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Buick torque tube to open driveline

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by d2_willys, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,094

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    I have seen many a thread regarding the change over to an open driveline on Buicks equipped with torque tube drivelines. Many have suggested using a triangulated 4 link coil suspension. I have no issues doing that, but it seems quite intensive in cost and labor.

    My question is: Has anyone used the trailing arm 2 link suspension from a 60-72 Chevy pickup? It seems that it would be easy to accomplish, since the trailing arms would only have to have a crossmember to attach the front of the trailing arms. Hot rods to hell sells a crossmember for this purpose that might just need to be welded to frame or something like this.

    The rear end of the Buick might be able to be used, as it has a place for the radius rods to bolt to (Trailing arms would go there). And the torque tube can be removed from the carrier. There is a possibility of replacing the pinion with a Pontiac or Olds part that has a place for a flange.

    If this doesn't workout, then the Chevy pickup rear end would probably work just fine.

    Both used Panhard bars, so this should be simple too.

    Any thoughts?:cool:
     
  2. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 10,765

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    Preparing to do exactly that (truck style trailing arms) on my '40 Super. I bought new arms from Stock Car Products, a little pricey, in the range of $700 with front bushings and axle pads, but very nicely made. Around here it is next to impossible to find any originals in good shape.

    Some companies are making replacements from round or square tube. That is all wrong, as the oringinals are back to back "C" channel and are designed to twist along their length as the body rolls in a turn. The round/square won't twist and put undue strain on everything else. Stock Car Products are the correct back to back "C" channel.

    I do not plan to use the original axle assembly. In my experience with older Buicks the rear ends are prone to bearing failures and I am using a 9" from a '58 Edsel which is the correct width and has 5 on 5" bolt circle like stock. Other rear ends from various GM models will also work as you have mentioned.

    I think it will be pretty easy to use the stock springs and Panhard bar with a little fabrication.

    Ray
     
  3. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,558

    zman
    Member
    from Garner, NC

    If you're talking for your '58 it's easy. Center section from an early 60's (61-63) full size Buick is a bolt in. Leave the stock coils and panhard bar then some NASCAR/Truck style trailing arms. Easy easy...
     
  4. buford26
    Joined: Jul 25, 2005
    Posts: 154

    buford26
    Member


    This is probably the easiest, but you would need a '61-'62 center section because the axles are 33 spline like the '56-'60 axles. The '63-'70 axles were 30 spline (fullsize cars). The axle shafts are the same for the 1956-1958 Special/Century and are the same length as the '63-'65 Riviera, so you could also use a rear end from a Rivi. I've attached a couple of pictures. The first one shows a 30 spline center section from a '63 Rivi next to a 33 spline center section from a '62 Electra 225. The second one shows an axle from a Ford 9 inch from a '79 Lincoln Versailles next to an axle from a '56-'58 Special/Century ('57 Special). You could probably get custom axles made if you wanted to use a '63-'65 center section, since they fit the '57-'60 housings.
     

    Attached Files:

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  5. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,659

    Bigcheese327
    Member

    Old thread, but it seems preferable to posting new. Any reason you can't just split the original radius rods and add a torque arm? I've seen it done on early Fords and it seems like the only difference with the Buick is the coil springs.
     
  6. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,558

    zman
    Member
    from Garner, NC

    They are no where near strong enough to handle the torque of a Nailhead in a full size car which I believe is what we were talking about as the OP has a 58. You could try though. Tell us how it turns out.
     
  7. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,659

    Bigcheese327
    Member

    But isn't the function of the torque arm to take that stress off the radus rods? It essentially takes the place of the torque tube and allows the radius rods to only function to locate the rear end.

    I could be wrong, but I thought that was how it worked.

    Like NeilinCA's setup, shown here.
     
  8. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,558

    zman
    Member
    from Garner, NC

    The torque tube also helps with that, if you think it'll work then do it. I'm telling you from my experience with an open driveline in a Buick those arms will not do it. The pan hard bar is to prevent lateral movement, I do not believe it is take that stress. But like I said you can do it. I suggest some decent trailing arms.
     
  9. Inked Monkey
    Joined: Apr 19, 2011
    Posts: 1,611

    Inked Monkey
    Member

    This is great news. I found out that the rear in my 54 is actually from a late fifties buick. And I know where an early sixties buick is sitting. Just need to snag the center section and find some trailing arms! Bam!
     
  10. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,659

    Bigcheese327
    Member

    [​IMG]

    It makes sense to me. Panhard bar for lateral location, radius rods to control fore-aft location, and a torque arm to prevent axle windup and keep the stress off the radius rods.

    Does the Buick have a panhard bar stock?
     
  11. Inked Monkey
    Joined: Apr 19, 2011
    Posts: 1,611

    Inked Monkey
    Member

  12. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,094

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    If you happen to find a 70's Skyhawk, Monza, Starfire, or Sunbird, you will find a torque bar that extends to the transmission, much like the torque tube does. The above illustration is very close to the cars I mentioned.

    The Buicks all have Panhard bars, along with the radius rods. But my idea of using trailing arms from the early 60's (to 72) chevy trucks take this one step further. The trailing arms absorb the wrap up torque without the use of the torque bar/torque tube. And it isn't that complicated to install. It might be even easier if someone would just pickup the whole rear end, along with trailing arms and panhard bar from the chevy trucks. A simple crossmember for the front of the trailing arms to mount to and perhaps spring perches on the frame side, with some mods for shock absorbers.

    I will try this on a 53 Special someday. I am leaving my 58 Roadie all stock for now. Might even try it on a 59 Buick Invicta with 401 Nailhead. That should provide plenty of torque to the rear and see how those trailing arms survive.
     
  13. 48SuperConvert
    Joined: Jan 17, 2011
    Posts: 107

    48SuperConvert
    Member
    from Seattle

    I've just completed installing a trailing arm suspension in my 48 Buick.
    I used trailing arms from a 69' Chevy C-10 pickup. The rear end is from a 78" Lincoln with disc brakes. The pan hard bar is the original shortened, with a new mount welded to the rear end. I got rid of the knee action shocks and went with Pro shocks with after market welded mounts. I went with air bags instead of the original coils. The front attachment point design for the trailing arms was shown on the H.A.M.B. in a thread several months back. I copied it and it bolted right in to the X of the frame (Thank you to whoever the designer was).
    I will post some pic's this week pending working out some bugs in my new computor. Good luck on your project.
     
  14. Inked Monkey
    Joined: Apr 19, 2011
    Posts: 1,611

    Inked Monkey
    Member

    Hey 48, do you have a link to the old thread you're talking about?
     
  15. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,006

    Brad54
    Member
    from Atl Ga

    No.
    The torque tube locates the rear end front-to-rear.
    The radius rods are only there to keep the rear end from twisting when it hits bumps, etc.

    Imagine a big "T" and the leverage that can be applied by grabbing the ends of the top line. Without the radius rods, the rear end would eventually fatigue the area where the torque tube meets the differential.

    It doesn't take very strong metal to triangulate and brace it all.
    The radius rods are nowhere near strong enough to locate the rear end by themselves.
    In fact, the radius rods aren't even supporting the rear end--the torque tube is. The radius rods attach to the torque tube. They only keep the axle housing from twisting and bending with the torque tube as the pivot point.

    -Brad
     
  16. 48SuperConvert
    Joined: Jan 17, 2011
    Posts: 107

    48SuperConvert
    Member
    from Seattle

    Jalopy Kid has the link to his great design shown on his post.
    His design definitely saved me a lot of grief and money...many thanks go out to Jalopy Kid for his simple but rock solid design, Thank you.
    Hope this helps on your change out!!
     
  17. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 5,898

    TagMan
    ALLIANCE MEMBER



    Brad54 is exactly correct. I tried using the stock radius rods on my '55 Special and they broke within a couple of miles. Luckily I was going slow and was close to my shop. I started studying rear suspension geometry a little more intensely after that experience! :eek:
     
  18. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,659

    Bigcheese327
    Member

    But did you have a torque arm to replace the torque tube? I'd never risk running the radius rods alone, because that's clearly not how they were designed. All I'm suggesting is that you can run a torque arm alongside the driveshaft to take up the function previously occupied by the torque tube.

    It just seems simpler than going the truck arm route when what you're doing is employing the original Buick design.
     
  19. Inked Monkey
    Joined: Apr 19, 2011
    Posts: 1,611

    Inked Monkey
    Member

    Thanks Jalopy Kid and 48SuperConvert! Perfect thread!
     
  20. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 10,765

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL


    I think your proposed method will work fine, but it hardly seems easier, quicker, etc. than the "truck arm" design, it's just a different way to do the same thing.....nothing wrong with that and if that is what you want to do...no reason not to.

    Ray
     
  21. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,659

    Bigcheese327
    Member

    I'm just relieved to know I'm not crazy.

    Stubborn, maybe, but not crazy.
     
  22. Glad it worked out!
     
  23. 48SuperConvert
    Joined: Jan 17, 2011
    Posts: 107

    48SuperConvert
    Member
    from Seattle

    D2 Willys...I finally got my pic's organized of the trailing arm suspension I installed in my 48 Buick.
    The arms are from a 69" Chev C10 pickup, the differential is a 78 Lincoln, the panhard bar is original (just shortened) and everything else is fab'd by a good friend.
    The axels were out for new bearings and seals when the last pic's were taken. They are now installed with disc brakes attached and it is now back on the ground.
    Hope the pic's help and good luck on your project.
    Dale
     

    Attached Files:

  24. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,659

    Bigcheese327
    Member

    Does anyone know if the 1950 Oldsmobile 98 rear suspension is similar enough to interchange with the 1950 Buick Super/Roadmaster? They look awfully similar.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  25. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,659

    Bigcheese327
    Member

    Does anyone know if the 1950 Oldsmobile 98 rear suspension is similar enough to interchange with the 1950 Buick Super/Roadmaster? They look awfully similar.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  26. Orn
    Joined: Jul 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,036

    Orn
    Member

    Olds have open driveline without torqutube so it’s much easier then Buick. You can use your existing trailingarms just move the axle brackets from the stock rear to the new one you going to use. See the pics from my 47 Olds with a Caprice rear mounted to the stock trailingarm.

    [​IMG]
     
  27. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,659

    Bigcheese327
    Member

    Cool, except I'm talking about going from a Buick rear to Olds in order to get rid of the torque tube. I got to thinking about other 1950 C-body axles and came to find out how similar the Olds was.
     
  28. Wish i had the guts and $$$$$ to change mine over.Bruce.
     
  29. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 10,765

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL


    Since the Olds was engineered with no torque tube, the Olds trailing arms are beefier than the Buick diagonals which only serve to triangulate the rear axle assembly to the torque tube itself, ala Ford closed drive. The Buick and Ford diagonal links do not take any torque loads whatsoever in stock application. For Buick (or Ford) conversions something stronger than stock is called for. The Chev/GMC pickup arms are perfect for that purpose. Not the only way it can be done, but a good choice.

    Ray
     

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