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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
This is my 51 Dodge business coupe. I decided to make some changes, pulled the 10 bolt, Rocket strike wheels and going to sell them. I'm installing a narrowed rear end and want to go with the old gasser slots. Some friends are starting a top 10, grudge race deal, heads up, so since I really need to do some racing again, I thought it would be a good excuse for a roll bar and some other stuff. Not planning on a straight axle, as I'm going to drive this car, but never want to rule it out. Any questions just ask, this is a slow budget build.
 

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Nice car to start with! Millions of cars and trucks driving on the street with straight axles that were factory installed. No reason a car driven on the street would suffer with a straight axle! I love the way both of mine drive, and they see plenty of street miles!
 

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Your car looks great. if you don't go straight axle, what are you planning to use? I have one car with rack and pinion and two other vehicles with a straight axle. One of the straight axles has a bump steer set up and it drives great. Your car would look great with either set up, but a straight axle would look really cool....and you can make it handle while having something that not many other people have...old school iron. Interested to see your ride progress. Build it the way you want it and have fun while making it your way. Thanks for sharing the pic.
 

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Welcome Vht. Nice dodge. Definitely straight axle or even drop axle would look so cool on the front of that car with slots on it.
Are you feeling a little pressured from all the members here posting? Lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I got on here last night looking at all your builds and I just want you all to know that I'm blaming all of you for this. I've thought about straight axles all day. Right now I have a 79 Nova subframe under it. Not because I did it, but it is done nice, completely rebuilt. See what you went and done? Just kidding, a lot of people are using these subframes so I should be able to sell it. I'm going to need serious help. I was thinking, 2x4, 1/8 in box tubing for the front frame rails. 38plygasser, enlighten me on the steering, I was thinking vega box, what's the best? I'm going to look at some builds on here and get some ideas. Thanks for the replies!
 

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Hi VHT, welcome. There's lots of people on here with a wealth of knowledge all willing to share. Speaking of knowledge, remember the axiom "knowledge is power". Do your due dillegence, google it, here's a good place to start,
https://youtu.be/pUFwTaQNW98
I'm anxiously awaiting your build, you've already got a great starting point.
 

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Recommend you mock everything up and measure everything several times before making any welds. I use plumb bobs to mark center line of each wheel and place duct tape on the floor to mark center points for each wheel and with equal distance front to rear on each side, then make sure the diagonal distance is exactlly the same when measured left front to rear right and right front to rear left. For clarification, your wheel base distance and diagonal distance will not be identical, but wheel base distance will be the same and the diagonal distance should be the same. I hope that explanation was easy to understand. I am very happy with the vega steering box. I ran disc brakes up front with a two hole (jeep end) tie rod on the right side to install the vega cross steering, which prevents bump steer. Here is a good article on bump steer. Www.butchescoolstuff.com Type in "bump steer". Ensure your measurements take into consideration your steering column clearing your headers...and location of shock mounts for the extra long shocks when you raise the front end. I had a local shop make up braided brake lines for the front brakes and I welded up brake tabs to make sure the line does not interfere with the motion of the front end or shocks. Take your time and enjoy the journey and have fun. Your car is really cool.
 

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Hi vht, great looking car to build! I've been informed by my wife that when my car is done, I'm to build her a late 40's early 50's car. She's partial to a Dodge or Plymouth so either she was born with great taste or my love of Mopars have rubbed off on her. So I'll be following your progress.

Hmmm...gotta throw in another vote for a straight axle. It is another project to add to the project, but in my opinion worthwhile. Do some research, ask questions, etc it's certainly do-able. Some good advice was posted already, specifically to utilize a cross steer setup to reduce bump steer problems. Also 38plygasser made a really good point about checking measurements, and especially on the diagonal. Pass rear to front driver and vice versa. That measurement will assure your axles/chassis are square. Recheck everything as it's tacked in and as you finish weld.

Good luck with the project, good to see you here!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everyone, I know all about measuring, When I raced door cars, I built all my chassis, that lead to building others for friends. When you can't afford it you learn how to do it. This will be my 1st straight axle though. I don't want the real high stance in the front. Also, I'll run a 4 bar set up, coil overs, and panhard bar in the rear. 8.8 explorer rear end narrowed to 56 1/2, disc all around. Anyone know what axle and springs I should look for? Also on engine placement, I have the BBC, dummie motor set up with the #1 plug even with the spindle center line. I have about a inch to go back more without reworking the firewall. Since I have to redo everything thought I would ask. I forgot what my crank centerline to floor was. On headers I would like to run fenderwell headers, 2in tubes, 3 1/2 collectors.
 

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Thanks everyone, I know all about measuring, When I raced door cars, I built all my chassis, that lead to building others for friends. When you can't afford it you learn how to do it. This will be my 1st straight axle though. I don't want the real high stance in the front. Also, I'll run a 4 bar set up, coil overs, and panhard bar in the rear. 8.8 explorer rear end narrowed to 56 1/2, disc all around. Anyone know what axle and springs I should look for? Also on engine placement, I have the BBC, dummie motor set up with the #1 plug even with the spindle center line. I have about a inch to go back more without reworking the firewall. Since I have to redo everything thought I would ask. I forgot what my crank centerline to floor was. On headers I would like to run fenderwell headers, 2in tubes, 3 1/2 collectors.

I never built a four bar set up but I know Speedway Motors has a few 4 bar setups in their catalog or on their website. they also have tech support too. Sounds like you got most of the planning done in your head already. I think it will be an awesome build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Checker racing has a nice kit. I've seen a lot of their stuff, really nice and a good price. Google it and look at their site.
 

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Holy Crap You hit my fond memories button, I had a 51 Plymouth two door post that had about the same stance and look as yours....Cant wait to see the progress on it........I will be watching, thanks for the memories....Lash
 

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Tim McAmis racing and Quartermax have great chrome moly 4 link set ups. Recommend chrome moly hime joints especially if you plan to use it on the street. I use a wishbone instead of cross link. No doubt you have measured out shock travel distance so that when the car launches they have enough travel to go straight. Sounds like you have a great plan.
 

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The Patriot Tri 5 Chevy fenderwell headers are 2" primaries, into 3.5" collectors. I used them on my BBC in my '63 Falcon, and basically located the engine with headers on it, to clear the tires. In my case it meant setting the firewall back, but that was much less work than building headers, and the Patriots are only $204.
http://www.speedwaymotors.com/Big-Block-Chevy-Fenderwell-Headers-for-1955-57-Chevy-Black,57751.html

I'd get the chassis, and axle set up first, and then mock up the engine with headers on it second. That will allow you to determine if there's enough firewall clearance, and where you'll want to locate the steering box. I prefer boxes ahead of the axle, with pitman arm facing rearward, as it eliminates any issues with headers. The tie rod can still be behind the axle, regardless of which side the box and drag link are on. A dropped axle with 4 link will allow you a lot of leeway for height, but still need to make sure it's not so low as to have pan clearance issues.
Vega boxes seem to be very popular, but a late 70's Courier or Mazda PU box is my preference. I would also consider a Toyota truck box from the same era or a bit later, as they are very similar, and also sit outside the frame rails.
Mazda/Courier box:


As for the 8.8" Ford axle; I'd go the Explorer route. If you want drum brakes you'll want pre 1994. Later are disc brake setups, so if you want discs they should be your choice. They're about 59" wide, so a short side axle swap will get you the 56"@ width you want. Door codes can be found on the internet to determine which axle a vehicle has prior to removal. The 3.73 and 4.10 limited slip are common, and very affordable. Also extremely strong with their 31 spline axles, and 3.25" tubes. I get them from U Pull for $200, or $100 on half price day. A spare short side axle is $20, and having the long side tube cut down and welded is $50-$60. Makes a strong, and cheap swap!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'm getting a set up built to narrow the 8.8 rear ends. A friend gets them, 2001 back for $50. He hauls crushed cars out of a large salvage yard. Do the other gear boxes you mention use a quicker ratio? I may use a 42 in ladder bar, but with coil overs. It'd still work good and I'm afraid the 4 link would be noticeable and ruin the look. I've got some time on that, going to ck some prices and see what I can find. I'm going to try and find a 3.55, several had them, 3.73 were used the most. I've worked for Ford for almost 17 yrs, don't hold that against me. The 496 will have plenty of torq. I built 1 for my old 235 Spitzer dragster, 15 1/2 to 1, ported iron open chamber heads, with alky inj. It went 5, 4.86's in a row in the 1/8. Had a lot of people scratching their heads with the big alum headed BBC's. I'm gathering or trying to, parts. All the info and help is really appreciated.
 

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I found plenty of 3.55 geared axles, but none were limited slip. Since both of my cars use fairly tall tires, I went with 3.73, as they are plentiful, and still not wound up too tight at freeway speeds. My Austin has a little shorter 28" tire, but the SBC can handle the slightly higher cruise rpm, over the BBC and 30" tires on my Falcon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
My chevelle is 3.55's, 28 in tires, 434 sb. It's not bad until you get up to around 65. I wish I could afford a 200R4, they have great ratios, but to build them to hold around 650 or more HP can get real costly. I'm shooting for a 30 in tire, maybe 3.73's. Quick Performance has a real good deal on gears, bearings etc for them. I order all my rear end stuff from him no matter what kinda rear end I'm working on. Timken bearings, USA made gears. Great guy to deal with with a wealth of knowledge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well, just put the dodge on craigslist, a friend called before I went to church this morning and said he was going to sell his 40 chev coupe. It's a project but it has a pretty solid body, plus a lot of stuff with it. I've been wanting a late 30's or so coupe for a long time now. It's a business coupe and and would make 1 bad gasser. Hopefully I can move the dodge quickly.
 
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