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Technical 1950's Dodge Truck Front Axle Swap ?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 604birdman, Sep 13, 2022.

  1. After doing lots of research on the internet and here, i cant seem to find an answer.

    I Currently have a stock 1954 C series panel truck with a solid front axle with drum brakes. Id like to Lower the front end, and the only option for me seems to ship the axle down to sids and have it lowered. Being in canada this can be expensive. I ordered a disk brake kit from olddaddy on here that should take care of the front brake concern for now but at the end of the day its a limited supported axle, parts, and expensive.

    My question is has anyone swapped over a Ford or similar solid axle from same era of truck? a lowered solid axle can be found cheaper new, and they make a disk brake kit, and power steering kit for the axle. my worry is all the steering arms, spindles etc, or do i use the ones from the ford, my concern is still the pitman arm then, if it needs to be modified.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
  2. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 21,829


    Careful, sir.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2022
    73RR likes this.
  3. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 3,201


    If I remember correctly, the current axle is mounted under the springs, if that is the case, moving the axle above the springs gives you a very serious drop.
    You would probably have to add a mounting bracket to the bottom of the axle, and notch the frame for clearance, but it would sure drop the front end. Oil pan clearance could be an issue as well.

    My son had a 56 Dodge panel, we pulled 2 leafs out of each front spring, that lowered the truck a couple inches, but sure wore out the remaining springs pretty fast. Not something I would recommend.

    There is going to be a lot of frame cutting to mount a Ford front axle under your Dodge panel. If your choice is keeping a beam style axle, have your axle dropped.

    The three 50s Dodge trucks I built were all clipped or total frame replacement (two needed the full frame, the originals were both bent). PM me if your interested in doing a clip.
  4. guthriesmith
    Joined: Aug 17, 2006
    Posts: 7,795

    1. H.A.M.B. Chapel

    Pretty sure Sid does know all you need for that Dodge, so talking to him might be a good start. I installed one of his axles in a Dodge, but can’t remember what year it was or what I had to do with the steering arms. :oops:

    Had to go look since it was bothering was a 63 and appears quite a bit different than the 50’s trucks. I do know what all I did to that one if it helps any.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2022

  5. the oil soup
    Joined: May 19, 2013
    Posts: 252

    the oil soup
    from Tucson,AZ

    I have a dropped axle (3”?) from Sids on my ‘53 Dodge B4B and also reversed the spring eyes. Had to use dropped tie rod ends mounted from the underside of the steering arms to clear the springs and fab a new drag link. Lowered it 5 or 6”.
  6. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 32,120


    In your case you might be money ahead to pay and eat the core charge for the axle and only have to pay shipping to Canada rather than both ways.
    I absolutely do not suggest removing leaves to lower a truck. This is my front leaf spring with three leaves removed to lower it as you see in my avatar.
    It drove like crap and even with a pretty caster shim in it wouldn't track very well.
    Thing is when you remove leaves the spring keeps sagging until it runs out of room to sag any more.
    guthriesmith likes this.
  7. Thanks for input guys. I’d like to get Looooow. It sits pretty high at the moment.

    Unfortunately Dakota clips, volare’s or anything of the sort besides new mustang II’s are more scarce these days, as are Toyota power steering boxes, Nothings easy to find anymore. Wreckers are full of cars from 2000 or newer. I was quoted $4000cnd for a new mustang II PARTS ONLY.

    I’ll give sid a ring, but with shipping back and forth and drop cost I’m assuming this will cost over $1200 for just the axle. A drop ford axle is 450 shipped new. The spring perch mounts are a 5/16-3/8 off on each side. But the plates look like they can be easily removed and re welded. Not sure why the ford route would require any more chopping and cutting than the dodge axle. It stays under the springs.

    putting the axle ontop of the leafs sounds more appealing, I never thought about the oil pan Clearance, I’ll defiantly look into this. PO installed a SBC in it. the steering geometry still worries me. Has anyone done this with a power steering conversion?
  8. Have you thought about ordering a dropped tube axle and welding spring pads on? Speedway sells 4 and 6 inch drop axles, and the semi-elliptic mounting pads. There set up for Chev or Ford spindles, but you may be able to find a way around that, too.
    Budget36 and Nailhead Jason like this.
  9. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 10,394


    Another thought would be a dropped tube axle, place the perches where needed. Unsure if you want the I-beam look as well, or just lower?
  10. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 10,394


    Mercy, I should read all the replies before posting;)
    Algoma56 likes this.
  11. this is the route I was thinking but speedway sells it in the shape of a 50’s truck axle so the track width and camber id assume would be closer.

    I’m going to see what I can find online, I’ll post the results for everyone’s reference regarding king pins dia king pin width and spring mount width.
  12. stubbsrodandcustom
    Joined: Dec 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,892

    from Spring tx

    Id say Im about as low as I can go in current config. Sids 3" drop axle, reverse eyed springs, 1 small leaf removed, steering box raise, rear is an axle flip.

    If I had it to do all over again, I would have started with a axle flip on the front and gone from there. There is enough room if your springs are good to flip and still have travel.


    steering box raise was 1.5" and shortened 3", dropped tie rod adapter on the spindles, and massaged the steering arm with heat to get it in the right spot being lower also...

    Packrat likes this.
  13. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 10,394


    Was just thinking about this thread and trying to do the math. Why is shipping so high to send 30-35 pounds across the border and back? Do you have to pay an import tax on services rendered?
    Or does the length of the axle require non-postal delivery? I/e truck freight, etc.
  14. Oversize package throws the shipping rates for a loop. And I think the truck axle might be heavier than that as well.
  15. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 10,394


    I took a factory ‘55-9 Chevy PU axle apart a few months ago to clean and paint it didn’t weigh it, but wasn’t heavy to me. And I grunt bringing in a bag of dog food;)
  16. I did the online shipping calculator and the cheapest shipping from where i am to Sids was $140.00cnd I will probably get dinged with a "brokerage" charge on the way back too, so im guessing id be over $300 in shipping alone round trip.
    Budget36 likes this.
  17. Wow this sounds like alot of work! but you seem more than capable. I never thought of having to raise the steering box.
    If you did go over the front springs how would you deal with all the steering bits?
  18. I took the time and found the measurements for all the Ford and Dodge axles; info below;

    1954 dodge
    51-1/2" Kingpin to kingpin (top)
    30" spring perch center to center
    1-3/4" wide spring
    .873 dia kingpin

    $700-800 3" drop axle
    $500 - disk brake kit
    unknown - Power steering

    1948-52 Ford
    50-1/2" Kingpin to Kingpin (top)
    29 1/8" Spring perch center to center
    0.813" dia kingpin

    $479.00 drop axle 3"
    $305 - Disk brake kit
    unkown - power steering (but it seems alot easier)

    I guess the question would be the steering? The f1 box is mounted behind the front wheel, the dodge is mounted infront of the front wheel. both side steer. the ford aftermarket kits i could probably make a bracket on the frame and run a cross steer set up easier if using the ford spindles and steering arms?

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