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29-59 Chevy straight axle 6 lug disc brake project

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 6inarow, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. 6inarow
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,354

    6inarow
    Member

    I looked for quite a while and could never find one thread for dropped axle with a disc brake conversion for chevy straight axle keeping the 6 lugs. So here is my project and I'll show how I did it and where I got the parts and what the actual cost was to me. Heck, I'll even show where I goofed and where I spent too much money and how I would change things. Its still not done completely, but I'll update it in the next week or so when its completely done.

    I am no mechanic - I am an average guy in an average garage with regular hand tools. I had to get some machine shop help and I'll give the prices there too. The threads entitled "my dropped axle and disc brakes for $300" really bother me because my world doesn't work that way. Seems like I never get the freebies like that guy did or the trade ends up costing me more than if I had just bought it outright.

    This axle is for the 33 Chevy sedan in my profile. I am just finishing the car Rollie started as a kid with his father in 1963. Rollie asked me to drive it back to Purifoy's when I am done with it. Heck I intend to drive it all over the place. So, if discs arent "traditional" enough for you, quit reading right now, and lets not have that debate.

    The car is a 33 Master and was converted to juice back in the day. I read all of the info Sid has on his website and it gave me a real good idea on what GM did with these axles and what fits with what. I decided the best route was to get a 41-54 half ton axle. It turns out I was right, but thats now how the project ended up. So.... I bought an axle from a 50 pick up for $50. Its a regular grungy axle like we all start with. I took apart what I could but got stuck on the king pins. I had to go to a machine shop and have the kingpins pressed out - I don't recall for sure, but I think he said it took 20 tons to get it apart. Cost me $75 to press them out and and press the hubs off the drums.

    I end up with a 50 half ton axle as a core for Sid to drop and left the 33 axle in the car.

    Yeah, I had to scrape the chud off with a toothbrush to find the nuts, and I had to crank back the shoes because there were such ridges in the drums and yes everything was stuck. Here is what I started with as I was taking it apart.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. 6inarow
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,354

    6inarow
    Member

    After I get the pick up axle apart, I see a thread where C5Rider decides to get rid of some 32 Chevy parts. 33 Master has the same axle so I am thinking I can get into an original style axle, I might just as well do it. I contact him and make a deal to buy wire wheels, steering column, shocks, complete front axle and springs with everything in operating condition - the whole lot for $200 - fair deal from a good HAMB'er. Thanks.

    PBRmeASAP is watching the C5Rider thread and sends me a PM and says he can get the parts from Florida to Wisconsin on a relay. So I spot him parts out of the deal that I am not going to use and he gets them to Milwaukee (thanks Jeff). On my way back to South Dakota from GMC Bubbas ignition class in February, I stop at his place and get the axle and the rest of the parts home. The wire wheels are still in Milwaukee, so if anyone is coming this way, I could use a relay to get the wheels closer to home.....).

    So, I get my treasures home and decide I'll sell the parts I wont use. I list them in the VCCA thinking they are all stocker parts and more likely someone there could use them rather than a HAMB deal. Things like mechanical brake rods, etc. I get some calls, but one guy is real windy about his 32 sedan. I am just about tired of listening when he tells me he really wants an original 32 axle to replace the lowered one he put in his car in the 50's. Hmmmmmm.... he describes it and it turns out to be a Mor-Drop axle. The guy tells me it works great but it shimmys a bit on the highway, He was thinking it was tires and wants it gone. So, we trade even up - he gets the stocker and I get the traditional dropped axle with steering arms, spindles etc. He pays shipping both ways. Adam - Pantown transport here on the HAMB takes it to California and brings me the dropped axle - Thanks Adam!!. I sell the rest of the parts for $115, so I am into a dropped axle for $85 - pretty good I thought!!

    I get the axle here and it is in pieces. No biggie. I put it all together and I realize I am short the hubs. Its also obvious why the front end had problems. One king pin would fall all the way through the axle boss, and spindle and never touch a thing on the way through. So I get ahold of Sid and explain it to him and he says get the axle to him and he can fix it. 2 weeks later, my axle is back with a note that says he blasted the axle, shrunk the boss and double checked everything else. Thanks to Povertyflats for taking the axles to Sid on another relay. By the time it was done, Sid bought my 50 axle for a core and then repaired and shipped my 33 axle back for a total of $70. WAY TO GO SID!!

    In the mean time, I sell and trade the remainder of the 50 half ton parts and come out with a set of hubs and $50 in my pocket.

    A couple weeks ago, I take all my stuff and clean what I can in my home made bead blast cabinet and try my hand at powder coating. i picked up an Eastwood system here on the HAMB for $50. I have never done it before, but why not try. So, I do the little pieces and send the axle off to the local powder coater. He does the front axle and the torque tube differential housing for $120.

    It's time to start putting it together with new parts and get the disc conversion together. So I PM Paulweldit here on the HAMB. I buy his caliper brackets and a list of brake parts to buy. His list is great - I can go to the local parts store or hit the salvage yard. This list is complete too - part numbers and application. Cost me $150 - free shipping to HAMBers

    So, this weekend I start to put the axle together. I should be completely done in a week. I'll take pictures with the assembly.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010
  3. Got it, send those pics
     
  4. 6inarow
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,354

    6inarow
    Member

    I had the king pin kit installed at the alignment shop because I am chicken. I have never done one before and I didn't want a mistake. The king pins cost $150 and came from the Filling Station. The first pictures show king pins installed but no dust caps on the ends. The guys at the alignment shop wanted me to mock it all up before they pop the covers in and tighten everything together.

    This afternoon I got the wheel bearing races installed and the rotors on the hubs. The wheel bearings were shot and I decided to go with rollers. Bearings for the 27-40 passenger axle cost $250 from the filling station. There wasn't much difference in price between the standard ball bearings or the rollers. If I had it to do again I might stay with the 41-54 half ton axle because parts are so much cheaper and easier to find


    The races were just tapped into the hubs. It took a little persuasion, but nothing that cant be done in any garage.

    The next photos show the wheel studs installed from the inside of the rotors and the hub on the outside of the rotor. I used a couple washers and lug nuts and just pulled the 6 studs up tight to hold the hubs and rotors together.

    I put Paul's brackets on and the steering parts. I put the bearings in and was going to install the rotor and hub assembly just to see how things lined up and realized I didn't have any spindle nuts. So, nest week I'll finish putting everything together. If it all is OK, I'll take it apart pack the bearings, turn the rotors install pads calipers etc and put it all together.


    here are some photos. Don't be too critical of the powder coating, it was my first try
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010

  5. Sorry I had issues posting em for you Tom
     
  6. 6inarow
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,354

    6inarow
    Member

    Rotors and calipers at the local bone yard cost $100. i decided to buy new rotors for $75/pair. I'll get the calipers after I get the hubs on the spindles. If you are keeping score, I have $1025 in the thing as you see it here, and still have the alignment shop bill to go and the calipers

    Some photos of the hubs and rotors. Just the drivers side. I'll do the passenger side tomorrow and get the spindle nuts to hold everything together.

    no problem Trent. I got a note from Kevin saying the photos were probably too large
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010
  7. 6inarow
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,354

    6inarow
    Member

    OK, the brackets can be used to put the caliper toward the front of the wheel or the back. I eyeballed it and it looks like they might interfere with the steering linkages on the back. So I flipped them and will try the front side first.

    I got the rotors turned at the alignment shop and put the bearings in just to get a look at alignment. here is how the hubs look on the rotors - hubs go on the outside of the rotors.

    I had some problems getting the right calipers and getting them mounted. i should have it sorted out shortly and have the pics posted.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. bct
    Joined: Apr 4, 2005
    Posts: 3,105

    bct
    Member

    thanks for the info ...
     
  9. 2580
    Joined: Sep 13, 2010
    Posts: 4

    2580
    Member
    from Austin,TX

    where did you get the brackets? Nice job by the way!
     
  10. are you planning on drilling the hubs and tapping rotors to bolt them together like the later truck 6-lug conversions?
     
  11. terd ferguson
    Joined: Jun 13, 2008
    Posts: 3,718

    terd ferguson
    Member

  12. 6inarow
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,354

    6inarow
    Member

    I understand the CPP kit. I didn't buy that for a 2 reasons. I bought CPP stuff before and had a couple issues and they didn't want to help solve it. I wasn't going to take that chance spending that kind of money and get the same run around if I had questions

    the second reason is that there is no kit available for the early Chevy straight axles. Its all for the later (50 and newer) pick ups. So I knew I was going to have to sort some stuff off myself. Even if there was a kit available, my budget just wont allow that much money at one pop right now. So I can buy it piece at a time as I get the cash. When I am done I'll list what I paid and where I got it, but generally speaking I didnt spend more than $150 each time I bought components.

    The rotors and hubs dont have to be bolted together. The wheel stud gets pulled through the rotor and into the knurls of the hub and they are stuck together. No other bolts necessary.


    I got the brackets from Paulweldit here on the hamb.
     
  13. terd ferguson
    Joined: Jun 13, 2008
    Posts: 3,718

    terd ferguson
    Member

    I fully understand! You're not the only one. I have to do some crazy roundabout trading and finagling to get stuff done on my truck too. Good on you for getting it done however you can!
     
  14. fordcragar
    Joined: Dec 28, 2005
    Posts: 3,179

    fordcragar
    Member
    from Yakima WA.

    Tom,

    Great article, thanks for sharing.
     
  15. Southfork
    Joined: Dec 15, 2001
    Posts: 1,465

    Southfork
    Member

    Hey, yeah, thanks for the Chevy Tech!
     
  16. 29nash
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 4,544

    29nash
    BANNED
    from colorado

    Hey 6inarrow; I don't need to tell you, you obviously already know, that as much as possible DIY is more fun.:cool:
    Too late now, but I have a template for that bracket I'd have given you, then you could have had loads of fun devising ways to cut it out with ordinary hand tools................:D
     
  17. 6inarow
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,354

    6inarow
    Member


    Thanks. You are a real pal - you know I only have a dull hack saw ans a jack knife!!!

    I'll take some more photos - I found out some interesting things on GM calipers. I hope I can post up tonight.


    Tom,

    Great article, thanks for sharing.
    Hey Larry - nice hearing from you again.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2010
  18. 29nash
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 4,544

    29nash
    BANNED
    from colorado

    He, he. :D Maybe some of those tools from the office would work?
     
  19. Black Primer
    Joined: Oct 1, 2007
    Posts: 966

    Black Primer
    Member

    Good job man! Bout' time you put those hubs to use!
     
  20. 6inarow
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,354

    6inarow
    Member


    HA HA - did you recognize them? If the spindles dont work out let me know and I'll make it right.

    hey folks, in the 2nd post - 5th paragraph I mentioned that I sold and traded the rest of the parts....... Well, black Primer was the trade for the hubs I needed - just a side bar, but shows how deep the HAMB goes. that trade was a long time ago too.

    Anyhow, I had a delay with the calipers fitting the brackets. I emailed Paulweldit and described it, and he told me it is something that he had not seen. Here is what happened. I bought the calipers on the parts list and they just didnt quite fit, so I went back and they swapped for another pair. They were way off, so I took them back again. Our local Pronto parts guys are great. These guys were good enough to take several calipers, lay them out and find the one that was closest to the bracket. These calipers all had the SAME PART NUMBER too. So, its gonna take a few days, but I'll get it sorted off.

    So evidently the '33 master and '32 and older axles and spindles are a bit different than other Chevy straight axles. I'll post up when I get some more info. Sorry for the delay. I thought I had it all ready to go and then hit this speedbump.
     
  21. 29nash
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 4,544

    29nash
    BANNED
    from colorado

    On fitment. I've done a couple of those, with brackets I made. I don't drill the three holes that connect the bracket to the spindle, or the two that mount the cliper until I've slaved it all together...... If you need offset use washers/bushings. Just a thought.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2010
  22. KrisKustomPaint
    Joined: Apr 20, 2007
    Posts: 1,107

    KrisKustomPaint
    Member

    maybe i just missed it, but what were the rotors off of?
     
  23. 6inarow
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,354

    6inarow
    Member

    70's blazer 4x4. If you ask for a 76 Blazer rotor you will be in business
     
  24. the set up i have been using on my '39 gmc is from a '78 blazer 4x4. i used the "backing plate" style full shield caliper brackets from the blazer [i think it was one year only?] i cut the hole to fit the spindle and redrilled to bolt up to it. been driving it daily for 20+ years 4 sets of pads no problems.
     

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