NEW FRONT AXLE FOR THE '55 GASSER.......

Update #4 for this page:

Got the headers and the rest of the exhaust system back on with fresh paint VHT paint, started it up and "cooked" the fresh paint on the headers just to the smoking point, did that five times, longer each time, the last time no smoke at all so think I am good to go with that....

Then got the steering hooked up, tried to center everything as much as possible, then mounted the rotors and brakes on and called it quits for the day.... Tomorrow I'll put the wheels on, adjust the toe-in, check the steering box centering, and take it for a spin....

Here's a good shot of the front suspension components....

From the bottom working my way up, the bottom gray bar is the tie rod, then the axle, then the black bar is the panhard bar, then the next gray bar is the sway bar, and the top gray bar is the drag link from the Saginaw steering box to the steering arm. This setup has no detectable bump steer at all, runs straigt as an arrow, and the combo of the two leaf springs with the 80 lb/inch 14" long springs on the QA-1's gives an adjustable, somewhat firm ride that is quite comfortable.

I had the QA-1's at full soft at first, it was way too "squishly", so set them all the way to full firm, about 18 clicks if I remember right, and it was way too bouncy, somewhat firm but bouncy, so backed off to about 10 clicks, will see later today how that works. I have QA-1's on the back as well, set somewhere in the middle, and it feels pretty good back there. At the track I'll try dialing the fronts to full soft to see if that gives a good rise on the front end. I intentionally put the longest QA-1's in front that were available, and set the ride height with about 2" of shaft exposed, so there would be lots left to "come up" on hard acceleration....

We shall see....



Update #3 for this page:

Got the reamer from my brother in Oregon and fitted the spindles from the '59 axle onto my new ('48-'52) axle. (Whatta ya gonna call it when ya don't exactly know what year it came outta, go for the early and call it a '48? or go for the late and call it a '52? I like '48, think I'll go for that....)

It took awhile, the reamer only cuts about half a thou or so per setup, then clean, adjust, and cut again. Took awhile to take ten thou out of each side. Then the knuckles were too high buy maybe 10 or 15 thou to fit the spindles with bearings and no shims. Wanted 3 to 5 thou clearance between the spindle/bearing and the knuckle so got the flat file out and started "adjusting" to get it to fit.

Then the locking bolt for the kingpin wouldn't go in the axle hole, even though I cleaned it out nicely with a file, the "ramp" that fits against the notch in the kingpin was too wide for the '48 axle knuckle with the '59 spindle setup on it, so out came the Makita grinder and started custom fitting it, finally got a good fit on both sides after 5 or 6 trials, going at it slow to grind it down to make it fit right....

Anyway, everything fits nice and snug, spindles move freely left and right, so time to hook up everything else and take it for a test ride...

Here's the reamer I used, this one's adjustment range is as shown in the pix. This axle was at 0.859" and I needed to take it to 0.869" to fit my oversize kingpins. The cutters fit into ramps that are tapered, so setting the cutters at the bottom for the smallest cut, and adjust upward to increase the diameter of the cut, pull it out frequently to wash out the chips and relube it, I used auto tranny oil, it usually works well, and keep cutting until the top fits the kingpin, then run the reamer all the way down through the hole a little at a time while turning, as the top of the cutters has the largest diameter by a very small amount, but that will clear the hole to a standard diameter all the way through....

I was able to achieve a very nice, snug, "push it in with a little hand force", fit, which was what I was aiming for. Took about 15 - 18 setups and cuts to get that ten thou I was looking for....

Then when I tried to fit the spindle and bearing on, which usually takes a few shims (0.005" each) to get the proper fit, this time it wouldn't fit with no shims. so I had to get out the flat file and take a little off the top and bottom of the knuckle, on both sides, to get the fit I wanted. About 3 to 5 thou fit is what I was able to get on both sides with no shims....

The spindles fit snug, smooth, no slop or hangups anywhere thru the limits of motion. Now to hook up the steering, set the toe-in, and go for a ride....



Update #2 for this page:

Got the axle installed, and the coil-overs and sway bar re-connected.....

A buddy of mine in Oregon is sending over a reamer so I can resize the axle knuckles to fit the ten thousandths oversize (0.869") kingpins I have on hand. Couldn't locate one on Maui to do that job....

Disassembled the spindles from the '59 axle and cleaned them up to put in the "new" axle....

Unfortunately, I had forgotten that I had rebuilt the "old" '59 axle with ten thou oversized kingpins, and had reamed the knuckles on that axle to the ten thou over spec. to accomodate the new kingpins. When I went to put the kingpins from the "old" axle in the "new" axle, of course it wouldn't fit!!! So now calling around to find a reamer that I can use to ream this "new" axle to fit the kingpins/spindles that I have.

Of course I could just order standard size kingpins and bushings and rebuild my spindles back to standard size, and not ream the knuckles, that's another option if I can't find the proper reamer to do the job..... I'd have to check the "new" axles knuckles to make sure they are in spec. for standard size kingpins with a good tight fit....

I had reamed the '59 axle knuckles originally because they were worn and the stock kingpin did not fit snugly, so I had rebuilt everything to the ten thou oversize and I had a really, really nice fit on those '59 spindles, and the steering showed it when I was driving this rig with the '59 setup installed, it was tight and precise....





Update #1 for this page:

Got the axle painted with a black hammer tone, the first axle was painted with a gray hammertone, but I decided I like the black better....

Got the front end steering, axle, etc all gutted, didn't take long.... Going to clean up and paint a few things while it is all out of there....

Regarding the front license plate frame, Susanville, CA, was my hometown for many years before I moved to Maui. Still have two brothers living there....



Original Post:

My original front axle was from a '59 Ford F-100 pickup, that I narrowed 3-1/2" to fit the 29" center-to-center leaf springs under my front frame rails. The local NHRA tech. inspectors didn't like that cut and welded axle, so I got another one that fits without any alterations. It came from a '48-'52 series Ford F-1 pickup. It arrived today from Sid's Dropped Axles in Guthrie, OK:

Sid widened the u-bolt holes 1/8" to accodate my 2" wide springs, as the F-1 springs were 1-3/4" wide. The spring centers on this axle are exactly 29", and match my setup perfectly. Sid also reamed out the knuckles from the '52 kingpin diameter of 0.8125" to my '59 kingpin diameter of 0.859", and reset the kingpin inclination angle (not camber or caster) to the '59's 4 degrees so my '59 spindles would fit properly on the '52 axle.

But I wanted the old nostalgia look of the drilled axles, so I set it up for 14 one inch holes, on two inch centers:

.......And got out the hole saw after drilling 1/4" pilot holes for each location:

Then washed it thoroughly with solvent, and hung it up and painted it with a good primer... (That's my '58 Chevy prostreeter in the background....)

More later, here's some links to other pages on this project site....

The First Run! (page 1)

The Final Assembly! (page 1)

The Final Assembly! (page 1)

Assembling The Blower Motor (page 5)

Assembling The Blower Motor (page 4)

Assembling The Blower Motor (page 3)

Assembling The Blower Motor (page 2)

Reworking an Olds 425 to take a 6-71 huffin on it. (Page 1)

Some Interior Views, Seats Modified and Upholstered!!!

Fabbing A Pair Of Drive Shaft Safety Hoops

Working On The Fuel System

Patching Up Some Of The Sheet Metal Holes.....

Building A Set Of Fenderwell Headers....

Adding A Front Sway Bar......

Twelve Point Cage Build Coming Along, Finally Done....

Dog Dish Hubcaps? Air Filter Rain Covers? Looks Good To Me........

Setting Up The Rear Axle and Suspension page 2

Setting Up The Rear Axle and Suspension page 1

Cutting A Hole In The Hood, and Setting The Fenders....

Installing The Radiator

Setting Up The Tilt Front End

Setting Up The Steering and Suspension 2

Setting Up The Steering and Suspension

Setting Up The Front Axle 2

Setting Up The Front Axle 1

The Mad Frame Whacker Attacks......

Starting to Fit Parts Here and There

Narrowing The Front Axle

Found This Ford F100 Front Axle

Trial fit for the 6-71, a Don Hampton special.

Pulled apart a '67 Olds 400 motor for spare parts.....

Did Some Porting Work on some Edelbrock Olds Heads

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