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Discussion Starter #21
Would anyone happen to know what axle width would work best with a 4.5-5.5 wheel with 2+ inch backspacing? The consensus seems to be a 48 inch or 50 inch axle but wasn’t sure about possible wheel issues.
 

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If you're talking the Speedway kit, then the total width will be 8" more than spindle centers. So a 50" will be 58" to the hub surface. A Tri 5 is 74" fender to fender. So that means with 5.5" rims and 2" BS your wheels will add another 7" to the 58" and be 65" OA width. That puts your wheels in 4.5" each side.
That's a pretty good inset, and I sure wouldn't want to go any narrower. Even with sidewall bulge of about 1"-1.5" it will still be 3" inside the fenders on each side to the sidewall.
This is why I prefer the '55-'59 Chevy pickup axles. They're a couple inches wider, and fill the wheelwell better. Too narrow and as the front gets higher it begins to look like a 3 wheel tractor if the tires are tucked inside too far. It's exaggerated even further if the rear tires are wider. The wider the rear is, the narrower the front looks. So need to consider that also in the overall picture.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
If you're talking the Speedway kit, then the total width will be 8" more than spindle centers. So a 50" will be 58" to the hub surface. A Tri 5 is 74" fender to fender. So that means with 5.5" rims and 2" BS your wheels will add another 7" to the 58" and be 65" OA width. That puts your wheels in 4.5" each side.
That's a pretty good inset, and I sure wouldn't want to go any narrower. Even with sidewall bulge of about 1"-1.5" it will still be 3" inside the fenders on each side to the sidewall.
This is why I prefer the '55-'59 Chevy pickup axles. They're a couple inches wider, and fill the wheelwell better. Too narrow and as the front gets higher it begins to look like a 3 wheel tractor if the tires are tucked inside too far. It's exaggerated even further if the rear tires are wider. The wider the rear is, the narrower the front looks. So need to consider that also in the overall picture.
I had some time yesterday and called Speedway. The tech I talked to told me almost the same thing you have stated above. First step is to find the wheel, backspace, and tire combo you want to run, the you can worry about the axle width.

One other question I have is tire size/height. I would like to run a minimum of 26-27 inch tire for the front. Any issues with the fenderwell headers and tire clearance? From a money standpoint, I was looking at the Speedway or Patriots (which may be the same). Any known issues or other headers to consider?

Thanks everybody!
 

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I had some time yesterday and called Speedway. The tech I talked to told me almost the same thing you have stated above. First step is to find the wheel, backspace, and tire combo you want to run, the you can worry about the axle width.

One other question I have is tire size/height. I would like to run a minimum of 26-27 inch tire for the front. Any issues with the fenderwell headers and tire clearance? From a money standpoint, I was looking at the Speedway or Patriots (which may be the same). Any known issues or other headers to consider?

Thanks everybody!
Kick the axle forward a bit, It will eliminate any header issue as well as giving it some "attitude". Here are a couple pics of a 55 street freak I did for a customer. It has the widest Speedway axle kit in it. Sorry for the sideways picture, I tried 3 times to correct it.
 

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I can't imagine having header to tire clearance with most straight axle installations. But that really depends on engine location, headers, and stance. (frontend height) If you're careful doing the installation, you should be able to see any issues during the build and not make anything permanent until you've checked all clearances.
Have you done much fabrication? Or will this be your first straight axle install?
 

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Discussion Starter #26
I can't imagine having header to tire clearance with most straight axle installations. But that really depends on engine location, headers, and stance. (frontend height) If you're careful doing the installation, you should be able to see any issues during the build and not make anything permanent until you've checked all clearances.
Have you done much fabrication? Or will this be your first straight axle install?
This will be my first axle install. My uncle, who has worked at a welding and fabrication shop, is also helping me with suggestions. I have been looking through the files you sent me, getting ideas and such. Right now my car is at the body shop getting ready for body and paint work so now is the time to do the axle install. The owner of shop is a close friend so he can help me setting it up, welding and such.

Ansley
 

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As long as somebody helping knows how to properly set up a straight axle. It's not just getting it welded in strong. It's getting kingpin angles correct, toe in correct, shackle angles correct, shackles and steering on the right side of the axle, and keeping the drag link level as possible.
 

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Blah Pops , you probably have more stored data than any mortal human could imagine , we can agree on that , But have you ever done anything with your very own hands ?? That's where the real knowledge emanates from , they uses to call it OJT , do you have much of that ?? I do , and I know Vall has a bunch ~~~
Steve
Steve...."Let me 'splain something to ya Lucy" Been working on my own cars, since I was 15 and am now in my 70's...My dad, bless his soul, had worked on a farm growing up and taught me a bunch...One of my first memories is of him showing me how to pull a head and hand lap the valves....Also, after the fiber timing gears stripped on my own six cylinder, I replaced the gears with steel ones and had the head rebuilt, cause it had bent valves, due to pistons being up, when they should have been down.

That was just a start...As far back as I can remember, I have turned many a wrench since then...Rebuilt a few engines, front ends, brake jobs and rewired one...There are a zillion other repair tasks...Can't remember them all anyway....Since I was in the military for 30 years, I did not have the money to pay someone to do the work.

I will be the first to admit that I don't possess the skill levels of some others here...However, even you have to admit that there are some that possess more knowledge in some areas than others...Do you know what a Single-Swing Blocking Oscillator Synchronizer is?....I didn't think so. :)

My apologies Mr. Fink for taking your thread off topic.
 

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Steve...."Let me 'splain something to ya Lucy" Been working on my own cars, since I was 15 and am now in my 70's...My dad, bless his soul, had worked on a farm growing up and taught me a bunch...One of my first memories is of him showing me how to pull a head and hand lap the valves....Also, after the fiber timing gears stripped on my own six cylinder, I replaced the gears with steel ones and had the head rebuilt, cause it had bent valves, due to pistons being up, when they should have been down.

That was just a start...As far back as I can remember, I have turned many a wrench since then...Rebuilt a few engines, front ends, brake jobs and rewired one...There are a zillion other repair tasks...Can't remember them all anyway....Since I was in the military for 30 years, I did not have the money to pay someone to do the work.

I will be the first to admit that I don't possess the skill levels of some others here...However, even you have to admit that there are some that possess more knowledge in some areas than others...Do you know what a Single-Swing Blocking Oscillator Synchronizer is?....I didn't think so. :)

Thanks " Ricky " for the biography !! Now we all know what a handy fellow you really are !!! But I still don't know what that " single swing " is , it's not some sort of high tech _*_ toy is it ???
Steve

* 557B210: Not family friendly
 

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As long as somebody helping knows how to properly set up a straight axle. It's not just getting it welded in strong. It's getting kingpin angles correct, toe in correct, shackle angles correct, shackles and steering on the right side of the axle, and keeping the drag link level as possible.
So true.....I humbly took the easy way out being less experienced in the geometry of straight axles. Hence the buy from John Tinberg and the Nickey subframe . I can weld as well as the average builder but until I do all my homework and pass the class I'll reserve relying on members like yourself who have the experience and knowledge . Thanks for all your input. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Leaf springs

Anyone have any suggestions other than the Speedway leafs? I have read about using trailer springs. Anyone use those? What should I be looking for in terms of spring rate and length? I will have a big block and metal front end. Looking for a “soft ride” type spring if there is such a thing.

Thanks,
Ansley
 

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Anyone have any suggestions other than the Speedway leafs? I have read about using trailer springs. Anyone use those? What should I be looking for in terms of spring rate and length? I will have a big block and metal front end. Looking for a “soft ride” type spring if there is such a thing.

Thanks,
Ansley
One of my customers used Suzuki Samurai front leafs in his 55 Gasser. They are available in stock height as well as 1.5" & 3.0" lift. I'm not sure which one he used but if you like the ride height of this car I can find out which ones he used. The axle is a 57 Chevy 1/2 ton pick-up. BTW, His first real run at the track he ran an 11.4 @ 118 mph. :tu
 

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Discussion Starter #35
One of my customers used Suzuki Samurai front leafs in his 55 Gasser. They are available in stock height as well as 1.5" & 3.0" lift. I'm not sure which one he used but if you like the ride height of this car I can find out which ones he used. The axle is a 57 Chevy 1/2 ton pick-up. BTW, His first real run at the track he ran an 11.4 @ 118 mph. :tu
If it is not too much trouble to find out the spring it would be appreciated. I like the height of that car maybe just a tad lower. Also, is the 55-59 axles 3” drop or 4” drop?

Thanks,
Ansley
 

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I've used trailer springs sets on my last two builds with straight axles. I will say you need to go with the longest springs that will fit behind the front body panels. Usually 30" or less will work great. I went with 27.5" on my present build because it's 14" from axle center to the end of my frame rails.
As for spring rate, I'd go with 1250 lb. springs, and be sure they're at least 4 leaf. Then if you need to you can remove a single leaf or two to make the ride better. I found 5 leaf and they were $60 a pair with free shipping.
But if you still plan to go with a Speedway gasser axle kit, they come with their own 29" leaf springs. They'll likely need a leaf or two removed still, as they're fairly stiff.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Thanks the information about the leafs. I am trying to spec out a parts and price list and compare it to the Speedway kit. I would prefer a 3-4” drop axle rather than a true straight axle. I have been looking at a Ron Pope axle. It seems he can make a drop axle up to 6” in pretty much any length. Any thoughts or issues when dealing with the Pope axles? He does have a kit, but it is about 350.00 more than Speedway’s kit. Then there is shipping also.
 

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If it is not too much trouble to find out the spring it would be appreciated. I like the height of that car maybe just a tad lower. Also, is the 55-59 axles 3” drop or 4” drop?

Thanks,
Ansley
He got the 3" lift springs and adjusted his height after the car was fully assembled by removing leafs as needed. I'm not sure on the drop but 3-4" is a safe guess. Here are a couple shots showing the 55-59 truck axle he used.
 

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I'm using a '55-'59 truck axle, with a Speedway disc brake kit. $100 for the axle, and $260 for the disc brake kit. Those are the trailer springs I bought in this picture also.

 

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Discussion Starter #40
He got the 3" lift springs and adjusted his height after the car was fully assembled by removing leafs as needed. I'm not sure on the drop but 3-4" is a safe guess. Here are a couple shots showing the 55-59 truck axle he used.
Thanks for the information.
 
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