Based on prior posts in this forum and discussions with some VCCA members we decided to convert the '49 3100 to tubular shocks. The cost of the "complete" conversion kit was less than the cost of rebuilding even 2 of the 4 single acting lever arm shocks. We also know that the ride will be better controlled.
I am disappointed in the kit we received from Jimmy Carter Truck Parts. I expect that our experience would be similar if we had ordered it elsewhere. 1) There was no documentation of any type. No assembly instructions, not even pictures of the installed kit. 2) The templates for locating the holes in the frame were worthless. They were templates for some type of 3 bolt mount. The mounts we received use 4 bolts. 3) There was no mounting hardware to attach the brackets to the frame. The online catalog picture shows that hardware as part of the kit. 4) Not all the hardware needed to connect the lower eye in the shock to the mount was included.
We figured out a reasonable position for the rear brackets but only after we had installed one of them upside down! We also got the hardware we needed. One point we noticed is that there is a depression stamped in the frame rail where the rear brackets mount. We installed washers between the bracket and the outside face of the frame rail so we could not flatten that depression.
We need help for these items. 1) How can we locate the front brackets? 2) What is the correct orientation of the rear lower shock mount that attaches to the u-bolt on the spring. Is the pin above the spring or below? The assembly manual shows below for 1954 but I found pictures that show it above. 3) What is the correct orientation of the front lower shock mounts? I know there is a left and a right. It appears that can be reversed side-to-side so will install either way.
Thank you DAD50! If only Jimmy Carter had included pictures like those!
We thought we needed to use 4 bolts because their online picture of the kit shows 4 bolts in the bracket.
Now that we understand this important point we see how the template aligns. We are close enough to the correct position that we do not need to relocate the rear mounts. Thank goodness we did not try the front ones yet.
One more question. Is the pin of the lower rear mount below the spring? It looks like it from your one picture.
I did talk to Steve at Jimmy Carter. He told me he would call me back.
I completed a front tube shock install on my '47 1/2 ton this summer. I had difficulty finding pictures of the front shocks on the '50 and up trucks. I found a video from Brothers which showed an image of the front shock, printed it and used a protractor to help get a ball-park angle. Then I installed the lower brackets, made a cardboard replica of the upper mount, then attached the cardboard mount to the frame with magnets. I then used a piece of threaded rod with nuts and washers attached to mimic the shock. This gave me an idea of the angle and placement of the upper mount. The lowers are angled so this gives you an idea of how the shocks will angle. The lowers mounts are specific left and right. (The lower mounts for lever shocks are flat) I'm getting ready to do the rears and I'm still not sure if the lower bracket curves to orientate the shock eye stud above or below the spring. I'm leaning towards down. There's not much in the way of images for this either. (Sorry you have to rotate the photo.)
Last edited by Rusty Shackleford; Fri Nov 13 2020 06:10 AM.
It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it.