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53-56 F100 grille swap?

 
  #1  
Old 01-10-2005, 12:36 PM
bradoemba
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53-56 F100 grille swap?

I've seen many 53-55 f100's using 56 grilles and would like to know what is involved to do so. My 54 has the stock "fang" grille. One of my catalogs references using 56 grille fill panels. Any thing else needed - other frontend panels? Will the headlights and trim swap from the 54 to the 56 grille? Any drilling, cutting or welding? Ebay has a set of these panels right now - http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...518305081&rd=1, plus I'm going to a swap meet this weekend. I want to what I'm getting into and what else I'll need.

Thanks!
 
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Old 01-10-2005, 01:12 PM
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Brad -

I have my 56 grill area apart right now, so I know what these parts are. The two walls on either side of the radiator (air deflectors) have recesses in them behind the headlights. The 54 air defelctors don't, because the headlights in a 56 grill sit farther back than the 53-55. Other than that, the sheet metal is a straight swap-out.

The headlight assemblies are different. The bezels on the 53-54-55 are rounded out. The bezels for the 56 dish in. I'm pretty sure that the guts inside the headlight (mounting rim, clinch ring, etc) are the same.

So, You'll need the grill, air deflectors (or mod yours to add recesses/clearance holes) and headlight bezels.
 
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Old 01-10-2005, 01:34 PM
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You do need the fill panels. The '56 has an indentation for that the earlier years do not have. The trim rings need to be from a '56 also. Lights should be the same. You will also need a font roll pan / gravel shield from a '53 or fill the holes left by the grill teeth.
My suggestion is to keep the '54 grill. They are unique and it takes a strong soul to like that buck tooth look.
 
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Old 01-10-2005, 07:10 PM
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Go for it!

Got for it!

Come over to the dark-side!

 
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Old 01-10-2005, 07:20 PM
bradoemba
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I've only had the truck about a month so the buck tooth may grow on me. I've always liked to be a little different. Ferguson777 - I like the custom grille you made with the old Pontiac piece. I'd love to see it on the truck. I was thinking of something similar as well.

thanks to all for you input!
 
  #6  
Old 01-10-2005, 08:07 PM
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Brad,

We pride ourselves on being one of the most civilized automotive forums - respectfull of peoples opinions (even if they are whacked) and feelings (even if they are touchy-feely-tree-hugging-hippies), but seeing as how I own a 54 F100, I believe I have the right to say -

How could that stock 54 F100 grille grow on anybody?!!!!

(But then even both my sisters {and one even looks like me , but with less facial hair} found husbands, so I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder...)

Minor reseach into other suitable custom grille candidates turned up a few other possibilities -

52 Ford car
55 Plymouth
54 Chev (the famous shark's teeth used for decades)

I'm sure there's others.....

But it ain't cheap being a leading edge, fancy-schmancy dark-sider. I'll have about a grand in this grille of mine. (Foose knows what I'm talking about.)

Dare to be different - just make sure you use something that is sympathetic to the trucks line. Effies are smooth and rounded, don't sticking some square-lined thing on it. Maintain the truck's fung shwei or however it's spelled...

Later,

 
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Old 01-10-2005, 08:27 PM
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I had a 54 with the fang grill; bought the whiskers and it looked like it had braces! I do like the chrome 54 grills some though. The 54 grills just look homely, kind of like my panel body. I guess the ultimate homeliness would be a 54 panel. You might make a sexy looking homely grill by incorporating the frenched headlights in a 54 grill...would be different, and you'd get a lot of double takes.

The 56s look good because of the frenched headlights; I put one on my 55 panel for that reason. The bug eyes just don't look that good; not much better than the fangs.

You'll need, as mentioned, the front roll pan; I believe a 53, 55 or 56 will all work.

If you don't want to buy the 56 air deflectors, just line up the spot, cut a hole and fill it with half of something round...the 56 deflectors have an indentation only about the size of half a baseball, so you might be able to fake it somehow and still look good.
 
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Old 01-10-2005, 08:31 PM
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i would have to agree about the looks of the 54 grille....its just plain butt ugly(to me)....ive been lookin at puttin a 56 chrome grille in my 53; yes its different, and i wanna keep it kind of the same, but i cant find a chrome 53 grille in the few places that ive looked....and besides, i can do a lot of fancy paint work to the grille i have for the money it would cost to buy a chromed 56 grille.........i say "go for it" also....the 53 isnt bad, but the 54 grille should be replaced

as fergy said....beauty is in the eye of the beholder
 
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Old 01-10-2005, 08:47 PM
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As I said, it takes a strong soul to love the '54 grill!! If you want to customize a grill, I have a '53 grill with a beat up center section you can have. Save the '54 for us poor misguided souls that can't have a '54 truck without the "butt ugly", "homely" '54 grill.
(By the way, those are the same adjectives I use to describe mine.)
 
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Old 01-10-2005, 10:56 PM
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The "to-do" list I have for this truck is 79 items long - replacing the grille falls somewhere in the middle. (It ain't broke, so why fix it.) Thanks for the advice and humor! I would like to see some more pictures of non-56 grille solutions/customizations if anyone knows of any.
 
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Old 01-11-2005, 08:34 AM
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I can't let this post go without getting my licks in. Let's face it...the '54 would win first place in most ugly truck category every time.

Any grille replacement would be an improvement...

Vern
 

Last edited by GreatNorthWoods; 01-11-2005 at 08:36 AM.
  #12  
Old 01-11-2005, 08:46 AM
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It is comparitivly easy to "french" the 53-4-5 headlights using 56 headlight rims. The "frenched" look really changes the appearance of these grilles yet is not a radical modification. You do have to dimple the air deflectors, but not much. The only parts you have to buy are the 56 headlight rims. You need a few pieces of sheet metal to make tabs to hold the headlight buckets in the recessed position. A slight trim job is needed on the headlight openings so the 56 rims fit flush. The buckets look good ( IMO) set back in about 1 3/4 inches. If you epoxy the bucket tabs in the grille and run a ground to the headlights, you don't even have to repaint the grille.
 
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Old 01-11-2005, 11:22 AM
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I think somebody already mentioned this, but it bears repeating. If you aren't going to use the 54 grille, don't trash it! First off, there are probably some folks out there looking for that grill (don't ask my why ). In the second place, styles change and you might be surprised to find that it's worth some money in a few years.
 
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Old 01-11-2005, 11:29 AM
bradoemba
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One more thought - can the 53 or 55 grille be swapped in easier than the 56? Looks like the headlights are the same, and doesn't seem that the filler panel needs the be changed or modified.

FYI - I wouldn't toss the old one in the scrap bin - it's not perfect, but in pretty good shape.
 
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Old 01-11-2005, 11:43 AM
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The '53 and '55 grills are an easy swap. You may have to redrill one of the mounting holes. With the '53 grill in my '54 at least 2 holes lined up. The '55 grill swap is popular.

One thing to consider is the grills and hood trim are the only determining details that differenciate the '53-'55 trucks. If you shave the hood and put on a '55 grill, it looks like a '55. To many it does not matter. I just wanted my '54 to look like a '54. The bottom line is to have fun and enjoy you truck.
 

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