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Old 10-17-2012, 12:35 PM   #1
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front clip?

Hey guys, I got a 1989 Chevy c3500 with a "91 front clip"... I don't really know what that means. Is it just the grill and fenders that's different or is it the actual metal frame and front suspension? I got some funky stuff going on in my front suspension and its quite worriesome. I had a guy replace the driver side upper and lower control ARM bushings and ball joints, and he said that the parts for the 3500 didn't fit and he had to Exchange them for the 2500 parts. This is scary cause I got duallys. Can you please clarify what a "front clip" consists of?


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Old 10-17-2012, 01:04 PM   #2
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In all of my conversations over the years, the front clip refers to body components, i.e. fenders, hood, grill, bezels, etc., from the front of the doors forward; no powertrain or suspension components. Specific to your situation, two thoughts come to mind; the front clip was replaced due to significant front end damage, which also required suspension component replacement, and the correct components were not used, or it could be that the truck was a 2500 to start with, and someone installed the dual wheel rear axle in it. Here is a link to where you can use your V.I.N. to determine how your truck was originally equipped:


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Old 10-17-2012, 05:20 PM   #3
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The front clip refers to exactly what DexterII said. Here's a picture:

The open question always is, how much damage was done to the suspension mounting points and the frame?

I'd first take the truck in for an alignment at a very reputable local shop. They are expert at diagnosis of goofy on-road performance, and the alignment machine will confirm that the truck is at least square enough to be properly aligned.

Bushings are the likely culprit - as if your ball joints were getting loose imagine the other 20 or so front and rear suspension bushings and motor mounts, body mounts, etc.

It isn't too expensive to put this type of thing right, and you won't believe the difference. I drive Mercedes Benz, and no, I'm not rich. In the old Mercedes community it is an established fact that at about 120,000 miles, all the stressed rubber bushings are beginning to deteriorate to the point you can really tell when you drive.

New shocks are a good value too. Don't be foolish and get the most expensive, nor should you buy chinese cheapies. Spend a medium amount, and feel the difference.

As far as finding out your truck is a 2500 vs a 3500, don't sweat it. Unless you are hauling trailers of gravel over the Chillicotte Pass or planning to put on a wrecker body, you'll never know the difference (except vastly cheaper suspension and drivetrain parts). As always, the best advice is, "Don't Panic."

Last edited by imautoparts; 10-17-2012 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 10-18-2012, 07:54 AM   #4
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By the way, if this is the same vehicle that has or had the starting problem, the two may be related, such as a connector that was damaged or not fitted correctly when the body components were swapped, or a missing ground strap. Not an enviable thing to track down, but not an unrealistic possibility either. To me anyway, this would seem more likely to be root cause of your starting problem than the fact that the jumper cables having momentarily touched.
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