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Old 06-16-2014, 09:11 PM   #1
skymangs
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S10 Swap how to

I've been asked lots of questions about how I get these S10 swaps done so quickly, and how to do "x" or "y"... I want to start this thread detailing as much as I can on the nuts and bolts of S10 frame swaps, parts lists, pics, and any other frequently asked questions out there. To start this off, there are basically three options I see as easily attainable for an S10 frame swap. Keep the stock 4.3L, go small block, or go LS1. I will start off with small block parts, as these are by far the most popular conversion.

What you'll need:
-47-54 Chevy pickup with bed, fenders, hood, core support
-S10 chassis (117" w.b. long bed short cab) If you can, score the brake pedal, master/booster assembly and power steering box.
-Engine/trans combo of choice

This is enough to start your project, but there is a short laundry list of other parts that will make your swap a LOT easier!
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Old 06-16-2014, 09:24 PM   #2
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Re: S10 Swap how to

Next I'll detail a list of parts that you will need to order to complete your swap, and where I get them. This is by no means an endorsement, only what I use.

S10 small block conversion headers - Speedway Motors - $169
19x22 Aluminum Cross-flow radiator - Speedway Motors - $116
3/4DD x 3/4DD borgeson joint - Gearhead Motors (ebay) - $40
3/4DD steering shaft (3ft) - Gearhead Motors (ebay) - $26
Hayden 16" electric fan - ebay - $70
68-72 GM radiator cushions - ebay - $20
Lower rad hose, Gates p/n 22433 - Orielly's - $20
Steering column, 32" tilt, column shift - Gearhead Motors (ebay) - $180
Lokar shift rod - ebay - $80
Drop spindles - ebay - $130
Upper ball joints - Rock auto - $20
Fuel pump, rotary vane - Oreillys - $80

I also use mid 90's (square body) Ford explorer "plate style" trans coolers to handle transmission cooling duties. These are the same thing that B&M sells for $200... - junkyard - $20

Obviously there are some choices to be made here. I chose a column shift, to replace upper ball joints, use drop spindles, and use the S10 tank with an in-line fuel pump. I have dealt with many builds with lots of unique choices, and can cover them later in this thread.

Last edited by skymangs; 06-16-2014 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 06-16-2014, 09:54 PM   #3
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Re: S10 Swap how to

Now we get to the meat and potatoes of how this build works. Attached you will see my frame swap cab stands, complete with measurements and pics so they can be duplicated for your build. The following schematic is for 47-50 cabs. These were center mount cabs, you will need to weld a 6"x6" 1/4" plate on the bottom of the floor on each side to re-enforce the floor for the new cab stands.

If you have a 51-54 cab, you will need to remove 1/2" from the "above frame" portion of the rear cab stands and add a 1/2" delron spacer above the stock S10 body mount (this fits between the factory floor braces)

I bend the lower legs out at a 15deg. angle to decrease stress on the side of the frame

both these use the stock S10 body mount bushings above the cab stands.
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Old 06-16-2014, 09:58 PM   #4
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Re: S10 Swap how to

I check out the entire front end before anything goes on it. Most of the time they get upper/lower ball joints, sometimes upper a-frame bushings, and outer tie rod ends. About $150 in parts or so. I never let an unsafe truck into the daylight!
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:03 PM   #5
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Re: S10 Swap how to

Next is the placement of those cab stands.

Front cab stands - measure 2 1/8th" forward of the oval frame hole just behind the flare of the frame (right behind front wheel). Scribe a vertical line. This will mark the rear edge of the front cab stand.

Rear cab stands - measure 10 1/2" from the rear of the 5/8" round frame hole, or 33 1/4" behind the rear edge of the front cab stand. Scribe a vertical line, this will be the front edge of your rear cab stand.

Note. If you are putting together a longbed (123" wb.) use the 33 1/4" measurement for your rear cab stand.
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:20 PM   #6
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Re: S10 Swap how to

Core support is next. First pics are a modified Chevy support, last several are GMC support. I use 3/16" plate, bent at a 90deg. angle. I cut the support at the line above the two horizontal 5/16" bolt holes. I bend an 18ga. sheet into a 4" channel the width of the core support, weld it to the bottom, and install the 68-72 cushions.

Then I mock up the fenders, core support, and hood. using a floor jack I adjust the core support height until the hood aligns proplerly with the fenders.

Then I weld my brackets to the core support, and drill 5/16" holes through the top of the frame. using grade 8 bolts, washers, and lock-nuts, secure the core support to the frame.
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:24 PM   #7
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Re: S10 Swap how to

More on this subject to follow within the next few days, I have lots to add to this thread still, and I'm sure there will be some questions.
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Old 06-16-2014, 11:38 PM   #8
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Re: S10 Swap how to

Very nice of you to put this info out for everyone...Jim
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Old 06-17-2014, 09:16 AM   #9
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Re: S10 Swap how to

Thanks for the spending the time to do this.
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Old 06-17-2014, 09:54 AM   #10
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Re: S10 Swap how to

Awesome! Thanks for doing the write up!!!!
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Old 06-17-2014, 10:11 AM   #11
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Re: S10 Swap how to

Cool right up Thanks for taking the time to do so, I have 2 questions secound being a 2 part question. 1 how do you make the stock gas tank/ fuel pump work for LS applications, 2 if using the V6 how do you modify s 10 harnes to work / and work with stock or aftermarket guages Thanks
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Old 06-17-2014, 12:17 PM   #12
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Re: S10 Swap how to

Keep up the great work... and thanks
Im in the process of a s10 swap so looking forward to you updating this.Now looking back i might of kept the stock chassis

Im new to the classic car/truck game but one thing is for sure everybody has a right to their own opinion . I also know that guys/gals spend countless hrs blood and sweat on these trucks and cars regardless if its a full resto or a resto mod or a frankenstein project respect should be given.
I would never drive a 64 impala that had gold flake paint and 13" wheels and hydraulics but i will respect the car and guy for a vision and hard work.
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Old 06-17-2014, 12:44 PM   #13
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Re: S10 Swap how to

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bone$ View Post
Keep up the great work... and thanks
Im in the process of a s10 swap so looking forward to you updating this.Now looking back i might of kept the stock chassis

Im new to the classic car/truck game but one thing is for sure everybody has a right to their own opinion . I also know that guys/gals spend countless hrs blood and sweat on these trucks and cars regardless if its a full resto or a resto mod or a frankenstein project respect should be given.
I would never drive a 64 impala that had gold flake paint and 13" wheels and hydraulics but i will respect the car and guy for a vision and hard work.
You are right on respect, IF we are talking directly about someones work. It would be seriously out of line for someone to post their work and someone say "That sucks, you do horrible work and should have poured gas on that truck burning it to the ground instead".

But in a general sense saying, "Frame swaps are WAY over done and it's just plain wrong" is not insulting anyone and if it is, they really need to loosen up.

I am building a chopped and sectioned truck, I am making serious body mods, a lot of people don't like this, and that's fine. I don't take it personal (even when someone HAS said directly to me I am ruining my truck) it's opinions that make the world go around.

If done right, most anything is a good mod, if done right. The frame "swap" thing has just gone to where newbe's think it MUST be done "you can't drive an old car on modern roads" (HUH? says the guy who drives a '59 Rambler every day).

Thus the general comment "Do your homework before you think it is the cat's meow" shouldn't insult anyone, if it does, wow, really, they need to get over it.

This thread, it is showing some EXCELLENT work and I personally will be watching just to see that excellent work and how this VERY SERIOUS mod can be done properly.

Brian
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Old 06-17-2014, 01:44 PM   #14
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Re: S10 Swap how to

This is what this setup will net you with 24.5" tall tires, 2" drop spindles, and 2" drop blocks. ground clearance at the back of the front fenders is right at 5.5"

Most of my customers want a little more clearance (so they don't drag bumpers). I'll go into detail on that in a minute.
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Old 06-17-2014, 01:57 PM   #15
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Re: S10 Swap how to

Now, if you want your truck low, but not bumper bashing low, use the following dimensions (pdf doc) on your cab mounts. Core support mounts stay the same, since they are welded to the side and bolted to the frame.

The second pic is of this (version 2) setup on 25" tall tires, 2" drop spindles, and 2" blocks
this one is 6.75" off the ground, and still looks low enough for some serious attitude

Please bear in mind that there is some fudge room... These cabs were hand assembled. I have found as much as 5/8" of difference between floor to ceiling height on various cabs. Also take into account variables in S10 chassis components. An S10 with 200K will likely sit lower than one with 80K... springs do collapse over time.
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Old 06-17-2014, 02:09 PM   #16
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Re: S10 Swap how to

I agree with everyone's comments. I've just noticed that these are becoming very popular, I build trucks for middle class guys who would love to have an old truck, but can't afford mega dollar builds, IFS, etc. This is a cost effective way to get them low, and give them disk brakes, power steering, etc.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and has a right to voice it. I just thought that I could share my experience to make the process easier and more road worthy.

I respect all automotive artists, even when the styling doesn't appeal to me as well.

918733; I will go into fuel systems and re-purposing the S10 harness (even though I don't care for it) later, I'm trying to cover the basic swap info first.
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Old 06-17-2014, 02:17 PM   #17
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Re: S10 Swap how to

After the fenders and hood are aligned and core support bolted down, I remove the hood/fenders to cut down the inner fenders. I generally cut along the lowest full wind line on the inner fender. Removing the bottom 3 or so inches. and then hold them in position to mark for the A-frame clearance. I don't have any good pics, I'll try to get some on the current build.
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Old 06-17-2014, 04:23 PM   #18
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Re: S10 Swap how to

Great post, will answer the question we get weekly about s-10 swaps. I agree with the comment to take in in order of assembly otherwise it will get difficult to follow.
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Old 06-17-2014, 05:20 PM   #19
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Re: S10 Swap how to

Moderators- When Sarge completes this can we get a sticky? Maybe in the builds section...

Thanks.

Last edited by iowaboynca; 06-17-2014 at 05:22 PM. Reason: added to post
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Old 06-17-2014, 07:12 PM   #20
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Re: S10 Swap how to

Quote:
Originally Posted by skymangs View Post
Now we get to the meat and potatoes of how this build works. Attached you will see my frame swap cab stands, complete with measurements and pics so they can be duplicated for your build. The following schematic is for 47-50 cabs. These were center mount cabs, you will need to weld a 6"x6" 1/4" plate on the bottom of the floor on each side to re-enforce the floor for the new cab stands.

If you have a 51-54 cab, you will need to remove 1/2" from the "above frame" portion of the rear cab stands and add a 1/2" delron spacer above the stock S10 body mount (this fits between the factory floor braces)

I bend the lower legs out at a 15deg. angle to decrease stress on the side of the frame

both these use the stock S10 body mount bushings above the cab stands.
Thanks Chris for the hole measurements to put the S10 body mount bushings. Been waiting for them. Looking forward to whatever else you have to add to this thread. Thanks, Clay
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Old 06-17-2014, 09:33 PM   #21
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Re: S10 Swap how to

Ok... I forgot to add an important bit of info that took me a while to dig up. S10 frames are factory wax coated. The more you grind to clean up for welding, the more it works the wax into the pores... This make for horrible welds, and piss poor penetration. I douse the center section of the frame rails Muriatic acid, let it sit for 15 min, then neutralize the acid with Ammonia. Finishing up by rinsing everything off with water.

BE SURE TO USE A RESPERATOR and RUBBER GLOVES WHEN WORKING WITH THESE!

The muriatic acid eats the wax, the ammonia neutralizes the acid, and the water dilutes the ammonia... This will give you a nice clean impurity free surface to weld on. Now go crazy with the flap disk prepping for welds.
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Old 06-17-2014, 09:42 PM   #22
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Re: S10 Swap how to

Once you've scribed your lines on the frame, go ahead and TACK your cab stands in place. I say TACK because if you seam weld them, inevitably you will have screwed something up, and have to cut and move them. I generally do 6 tack welds per stand, 4 on the top (of the frame rail) and 2 near the bottom of the stand. you need to be sure you get enough weld to handle the weight of the cab.

Next set the cab on, I use 1/2" x4.5" bolts for the front, and 1/2" x 4" bolts for the rear (51-54 cabs need 4.5" bolts front and rear). Use the 2 front bolts to center the cab.

On the 47-54 cabs, you will need to drill a 1/2" hole for the new mounts. I drill a pilot (3/16") from underneath, using the stand/S10 cab mount to help me center it, then drill the remainder from inside the cab.

On the 51-54 cabs, your mount should align with the inner hole for the factory shackle mount. You will need to open this hole from 3/8" to 1/2".

I re-use the S10 convex washers and rubber isolators under the cab stand with 1/2" Nylock nuts.

On that note, I use lock-nuts on EVERYTHING when I put one of these together. Remember if it gets hot, use all steel (oval) locknuts
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Old 06-17-2014, 09:52 PM   #23
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Re: S10 Swap how to

Now you are ready to position your driveline. Generally, the farther back you can get it, the more room you'll have for your fan setup. I set 4.3L and 5.7L engines about 5.5" back from the factory mounts. I've attached a quick drawing of what I build for motor mounts. I use 3/16 wall 1/2" I.D. tube and 1/4" plate steel for the uprights. I cut the tube and bolt it through the mounts. I then use my hoist to position the engine and trans as close as is reasonable to the firewall. I have a large box full of 4x4's, 2x4's, 1x2's, and shims I use to block the motor, center it, and level it side to side.

Once the motor is in position, I make poster board templates for the "legs" of my motor mount pedestals. Then cut them out and tack them in place. I then pull the driveline so I have room to seam them in properly.
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Old 06-17-2014, 10:02 PM   #24
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Re: S10 Swap how to

Once the engine mounts are fully welded in, I set the engine back in it's new cradle, double check everything, then move on to the transmission mount. What I do is to cut the ends off of the stock S10 mount, about 6 inches in from the frame on each side. I then clean up the ends and bolt the crossmember back on the trans. Since the frame narrows as it goes farther back, you will need to shorten the mount. I line up the ends under the crossmember and mark the area to be removed (usually about 1.5" per side). then I cut it, and re-weld the ends back on. The passenger side is easy, mark through the holes, and drill 2 3/8" holes through the side of the frame. Then use a 1" holesaw on the outside of the rail (duplicating the factory setup). the drivers side you will have to make a small shelf for the end. I use 1/4" plate, then weld a 45deg. gusset along the underside to add strength. here's a couple pics.
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Old 06-18-2014, 10:52 AM   #25
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Re: S10 Swap how to

Great Info!!! Thanks for taking the time to do this!!! I have always thought a thread like this would be great to have. You posted info about the motor mounts but could you post a picture of one completed with the "legs" attached? Thanks again!
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