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Original front suspension vs. IFS
#1354578 Sat Apr 11 2020 06:13 PM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 150
Shop Shark
I've been reading some of the latest posts concerning the original front suspension. I've not removed mine yet on my '50 3100. My determining factor has to do more with cost than driveability. I know all the spring bushings will need replaced. I would also want to install 5 stud dropped disc brake spindles. In addition, I would have to find a proper steering box with power steering compatibility. I assume some if not all linkage would need to be repaired or replaced. There may be additional items I didn't list and as always the unforeseen parts that add up quickly. An IFS from Speedway will cost $600 for the bolt-on crossmember and approximately $1,400 for the rest of it if my memory serves me correct.
Do any of you want to weigh in on the comparative cost issue? Time I have, funds not so much!

Re: Original front suspension vs. IFS
Rocket man #1354727 Sun Apr 12 2020 04:44 AM
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 49
Wrench Fetcher
I’m following this as well as I’m in the cross roads myself. Did you price out how much it would cost to rebuild the original front suspension? The way I look at it is that big trucks still use the I beam and leaf spring technology still, so how bad can it be?

Re: Original front suspension vs. IFS
Rocket man #1354734 Sun Apr 12 2020 10:47 AM
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 1,335
Shop Shark
If all the parts are good and you keep it greased the original front axle will be fine. Now, it is not going to drive like a new vehicle would, but your driving an old truck.
Go through it and change what needs to be changed and drive it, you will get used to it. Then if you don't like it change it. to what ever you want, it's your truck.

59 apache 1/2t
261 short stepside
Re: Original front suspension vs. IFS
Rocket man #1354744 Sun Apr 12 2020 01:07 PM
Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 4,128
Shop Shark
My '37 has everything new on the front end, springs, shocks ( tube type ), king pins, tie-rods, etc....... It drives as good as my '03 Toyota, I have to work a little to park at very slow speeds, but's still no problem. Your truck will drive pretty easy once rebuilt, especially if you get the steering box adjusted and lubricated. Mine has disk brakes on stock spindles, it might not have that if I could have figured a way to but drum brakes with matching bolt pattern to the rear. You won't need disk if the originals are right. The original setup has lasted 70 years, you think the modern add-ons will?

Re: Original front suspension vs. IFS
Rocket man #1354752 Sun Apr 12 2020 02:22 PM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 277
Shop Shark
I honestly love how my 3/4 ton drives. Its a little bumpy on backroads but it’s mostly from the rear not the front. I put like 700lbs worth of wood pellets in the back before and it was amazing how nice it rode. Yup its a 1949 truck so no it dosent drive like a new truck. If you want a new truck they make new ones everyday.

Re: Original front suspension vs. IFS
Rocket man #1354970 Mon Apr 13 2020 02:45 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 690
Shop Shark
If it is a matter of Dollars then do the math. A drop axle will run you about $400.00 ( I bought mine from Sids) I haven't seen drop spindles for these trucks, the disc brake kit can be be had for under $300.00, the power steering conversion kit about$150.00 ( you will need to locate a used steering gear to keep your costs down. Of course you would still need to freshin up your spring set and shackles. If you handle all of the labor involved yourself It can be done relatively cheap. As Tommy said though you are driving a truck.

Maybe you should post this in the HiPo forum

Last edited by TUTS 59; Mon Apr 13 2020 02:47 PM.


Come,Bleed or Blister somethings got to give!!!
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59' Apache 31, long term project (30 years and counting)
Re: Original front suspension vs. IFS
Rocket man #1355121 Tue Apr 14 2020 01:33 PM
Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 4,128
Shop Shark
If you go Independent front suspension, you will have a weaker front end with no load carrying capacity. You will also need to change the rear axle so you can have matching bolt patterns on your wheels, so add in driveline , steering column, brake booster & master cylinder, tires & wheels, welding labor, and a whole bunch of small misc. stuff.

Rebuilding what you already have will be cheaper. Tie-rods and king pins are not that much money, and it's something you can do with not many tools. Springs can be pulled apart and cleaned for the price of a couple center bolts. Changing out the spring bushings is also a DIY project, there's a thread about it going right now in this forum. Rebuilding the steering box requires a couple gaskets and a couple bushings, there's even a online manual to walk you through it. Once that's done, the whole front is like new. Drive it for while and see if it really needs changed, if you are not happy, sell off the rebuilt parts and buy what you want, someone is always looking for original pieces.

Re: Original front suspension vs. IFS
Rocket man #1355128 Tue Apr 14 2020 02:08 PM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 30,014
ace skiver
Joe H's post (and Cozum's and Tommy's) should be placed in the Hall of Fame.

Some members have good and safe IFS conversions.

My bet is that there are more failed and/or unsafe conversions.

However, do what you like.

Last edited by tclederman; Wed Apr 15 2020 02:42 PM. Reason: added the final sentence/adage

Tim []
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1954 3104 5-window pickup w/Hydra-Matic [] - part of the family for 15 years
Z-series (54/55) GMC 350 (2-ton) COE [] - now part of Dave's family
- If you have to stomp on your foot-pedal starter, either you, or your starter, or your engine, has a problem.
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Re: Original front suspension vs. IFS
Rocket man #1355146 Tue Apr 14 2020 03:34 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 20,371
Drop spindles on a straight axle aren't going to happen- - - -there's no room to move the spindle up. Dropping the axle makes the truck a straight line only vehicle- - - -it will handle horribly in any sort of a turn. Bump steer will also be a problem unless you plan to do all your driving on roads as smooth and flat as an airport runway. IFS- - - -putting a sub-compact car suspension under a truck kills the load carrying capacity- - -that's OK if the heaviest thing you're planning to haul is an iced-down Yeti cooler full of beer to a tailgate party. If your game plan is to build a show truck that's going to be trailered most of the time, do whatever your budget will allow to the ride height and suspension. If you plan to actually drive it on the public roads, your safe, affordable options will be somewhat more limited.

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Re: Original front suspension vs. IFS
Rocket man #1355316 Wed Apr 15 2020 01:20 PM
Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 4,128
Shop Shark
End the end, this is your truck, do as you want, we just want you to know, original equipment is not as bad as most think it is once it's fixed up.

My '37 truck is close to original, looks like it anyway, but it has aftermarket leaf springs with custom designed spring rates, later model ( '55 ) tie-rods, adjustable draglink, later model ( 1941 ) steering box, and I believe 1955 straight axle. Over all its still as designed, it rides good, drives easy at all speeds, and still uses truck heavy parts. Disk brakes are the only non-original type part on the front.


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