40 chevy 1/2 ton (first build)

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Well-known member
Aug 2, 2015
Fort Worth
Ok so this is my first build. But have been doing ALOT of research and looking through all the builds. Definately going to need some feedback and plenty of help. I started out with a 40 Chevy cab, frame and what is left of the bed with tailgate. Bought a 78 Chevy truck for a donor and parted it out. Made double what I paid for it back and have a good running motor and trans for free. Decided to use the original frame. I know it's more work but the frame was tapered and has character. I'll post some pics of what I've done already a little at a time till your all caught up to where it's at now.

First I cleaned most everything off the frame in front and welded a piece of 2 1/2 x 2 1/2x 1/4 tubing in the front. The frame was bent downward near the front. Thought about cutting pie shape out by fire wall like I saw on a thread here but finally decided to do it at the bend. Pulled it up straight and made sure it was level and straight on the sides. Then tacked and welded it. I put plates inside to give it strength.

Had already ordered a posies spring, perches, shackles,u-bolts and hairpins. Made some spring and hairpin brackets for the axle out of 3/8" plate. I also bought a bottle of gas after this for welder. Used flux core because I didn't have a bottle and did it in the back yard.

Next I wire brushed most of the frame. Then welded up all those holes :eek:

Some pics...
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Thanks guys. I tried to do a lot of research and planning to a point before I got started. But as with everything there will be questions and problems to solve along the way.

After I straightened the front of the frame I 45'd the frame at the fire wall and stacked it. Then I welded it up, boxed the frame to the back of cab and plated the frame where I stacked it. I didn't think about welding bolts inside the frame to bolt cab down til it was to late. So I guess I'll make some Brackets for outside the frame like the front has. I set the frame up and got it level and made some motor mounts and a trans cross member and got them welded in. May change that up later. Not sure I'm happy with that yet.

I didn't know what I was going to do about a grille and steering column but want to do as much stock look as I can. Ran across a guy that wanted the front springs out of my truck for his 36 Chevy low cab, so I traded him for his steering column, gear box and steering wheel. Since I didn't have a grille, when he said he wanted to buy a new one for his truck I traded him some 3/16 flat bar for boxing his frame for his grille and insert. It is missing the bottom piece of the frame but good enough for me. the insert is also cracked up the middle but I'll take it to a buddy of mine and have him tig weld it back together. Also traded my only fender for a hood.

I'll post some more later. Just got home from work. Going to go eat after I check on a buddy of mine. He came up to work to show me the 69 El Camino he has been working on for his dad. He left and got down the street not even out of sight and him and a range rover hit head on. Don't know what happened yet. He's an older guy like me. His wife said it looks like it broke his sternum. Pretty sure the El Camino is totaled after seeing it from a distance. Hope he's going to be ok.

here are a few more pics...

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Thanks Burgerman. He said he's real sore but will be fine. Said the other guy came over into his lane and don't think the guy even hit the brakes.

I'll post more pics of build later on.
Thanks guys. he said he's going to be fine. Going to try to go see him this weekend.

Okay I was going round and round about what kinda rear suspension to go with. Like most you think cheap. Then you think coil over and 4 link. Then I ran across a leaf spring set up that basically bolts right to the same holes your original did with new springs with 2 leafs instead of a big stack. Also lowers rear 4 inches. So I figure why not. Would be quick, easy and springs like the front. Ordered on a Tuesday and got on Friday. So that Friday I dropped the old axle and springs, wire brushed the rest of the frame and painted. That Saturday I painted the parts and cut the original brackets off of the 8.8 Mustang GT rear end and wire brushed and painted. Then I bolted the kit and rear end up. Will have to wait to weld pads on axle housing.

Last week I made some new brackets for the front radius rods and spring. Made them an inch taller and wider at the bottom. Got them welded on and spring back under the front. Clevis ends for hairpins are being delivered today. I got tired of guessing how low and how much drop I would have to do in the back, So I cut the rear of frame. Looks like about 5" of drop between the two sections of frame. I need to pick up two 15 inch cheap wheels and tires the same size as front to make sure the frame sits level with front when I weld it back up.

So this brings you up to date to where I'm at as of right now. I just hope mine turns out half as good as most of the one's on here.

FullSizeRender (Small).jpg rear of frame (Small).jpg

rear suspension (Small).jpg rear suspension 3 (Small).jpg

rear suspension 2 (Small).jpg rear frame cut (Small).jpg

front batwings (Small).jpg front suspension (Small).jpg

hairpins (Small).jpg IMG_5547 (Small).JPG
Got the back section welded back together but ran out of wire before I finished plateing it. Will have to go get some more wire Friday and finish up. Then drop the motor and trans in to make a template for cutting fire wall for bell housing. Back is sitting a little low because of the small donut tires on rear. But will sit level with regular size tires.


Sorry for small pic. Pulled it from my phone
I made a little progress. Not as much as I would have liked. Got the rear of the frame finished and drilled the other hole in trans mount. Then I was able to finally set the motor, trans, cab and bed on the frame to get a look at how it's going to sit and if I had enough ride height above scrub line. Was good on scrub line but had enough space that I could have taken a couple more inches out of the frame behind cab and could have slid engine back a couple more inches. Not sure If I'll redo the motor and trans mounts back farther and take the few inches out behind cab or just leave it. Rear axle won't be center of bed because of the leaf springs anyway. Will decide after looking at it some more.Think I may drop bed a few inches and will drop grille even with firewall. Just have everything propped up right now Checking the proportions. I'll also cut the bed down at the end of the card board. Pretty much decided taller tires wide tires in the rear. I had 2 rear tires from my wife's camaro that I stuck up there just to get some kinda visual.

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Staring at it for a couple days will help prevent making a mess of things. :D You are off to a good start, for sure.

A straight on side shot would help.

I agree that the bed should be lower, and tucked up closer to the cab. That would hide the gap between the kick up and the back of the cab, also. I gave mine about 1.5 inches in the middle. (I actually got lucky, because the back of the cab is rounded, and I forgot to allow for that.) Without seeing what the whole side view of the truck looks like, I cant tell if shortening the bed would mess with the balance or help.
Big tires all the way to the back would give it a dragster look. I guess this can't happen with the leaf spring set-up.
Centered or slightly behind the center of the bed is more traditional.
If you decide to push the cab back, you can tilt the grille back to lower it.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Right.
Thanks skip.

I have the bed all the way up against the cab but I know it will need a gap. I figure lower the bed a little but I want to hide the spring and frame behind cab for sure so will have to come down to bottom of frame. The back of the cardboard is about as much as I can shorten the bed. But moving the bed off the cab may make it even closer to being center.

I'm open to all opinions. Not really sure about a chop, although I think it would look better. I'm 6'1. So kinda want the head room. will probably tilt the grille some but not real hard. I'm pretty sure with headers and radiator and stuff it will fill out the front section more.



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Real good.
Yes you have to cut the box off at the back of the cardboard.
Don't let headroom worries stop you from chopping the top. You'll probably set your seat down quite a bit anyhow, so you'll have lot's of head room. My '36 has a smaller cab and I am taller and there is lots of room for my head to bounce around.
Keep on tinkering.


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