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Technical Suspension: Gasser straight axle Puddin style

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by ShakeyPuddin55, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    I've been meaning to post this for a while but I'm lazy.

    The pictures aren't the best but you'll get the idea.

    I talked to several people, read some magazines and searched the internet before deciding on how to do the axle on Shakey Puddin. I copied a lot of ideas, and let my buddy who did the welding make a lot of choices as well. I spec'd and bought all the parts from all over. Nothing from the Speedway catalog here.

    The new front end came out of necessity since the car hit the wall and did a lot of damage to the front suspension.

    I wish I would have done the axle when I first bought the car. I would have saved a lot of time and money. I was never happy with the stance of the car with A arms.

    Here is the car race ready with the factory A arms:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    The first pass ever with this car was a 9.84 @ 134MPH.

    I made about 5 passes at Speedworld and the car was squirly for about the first 300 ft.

    I knew it had a bump steer problem, and here was the result of that one night at Firebird raceway: :(

     
  3. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    When the front wheels hit the ground the housing on the rack broke due to the wheels toe'ing out hard. This shows where the housing cracked at the U bolt mounting point. I was unable to keep it off the wall.

    [​IMG]

    Here is a shot of the crunched up A arm:

    [​IMG]
     
  4. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    Back at my buddy's shop after the wreck:

    [​IMG]

    Out with the motor:

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    We weren't scared..... time to start cutting:

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    What a hunk of shit!!

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  6. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    Dont try this at home!!!!

    I wanted the springs out since they were worth a few bucks.

    My crazy friend cutting the A arms with a torch and letting the springs fly!!

    [​IMG]
     
  7. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    After looking at tons of pictures, this is where we decided to cut. No regrets.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    As you all know, a common question here on the HAMB is what axle to use for a gasser. The Speedway and MAS axles seem to be popular.

    Most of the serious racers I talked to advised against a mild steel axle on a heavy tri 5 Chevy. Especially one that may wheel stand. I've heard many say that they can and do BEND.

    An east coast gasser racer gave me the number for Jim Tinsmith (Tinny) from PA. After a few conversations with Tinny, I was sold on his Chromoly axle. Jim is a long time racer and fabricator. He said they come 53" king pin to king pin. 2" O.D, quarter wall, and zero drop. After seeing the Speedway axles and how narrow they were, I'm glad I bought the axle from Jim.

    Here it is with Chassis Engineering spindles and Wilwood brakes:

    [​IMG]

    I have another buddy who got me a wholesale price from Wilwood so I stepped up and got the drilled rotors and polished calipers. They fit the early Ford spindles.

    They spindles are forged pieces from Chassis Engineering. I wanted the strongest stuff possible since I knew my car would be driven hard.
     
  9. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    Starting to mock up with the rectangular tube frame rails:

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    Tacked in:

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    A very nice touch by my buddy, pinching the frame in:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    [​IMG]

    For the leaf springs, I went down to Valley Spring in Phoenix and told them what I wanted. They do a lot of 4x4 stuff, so I dont think they knew what I was building but I knew I could add leafs or re-arch if needed. Turns out, we got it right the first time. I also bought the U bolts from them. The springs are 30" eye to eye.
     
  11. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    Here, we bolted up a fender to see where I wanted the axle. Factory wheel base for a 55 Chevy is 115".

    I wanted plenty of clearance for the big tube fenderwell headers, and I also like the look of the front end stretched out a bit. It screams race car. I wasn't worried about the altered wheel base issue. Those days are over. I'm not racing by any rules.... I'm just having fun. What we ended up with was almost 118" for the wheel base.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    Another decision was whether I wanted the shackles in the front or rear.

    I dont remember all the details, but we decided to put the shackles in the rear. One of the benefits was the car would be lower that way. The whole time, I was worried the car would be too high in the front. I wasn't building a street freak, this car was running over 130MPH in the quarter.

    Here is what my friend came up with since the frame rails are much wider than the springs:

    [​IMG]
     
  13. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    More handy work by Mike. He bull nosed the frame rail ends.

    The front crossmember is a piece of chromoly nicely tig welded. The front spring mounts were also hand made:

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  14. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    The motor going back in. We wanted all the weight on the suspension before any final welding:

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  15. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    Making mounts for the motor plate. My car has a motor plate and a mid plate:

    [​IMG]

    Adding some of those cool holes:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    NOTE: The hardware in the following photos is only for mock up!!

    Everything was later upgraded to the correct size with grade 8 and stainless.

    The steering arms are also forged and were purchased from Chassis Engineering. I really liked the bolt through design. Here is a trick I stole from somebody. To keep the drag link angle at a minimum, we bought an extra steering arm, inverted it and mounted it to the top of the passenger side spindle:

    [​IMG]

    The tie rod and drag link are home made using chromoly, threaded inserts and moly rod ends.

    My friend uses this stuff on dune buggys which take a lot of abuse.

    Here is the steering all mocked up using a Vega cross steer box. I'm not worried about using the small Vega box since my car is pretty much only driven straight :D :

    [​IMG]

    We heated and bent the pitman arm to obtain the correct geometry. We got very lucky here with the oil pan and leaf spring clearance:

    [​IMG]
     
  17. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    To minimize bump steer we wanted the drag link parallel to the ground and parallel front to back with the axle. It turned out nice:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

     
  18. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    Thanks guys.

    For added strength we added down bars that tie the front of the frame to the cage inside the car:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    For the shocks, I found a pair of Bilsteins that were a 90-10 and the proper length. I found them at a roundy round car place. I also liked the natural finish.

    We added shock mounts in the down bar and on the axle:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    If I remember correctly, we had already set the caster at this point and tacked the spring perches onto the axle.
     
  20. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    The motor came back out and Mike finished up the welding:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I primed and painted the new frame with rattle can paint:

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     
  21. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    OK, I've been up all night working. Later this afternoon I'll finish up with pictures of the chrome work, reassembly, engine travel limiters, etc. and the maiden voyage!
     
  22. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    Thanks for the nice comments guys. Here's some more.

    I remember after taking everything apart, facing the decision on what to do with all the new parts. Powder coating is too modern and I thought the car deserved more that just gloss black paint on the axle.

    I called a guy I had been using for polishing aluminum and magnesium and asked if he could chrome everything since polishing was the biggest part of the job. He quoted $150 to do the axle so I loaded EVERYTHING in the truck and dropped it off at his shop. Turns out the leaf springs ended up being the deal breaker since there are like 12 pieces. I think the total bill ended up being around $900 for the axle, drag link, tie rod, 3 steering arms, pitman arm, shackles, all the leafs and hardware and a mounting bar for the fuel tank. I was very pleased when I picked the stuff up only a week later:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  23. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    Now the fun part. Putting everything back together. I remember the excitement of seeing it come together.

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  24. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    Again, a lot of the nuts and bolts are still from mock up.

    Here is a nice shot showing how the steering turned out. The cool thing about making everything yourself is you can move stuff around until it fits. You can also see where we used the factory steering column with the DD steering shaft and two U joints:

    [​IMG]
     
  25. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

  26. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    Not really related to the straight axle install, but I had already purchased a new door from a HAMBER and it was primed and ready to go on.

    Showed here still with the rusty and smashed door:

    [​IMG]
     
  27. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    Shown here with the motor back in. As you can see I had junk valve covers on and had put a fresh coat of paint.

    [​IMG]

    For the fuel tank mounting, Mike made a bar and bolted it to the frame and I used the Moon style spreader bar brackets. Note the tank is completely behind the front crossmember. NHRA tech specifies it must be inside the frame rails of the car. It would never fly sticking off the front like you see on a lot of faux gassers.

    I remember wanting to do something more creative for the tank mounts, but it works and looks pretty clean:

    [​IMG]
     
  28. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    With a motor and mid plate combination, the engine and trans can still move back and front (flex) under hard acceleration or braking.

    We added engine travel limiters on each side. Mike made everything. We added mounting brackets to the stock motor mount bosses in the block and welded tabs to the frame. The limiters are adjustable and made with 2 spherical rods ends. All of this hardware was chromed also.

    [​IMG]

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  29. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    I don't think you guys would mind if I covered the flip front end set up.

    I asked around for ideas on this also.

    At first, I started with this old 1 piece glass nose since my front sheet metal was banged up from the wall.

    We bent up some steel tubing and ended up using the front spring perch bolts as a pivot points with these adjustable rod ends.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  30. ShakeyPuddin55
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,886

    ShakeyPuddin55
    Member

    Here she is rolled outside for the first time in months:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Flip front end:

    [​IMG]
     

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