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53 bed, 54 frame don't mix. need help
#1228906 Mon Aug 07 2017 05:04 PM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 6
New Guy
hello all. I'm new to the site and this is my first post(besides my welcome post). hope I'm in the correct forum for the topic at hand. long story short, I bought a '53 1/2 ton body and later bought a '54 frame assuming they would mix well. I now know that the '54 has a different kick up over the rear axle and the '53 bed will not simply bolt on as originally designed. I've searched the forum and found the Mar-K write up about using a '54 bed on a 47-53 frame, and the challenges associated with that process. I'm trying to do the exact opposite here. from what I've already been told, I cannot simply bolt the bed to frame using original sills and blocks. so I turn to the group for advise/help/guidance. in your opinion, what is the best/easiest way to correct this problem? the current frame is torn down and has no suspension. I have an under bed tank and 4" lowered leaf springs mocked up. they would be easy to remove if needed.
should I:
1. start over with another 47-53 1/2 ton frame
2. continue with '54 frame and fab blocks to make it look stock(which sills/blocks/kit should I use?)
3. S-10 frame swap(least favorite idea)
in my eyes, finding a correct 47-53 frame would be the easiest method. this way the bed will line up with the running boards and splash aprons correctly. it would mean starting over, but would cause less headaches in the long run.

thoughts from the group???

thanks, Mike

Re: 53 bed, 54 frame don't mix. need help
Folklohr2 #1229012 Tue Aug 08 2017 04:44 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 1,791
Fox Offline
A teacher, but always an apprentice.
1. A viable option. But have you modified and sunk a lot of $ into the 54 frame already? If so, I'd hate to see you scrap it all and start over. It hurts...A LOT. Psychologically and financially. I know from experience.

2. It might be a lot of work and as you are aware it could be difficult. It can be done though from what I've heard. I have no personal experience here. Someone with experience may chime in.

3. S10 frame... If you think mounting the box is difficult, try this. Body mounts, radiator mounts, BED MOUNTS, engine and transmission clearance to cab, keeping everything square, centered in wheel wells, etc... it is a BIG can of worms and not for a novice. I have personal experience here. I was very green when I attempted this and it caused a lot of head scratching, frustration and then I got so deep in over my head...I sold it and took a huge hit to the wallet for my lack of foresight. I could do it now after much learning in the field of welding and fabrication but my thought is, " the best frame for your truck is the one it came with from the factory."

What about swapping beds and getting a 54 bed? Sell the 53 bed for as much coin as you can get and get the proper box for the frame. Purists will cringe, it may bug you too having the wrong box matched up with the the 53 body, but it will be the easiest option by far. More than likely the cheapest option too. Trying to make the other box fit can be done but what is your time worth as well?

Last edited by Fox; Tue Aug 08 2017 04:49 AM.

In the Stovebolt Gallery []
More pictures here []

1951 GMC 9430 1 ton dually—-Shiny!

1970 Chevrolet C10 - Grandpa’s- My first truck.—in progress to shiny
1972 Chevrolet C20- rusted
1970 Chevrolet K20 Suburban—rusted.
1950 Chevrolet 1300- in progress to shiny.

Parts trucks-
1951 GMC 9300
1951-GMC 9430
1951- Chevrolet 1300
Re: 53 bed, 54 frame don't mix. need help
Folklohr2 #1229081 Tue Aug 08 2017 04:19 PM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 6
New Guy
oh, I hadn't thought about the option of finding a '54 box and just using that. thank you for thinking of that option. if I were to go that route, I assume I would need the 2 side and 1 front bed panels and just use the cross sills and blocks designed for the '54 frame. will the '53 fenders cross over as well and will everything line up with the running boards and aprons?
the good news is I don't have any money invested in the '54 frame. just time removing suspension parts. and slightly off topic, but I found that the easiest way to remove rivets is to drill them out. start with a small bit and create a pilot hole. then just progressively go larger until the rivet falls apart. takes a little time, but is very effective. it doesn't affect the surrounding metal of the frame.
ultimately it will come down to what is avail to me and budget. if I can find just a '54 box cheap that might be the way to go. or if I can stumble upon another '47-53 frame it would be more of a direct swap since it would be the correct frame to mount everything to. who knows, I may be able to find a decent parts truck that will have some other parts I still need. just have to be patient and keep my eyes open.
thanks again for the thoughts on the options I provided. and also for providing an option I hadn't thought of. if others would like to chime in and give their 2 cents, it is very much welcomed.

Re: 53 bed, 54 frame don't mix. need help
Folklohr2 #1229365 Thu Aug 10 2017 01:24 AM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 409
Shop Shark
What are the problems you are running into with bolting the 53 bed on the 54 frame?

Re: 53 bed, 54 frame don't mix. need help
Folklohr2 #1229436 Thu Aug 10 2017 02:30 PM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 6
New Guy
I'm still in the planning phase and am looking to buy cross sills and blocks. either by finding a donor truck locally or through one of the reputable vendors that sells kits. I only have the 2 sides and front bed panels for the '53. so I will need everything in between to mount the bed to the frame. I've been doing as much research as possible and can't get a clear answer on which year(s) sills/blocks I need to make this as much of a bolt on process as possible. I don't want to have to mix and match a bunch of parts from different years and run into issues with stuff not lining up correctly or needing to fab up items just to make it work. if a '53 bed doesn't simply bolt onto a '54 frame by using one or the other year's cross sills and block kits, I'll have to come up with another solution as mentioned above. I want the bed to mount correctly as originally designed and for all the fenders, running boards, aprons, bumper to line up correctly. if bolting a '53 bed to a '54 frame is a difficult process, I'll just start over with a correct 47-53 frame. luckily I'm not too far into my project at this time. I'm just trying to plan ahead and avoid any possible issues.
so in your opinion, what is the easiest solution here? if keeping the '54 frame, what exactly do I need to look for in the form of cross sills, blocks, and mounting hardware? if switching to a 47-53 frame is the answer, I can find/order the correct parts. just trying to make this as easy of a solution as possible.
thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and give any advise you have.

Re: 53 bed, 54 frame don't mix. need help
Folklohr2 #1229464 Thu Aug 10 2017 05:30 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 409
Shop Shark
Are both the body and the 54 frame 1/2 ton short bed Chevy?

Re: 53 bed, 54 frame don't mix. need help
Mar-Ktech #1229473 Thu Aug 10 2017 06:14 PM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 6
New Guy
I am certain the body is a 1/2 ton short box. and I am 99% sure the frame is as well. I never saw the cab or box that was on the '54 frame prior to me getting it. but with my cab sitting on the frame, my bed sides appear to be the proper length to the rear of the frame.

Re: 53 bed, 54 frame don't mix. need help
Folklohr2 #1229479 Thu Aug 10 2017 06:59 PM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 30,801
ace skiver
The 31xx wheelbase is 116" - center of front wheel to center of rear wheel.
The 36xx wheelbase is 125.25"
The 38xx wheelbase is 137"

There is no 1/2 ton short-box/bed/long-box/bed 1954 Chevrolet truck.
There is only one size 1954 1/2 ton bed and wheel-base.

The bed size(s) is/are also shown at the link above.

Tim []
1954 3106 Carryall Suburban [] - part of the family for 49 years
1954 3104 5-window pickup w/Hydra-Matic [] - part of the family for 15 years
- If you have to stomp on your foot-pedal starter, either you, or your starter, or your engine, has a problem.
- The 216 and early 235 engines are not "splash oilers" - this is a splash oiler. []
Re: 53 bed, 54 frame don't mix. need help
Folklohr2 #1229699 Sat Aug 12 2017 04:06 AM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 9,476
Master Gabster
Your conundrum is much simpler to address than if you were trying to put a '54 bed on an earlier frame. The '54 bed is deeper than the earlier ones. The '54 frame is lower to allow the deeper '54 bed to fit. Seems to me that you just need to use taller blocks between the frame and the cross sills. Your '47-'53 splash pans should fit if you jack the bed up to the proper height.

Re: 53 bed, 54 frame don't mix. need help
Folklohr2 #1229806 Sun Aug 13 2017 01:57 AM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 409
Shop Shark
We have not done this swap but looked at both frames and it appears you will have to drill two holes in the frame to move two of the six bed to frame mounting points about 5/8". Other than that it should be a rather simple swap as far as the bed mounting is concerned. I can't speak to other problems you may encounter in switching this frame. Just purchase your remaining bed parts for the '53 including the wood blocks from any of the excellent vendors. When you pre-assemble your bed set it on your frame to determine where to drill for the mounting bolts.


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