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Hot Rods Interesting rear suspension/axle on 33 Ford I bought...?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by wildwest, Jul 3, 2020.

  1. wildwest
    Joined: Jan 20, 2007
    Posts: 232


    Hello ! I bought a new-to-me project a couple days ago, and the rear suspension/axle combo seems a bit odd, but maybe not ? Just wanted to see what you guys thought. It's a 1933 two door sedan, been sitting for a few years and I just pulled it on the trailer and haven't even unloaded it yet to get it running and see if drives alright. The work looks pretty back-yard, but not un-safe.

    I'm guessing its 1960-72 Chevy pickup trailing arms and a 55-57 Chevy rear end ? what do you guys think ?

    0703201516.jpg 0703201516a.jpg 0703201517.jpg 0703201517a.jpg 0703201517b.jpg
  2. wildwest
    Joined: Jan 20, 2007
    Posts: 232


    The car in question
  3. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 913

    Pete Eastwood
    from california

    They work good !
    That's what is under every car that races in NASCAR !
    Blues4U, Tman, kidcampbell71 and 5 others like this.
  4. rusty valley
    Joined: Oct 25, 2014
    Posts: 1,525

    rusty valley

    they work good unless you live in the salt encrusted swamp, then not so good. but...thats another matter
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  5. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 26,971


    I'd say that you are in the ball park on both counts. I have a trailer made out of a 70 Chevy Longbed that I rolled in 1989 that is about worthless as a trailer but sure would be a good truck arm donor for the 48 if I went that way.
  6. wildwest
    Joined: Jan 20, 2007
    Posts: 232


    are the tri-five rear ends decent ? I assume that's what it is? it is a factory 5 on 4 3/4" pattern.
  7. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 2,224


    They work fine for an everyday street car. It’s probably about the same overall strength as a Ford 8”. Parts are still available. In the old days the axles and spider gears were the most troublesome when we abused them.
    I’ve got a rebuilt stock rear end in my ‘56 Chevy, I don’t race it so it’s perfectly adequate.
    As for the trailing arms, a lot of old hot rods used the ‘49-50 Olds rear end with trailing arms and coil springs successfully. The Olds arms are like 3/4 scale Chevy truck arms. Yours should be fine if the mounting brackets were done well. Don’t box them, they need to flex.

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  8. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 13,456

    from oregon

    Yep, been there on both counts in my 57 and it only had a wore out 283 from a 64 Impala.
    Of course the 4 speed had a lot to do with that!
    bchctybob and stillrunners like this.
  9. Those were popular swaps in the 70s where I grew up. I even had a 32 chassis setup for them in 74 but decided to go with parallel leaves instead.

    OH, and nice car...
  10. Those look out of a 60's Chevy truck and a 55-57 Chevy car rear. I have a '55-'56 in my '41 p/u and it works great. It looks like an overall sturdy, good set-up.

    Not a bad option for a model A (or something that needs a new crossmember), aftermarket arms and crossmember kits or stock arms if you can find them.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2020
  11. Junior Johnson was the first to use them in 1963.
    Hnstray likes this.
  12. LOL actually GM used them on their pickup trucks in about '61 or '62.
    They are a good suspension of you have the room. They still use them on NASCAR vehicles.
  13. mickeyc
    Joined: Jul 8, 2008
    Posts: 1,048


    The 40 Ford coupe I have is set up with a
    the mentioned trailing arms. Mine has an
    early Olds rear end. Also the builder made
    a pan hard type bar full length from what appears
    to be a steering link. The assembly incorporates
    the original transverse spring and tubular shocks.
    It held up well to quite robust throttle application
    until the 371-J2 Olds motors untimely demise. I
    do intend to leave it in place with the new motor.
    bchctybob likes this.
  14. Back in the late 1960's / early 1970's a bunch of guys in a Windsor, Connecticut hot rod club cut off the rear of their 1932 Ford frames, and used this type of suspension. It worked, but ruined a lot of original 1932 Ford frames.
  15. That's a neat sedan! Love the slots!
  16. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,934

    Mike VV
    from SoCal

    The underside of my 54 Stude Conestoga (2dr. station wagon).
    Works just fine. Next to see how it works on the drag strip with about a 380/400hp Stude engine.


  17. vinfab
    Joined: Apr 18, 2006
    Posts: 182


    The rear end is a 57 Chevrolet housing, it is the only one with a drain plug. You might not care but if you use it and ever need an axle bearing you will need to know. A one year only bearing.
    Gearhead Graphics and Hnstray like this.
  18. bob b.
    Joined: Aug 30, 2009
    Posts: 112

    bob b.
    from peoria az.

    I bought a 32 ford 3 window in1965 with same setup
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  19. Looks like a neat car. that suspension works good as others have said. You can even buy some pretty trick aftermarket arms for it
  20. I see no reason to change it out. As suggested, leave the arms as I-beams. It needs to flex when one wheel is higher than the other like on offset bump.
    I had that same rearend (57 Chevy) in my old 37 Chevy pickup with a 350SBC and T350, for many miles. Limited slip center sections are getting harder to find, and the tallest gear is a 3.08 which works nice with a non-OD trans in a mild engine cruiser. 4.11 are probably the most common gear ratio found.
    Tman likes this.
  21. wildwest
    Joined: Jan 20, 2007
    Posts: 232


    Thanks for all the info ! Hopefully tomorrow I will have time to get if off the trailer and see if I can get it running & stopping .
    warhorseracing likes this.
  22. wildwest
    Joined: Jan 20, 2007
    Posts: 232


    Got it up on the lift today, they actually did a pretty decent job. 0707201705.jpg looks a lot better than I thought it would !
    0707201706.jpg 0707201707.jpg
    Shadow Creek likes this.
  23. wildwest
    Joined: Jan 20, 2007
    Posts: 232


    For the next round of "guess that part" What master cylinder is this ? and what steering column?
    0707202032.jpg 0707202032a.jpg 0707202033.jpg 0707202034.jpg
  24. ccain
    Joined: Jun 13, 2009
    Posts: 348


    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
  25. vinfab
    Joined: Apr 18, 2006
    Posts: 182


    Column is a 67 to 72 Chevy/GMC pickup.
  26. irishsteve
    Joined: Jan 10, 2017
    Posts: 733


    Fine to about 300 HP.Use a 57 rear if you can.It has a drain plug on the housing.Wider axle bearings than a 55-56,and the carrier was updated to be stronger than the 55-56.A 58-59 rear is good too.They have axle bearings with two seal O rings instead of one like the 55-57.
  27. deuceman32
    Joined: Oct 23, 2007
    Posts: 308


    Vinfab is correct on the steering column. Some of the Chevy vans used it also. The master cylinder was most commonly found on Chevy full size cars from 1955 to 1961, also on some Buick, Olds, Pontiac and Caddys in the 59 to 61 era. There are variations in bore size, 1" and 7/8" being the most common.
    Check out Dorman M21000 for the 1" application.
  28. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,519




    Very nice purchase of that 2 door sedan. It has all of the style and looks of a good hot rod. As far as the rear axle, we all (mostly all) started with Chevy sedans. From 1955-58, our group had multiple exchanges of rear axle gears to allow the owner to get better gas mileage, be able to power up the Big Bear Mountain roadways, race on Friday/Saturday nights if it was set up to do so. Other times, it was just a late afternoon/evening third member exchange to get the best for each sedan.

    The 55 had 3:55 gears, the 56 actually came with 3:78 gears and so did the 57 Bel Air Hardtop Sedan. My 58 Impala came with 4:11 and we bought a complete 4:56 gear center section for drag racing at Lions. There are plenty of stories on the advantages of rear axle gear swaps on the Impala. Suffice it to say, you will have to check out your gearing, how smooth it runs on the street, see if you have enough power to climb hills and mountains without strain. Then if you are satisfied, that is great news. Otherwise, you might want to swap for some other gearing. Most seem to like the 3:78 gears for overall cruising.


    Our Chevy sedans were the key to our teenage lives, as they did multi-purpose duties during high school. Only during long distance road trips that the possible gear switching took place. Except for me under the 58 Impala switching gear third members almost every Thursday night and then again on Sunday nights, after racing.
    For the short time the 4:56 gears were used, it provided the most traction and power for all of the cars. But, for most weekend cruising, it was a high revving gear choice. The 3:55 gears did well on long distance drives, but did little to encounters on those weekends. So, it seems like the 3:78s offer the best of both worlds. My choice was the 4:11 as it provided the best feel during the all around driving we did in So Cal.

    Attached Files:

  29. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,299

    from texas

  30. 4wd1936
    Joined: Mar 16, 2009
    Posts: 821

    from NY

    As mentioned every car running Nascar uses a copy of these now very similar to the original truck units made by GM. The Nascar units use a large ball joint on the forward end similar to a Johnny Joint and as such they can and are a boxed unit. They also include the shock and track bar mounts and use still the single large U-bolt to hold the 9" rear in place. They can be easily found on the racing sites for sale mostly in NC. I have used a few in hot rods and they work very well, single coil spring with a jacker to adjust ride height.

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