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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to figure out what to do to my Henry J for steering & I'm looking for advice.
What my car has right now is the stock steering with the stock frame. I'm trying to figure out what to put on it.
This car will be a street driven car. I'm looking to go with the best least expensive setup I can do.
I have the oportunity took get my dad's old Henry J that has a straight axle under it with leaf springs. I can buy the whole car for around $200-$300 but then I have to transport it down here.
What are you guys using? I've heard about Econoline front axles but didn't know how hard they would be to find? What setup is best for the street? What all do I need to make this work?
I'm new to the Gasser scene so I'm going to need some help here. Fabrication skills are not a limit because I've built plenty of race cars.
I can post the pictures of what I can from dad's old car if you'll would like?
A friend of mine has been trying to talk me into putting an S10 frame under it but I told him I thought that would be a waste because I still want to go with a straight axle.
I want to try & use salvage yard parts here.
 

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Same here! If it already has a straight axle it's not original Henry J, so it's been changed. Like to see what it is, and make a suggestion after that. Any Henry J that's salvageable is worth the price you're getting it for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The car I'm using has all the stock suspension on it. I can buy my dad's old Henry J which has a straight axle already under it.
 

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Guess I was confused as the original question was about the Henry J, not the Fairlane. As for what to use in the Fairlane, I think I'd lean towards the Econoline axle for a low buck install, and the Speedway kit if you've got the budget for the $800 it costs. The Econoline axle will probably run around $250 complete with springs and drums if you find one.
I'm not sure how the width compares on the Econoline to the Fairlane, so should check that first and decide if it's close enough to work with whatever wheels you're using.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Guess I was confused as the original question was about the Henry J, not the Fairlane. As for what to use in the Fairlane, I think I'd lean towards the Econoline axle for a low buck install, and the Speedway kit if you've got the budget for the $800 it costs. The Econoline axle will probably run around $250 complete with springs and drums if you find one.
I'm not sure how the width compares on the Econoline to the Fairlane, so should check that first and decide if it's close enough to work with whatever wheels you're using.
This is for my Henry J.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Where can I find the track widths of different straight axle front ends to be able to find out what would be best for my car? From what I've seen so far the 37-48 Ford is about the same as my Henry J. In talking to some people they say the 50's Chevy pickups are good front ends to get.
I'll be honest with you I'm a little weary about cuting down an axle if I can find one that will be about the same.
 

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I would also be leary of cutting down an I beam type axle. It's done by some, but I don't feel comfortable with my welding skills to do it. What is the outside measurement from fender to fender on your car now? It will be easier to know what you have, as there's not much info on track width of most stock straight axles. Once we know I can measure some friend's cars and tell you what axles they used.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I know the center of tire to center of tire width on the front know is roughly 53". That's without a motor or trans in it to make sure the alignment is correct. I don't have a front clip on either car right now so I couldn't give you an exact measurement but that should give an idea to start with.
Let me know!
 

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Your front sheetmetal doesn't need to be on. You can measure hood width at the wheelwells, then add the fender width to that. Just lay the hood on the driveway with the fenders and you can easily get a good idea of width. Or measure the rear width a they are not much different from front to rear in width.
I would not make the donor axle the ame width a the stock track width, as it makes the car look odd when you get it up in the front and don't use a wider axle. The higher it goes, the wider it needs to be. I made my axle 4" inches wider than the stock width, and it's still inside the fenders. You also need to decide on what tire/wheel combo you'll use, so it fits with that combo and doen't sit too far in or out.
Jeff's '56 Chevy is using an axle that's 3.5" wider than stock track width:

Here's an old picture of mine:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I had put into consideration it being wider due to running skinnys and taking stability into consideration . I hadn't thought about the raising up part.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I just found out I was wrong on something. I thought I was looking for the 41-48 passenger car front axle but I just found out today that it's a transverse spring which I don't want. I'm wanting two parallel springs. I guess I'm looking for the 40-48 truck front axle. I did measure that on a 40 model truck & it would work.
 

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Probably 40-52 will all be similar. Only issue is the 5x5.5" bolt pattern, which will really limit your wheel choice. They can be changed, but it will cost $50 per hub to redrill for a smaller bolt pattern.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've been meaning to check with Speedway to see if there disc brake kits are for the trucks as well?
 

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Not sure about whether their kits will fit a Ford truck or not. If they do there's lots of good options. But if you're going to convert to discs anyway, I think you'd be better off just going for the whole Speedway axle kit. Considering what you will pay for an old truck axle, and then the work/money to convert it to discs, and probably have to rebuild kingpins and bushings, etc. I'd guess you wont be much more for the kit, and you'll get the shorter springs, plus all the little pieces to make the install a breeze. You can also get the exact axle width you need vs. just getting something close enough.
 
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