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Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 42
C
Wrench Fetcher
Hey Builder, I'm optimistic it will be just as simple with the '87 3/4 ton crossmember. Any rules of thumb to follow for remounting the shocks or ways to check if the new location is a good one? Think I can use the 61 shocks?


1961 Chevy Apache 20 Crew Cab Stepside
-235ci inline 6, Carter YF2100S, SM420, Eaton HO52 w/ 5.13 on 35" BFG Baja T/As-
"BamBam"
In the Stovebolt Gallery
More pix in Photobucket
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 1,417
G
'Bolter
Im kinda curious on the reason for the swap? If you want a half ton truck, buy one. But really the three quarter ton that might need some work or refreashing, is really a better truck all around. Bigger brakes, suspension, hauling compacity. Half ton truck= half the capability. Why down grade? JMO. its your truck, do what you see fit. We will all support you. But maybe consider selling the truck you got and buy the truck you want??

Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,820
Crusty Old Sarge
Just a couple of questions. 1) If this is that easy of a swap why hasn't it been done more often? It makes sense that if you want to upgrade the front suspension you would go with something that had parts available. This certainly fits that bill. 2) Why not just rebuild what you have, after all a 60' had IFS on it from the factory. As Glenn has pointed out you are going from a 3/4 ton to 1/2 ton....

I would like to follow along on you decision. I had thought of doing this to my 59' just wasn't sure of the track width and difference in frame width in mounting. headscratch


Craig

Come, Bleed or Blister something has got to give!!!
'59 Apache 31, 327 V8 (0.030 over), Muncie M20 4 Speed, GM 10 Bolt Rear... long term project (30 years and counting)
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 42
C
Wrench Fetcher
The donor truck I am working with is a 1987 R20 Silverado, R is the 2WD designation for ‘87-‘88, the 20 means 3/4 ton as per usual. Originally, I was having trouble finding any donor cross member, I had a lead on a ‘79 1/2 ton crossmember and was trying to see if it would work out of desperation. The 73-87 trucks prices are high these days and I had trouble finding anything affordable. Several ads for part outs on Craigslist already had crossmembers gone for similar swaps, or so I heard.

But just to reiterate I’m working with a 3/4 ton now!

I’ve had my mind set on this a while, much longer than there have been good rebuild kits for the front end. I’ve got the thing all torn apart in my driveway so I’ve got the momentum and I like the idea of working with 26 years newer parts.

Depending on how the crossmember shakes out I may just end up rebuilding what I have.

It’s got a lot of surface rust so if I can clean it all up and verify it’s solid I plan to go forward with it.


1961 Chevy Apache 20 Crew Cab Stepside
-235ci inline 6, Carter YF2100S, SM420, Eaton HO52 w/ 5.13 on 35" BFG Baja T/As-
"BamBam"
In the Stovebolt Gallery
More pix in Photobucket
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,820
Crusty Old Sarge
I wasn't questioning the 1/2 or 3/4 ton issue, just the crossmember swap it self. How does this measure up, is it close to the same track? How does it match up to the frame? Is the frame close to the same height and width? ... I was just thinking this swap makes a lot of sense as the parts are everywhere


Craig

Come, Bleed or Blister something has got to give!!!
'59 Apache 31, 327 V8 (0.030 over), Muncie M20 4 Speed, GM 10 Bolt Rear... long term project (30 years and counting)
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 42
C
Wrench Fetcher
Widths look the same, hard to get a good measurement with the engine still in the ‘61 but looks to be 23” where the crossmember mounts to the frame. Word on the web is, ‘63-‘87s will bolt into ‘60-‘62s, an extra hole needs to be drilled another elongated. I’m referencing these links for this build:

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/showthread.php?t=366828

https://www.stovebolt.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php/topics/1154798/73-87_Chevy%5CGMC_front_suspensi.html

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1.....0i71j30i10j0i8i30j0i8i7i30.cBEJo5G38Bo


1961 Chevy Apache 20 Crew Cab Stepside
-235ci inline 6, Carter YF2100S, SM420, Eaton HO52 w/ 5.13 on 35" BFG Baja T/As-
"BamBam"
In the Stovebolt Gallery
More pix in Photobucket
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,010
B
'Bolter
I can't tell you about the 3/4 ton. The 1/2 ton is a pretty straight forward swap. It works well. To answer some of the questions, I will only address what I know.
The frame rails measurements are the same. It is a direct swap as far as the fit. Bolt up the factory holes that line up. Mark and drill/oblong the other 4 holes. From that point I used parts for the late model front suspension.
63-87 will all be this direct of a swap. 73 to 87 have disk brakes, so that is the reason I made the swap, along with getting rid of the torsion bar suspension.
Donor vehicles would be 1973 to 1987 1/2 ton, 2 wheel drive Suburban and pickups. Vans may work also, but I cannot tell you for sure.
For the shocks I bought new ones for the front suspension I swapped in. I bolted them to the bottom A-arm, and mounted them where they naturally wanted to be on the frame. I cut off the old frame shock mounts.
The steering gear I used was a late model quick ratio. There is a mount kit you use with the new power steering quick steer box. It mounts on the outside of the frame nearly in the same spot.
Trust me that this swap is quite simple. I assembled it as a whole piece onto my frame. One thing I did was leave all the shims for alignment in their original places. It makes alignment a little easier I am told. Something about making true center easier to find.
That is more instructions than I had to do my swap when I started. Good luck.

Last edited by Builder; Fri Feb 28 2020 06:51 PM.
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 42
C
Wrench Fetcher
Here’s a few photos for fun with where I am at.

1. Photo of truck in original complete condition, 81,XXx miles. You may have seen one like it if you troll the Twin cities craigslist for Chevy truck parts

2. Me pulling the engine. Had a lot of help from my brother disconnecting everything but he was gone before it came out.

3. The front end minus all the engine, trans and body parts.

4. Drivers side suspension condition

5. Passengers side suspension condition

Attached Images

1961 Chevy Apache 20 Crew Cab Stepside
-235ci inline 6, Carter YF2100S, SM420, Eaton HO52 w/ 5.13 on 35" BFG Baja T/As-
"BamBam"
In the Stovebolt Gallery
More pix in Photobucket
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 42
C
Wrench Fetcher
Much appreciated Builder! Disc brakes are the reason I sought out a later truck. I also plan to use a new power steering kit to use the supplied brackets to locate all the mounting points so I don’t have to make a template, but I am going to use the Steering box and pump from my donor truck to save some money.


1961 Chevy Apache 20 Crew Cab Stepside
-235ci inline 6, Carter YF2100S, SM420, Eaton HO52 w/ 5.13 on 35" BFG Baja T/As-
"BamBam"
In the Stovebolt Gallery
More pix in Photobucket
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,010
B
'Bolter

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