If you want to modify your truck to give it a whole new look or just want to get a change in your specs, know that shortening the truck frame is a daunting task.
You need to know everything about the proper steps, the right equipment, and factors to consider.
As long as you are trying to shorten the frame of your truck, we are here to help you with everything that you would need to know to get started on your project.
How to Shorten a Truck Frame? Explained
The first thing that you would do is strip everything down and disassemble your whole truck down to the frame since that is what we will be working with.
Make sure the frame of your truck is lifted with some reliable supports like jack stands. You can use the jack stands to support the front and rear frame rails.
Also, support the manual trans cross member and the cross member bolted to the rear trailing arms.
Once you have your truck frame all laid out and supported up, you can finally start your actual work. Mark out the lines where you’ll be placing your cuts to make them more accurate.
You may want to keep the serial number stamped on the rails of the frame if you need it, so don’t cut over it or destroy it.
Instead of just the straight cuts or an angled cut, your best bet would probably be a stepped cut. It provides a lot more strength and reliability to the cut.
How long or short you want the cut to be made depends on how much you want to shorten your truck frame.
Put a mark and draw a vertical line using a square.
Measure how long you want your cut to be and put another mark. Measure the same length from that mark and make another mark.
Now, you need to find the center of the top to bottom of the frame rail. Put another mark at the rear lines and the front. You then need to draw another straight line that connects all three of the vertical lines.
This method will essentially give you a well-made stair step that will join together perfectly. It’s also easier for you to align the front and rear frame rails, and the joint is very stout when it is completed.
Before you start cutting, do not forget to remove the brake and fuel lines if you still want your truck to be working when you’re done and also to prevent your workshop or backyard from burning down.
Using a plasma cutter to make all your cuts might make the process much easier, but you’ll do just fine with an oxy or acetylene. Also, make sure that your straight lines are properly straight when you’re making the cuts.
Measure your lengths twice so that you don’t need to cut more than once. To make your cuts smoother, you can use a flapper wheel or a sixty grit grinding disc after you dress your cut areas with a grinder, of course.
It’s better if you have someone help you out to pull both the halves together. You should also make certain that you at least have six or more C-clamps and some larger Vise-Grips since they will help you out a lot.
To ensure that the halves mate together and that the rails stay even side to side and top and bottom. When you tack them together, you can also use a come-along that can come in handy to pull the halves together.
Before you start tack welding, you should make sure that your frame is square. The more your frame is away from being square, the more it will want to dog track as you keep going.
When you have made sure that your frame is nice and square, you can put about a group of six tack welds that go on each side. Measure again to make sure it is square, and you can now start welding.
This is something you should ask for help from someone who has good experience welding if you are not sure of your abilities.
This requires not just a good welder but a good knowledge of welding as well. You should take your time with this since you don’t want to weld so much at once that you just warp the rails.
You need to do it right in the first go because there is no helping it if you mess it up.
In order to provide some extra strength, you need to reinforce the weld areas on the frame.
It’s better if you do it inside the rails so it won’t be as easily visible if someone were to lean down and look under your truck. You should also support any of the other short welds that you may have made.
At this point, you’re almost about done. Now, draw a line on all of the three sides on each rail and cut the ends off. Dress the welds just like you did before.
Since the forward most pair of bed mounts isn’t needed anymore. You can just remove them. Reinstall the rear cab mounts back on the frame.
After you finish doing that, you are basically done; you can take a step back and look at the result of your hard work.
All that’s remaining is for you to use the sandblaster and paint it or even powder coat it.
Shortening a truck frame can prove to be a long and challenging modification, but it’s still a lot more satisfying to look at and use something that you made yourself.
It can also be a bit technical and, if not done right, can lead to a lot of problems with the weight distribution and even your own safety. It’s better if you get help from a professional workshop if you are too worried about messing things up!