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79 Crewcab 4x4 03-27-2010 10:10 PM

1979 F250 body swap to 96 frame....
Just spent an hour searching for info on this, and all I can find are guys that want to do it, then a bunch of guys telling them why they wouldn't. Was in the middle of taking the old motor out of my 1979 Crewcab 4x4 on a 1974 frame to put a 97 powerstroke back in BUT... my frame isn't worth working with (many reasons) and finding another around here won't happen so.....

The diesel donor truck is a 97 F-Superduty (96 body style with 10 bolt wheels) cab and chassis 2wd. I've figured since the diesel is at home there, the body swap will be the better way to go. The axles would be getting swapped out, that's not my issue. However, what I am looking for is info from people who have actually done a similar swap. I know I will be making all new body mounts. What problems did you run into that might save a guy some time and effort? What did you do that you would do again differently?

Please... not looking for reasons I should put a Cummins in or whatever, just looking for info that will help or save time.

thefordlane 03-29-2010 10:50 AM

im not completly sure with the 4 door pickups. But me and a freind of mine took his 1970 ford f250 2wd and put it on a 1985 ford 4wd frame and everything bolted right up. From the info he found when he did his swap that any ford will fit any ford ford frame taking into acount that it is the same cab and box lenght.

alxsnmr 03-29-2010 11:47 AM

Not to come off as being smart, but the most useful tool you can use right now is a tape measure. You have everything else, the tape measure will be the most definitive tool in making your decision now...

You already have the willingness to undertake the project, so start with a tape measure and sort everthing out to see what you may or may not need to make it work.

79 Crewcab 4x4 03-29-2010 07:09 PM

I'm not sure the early 80 vs mid 90s frames are the same... the 97 has a big flare in the front of the frame to accommodate the radiator which really messes with the front body mounts.

I don't take your comment as smart-ass'd, quite the contrary. I understand the pull the tape part, it'll tell a lot, but at some point, there's going to be something that will work better than something else, and if I could avoid a big headache in the future, I'd like to know about it before it happens.

I like the 79 steering column, but I'm pretty sure the 97 would be easier to get the wiring working, things like that.... I've seen a bunch of body swaps that looked right during the swap, then the box ends up being out of whack with the cab and stuff... I don't expect much of a response judging by the other threads I've found. Seems everyone went a different way. Either way, this seems like the best/easiest way for me so it's what the plan is now.

Pretty much looking for people that have done this... or quite similar and have recommendations or suggestions of at least potential problems that a guy might not be looking for. Right now my firewall looks like an issue because the depression in the 97 is much wider, so it would envelope the diesel better, but I'm not sure if it will be an issue once the body gets swapped.... could ramble for hours about things that might be an issue so if anyone has help/advice it would be greatly appreciated if it can save me some headaches later.

Hickfied 03-29-2010 07:57 PM

I''ve never tried the swap, but it may be simpler to leave the floor pans and firewall from the 97 on the frame, and cut the 79's out and set the cab on that. Mainly due to wiring, heat/ac, steering, etc. I know swapping a Ford F1 onto a S10 chassis this is the easiest way.

DaytonaTunnel 03-29-2010 08:34 PM

I've never tried it, but just a thought. The 7.3 doesn't really fit the '97 body, wondering out loud if it'd be even tighter on a bumpside ? I'd think a 460 donor chasis might be easier yet ? Just thinking out loud, good luck !!!

79 Crewcab 4x4 03-29-2010 09:17 PM


Originally Posted by Hickfied (Post 8701886)
I''ve never tried the swap, but it may be simpler to leave the floor pans and firewall from the 97 on the frame, and cut the 79's out and set the cab on that. Mainly due to wiring, heat/ac, steering, etc. I know swapping a Ford F1 onto a S10 chassis this is the easiest way.

Most people think I'm nuts when I tell them I'm thinking about taking the 97 firewall and putting it on the 79... same profile as the 97 has obviously, and I'd take the heater and stuff and hide it behind the 79 dash..... really won't know how it fits until it gets there though... anyone tried this?

Daytona... I'm not sure what you're saying. the 97 7.3 vs 460 cabs different or are you suggesting that I swap my 79 onto a 97ish 460? or?

I just sold a 97 460 truck, and looked at it enough to convince me that the 7.3 really wasn't that much bigger.... bigger enough to cause me too much grief anyways, that's to be determined. I measured firewall-rad clearance on 79 vs 97, and it's almost bang on, but after looking at the firewall profile I think the 79 cab would have to be farther back from the diesel to make it fit... won't be sure until I set the cab on the frame but swapping firewalls isn't something I'm opposed to.... the tranny tunnel might help too after looking at how tight the NP435 is stuffed under there. I'm not sure about the ZF fitting without having to raise the cab until it looks goofy.

DaytonaTunnel 03-29-2010 09:30 PM

I was suggesting you swap you `79 onto a `94-'97 460 equiped chasis. My '97 w/a 7.3 has ZERO room in the firewall department. Ford had no room when Navistar added the turbo, the downpipe is a piece of round tubing basically smashed flat. The factory set-up is VERY restrictive, but they had no choice, there's just not enough room between the firewall and the engine for the turbo exit pipe. They make a 3" round downpipe for the 7.3's (I have one installed), but you have to use a porta-power and crush in the firewall to make it fit.

My longwinded point is there's just no space available in the '97's, I'd think the '79's would be even worse (and forget it if you have factory A/C). I'm thinking a 460 equipped donor chasis would be way easier.

79 Crewcab 4x4 03-29-2010 09:49 PM

K, the 460 swap won't happen

However, from what you have said, I'm pretty sure of a few things, one, I'll be swapping firewall, and I'll be modifying it for more room while it's out.... I've heard about the downpipe, and it's one of the things I'm looking to upgrade.

There, that's one decision made, and I'm sure it's saved me time... thanks.

DaytonaTunnel 03-29-2010 10:03 PM


Originally Posted by 79 Crewcab 4x4 (Post 8702672)

There, that's one decision made, and I'm sure it's saved me time... thanks.

Cool, I hope it works out well for you :D

79 Crewcab 4x4 04-04-2010 11:46 PM

Been a busy weekend....


Get on this....

doug70 04-05-2010 08:43 AM

Not Crazy
At last, I am not alone. I am doing a similar(kind of) swap/mod. I am using a 97 f350 4x4 chassis, 1970 Chevy passenger car 427, NV4500, 1970 chevy body. I have the 97 stripped and am rebuilding the dana 60's and prepping the frame now. Have the 427 and nv4500 ready to go in. Will be mocking up the cab and engine at the same time. I have a 71 k20 bare frame for all the dimensions. Just get both of your frames on a level floor a plum-bob, tape and chalk and go at it.

I am also building a modernized 79 F250 4x4. Well it is a 79 4x4 frame with a 73 F100 body and an 87 4.9 with the trans from the 97.

The 97 will be a toy and the 79 will replace my 99 Tuscany as my daily driver.

Glad I am not alone on this.


79 Crewcab 4x4 04-06-2010 12:15 AM

If there's a cordless tool you want to put on the wish list... it's one of these.

Quick measurements seem to show that the cab will sit too far back on the factory mounts... should have it on the new frame tomorrow.
Waiting for the new downpipe... gonna slow me down.

sdg0080 04-06-2010 01:23 PM

i've got a buddy who put a 75 cab and bed on to a 03 dodge ram cummins frame. he simply cut off the old cab mounts off the 75 and welded them back onto the 03 dodge frame. looks awsome to me. has every bit of the cummins drive line in it. so you need to take your old frame mounts off and re use them.

79 Crewcab 4x4 04-06-2010 01:57 PM

Yup... don't know how far mounts will have to go.... pulling a tape and having the cab on are two different things.... should have cab moved tonight so will know more later...

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