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Technical 1952 BelAir Leaf Spring and Rear end swap

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by jimboph420, May 9, 2018.

  1. jimboph420
    Joined: May 9, 2018
    Posts: 5

    jimboph420

    Hello car building gurus. I recently aquired a 1952 BelAir. The previous builder swapped in a 1957 rear end with the the stock 57 leaf springs. Rear end and springs just mocked up . Sbould i figure out how to make the 57 leafs work or should i reinstall the stock 52 leafs with the 57 rear end? Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. VANDENPLAS
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,558

    VANDENPLAS
    Member

    The 57 rear end is a good rear ended to use as the length is just about perfect.
    Never heard of someone using the 57 springs on a 49-54 Chevy

    You can use the stock 49-54 leafs but they are skinny 1-3/4” wide and you need to drill the spring perch to line up with the center bolt as the bolt is not centred in the wheel well. Not a big deal, lots of people do this.
    To me it looks hokey as the springs are thin like I said

    Take a look at posies (sp?) spring they make a kit so does chassis engineering and. I think there is one more out there as well.

    I used the chassis engineering kit on my 50 with a camaro rear end and was happy with the results
     
  3. chargin03
    Joined: Jan 8, 2013
    Posts: 448

    chargin03
    Member

    Walton Fabrication also has a kit. Good guy and offers a lot of support.
     
  4. 52HardTop
    Joined: Jun 21, 2007
    Posts: 906

    52HardTop
    Member

    The Posies drop springs would be the best if the car still has the original spring perches. The Posises Super Slide drop springs are made to the stock width and will go right in. If I remember correctly, they also have the pin in the correct location if someone were still using the tube rear end. I have them on both of my cars and are fine.
     

  5. X2 for the Posies springs.
     
  6. jimboph420
    Joined: May 9, 2018
    Posts: 5

    jimboph420

    Thanks for all the good answers good gents. This 52 has history. I was told, 3 gentlemen started the build in the late 70s to early 80s. It already has a mustang II front end, 350/350 drivetrain and a shaved amd recessed firewall. Its been under a carport since then and i decided to finish a build some "old school" guys started and im trying to fininsh it the way it would of been in that era. I kmow there are companies out there that offer kits out of boxes but what did they guys do/use when none of those companies were around?
     
  7. VANDENPLAS
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,558

    VANDENPLAS
    Member

    Kept the old crap springs in it

    From what I read amc or Jeep springs can be made to work

    But by the time you buy the springs and hokey it up you can buy a kit
    Saw a build where a guy used a s10 mono spring ( lowering spring with the s10 rear) looked ok


    Nice thing about the kits used is they are bolt in
    And the chassis engineering kit comes with a third cross member to mount the shocks to instead of the trunk floor and stiffens up the chassis some as well.
     
    Slow down likes this.
  8. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,798

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    there is nothing wrong with original springs unless you are going racing.
     
  9. 52HardTop
    Joined: Jun 21, 2007
    Posts: 906

    52HardTop
    Member

    I guess it depends if they and you were looking to lower the car. They probably pulled a leaf or put in blocks to drop it. I may have assumed that you wanted to drop it too, though, I see you really didn't say that. The originals may squeak as they were greased from time to time to keep them quiet. They will also keep the car quite high in the back.
     
  10. fortynut
    Joined: Jul 16, 2008
    Posts: 942

    fortynut
    Member

    I always look at questions like this, when I have a project going and try to use common sense along with the scientific method. A pair of springs in the rear of an automobile that is close to sixty eight years old have flexed up and down enough to have lost that loving feeling. Also, the spring eyes were bushed with a material designed for lubrication, or replacement at the end of a certain amount of time due to the fact that friction degrades all surfaces if they move against each other. (Slop in the rear can make it drive itself. And, make the car dangerous in curves.) In the life of your vehicle, metallurgy has moved forward by leaps and bounds. When this car was showroom fresh, going to the moon was a preposterous idea. Now, we've been there and done that. If I was looking an owning another early fifties Chevrolet, I would think long and hard about updating at the very least all the suspension parts, front and rear. Plus,updating the brakes is necessary due to the increased speeds by other drivers. Take a clean sheet of paper and on one side write down the amount of money you get your hands on, and are willing to spend. Now double it. On the other side write down the cost of parts you have selected from the pile of catalogs you have collected for reference material. A lot can be learned by reading the descriptions, and studying the contents. Take a long step back and ask yourself what you want when you finish. Or, in plain speak - what is your goal? Going fast means being able to stop fast. Make no mistake, 235 & 261 engines will haul ass with the right recipe. I grew up in the junkyard and my first job after I graduated from high school was picking parts in one. There is no shame in adapting newer, fresher parts on an older car. I know it is not considered wholesome by many to use front clips, but if you read some of Tex Smith's books, he has no scruples about that kind of thing and even gets into using whole frames for lead sleds. I don't know anything about you, or your skill sets; but, just because it's been done a certain way does not mean you have to put on the blinders and follow suit. Personally I would study the frame of your car very carefully and measure everything: track of the wheels, amount of room inside the fender wells, space inside and out of the frame for extra spring width. Some Rodders move the springs of some cars under the frame after doing surgery to the rails to gain space for bigger tires. You are faced withthe fuel tank, exhaust, wheel width, and where the wheels look best in the fender openings. Original springs, incidentally, are fitted with a spring bolt that is off center, using OEM springs with a different rear end necessitates an offset adapter. I have only touched on a few things here, but i I hope you get my drift. Exercise your imagination and work your buttons off to make it your own. The '55-'63 Chevy rear end is good because you are able to keep a couple of chunks in different ratios. Also, I would think about a WC BorgWarner five speed used in Camaros. I could go on but I think I have given you a rough idea to answer your question.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2018
    Hnstray likes this.
  11. My son has a '54 and when we swapped in a modern rear we kept the stock springs. the only problem was that after a few years of him beating on it the springs started to wrap up and it bent the main leaf. Remember the stock set up was a torque tube set up, maybe the springs just are not up to controlling the twisting action of the axle. we built some strong traction bars and changed the main leafs. This was with a stock 305 motor and 350 trans.
     
  12. High5
    Joined: Jul 2, 2012
    Posts: 185

    High5
    Member

    The 57 springs will be fine unless this car becomes a weekend warrior. It's probably the better choice over the 52 springs. Back then slapper bars or traction bars would've been used to eliminate torque twist. If you're trying to stay period correct, that's my recommendation.
     

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