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MarkRyba

51 Plymouth, Mustang II Kit, Custom Stub?

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Hello All, first time poster, first time builder, looking for some help on a new '51 Suburban project. My grandfather and I are working on this one together; he's lending me his expertise and shop space and I'm giving him a chance to spend some more time in the garage, "grandma-approved". He's been hot rodding Chevys and Fords since he was 14, but when looking for a project to take on we fell in love with this era of Suburbans and it's the first MOPAR he's worked on. We're sticking pretty traditional with our plans for modifications, including a Mustang II style IFS kit. I've seen a lot of debate regarding Fatman products on here, and that was the original direction we were leaning towards as he has two completed projects with their Stage II kit (50 and 31 Chevy pickups). However, the cost of their frame stub has us a bit wary, as it would nearly double the overall price of the kit. My grandpa thinks we can do the measurements and fab work for the stub ourselves, then use a universal kit from Heidts, Fatman or similar and save about $2k. Has anyone gone this route? Any advice would be appreciated.

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6 minutes ago, MarkRyba said:

Hello All, first time poster, first time builder, looking for some help on a new '51 Suburban project. My grandfather and I are working on this one together; he's lending me his expertise and shop space and I'm giving him a chance to spend some more time in the garage, "grandma-approved". He's been hot rodding Chevys and Fords since he was 14, but when looking for a project to take on we fell in love with this era of Suburbans and it's the first MOPAR he's worked on. We're sticking pretty traditional with our plans for modifications, including a Mustang II style IFS kit. I've seen a lot of debate regarding Fatman products on here, and that was the original direction we were leaning towards as he has two completed projects with their Stage II kit (50 and 31 Chevy pickups). However, the cost of their frame stub has us a bit wary, as it would nearly double the overall price of the kit. My grandpa thinks we can do the measurements and fab work for the stub ourselves, then use a universal kit from Heidts, Fatman or similar and save about $2k. Has anyone gone this route? Any advice would be appreciated.

My suggestion is "if it ain't broke,don't try to fix it. Don't fall for the "monkey see,monkey do" modifications you see in all the hot rod magazines that make their money from running articles about how to install the items made by the people who buy their advertising space.

 

For a driver quality street ride,there are no advantages to installing a Mustang 2 front suspension,compared to just rebuilding and doing a few minor modifications to the original IFS.

If you are swapping in a big block whatever,the rack and pinion steering can cure some clearance problems,but you don't need a frame clip for strength. The original is plenty strong unless it is rusted out,cracked,bent,etc.

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Mark.........welcome aboard from Oz...............you mention staying "traditional" yet mention a "Mustang ll" IFS in the same sentence..........have you given any thought to keeping the original style front suspension which was as good if not better than both Frod & Chebolay..........various ways that the original front end can be updated incle lower coil springs, moving the spring pocket in the lower A arm to the bottom which drops the front end down, using dropped spindles, a thicker front sway bar and relocating the upper shock mount to a mount located on the chassis..........there are a number of bolt on disc brake kits available together with depending on what engine you decide on various steering box/rack & pinion installs................all of these do not require any subframe or frame stub installations and to be honest will probably get you more brownie points from fellow mopar morons than like us here than going the "traditional" methods you mention.............but hey......its your car and choice...........lol..............I'm a hotrodder so in reality any modification is o/k I suppose , but I'd be checking around and seeing just what is really possible and available  before lighting up the gas axe or sawzall..........anyway gidday from Oz.....Andy Douglas   

Edited by Andydodge

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Only you can make the call but the work involved to place the MII IFS onto the front of this car will entail installing front frame rails which will add a substantial bit of money to the already high cost of the MII in any format/kit you chose.  The selection of the proper clip from a donor vehicle will net you all the needed improvements, will include correct geometry, does follow the frame centerline as from the original factory schematic (very helpful for body mounting) and all for less the cost of frame rail to mount the MII and the labor would be the same but the strength of the frame will be greater with the clip when properly done.     It is my suggestion that you lay the magazines aside, grab a steel tape, pencil and pad and get some measurement.  

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Mark...............here's my 50 Suburban wagon. I have the Fatman stub in mine. The only thing you need to know if you go this route is to get the front top A-arms with a 3/4" offset. We couldn't get the right wheelbase measurements until we put that 3/4" offset top A-arm on. And unless you ask for that, you get a straight A-arm.

IMG_0383.JPG

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At the risk of repeating my self I am going to repeat what I sad in a similar thread.  I believe most of the Mustang II cross member kits have serious design flaws that will lead to failure if the car is used as a driver.  If you think you must replace the front suspension then get a frame clip from a wrecking yard from a vehicle that was designed by real automotive engineers.  Below is my experience with a Mustang ii conversion.

 

From personal experience I am not a fan of the Fatman/Heidts/ etc style Mustang II kits.  This style of kit uses a single 1/2" bolt as the pivot for the lower control arm.  I put a Fatman kit in my 1970 Mercedes when I installed the Ford 4.6L V8.  At about 50,000 miles the lower control arm bolt on the right side sheared off where it exited the back of the cross member.  My wife was driving the car when it happened, fortunately she was close to home and only driving about 20mph when she went to stop for a traffic light, heard a "bang" and the car dove to the right.  The lower control arm bent but did not come loose so the car didn't fall to the ground.  When I pulled the broken end of the bolt out of the lower control arm you could see a vertical strip of fresh break about 1/16" of an inch wide, the rest of the cross section of the bolt was corroded.  This is classic fatigue failure, a month before the bolt broke we had driven the cae from Portland to Reno for vacation at highway speeds, through the mountains.  I know the bolt was seriously compromised during that trip and had it broken at 60mph on a mountain curve I probably wouldn't be writing this now.  It's been 2 years and 10,000 miles since that incident and I recently pulled a bolt for inspection, it is showing signs of fatigue cracking at the same location it broke the last time. The other problem is the bolts tend to seize in the cross member from corrosion, mine were corroded in place and it took two days, $100 worth of drill bits and two 1/2 inch drills to get them out.

 

I will not use another one of those kits on any car I build.

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See my response to Mark888 on his thread IFS swap 1948 Plymouth.  Your car is virtually the same as ours.  I have the Kugel Komponents front end om my Plymouth and I couldn't be happier.  No tire wear evident after 35K miles and I don't baby it.  Sounds like your Grandpa has good experience and careful measuring and fabrication should yield a quality modification.  Great that you two have a project together.  He will get at least as much pleasure from the project and the companionship as you. 

Also check the thread "My Friend Mike" in OT Form.  He used the Fatman clip with no issues.

No guts,....no glory!

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Curious if anyone has ever used the Art Morrison IFS setup?   Spendy for sure....but their engineering seems top notch, and components can be welded in rather than replacing the entire front clip.( though they do also offer an entire front clip set-up) 

http://www.artmorrison.com/2006cat/48.pdf

 

Edited by st63

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1 hour ago, st63 said:

Curious if anyone has ever used the Art Morrison IFS setup?   Spendy for sure....but their engineering seems top notch, and components can be welded in rather than replacing the entire front clip.( though they do also offer an entire front clip set-up) 

http://www.artmorrison.com/2006cat/48.pdf

 

the incoming after market IFS  is NOT as much the issue as dealing with the spring pockets in the Mopar original setup....if you did not have to deal with installing straight frame rails or cutting and boxing the pockets....IFS choices would be many

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Might want to check this companies products.

 

All suspension parts are heavy wall tubes AND all mounting points are setup in a double shear brackets= way stronger than standard MII types. Almost over-engineered?

 

Prices that I have seen have been lower (but Not cheap) than Art Morrison's. Morrison's frames and suspensions are highly regarded and at auction cars with them will bring much higher prices  than comparable cars. Roadster Shop seems to be the hot thing under show/drivers recently.

 

OMO

DJ

 

http://roadstershop.com/about/

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On 2/10/2018 at 12:36 AM, mrwrstory said:

 

Thanks for the suggestion @mrwrstory, really enjoyed going through that, a lot of good ideas and modifications we're considering as well.

I really appreciate the advice all, it was very helpful. I'll post a response with the direction we end up going with!

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I did a lot of research on possible upgrades to the suspension on my '39 Plym conv cpe before I took anything off of the body/chassis . I talked to a lot of the specialty manufactures and found out that Fat Man was the only company that made front end components that were designed and built specifically for Plymouth's, and other makes. I quickly got turned off of any fabricator that wanted to build his own front end using parts harvested from other cars.
I selected a shop that was licensed and insured to do the modifications to the chassis on my car. We purchased a Fat Man Stage II front clip with power rack and a anti roll bar. (sway bar). The assembly fit my frame like it was factory.

As a point of clarification: The after market frame assemblies are not Mustang II, they are based on the geometry of the original Mustang II front ends which were designed for disk brakes, and to eliminate front end dive under sudden braking which causes the rear end to come loose from the road.

I talked at great length to Brett at Fat Man about suspensions, etc., before I bought anything. Brett was very enlightening.

My '39 Plym looks dead stock, however, it is a "wolf in sheeps clothing". It really runs and handles very well. On two different occasions I have had to do panic stops due to traffic conditions, on both occasions the car stopped in a straight line with no loss of control. Wm.

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I have installed mustang II Kit's...  My opinion, rebuild what you have.  You are going to spend money on something that you will notice no difference by the seat of your pants.  Use the money elsewhere in the car.  Not trying to stir the pot here, just my 2¢...

 

I personally like Volare front clips if a custom job just has to happen.  There are suspension parts from police cars that can be used with 11" disc brakes...  The 11" disc brakes are OEM, and you can get parts(rotors, seals, bearings, bushings, ball joints, and pads) from your local parts place if needed.

Edited by classiccarjack

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On 2/7/2018 at 8:13 PM, MarkRyba said:

Hello All, first time poster, first time builder, looking for some help on a new '51 Suburban project. My grandfather and I are working on this one together; he's lending me his expertise and shop space and I'm giving him a chance to spend some more time in the garage, "grandma-approved". He's been hot rodding Chevys and Fords since he was 14, but when looking for a project to take on we fell in love with this era of Suburbans and it's the first MOPAR he's worked on. We're sticking pretty traditional with our plans for modifications, including a Mustang II style IFS kit. I've seen a lot of debate regarding Fatman products on here, and that was the original direction we were leaning towards as he has two completed projects with their Stage II kit (50 and 31 Chevy pickups). However, the cost of their frame stub has us a bit wary, as it would nearly double the overall price of the kit. My grandpa thinks we can do the measurements and fab work for the stub ourselves, then use a universal kit from Heidts, Fatman or similar and save about $2k. Has anyone gone this route? Any advice would be appreciated.

Hi Mark,

Glad the ‘51 made finally made it! I am looking to do something similar with my ‘52 Suburban, which currently is without engine and transmission. I have a usable 350 SBC and wonder if it and a turbo 350 would fit without cutting the firewall, transmission hump etc.

What powertrain are you and your grandfather going with?

 

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3 hours ago, Bob Riding said:

Hi Mark,

Glad the ‘51 made finally made it! I am looking to do something similar with my ‘52 Suburban, which currently is without engine and transmission. I have a usable 350 SBC and wonder if it and a turbo 350 would fit without cutting the firewall, transmission hump etc.

What powertrain are you and your grandfather going with?

 

Making a suggestion,NOT telling you what to do with your car,but you DO KNOW that Chrysler made pretty good small block V-8'S and automatic transmissions,right? With the exception of the 340,which no 350 GM engine could keep in sight,they are all cheaper to buy used that the GM products,and are much better made. For a nice driver that gets good gas mileage and has good power,a 318 is hard to beat. If you want power in a small block the 340 is the way to go if you can find one with the early hi-po heads,or a 360 with factory or aftermarket parts.

 

While pondering this consider that I own vehicles powered by both GM and Mopar engines.

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1 hour ago, knuckleharley said:

Making a suggestion,NOT telling you what to do with your car,but you DO KNOW that Chrysler made pretty good small block V-8'S and automatic transmissions,right? With the exception of the 340,which no 350 GM engine could keep in sight,they are all cheaper to buy used that the GM products,and are much better made. For a nice driver that gets good gas mileage and has good power,a 318 is hard to beat. If you want power in a small block the 340 is the way to go if you can find one with the early hi-po heads,or a 360 with factory or aftermarket parts.

 

While pondering this consider that I own vehicles powered by both GM and Mopar engines.

Thanks for that- I was originally thinking of a red ram Dodge hemi, or 318, but I have a good SBC motor now - this wagon will be used mostly by my wife who is indifferent as to the powerplant- she just wants enough power for passing, A/C, auto trans, PS, and seat heaters, and of course it has to “look cute”! I plan to keep as much original looking equipment as possible, including period correct interior, wheels, etc. My concern is  that if I purchase a turbo 350 and mate it up to the SBC, that it will fit. I am hoping that I won’t have to do anything other than new motor mounts to get it to fit in the 52. (steering not withstanding)  I’ve heard  the 49 to 52 Plymouths have more clearance for these kinds of swaps-thoughts?

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44 minutes ago, Bob Riding said:

Thanks for that- I was originally thinking of a red ram Dodge hemi, or 318, but I have a good SBC motor now - this wagon will be used mostly by my wife who is indifferent as to the powerplant- she just wants enough power for passing, A/C, auto trans, PS, and seat heaters, and of course it has to “look cute”! I plan to keep as much original looking equipment as possible, including period correct interior, wheels, etc. My concern is  that if I purchase a turbo 350 and mate it up to the SBC, that it will fit. I am hoping that I won’t have to do anything other than new motor mounts to get it to fit in the 52. (steering not withstanding)  I’ve heard  the 49 to 52 Plymouths have more clearance for these kinds of swaps-thoughts?

My only thought is I don't own a 49-52 Plymouth,and when it comes to specifics like that you need to "talk" with someone that does.

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There's always more to an engine swap than just making new mounts.  Driveshaft, cooling system placement and size, starter and exhaust  come to mind and all have to be taken into account..  You may want to consider one of the newer OD transmissions instead of the turbo 350 to mate to the SBC if you decide to go that way.  The Red Ram would be cool for a local cruiser but for an extended trip, I'd want a newer power plant that has better parts access at parts houses than the Hemi.

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40 minutes ago, Dave72dt said:

There's always more to an engine swap than just making new mounts.  Driveshaft, cooling system placement and size, starter and exhaust  come to mind and all have to be taken into account..  You may want to consider one of the newer OD transmissions instead of the turbo 350 to mate to the SBC if you decide to go that way.  The Red Ram would be cool for a local cruiser but for an extended trip, I'd want a newer power plant that has better parts access at parts houses than the Hemi.

Good point- My brother in law who restored 30s-50s cars as a side business would use whatever motor/drivetrain the client wanted but preferred the crate motor/SBC for just the reason you stated- you can buy parts anywhere. What OD tranny should I start looking for that might fit under the '52 without cutting the firewall, etc?

fullsizeoutput_b61.jpeg

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46 minutes ago, Dave72dt said:

There's always more to an engine swap than just making new mounts.  Driveshaft, cooling system placement and size, starter and exhaust  come to mind and all have to be taken into account..  You may want to consider one of the newer OD transmissions instead of the turbo 350 to mate to the SBC if you decide to go that way.  The Red Ram would be cool for a local cruiser but for an extended trip, I'd want a newer power plant that has better parts access at parts houses than the Hemi.

 

Yeah...gotta call ya on that....

The Early Hemi is no different than any other engine if it is properly rebuilt. There should be no reason to be in need of parts.

These engines will easliy outlast most ownership time periods.

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I agree the Hemi can be as reliable as any other power choice.  It has to do with the ability to find common failure items, like water and fuel pumps, ignition system parts that can and do fail occasionally on the road, by walking into a parts house and then walking out with the needed items.  I gotta believe the odds for doing that are better for the newer engines than for the Hemi.

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