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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I am getting ready to order the Speedway front axle. I want the tires to be close to the outside of the fender and currently have some chrome reverse wheels with moon caps. I like the big and littles look and wondered how little runs well on the street? I won't be racing the car, just cruising town and highways, but want the street gasser style. My hub to hub is 56 so I can go a little wider, but really want the car to be drivable and easy to steer. It is a 4 door, so it is kinda heavy.

Thanks!
John
 

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Little tires have never given me any issues on the street. But I always choose a good quality radial front tire, and not a DOT approved drag front runner. Those front runner tires don't have much tread or sidewall and wont work on the street well. My favorite is a 165/80/15 tire, but they are getting harder to find as makers usually do one run a year.
Your car's axle will need to be 8" narrower than the kingpin width, as Speedway lists the hub surface ending up 8" wider. Then figure your rim width, tire width, and backspace on top of that. I run 4" front rims on my gasser, with 1.5" backspace, so that adds another 5" overall width to the axle.
What you need to have is the overall width of the body outside, and then decide how far inside the fender you want your tires to sit. If the width is say 60" and you have 2.5" of offset on your front tires/wheels, then you need a 47" kingpin width to have the tires sit even with the fender. If you want the tires to sit inside a certain amount, then subtract that and double it for total width. So if you want the tires sitting in 1" on each side, subtract another 2" for the kingpin width. Remember that the higher the car sits, the closer you want the tires to the outside of the body! 2" inside looks good on a fairly low stance, but looks weird on a high stance. Even with the body with the outside edge of the tires looks much better on a tall stance.
My Austin is 53" wide at the front fenders, and my axle is 39.5" kingpin to kingpin with a Speedway axle. 3.5" wheels with 165/80/15 tires. My tires sit even with the edge of the front fender opening. It's not nose bleed high, but I think it still looks better fully filling the front openings.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Vall, that was a big help. My car is 74 inches or so wide from the outside of the fenders. I'm thinking the 58.5 inch hub to hub kit should be OK. I'm wanting to run 4 inch front rims with 1.75 of back space. The wheels and tires will still be inside the fender, which is OK, but hopefully not too far inside. Any best experiences with chopping off a frame and adding some stubs? I probably won't order the axle kit until after the holidays, so I have some time to get the prep work done.

Thanks everyone.
John
 

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Yes, I've done 5 frame stubs on straight axle swaps. Most were Tri 5 Chevys, but also did so on my '40 Chevy coupe to put a late 40's Ford transverse spring axle in it. Some frames aren't bad in stock form, and might not need a full stub. Some of the older frames didn't have huge bulges or spring pockets to remove, and can be reworked to look nice without a stub. A picture of your frame would help in determining what it might need to stub it, or possibly clean it up.
I did some searching to find an image, but not much comes up for early 50's Mopars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My fabrication guy is coming next week to talk about the project. I have been looking at wheels and wondered if 4 inches wide is too skinny for a 3 thousand pound car? Right now I have 6 inch wide smoothies on the car, but thought 15 x 4 in the front would look good, I just don't want them to bend if I hit a bump too hard. Any ideas?

Thanks.
John
 

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Everyone I know runs 15"x4" front wheels on their gassers, and many are much heavier than 3000 lbs. Most the Tri Five Chevys weigh in at 3600-3700 lb. and run them. My Falcon with a BBC is probably around 3000 lb. and no problem with them.
 

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My new American Racing wheels are 15X4 1/2 and have a load rating of 1580lbs each. The tires I'm using have a rating of 1201 lbs each. You shouldn't have a problem.
 

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I order all my tires from Discount Tire Direct on Ebay. They had several to choose from in that size. Pretty nice, punch in your size and pick the brand and price you want. I get them the next day and it's free shipping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks everyone. I decided to run some Cragar Series 69 Delux 15 by 4.5 in the front. I'm thinking some wide whitewalls eventually. It won't look like a period gasser, but that is OK. I want to drive something a little different. Let me run my math by you...if I use the 58.5 inches hub to hub Speedway kit, the Cragars will add another 4.5 inches, I haven't picked the final tire yet, but I don't think the tires will add more than a couple inches, I come up with 65 inches wide. The car is 73.75 inches from outside of fender to fender. I don't want it super high in the front, but does that sound decent looking?
Thanks. Without this forum I would be lost.
John
 

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I personally think the tires will be too tucked in with over 4" in on each side. I think I'd order either a wider axle, or go with Econoine or Chevy van straight axle. They both are about 61.5 hub to hub, and will fill the wheelwells out farther. Plus they'll save you about $500-$650 over the Speedway kit. I gave $120 for my '67 Econoline axle with all new kingpins, rod ends, brakes, drums, etc. Ready to drop in. We bought my buddy's Econoline axle complete with springs, and not rebuilt for $60. I converted it to disc brakes for about $130 using GM calipers and Cherokee rotors. The '69 Nova is 70" wide outside, so you can see the Econoline axle would fit your '51 well, and save money too.



 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Is there a place that sells the econoline or do I have to find a junkyard? I tried looking for an old I beam but haven't had any luck.
Thanks
 

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I've always found them on Craigslist, or through friends. Even found one at a car show when talking to a guy who was looking at my Falcon. He mentioned having one for $65, and had sold his project. I offered to give him his money back and he accepted.
I usually just type in "straight axle" on CL auto parts section, and keep looking every few days when I want one. They show up if you're patient.
 

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Ditto what Vall says but I also type in drop axle and have turned up some that did not show, also just axle...but you have to search threw every thing that comes up there has been one on craigslist for Seattle area for about six months... also try ebay for local area...I got my f100 axle set up for $50 and was able to pick it up...shipping would be really expense
 

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I'm running the same wheels and tires on my Falcon, except I bought mine before they dropped the 15"x4" American wheels, so mine are slightly narrower. But I had already painted my rear wheels with a darker graphite center, so I painted the new front wheels with the same mag wheel paint to match them up.
 

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I'm running an old pair of 8.5"x15" ET spokes, with Hurst 10" cheater slicks. Centers painted graphite to match the fronts.

 
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