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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On my 51 Dodge business coupe, what straight axle would you suggest I look for? I don't want it to set sky high, but I want it to look like a gasser and drive well. I'll need front springs, and I'm planning disc brakes, so I'll need something I can convert. From some rough measuring, I think I'm going to need 1 58 to 60 inches total width. I found 1, but it is a round axle, 55 in in length, and must have at least a 5 inch drop. Springs were 4 leaves and only 1 1/2in wide. Really light duty but it done had the disc brakes on it. They were new but they let it lay outside and everything was pretty rusty. This is going to have a 496 BBC with steel 781 heads, so a spring recommendation is in order. I know nothing about straight axles, I want a decent ride if I could. Anything else you might think of, let me know. I can be picking this stuff up. I'm going to Shades of the Past in Tenn in Sept, heard they have a hek of a swap meet.
 

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Well, I am by no means an expert at this, few of us are. But with the measurements you have, it would be pretty close to a Ford Econoline axle, I think they are 58 1/2" king pin to king pin. Another alternative would be a early Chevy straight axle from a truck or van. Most are pretty close to what you are looking at. Look for disc brake packages to see what is available to make the change over easier. I am sure you will get some more recommendations. Lot of alternatives out there. Speedway offers a kit for the front axle. If you don't like it too high, you can adjust your frame rails to better place the axle. The springs on my Econoline axle were for the straight 6 cylinder and they kept the MOPAR 440 up pretty good. However, I can tell the difference since I changed to the speedway axle (both in height and support). Hope that helps.
 

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If you're going for a dropped I beam factory style axle, then the 50's Chevy truck is in the width you want. Early '49-'54 are 1.5" narrower than later '55-'59 axles, so will be closer to your 58" minimum. The late 50's will be closer to your 60" maximum. But all are parallel leaf springs, so they would need the frame to sit inside the springs, and mounts located on the outside of the frame to get the height low, if that's your desired look.
If you're going for a transverse spring, with split wishbones, or 4 link, then there are numerous options in both new or used. Any of the axles set up for old Fords are going to work for you. Usually add 8" to the kingpin measurement to determine overall width.
 

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What is the center to center on the front frame sections where you will be mounting the spring perches, I think if I remember correctly they are are very wide at the back and narrow at the front.. are you going to just drop the old knee action suspension and use the stock frame or are you going to sub frame the front, if you want to go to nostalgia sids web page.... for some options
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've got it clipped now, Nova subframe. Rebuilt, new calipers, bearings, ball joints etc. I'll cut the sub off and use box for a new frame. Would 2x4 1/8 in wall do it? I'll go get some measurements and post them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
OK, with the 15x4 strike wheels and 165/85/15 tires on it now, they are 60 in center to center. Where I would cut the subframe off, it is 37 1/2, outside to outside. I slide the subframe back in the old frame and welded it up and then plated it with 1/4 in. Also, right now the tires are 3 in in measuring at the top of the fender opening. The front frame rails I'd have to add will be a little over 4 ft. Wheelbase is 115, but I can't find the stk track width. I think it was around 57, but not sure. Also, would the truck springs work or will I have to order a set from speedway?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Update, I'm pretty sure I found a front axle, 51 chevy 1/2 ton truck, no springs. According to the net, and it's always right, it's 50 1/2 in KP to KP. That would be around 59 in total, right? The guy is 99% sure he still has it, hope he's right.
 

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Yes, that sounds right for the early 50's truck axles. Be aware that going stock width will make the front wheels look too far inside the fender as the height goes up. The higher the front goes, the wider it needs to go also. They begin to get that 3 wheel tractor look when they get higher, and have stock track width. If you're not going too high, then stock track is fine.
 

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And truck springs will usually fit and work. Longer springs will also give your car a nicer ride. They also have less arc, so will help in getting the height lower if that's a concern. Aftermarket Speedway springs work good, and removing leafs will get the ride where you want it. I'm down to 3 leafs on my Austin, and might remove another this winter to soften the light car's ride.
 
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