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You are here: Home Tech Articles & Tutorials  Body & Paint The Great Radiator Support Swap
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The Great Radiator Support Swap
or, How to Install a '73-'79 Radiator Support in a '67-'72

 


FIG. 1  -  Here's a shot of the rust damage I had to attempt to correct. And this is the good side....the bottom of the radiator support was even worse!

When I bought my '67 to fix up as a daily driver, the radiator support was virtually rusted away. In my quest to find a suitable junkyard replacement, I was discouraged by all the rusted-out pieces on the donor trucks. It seems that this is a problem area on the '67-'72 pickups, and good original  rust-free supports are getting harder and hard to find. However, I was told that the '73-'79 range of F-series pickups had a support that would work with some minor modifications. Since I had access to an F250 from this era with a virtually perfect support (and it was FREE!) I set out to find out just what needed to be done to make it fit.

Some of the info presented on this page is taken from Page 3 of my project update pages, and some obtained a lot more recently. I believe I've covered everything so far...however, there might be additional mods necessary that I'm currently unaware of. I haven't yet installed the support, since it's scheduled to be powder-coated very soon. Prior to sending it off I wanted to drill any holes needed, so the inside edges of the hole would also get coated...and I wouldn't risk damaging the powder-coating by attempting to drill after it was already done.


Fig. 2  -  I was unable to find a useable '67-'72 radiator support, but had access to and found that the '73-79 unit can be used. Here is the side-by-side comparison....


Fig. 3  -  ...and here is another. The frame mounting points are the same, but a few holes will have to be drilled for the hood latch and grille supports.

Fig. 4  -  In this shot you can see the additional mounting points on the '73-'79 piece (on bottom) for the air-conditioning condenser and the large round hole through which the AC lines pass. There should be a large two-hole grommet in this hole.


Fig. 5  -  Using this junker '68 truck to illustrate, these are the holes needed to be drilled in the '73-'79 support to mount the grille.


Fig. 6  -  To drill the two upper grille support holes, just use your grille and valance panel assembly as a template for marking the drilling location. Here's the top hole...

Fig. 7  -  ...and here's the bottom hole, immediately after drilling. During this mock-up it almost looks like these two lower grille brackets will need to be shimmed out just a tiny bit, to allow the turn-signal harness to clear the radiator support. I'll find out for sure during final assembly and report back.


Fig. 8  -  In this shot I laid the radiator support engine-side down and laid the grille on top of it. You can see the hood latch hole that must be drilled.

Fig. 9  -  Here's the mostly-finished top latch hole. I drilled a 7/16" hole where the bolt needed to be, and then drilled a 1/2" hole right next to it, and widened it out with a die grinder, to insert the J-nut. All it needs now is a hit with the sander to smooth it out. If I was more concerned with appearance, I'd use a roll stone in the die grinder to square up the corners of the hole so they match the others...I'll probably do that, since this support will be powdercoated, and I won't want to have to mess with trying to dress it up after it's done.

 

Since I was getting the radiator support ready for the powder-coater's, I decided to trial fit the reproduction inner fenderwell for the driver's side. (I don't have a passenger side fenderwell yet...but should have soon.) Just so you know, I'm not entirely sure of it's origins. I got a great deal on it on E-bay ($40!) and I couldn't pass it up. It IS a '67-'72 style, but the fit wasn't the greatest. Not TOO bad, but could have been better. I trial-fitted it to a '70 radiator support first, and then the '77 support, and there wasn't any difference in how it fit...not really good on either. One additional mounting hole will have to be drilled in the radiator support and one fenderwell hole had to be ovaled out to match up with the support's J-nut...and I had to use the trusty die-grinder on the lower support flange, so the fenderwell would sit down flat.

I recently received an e-mail from Nick in Cincinnati who had the following contribution. I thought it was worthy of passing on:
 

I saw your page regarding swapping core supports and thought you may be able to use some info I found in replacing mine.  I was looking for one for my 1967 and was able the use one from a 1969 F-700.  99% of the big truck supports are rust-free here opposed to the rotting F100 ones.  I was able to get one with all hardware and removal for $50.  The first thing I noticed was that the mounts were in the middle, in front of the radiator.  Fixing this simply meant removing two large bolts.  Next, I sat it on the frame of the '67 and noticed it was about 4 inches taller.  The big trucks have the same basic layout, but the bottom part that is spot welded is deeper then the bottom part welded to the F100s.  This simply meant I had to notch it and re-box it in.  Lastly, the big truck support had an odd radiator spacer that ran the height of the support.  This was removed by drilling about 10 spot welds and knocking it off.  This was followed up by doing the same on the F100's frame mounting brackets and then re-spot-welding them to the big truck's support.  Finally the holes for the inner fenders were not there, but the indentations were.  Notice Fig. 1 where the bottom sits much lower than the frame.


Fig. 1


Fig. 2

 

 

 
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