Saturday 4 May 2013

A brief history:
The word HEMI ™ seems to hold some magical sound to petrol heads in love with the American V8. That didn’t happen by accident, hopefully this story will fill you in on some of the history and details that helped create this iconic brand name. I will start with a brief history of Walter Percival Chrysler as I am sure most Hot Rodders will know little about him. We all know the truths and myths about Henry Ford, but Walter Chrysler also has an interesting story that needs to be told to give a background to what made this company great and developments that lead to the production of the iconic HEMI.
Walter Percival Chrysler. 1875 - 1940
Walter Chrysler followed his father in the engineering side of repairs and maintenance of Steam Locomotives and eventually rose to be plant manager of American Locomotive Company in Pittsburgh at the age of 35. He recognised that the future was in the motor industry and jumped at the offer of taking up the works managers’ role at Buick when it was offered to him, even though he took a 50% pay cut to $6000 a year. His new boss was a man named Nash (sound familiar ?). By 1912 Chrysler had negotiated his salary up to $50,000. In 1917 he became head of Buick on $500,000 a year, a part of that was a share offering making him a wealthy man. He was now well connected in Detroit and recognised as a man with both engineering knowledge and leadership skills.
The auto industry at that time was extremely incestuous and people jumped from brand to brand almost daily. When the Willys Corp got into trouble in 1919 the bankers approached Walter Chrysler to bring the Willys Overland division back to life. Chrysler negotiated the first ever $1 million dollar annual salary package with a 2 year contract. Willys Corp also owned the marine and aviation divisions of Deusenberg Motors at that time and it as there that Walter found his engineering ‘dream team’ of Fred Zeder, Owen Skelton and Carl Breer. He called them the 3 Musketeers. Chrysler signed on at Maxwell-Chalmers as chairman while still at Willys in 1921. In 1922 Walter Chrysler borrowed $16.5 million and bought Maxwell, changed the name to Chrysler in 1924 and took the 3 Musketeers with him.
If Walter Chrysler had known the term Hot Rodder he would have put his hand up as one. Walter and the 3 Musketeers did not test their new engines in a secret location, the four of them would climb into the new car at nights and race at the traffic lights in the streets of Detroit.
As the future HEMI (which is what this article is really about) was to come in 3 brands, Chrysler, Dodge and DeSoto, I should add a little here about the brothers Horace and John Dodge. Theses fortunate folks just happened to have a foundry making transmissions for Oldsmobile when in 1903 Henry Ford wanted to start making cars. Henry offered them 10% of the stock in Fords’ company in return for supplying $10,000 worth on engine castings. From this they drew nearly $10 million in dividends and eventually sold the stock back to Henry for $25 million, not a bad return on $10k in ten years! Unfortunately John and Horace Dodge both died in 1920 in their 50’s before they got to spend it all.
In 1914 Dodge broke away from the Ford relationship and started making their own cars. Chrysler acquired Dodge in 1928 which gave Chrysler a huge foundry and a modern forge for making axles etc, plus a new network of distributors. It also made his company about the same size as Ford and GM, for the first time the Big 3 controlled the majority of the market. This gave Chrysler 500 engineers on the payroll, way more than any of his competitors at the time.
It could appear that Henry Ford deliberately let the others overtake him, he had hung on to the concept of just making one model for way too long. In 1927 the Model T, the only car under the Ford banner, had no service brakes at all, just a band on the tail-shaft operated by the right foot. The handbrake operated rear external drums. It ran magneto ignition and made a shade over 20 HP. It didn’t have a fuel pump or a water pump, and was really hard pressed to compete in all but the cheapest end of the market. Although a more expensive car, Chryslers came with 4 wheel hydraulic brakes from 1926 onwards, and made 68 HP.
1928 was a big year for Chrysler in many ways. On the race track his 72 series roadsters ran 3rd and 4th at Le Mans. Walter also knew that Henry was coming back with the Model A so he introduced the 4 cylinder Plymouth in competition. Walter was so chuffed with his new Plymouth that he took the 3rd car off the line and drove it over to the Ford Motor Co and took Henry and his son Edsel around the block for a test-drive! Plymouth was the only car company to increase its sales every year of the depression and Chrysler Corp came out ahead of Ford in 1933, in fact Ford was relegated to 3rd position for the first time, GM was on top. In 1933 Chrysler sold a total of 385,666 cars, 249,667 of them Plymouths compared to the total for Ford of 334,969. This was a disaster for Henry after making 5 million Model A’s between 1928 and 1931. At least this was improvement over 1932 when sales virtually dried up for all the car makers. Ford only made 232,135 cars in 1932, and 26 of Fords’ 32 assembly plants were forced to close.
In 1928 Walter had also acquired Dodge but already had plans in place for a car to target Dodge if his take-over was not successful. He could have cancelled this but let it go ahead letting DeSoto sort it out with Dodge in the market place. DeSoto was introduced in the 1929 year model and at first Dodge was above DeSoto, but in later years it went the other way. The name DeSoto comes from the Spaniard who explored the south east of the USA coastline and named the Mississippi River in 1539. The name Plymouth came from Plymouth Rock where the pilgrims in the Mayflower first arrived in the USA. The brand names Plymouth and DeSoto were cleverly chosen and well accepted. Now he had the full set of brands. Just to top it off he started Fargo Trucks that same year, but that’s another story.
Even though the depression was just around the corner, on September 19th 1928 Chrysler ordered work to start on the magnificent Art Deco Chrysler Building in New York City. Walters’ new headquarters would be the world’s tallest building, but only for 11 months before being surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1932. This building was not a project of Chrysler Corp, it was Walters private investment for his children. At a cost of $20 million he obviously had very deep pockets in 1928 !!  It is still the worlds tallest brick building, and in anticipation of the newly released Plymouth, Walter had the gargoyles shaped like the Plymouth radiator cap. The American public loved anything BIG and this drew attention once again to the Chrysler Brand, another marketing masterpiece during what was a miserable time for many people.
The Gargoyles on the New York Chrysler Building are fashioned out of stainless steel to look like the Plymouth radiator cap.
At the end of the war in 1945 the US auto industry started converting factories back to passenger car production. Chevrolet, Chrysler and Ford went back into production still using engines that were more than a decade old and sadly out of date, but none of them seemed in a hurry to change. Engineers at Oldsmobile changed all of that when they took the new 135 HP 303 cu in OHV V8 Rocket engine designed for the larger cars, and stuffed it into a body not much bigger than a Chevy of the day. The 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 was the car that started the race to the Muscle car era that was to follow.

Left.  49 Olds Rocket 88                                Right. 53 Hudson Hornet
NASCAR was founded in late 1947 and in 1949 the new Olds Rocket 88 won 6 of the 9 races in the Strictly Stock Division, renamed  Grand National in 1950. This division was for cars exactly the same as you could buy at the dealers and it was quickly learned that whatever won on Sunday sold on Monday.
Surprisingly Hudson shared the glory with the Olds Rocket 88. The Hudson Hornet had a huge 308 cu in flathead inline 6 with twin carbies and had a body that was streamlined and sat about a foot lower than all the competition. This seemingly boring old flathead 6 won 27 of the 34 NASCAR Grand National races in 1952, followed by 22 of 37 in 1953, and 17 of 37 in 1954.
With Hudson and Oldsmobile winning all the races, Ford, Chrysler and Chevrolet were apparently being left behind. In the background however the engineering team at Chrysler was working hard on prototypes. Ford still ran the old flathead until 1954, and Chevy was stuck with the Blue Flame 6 until 1955, all producing way less than 100 HP.
In 1946 Chrysler engineers looked at producing their own OHV engine as they knew Cadillac and Oldmobile were doing the same and didn’t want to be caught out. During the war Chrysler produced their first hemispherical combustion chamber (HEMI) engine which was a huge 2500 HP 36 litre inverted V16 aircraft engine with HEMI heads. The valves were operated by a single overhead camshaft and the prop shaft was gear driven from the centre of the engine. This prototype engine was both super-charged and turbo-charged and it first flew in June 1945 fitted into a P47 Thunderbolt and powered it to 504 mph. The war ended before it went into production.
At 122 inches long the inverted V16 Chrysler Hemi was a big engine.
The engineers at Chrysler collected a variety of engines from around the world to study and found that HEALY in England had built a twin cam 4 Cyl HEMI. This engine produced the highest horsepower per cubic inch of any engine they had experimented with. At first the Chrysler engineers were told to build an inline 6 with a HEMI head but the valve train was too weak and complex to mass produce so they went back to the drawing board.  In 1948 the Head of Engineering William Drinkard suggested that they build a 330 cu in HEMI V8 and that idea really set a cat amongst the pigeons in head office, but eventually the project was given the green light.
It would hardly be right to go past this point without mentioning the work of Zora and Yura Arkus-Duntov with their ARDUN hemi-head conversions for the 1947 Ford flathead truck engine. (ARDUN is made up from their last name). Secrets were hard to keep in the auto industry and it is unlikely that the ARDUN design escaped the notice of the Chrysler engineers, or was it the other way around ?  The ARDUN also has two rocker shafts and a very similar valve and head layout to the Chrysler HEMI. Designs similar to this can also be found in race cars of the 1930’s in Europe so it is hard to say where it all originated and it is known that Chrysler had been playing with the concept in 1939. Zora went broke making the ARDUN and later did some remarkable work at Chevrolet and has been called the father of the Corvette.
Ardun internals                                               The Ardun
The ARDUN Hemi design was later produced in Brazil from 1966 to 69 as the SIMCA (a division of Chrysler) based on the smaller Ford V8-60 engine block. A very interesting mix of brands and designs indeed ! This little 147 cu in engine made 130 HP.
The Simca-Ardun Hemi
The development of the Chrysler HEMI was not without its problems and camshaft and valve-train failure was the major ones to be overcome. Finally they came up with an oversquare design with a bore of 3.8125 in and a stroke of 3.625 in. It came with hydraulic lifters, water heated two barrel Carter carburettor, shot peened forged steel crank and twin point ignition. It made 180 HP, the most powerful V8 engine available by far in 1950.
Performance features of the  HEMI engine design adopted by Chrysler were
a) High volumetric efficiency.
b) High thermal efficiency, low specific heat rejection.
c) Superior combustion characteristics.
d) Excellent adaptability to higher compression ratios.
e) Lateral valve arrangement, greater valve durability.
f) Superior manifolding available due to the valves being close to the opening of the port.
g) High valve lift.
h) High mechanical efficiency.
The early HEMI was a heavy engine, mostly because of the huge cast iron heads that have large castings to hold the complex rocker gear. Its worth noting is that the combustion chambers on these engines had to be machined and therefore the improved and more even volumetric efficiency added to the power.

The 180 HP 1951 Hemi Firepower 331.         Early 392 in a 53 DeSoto
The Chrysler HEMI Firepower was first introduced for the 1951 model year, and at first only in the luxury full size cars. In July 1951 Chrysler built the Saratoga Club Coupe based on the far smaller Windsor chassis and this car just knocked the doors off the Olds Rocket 88.  The HEMI won its first NASCAR races in 1951 and claimed the NASCAR Championship in 1954. The Hemi was popular at the track and was also selected as the INDY PACE CAR for 1951, 54 and 56.
The new HEMI had not escaped the notice of a young Don Garlitts, and Don writes that he was sure the poster advertising the HEMI at 180 HP should have read 108 HP, and was pleased to discover he was mistaken. Don grabbed a HEMI from a wreck and put it in his 39 Ford coupe that he used to tow his flathead V8 powered dragster. One day at the track he was sitting there disheartened with a blown gearbox so decided to give the coupe a run, and was blown away by the fact that it was only 2 seconds slower than the dragster. Dons wife said ‘why not put the HEMI in the dragster’, and the rest is history. On November 10, 1957, Don Garlitts drove his Swamp Rat 1 Chrysler Hemi powered dragster to 176.4 mph in 8.78 seconds to become the fastest man in drag racing and the first over the 170 mph mark.
Don Garlits with the final incarnation of Swamp Rat 1
Three different series of HEMI V8 engines have been built by Chrysler Corp since they first introduced the FirePower HEMI  in 1951. The Firepower HEMI stared life at 331 cubes and grew to 354 then finally they produced a 392 cubic inch version in which they raised the block height by half an inch. This was the most powerful and the best of them came fuel injected making 390 HP from the factory.  They only made 16 of these and all but one was recalled and converted back to dual 4bbl carters.
Desoto also had a Hemi called the Fire Dome of a very similar design but it was smaller at 276 cubes and was in fact shorter between the bore centres. Just to confuse the issue Dodge had another version called the Red Ram starting life in 1953 at 241 cu in and this was a shorter engine again.
DeSoto 276 HEMI                             Dodge Red Ram HEMI, the smallest of all.
Chrysler and Dodge and Plymouth introduced the Poly head engine in 1955 and these share some engine naming identifications with the HEMI. A RED RAM or SUPER RED RAM could be either a Poly or a HEMI, depending on the year. The POLY engine was designed to take advantage of the HEMI design but only has one rocker shaft, and therefore has some compromises. The valves were diagonally across from each other rather than directly opposite. They were cheaper and lighter than the HEMI. The poly engines are easy to recognise by the wavy design of the valve covers and the spark plugs are on the outer side of the engine. As these are not recognised as being the real deal HEMI, I will not expand on them further.
All of these series of early HEMI engines have the distributor at the rear and the well known plugs down the centre of the valve covers. Interestingly Plymouth missed out on a Hemi in those years. Overall there are 3 different block lengths and 12 different displacements in this first series of engines and it can get very confusing trying to be sure you have parts for the correct version. HEMI block castings prior to 54 have the bell housing cast as part of the block, the newer blocks did not have this making it easier for Hot Rodders to adapt other transmissions as after 1954 they all have the same bolt pattern.
I searched the web and a lot of the books that I have and came up with this listing of the passenger car  has a database full of details including all of the truck, marine and industrial engines. Also worth a look are and
 SequenceYearNameC.I.H.P.TorqueHP / cu inBoreStrokeComp ratio:1Dry weight lbsCarb. BBL
 CHRYSLER:  Bore Centre 4.5625  
C51 - 8 - 10011951Chrysler3311803120.543.81253.62507.507102
C52 - 8 - 10011952Chrysler3311803120.543.81253.62507.507102
C53 - 8 - 10011953Chrysler3311803120.543.81253.62507.507102
C541 - 8 - 10011954New Yorker3311803200.543.81253.62507.507102
C542 - 8 - 10011954New Yorker3311803300.543.81253.62507.507104
WE55 - 10011955New Yorker3312503400.763.81253.62508.507292
NE55 - 10011955New Yorker3312503400.763.81253.62508.507294
CE55 - 10011955Imperial3312503400.763.81253.62508.507294
3NE55 - 10011955C3003312503450.763.81253.62508.507352-4V
NE56 - 10011956New Yorker3542803800.793.93753.62509.007374
CE56 - 10011956Imperial3542803800.793.93753.62509.007374
3NE56 - 10011956300B3542803850.793.93753.62509.007372-4V
NE57 - 10011957New Yorker3923254300.834.00003.90609.257674
3NE57 - 10011957300C3923254200.834.00003.90609.257672-4V
CE57 - 10011957Imperial3923254300.834.00003.90609.257674
58N - 10011958New Yorker3923454500.884.00003.906010.007674
58C - 10011958Imperial3923454500.884.00003.906010.007674
58N3 - 10011958300D3923804350.974.00003.906010.007672-4V
n/a1958300D3923904350.994.00003.906010.00767Fuel inj
DESOTO:  Bore Centre 4.3125   
S17 - 10011952Firedome2761602500.583.62503.34407.006292
S16 - 10011953Firedome2761602500.583.62503.34407.106292
S19 - 10011954Firedome2761702500.623.62503.34407.506312
S21 - 1001 1955Fireflite2912002740.693.72003.34407.50631 4
S22 - 1001 1955Firedome2911852450.643.72003.34407.506312
S23 - 10011956Firedome3302303050.703.72003.80008.506692
S24 - 10011956Fireflite3302553500.773.72003.80008.506694
S24A - 1001 1956 Adventurer3412553750.753.78123.80009.506692-4V
S25 - 10011957Firedome3412703750.793.78123.80009.256692
S26 - 10011957Fireflite3412953750.873.78123.80009.256694
S26A - 10011957Adventurer3452953550.863.80003.80009.506692-4V
 DODGE:  Bore Centre 4.1875   
D44 - 10011953Red Ram2411402200.583.43753.25007.005902
D50A - 10011954Red Ram2411402200.583.43753.25007.105902
D50 (1, 2, 3)1954Red Ram2411502220.623.43753.25007.505902
D551,D5521955Super Red Ram2701932450.713.62503.25007.606004
D553 - 10011955Super Red Ram2701832450.683.62503.25007.606002
D500 - 10011956D 5003152603300.833.62503.80009.256114
D500-1  - 10011956D 500315295na0.943.62503.80009.256112-4V
KD500 - 10011957D 5003252853450.883.68753.80009.256114
KD500-1   - 10011957D 5003253103500.953.68753.80009.256112-4V

All of Chrysler’s HEMI V8 engines have the inlet valves placed in the head towards the centre of the block close to the inlet manifold which are easy to operate with a simple push-rod design. The exhaust valves are way over the outside of the engine and sit at an extreme angle (almost horizontal) making the design of the rockers very complex. This is why the engines are so wide and have such huge valve covers.
If you look at the list above there is one weird engine size. The 1957 345 cu in DeSoto engine is the 341 high-deck series engine with a 0.020 increase in the bore gaining only 4 cubic inches. You would have to ask if this was intended or just a way to get rid of some mistakes. These are listed as ‘very rare’ and I suspect that they may have had some blocks that were unusable as standard bore for maybe a casting or machining error, but cleaned up ok with a set of 020 thou oversize pistons so they were sold as a special version.
What I find remarkable in the 7 years from 1951 to 58 is that these engines nearly doubled the available HP per cubic inch. The 1951 version made 180 HP from 331 cu in which is 0.54 HP per cubic inch and in 1958 the rare Fuel Injected version made 390 HP from 392 cu in, ever so close to the magical ONE HP per cubic inch.
If you look at the chart above you can see that the significant changes were in compression ratio and improved breathing. Octane Ratings for fuel available at the pump also significantly increased from 79 in 1946 to 99 for premium in 1958. It should be noted that prior to 1972 HP was usually measured as Brake HP, and when tested most of the accessory belts were disconnected and tubular exhaust headers were used. Today they use Net HP where everything is hooked up as per factory.
Sadly Chrysler found lighter and cheaper ways to make HP and the first generation of the passenger car HEMI came to an end in 1958 after just 7 short years, but left a mark that would last for another 60 and more.
2nd generation HEMI.
In 1966 Chrysler re-introduced a second version of the HEMI and it only came in one size, 426 Cubic inches and fitted with dual Carter AFB 4 bbl Carbs. This engine made a fair bit more than the factory stated 425 HP 472 Ft lb torque and was really a NASCAR engine that was fitted to street cars to qualify them to use it for racing. Only 11,000 were actually sold between 1966 and 1971 but thousands more were made for racing and are still produced to this day. There is too much already written about this engine so I have not included it in this article.
2nd Gen 426 with factory 2 x 4 bbl squeezed into a 68 Barracuda.
3rd Generation HEMI
Chrysler never forgot the value of the HEMI brand name, in fact it’s a registered trade mark, and once again took advantage of peoples fascination with it by introducing the 3rd Generation HEMI in 2003. At first it came out with the 5.7 (345 cu in) rated at 345 HP, ONE HP (net) per cubic inch. In 2009 it was upgraded with newer head designs and variable valve timing and now the current 5.7’s comfortably make 390HP/ 402 ft lb of torque.

From the factory they are a good looking engine. This is the 6.1 (370 cu in)
Lots of accessories are now available for this Gen 3 HEMI and can be stroked to 426 cu in easily.
There have been two further upgrades to this Mexican made engine being the increase to 6.1 in 2007 and then in 2011 another increase to the 6.4 or 392 cu in version. The best looking of all of these is the 6.1 with its striking alloy intake manifold, all of the others have plastic intake manifolds.  The 6.1 makes an easy 425 HP 420 ft lb of torque and the 6.4 /392 makes 470 HP with 470 ft lb of torque.
The latest version on the drawing board will be a supercharged 6.2 due out in 2015 rated at over 500 HP. There are also crate versions of this new engine displacing 426 cubes if you have a fat enough wallet.
This 3rd generation HEMI is unique in that it runs twin plugs fired from coils mounted directly to the valve covers as it needs a lot of spark to fire these engines. The latest HEMI combustion chamber is not quiet a perfect HEMI as pollution standards needed to be met. In the bottom end below the new HEMI incorporates some race car stuff that you would not expect such as a windage tray, roller cam followers, cross-bolted mains, and oilers facing the load side of the bores. These engines are not heavy boat anchors like the first two versions of the HEMI, they are thin-wall lightweight blocks with alloy heads weighing in at 590 lbs, about the same as a small block Chev or Ford. Size wise the blocks are also very similar but the heads then hang out the sides making them about 2 inches wider each side. Otherwise they are a strong powerful lightweight compact modern engine with lots of potential to the Hot Rodder looking for something different. They respond well to a bit of tweaking and can easily make more than 500HP and remain very driveable.
On the left is the combustion chamber of a 426 Funny Car Hemi, and on the right is the new 5.7 Hemi, as you can see, not a perfect Hemi but it works pretty much the same.

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Workshop Progress update 3

25 X 25 X1.6 square tube has been formed for the structural elements, this is strong yet light, and allows the inner and outer skin to be attached, originally this vehicle was wood framed, and all that rotted out and fell apart.
Sheet metal bracing has been spot welded to the chords to add strength, and also looks "aircraft".
More internal bracing to support the rear bulkhead.

The rear bulkhead and parcel shelf area will be constructed with a double skin to reduce NHV (noise, harshness, vibration) being transmitted into the passenger compartment.
Inner 1/4 panel sub-structure has been formed and trial fitted, ready to weld into position when the inner wheel-arches are shaped.

As parts are formed, they are temporarily held in place with Clecos, which are used in the aviation industry for holding sheet metal panels in place for riveting, they are easily inserted and removed while trial fitting parts'

The wheel tubs were formed using the shrinking dies on the Pullmax to tip the edge, then an extension welded on to the tipped edge, and shaped with an air planishing hammer, and finally, smoothed with the English Wheel.

After the 1/4 panel alignment was secured, the tailgate was constructed, using holden Rodeo hinges and latches.

Ford 8" & 9" Diff I.D. and Specs.

The Number 1 Question - How do I Know If My Rear Is An 8" Or 9"?
The easiest way to tell is to try to put a socket on the lower bolts.

On the 8" shown here, the socket goes on straight without hitting the case.

On the 9" shown here, the socket won't fit this position or the bolt on the other side of center. Note the pocket at the bolt location necessary because of the larger pinion support.

Where to find a 9" rear axle?

67-73 medium and big block Mustangs and Cougars
66-71 Fairlanes, Torinos, Montegos, Comets, and other Ford intermediates with big blocks
57-59 V8 Fords and Mercurys
77-81 Lincoln Versailles & Trucks
67-68 ZA, ZB Fairlane (h/duty only), Some XR (h/duty only), XTGT, XT (h.duty only) all had 8" (standard was Borg Warne)
69-71 ZC, ZD, XW, XY, XYGT, XWGT with 351 had 9". Also in some h/duty applications.
72-78 LTD, ZF-ZG Fairlane, XA, XB, XC, XAGT, XBGT with 351 had 9". Also in some h/duty applications.

Types of 9" axle housings
67-73 Mustang/Cougar - light duty, thinnest housing material, small axle bearings, 28 and 31 splines
57-68 passenger car and 1/2 ton truck - medium duty, stronger than Mustang type, 28 and 31 splines
Ranchero/Torino - heavy duty thick wall housing, 3.25 inch diameter axle tubes with flat tops
69-77 Galaxies (coils), Lincolns (coils), and late pickups (leaf)- 3.25 inch diameter all the way to the backing plate, coil housings have upper control arm mount

9" Housing Identification

57 - no dimples, flat center band up the center of the rear cover, bottom drain plug.
58-59 - two dimples on back of housing, flat center band, some had drain holes.
60-67 - two dimples, flat center band, oil level hole in back cover.
63-77 Lincoln, LTD, Thunderbirds had 9.375 inch centers, housings were cut away at the gasket surface for ring gear clearance, one curved rib at the front top portion of differential, strong but no aftermarket gear sets.

Axle widths

Note: The lengths stated are for a complete axle from brake drum to brake drum.

For 64-73 Mustangs subtract 5 inches to get the bare axle housing width.

65-66 Mustang 57.25 inches
67-70 Mustang 59.25 inches
71-73 Mustang 61.25 inches
77-81 Versailles 58.50 inches
74 Maverick 8" 56.50 inches
75 Mustang II 8" 57.00 inches
67-73 Mustang, Torino, Ranchero, US Fairlane 9" 59.25 inches to 61.25 inches
57-59 Ranchero and station wagon rears, 57.25 inches
66-77 Bronco 9", 58 inches
77-81 Granada/Versailles, 58 inches
67-71 Comet, Cougar, Mustang, US Fairlane, 59.25 inches
71-73 Mustang, 61.25 inches

64 US Falcon 58 inches
67 Cougar 60 inches
67 US Fairlane 63.50 inches (coil springs)
72 US Ford Van 3/4 ton, 68 inches,
73-86 US Ford Van 3/4 ton 65.25 inches
57-59 Ranchero and station wagon 57.25 inches (narrowest 9" housing)
66-77 Bronco 58 inches but has 5-on-5 1/2 inch diameter bolt circle
67-73 Torinos, Rancheros, US Fairlanes 59.25 inches or 61.25 inches
67-71 Comets, Cougars, US Fairlanes 59.25 inches

Tips On Shortening Nine Inch Axles

1972 and earlier 31 spline axles have the ability to be shortened.
28 spline axles are tapered and cannot be shortened and re-splined.
1973 and later cars have a 5-on-5 bolt circle and the axles cannot be shortened.
1967-1973 Mustang axles can be identified by wheel flange:
Oval hole = 28 splines.
Two large holes and counter-sunk center = 31 splines.

Types of 9" Axles

28 spline axles cannot be shortened and resplined (they're tapered)
72 and earlier 31 spline axles have the ability to be shortened
73 and later 9" (cars) have a 5-on-5 bolt circle and the axles cannot be shortened
67-73 Mustang axles identified by wheel flange: oval hole - 28 splines, two large holes and counter sunk center - 31 splines.

Why is the Ford rear desired by many building hot rods and race cars?

The 8” and 9” have an extra bearing in the front of the pinion to give it extra support. This third bearing reduces flexing of the pinion under hard acceleration. These rears also utilize the axle bearing to retain the axle, unlike C-clips used in some other rears. If an axle were to break, the C-clip retainer, located in the carrier, can not keep a broken axle in the housing. The drop-out carrier also makes maintenance easier.

Strength - There are four usable styles you can find in a junk yard. They range from light duty to extreme duty but in all cases the larger 31 spline axle versions are stronger than the 28 spline version of the same unit.

The 67-73 Mustang type is considered light duty uses both axles.
The 57-68 early passenger car and half-ton pickup rear end is considered a medium duty unit and came in both 28 and 31 spline axles.
The 70-79 Ranchero/Torino are considered a high performance unit again being produced with both 28 and 31 spline axles.
The 69-77 Galaxie/Lincoln and 73-86 half-ton pickup used both size axles and the 31 spline version should be considered the strongest available and can be used for extreme duty applications.


Removable Carrier Axle-Ford

ID tag. Ratio. Ring Gear Diameter (in)
WCZ-E 2.80:1 8
WCZ-F 3.00:1 8
WCZ-F1 2.80:1 8
WCZ-G 3.50:1 8
WCZ-H 3.89:1 9
WCZ-J 4.11:1 9
WCZ-P 3.50:1 9
WCZ-R 3.89:1 9
WCZ-S 3.50:1 9
WCZ-T 3.50:1 9
WCZ-V1 2.79:1 8
WCZ-W 3.25:1 8
WDC-DW 2.75:1 9
WDC-EB 2.75:1 9
WDC-EE 3.00:1 9
WDC-EH 2.75:1 9
WDC-EK 3.00:1 9
WDC-EL 2.50:1 9
WDC-EM 2.50:1 9
WDJ-B 2.80:1 8
WDJ-C 3.00:1 8
WDJ-C1 3.00:1 8
WDJ-C2 3.00:1 8
WDW-AB 2.79:1 8
WDW-U 3.00:1 8
WDW-Z 3.00:1 8
WDX-E 2.75:1 9
WDY-AA 3.00:1 8
WDY-HH 3.40:1 8
WDY-S 3.40:1 8
WEB-BF 2.50:1 9
WEB-BK 3.00:1 9
WEB-BM 2.75:1 9
WES-F 3.00:1 9
WES-G 3.25:1 9
WES-H 3.50:1 9
WES-J 3.89:1 9
WES-K 3.50:1 9
WES-M 3.25:1 9
WES-N 3.00:1 9
WES-P 3.25:1 9
WES-R 3.25:1 9
WES-T 2.75:1 9
WES-T1 2.75:1 9
WES-U 3.50:1 9
WES-V 3.00:1 9
WES-Y 3.50:1 9
WES-Z 3.00:1 9
WES-AA 3.00:1 9
WES-AB 3.25:1 9
WES-AC 3.00:1 9
WES-AD 3.25:1 9
WES-AE 3.50:1 9
WES-AG 2.75:1 9
WES-AH 3.00:1 9
WES-AJ 3.25:1 9
WFA-AA 3.00:1 9
WFA-AH 3.00:1 9
WFA-AL 2.75:1 9
WFB-A 3.25:1 9
WFB-C 3.25:1 9
WFB-D 3.00:1 9
WFB-G 2.50:1 9
WFB-K 2.50:1 9
WFD-A 3.50:1 9
WFD-B 3.91:1 9
WFD-C 4.30:1 9
WFD-D 3.91:1 9
WFD-E 4.30:1 9
WFD-F 3.50:1 9
WFD-J 3.25:1 9
WFD-K 3.00:1 9
WFD-L 3.00:1 9
WFD-M 3.25:1 9
WFG-AL 3.00:1 9
WFG-AA 2.75:1 9
WFG-BJ 2.75:1 9
WFL-A 3.00:1 8
WFU-E 4.30:1 9
WFV-T 2.75:1 9
WFY-A 2.75:1 9
WFY-K 3.00:1 9
WGB-V 2.75:1 9
WGB-W 3.00:1 9
WGB-AB 2.50:1 9
WGB-AD 2.75:1 9
WGC-A 2.75:1 9
WGC-K 2.50:1 9
WGC-N 2.75:1 9

Conversion from 28 Spline to 31 Spline
To change the third member to 31 spline, the only parts needed are the differential side gears, they are available from Ford. The other part of the conversion is the carrier bearing size. There are two carrier bearing inside bore sizes, and two carrier bearing outside bore sizes. There are three possible combinations, small ID-small OD , large ID-small OD , and large ID-large OD. Factory 31 spline axles came with the last two bearing configurations, but not with the first. On 28 spline carriers, the axle bore on some of them are not large enough to allow the 31 spline axles to pass through. The carriers with the large ID bearings can be bored out to use the 31 spline axles. Not a precision job, just big enough for the axle to pass through, I use a cut off end from a 31 spline axle to check when it's large enough. I takes less than an hour to do both sides, and could be done at a vocational school by a novice. The small ID bearings won't have enough material left for reliability if bored out for 31 spline axles. Also if your housing has the small axle bearings, you will have to have axles custom made, as there are no factory axles with 31 spline and small axle bearings. Both the large axle bearing, and the extra large axle bearing (some F150 trucks) had 31 spline factory applications. From about 1970 on, the big Fords, Mercury's, and Lincoln's has axles big enough to respline with 31 splines if they are shortened about 4" per side. Both 4 1/2" and 5" bolt patterns are available. If you want to redrill to a 4 3/4" Chevy bolt pattern, use truck axles, as there is more room for the new pattern without hitting the other holes. The drum pilot may have to be turned down, depending on the drum used. The Chevy drums of corresponding size to the ford brakes will fit if the pilot is turned down.

Early Ford spindle I.D.


Well, if your like me and prefer to scrounge the swaps  or your favorite web based seller for original stuff to use on your ride, then this might be of help to you. If on the other hand you prefer to by new, that’s cool. But this wont be much use to you.

This is a combination of info I have found out over the last few years from various sources I don’t lay claim to this being my information, its common knowledge to a lot, but seemed every time I asked I got some murky answers.

Ok. First things first. I will be talking about mostly the 28-48 spindles here, or ‘early ford’ as they are refered as.

From my research it seems that the early ford spindles break down into 3 groups.


Again, the Model A spindles will essentially be left out as most people don’t use them, but I will add what I have read/found on them where appropriate.

You can break the above 3 main groups into more the year related groups.

1928-1931 A model of course, car and pickup
1932-1934 Car and pickup and I guess Ute too.
1935-1936 Car / Pickup / Ute
1937-1941 Car / Pickup / Ute
1942- 1948 Car / Pickup / Ute

Now all kingpins are the same diameter, however they do not all interchange for use, they can be used for set up, but the machined groove that allows the locking stud to hold them in place varies depending on which spindle your using. I know this after buying a pair only to find they didn’t work and having to get the groove machined into them. The reason for this is that the early spindle 28-36 have the bearing on top of the spindle. The later spindles the bearing sits on top of the axle inbetween the spindle boss’s. So consequently the length varys slightly too. I will take photos of my roadsters to show what I mean.


Note bearing location.


Note bearing location and bolt on steering arm.

This is an after market copy of the 37-41 spindle commonly used on new hot rods.

So back to the 3 groups.

1928-1936 sqaure backed flange, the stub axle is longer than latter spindles and the mounting surface for the brake backing plate is smaller. Spindle slides over axle boss as bearing sits on top of spindle boss

1937-1941 round flange shorter stub axle also round mounting surface for brake backing plate is the same diameter as latter 42-48 spindles. Axle boss is 2.375” king pin diameter is .813” and 5.5” in length

1942-1948 square flange again shorter stub axle and round mounting surface for brake backing plate is same as 37-41 spindles. Axle boss is 2.375” king pin diameter is .813” and 6” in length


28-32 spindles: also note the location of the spindle boss, see that it is below the mounting surface for the backing plate, by about a half an inch.

37-41 spindles.


42-48 spindles. note spindle boss's and bearing location.



Now the real reason you want to know all this info is really to do with brakes.

The 1928-1936 spindles as refered to earlier have a smaller diameter mounting area than the later spindles. So this causes a problem the first time you go to bolt your 40-48 brakes on, your backing plates fit, but are loose and the bolt holes done even look like lining up. I found this out as a 15 year old kid. After talking to some old timers it was reveiled that Model A piston rings are just the right diameter and size , apparently you could use them?

I didn’t end up doing that, I had a old machinist make me a spacer ring and then spot welded it in, and welded up the original backing plate holes and redrilled them. Now this is not the only issue, remember I mentioned that the stub axles are longer. Again a problem. This requires a spacer be machined to fit the stub axle to place the bearing ( inner closest to the kingpin) at the right location. Again this was done. There is no different bearings required to do this. Just a friendly machinist.

If you have the 39 on hydraulic brakes, they will fit on all the 37-48 spindles without a problem the ‘wide 5’ drums will also fit without an issue if you want that different look.

This list may be handy to some, a guy I deal with sat down and sorted it out, its yanky stuff, but surely can be converted to parts that are local.

1939-1948 Left rear wheel cylinder CarQuest/EIS # EW156002
1939-1948 Right rear wheel cylinder CarQuest/EIS # EW156003
1942-1948 Left front wheel cylinder CarQuest/EIS # EW156000
1942-1948 Right front wheel cylinder CarQuest/EIS # EW156001
1939-1941 Front wheel cylinder repair kit CarQuest/EIS # C552
1942-1948 Front wheel cylinder repair kit CarQuest/EIS # C568
1939-1948 Rear wheel cylinder repair kit CarQuest/EIS # C554
1939-1948 Front brake hose CarQuest/EIS # SP296
1939-1948 New brake master cylinder CarQuest/EIS # E1050
1939-1948 Brake master cylinder repair kit CarQuest/EIS # M16
1939-1942 Front and rear brake shoes Raybestos # 38PG(premium quality) or 38RP(Standardquality)
1946-1948 Front and rear brake shoes Raybestos # 37PG(premium quality) or 37RP(standard quality)


1928-1948 Front outer bearing BCA/Bower #09074
1928-1948 Front outer race BCA/Bower #09196
1928-1948 Front inner bearing BCA/Bower #15118
1928-1948 Front inner race BCA/Bower #15250X
1935-1948 Front wheel seal National Seal #5796
1934-1950 Rear wheel outer bearing BCA/Bower #462
1928-1937 Rear wheel seal National Seal #450096
1938-1948 Rear wheel seal National Seal #5877

Please note that the early Ford rear hub seals are different for Australia to the US.

Monday 9 April 2012

Dirt Track racing- California- 1940s


Shot by Elmer Dyer.
00:00 Slate: �"Hot Rod Picture Dalzell�
VS interiors and exteriors of hot rods, drivers at track somewhere in Southern California
00:23 Moving shot looking backward at hot rods racing on track
01:30 Slate: �""San Diego Bill Bass�" (drivers posing)
01:41 Slate: �""Connie Wiedel LA�"
01:51 Slate: �""Fred Pope San Diego�"
02:02 Slate: �""Dan Marruffo�" (driver posing with friends behind car)
02:16 Slate: �""Jim Rathman�"
02:34 Other drivers posing, prepping cars for race
02:57 General shots looking down at cars rounding track, crowd in stands

Above are some links to Dirt track racing in California- 1940

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Workshop Progress Updates- 2

The original chassis was so badly rusted that it was impossible to maintain panel gaps, this was substituted for a better chassis while the third chassis is down at Graham Robinsons in Castlemaine being boxed and suspension re-worked.

The door hinge areas have been realigned and temporararily braced to allow panel gaps to be set.
The cab was sent to be abrasive blasted and epoxy primed.
This process exposed more rust.

Replacement rear quarter panels and tailgate skin was made, and the sub-rails and rear tray sub-frame are being developed from 25mm X 25 X 2.5 mm steel tube.
I have purchased a tube roller and a tube bender from Pro-Tools in Tampa, Florida, to be able to form the curves necessary to reinforce the structure