-29-2018, 09:10 PM   #10
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Re: 56 3100 4X4 build

purcell (joe) did a dodge 4x4 frame swap, seemed to work out well.



http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...589917&page=16
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Old 12-29-2018, 11:01 PM   #11
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Re: 56 3100 4X4 build

wont fit in garage?........chop top......just kidding
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Old 12-30-2018, 11:59 AM   #12
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Re: 56 3100 4X4 build

What if you used a '73-'91 suburban frame wouldn't it set lower on that?
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Old 12-31-2018, 01:21 AM   #13
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Re: 56 3100 4X4 build

I did mine with a blazer frame. With 6" lift, it was WAY too tall for the garage.
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Old 01-07-2019, 07:55 PM   #14
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Re: 56 3100 4X4 build

you by chance didnt sell some parts to a guy from alaska?
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Old 01-07-2019, 11:22 PM   #15
1957Napcofan
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Re: 56 3100 4X4 build

I sure did, and made a new friend.
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:35 AM   #16
mick53
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Re: 56 3100 4X4 build

I'm going with EPAS electric power steering. No power steering box, pump, fluids, belts or hoses. Just cut about 9" out of the column and it bolts in. It torques off the outside of the column so no brackets. It is also adjustable gain. The motor is about the size of a beer can and tucks up under the dash. They make a model specific for your truck. Might be worth looking into.
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Old 01-08-2019, 08:54 AM   #17
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Re: 56 3100 4X4 build

Quote:
I'm going with EPAS electric power steering.
I've spent a little time looking at this. I sometimes take a long time to decide to use a part or system but EPAS looks promising. Not the company in Florida that sells the aftermarket systems, but Electronic Assist Power Steering as an add-on system.

Some interesting reading:
https://www.fordmuscleforums.com/all...stem-epas.html

Ebay shows some pretty inexpensive Koyo EPAS columns and there's a guy selling a small circuit which appears to allow one to use the Koyo / Saturn Vue steering column without the normally attached Saturn.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Saturn-Vue-...-/123568393044
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Old 01-08-2019, 09:13 PM   #18
mick53
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Re: 56 3100 4X4 build

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1project2many View Post
I've spent a little time looking at this. I sometimes take a long time to decide to use a part or system but EPAS looks promising. Not the company in Florida that sells the aftermarket systems, but Electronic Assist Power Steering as an add-on system.

Some interesting reading:
https://www.fordmuscleforums.com/all...stem-epas.html

Ebay shows some pretty inexpensive Koyo EPAS columns and there's a guy selling a small circuit which appears to allow one to use the Koyo / Saturn Vue steering column without the normally attached Saturn.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Saturn-Vue-...-/123568393044
I think I paid about $1500 for mine, not sure. I'm running a 292 with a 4-71 blower, 3 Rochester 2 BBL carbs, crank fired ignition and external oil pump belt driven off crank pulley. My oil pump is on the driver side down low and don't have a lot of room for a pump. Passenger side has alt. and A/C. Space was a factor in my 53 1/2 ton.
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:38 PM   #19
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Re: 56 3100 4X4 build

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1957Napcofan View Post
I sure did, and made a new friend.
that was my dad!
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