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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
using the speedway axle kit, semi elliptical springs, what is a safe clearance from the oil pan to the top of the axle with weight on and engine in, and any one know about how much spring compression they got with the engine in, think small block, and weight of your car, I know it will be different for every application but I am trying to get an Idea one weather i need to get a straight axle or a dropped to clear things, does any on know what the stock drop is on a 41- 47 f100 axle is, sids website doesnt list it
 

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I believe the instructions with the Speedway kit say the springs mount the axle 12 inches down from the mounting point, and that they compress 1-3 inches under load depending on how heavy it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank zack I look at there website and pdf's and nothing was mentioned
 

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I've never seen more than 1" of settling when the engine and trans is installed. Unless you remove a lot of leaf springs, I'd look more towards 1". But you'll need to also consider ride height, and spring compression over bumps, and such. I usually tack the axle and all mounts in. Then I situate the engine in the frame with whatever support I can toss in there. It doesn't need to be pretty or perfect to get a look with the weight on it. Once I have the total weight on, I can take more measurements, and compare them to what I had previously. It's a little more fiddling, but takes all the guessing out of the picture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thanks Vall I got some sand bags to put on the cross member, looking at the specs that I find on the parts in the kit I figured 4-3/4" for the spring mount bolt to top of spring pad 1" for the hangers frame to center of spring bolt, 1-1/4" for the spring stack, bottom mounted axle. and about 1/2' for the spring plate mount on the axle, for bottom mounted axle, then I have 5" of built in clearance from my frame perch boxes that I am going to make that comes up to 12" that only gives my 1" of pan clearance, uncompressed springs, my options as I see it are make the spring mounting boxes taller or add spacers under the axle, not real keen on that one, I would think that 5" of pan clearance would be enough with the load on the springs with 17" off the frame clearance would give me 5" of lift in the front, witch will put the frame about
2" higher in the front from level, now if i move the axle forward I can bring that down some. Just playing with the stance I want with out looking stupid or really upsetting the handling moving the front wheels forward as much as 3-4" looks good due to the oblong wheel well opening, I had a friend come over that builds truck frames for off road to see about stubbing the frame but as he said we would still have to put the rear spring mount on the stock section due to where the frame bend is or cut under the cab an build a whole new s section and that is using a 32" long spring, I want to get it setup cause speedway has free shipping on the axle that I want and there only $799 , O yea on the rear bumper I am going to the junk yard and buy a Aluminum drive shaft and cut the ends off, for got to mention the specs that I posted didnt mention, I raised the engine 2" thats all I had to play with
 

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All the measurements have me confused. I am a visual guy, and can't wrap my head around what you're measuring, or from where it's measured to or from. I usually assemble the axle and springs, and then situate it under the car prior to considering mounts. The perches should be left loose, so the springs can be slid out or inward to see where they locate on the frame. I always prefer the springs to be mounted to the bottom of the frame rails, but sometimes the location needs to be outside the frame rails to allow the stance and height I need.
You can alter the axle to pan clearance by changing the location of the axle above or below the springs. It's a big move from one side to the other, as it can change height 5"-6" from above springs to below. But it will almost always allow the axle enough clearance, and achieve the stance you need. One suggestion (if you go axle above the springs) is don't use the Speedway spring perch U bolts. I don't use them regardless, but if you go above, I'd get new long U bolts that will go over the ale tube, and long enough to put the spring plate below the springs. Even when I have the axle below the springs, I like having U bolts that go around the axle and springs. It doesn't make the perch plate weld the only thing holding my axle to the springs.
These are the U bolts I had Oregon spring make up, so I could eliminate the Speedway square U bolts that only go around the spring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I agree with what you are saying but I am trying to figure out if its best to go the dropped axle for pan clearance or a straight axle, the picture really helps, I am doing just how you have yours set up, under the spring, and yea I read up on the u bolts and I totally agree with that, and will be tossing the stock ones, and I to am a visual person also, I like the bolt idea and I am for sure going to steal that from you, I hate trusting welds even when I get lucky and lay down a perfect one, it is really really appreciated the input from you and others, I hate to ask but what would really help is if I could get a measurement on your set up from the top of the axle tube, to the center line of your bolts going threw the springs while compressed, picture a string going from one spring eye bolt to the other, and them the measurement from the axle top to the string at its center point, I think I will draw something up and post it cause I am really bad at explaining things, but thank you for your input, and the free I idea, I think unless you send me a bill in the mail................lol
 

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I understand what you're asking, but not sure it will help. The contours of our frames would be different, so mounts would be in different heights, and angles. Also my springs have two leafs taken out, because my car is so light I couldn't run the full spring pack. And then to add to it, my main spring was too long to fit under the Austin and not have the perch sit outside the body. So I had a local spring shop build me a 29" main spring, and then added the shorter springs from the Speedway pack to make my new spring pack.
I ended up using the Speedway main leaf later on my Falcon build, and did the opposite thing. I purchased a trailer spring pack off Ebay, and used the Speedway main leaf, and the smaller leaves from the trailer pack to put under my Falcon with the E100 Econoline axle.
If I was ordering an axle for your situation, I'd not be too concerned on whether I ordered drop or straight. Both will work, and it's just a case of how you mount it to get the height. If you go a straight tube, you can mount the springs on the outside of the frame to lower it, if need be. If you order a drop tube and it's not high enough, you can build boxed mounts to raise the front, back, or both, to get the height.
If there's a question, I'd probably go to a drop tube axle, as it's easier to purchase a little rectangle box tubing and build the mounts up, than to build outside the frame rail mounts to lower it down. But to further confuse things. If you build it all up, and get the height right, you might still need to modify it before it's all welded solid. The Speedway springs are pretty stout, and almost everyone ends up dropping at least a leaf, unless they have a very heavy car, like around 3600 lbs. or more. So once it's mocked up, you end up climbing up on the bumper or frame, and jumping up and down to see how it compresses. Then you can decide if it needs a leaf or two removed, and that will further add to ride height change. It's almost never a case of just bolting an axle into these cars, and not changing it 2-3 times to finally get it right. I've gotten down to 2 times now, just because I know certain springs, and how they'll compress.
When we did my buddy's '69 Nova this year, I actually got it the first shot by accident. Only things I had to change was reversing the stock Econoline springs, as the center wasn't equal. The stock springs were longer in front, and I had to reverse them, so we could keep the front mount behind the bumper. But after swapping the springs, I put it under the frame and used 2x4 wood blocks to rest the spring eyes on the frame. Then dropped the car weight on it, and checked kingpin angle. It sat good, the kingpin angle was great, so we built up the mounts and shackles, and just tack welded it all in place. Bingo, first shot, and it worked, so did the finish weld, and never changed anything after mock up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well after looking at things and trying to get a visual on witch I want I am going to call speedway and see if they can build a 50" drop axle, longest they offer on there page is 48", I even went so far as to build a 4" drop axle out of pvc pipe, and do a mock up with the spring mounted dead parallel, it will be about 2" higher than I want but I can raise the back up to level it out, I am going with the chevy spindles and brakes cause my steering will be front mounted, and steering arms will be on the top of the spindle, I will have to make up a 28" spring that way it will be a full bolt on front box assembly, and I can use my exiting rack and pinion, by taking one steering arm off and making it in to a cross steer, if they wont do a custom length on a drop axle then I guess I will have to go with the 48" and make it up with wheel offset or god forbid wheel spacers, the drop axle will give the pan clearance, also like you said Vall I can avoid side mounting, cause with a straight axle I would be driving down the road looking at the moon, and probably could not get my head lites down where they belong, there will be so much room in the inner fender wells I could move my turbo to the fender space just for the hell of it, thanks for your insight its really made me examine my project and have every thing figured out to avoid a lot of frustration that can put a halt to a project
 

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Since your Ranger is about 67" wide, and the available axle is 48", plus another 8" after the kingpins to hub surface, that gives you 56" to hub surface (11" of difference!). You'd need a wheel with about 4"-5" offset outside to get near filling the wheelwell. That means it would take probably an 8" front wheel! Even a 50" axle would still require a 6" wheel, but that's a lot more realistic. I'd probably go a 52" axle, if I wanted to run the most available 4.5" wheels, as they have 2.5" outside offset, which would put the finished axle and wheel at 65", and be 1" inside the fenders on each side. A 50" will have the tires sitting 2" inside, which isn't terrible, but don't want to go too narrow, or as they get up higher, they begin to look like a 3 wheel tractor; especially with big wide rear tires filling the back!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
wheel stance

Thanks Vall my hub to hub from the factory is 58" wide, the stock 14x5.5 wheels have 3-1/2 " back space an 2" of front dish and they sit about 1-1/2" in from the top of the wheel well per side, and does look a little narrow but not bad, looking what is available for 15x4 rims i will still have about the same front dish as now, I think what I will due is pull it out of the shop and pull the wheels back of the studs and see what it looks like that way, the 56" axle would be to narrow looking for sure here is a pic, I picked up all my metal stock today enough to do at least 3 jobs, can't have to much steel stock, so what you see in the pic is the same size tire I will be running but 15" rims the tire outer most dimensions are 66" from tire side wall to side wall, upper wheel well out to outer is 69" a 52" axle might make it perfect, so I would only be about 1/2 in side the wheel well, will post another pic before and after
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well another big kink in my plans popped up!!! I bought a factory ranger frame book cause it was cheap, after going thru it I see that the front crumple zone is back further in the frame than I thought, all the way to the front of coil spring wells and part of the well its self, I had it all figured to this point even some fab work done, any one know of a suicide axle that will carry 3,000 lbs. speed ways are limited to 2500, my center section on the truck is perfect for this it is built like a tank, and a four link would be easy to do, its a good thing I bought the book cause I was also thinking about a part sub frame after the spring well. come Hell or high water this thing is going to happen
 

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Really? 3,000 lbs.? How would anyone ever get 3,000 lbs. on the front axle unless they purchased a 1 ton diesel truck to put a straight axle in? I think you're worrying about things that don't happen. Do you think every old hotrod or coupe that had a straight axle could hold up 3,000 lbs. in the front? If you want your Ranger to meet factory frame and suspension specs, you better just leave it stock, and find something old and rusty to build your gasser on.
 

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if you have a very powerful engine I would imagine the worst case senario would be dropping down hard after a wheelie if your launch did not go as planned to factor that in I would figure at least double the front end weight
... just a thought
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
weight bias on this thing is way nose heavy cab back, bed weights a mere 85 pounds, rear section of frame cab back is 10 gauge, from under the cab forward to control arms is just under 3\16 and is lap boxed so top and bottom of the frame rails are almost 3/8 thick, reason to prevent cab compression and distortion in an accident, from just forward of the control arms the frame goes back to 10 gauge and is large stacked accordion design to the front bumper, that part I have fabed up 3/16 plate and gussets for it,now I have to tackle the spring well part, I have seen dumb asses hang these huge 1/4" plate bumpers on the end of late model trucks and wonder why the frame cracks or sags when they do a little off roading, the frame is designed, to crumple inward and DOWN to absorb impacts, believe me I spent more than a few hours studying on the I care frame theory websites as well as the body and frame book for it, I just see that I have this heavy massive cross member that will hold up the whole truck with out a hitch but every thing i read about the transverse leaf set up on heavy cars and trucks is for the most part not so good, speedway said that there suicide axle was not going to be heavy enough and said to buy the forged one but it does not set up for 4 bar, they couldn't even tell me the spring rate for the nova 26" 7.5 arch leaf springs, 7 plate, my guess is 350 per inch, as far as design concerns yes I over kill but more than half of I have seen is done like crap or welded incorrectly such as vertical welds on frames and such, my shit has to look clean and my welds need to be part of the beauty of the work that is done, Iam just anal that way and it shows in my work
 

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If this is what you want, then I'd say it's not heavy enough. If you just want a cross spring mounted in a channel, like Ford did it, I would think a mid 40's Ford I-beam would be plenty heavy. I think Speedway or other street rod suppliers would have brackets to mount four bars or with a beam axle, you could use hairpins. I can't think of any reason to use a suicide mount.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks Ol blue that is what I was thinking about cause it would be really easy, Butttttt, I was on speedways website and saw some coil spring cups that are adjustable and weld on to an axle, so Am working up a design that would use a speedway axle with adjustable cups, coil springs and shocks can stay in there stock location 4 bar links going back and a pan hard for lateral stability and rack cross steer would still have the cross axle look but would ride nice height would be adjustable, things that people don't think about is all that weight transfer when you have to slam on the brakes, Iam going to do a mickey mouse job of doing a weight bias check by raising the truck on each side with pipe bars to see where it is at, and sand bags in the front for the engine witch is out
 

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Coil springs over an axle will not look as clean as transverse spring, or parallel spring axle setups. By the time you add two coils, spring cups, and a panhard bar, things get pretty busy looking, and (IMHO) just look too cluttered. But it's your build, so if that's what you want, then go for it. The end result wont look much cleaner than a Ford twin I beam setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I agree with you Vall i have pulled out the old suspension, and I bought a 47 ford truck axle complete $100 delivered I mocked it up with springs in place and put it under the truck, it will work and looks great in the middle but when you look at it as a whole, its a little cluttered like you say, even with my disc brake rotors mounted, and getting the pan hard bar parallel to the axle means i have to make a huge drop bracket, witch is the deal breaker cause that would look like crap, i know I made one from card board, if it wasn't for that I could live with the caddy ride and the fact I can do it in a few days, spring cups on the axle are a bolt on as with the shocks, 2 inch longer springs are easy to come by, 4 link bar support would be attached to the spring plates and plates for the links in back are a piece of cake, but to do it all and then not really excited about its look, the axle I have decide to keep cause the i beam really gives it that old school look, I also bought a chevy 3100 truck axle complete for $75, and this will give me a choice of witch spindle will work best Plus it is a five lug so cheap to do a disc conversion all I need to do now is buy a Costco tent a a gas heater and I can do it out in the weather rather than my heated Garage, oh and I am going to paint the cross member in in invisable paint to make it look cleaner
 
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