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Old 06-23-2019, 08:40 PM   #1
Low50s
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Default 1951 Ford 4dr

Hello everyone!
I have a 1951 Ford Custom 4dr that I am in the process of getting back on the road it has been a 15 year project since life has gotten in the way on more than one occasion.

Around 2009 I took the body off the frame and I installed a Fatman Fab subframe on my factory frame after I had it sandblasted I never got around to buying the front control arms and pieces to finish out the front suspension. At that point in time I didn't put much forward thought into a good direction on how to get the car streetable again and now I am trying to figure out if my stock Flathead would/could work with the fatman subframe. I think I will have issues with the steering column being I have a 3 speed and fatman uses rack and pinion?

Another option I have available to me is about 2 years ago I picked up a 50 ford 2dr frame and I could have that sandblasted and repair the few thin spots in the back and retain factory ford steering parts/ steering box and I know the flathead will obviously work with this setup.

Has anyone here ran into these arguments with them-self and what would the fellow barn members do if this was a car they owned?
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Old 06-23-2019, 10:31 PM   #2
tubman
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Default Re: 1951 Ford 4dr

For my part, I will tell you that I have a '51 club coupe that had only 61,000 well cared for miles when I got it in 1987. The manual says that you should lubricate the chassis every 1000 miles(!!). I have observed this protocol since I have had the car, and I am sure the previous owners probably did also (they were a couple of old batchelor farmers in Hutchinson, Minnesota who bought the car new and used it as their "go to church" car). That being said, I am completely satisfied as to how the car runs and drives. One thing I did do after I got it was to replace the front springs with Aerostar units and replaced the shocks with quality units. This, and a set of radial tires, made a lot of difference on how the car handles.

From my experience (and since it is a "fordor") I'd recommend returning it to stock. These cars were fine when they were new, but by the time we get them, they are, quite frankly, all worn out, and have bad reputaion as to driveability. I drive mine every day in the summer (weather permitting) and find it is as good as anything else I have.

Oh, by the way, I have no problem with a "fordor", as the first car I ever owned in 1957 was a '51 "fordor". I guess i haven't made much progress in the last 62 years, but I'm fine with that.
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Old 06-23-2019, 11:56 PM   #3
RKS.PA
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Default Re: 1951 Ford 4dr

Low, what was it that inspired you to go to a Fatman subframe for your project?
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Old 06-24-2019, 05:36 AM   #4
Low50s
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Default Re: 1951 Ford 4dr

Quote:
Originally Posted by tubman View Post
For my part, I will tell you that I have a '51 club coupe that had only 61,000 well cared for miles when I got it in 1987. The manual says that you should lubricate the chassis every 1000 miles(!!). I have observed this protocol since I have had the car, and I am sure the previous owners probably did also (they were a couple of old batchelor farmers in Hutchinson, Minnesota who bought the car new and used it as their "go to church" car). That being said, I am completely satisfied as to how the car runs and drives. One thing I did do after I got it was to replace the front springs with Aerostar units and replaced the shocks with quality units. This, and a set of radial tires, made a lot of difference on how the car handles.

From my experience (and since it is a "fordor") I'd recommend returning it to stock. These cars were fine when they were new, but by the time we get them, they are, quite frankly, all worn out, and have bad reputaion as to driveability. I drive mine every day in the summer (weather permitting) and find it is as good as anything else I have.

Oh, by the way, I have no problem with a "fordor", as the first car I ever owned in 1957 was a '51 "fordor". I guess i haven't made much progress in the last 62 years, but I'm fine with that.
Thats very cool I hope to have mine as able to drive it daily. the grease every 1k does not seem bad at all. (I work with heavy equipment so it seems like im always greasing zerks)


Quote:
Originally Posted by RKS.PA View Post
Low, what was it that inspired you to go to a Fatman subframe for your project?
I installed a fatman because I wanted it LOW ! my plans were to have so the rockers of the car would rest on the ground. Since that was in my younger years I am out of that phase as I still wish the car is low but I think a 4" drop up front and some de arched springs and blocks in the rear will do what I want. plus I dont wish to modify to install a 4 link and cut and notch the frame and trunk floor anymore.
I was going to run a 350/350 but I decided that the flathead would be more "cool" back in the car since it seems everyone is doing 350 installs or now its LS into everything !
I dont mind the subframe but I am wondering if I am going to run into headaches with simple things like flathead motor mounts and getting my steering column installed.
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Old 06-24-2019, 08:01 AM   #5
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Default Re: 1951 Ford 4dr

I guess it's all about a goal (what YOU want the car to be). We've been at this car for 34 years and still haven't figured it out. The car had to look like some greasy hair kid from 1955 owned it and be easy to drive. Our goal [still] is to pack a bag and go a 1000 miles in a safe reliable old car that is a pleasure to drive at 70mph.

Every "slammed" car I've ever been in drove and rode like knurled dog sh!t. I'm sure there are exceptions, some out there with some real extensive/expensive mods.

We arrived at the Tubman solution to the suspension with a few different twists; after all FoMoCO used that suspension with variants up to the mid/late-70s. Anyways;
Ford Aerostar front springs, a complete front end rebuild, a "repurposed" HUGE 1978 Buick Century front swaybar, 14" radial tires on Lincoln Versailles wheels, lowering blocks on rebushed rear springs and threw away the Green book front end alignment specs.
On the front end alignment, I tried them all and it's almost as if Ford intentionally made the shoebox hard to drive.

I'm basically a "Chevy guy". IF you wanna "go there" the easiest/most cost effective solution is to mount the body on a standard length S-10 pickup. Very simple to do AND all the Monte Carlo SS stuff (and aftermarket) bolts right up. Choice of drivetrain including the LS family and trannys. I was headed there at one time until family/friends/acquaintances threatened some sort of sexual mutilation suffered on my part.

Having said that, We have a real bada** 69 Camaro RS/SS 396 with all the trick stuff (old school) [light flywheel and 4 speed etc etc]. Frame off restoration 20 years ago. It basically sits.
When we go somewhere in the summer or just run to town we use that little black Ford with a flathead.
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Old 06-24-2019, 05:29 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1951 Ford 4dr

Low50s..... heck your PM’s......Mark
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Old 06-24-2019, 07:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1951 Ford 4dr

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene1949 View Post
I guess it's all about a goal (what YOU want the car to be). We've been at this car for 34 years and still haven't figured it out. The car had to look like some greasy hair kid from 1955 owned it and be easy to drive. Our goal [still] is to pack a bag and go a 1000 miles in a safe reliable old car that is a pleasure to drive at 70mph.

Thats my goal as well is to have a fun car that I can hop in and put some miles on. I do not think I will put 1000 miles at a time but id like to be able to hop in and drive to car shows and family rides I have a 2.5yr old that keeps asking to ride in this car yet it is TORN apart

Every "slammed" car I've ever been in drove and rode like knurled dog sh!t. I'm sure there are exceptions, some out there with some real extensive/expensive mods.
I agree 1000% with this when the time came that I wanted the slammed dragging frame shoebox I had never really driven cars that were slammed I have since drove a few vehicles that had full "budget" air suspension builds and none of them drove the best camber/caster was always changing when aired up or down and toe always seemed to be off.
That is why I am leaning away from full air suspension and want a decent "real" suspension that will allow me to actually drive and enjoy the car not fighting the steering wheel. Just do not know if Fatman must 2 is the answer or the factory shoebox setup from my 2nd frame.


We arrived at the Tubman solution to the suspension with a few different twists; after all FoMoCO used that suspension with variants up to the mid/late-70s. Anyways;
Ford Aerostar front springs, a complete front end rebuild, a "repurposed" HUGE 1978 Buick Century front swaybar, 14" radial tires on Lincoln Versailles wheels, lowering blocks on rebushed rear springs and threw away the Green book front end alignment specs.
On the front end alignment, I tried them all and it's almost as if Ford intentionally made the shoebox hard to drive.

I'm basically a "Chevy guy". IF you wanna "go there" the easiest/most cost effective solution is to mount the body on a standard length S-10 pickup. Very simple to do AND all the Monte Carlo SS stuff (and aftermarket) bolts right up. Choice of drivetrain including the LS family and trannys. I was headed there at one time until family/friends/acquaintances threatened some sort of sexual mutilation suffered on my part.
I agree I WAS a Chevy guy I had an amazing Chevy pickup at one time (2001 3/4 ton ) upgraded to a 14 1/2 ton and the quality was lacking I had that truck for 25k miles and in that time frame I had it to the dealer 4 times for warranty issues and it still had problems.
so yes I agree some of the older chevy vehicles are decent I dont want the mobs with pichforks and torches coming after me for installing an s10 frame under a shoebox.
plus I am sticking some time and money into my flathead so I want whatever choice is needed to insure that engine can go into my vehicle.


Having said that, We have a real bada** 69 Camaro RS/SS 396 with all the trick stuff (old school) [light flywheel and 4 speed etc etc]. Frame off restoration 20 years ago. It basically sits.
When we go somewhere in the summer or just run to town we use that little black Ford with a flathead.
Hope my answers help a bit Like I said I am putting some time and money into the flathead getting it running again. back when I was going to use the fatman subframe I was planning a SBC build.
What has me worried is
1 Oil Pan clearance issues with Fatman subframe
2 Steering Columns that can be used and work with the Rack and pinion setup of the mustang 2

since most of the subframes I see guys run a small block of somekind and they are all decked out with very nice interiors and custom chrome steering column with tilt.
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Old 06-28-2019, 07:38 PM   #8
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Default Re: 1951 Ford 4dr

Hey guys I went and put my eyes back on my stock 50 frame and I had a few questions I hope some people can help answer.

1. I noticed that the rear of the 50 frame goes to the top of the wheel arch then it goes from boxed to open. and the rear on my 51 is boxed all the way to the back. was there an issue with frame twisting or why was the change made from partial to full boxed frame from 50-51?

2. So my donor frame seems "thin" compared to my 51 frame. I know there is years of rusting on it I mainly notice it on the back "half" of the car I am wondering if I would run into issues of flex or having sag or something on the donor frame if I put my 4dr body on that to run the factory style steering.
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Old 06-28-2019, 08:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1951 Ford 4dr

There were running changes/improvements on the ‘49-‘51 cars. I think things were pretty much sorted out with the ‘51’s. I will get pics of the parts I have to you on Sunday.
Work has been crazy this week and I haven’t gotten home till well after dark every night....Mark
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Old 06-28-2019, 08:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1951 Ford 4dr

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Originally Posted by flatford8 View Post
There were running changes/improvements on the Ď49-Ď51 cars. I think things were pretty much sorted out with the Ď51ís. I will get pics of the parts I have to you on Sunday.
Work has been crazy this week and I havenít gotten home till well after dark every night....Mark
I know exactly what your talking about!

here is a picture of my donor frame I would just hate to put a bunch of work into a "junk" frame. I know I would need to get it sandblasted im almost scared to blast it and see how thin it really is.
I would take a few more pictures but I have some black plastic drainage tile stored over it.
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Old 06-28-2019, 10:19 PM   #11
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Default Re: 1951 Ford 4dr

I can't be sure because I haven't been there to look at it closely, but that doesn't look good at all. Since you are concerned about the front suspension, have you considered cutting the front end off the '50 frame and mating it to the back half of the '51 frame. With some very carefull measuring and cutting and a few fishplates, you might have the best of both worlds.

I have a '51, and know the VIN is stamped on the diagonal members between the frame and the crossmember under the radiator on the passenger side. If you could remove that piece and splice it into the '50 front frame, you could even keep the VIN properly.

Last edited by tubman; 06-29-2019 at 07:11 AM.
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Old 06-29-2019, 04:08 AM   #12
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Default Re: 1951 Ford 4dr

Are you about that being a ‘51?. The rear spring hangers are different. ‘51’s have a rounded piece of flat steel and mount the upper spring hanger in it, rather than through the frame like a ‘50. Or maybe I’m confused on what year the donor frame is. This is from my ‘51. You can try using a wire wheel on a small grinder to clean most of the rust.....Mark
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Old 06-29-2019, 05:03 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1951 Ford 4dr

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I can't be sure because I haven't been there to look at it closely, but that doesn't look good at all. Since you are concerned about the front suspension, have you considered cutting the front end off the '50 frame and mating it to the back half of the '51 frame. With some very carefull measuring and cutting and a few fishplates, you might have the best of both worlds.

I have a '51, and know the VIN is stamped on the diagonal members between the frame and the crossmember under the radiator on the passenger side. If you could remove that piece and splice it into the '50 front frame, you could even keep the VIN properly.
I may have to do what you suggested and swap stubs again. I wanted to avoid the "weak spots" of the weld or any error that may be caused by me cutting and moving into place but I hate to say that might be the best option. If I want to get back to the old front suspension.
I wish I could go back in time and give myself a swift kick!

flatford8 I am not really worried about the spring hangers or anything like that my main concern was at what point is a thin frame declared unsafe ? I do not think I could poke threw it or anything but I personally just feel it seems think compared to my 51 frame.

is there much market for used fatman subframes
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