Well, after much agonizing, I've finally taken the plunge and ordered a Gibbon Fiberglass IFS crossmember for my '51 F-1. I have noticed that there is a lot of discussion surrounding the Volare IFS, including an in-depth tech article. As you guys have been extremely helpful while I've made the major decisions on how I want this truck to turn out, I thought that maybe I could give a little something back and do a tech article on my installation. Maybe this would give anyone considering an IFS swap something to compare a Volare installation to. It seems as though a lot of guys are looking for a "bolt in" installation. Since this is supposed to be just that, is there any interest at all and how would I go about submitting it? I can take decent pictures and type, but I'm not into web page design by any means! I'll let you guys decide. Thanks for any input!
Definitely document your install. I think others would be interested. I know I would as I plan to build a 48-50 next if I can find one. I am not certain but I believe all Ken requires is some good photos and a decent write up. I think someone would help turn it into a tech article. I think you probably made a good decision. I sure like the adjustability of the torsion bars.
I would be extremely interested. I've e-mailed them a couple of times for info, but haven't gotten a response. Hopefully, it's my computer's fault. I'll try using the phone next. I have a '56, but it's got to be similar, if it's a bolt in.
Well, my crossmember is here and I'll probably start tearing into it as soon as I figure out how to stuff the engine/trans. back in my Taurus that got taken out over a year ago. (Procrastination is a terrible thing. - Where the hell did this bolt go???) The guy at Gibbon was extremely helpful and knowledgable about the construction and installation of this suspension. The phone number to the shop is (308)468-6178. They can send you some info. I'll see if I can get Kenny to post my pics and write-up as soon as I get it put in.
What engine and tranny combo do you intend to run? I am also working on a 49 F-1 and have already purchased the same kit from Gibbons, but like you said procrastination is a killer (plus not having a cement floor or shop to work in). I would love to see your build up as you go along and see what problems arise.I intend to run a 460/c-6 (already in storage). Im not sure yet what to do for exhaust, might be stuck with stock manifolds if I cant find a good fitting header.Keep us informed of your progress and keep on FORD Truckin'
I'm going to be running a 351W and an AOD. I'll be using Gibbon's engine and trans. mount kits, too, but I haven't ordered them yet. One thing at a time! I'll keep you all posted and get my pics up as soon as possible. From my first impression after looking over the construction of the crossmember and the instruction sheet, I'm already very impressed. This thing isn't a hastily tacked together piece. Well built and well thought out. Excellent welding. When it's put in, I fully expect it to look like Ford put it there. OK, gotta go screw a Taurus back together so I can get this into the shop!
I am just about done installing the Gibbons Kit using a 79 Cordoba front suspension. The part where it says bolt it on, get it aligned, and drive it away isn't all true. You loose the rear crossmember, along with the master cyllinder, to make room for the tortion bars. Of course, you have to install a different steering column to mate up with the new steering box,which I'm in the process of doing. Since I already had the truck set up for a 350, I also lost my engine mounts, and if I had researched it closly, I would have had Gibbons put on mounts for my new 400. I talked with Kyle Gibbons who said hanging a brake pedal and booster and booster is not difficult, so be sure to get them from the donor car when you get the suspension.
My old suspension and the flathead are still in place, but my body is completely off, so I've been doing a lot of looking and calculating about how this thing is going to go in. According to the instruction sheet (or at least the one I got), the stock trans. crossmember can stay along with, I'm assuming, the master cylinder. They just recommend cutting it loose and bolting it in instead of leaving it riveted to make it easier to remove the trans. later if necessary without totally disassembling the suspension. From my observations, the torsion bars should clear the stock crossmember. I had anticipated cutting mine out to make more room for the automatic anyway. I had also figured on swapping in a different steering column and firewall-mounted booster and master cylinder. Hopefully anyone considering this swap will realize that there is no way that the old column will attach to the Chrysler box. I acquired a '77 Plymouth Fury for my donor car and am in the process of gutting out everything I need. I pulled the tilt column and booster/m. cyl./ pedal assembly out last night. I'll probably use those unless there is a major fitment problem. For anyone believing the contrary, this kit is NOT a weekend bolt in project. It will require just as much disassembly and re-engineering as a Volare installation, but without the associated cutting, hacking, welding, boxing, and measuring. Again, as soon as I get started, I'll try to get some pics up.
I'm finishing up a Cordova IFS in my '54 Panel now. I have been generally very pleased with how it went. Some things that I may pass along...
- Contrary to what the magazine article says the front crossmember can stay. Lots of room and it can't hurt to have the it in.
- The engine mounts for a SB Ford from Gibbons work ok but there are a few things that I'd change. The left mount is great and very easy to fit in. The right mount welds to the frame rail and it works fine but I'd rather have it welded to the crossmember. See my images at the link below. (Actually, those images are old. I've since welded a brace to the crossmember. I'll try to get the image up this weekend.)
- The engine sits quite high but there is no problem with firewall clearance and you don't need a rear sump SBF to make it work. There's plenty of room for a front sump.
- There aren't any clearance problems with the torsion bar crossmember.
- I ran out of room in the front for the fan. My 5.0L has the serpintine belts and they add 3-4" to the front of a standard SBF. I'll have to use an electric fan.
- I used a Classic Pickup Parts booster and master cylinder which uses the original pedal and bracket. I had to move the fuel tank back on my Panel to make room for the booster.
- The tranny mount is pretty simple if you are willing to make adjustments for the exhaust. I elected to make a low tranny mount to allow more room for exhaust. Never do anything simple when you can make it difficult :-)
Anyway I have a few images on my web page and more in the camera so keep dropping by.
By the way, I have a 53 PU that I'm trying to restore to original so I may be intersted in any parts that you might be tossing. What kind of shape is the flathead in?
Wow, half ton! I checked out your pics and those mounts really do leave the engine pretty high! I was going to go with those, but now I'm not quite so sure. I think I'd rather have it sitting lower. I'll have to give that some thought. Also, you said your engine and serpentine belt brackets came from an '89 Crown Vic. I'm going with a 351W, but I planned on using the serpentine brackets from an'84 Crown Vic that donated it's AOD for this project. You said you didn't have enough roon for a fan, but plenty of firewall clearance. Could you have moved the engine back farther to get enough room for a fan? I personally prefer a mechanical fan and may use another bracket system for my accessories if this won't let me do that.