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cej2525

My V8 dream build.

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Before someone wants to get on here and bash me for not staying true to the platform understand that I took that in to consideration and posted here anyway. Sure the original is to be respected. But everyone has their own vision so please be respectful.

 

It has taken roughly 7-8 years for me to find everything I needed to start this project. Living in Ms it's hard to find these little trucks. I have been doing engine swaps for quite a while and have always wanted a compact truck platform to swap. I tried very hard to convince myself of a LUV or Courier. The Datsun was hard to escape. So here are the plans for my 78' regular cab.

 

2x4 box frame rails

Heidts Mustang II front suspension

4 Link w/ Panhard

QA1 Proma Stars

8.8 w/ 31 spline axles, OEM posi, 3.73

LS1 (99 Fbody) or a LM7 (2001 truck)

T56 with many upgrades

 

There are a lot of other specifications to mention but that's the "meat and potato's" of the whole thing. I'm not building a dedicated strip machine or a mini truck, just a fun daily. I'll post some pictures below that look close to the finish product I'm going for:

 

 

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Here is a picture of my 78'. I also have a 78' extended cab but no pictures of it yet.

 

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A few spare parts:

 

hknICpi.jpg

 

Here is what I have done so far:

 

epVyB6H.jpg

 

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SxIKm96.jpg

 

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The only 620 parts are the cab and box so this is not destroying one. This is the better way to V8 a truck because they don't really fit in a stock 620. 

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I see two different front end versions, is it the same frame, or two different frames, you change your mind on the shock type?

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It is a beautiful truck. The best looking mini truck ever built in my opinion. I have a long way to go and will post along the way.

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It's the same frame and front end. I modified the original design of independent shock and coil spring to a coilover set up. I have QA1 Promax Stars going on all 4 corners. They are 16 positiin,single adjustable. Basically I chopped off the spring pockets and fabricated a coilover mount.

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When you start your thread with a custom frame well under construction, most of us will just shut up and watch with glee. Its only when guys sound like some teenager who's "gonna do my first v8 swap" that grief is shoveled out by the truckload upon them.

 

Welcome to ratsun.

 

I'm assuming you're planning 400hp+ based on the t56 comment. Going Viper spec parts or just hardcore aftermarket?

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You never know how the masses will take it, but thanks.

 

I still can't decide if I'm going to use a LS1 5.7 or a lm7 5.3. I have both I just have to decide. Either way I'm shooting for 450 to 500 rear-wheel horsepower. The T56 I have already has Billet Forks, a hardened input shaft, a hardened output shaft, and a few other goodies. It also has a Hurst Pro 5.0 shifter.

 

I have an entire 1999 Z28 donor car. I bought it for pennies on the dollar because it was disassembled for a rear main seal leak and the guy was too lazy to put it back together. It was a perfect buy because my floor pans are gone. Now I can cut the floor pans out of the Camaro and put them in my 620 and I will have the correct transmission tunnel. I plan on possibly grafting the instrument cluster into my 620 Dash as well.

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Have you read Bob3's threads, his MX520 and 411 wagon are race vehicles, the 411 has Miata floor boards.

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Thanks for the heads up. I'll have to check it out.

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Watching. With glee. :)

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Watching. With glee. :)

 

^ That.

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I only mentioned Bob3's threads because he did the MX520 one way(2 years?), but the 411 wagon he did like you mentioned, he used the floor pan of the Miata complete as much as he could, and that build went fast(2 months) except for the wheel well flair hiccup, and he races these projects on tracks.

I will be watching this build, it's something I like to watch like Bob's builds.

It also appears you know how to weld better than most, I call people like you artists, I wish I was even half as good as you are.

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Thanks for the kind words. I am no master fabricator by any means.....but I get by! My father and 3 uncles were all welder/fabricators. So needless to say I grew up in it. I work 30 days at a time so my progress will be sporadic. I just got a 200 amp AC/DC TIG to assist in this project. I love it.

 

Next will be to cut down my rear end. I have a Ford 8.8, 32 spline, Positrac with 3.73 gears. It's out of an Explorer and can be cut down to 56.5". After that I can get to work on my 4-link!

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This looks like a pretty exceptional build.  I'm following!!!

I'd like to know how the steering geometry works out using the Mustang II setup on such a narrow frame.  Bump steer can be an issue.  Ackerman angle changes with track width changes.  No adjustment at the lower control arms?   Where you mount the rack will greatly affect all this.  Don't mount it until you determine your ride height.  Can you buy different length steering arms for your setup to accommodate for narrowing the track width?  

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The rack has mount positions are already welded to the crossmember. My rails are 25" on center and the entire package is centered around the 56" track width. I was told that the rack tie rods may have to be shortened a half inch. I have both standard and 2" drop spindles. I will address the rack once I have the cab on and ride height set. But with the rack up front it has to be better than a rear mounted Unisteer rack I had in a 72' Nova.

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Watching. With glee. :)

Yep, me too.

 

Most of these projects start off on the wrong foot with intentions far more lofty than the owner could ever expect to pull off. And they almost never start off with pics. I see a direct correlation between the ability to post pics and the seriousness of intentions, so I know this one is already off to a good start.

 

LS motors are great and relatively cheap. That would have been my choice too. I do two to three engine swaps annually and I absolutely love the LS for its adaptability. There are haters out there so now when I post pics on instagram or FB (#lsswapeverything and #lseverything), I'm sure to include the haters in the conversation. Maybe some day they will learn to embrace what I consider the best American V8 since, well, ever.

 

I have one question (I hope you didn't say already), where did you get those frame rails?

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I came in here ready to be disappointed..  and I'm leaving with a big grin.

 

 

Will be watching this one for sure!!

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Cej2525 seems like he knows what he is doing, has plans laid out and open to inquiries. I say more power to him.

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Thanks again for the generous comments. Fabrication is by far my biggest Hobby. I have been slowly buying equipment to make my turnaround times faster and my projects look better.

 

The frame rails are 2"x4 3/16" wall purchased from Checkered Racing. Great folks to deal with. I highly recommend them. Great prices on QA1 goodies as well.

 

Oh the LS series of angelic HP! Yes, dollars to horse power they are hard to beat. I had a 5.3 in a 72' Nova and it was fantastic. If you take your time it's a EFI platform that can be obtained with a harness for under $1k. I would put it on my zero turn lawn mower if I had time!

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I once sold a Buick 215 to a guy who put it into a John Deere riding mower!  

 

I have friends who run a 5.3 truck motor in their SCCA Corvette.  They've been trying to break it for 4 seasons now.  Still going strong, and occasionally getting top podium position!  The "new 327" IMHO.  

 

Great work.  Yes, the drop spindles dramatically change tie rod angles, so smart to leave the rack until last.  I radically reconstructed the inner fenders (interior floor) to fit the tires after a radical drop, so work all those clearance issues out first.  

 

Beautiful craftsmanship so far!  I can't wait to see more!!! :thumbup:

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That is honestly going to be the biggest challenge for me. I have done heavy steel all my life. But sheet metal is another beast. Redoing the floor pan among other body mods will be a new skill development or me. I also plan on possibly raising the rear wheel arch when I add my flares to match the front line. This will probably require that I shave in the gas door. I was heavy in to 4x4s early in life that started my need for fabrication skills. So I'm not really a stranger to basic suspension geometry. That being said I am no expert either. Once I get to the final set up on my front end I will definitely post up some measurements before I full weld everything out. So get ready for some PM's!

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Ahh saw this on the Facebook page. Love the work so far

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Ahh saw this on the Facebook page. Love the work so far

Thanks 5t341tH

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LS1 vs 5.3

 

Isn't the LS1 an iron block?

 

I'd go 5.3. Plenty of power for a light vehicle while staying light and still have the ability to bolt on more power anyways.

 

Both engines have plenty of aftermarket support. I just think the 5.3 would be better overall in the long run.

 

Not a Chevy kind of guy though.

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