View Full Version : Rear Axle: 54 CK rear end swap

07-27-2011, 01:01 PM
Starting on a 54 Starlight coupe. Planning on a mild custom so I'll probably catch some flack from the purists but here goes: What rear end can I go with that is close to the backing plate to backing plate width of the stock rear end. Would like to find something with discs and posi if possible but not necessary. I checked the FAQ section and really didn't find anything that answered my question. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

07-27-2011, 01:41 PM
If your car was a Champion (six cylinder) it should have had a Dana 27. If it was a Commander (V8) it would have a Dana 44 which is tough as they get. A Dana 44 twin trac would be posi, and lots of ratios are available. A TT Dana 44 with the gears you want would be a direct bolt in and they are available. Maybe, even with the disc brake set up you want. Good luck.

07-27-2011, 01:55 PM
Most of these later model 1957 to early 1965 Stude. rear axles Dave is talking about will have tapered axles, if your build is much over 300 HP you will want to go with the Mosier Flanged Axle Kits that our SDC Member, sometimes SDC Forum poster and Turning Wheels advertiser Phil Harris of Fairborn Studebaker (937 878 1576) sells.

Yes you can find them with Twin Traction and Disc. Brake Kits are available from Turner Brake, another Turning Wheels advertiser, if you are not getting Turning Wheels you are missing a lot, you can sign up to be a Member at the top of these pages at a first year discount. :)

07-27-2011, 01:57 PM
If you do a swap, axle flange to axle flange is what you want to measure. Some rears have wider drums and/or offset backing plates, so they could be the same backing plate to backing plate and still be too wide for your car. I made that mistake with a '50 Mercury one time. I found a Ford pick-up rear that was almost exactly the same backing plate to backing plate, but was too wide for the car because the axle flanges stuck out farther to clear the wider brakes.

Mike Van Veghten
07-27-2011, 02:49 PM
If you go a new or a new...refabrication, you can get anything you want.
You can get the stock spring mount spacing with a narrower width for a nicer/wider wheel..

Me, for my Conestoga..I ordered a Winters Championship Quick Change that allowed me to use the wider wheels I wanted, OEM Ford disc brakes. All it took was a drive shaft change.

Many possibilities out there. Dana 44 (like stock), Ford 8", Ford 9", Chrysler 8-3/4", GM 12 bolt, or something strange like my quick change..
Just do some internet hunting.


Pat Dilling
07-27-2011, 05:07 PM
An alternative to the Dana 44 is the Ford 8 inch found in 70s era Mavericks. I have one in my '53 coupe. They are 56 inches wheel surface to wheel surface which is slightly narrower than the original Studebaker axle. They have the 4.5 inch bolt pattern so are consistant with Studebaker. They are good up to about 400 hp. Trac Loc (limited slip/posi/twintraction), many gear ratios, and disc brake kits are available in the aftermarket. They are still found in wrecking yards and usually pretty cheap, most will come with 2.79 or 3.0 open differentials. You will need to move the spring perches. Another advantage, if you consider it one, is the center pumpkin is removed intact so you can actually set up a couple different ones to easily change ratios, if that is something that appeals to you. My experience with them is gears and trac loc units are actually more expensive for the 8 inch than for the Ford 9 inch because they are not as popular.

As a point of preference, I will be putting together a custom Conestoga soon and plan to use a Dana 44, mostly because I already have one, but also because I believe it will be more than adequate.


07-27-2011, 08:12 PM
I believe a 1965-66 Ford Mustang, 1964-65 Falcon/Comet, 1962-65 Fairlane/Meteor drum to drum is the same width as a Stude car unit; just have to move the leaf spring pads.. Needless to say: use a 8 or 9 inch ring gear assembly (only an issue with 6 cyl Mustangs/Falcons/Comets with their 4 lug wheels) to also get the common easy to find 10" rear brake parts.

07-27-2011, 10:25 PM
I checked the FAQ section and really didn't find anything that answered my question. Any help would be greatly appreciated. A search would have turned up at least fifty previous threads on exactly this subject.

jack vines

07-28-2011, 10:50 AM
Thanks for the info guys. Pat, your Stude looks a lot like what I'm shooting for. How about some more info on it. The car originally was a Champion 6cyl. When I got it somebody had already tried to hot rod it. Had a 371 Olds with a spun bearing. They had fabed a floor shift for the stock 3spd tranny. I tried to get some background on the car from a previous owner but no luck. I sold the engine and transmission. Planning on going with an LT1 and 700R4 combo. Right now it's in many pieces so it's gonna be a long time before I get it on the road. I've found a local body man to handle the sheet metal issues. Anyway, I appreciate the help. I did go online and set up my membership so I will be getting the magazine. Finally, Jack-----I did look through the previous threads but didn't find exactly what I needed. The replies I got really helped plus getting a chance to visit with some damn nice people.

Pat Dilling
07-28-2011, 11:33 AM

Mine is pretty extensively modified. It was also a Champ 6 cylinder. It is powered by a 2000 LS1 with 4L60E transmission. It has a narrowed '68 Nova front suspension clip. You can see a lot about it by following the link in my signature. I'd be happy share additional info, you can send me a private message or email me at p.dilling@comcast.net.


Mark Plucenik
07-29-2011, 06:47 PM
I don't know if you would be interested but I have finley made a decision on what rear I am going to use in my 64 GT project car. I have a few good rears left over if you would be interested. All are Dana 44's.
One is an open rear 3.54 ratio, an open rear 3.07, an open rear 3.31 ratio, the last one is one I compleatly rebuilt. It is an early Dana 44 , looks to be a 56-59 vintage. It has the drain plug in the botom and is drilled for the axel greese fittings. It is a 3.31 ratio, good gears, both new pinon bearings and pinon seal, new carrier bearings. Also compleatly rebuilt the TT unit , all new clutches. The housing has been compleatly sandblasted and painted with 2 part black epoxy. Backlash is perfect at .003. I did not repalce the axels or axel bearings because I am going to use flanged axels. The rear I decided to actually use is a TT 3.54. I have been accumulating rears for a few years now. I have $450 invested in the TT 3.31 unit. I paid $150 for it and the rest is bearings and clutches, sandblast sand and paint. Let me know if your interested, I will be going to Hershey/Carlisle this fall and Reedsville in Nov.