Choosing a S10 Donor Frame
I bought a 1991 S10 regular cab short bed off of Facebook Marketplace. He was asking $300, but we settled on $200. The entire front end had been redone, all wearable parts had been replaced and the brakes were new. You can buy a complete front end rebuild kit HERE. My trailer is only a 5×8, so I offered him an extra $50 to bring it to me and he accepted. We ended up talking about cars for an hour, he’s into old trucks too. The frame was in decent shape and had a 3” drop block in the rear and a cut coil in the front. It did have a manual steering box, I wanted Power, so I went to a local Junkyard and bought a power steering gearbox off of the same year S10. The frame was also missing shocks, I opted for the Belltech Street Performance ones HERE, which I would have changed anyway. The shock bolts were also missing, so I grabbed some Grade 8 hardware from Lowes. Although the frame came with original leaf springs and a drop block, I decided to replace the leaf springs with new ones that were lowered and did not require a block.
Extending the S10 Frame to 118″ Wheelbase
The short bed S10 wheelbase is a 108.3”, which is too short, most swaps use the regular cab long bed S10 Frame. I found an Extension Kit with Code504 for $160. The instructions stated that I needed to cut down the 11” channel to the “length desired”, I called Code504 and spoke with Chris (One of the Owners), he recommended that I cut it to 10” and said that they leave it an extra inch long in case I made a bad cut when chopping the frame. Smart thinking, they just need to add that to the instructions, which were otherwise well written. Chris recommended that I measure from shock bolt to a bolt hole on the rear of the truck rather than measuring the wheelbase directly. He said this is because the Alignment Shop can tweak things up to ⅜ and it may not give an accurate measurement. This was a great tip and worth the call on its own. You might point out that the original 1952 truck had a 116” wheelbase and you would be right, the rear wheel was not centered in the rear fender from the factory, the extra 2 inches from this kit center the wheels.
Shop Equipment Upgrades
I decided this was a great opportunity to upgrade from my HF Flux Welder and bought a Hobart 130 Mig/Flux. I learned the items below: Buy 3 Grinders and install 1 each with a grinding disk, a cut off wheel and a wire wheel. Buy at least 4 extra spools of Flux Wire (it goes fast), Buy a bunch of Cut-Off Wheels. Most importantly, buy Something Nice for your Wife!
Front Frame Horns Removal from S10
I never found anything providing a good measurement for where exactly to cut the front frame horns. I decided to cut about ½ in front of the power steering bolt hole. Once I completed the cuts, I set the cut pieces side by side and realized that I had made an angle outward at the bottom of my cut. I measured the difference and cut again to even things up. This isn’t a science, just measure, draw a line, hold steady and cut it. I bought Quality Blades for my reciprocating saw, this makes the cuts much easier.
S10 Body Mount Removal
You will need to take off the front and middle ones. I left the bed mounts and plan to modify them later for my 1952 bed. Simply cut along the factory welds with a cutoff wheel and hit with a big ass hammer, cut more, hammer more, repeat until they fall off. This takes about 15-20 minutes total. Then grind the extra off and clean things up. Tip: Wear earmuffs!