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Straight Axle 55 Chevys do they drive good

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by harrys55chevy@bellsouth.n, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,080


    I haven't owned or driven one but have put several hundred thousand miles on I beam axle pickups over the past 40 years and that hasn't always been a piece of cake even though I've made a number of extended cross country trips. Rough ride, way less than great handling and they seem to wear out king pins a lot more often than you would think.

    I'd say that the biggest issue with swapping a straight axle or I beam under a car for the gasser look in the past has been with the level of workmanship and thought put into the installaton. In the 70's I saw some real abortions as far as straight axle installations went.

    Most guys who put a straight axle under a 50 something car aren't planning on making serious cross country road trips. I doubt we would see a straight axle 55 Chevy hooking up With Alex on one of his banzi trips to Austin and expecting to keep up with him.
    Most of those same guys aren't planning on using the car as a daily driver and a Saturday morning run of thirty or forty miles one way is a long trip for them. They will spend hours on end going up and down the street at 10mph on cruise nights connected to rod runs though.

    Truth be known would a well designed well built straight axle gasser style car with leaf springs ride or drive any worse than say a lifted Toyota pickup? Both the ride and handling are probably somewhat close to the same but the Toy may be a bit more practical in the long run.
  2. Chevydeuce
    Joined: Apr 20, 2006
    Posts: 136


    I'd say if you build it right it drives ok. I'n working at Daimler truck development and our mercedes Actros still has a streight front axle and doesen't ride bad at all!!
  3. Blacktop Graffiti
    Joined: May 2, 2002
    Posts: 964

    Blacktop Graffiti

    They'll flip over as much as driving a Samurai. Drive like a human, build it correctly and it's no problem at all. I had a '64 Fairlane with a Econo axle and it handled as well as any of my lifted solid axle 4x4's.
  4. bgas56
    Joined: Nov 14, 2006
    Posts: 136


    Ran this on the street with no problems.496" bb 4spd combo with a 5.60 bias ply front tire. Speedway straight axle kit with front discs .My latest is a '55 2 door post with a stock front suspension a a few subtle mods to bring the nose up.
    Both choices work fine.It is all in the set up.

    Attached Files:

  5. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 4,072


    The straight front axle isn't the problem,the high center of gravity is.Just drive like a drag car,no high speed turns.
  6. gmpartsgod
    Joined: Jan 22, 2012
    Posts: 51


    Point and shoot.!!!!!!!! They drive straight real good.but dont enter any road races..with lefts and rights.
  7. bulletproof1
    Joined: Feb 23, 2004
    Posts: 2,080

    from tulsa okla

    i cheated.... mine has a s10 clip under it with fabtech 3'' lift spindles ... it drives and handles great..
  8. mashed
    Joined: Oct 15, 2011
    Posts: 1,474

    from 4077th

  9. GassersGarage
    Joined: Jul 1, 2007
    Posts: 4,728


    If the front end is set up properly, they run fine, but worst than stock. I put a lot of freeway miles on this '51 Ford with a straight axle before I traded it. Would I want another, no. I'm getting old and like my comfort.
    groucho gas.jpg
  10. I can't wait till my '55 is done someday. I'm an hour to the nearest anything. So I plan on putting some serious miles on my car.
    Would I trailer it to Austin? Yes.... Why? I want to show up with a
    Clean, pit free paintjob and not worry about needing to spend all night to get my car cleaned up after 8 and half hours of driving.

    Sent from my iPhone using TJJ
  11. Igosplut
    Joined: Jan 1, 2011
    Posts: 158


    My 66 Nova has had one since 1970. When I got it in 79, the king pins were worn out and it STILL drove better than the stock Chevy II front end. I drive more aggressively than most and it's never been a problem. Yes, they don't handle like a modern front end, but every bit as good as any straight axle truck (two and four wheel drive) out there if they're done right....

  12. roughneck424
    Joined: Jan 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,084


    Hence the word independent as in front suspension:) was used.
    Just threw it into the thread being its subject is 55 chevys and handling
  13. chevyshubox
    Joined: Dec 31, 2007
    Posts: 62

    from Australia

    I dont get the whole straight axle thing.
    It was originally done for weight transfer wasnt it.
    If you got enough power you`ll get weight transfer with the stock front end.
    My 56 4 door was running low 10`s with stock front end and leaf springs with a iron headed 454. And full steel except the front bar and that was only cause I didnt have one for it.
    Most of these cars I see with a straight axle wouldnt pull a sailor off your sister.
    Obviously there is some fast ones but not many.
    Most of them dont even look good when they have that 4wd look with the back wheels hanging out past the stock guards especially the 55`s.
    It just dont look right.
    Just my opinion and dont get me wrong I love tri fives I have had many including a mid 8 second one but none have had a straight axle and never will.

    This is weight transfer

    This is higher than the 2 1/2 ft high concrete barrier
  14. Bad Banana
    Joined: Jun 20, 2008
    Posts: 832

    Bad Banana

    This one has a straight axle in it and seems to handle fine to me. :D

  15. Moon Rocket
    Joined: Dec 26, 2012
    Posts: 540

    Moon Rocket
    from GA

    I personally always recommend that anyone thinking of putting a straight axel under a tri-five NOT do it!
    Yes I own and drive one that does have a straight axel. It is what it is.

    The reason I suggest not doing it is, I bought my vintage straight axel tri-five before the recent popularity caught on fire. Now every time I turn around here comes one with a “new” axel under it. What the hell! Now I know how the original Deuce owners feel when they see a glass bodied one pulling in!

    NO, DON’T DO IT, most of the tri-five owners that don’t have them will hate yours.

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