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Making it Short

The short box C10 was not a huge seller in its time, selling far fewer that its brother long box versions because buyers were more interested in hauling capacity than the esthetic of the smaller box. So that requirement is a must for the inTENse C10 which makes it a necessity to shorten the frame, a task not easily approached by many who know the importance of doing this particular job perfectly.

It's important to note that shortening a pickup truck's frame requires careful planning, engineering expertise, and professional execution. It's generally not a straightforward task and should be undertaken by experienced individuals.

But there are motivations. It adds another dimension to what the Hawkeye students get to experience, as shortening a truck frame to mount that shorter box can present several issues that can be significant challenges, even for the most experienced builder.

Here are some areas of concern:

Structural Integrity: Shortening the frame of a truck involves cutting and welding, which can weaken its structural integrity if not done properly. It's essential to ensure that the modifications are performed by a professional with expertise in frame modifications to maintain the strength and safety of the vehicle.

Suspension and Drivetrain Compatibility: Shortening the frame may affect the compatibility of the existing suspension and drivetrain components. The shortened frame length might require adjustments to the suspension system, including the springs, shocks, and control arms, to maintain proper ride height, handling, and load-carrying capacity.

Wheelbase Considerations: The wheelbase, the distance between the front and rear axles, plays a crucial role in the vehicle's stability and weight distribution. Shortening the frame will impact the wheelbase, potentially affecting the truck's handling characteristics and overall stability. Proper calculations and adjustments must be made to maintain a balanced and safe setup.

Electrical and Fuel Lines: When shortening the frame, you will need to reroute electrical wiring and fuel lines that run along the frame rails. This requires careful planning and execution to ensure that these components are properly secured and protected from damage.

Bed Compatibility: Mounting a shorter bed on a modified frame can be challenging because the new bed may not align properly with the modified frame rails. The bed mounting points might need to be adjusted or fabricated to fit securely and maintain proper alignment with the cab and other components.

Legal and Safety Considerations: It's important to ensure that any modifications made comply with local regulations and safety standards. Modifying the frame may require inspection and certification to ensure the vehicle remains roadworthy and legally compliant.

So let’s jump right into it. Research and planning always come first and understanding the implications of frame modification means taking measurements of the existing frame and determining how much can be removed safely and still perform as intended.

Lifting the truck using appropriate equipment such as jack stands or a hoist insuring the truck is stable and secure before proceeding. The truck bed, cab, and any other components that may obstruct access to the frame were already completed. Now it gets a bit more serious.

Taking precise measurements to determine the desired length of the shortened frame a marker or tape is used to mark areas on the frame where cuts will be made. This is where measuring twice (or more) and cutting once comes into play. Suitable cutting tools such as a reciprocating saw or angle grinder, are used to carefully cut the frame at the marked locations. Making certain accurate cuts are completed to maintain the structural integrity of the frame.

Once cut, the cut ends are cleaned to remove any burrs or rough edge sand provide a smooth fit when rejoining the frame. Aligning the shortened frame sections together comes next using clamps or temporary braces to hold them in place. Checking and double checking for proper alignment and making necessary adjustments continues.

Welding the shortened frame sections together requires suitable welding process (e.g., MIG welding). The welder, following proper safety precautions and techniques, must make certain adequate penetration and strong welds are put in place to produce that crucial structural integrity. Depending on the extent of the frame modification and the intended use of the truck, reinforcement of the shortened frame may require additional supports or gussets.

When welding is complete and final measurements taken, students reassembled the truck by installing the truck bed, cab, and other components to continue to check fit in all areas. A thorough inspection of the frame and the overall vehicle insures everything is in proper working order. Modifying a truck's frame is a significant undertaking that requires expertise and knowledge, but with Terry Van Dyke’s guidance, the inTENse C10 now has a frame ready to carry the entire project forward.

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