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Best straight axle for 51 Chevy car?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Hot Rod Dan, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. Hot Rod Dan
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 266

    Hot Rod Dan
    Member
    from Texas

    I want to put a straight axle under a 51 Chevy 2 door I recently bought. I’ve looked at similar cars with a straight tube axle and they seem to sit a little too high for me.

    I think I need something with some drop like an I beam truck axle and am thinking of using a 1948-54 chevy truck front axle.

    Would like to use about a 30” diameter rear tire, which would raise the rear a little. But I want the front to sit about level with or slightly above the rear. The Speedway kit would put the front up too high for me.

    <O:p
    Not sure which axle has the best spring spacing and overall width for the 40-54 Chevy car frame, but would like to see what others have done before I start. Anyone suggestions or pictures? Thanks - Dan
     
  2. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,230

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    I had an "axled" 56 Chevy and had a 4" dropped tube axle from MAS (?). the car sat about stock out back and maybe a 3" rise in the front. one thing about aftermarket tubes is you weld on the spring pads so you can put the springs at whatever spot in the frame you want width wise

    that's all I got for ya.
     
  3. mike shults
    Joined: Sep 22, 2009
    Posts: 37

    mike shults
    Member
    from auburn ca.

    just checked speedway's catalog and they do offer early chevy axle 48" wide with 4" drop. should be about what you're looking for.
     
  4. ...54 Chev P.U. axles have more drop than the 47-53's, so if you wanna go up, use the earlier ones.
     

  5. Hot Rod Dan
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 266

    Hot Rod Dan
    Member
    from Texas

    49ratfink – good point about the weld on spring pads allowing you to set the spring spacing to match the frame rails. I was hoping to use a truck axle to save some money since I’ve seen them go for $50 – 100 with springs. But a tube axle may be easier cause you could also tack weld the spring pads for mock-up and cut the tacks loose and rotate the axle if you needed to get the right caster once the engine & stuff was installed.

    Mike – I really dig your business coupe. How does it run with the cross-ram? Also what steering box are you using, where is it mounted and did you keep the stock front frame? I’m thinking of using a later GM manual box in front of the axle with the steering arm pointed backward and cross-steered to an arm pointing forward on top of the passenger spindle.
    <O:p
    Rusty1 – thanks for the tip on 1954 axles, didn’t know that. Hey maybe I can find someone with a 54 truck with a disc brake kit that’s decided to go mustang2.
    <O:p
    Actually I’m open to going tube or I beam. Any comments from other 49-54 Chevy owners with straight axles?
     
  6. mike shults
    Joined: Sep 22, 2009
    Posts: 37

    mike shults
    Member
    from auburn ca.

    thanks for the kind words hot rod dan.my 327 with the crossram runs really great on the street. i'm really looking foward to getting a few passes at the strip this fall. it ran mid 12's in my dad's 57 hardtop back in the late 60's with this same setup and my car is quite a bit lighter. i did use the stock front frame with a vega steering box. i just let clearance and geometry tell me where the box needed to be..
     
  7. Hot Rod Dan
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 266

    Hot Rod Dan
    Member
    from Texas

    Input from anyone else?
     
  8. rschilp
    Joined: Sep 17, 2009
    Posts: 677

    rschilp
    Member

    Don't know where in TX you are, but if you're close to Dallas, I think I have the axle you need sitting out front getting ready to sell it.

    Axle, with springs, knuckles, backing plates and drums.
     
  9. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,869

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    One advantage of using the 47/53 or 54 front axle is that you can swap over your front brakes and backing plates from the 51 to have 5 lug wheels on it. I think that is what one of my ex sisterinlaws had on hers about 35 years ago. It looked a bit strange to see a hot looking 18 year old blond drive in in her own jacked up 51/52 Chev with an I beam axle and V8. And the damned thing was bright assed pink.
     
  10. mrrich
    Joined: Jul 22, 2008
    Posts: 189

    mrrich
    Member
    from seattle

    This is an axle i put under my 55. Not a 54 but close. I used the 54 truck axle, but I cut the ends off and welded them onto a piece of pipe like they use in Speedway axles. If you can weld together a Speedway axle you can do this. I did this car in about a day and a half
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Hot Rod Dan
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 266

    Hot Rod Dan
    Member
    from Texas

    Nice, wish I could get that much done in a day and a half.
     
  12. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,443

    seb fontana
    Member
    from ct

    I really hope the phrase ""a piece of pipe"" really means 1/4 wall DOM Tubing at the min....I just read somewheres [had to have been here] that you can not use car spindles with a truck I beam [or a dropped tube with welded ends for a truck application], nor truck spindles with after market tube axle made for pass spindles....Camber will be off..Do a search, postings should come up..
     
  13. spikeshotrods
    Joined: Dec 25, 2006
    Posts: 373

    spikeshotrods
    Member

    I used a early Ford axle, spindles and transverse leaf spring set up with hairpins on mine and it doesent set to high.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. Hot Rod Dan
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 266

    Hot Rod Dan
    Member
    from Texas

    Thanks spikeshotrods, I've got a 33-34 Ford spring and axle laying around I could use.
     
  15. Area51
    Joined: Oct 25, 2007
    Posts: 11

    Area51
    Member
    from tx

    hey dan, i'm doing the same with my 52. in have a 48 truck axle that i should be able to convert to 5 lug from 8 fairly easy. also have a 50's axle off an old ford truck that i haven't measured for fit yet. shaky puddin has a killer thread about his straight axle conversion that is really helpful. it one bad ass 55.
     

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