If you tuned in last month, the first thing that might come to mind when you spotted the '56 F-100 frame pictured in this story is that's the rolling chassis we used in the November '08 issue of CCT to illustrate how to correct a potentially dangerous mistake made setting up four-wheel disc brakes. For those of you that didn't read the story, when we bought our complete used chassis for $800, it came outfitted with a stock '56 Ford single master- cylinder tethered to four-wheel disc brakes, and not a safe situation at all. To correct the problem we installed a dual-master cylinder setup complete with special mounting brackets from Classic Performance Products.
This time around we are dealing with something that's not nearly as dangerous, but it takes such a minor monetary investment to correct that it just doesn't make any sense not to. The Volare frontend graft that instantly gave our '56 chassis power steering, and disc brakes also eliminated the stock front coil springs, and should provide us with a cushy torsion bar ride. Cush that is, if it has been properly set-up. One of the most common fallacies about the Volare frontend is the torsion bar is adjustable enough to substantially lower the truck (ride height). It's true the Volare frontend can be lowered this way, but unfortunately the ride quality goes right into the dumper because now the truck is relying on the rubber bump-stops to act as springs instead of the detensioned torsion bar. Add this to a truck running a Volare frontend equipped with the smaller diameter torsion bar found on some Chrysler applications, and it's a guarantee there will hardly any suspension at all (does bounce like a baby buggy mean anything?).
It's true, while these days hardly anyone seeks to install a frontend as invasive as a Volare under their classic truck, there has to be thousands of old trucks that are still running around with one. If you happen to be one of those folks, and the Volare IFS never lived up to your expectations, we're pretty sure we've found the perfect solution.
We contacted our friends at Fatman Fabrications in Mint Hill, North Carolina, and ordered up a pair of their Volare 2-inch drop-spindles. In true Fatman form, the spindles don't require additional specially fabricated parts in order to be installed. With a little bit of massaging (covered in the captioned photos below), the stock Volare disc brake mounts and steering-arms bolt right up. After the Fatman Volare 2-inch drop-spindles have been installed the Volare torsion-bar is returned to a position where it can function as a proper means to dampen the bumps. Minor adjustments to the torsion-bar can be made to raise or lower the truck to make it sit level.
Oh, and in case some folks might be wondering where all of this going, the series that started in the November '08 issue will continue in CCT until we have built a $20,000 truck for around $10,000. It won't be like on Monster Garage where a gaseous bass voice comes out of nowhere and declares "freebie." Nope, we're going to stick to it; if we go over on the engine and transmission, and then need more coin for the body parts, we'll scale back and explain how we did it. The premise for our project was born when we picked up the '56 F-100 chassis that was setup back in 1987 and then discarded in 2007 when the '56 Big-Window's owner decided he would much rather have a brand-new Total Cost Involved rolling chassis under his truck (who wouldn't?). The next step fell into place when our friends at Sonoma County Street Rodz in Petaluma, California called and told us about a '53 F-100 in Novato, California for $500.00. Two days couldn't have passed when Jeff and Steven Costa rolled up with the '53 Ford in the back of Sonoma County's enclosed trailer. The trick to pulling the whole thing off will be in knowing where to draw the line. Since our donor '56 chassis was already set-up for a small-block Chevy, and we had already spent $2,990 for a Year One PowerCrate 350, the decision to stick with a small-block was easy to make (Editor's note: I know you Ford guys are booing like crazy, so here's to tell you we have a Y-block powered '55 Ford waiting in the wings after the '53 is completed). For a bulletproof tranny to handle the Year One motor's 412 horses backed with a dyno sheet, we are running a Gearstar Level 2 200-R4. In keeping with our tight budget, the Gearstar 200-R4 is known as the Street Rodder Road Tour package, and sells for $1,795 complete with torque converter, and all the goodies necessary to hook it up, including a Hayden cooler.
It can't be overstressed how much easier disassembly work goes when the first step is to u
With the penetrating oil doing its thing, we used a flare-nut wrench to undo the brake fit
After the brake lines were disconnected, we immediately capped off the ends with plastic p
Removing the stock spindles began by removing the caliper retaining bolt on top of the bra
With the brake caliper completely removed, the next step was to remove the hub dust caps,
Once the disc brakes were removed and the spindles stripped bare, the next step was to com