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Old 09-07-2005, 07:52 PM
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38 Dodge rear end

Hi, I have a 78 Caprice that I was wanting to use the rear end in my 38 Dodge Sedan. The Caprice rear end is a half inch longer then the Dodge's original rear end., inside hub to hub.Does anyone know if I can use the Caprice rear end?
Thanks

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Old 09-07-2005, 10:32 PM
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A late 1960's 'Cuda/Challenger differential is an exact fit including location of the leaf spring mounting as on a '37 Plymouth and, I'd venture to say, same as your '38. The only dimensional difference between the '37 differential and the 'Cuda/Challenger unit is that the '37 uses 1-1/2" or 1-3/4" wide leaves in the springs and the C/C's use 2-1/2" wide springs (I think those are correct; it's been a few years since I built the car).

All you'd have to do to use a C/C differential is unbolt the original '38 from the car and install the newer differential, and, make metal blocks to take up the width difference if you use the original '38 springs.

The newer MoPar leaf springs are also longer than the length of original '37 ones. If you adapt the spring mounts from the newer MoPar to the chassis of the '38, and get 2-1/2" wide springs cut shorter to fit the length between your newly adapted chassis mounts, you'd be all set with wider springs offering better stability than the narrow original leaf springs.

If you use the Chevy differential and leaf springs you'll have to weld new brackets onto the differential. If you want to use coil springs you'll have to weld coil spring and trailing arm mounts to the chassis as well as onto the differential.

Coil springs are nice but it'll require a lot more fabrication to properly mount the differential than is required in using a differential that already has leaf spring mounts in the right location.

I used the differential from a '69 'Cuda and people more knowlegeable about that era of MoPars can probably advise you what years interchange with that specific year and model.
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Old 09-08-2005, 11:16 PM
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Thanks for the info hoodoo. I got the Caprice for the motor and trans and just wasn't for sure about the rear end. At this time I got the body off the '38 and ready to work on the frame.The Caprice does have coil springs but I figure I would get new leaf springs if I use this rearend.
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Old 09-09-2005, 01:05 AM
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Yeah, sometimes you have stuff available and you don't have to search for specific parts. Anyway, keep in mind that some MoPar parts up into at least the 1960's may be easily adapted to the late '30's MoPars.

What are you going to do about steering and front suspension?

Check out my messages in a discussion thread from almost a year ago regarding the way I upgraded the steering and brakes on my '37 Plymouth.

Last edited by hoodoo; 09-09-2005 at 01:28 AM.
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Old 09-09-2005, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwayne_tn
Hi, I have a 78 Caprice that I was wanting to use the rear end in my 38 Dodge Sedan. The Caprice rear end is a half inch longer then the Dodge's original rear end., inside hub to hub.Does anyone know if I can use the Caprice rear end?
Thanks
To answer your question, yes you can use the Chevy rear. The half inch difference in width won't even be perceptible when everything's done. As mentioned earlier you will have to weld new spring perches on the Chevy rear if you decide to use it.
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Old 09-09-2005, 09:35 PM
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Hoodoo, I am still in the planning stage as far as the steering and front suspension, well the whole project actually. I had thought about using a Mustang front end, I had seen a few '38s on the net using Mustang front ends, I never thought about using the tube axle.

And thanks Centerline, I plan on using the Chevy rear end since I already have it.
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