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55 Chevy rear questions

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Kuperavage55, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. partsdawg
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 2,877

    from Minnesota

    Beat the snot out of tri-fives for years and the only problem I ever had was twisting axles.
    Joined: Apr 6, 2008
    Posts: 825


    Dude, that is more than 2 inches.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012
  3. I used an s-10 2wd blazer rear end for years with a blown sbc with out a problem. i think it was a bit smaller and allowed me to mini tub it for tire clearance. If I remember correctly the regular s-10 is the same width as the stock chevy rear end. Carlg
  4. aaggie
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,531


    Check out the 8.8 rear ends from around 2000 Ford Explorers. They are readily available, cheap, strong and most were 3.73 posi. Plus they have disk brakes. Around Houston the yards get $150 for a complete setup.
  5. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,186


    Nope, it's 2" offcenter on the pinion. I just did a quick measurment to make sure, 18.5 on one side and 22.5 on the other side from my driveshaft to the edge of the spring. Maybe the way that picture shows it makes it look like more. I'm using an earlier explorer rear with drum brakes but it shouldn't make a differance.

  6. rbonazzoli
    Joined: Feb 16, 2012
    Posts: 141

    from Dallas, TX

    I have a 2nd gen Camaro rear in mine. It is almost the same width as original, but the spring perches needed to be moved. It is plenty strong.
  7. nwbhotrod
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,243

    from wash state

    My 55 Chevy with a 58 Ford 9in rear end bolts right in like it was made for the Chevy 2in shorter no tire rubbing So Cal sells the Brakes with backing plates even the drive shaft works with a new UJoint 350 rear gears Muncie four speed 327 whats not to like

    Attached Files:

  8. Tikitaxi
    Joined: Apr 13, 2012
    Posts: 11

    from NorCal

    S-10 rear with 4.11s in my '56, beat the shite out of it and she keeps on ticking
  9. Torkwrench
    Joined: Jan 28, 2005
    Posts: 2,492


    I ran my 55 Chevy at The Byron Meltdown, this Saturday and Sunday. This is with a 301 Chevy, Muncie 4 speed, the car's original rear axel and a set of Hurst cheater slicks. My best time was a 14:04, shifting at about 7000 RPM, with the slicks breaking loose on the 1st-2nd shift and also on the 3rd-4th shift.

    The entire driveline has been together since 1974, and has seen ALOT of abuse. Four years of solid drag racing, three years of high school screwing around, many more years of "somewhat adult" types of usage, :D:D:D and most recently a few years of occasional vintage drag racing. :cool::cool::cool: Yeah, I've owned the car for over 35 years.

    The result have been:
    ZERO broken axel shafts,
    ZERO broken bearing caps,
    ZERO broken ring and pinions,
    ZERO chewed up bearings, (pinion bearings, side carrier bearings, axel shaft bearings),
    ZERO broken spider gears,
    ONE leaky pinion seal, and
    TWO leaky wheel bearing seals.

    By the way, it is an open rear end which is considered to be WEAKER than the posi's. The housing is the original, to the car, from 1955, as are the axel shafts.

    The center section is from a 57 Chevy, which is a heavier casting than a 55 Chevy. The ring and pinion is a Zoom 4:56 gearset. When the rear end was set up in 1974, brand new from Chevrolet spider gears were used, along with the original pinion and side carrier bearings. The axel shaft bearings were replaced in the 1980's. I also run 5 leaf station wagon rear springs, with heavy duty 50/50 rear shocks, 90/10 front shocks and a set of Lakewood traction bars.

    Comparing 55-64 Chevy rear axels to my 1993 S-10, the S-10 axel is a WIMPY P.O.S. Actually, when I compared a 55-64 Chevy to a stock 9 inch Ford, the only visible advantages to the Ford was the pinion bearing design, and the finer spline axel shafts. Perhaps the Ford's strength comes from the quality of the metal used? When a 57-64 Pontiac/Olds is thrown into the mix, the Pontiac/Olds is the beefiest of all of them.

    If the original Chevy axel is rebuilt, with what ever it needs, bearings, seals, and the ring an pinion of your choice, it should be very reliable for the use that you have described. Just use high quality "Made In The USA" parts, even if they cost a bit more.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012
  10. nwbhotrod
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,243

    from wash state

    The biggest advantage i think there is in the Ford 9in is the 2in narrower.and Chevy are just a bitch to shorten
  11. dan c
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,178

    dan c

    of course, there's the big-buck bolt- in setup. speedway sells a currie 9" with 31 spline axle package for $959. 3rd member and brake packages are extra.
  12. I wanted an Olds/Pontiac rear end for my '55... I wanted one bad. I looked for a while but decided to just go with a new 9 inch Ford. I went 1 inch narrower per side and had my steelies reversed (by a Hamber if he recognizes his work!) to make up for the 1 inch difference in rear end width. One of the best modifications I made to the car! Tire changes with the stock rear were brutal. I had to deflate the tire and wedge the flat tire between the fender and the rear end. I was almost at the point where I'd have to remove the shock just to change a tire. I'd have been screwed if I got a flat out on the road someplace.

    My small block makes more than 400 ft/lbs of torque and I have a five speed. I decided to go overboard on the running gear just so I was assured that I wouldn't have a problem. I went with a Strange pro nodular iron (is that right?) center section with trac-loc. I ordered a "round back" ford rear because it looked more stock. Ford's SVO drums and axle flanges were drilled with the chevy bolt pattern.

    I'm pretty sure I'm into this rear end for less than I would have for an Olds/Pontiac posi in the same width and right bolt pattern. Also, gears in various ratio's are much more plentiful for a Ford 9 inch.



    First prototype:

    Here's the prototype on the car:

    The finished product:


    Skip the billet wheels and spend the money on a rear end!

    I posted more info here:

    Oh yeah... after the driveline mods I bent the springs pretty badly. I often drive it like I stole it though. :) You might think about that too. After I got new springs I ended up putting Caltrac bars on the car.

    Last edited: Aug 10, 2012
  13. dblgun
    Joined: Oct 24, 2009
    Posts: 348


    Mopar 8 3/4's out of 65-73 C boby or 70-74 E body is a bolt in for the 55. 70-71 Imperial being the best candidate at 59 3/4 width.
  14. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 47,787


    HAve you priced an 8-3/4 lately?

    and you have to deal with the wrong wheel bolt pattern issue, and the funky driveshaft yoke
  15. dblgun
    Joined: Oct 24, 2009
    Posts: 348


    Squirrel, I have not found 8 3/4's to be any more costly than any other out there today. They are easily narrowed if need be and in many cases axles can be cut and resplined. The 5x4.5 pattern is the same as Ford so you face no other challenges there then you would with a 9". Depending on what pumpkin you use there are two popular yokes and again are no different to deal with than a Ford. [​IMG]
  16. Most all the rears suggested would be a good choice. I would suggest if you use a spicer type such as the Camaro & etc. to install a set of c-clip eliminators to prevent any problems in case of axle breakage.
    I feel you cant go wrong with a Ford 9 in for the money spent. A stock big bearing carrier with a pinion support added can be very dependable for street & strip use. : Speedy
  17. hrbhrb
    Joined: Jan 3, 2010
    Posts: 43

    from Polo,IL

    Nitro Gear & Axle makes new PowerLok posi's that come with the 17 spline spider gears.
    I used the Mopar side gear kit, which has 30 splines, with after-market axles. This made sense for me because I wanted to keep my stock housing, wheel bolt pattern, and I already had new brakes installed. This did not require any cutting or welding of spring perches or any drive shaft alterations.
    If I were to drag race any more than the occasional vintage meet, I would go with a 1st gen Camaro 12 bolt. These are getting scarce, but I already have one. These would require spring perch change and (for me) internal mods and c-clip eliminators. They are just a hair narrower than the tri-5. If the transmission is stock length (Muncie,T350,BW T10, or stock) and in the stock location, no driveshaft mods are required.
    If you have the bucks, most of the rear end companies such as Moser can sell you a bolt-in, made-to-order 12 bolt or 9inch. which will accept your stock wheels etc.
    It is a matter of balancing your needs vs. $ vs. how much you want to do yourself.
  18. jophus
    Joined: Jan 3, 2012
    Posts: 101


    I picked up a 57 ford 9". About 2-3" narrower. Complete rear for $400. It only has 28 spline axles, but they're still stronger than the original 55 stuff.
  19. RacerRick
    Joined: May 16, 2005
    Posts: 2,753


    The Ford explorer rear is a little narrower. 60" is stock WMS to WMS, and the explorer is 59 5/8" - not really enough to matter. The bolt pattern is 4.5 x 5 however, and stock is 4.75 x 5.

    I have a 3.27 Track Lok explorer rear in my 57' Plymouth. Works perfect.
  20. RacerRick
    Joined: May 16, 2005
    Posts: 2,753


    The one I have in my car is about 2 and change inches off center. Its a drum brake rear from a 94 explorer. Watch out though, because 94 is the first year all explorer rears are 31 spline. Some of the earlier ones are 28 spline.

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