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Technical Split-beam Front Axle - Am I nuts?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Boryca, Apr 12, 2019.

  1. Boryca
    Joined: Jul 18, 2011
    Posts: 557

    Boryca
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Detroit

    So I'm thinking about my next build, and happened across @Protofuria 's thread on his Peugeot, which got me thinking about options for the front suspension. I've been thinking that an independent front suspension would be nice, as the car is going to be a V12 powered roadster, but I don't want MII or any of those style kits, because... well, I just don't want that. I had been thinking something like an early 60's Formula 1 style IFS would be slick, but now I'm thinking a split axle setup would be even slicker.

    So the real question: the Peugeot has radius rods that meet in the middle like a Ford wishbone setup, but would it work if those were attached to the frame similar to a split wishbone setup? I'm concerned that the decreased angle might cause geometry issues, but that might be controllable with a shorter radius rod...

    I know Ford used a twin beam setup starting around 65 or so through the 90s at least, but that has relatively long axles compared to what I'm thinking, extending all the way to the opposite frame rail.

    Pics for reference. What say you?

    Mike

    Peugeot:
    [​IMG]

    Ford:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,465

    BJR
    Member

    Every one I knew who had a Ford truck with twin I beam front suspension back when they were new said the truck ate front tires. I never had one, but from what I have heard it's not a good idea.
     
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  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 42,258

    squirrel
    Member

    Longer beams reduce the camber change....which is a good thing.

    The Twin I beam has split radius arms. Since the axle is not one piece, there is no need for a single wishbone, as the axle won't be twisted -- it can't, it's two pieces.
     
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  4. 34Phil
    Joined: Sep 12, 2016
    Posts: 172

    34Phil

    Fat Man used to offer one. Like all swing axles, you will get jacking in turns.
     
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  5. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 13,686

    alchemy
    Member

    Allard did it to Ford axles for their race cars way back in the 50's. I don't think it was real successful.
     
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  6. Cosmo50
    Joined: Sep 8, 2011
    Posts: 145

    Cosmo50
    Member
    from California

    That Peugot suspension is a pretty neat setup. But if you look at it, its not just a regular I-beam pivoted in the center. It is setup more like a regular independent suspension. What I mean is that if you look closely, it has pivot points at the ends of the I-beams and at the spring ends. So it isn't really like the early ford twin I-beam set up. Besides, the suspension arc on that setup is going to be better than if you just cut it in the center.
    I do believe I saw someone do what you are thinking on one of those Volksrods. I couldn't find a picture.
    I think I would be concerned about handling. It would be a very similar setup in a way to the early Corvair and VW swing axle, just in the front.
    I did find this on another forum:
    https://www.hotrodders.com/forum/split-i-beam-169020.html
     
  7. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,412

    gnichols
    Member
    from Tampa, FL

    Don't waste your time. Gary
     
  8. Dyce
    Joined: Sep 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,761

    Dyce
    Member

    That Peugeot looks interesting. The spring acts like an upper control arm. It is nothing like a split I beam. I like it, first you need to find spindles.
     
  9. There was a feature car in Street Rodder that had twin tube axles. I believe it was a red T highboy in an early eighties issue.

    My trucks have the twin I beam front ends and I haven't experienced excessive tire wear. Maintenance and regular alignment checks are key, just like any suspension design.
     
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  10. TrailerTrashToo
    Joined: Jun 20, 2018
    Posts: 290

    TrailerTrashToo
    Member

    In the 1970's, I had a neighbor that ran a fleet of one Ton service trucks in his construction business. They always used Fords. I bought his last solid axle truck (1964) from him. The Twin-I-Beam trucks did eat tires for breakfast. The extra cost for the fleet was about equal to cost of a new, equipped service truck. He switched to Chevys.

    Fast forward about 40 years, I have 70K+ miles on an Off Topic 1986 Ford F150 ($1,000 Craigslist wonder - probably paid too much, but, I needed the short wheel base). It got an Off Topic Cummins 4 cylinder engine (4bt) and an On Topic 1952 Bell Telephone System service bed. I get over 30K miles on ordinary Off Topic radials, the wear is a little uneven, but, quite acceptable for a truck that was saved from the scrapyard many years ago.

    Somewhere in the past, Ford upgraded the Twin-I-Beam. You should be able to find one in the F150/F250/F350 that might meet your needs for a V-12. Also, used in the E150/E250/E350 series, I am unaware of the differences.
     
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  11. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,410

    Mike VV
    Member
    from SoCal

    Boryca (Mike) -

    Ford tried it twice.
    Didn't work well either time.

    You ever driven a split beam Ford ? Go drive a Ford truck around town for a while before you take on this task. It just might change your mind..!
    There IS...a reason that no one is doing this today..!

    Mike
     
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  12. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 24,688

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    There was a big splash in the rod mags when Fatman showed up with split axle but I don't remember hearing about that many cars built with them . They might even have one left drawing dust back in the warehouse.
    You also would have to have a tie rod setup That has a pivot in the middle so each side swings independently as a one piece tie rod isn't going to work as the toe would be changing with every bump. A hell of a lot of work to be "different"
     
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  13. KFC
    Joined: Jul 17, 2008
    Posts: 360

    KFC
    Member
    from UK

    Bellamy did split front I beams for small horse power fords in the uk, plenty of info on google. I think they supplied allied ?

    Worth looking at early bmw/Bristol front suspension they used a transverse leaf spring to form the top of an independent front end
     
  14. Before I get a bunch of time invested in this thread,,, is it going to fly with management and not get deleted?

    Split beam is not a good set up.

    That Peugeot set up is control arms and strut vs double AFrame
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
  15. Dan Timberlake
    Joined: Apr 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,230

    Dan Timberlake
    Member

  16. TrailerTrashToo
    Joined: Jun 20, 2018
    Posts: 290

    TrailerTrashToo
    Member

    My Off Topic 1986 F150 was driven to Burlington, Vt, and 2 week loop thru the south without any handling complaints. I expect that the "deal-killer" will be the coil spring towers needed for the Ford suspension.
     
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  17. Anyone know anything about the "Bellamy Ford Axle"? Was this an actual Ford axle for European sales?
    upload_2019-4-12_12-46-8.png
     
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  18. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,383

    dana barlow
    Member
    from Miami Fla.

    I wouldn't do it for a rod,but;There were times the idea work very well in early oval stock car racing.{ That was done by cutting a late 30s,40s Ford axle too get good camber in turns.
     
  19. TrailerTrashToo
    Joined: Jun 20, 2018
    Posts: 290

    TrailerTrashToo
    Member

    Wild thought (or maybe another rabbit hole), how about a pre-1965 MOPAR torsion bar suspension. No ugly coil towers and everything should be below the frame line. No real experience on this, except for a couple of small IH pickup trucks with torsion bars. That "might" keep you On Topic ( I do have fond memories of driving Grandpa's 1962 Chrysler New Yorker)
     
  20. picture from the WEB of a FatMan front axle kit upload_2019-4-12_12-54-29.png
     
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  21. B42EF952-66C7-426F-B149-E5603B870277.jpeg
    1935
    A frame wish bone uppers
    Spring is lower
    Strut rods

    Rube goldburgesque

    The simpler the better IMO for a hot rod.
    The simplicity of Henry,s stuff is hard to beat.
     
  22. Boryca
    Joined: Jul 18, 2011
    Posts: 557

    Boryca
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Detroit

    Love the opinions and responses fellas.

    @jrblack30 - I think that Bellamy axle is the closest to what I'm pondering, but with the radius rods widened to frame width at the rear to get lower and avoid having to create a central pivot mounting area... Seems like it would still work roughly the same, with the same issues around camber change due to the short axle length - a problem I'm not going to get around without a spindle setup similar to what @31Vicky with a hemi posted just above - which is massively clunky and not desired for the feel of the car.

    Interesting... Seems like these setups take up a lot of space - maybe a consideration for the rear.

    I thought about this! Then I saw the aforementioned Peugeot thread and got off on a tangent.
     
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  23. Boryca
    Joined: Jul 18, 2011
    Posts: 557

    Boryca
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Detroit

    Hoping it flies. Let's say I'm considering "traditional IFS setups." :cool::D
     
  24. deucemac
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 941

    deucemac
    Member

    If aligned properly, they were quite good. Proper alignment could only be achieved if the truck was aligned with normal load weight on the truck and the axles cold bent. Too many jobs I got had burn marks on the axle because someone was too lazy or untrained on the proper way. The teal culprit of tire wear on the twin I beam was shocks. The long arm moment of the axle could not be dampened by the shocks available at the time and would get pounder out in short times. Keeping good shocks and aligning the axles in the normally loaded configuration would see good tire life out of them. Too many stupid "experts" overlooked or misunderstood the geometry necessary to make the system function. I worked at a Ford store that got merged with the owner's Toyota store. The first truck alignment I did after the merge, I had most of the Toyota mechanics either in the pit with me or hanging over the rails watching me align a twin I beam truck. The were all amazed by the midaevile torture chamber fixtures hung on the axles to do the job right. A good system that got a bad rap because of ignorance and laziness.
     
  25. sliceddeuce
    Joined: Aug 15, 2017
    Posts: 1,952

    sliceddeuce
    Member

    Traditional independent?? Graft in a Studebaker Planar front suspension.
     
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  26. How about something goofy like a 47 Willys wagon suspension?? 00O0O_9tYbasUD3ei_600x450.jpg 00Y0Y_jm6FlRhmqzd_600x450.jpg 00J0J_7HKVYoQYH77_600x450.jpg
     
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  27. patterg2003
    Joined: Sep 21, 2014
    Posts: 508

    patterg2003

    I would think the split mid axle would have a harder time keeping the tire square to the road. As the suspension moves the short beams up & down then the pressure would move to the outside or inside edge of the tires. It might make it interesting on a icy or wet curve if there is any lean in the curve if there is poor tire contact. The Ford truck twin I beam is a lot longer so there is less of that so the tire would stay fairly flat. I had 2 Ford half tons with the twin I beam with good luck with the tires. They needed to have the king pins greased and the rubber donuts replaced on the radius arms. The twin beam half tons were good on the back roads. Our pulpmill used only Ford 1/2 tons with twin I beams and big straight 6's for their logging operations back when.
     
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  28. badshifter
    Joined: Apr 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,103

    badshifter
    Member

    IMG_2676.JPG IMG_2677.JPG The split I beam seems to work well on lightweight cars such as the Lotus 11.
    But add weight and the problems seem to increase.
     
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  29. chrisp
    Joined: Jan 27, 2007
    Posts: 731

    chrisp
    Member

    The Peugeot design is not a split beam it's really an early IFS since there are pivots at both end of the beams (I arms?). And if you're thinking about using that don't forget it's a tiny light car with a small L4 not a V12.
    Some French car manufacturer were moving to IFS in the 30's, some more successfully than others. On fenderless cars they look clunky and cumbersome.
     
  30. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,304

    s55mercury66
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    The Flemke front end. It worked well on Modifieds back in the day. My Ford Twin-I Beam and Twin Traction Beam front ends have been good to me, they ride and handle better than any straight beam axle I have driven, without any great tire wear.
     
    King ford likes this.

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