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1954 Chevy 4500 4 Link #1309847 Mon May 06 2019 06:42 PM
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 2
Short Bus Offline OP
Hello guys,

About 4 months ago, I bought a flat topped P30 Motorhome chassis to put under my 1954 Chevy 4500 short bus. The chassis had a 454 Chevy Big Block in it with a Turbo 400 trans (removed for the moment). Dana 80 limited slip in the rear. The P30 has coil springs in the front, and leaf springs in the rear, with disc brakes all around. The only issues is that the wheelbase needs to be shortened 17 inches (reduce wheelbase from 178" to 161") so the chassis will fit my buses fender wells. I have a few options on what to do, but was hoping for some feedback from you all.

Option 1: Cut the frame near the center, remove the 17 inches and reweld it. I talked to a local shop who wants $1500-$1700 to cut my frame in the center and weld it back together (like a jig saw puzzle, not straight or angle cut to the frame). Then they are going to box the inside of the frame. On the outside of the frame a diamond shaped piece of steel. I get the fact that the frame has to be measured and welded just right, but geesh that seems like a lot of money, considering the frame is a bare roller.

Option: 2 Don't cut the frame, buy a magnetic frame drill and re-drill the holes for the rear leaf spring hangers (move the holes up 17 inches). This would be less expensive, I would need to buy a magnetic frame drill, though, to drill out the new holes. Also, my frame is flat topped along the entire length, but narrows about 2 1/2 inches over where the rear axle is located to provide more clearance. If I move up the leafs, the new mounting holes will be in the thick part of the frame. In short, the bus would sit jacked up, and I would still loose some frame-axle clearance. Bottom line: The frame would have to be notched, or leaf spring brackets modified to all for more frame-axle clearance.

Option 3: Move the axle up, but ditch the rear leafs and install a parallel 4 link kit and do heavy duty airbags in the rear. I would like to be able to pull a trailer with this thing, yet was hoping for it to ride halfway decent.

Anyhow, thanks for your thoughts on the matter.

1954 Chevy 4500 Short Bus on 1990 P30 Chassis. Dana 80 Posi w/ Disc Brakes. 454 BBC & Turbo 400 Trans.
1955 Ford B500 Short Bus with 292 Y block Ford
Re: 1954 Chevy 4500 4 Link [Re: Short Bus] #1309905 Tue May 07 2019 02:29 AM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 2,399
spanky Offline
Shop Shark
Got any spare original passenger seats? A buddy of mine is restoring a 1954 Chevy, Ward body, short bus. What body is yours ?

Spanky Hardy
Collector Of Fine Old G.M. COE Trucks & Antique Holmes Wreckers

1948 Chevrolet 5700 COE Holmes HD W35 Wrecker
In the Stovebolt Gallery
More pictures on Photobucket

1950 GMC 250 1-Ton
In the Stovebolt Gallery
Re: 1954 Chevy 4500 4 Link [Re: Short Bus] #1309960 Tue May 07 2019 04:35 PM
Joined: May 2017
Posts: 144
sweepleader Offline
Shop Shark
My thoughts would bring me to the conclusion that cutting and welding the frame is the time and money solution. Of course I would do the work myself but even $1700 doesn't sound bad given the work involved. The labor on the other two options combined with the parts cost are the reason I think the first option is the way to go.

Your description of what they want to do sounds like they know what needs to be done.

You might ask them for a quote on the other two options and then you could compare more directly. You cannot compare your "free" labor to their hourly rate.

Sounds like a fun project!

1962 K10 short step side, much modified for rally
1969 T50 fire truck, almost nos, needs a few things
Re: 1954 Chevy 4500 4 Link [Re: Short Bus] #1309961 Tue May 07 2019 04:51 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 2,769
EdPruss Offline
Shop Shark
Magnetic drills are available at rental places.

I just took 4' out of the center of my '54 GMC 620 by myself. It is not a hard job, just a lot of measuring and checking. It is a lot easier not having to realign every fixture, bracket, perch, etc., if the back end is cut off. I would recommend cutting the middle. $1,700 does not sound like a bad price. A lot of important measuring, leveling, etc., is required. Perhaps they have some references from other jobs.


'37 GMC T-18 w/ DD 4-53T, RTO-610, 6231 aux., '95 GMC running gear, full disc brakes, power steering, 22.5 wheels and tires.
'47 GMC 1 ton w/ 302, NP-540, 4wd, full width Blazer front axle.
'54 GMC 630 w/ 503 gasser, 5 speed, ex fire truck, shortened WB 4', install 8' bed.

Moderated by  69Cuda, Grigg 

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