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Old 12-17-2001, 09:01 AM
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Post 1938 chev - straight axle front end

i have a 38chev that i am going to build like they were in the early 50,s i took the knee action front end out of it and have a straight axle and all the parts to install it. was looking for someone that has done this swap or has a straight axle that can give me the measurements for the rear spring hanger brackets or the book that GM put out in 38 explaining how to do this swap wdstotler@salemnet

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Old 12-29-2001, 02:21 PM
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Hi Sonny,
I'll try to help you out as I have a 38 Chevy coupe which I converted from strait axle to an Art Morrison independent Mustang 11 style some seven or eight years back.
First we will start by establishing the center of your straight axle from the fire wall.The frame should have a hole in the top of it which would measure about 24" from the fire wall or 23" from center of the bolt where your body bolts to your frame at the fire wall.
OK now that we know where Chevy intended the center of the strait axle to be lets look at the spring mounting pins. The distance from center to center will be 35". If your car came with the front spring perches already installed then we got it made. The rear mount should be 6" from center of the bolt where your body bolts to the frame at the fire wall to center of the rear mount pins.
The width between mounts front and back should be the same at 28". Mine actually measures about 28 1/4".
You should consider going with a dropped axle with disc brakes. These normally are not as wide as the stock axles and place the wheels into the wheel well for a much better look. I've got mine set up at 50" from disc to disk,inside measurement, and it's a perfect fit.
Believe me, you don't want to leave it at the stock highth and width as it will not look right and certainly not handle as well.
I had slamed my rod to the ground at first and it looked real cool but any road kill was a hazard so I raised it up some.
I believe you could get by with as much as a 5" dropped axle as long as you lowered the rear end.
I have springs on my rear axle which ride 2" lower than stock and position the rear axle 2" futher back. With this I have added 2" lowering blocks which results in about a 4" drop in the rear total.
The car sits right and definately has that cool raked 50's look.
I hope this helps you.
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Old 12-29-2001, 02:29 PM
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Hi Sonny,
This is Rex again. After re-reading my info to you I thought I had better clearify something.
Thats 35" from the front spring mounting center to the rear spring mounting center, The 28" would be from side to side.
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Old 12-29-2001, 07:25 PM
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Hi Sonny , I'm not sure what you mean by "the book chevy put out how to do this swap ",as I always thought that chevy had a cheapy standard model with the axle and then they had a more expensive Deluxe model with the knee action frontend . My '38 had "knees" and I'd seen '37-'38's with the axel and it looks to me that the two have some differences in the frame . I may be eisier to find a "axle" frame and swap 'em . Just a thought .Hope this helps !
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Old 12-30-2001, 03:26 PM
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Sonny,
Bear may be right about the knee action frame being different. The information I had on the center of the hole on top of the frame mathching the center of the straight axle was of course based on the "standard" model which did incorporate a straight axle. This was information that was passed on to me from other rodders who had used the information before me and it checked out.
I would be interested to find if Chevy had put this hole on top of the frame in thier "deluxe" Knee action model.
However what really matters is that you position your straight axle where it will fit properly in your wheel well.
The measurments that I have given you are correct as I have my car bare framed back to the fire wall while I am in the process of some major enjine, trany, and rear end chages. These measurements were just taken and are correct and if you set the car up as I describe it will work.
If you go with the dropped axle and rear end placement I have sugested the car WILL set right and look realy "*****in". My car was awarded the Good Guys "So Low" award set up this way so I can speak with some authority on that.
I drove my car a number of years with the "stock straight axle and it did not realy sit or look right. It handled pretty bad in the corners too.
While I would realy like to recomend you put in an independant front suspension as I did I realize this would be more expensive and would not fit the "50's" theme. I am pretty confidant that if you use a dropped axle with disk brakes with the deminsions I have given the ride will be acceptable and you will be very happy.

Rex
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