Because of the 1/4″ per foot slope in my shop floor I could not use the floor as my baseline marker to get various frame heights and angles. I went over to Lowes and bought a fairly inexpensive laser level. I set up and marked three reference postions on the floor, one at each side mostly in line with the spindle axis and a third postion close to the centerline of the hoist and car. I leveled the laser in the center postion and set an arbitary height that was well above the front suspension. I then transferred this height using pieces of masking tape attached to each of the hoist’s lift posts. This line will be used to establish all of the frame heights by measuring down to the frame instead of measuring up from the non level floor.
Before going much further I leveled the frame on the hoist by using shim blocks on each of the 4 lift pads to make sure the frame was level. This was checked every time I did any series of measurements. I then removed both fenders, both inner fender panels and finally the front splash pan and grille shell. This gave me good access to the radiator core support and the bracket holding it in place.
Using a Laser to Measure the Front Clip
On of the keys to getting a suspension clip swap right for cars of this vintage is to accurately position the core support since it is key to proper alignment of the front fenders, hood and bumper. In that this swap would take a fair amount of time, I decided to fabricate a jig that was mounted to the firewall that would accurately fix the position of the radiator core support, not only vertically and horizontally but also picking up the same mounting angle that was present in the factory installation.
Fabricating a Jig to Align the Core Support
Once the core support jig was in place, I established a reference point on each frame rail that could be used to establish the centerline of the car and also the exact location of each spindle axle center. The Dodge was then pushed into one of the garage bays to wait while I found a front suspension donor.