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Projects Straight Axle 63

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by DanVI, Feb 15, 2020.

  1. Nice score on the Olds rearend. Only caution is the early 57-58 have fewer and coarser axle splines than the 59-64. Still a good strong rearend, just be careful if buying a third member from 59-64; it will bolt in but axles won't slide into the axle gears since splines don't match.

    Sent from dumb operator on a smart phone
     
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  2. DanVI
    Joined: Feb 14, 2020
    Posts: 74

    DanVI
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Well, cleaned and painted the big olds housing. Currently have it sitting in place awaiting a set of u bolts. I think it turned out well. I remade and welded in place one of the 4 brake line brackets but otherwise a thorough cleaning was all it needed.

    With the olds diff I was able to take the original lower leaf spring plate/shock mounts which allows me to utilize the original 63 chevy ii shock mount location and shocks. The plates are heavy duty at almost 1/2" thick, definitely don't make things like they use to! Off to a buddies house tomorrow to cut my traction bar brackets, he has a plasma cutter which will help me trim the 3/16" plate to shape.

    I hope to finish off the rear end install and traction bar set up over the next few days well I ponder a few thoughts and ideas for the front subframe.......
     

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  3. wvenfield
    Joined: Nov 23, 2006
    Posts: 5,075

    wvenfield
    Member

    I went back and forth with this also. I am never going to be able to run a series with the big dogs and a good number of the vintage events limit you to 8 or 9 inches. With the proper offset I was able to get 9 inch slicks under the car without cutting the quarters.

    I would have never went to the trouble if I wasn't going to take the car to the track but unless I want to keep on working (I don't) I know I'll never have to worry over something bigger back there.

    Looking back at the old pics and there are plenty of cars without cut quarters. That said, if you want to run one of the vintage series and be competitive, sooner or later you will likely cut.
     
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  4. duncan
    Joined: Aug 23, 2006
    Posts: 1,124

    duncan
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    Man that housing looks good in there.
     
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  5. DanVI
    Joined: Feb 14, 2020
    Posts: 74

    DanVI
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Spent a bit of time today trimming 3/16" plate to form the traction bar brackets. I tried my buddy K' plasma cutter but no dice, we decided we could get a cleaner cut with a zippy wheel, which made short work of it.

    A little clean up with the bench grinder, and a few drilled holes before I welded the rear mounts to the 1957 oldsmobile shock mounts. Pretty happy with the results.

    I still have some forming and shaping on the front brackets, also waiting for a 1" stepped drill bit I had ordered. Otherwise the traction bars are nearing completion!
     

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  6. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,104

    squirrel
    Member

    neat design!
     
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  7. DanVI
    Joined: Feb 14, 2020
    Posts: 74

    DanVI
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    Yah I have seen it before, just can't quite place where......
     
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  8. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,460

    seb fontana
    Member
    from ct

  9. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 13,439

    DDDenny
    Member
    from oregon

    Are you thinking of Traction Masters?
    I built ten sets of these many years ago, they were a version of the old 60's style Traction Masters.
    They were for 62-67 Novas, these mounted directly to the leaf springs and never had any ground clearance issues that Caltracs have.
    Sorry about the lousy picture quality.


    20170306_104454.jpg
     
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  10. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,104

    squirrel
    Member

    It was an inside joke.

    I built some bars that look like Traction Masters, but work like Cal Tracs, for my Chevy II. He's copying them for his car.
     
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  11. DanVI
    Joined: Feb 14, 2020
    Posts: 74

    DanVI
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Received a surprise in the mail today! I reached out to the fellas a fabcraft who have been extremely helpful as I learn about the big Olds. I ended up ordering from fabcraft what was referred to as the Olds rearend bible.

    This book is fantastic, an overwhelming about of information and a LOT of cool vintage racing photos!

    Sooooo impressed by this book!
     

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  12. DanVI
    Joined: Feb 14, 2020
    Posts: 74

    DanVI
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Well finally thought through a plan for the front subframe...... as I wait on ubolts for the rear end....

    The traction bars are nearly completely and need final welding once I set the ride height but I cant do that without ubolts which I should have on Monday.

    I split a large 1 1/4" nut in half to use as adjusting nuts on the traction bar arms. Otherwise a couple of cuts once I determine the length and I can final weld and install!

    The front subframe is now partially welded up. I will remove it for finish welding and the lower rail plates. Everything is square and plumb and depending on my set up there is plenty of room to decide on my steering and engine mount location. Progress!
     

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    Last edited: May 30, 2020
  13. DanVI
    Joined: Feb 14, 2020
    Posts: 74

    DanVI
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Today I removed the subframe and finished welding the subframe rails, cross member and firewall downtubes. Nothing wild to report here although I am going to touch up a couple of the less crucial welds once back in place on the car.

    I finished off by prepping and painting the inside of the rails before I rosette weld the lower plate in place.
     

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  14. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,104

    squirrel
    Member

    looks good! sure is a lot of work, compared to using the original rails :)
     
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  15. DanVI
    Joined: Feb 14, 2020
    Posts: 74

    DanVI
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    Thanks squirrel! When I bought the car it came with a TCI mustang ii front end. The old original rails were tossed loooong ago.........
     
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  16. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,104

    squirrel
    Member

    Seems they shouldn't be too hard to find, I have a 66 front end that a friend gave me a few years ago, missing the radiator support. he converted his to the type that yours came with. Lots of guys doing that these days.
     
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  17. DanVI
    Joined: Feb 14, 2020
    Posts: 74

    DanVI
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Yah one would think! Here on Vancouver Island parts are vanishing faster then race tracks..... or so it seems, either way to late now!
     

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  18. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,460

    seb fontana
    Member
    from ct

    You done good. If I did it that way I'd have to use a porta power to get the bolt holes to line back up! Just my karma..
     
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  19. DanVI
    Joined: Feb 14, 2020
    Posts: 74

    DanVI
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Well set up my ride height and bought a pair of springs as a baseline to get started. These spring have a total length of 31inches with a 1400lbs load rating. The length of these and the center pin pushes the front axle and wheel 2 inches forward, which is a bit more then I had envisioned. A few cardboard templates and some tape were made before everything was mocked into place. Unfortunately this spring will likely put me at 3.5 inches taller then my desired ride height. But a good baseline to start. I've now got my eyes on a 26 inch pair with a slightly lower load rating of 1250.
     

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  20. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,104

    squirrel
    Member

    you want the springs pretty flat...things move around more than you'd expect when you put weight on it. And you also want to have the axle sitting 3 or 4 inches forward, then it'll look so much better when you scoot the rear floor forward 6-8 inches.
     
  21. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 10,079

    saltflats
    Member
    from Missouri

    Don't know how hard you planing on beating on this car, but I would box in those spring pads on that rear end housing.
     
  22. DanVI
    Joined: Feb 14, 2020
    Posts: 74

    DanVI
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Oh boy........ dont give me more crazy ideas! Out of curiosity what is the measurement n your chevy ii from the ground to the front fender lip? I am at 32.5 inches (measured inline with the axle) and cant decide if it's to high, to low..... or just right.
     
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  23. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,104

    squirrel
    Member

    These are 33" eye to eye springs that came with my axle kit from Speedway. I took several leafs out. I don't know exactly where you measured, I guess in the wheel opening? I showed you where I measured, so you can compare accurately.

    If you leave the springs with a lot of arch, it will ride real rough...if they are flattened out most of the way, that means they will give a soft ride, which is nice if you put a lot of miles on the car. And it makes the rear suspension work better if you go racing.

    springs2.jpg springs1.jpg
     
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  24. DanVI
    Joined: Feb 14, 2020
    Posts: 74

    DanVI
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Perfect squirrel! Thanks for the information. Measuring at that location puts me at 27.5 inches.

    I will reconsider the 31 inch springs on your suggestion. Thanks again!

    Dan
     
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  25. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,104

    squirrel
    Member

    The important point I want to get across, is that you can't set ride height with leaf springs, without having the full weight of the car on them. Also, the location of the shackle is tricky, because things move so much as the spring flattens. Take your time....
     
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  26. DanVI
    Joined: Feb 14, 2020
    Posts: 74

    DanVI
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Yes absolutely, something I understand completely. I have had success in the past taking a similar approach. I roughly set ride height using a spring from my "spring guy". I clamp or tack the rear and front spring/shackle mounts setting them at about a 10/15 degree angle. Once the front end is weighted the car drops and the shackle angle kicks out to a more preferable 35/45 degrees, if adjustments are needed to get the shackle angle correct I adjust it accordingly. From there I lean on my spring guy again to arch/rearch if needed! And fear not my engine hoistless self is thinking through a method to install the engine and trans for mounts and mock up, just not quite there yet....lol
     
  27. DanVI
    Joined: Feb 14, 2020
    Posts: 74

    DanVI
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    As I wait on a slightly shorter 28 inch leaf spring I decided to work a bit on the rear traction bars and suspension...... yes flip flopping.

    I was not overly happy with the rear ride height and decided to build up a set of longer shackles which got me right around where I want to be. Doing so also improved the pinion angle which seemed off once the suspension was compressed. I also mounted the traction bars and mocked everything in place, I hope to weld up the bars soon. I still need to get proper fasteners and spacers but otherwise I like how they turned out!
     

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  28. DanVI
    Joined: Feb 14, 2020
    Posts: 74

    DanVI
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I spent some time today wrangling the engine and transmission into place...... no engine hoist so things could have been easier.

    Everything seems to fit well and looks cool!

    I still haven't decided on which engine mounts I will end up using, the front or side mounts. It will come down to how I can make the steering work so I am researching different steering setups.
     

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  29. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,104

    squirrel
    Member

    do you have the original steering box? If not, you'll probably end up with a Vega type box, up front?
     
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  30. DanVI
    Joined: Feb 14, 2020
    Posts: 74

    DanVI
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I have a Saginaw 525 steering box from a 1965 GTO.
     
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