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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,
I just signed up to this site as I have been searching the web looking for info on solid axle front ends. I was asked to introduce myself so here I am. My background is in lightweight road race cars with independent front suspension and disc brakes so I am completely ignorant of the latest developments in beam axle /drum brake front suspension and wish to learn as much as I can for a future project I am contemplating.
For some time I have been thinking about building a hot rod along the lines of 1930's English or Italian sports cars. The front beam axle and large drum brake is an intrinsic visual part of this design and I would like to learn more about proper geometry and sources of donor parts.
The American hot rod community has been swimming in these waters for many decades and I have to believe has successfully come up with a formula for as stable and predictable a front end as this format will allow.
If anyone would be so kind as to point me in the direction of further information on this topic I would appreciate it (books, websites, copies of articles).
To get the ball rolling I have 2 questions that I will throw out there.
1). What are the pro's/con's of transverse leaf springs versus longitudinal leaf springs aside from unsprung weight ?
2). Intuitively I would think that the twin I beam front swing axle would give better handling than a solid one. What are peoples opinions?
What I am shooting for is the visual appeal of a 1930's car with as much planted feel of a 1960's sportscar as I can get.
Any comments?
Thank you all in advance?

PS>I live in the Washington, DC area. Are there any builders groups who meet in the area. I wouod love to learn from those more experienced than I.
 

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welcome

Parallel leaf springs are easier, and you could find the front suspensions fom 50's-60's pickups or vans, and matching rear,Cheap, buy the whole truck then sell the remainder for scrap. contour your frame and mount the axle on top of the springs to get it lower. Check out metalmeet or the metal shapers web sites for hand built bodies, Gardiner in England has built a few cars like you describe. Google David Gardiner dvd and look at his projects, He now has DVD's that work on US format players
 

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Transverse LOOKs better :cool:



And IMHO ... are way easier to adjust ... with a 4 bar front suspension.
I also believe you can get a vehicle LOWER with the transverse spring. :D

.
 

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good looks, no

I think of a 1930 4.5 liter bentley with a front mounted supercharger between the parallel front springs, the radiator was back a ways, looks took second fiddle on the brits old cars, and they rode higher because of the bad roads. I've seen a few non ford speedsters , run in the Northwest vintage speedsters and santa clara valley speedster events. And I think some italian and british cars ran at indy in the 30's. I don't know when they quit having a ride along mechanic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks to everyone for the good info.
I am thinking of 2 longitudinal leaf springs, with as low a front end as I can get
to be street driven. From what I am finding on the web, the best source of large diameter finned or ribbed front drum brakes seems to be Buick (I am not sure what models I am looking for). From a proper geometry piont of view (and cost) what are the pro's and cons of a dropped axle versus dropped spindles?
I understand Ford Model A axles are forged, are most front axles forged or not.
I can get a deal on a 1953 Chevy PU front axle assembly but I do not know how useful it would be.
Where can I learn more about bump steer adjustment on beam axles?

Thanks again guys and BTW the related links at the bottom of the page is very useful.
 

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My ramblings

Dropped spindles, are normally only available for Independent suspensions, My 1922 ford racer used 27 ford spindles they drop it an inch. I also have a set of 20's chevy spindles which will drop a Model T about 1 1/4 inch.Most axles on older cars-trucks were forged. The chevy pickup axle will work I think you can still get a dropped one or mount the axle on top of the frame, that does not give you as much bump clearance axle to frame I have a couple old Hay wagons made from old cars that have nice curved frames , If you custom build your frame you can make it low enough. I don't like the exposed square corner Z drop in the frames on Rat Rods. When I was at BO HUff's Shop a few years ago they were doing nice curved S shaped drops, steel plate on each side welds ground smooth. they looked like they had been bent that way.
Buick brakes, A couple friends upgraded using newer gm brakes, One guy put pontiac drum brakes on his old chevy. I just googled lee stauffacher dodge. In The car craft pict I can't tell if he has the finned buick aluminum brakes He has a chevy pickup axle under his 24 dodge and runs buick wire wheels. I haven't seen him since I moved out of calif. You might find some information on the Stovebolt web site or classic chevy trucks on buick brakes, The buick takes 12 in drums, I dont know the chevy sizes but on fords they use 3/4 or one ton backing plates with 12 in shoes, also I think some 80's chevy station wagons have 12 brakes with self adjusters that are popular for swaps onto other cars. If you find an easy way PM me I have buick parts in a box and an axle.
Bump steer. The pick up steering box is mounted on the frame near the rear spring mount. the drag link is parallel to the spring and about the same length. This minimizes bump steer. One of Boyd Coddington's books shows a steering gear mounted quite a ways to the rear and a straight line can be drawn from the pivot point on the steering arm on the axle thru the rear pivot point on the spring to the pivot point on the steering Box. .I don't know how good that works put that what he recommended on that car for locations.On some of the old dragsters they used a 2 piece drag link with the center pivot point at the rear hairpin location
 
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