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Hellbilly Hotrods
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Discussion Starter #1
just picked up a 31 model A tudor. its bad, but theres almost enough left to build a pickup cab......
anyway, my question is about the frame and suspension. the frame is bone stock down to the flathead four, rust, and brake cables. all origonal, all worn out.
i have a few rear ends lying about, as i dont trust the spline/keyway design of the banjo housing, and i dont know what hydraulic brakes would fit. the rear suspension im looking at consists of wishbones and quarter elliptical (the half a leaf spring design) springs, with napa shocks that fit whatever the specs end up being. does this sound safe and durable? what about period correct? (im going for a mid to late fifties build style, metal flake, wide whites, and tuck and roll......)
about the front:
i had a 29 roadster for a little while with a suicide axle up front, and it never steered correctly. but i loved the look of it, and i see the rat rod guys claiming that the suicide is period correct. but i also see the axle in the stock location and dropped hard, and that looks good. so the best question is, which way should i go for ride quality, handling, and durability, as well as styles sake?
next question:
im going to box the frame. that only seems intelligent. also going to build custom x-members for added rigidity. should i box flush with the inside lip of the factory frame, recess the box a half inch, or what? im looking for the strength.looks ill deal with after its strong.
so, at this point, is it brighter to just build my own frame from 2X4 box tubing, and buy some factory X members for the front, or stick with the stock frame?
please, this is my first complete hot rod buildup that didnt start with a muscle car or fullsize from the sixties, so im a little lost. i have fabrication skills, and time, but not a lot of money, so im looking for the homebuilt way thats right and inexpensive.
thanks
mike, owner/operator
Hellbilly Hotrods
:evil:
 

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Premium Member
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8,453 Posts
The geometry on your previous suicide was probably screwed up. They run fine if properly done. And it is really pretty easy to adapt late model Ford 9" axles to those old banjo Ford rears. Get a donor 9" at the junk yard. I suggest you find a pickup banjo axle 'cause they used a conventional open driveline whereas the passenger car type were torque tubes. Discard the old banjo axles (Actually, sell them on ebay. They go for about $60). Take the two splined spider gears from the 9" and have the gear teeth on outer edge machined down to fit inside the banjo differential. Have the banjo differential machined for the journal on the spider gears to fit. That is all you need to do to the differential. Next, cut off the banjo axle tube ends and weld on the ones you take off the 9". Do the obvious lining up and squaring them B4 welding but that is pretty much common sense stuff - not brain surgery. In fact if you aren't confident in your welding skills, do all the cutting and prep work and take it to a welding shop. Shouldn't cost the national debt if you do all the prep. Finally, have the 9" axle shafts cut to the proper length and re-splined (Moser, Currie, or other shops can do this for a modest fee). This will give you a reliable modern type rear end with the nostalgia look. Only real downer is that the gear ratio is probably 4:11 (those trucks were designed to drive through plowed fields!) so an OD tranny is in order.
 

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Hellbilly Hotrods
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221 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
thanks, willys. ill definately look into that.
so, what about the rest of the design? any suggestions?
mike
 

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As long as there are no serious cracks or rusted through areas, by all means use the stock frame. In all was better than an after-market one, especially in the area of price and nostalgia. And definitely box it with plates flush with the edges of the channel - make a box of it. Use plates of the same gauge as the frame metal to avoid stress riser at the joint and to make welding much easier. You can cut large holes anywhere in the boxing plate for easy access to run hidden wires and tubing without reducing the stiffness or strength in the slightest. I always cut a series of round holes, 1/2" or so smaller than the frame height and 1/2" apart all down the plates. X-member as necessary to install all the parts you want.
 

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Hellbilly Hotrods
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221 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
the suspension combos sound good?
and suicide or stock for ride and handling?
also, while im thinking, speedway offers a kit to adapt 40 ford drums to the stock 31 spindles. is this a bright idea, or should i find a set of 40 spindles?
mike
 

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Premium Member
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8,453 Posts
Sounds like you are concerned about good ride and quarter elipticals don't head you in that direction. They are pretty stiff. Better to stick w/ the stock springs unless you want to upgrade to some coil/coil-over system. Better for the nostalgia look anyway. As far as the suicide front goes, do it right and it should be as good as the stock setup. Problems usually come in with splitting the wishbones which results in axle binding up. That's why most people go with the parallel link option which restores the degrees of freedom needed for axle movement.
 
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