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James Collier Jr.
WARNING: This is going to be an odd one, and a long shot / shot in the dark to boot. I hope it's not too far off topic, but there just aren't really many forums for this.
First things first. I currently am in possession of a pair of Pace Arrow motorhomes, one a 1982 on what I believe is a P20 chassis (6.2 diesel / 16-inch wheels), the other a 1983 on what I believe is a P30 chassis (7.4 gas, 19.5-inch wheels), though I have read this one is likely a P32, not a P30, which I believe only has minor suspension and brake differences. I am not sure which one I will use, or if I can even do what I have in mind. Both have severe roof problems and are too much work to repair properly to be worth it, but run great, and both are extremely low mileage (14k and 65k, respectively).
I have seen several 3500s (same cab as 1500 / 2500) with the same 19.5-inch wheel and 7.4L, with an added valance of sorts between the main grille and bumper, suggesting that the cab sits higher and is on a different frame. I have also noticed similarities in rail-to-rail measurements between the P and C/K on chassis diagrams I have downloaded. Auto Zone shows the same body mount kit for the P and C/K for 1983. I have to wonder as well if the late-model U-Haul 26-footers are on a P30/P32 chassis. Even late-model GM cutaway cabs and cab/chassis for U-Haul, small buses and even the Kodiak MDT appear to be the same Express van cab (the G-van's replacement, which was the basis for some box trucks of its vintage). I have also noticed that some of those box trucks had a longer, more raked nose, even though it was a G-van cab. A few pics are attached -- a motorhome similiar to the larger one I have, a "high-boy" 3500 box truck with the extended valance and the same 19.5-inch wheel, and the "Lil' Kenny" kit built for the late-model C/K frame.
All of this leads me to believe that a square-body or GMT400 C /K cab would mount on a P chassis with little fuss and muss. Which leads to my main question -- does anyone know if this can be done? Seems like it would work, but I'm hoping someone here has done this before or knows someone who has. I have run across a few similar projects, but could not confirm any of them were finished to the point of a running, driving (and safe) vehicle.
The reason I ask such an outlandish question -- I've had a couple ideas here. One was to simply swap a cab / nose from a 73-03 C/K onto the frame. The other idea was a "Lil' Big Rig" kit (scaled down Peterbilt / Kenworth cab built for popular full-size pickup frames). In the event anyone is inspired, the Kenworth version is built specifically for GM, and can be adapted to Dodge, while the Peterbilt version is fitted for use with Ford F-series, though either can be adapted for the other.
I'm thinking some modification would be necessary, as the P's steering column sits directly beside the engine. The steering box shows a different part number between the P and C/K, so I wonder if this would be the thing that makes it impossible. However, I wonder if the cab sitting lower might correct this position, or if I would need to change the column / intermediate shaft, or even the steering box itself? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I want to iron out the if's on this idea before I start tearing things apart and find out some technical snag, especially as the Lil Big RIg kits are quite pricey. Would rather have some answers before I start. Kinda thought about yanking the 7.4 and trans from the '83, starting fresh with a used U-Haul, and saving the 7.4 for when the U-Haul's 8.1 gives up. Might be easier, but I like the idea of using what I have if I can.
Thanks in advance for any help or advice.
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