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Old 03-14-2005, 05:40 AM
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stock '54 Chevy rear axle

Does anyone know what the stock Chevy rear axle was in '54 for the 235 straight six and powerglide?

I would like to rebuild it if possible to stand up to daily use behind a mild 327 small block, but don't know if this is even possible if it is too wimpy. I am finding it very difficult to find a heavier duty axle here in South Africa.

Any advice would be great

Rich

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Old 03-14-2005, 08:37 AM
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Hmm, Ok, now I feel pretty dumb, should have done my research first before posting, or at least take a look under my own car.

First of all I found out that the '54 rear axle only works with the original torque tube setup to the transmission.

Secondly, I found out that even if I swap the rear end, I have to replace the rear leaf springs too as they weren't designed for a rear end without the torque tube.

So now maybe I should consider keeping the whole drivetrain bone stock including the straight six and original powerglide because finding new springs and a new rear axle might be more trouble than it's worth.

Ok, I'm not ready to throw in the towel that easy. I really want the 327 small block, I'm going to have to give this some more thought.

What was a common drivetrain swap for a '54 Chevy back in the day?

Hope someone can help.

Rich
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Old 03-14-2005, 08:52 AM
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You can hook up the 327 to the existing Powerglide and leave the closed drivetrain and rear axle setup as is.

You could also substitute the rear end with any rear of your choice. The new rear may have to be narrowed and new axles made. New spring perches would have to be fabricated to mount to the stock springs. A new open driveshaft would have to be fabricated to adapt the new rear to whatever trans you decide to use. A new trans crossmember would have to be fabricated to support the new trans.

Point here is that you have an unlimited amount of possibilities to choose from. From a cost and time perspective, my first suggestion is the cheapest and easiest. The Powerglide should hold up fine but the stock rear would be marginal depending on your driving style.
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Old 03-14-2005, 09:05 AM
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Driveline

first thing is not to give up as something will turn up..40 years ago driveline swaps were not all that common..as you now know finding the right thing can be difficult....I think the early Olds rear was used but finding one of those may be near to impossible as well..Some of the later GM stuff may well be too wide for what you need..

just keep your tape measure handy and anytime you find alikely culprit measure it and then you will know what to look for..

This whole driveline swapping deal is a relatively new thing even here in the states tho now it is felt to be common.

In this kind of case we just keep looking til we find something tha tis workable..

OMT
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Old 03-14-2005, 09:09 AM
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Frisco,

I'm so glad you came to my rescue!

The car is intended to be a cruiser, mostly for highway driving (our highest speed limit is 140km/hr on some roads... 87mph) and I want to somehow keep the revs low at these speeds. I also want it to go when I put my foot down. According to the specifications for the rear end in the manual it's maximum rating is 3000lbs, with a gear ratio of 3.55:1

Keeping the stock rear axle, driveline and transmission is a good compromise, but I am concerned that both the original 2 speed powerglide and rear axle leave a lot to be desired in terms of keeping low revs at highway speeds.

So with that new info, do you still think I could just bolt up the 327 to the Powerglide?

Rich
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Old 03-14-2005, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlackey
So with that new info, do you still think I could just bolt up the 327 to the Powerglide?

Rich
Sure. The final drive with the Powerglide is still 1:1. Depending on your rear tire diameter would determine the cruise RPM with the 3.55-1 rear gears.

A small block Chevy can cruise all day long at freeway speeds at 3000 RPM. I'd go for it. If at a later time you decide you want to swap out that rear and/or trans you still can. By the way, the rear springs that support the stock rear have nothing to do with the closed drivetrain. They will work fine with any rear housing you want to use.
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Old 03-14-2005, 11:50 AM
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When I was considering an axle swap on my 51 pickup, I was told ,that if you swapped the springs end for end, the center bolts would center right up, for an open drive axle.

Don't know if the cars would work that way, but its worth a lil tape time.
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Old 03-14-2005, 12:41 PM
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Rich,

One of the possibilities you could look at is the rear axle and springs from something like an El Camino.
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Old 03-14-2005, 01:17 PM
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All great info guys, thanks Frisco

In that case, I think I'm most likely to start out keeping the rear axle and powerglide (with a rebuild) and bolt up the 327 to that for a while, but the El Camino is an interesting idea. I forgot that there are quite a few of those around here.

I could probably use a lot of parts from it, although most of the El Caminos I've seen in Cape Town I've always thought were straight sixes, not V8's, maybe it's worth getting one as a donor vehicle, your right Neophyte, that would be a rear axle and springs right there, although if Frisco is right, my stock springs would work fine. I wonder if the El Camino front end could be made to work with the '54 frame. I don't have space for another car though.

Thanks again, very helpful info indeed
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