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Old 03-02-2006, 02:36 PM
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1950 Chevy Pickup - front suspension?

I am building a 1950 Chevy 1/2 ton pickup and was trying to decide whether to modify the straight axle setup or go with a Mustang II kit. Welding in a subframe is a bit beyond my abilities right now. After reading here about the problems with MII suspensions it looks like keeping the straight axle is the best option for me. Would like to drop the front a couple inches and am considering a drop axle, mono-leaf springs or lowered multi-leaf springs. Any suggestions on which way to go? Also will need to add power steering to make way for a small block but will save that for another thread.
Thanks for the help,
Bob

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Old 03-03-2006, 07:57 PM
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As a moderator here, I WELCOME YOU HERE

I prefer a straight axle to the Pinto/Mustang II setups in a pickup. I have had quite a few old pickups with the straight axle and got good service and a decent ride.......while retaining the usefulness of it being a truck.....not a toy.

53 - 54 Chevrolet hubs and drums will bolt in your axle and give the common 5 on 4.75 Chevrolet wheel pattern. A dropped axle and springs with get the AD truck down to a good level.......without major cutting or welding.

A later model GM power box can be added to the frame rail with a little modification...

DEUCE.....
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Old 03-13-2006, 01:05 PM
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monoleafs?

Thanks for the welcome and the info. Still not entirely sure on what would be best but am leaning strongly towards a straight axle as this truck will still be used to haul the odd light load. Is the reduced travel of a mono-leaf spring much of an issue (don't want to bottom out all the time)? That alone would drop the front 3" and improve the ride. Have to buy new springs anyhow as I have a broken main leaf on one side.
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Old 03-13-2006, 02:05 PM
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I have a combined drop axle and monoleafs on my '53. The biggest issue you'll encounter without some moving around of some things is bumpsteer but with a little relocation that too can be avoided. Monoleafs by themselves you won't have a problem with any of the aftermarket p/s kits nor should you with a drop axle by itself. Or as an alternative there are some places making bolt-on rack and pinion p/s setups for straight axles, however they haven't made the necessary parts yet I believe to handle a drop axle. NoLimit had informed me they were working on making dropped steering arms for those but I haven't followed up with them lately.

As an alternative, if you don't want to weld a IFS in, chassis engineering inc makes a bolt-in that has been reported elsewhere as being pretty decent:

/http://www.chassisengineeringinc.com/page9.html

Also RBsauto sells one too:

/http://www.rbsauto.com/product.asp?Product_Id=173048&d_Id=17224&l1=17224& l2=
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Old 03-13-2006, 03:00 PM
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I had looked at the Chassis Engineering setup and if I go with IFS I would probably use it. My welding skills are fairly primitive so I'm not big on the weld-in Mustang 2 kits or sub-frames. Drawbacks to the CE setup are cost, the cross member alone is $625, and whether a Mustang II setup is strong enough for a truck.
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Old 03-13-2006, 05:46 PM
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I agree with your concerns regarding its strength to carry the weight. Also cost was one of the reasons I decided to stay with the solid axle. This way I could upgrade pieces at a time rather than shelling out the whole $1800-2000 up front. Over the course of upgrades I am sure it all just about evens out pretty close though, it's just not that immediate stickershock.

If I was to change my mind though at some point in the future, I think I'd go for a Corvette IFS and while we're dreaming an independent rear to match
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Old 03-13-2006, 06:14 PM
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People who don't believe the Mustang II IFS setup is strong enough haven't researched it enough to understand how it was designed.

I've used Heidts IFS kits on two totally different vehicles with absolutely no problems and both had big blocks. The first was a pro-street 41 Chevy Coupe with a 454/TH-400 combo. That one has been on the road for about 7 years now. The second is a 53 Chevy pickup with an early Hemi. Both units used the Mustang 4 cylinder springs and handled and rode very well. The truck has 11" GM disks with GM drums out back while the 41 had the stock Mustang II 9" disks with big Ford disks on the rear.

As long as you're not going to use your truck as a truck all the time the Mustang II IFS will work very well. If you're going to haul a lot of stuff on a regular basis then I would suggest staying with the much harsher ride of the solid axle.

I know Deuce doesn't agree with me on this but I can only relay what has worked for me.

The problems people read about with the Mustang II suspension only crop up when people eliminate the strut rods. This suspension was designed to use strut rods and when they are eliminated it puts stress on sections that weren't designed for that extra strain. Eventually they can break in that situation. When used with the strut rods (and the strut rods are mounted properly) the Mustang II IFS can handle all but the heaviest of fat fendered cars. There are literally thousands of them out there in street rods that are performing perfectly and have been for thousands of miles.

Here's a pic of my 53 with the Heidts Mustang II IFS sitting under that 750 lb. Hemi.

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Old 03-13-2006, 06:53 PM
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Centerline and others - thanks for your opinions on this, I still have a lot to learn about suspensions. I had read about the necessity of strut rods earlier though and would not consider putting IFS in my truck without them.
I'm also looking at different ride heights, does your truck in the photo have stock spindles or 2" drop? Hard to guess but it looks like your front bumper is about 6" off the ground.
As far as strength goes, the truck may be used to haul the odd load (maybe 500 lbs or so) from the greenhouse home but that's about it. Am I correct to assume any front suspension is fine for that as most of the weight is on the rear springs?
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Old 03-13-2006, 07:40 PM
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63-66 chevy trucks front end

I have seen the 63-66 chevy truck front ends installed if you dont want to weld anything as they will bolt in, the draw back is they are a bit wider than the stock ad truck front end. I opted for the vette front and rear as I got a got a really good deal on the parts, but it involved a lot of fabrication though. good luck
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Old 03-13-2006, 08:10 PM
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If you decide to go with the straight axle, here is how to make it power steering.
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Old 03-14-2006, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADBob
Centerline and others - .........I'm also looking at different ride heights, does your truck in the photo have stock spindles or 2" drop? Hard to guess but it looks like your front bumper is about 6" off the ground.
It has stock spindles. I've found that dropped spindles are just too low for normal street driving. If you want to go real low the only practical way to do it is with air bags.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADBob
As far as strength goes, the truck may be used to haul the odd load (maybe 500 lbs or so) from the greenhouse home but that's about it. Am I correct to assume any front suspension is fine for that as most of the weight is on the rear springs?
It's been my experience that the Mustang II IFS is plenty strong and hauling 500 lbs in the rear won't effect it at all. The design of the Mustang II IFS was originally to have the engine sit directly over the suspension. When it is installed on a street rod the crossmember is usually about where the front dampner. This makes a big difference in front/rear weight distribution and that's why you only need to use the Mustang 4 cyl springs even with a 750 lb hemi.



In this picture you can see that the shock centerline is just about even with the front damper. On a stock Mustang II with the 302 V8 the center of the engine would be in that location.

When considering which way you want to go it's really going to depend on your own personal preference. Keeping your stock axle and converting to power steering and disk brakes will perform just as well although the ride won't be quite as comfortable and that might be a little less work. It's your choice.
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