07-05-2003 06:58 PM #1
good handleing with a straight axle
It looks like I wont have enough money to buy a hub to hub M2 kit for my 37 chevy p/u,anybody have any tips on getting a I beam axle to handle good at highway speeds. I will be using a dropped axle with modern brakes,I see streetrods with those axles moving along on the highways. What do I need to do as with the stock axle this truck is terrible. Jeff
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A solid axel is not made for handling. It was designed for strength yrs ago, when the roads were not paved. If you are looking for good handling you have to go IFS.
I just installed a junk yard Must II in a 34 Ford trk. The front end cost $150 & Granada rotors were $50. The calipers were cheap alsoo-I forget what he paid for them. The caliper brks cost less than $100. No kit was used to install this.( there were some articles in streetrod mag that showed you how to do this).
I do not have this article perhaps someone on this site will have it.
Thus, I do not think a dropped axle can be installed for less money .
|Don Meyer, PhD-Mech Engr(48 GMC Trk/chopped/cab extended/caddy fins & a GM converted Rolls Royce Silver Shadow).|
Let me re phrase this question,what can I do to improve the handling and ride on my truck. I know a beam axle cant handle as good as a ifs but there must be something I can do to improve it
JEFF, ITS GONNA DEPEND ALOT ON WHAT YOUR GONNA DO WITH THIS TRUCK & ENGINE WEIGHT HAS A FACTOR HERE ALSO..
I HAVE A '55 FORD F-100 4" MOR-DROP AXLE, 3/4 TON SPRINGS W/REVERSE EYE SPRING & 1 LONG LEAF REMOVED, REBUILT ALL COMPONENTS (A MUST DO), MODIFIED STEERING ARMS, DRUM BRAKES, AND BIAS PLY WHITEWALLS..WITH A HEAVY '60 389 PONTIAC AND 4spd...THIS THING HAS TAKIN ME EVERY WHERE FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO SAN DIEGO, NEVADA & ARIZONA WITH NO PROBLEM AT CRUZ SPEED OF ABOUT 80 MPH...DONT LISTEN TO ALL THESE JOCK RODDERS TRYIN TO TELL YOU ITS UNSAFE OR TERIBBLE RIDE FACTOR AS MOST OF EM HAVE MONEY FALLIN OUT THE @$$ OF TRAILER THERE STUFF AROUND..JUST MAKE IT NEW AGAIN AND IT WILL RIDE GOOD.. VINTAGE IS KING RICK
smooth-riding straight axle
The truck will ride rough because the springs, shocks, and tires aren't smoothing out the road for you.
Look at type of tires, and air pressures. skinny tires with high pressures will probably ride rougher than otherwise.
Look at the springs- stiffness, and condition of leaves and spacers. If there are no spacers between the leaves, and they can't slide past each other, it will ride like the spring is a solid lump of steel. Back in the old days, mfgs would (for cars, to make them ride smoother) pack the springs with grease and wrap them to keep dirt and water out. You also may want to reduce a leaf or two, to reduce the spring rate (stiffness).
Also look at your shock setup- if tube shocks, check them. If knee action, ditto.
Let us know what you try and how it works!
I am running a 235 six cylinder in it which is probably heavy,it has the original springs that have 9 leaves in them and it has the old door closer type shocks on it. Could I get by with taking halve the leaves out of would it be better getting newer springs,heres my plan so far dropped axle,momo leaf springs if taking leaves out wont work,new kingpins, spring bushings and of course modern brakes,tube shocks,newer steering box. I am not planning cross country trips with this truck as it has no leg room but I want to get it better than what it is now. Jeff
Upon re-reading your post, you didn't say anything about smooth ride, only handling. Hmm. Do the bushings, kingpins, and shocks first. Before you tear it down, look at distance between the axle and frame (suspension travel). If there's not much clearence, then the springs must stay pretty stiff to avoid bottoming out on bumps, right? If you have some decent clearence (4-5 inches?) then a softer spring pack might be nice. Pulling half the leaves sounds like too much to start, though!
May also want an anti-roll bar for - well, maybe both ends?
Don't forget the rear end for shocks and etc.
If i were you i would rebuild the axle (king pins & bushings, Tie rod ends, etc.) Add new tires and alinement. It should be fine - but if not then install new shocks - Having your springs rebuilt is a lot cheeper (some times) then buying new. Look in your yellow pages under truck springs. Big truck spring shops can rebuild your old springs to factory specs. Your straight axle once in good condition will perform just fine.
Like everyone says, the kingpins must be tight, bushings and so forth must be good.
Of course, figure out what kind of wheels and tires you want to run, paying attention to wheel offset (steering axis wants to meet the pavement somewhere near the center of the tire patch, right?)
Now: ride height and ride softness-
Springs tend to sag- maybe not any softer, just bottom easier.
Rust and crud will accumulate between the spring leaves- it will keep the spring pack from working properly (will act like a solid bar instead of a spring)
The term "rebuilding" could be misleading in terms of the spring pack.
The dropped axle means that you can have a bit more room for axle travel. You can probably go with a bit softer springs (fewer leaves) plus more arch (initially) to give the correct height and a softer ride
Add sway bars to give the truck better roll resistance, and you should be a very happy hotrodder!