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Need some history on hot rod rearends


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#1 trackbound

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 03:27 PM

I have looked through a handful of 1:1 forums and webpages, but can't seem to find an answer I am happy with.  Can someone give a quick timeline and/or period correct rear suspension/axle setups for hot rod builds using any of the following (model T, A, B).  I know the most traditional would be the transverse leaf, but what came after that?



#2 Eshaver

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 03:46 PM

I guess parallel leaf springs and rear coils . It really depended upon the automobile manufacturer ..............

#3 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 03:50 PM

A lot of '50s-'60s hot rods got built with coils in the rear (not coil-overs) or longitudinal quarter-elliptic and semi-elleptic leaf springs, converted from transverse-leaf. I assume you're looking for modified stuff under early hot-rods. 1948 was the last year Ford used the transverse rear spring, going to semi-elliptics in '49. Many other manufacturers made the switch earlier, and some were already using coils. There were a few Indy-car influenced rods that used rear torsion-bar suspension on solid axles too.

 

This is semi-elliptics in progress on a '36 Ford chassis that would have originally come with a transverse-leaf setup. The leaf-springs are sufficient to locate the axle, and for drag-racing would have probably added Traction-Masters (or something similar) which helped to prevent spring wind-up during launch (which causes wheel-hop and broken axles).

 

DSCN9327.jpgcar-hydraulics-5.jpg

 

 

 

Quarter-elliptics are a little trickier, in that they require some additional control arms to properly control axle movement during hard acceleration, etc. This is a basic illustration of 1/4 elliptical springs in the rear. It's obvious that the springs would 'wrap-up' under hard throttle application. The ones on the left are rigidly mounted to the axle, but the drawing of quarter-elliptics on the right illustrates another problem, in that a lot of them were designed to run shackles on the axle end, requiring an additional link to control axle movement (Link not shown. The Stone-Woods-Cook Willys used 1/4 elliptics and long arms to make it launch very well).

 

Quarter_elliptic_spring_mounting_%28Manuqtreliptical1a.jpg

 

This is an early T-style hot-rod chassis set up with junkyard coil springs. Again, some type of control-arms are necessary to keep the axle located correctly. Hairpin-style radius rods are shown here, but they could have been made from the old Ford radius rods as well (and often were).

 

Tara-Lubiato-Arly-Hayden-T-Bucket-coil-sHow-91649022.gif

A Panhard bar as illustrated above is a good way to control rear axle side-movement on coils. A Watts link is another.

 

 

Do a google image search for "hot rod rear end coil springs", "hot rod semi-elleptic leaf spring" and "hot rod quarter elliptic leaf spring" for more ideas. You have to remember that early rods were built with a lot of junkyard parts and ingenuity, and no two were really the same.

 

PM me if you need more in-depth info. Part of what I do for a living these days is build period-correct 1:1 rods, and I've been involved with suspension design for many years.


Edited by Ace-Garageguy, 04 March 2013 - 05:18 PM.


#4 High octane

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 04:11 PM

I would check with Linda Vaughn for info on that subject.



#5 trackbound

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 04:30 PM

Thanks Ace, some great input and diagrams.

 

Love the Linda Vaughn comment.  Being in my early 30's I certainly missed her "prime" in the car world...but still find her to be one hot older woman.



#6 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 04:57 PM

Glad to be of help. The now common 4-link rear end setup for solid axles came later. Though there are MANY possible variations of the geomotry, these are two currently favored, with coil-overs.

Heidts-4Link-Rear-Suspension-3495.jpgSs-trb1.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Transplanting Corvette and Jaguar independent rear suspension into rods began after '63 when they started showing up in wrecking yards. The Jag unit was nice, in that a couple of widths were available (the big Jag MkX sedan ran IRS similar to the E-type, but wider) and it was pretty much self-contained with springs and inboard disc-brakes, all hung in an easily mounted, stamped-steel subframe. Only one trailing-arm link had to be fabbed on each side. The guts could be taken out and a prettier mounting fabbed, also with control arms.

 

131_0606_09_z+jaguar+rear_end.jpg

 

The unit below is Jag-based with fabricated lower control arms as well.

hrdp_0712_16_z+irs_for_musclecars+heidts

 

Corvette IRS typically used a transverse-leaf again, was offered in several different designs, and found its way under a lot of hot rods too.

SUSCORR1.jpg


Edited by Ace-Garageguy, 05 March 2013 - 08:48 AM.


#7 rel14

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 05:45 PM

 I'ld say it depends on who, what, and were ya look, and talk to,,  from beginning to now days,,  there's over

 a thousand different ways..  and growing



#8 trackbound

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 12:44 AM

The biggest thing for me is not having it too modern.  I like the traditional style hot rods from the 50s and into the 60s.  Just want to make sure I don't throw a rear end setup that is too modern.  Sounds like just about anything except coilovers ;) .



#9 southpier

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:26 AM

Thanks Ace, some great input and diagrams.

 

Love the Linda Vaughn comment.  Being in my early 30's I certainly missed her "prime" in the car world...but still find her to be one hot older woman.

 

she was no Jungle Pam

 

jungle-jim-vega-jungle-pam-1973.jpg



#10 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:41 AM

B) One thing about coil-overs and 4-links that was sticking in my mind and finally surfaced...(again, the mid '40's through late '60s hot-rods were mostly built from junkyard bits, as there was nothing like the aftermarket plethora of parts available then that there is today, and the resulting cars were very individual in their execution)...is that a guy named LeRoi Tex Smith built a mucho forward-thinking project car with Hot Rod Magazine in 1961 or so. He used a Mopar slant-six, Weber carbs, a VW Beetle front suspension setup, and.......coilovers and fabricated 4-link (with Panhard bar) rear suspension to hold the solid rear axle. This was probably the first use of the coil-over / 4-link layout on a rod, or at least the first widely-known one. It didn't catch on immediately, but it was the beginning.

 

Article here...http://www.streetrod...ar/viewall.html

 

XR6-.jpg

 

It won the AMBR at Oakland if I recall correctly, and was kitted by AMT.

 

50534852_2a3592afe2.jpg


Edited by Ace-Garageguy, 05 March 2013 - 08:50 AM.


#11 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 03:10 PM

 

she was no Jungle Pam

 

 

:PLinda-Faye-Vaughn-black-and-white3-650x9


Edited by Ace-Garageguy, 05 March 2013 - 03:12 PM.


#12 Guest_G Holding_*

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 04:06 PM

Linda Wins....Sorry Pam....go pout !!



#13 rel14

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 04:29 PM

50's 60's. leaf springs,,



#14 Longbox55

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 05:21 PM

I did notice something not touched on that's part of the original question, the actual rearend itself. I won't claim to be any expert on early rods, but one thing you would want to avoid for a period correct '50s and maybe even early '60s rod is the now common Ford 9". The 9" didn't come out until '57, so rodders wouldn't have really used them until they started whowing up in salvage yards later.



#15 southpier

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 12:34 AM

what is an alternative?  was a stock back end used?


Edited by southpier, 08 March 2013 - 12:35 AM.


#16 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 04:45 AM

LONGBOX55 : "I did notice something not touched on that's part of the original question, the actual rearend itself. I won't claim to be any expert on early rods, but one thing you would want to avoid for a period correct '50s and maybe even early '60s rod is the now common Ford ". The 9" didn't come out until '57, so rodders wouldn't have really used them until they started showing up in salvage yards."
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
That's an excellent point, and deserves elaboration. Everybody and his dog uses the Ford 9" now in solid-rear-axle cars (it's the strongest, easiest to set-up and assemble, and was built for 30 years), but the Olds / Pontiac rears from '57 through the mid '60s were popular too, after they hit the junkyards. The Chevy "12 bolt" made from '65 to '72 was also very strong.

Prior to '57 and the availbility of those junkyard rear ends, you could see just about any thing under a hot-rod. For starters, the stock rear-end would live if it wasn't abused by hard, clutch-dumping acceleration. Then Ted Halibrand began building his 'quick-change' center-section for Ford banjo-style rear axles in about 1948. They offered easily adjustable ratios (with a pair of special 'change gears' in a housing at the rear of the unit) for racing, and looked great. The OEM, transverse-leaf axle tubes were used, but were frequently modified to mount on coils or longitudinal leaf-springs, as above. Other companies built similar center-sections: Cyclone quick-changes were in Mickey Thompson's Challenger I. But the QCs built for the Ford A and V8 housings were breaking frequently behind early smallblock Chevy, Hemi and other OHV powered  cars subjected to extreme acceleration loads.

Pickup-truck axles were often found under drag cars. Though heavy, the right unit would have stronger axles than contemporary production-car pieces. Some heavier, stronger rear ends (Dana / Spicer / Timken from late '40s-'50s Studebaker, Ford and other 3/4 and one ton trucks) could also be set-up with quick-change centers. Wheels for these rear-end axles resemble the Ford 'wide-5' style. Frankland pioneered alloy centers for these, which look kinda like Halibrands.

This is a Frankland on parallel-leaf springs under a '33 Chevy   frankland33chevy_zps8347d388.jpg

The bottom line is that besides quick-change rears, just about ANY junk-yard-available rear could end up under a hot rod. Hot-rodders used what they could scrounge and what they could afford. A guy with plenty of $$ in '58 could have an almost-new Ford 9", while a low-buck car could still run the stock rear.

In principle, ANY of the available rear-ends can be modified to work with ANY suspension by modifying, redesigning, or moving the spring-perches and adding whatever braketry is necessary for linkage to control axle movement.

A potential glitch is that 'open-driveshaft' rear-ends won't work with 'closed-driveshaft' (torque-tube setups like the stock transverse-sprung Fords) without modifying something (usually splitting the rear wishbones and modifying the transmission tailshaft and housing) but that's an entirely different story, which I've touched on before in this forum.


Edited by Ace-Garageguy, 08 March 2013 - 10:47 AM.


#17 southpier

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 05:30 AM

is a Columbia rear end applicable to a spirited street ride?  my understanding is that it, and early Ford Ruckstell rear end modifications were to give the vehicle and overdrive capability.



#18 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 05:40 AM

The Columbia was of course an optional, dealer-installed or aftermarket part, and your understanding that it was primarily to allow for an 'overdrive-top' is correct. It's no stronger than the stock Ford component and has more stuff to break, but it WAS used sucessfully in dry-lakes cars, where tire-spinning, clutch-dumping acceleration wasn't the norm...rather steady acceleration over a longish course.

 

I've seen them in cars with OHV engines, but I honestly don't know how abuse-resistant they are behind a torquey engine.