One of the most common of all modifications to an early truck is the installation of a Mustang II independent front suspension. There are a host of reasons for such a swap-they provide a lower stance, improve ride and handling, power rack steering, and disc brakes are part of the package and to top it all off, for everything that's added the reduction in your bank account is relatively small.
While all the foregoing are great reasons to consider a suspension swap, there's another reason as well-it's often the best way to fix a frame that has had ill-conceived modifications. Albert Valenzuela's '52 GMC truck was the victim of one of those power steering installations that prove just because something can be done doesn't mean it should be. When it came to undoing what shouldn't have been done, there were only a few choices-going back to stock was a step in the wrong direction, plus it wouldn't have been cheap to do. The best choice was to call Fatman Fabrications and go with an IFS setup.
Fatman frontends have been put under everything from Auburns to Zephyrs and they offer kits for pickups as well, including '47-54 GMCs. And while they're easy to install, there are those who choose to second-guess the instructions, or not read them at all. The result of that is confusion on positioning the shock towers. The center of the shock towers at their base should be aligned with the axle centerline while they are tilted to the rear for anti-dive during installation, as they should be. The centers of the upper control arm mounts will be slightly behind the axle centerline. This puts some caster into the frontend without having to skew the upper control arms excessively.
Another common mistake is having the chassis level during installation. Most trucks are going to have a nose-down attitude and the Fatman kits are designed for chassis with a 2- to 3- degree rake so it should be mocked up that way during installation. However, while the chassis may not be level front to back, the front crossmember should be-by installing it so the lower control arm pivots will be level with the ground.
Finally, when positioning the upper mounts, base their location on the centerline of the frame. Even though the rails are square, their shape may vary slightly which can result in misleading measurements. Base the positioning of the new components off the centerlines of the axle and the framerails.
Installing a Fatman frontend is easy and the results are certainly rewarding, especially when a fouled up frame that makes your truck miserable to drive can be saved this easily.
There are some projects that require extra effort to undo some of the wrongs that have bee
It may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but this power steering installation is a
With the steering removed the one word that seemed to describe the mount was "yikes!" The
As the frame was going to be boxed for strength, the decision was made to cut off the moun
A patch for the top flange of the rail was made and welded in place. A portion of the adde
In preparation for installation of the Fatman crossmember, the front portion of the rails