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Thread: Rear Axle 53 Champion

  1. #1
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    Rear Axle 53 Champion

    Hi Guys / Gals

    I'm posting for a friend of mine who just recently purchased this 53 Champion that has been heavily modified from stock and has asked me to help him get it straightened out. My friend is not a technical car guy, that is why I'm posting this help message for him. He just loves his Studebaker but cant work on it.

    Modifications - 97 GM 5.0L Vortec Engine, 4L60E transmission, Ford 8.8 Rearend with 4 Link Suspension / Panhard Bar & Coil Overs, Slick Street Stuff Front Suspension.

    Now my friend has absolutely no intention of high performance or drag racing, but that is how this car is set up even though it was a hack job.
    The main problem is the rearend. It has a rear axle from an 04 Ranger 4.10 gears with the offset pinion and the car vibrates like hell at @ 60 -65 mph. Now obviously the driveline has a compound angle both vertical and horizontal because of the offset pinion.

    Initially I found that both rear QA1 coil over shocks had bent shafts. The ride height was set at 14 inches which is in the middle of the shocks travel, but they were set way to stiff on the dial. Every time it hit a bump there was a lot of banging from the rearend because the shocks were set to stiff. I replaced the QA1 shocks and set the stiffness at 1 and went to work calculating the driveline angles and the rear axle placement in the car.

    Now I took the pan off the rearend gear housing and found the fluid like brown mud. Someone had removed the rear axle vent and plugged it. Cleaned everything out even the axle tubes and replaced the outside axleshaft bearings and seals and put in new fluid and a new vent tube.

    Next the driveline angle was way way off on the vertical and I had to actually order some new shorter upper 4 link bars to get enough adjustment to get the pinion angle right. I also found evidence where the drive shaft U-joint at the rear Ford flange suffered failure. I had the drive shaft straightened and balanced, & had the U-joints replaced and the Ford mounting flange. I also replace the god awful hardware store Ford flange attaching bolts to the rear pinion with the stock Ford bolts.

    I have went through all the driveshaft alignment calculations and adjustments with the 4 Link and it passes using multiple driveline calculating tools. It still vibrates like hell and we dont test drive it very fast to keep from damaging or bending the drive shaft again., see attached pics for the set up.

    Now I've done a lot of research and read up on the use of the Ford 8.8 rear end from Hot Rod Network and threads here on this forum before posting. Hot Rod says stay clear of the Ford Ranger offset rear because it makes driveshaft alignment impossible. Now I have thought of installing Cardan joints more like a CV type joint instead of U-joints to see if that will solve the problem. I;m not sure that it will.

    So In talking with my friend and going over the possibilities we have decided to replace the Ranger offset rear axle, go with a Ford Explorer 8.8 with 95 and up to get disk brakes, shorten the long side to get at the 57 / 58 inch rear axle width to fit the Champion and get rid of the 4 link setup and go back to leaf springs.

    Of course that means a whole lot of modifications - the braking system has to change from disk / drum to disk / disk, get another 8.8 axle - shorten the long side - get another short side axle shaft - cut out all the 4 link frame welded brackets, Get some spring end perches to bolt or weld to the frame to the mount the new axle leaf springs all to get a rear axle with a centered pinion. Also make sure the rear axle ratio is something reasonable instead of a 4.10. Now the U-joints only have to work at one angle - vertical.

    Does anybody see a better approach to solving this problem? Fred doesn't want to go back to a stock Studebaker rearend so it looks like another 8.8 and a centered pinion to solve the problem.

    Thanks for any feedback,

    Steve
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  2. #2
    President Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    Sounds like the previous owner had more energy than smarts. Good luck.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

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    President Member thunderations's Avatar
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    Would it make sense to keep the 4 link set up since it has a lot of adjustment and you have already corrected it's flaws? My thoughts are that the modification is good, but the application was wrong, using the offset rear end. Hope it all works out.
    1966 Daytona (The First One)
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    I would like to see some pics. rather than drawings. Stude engines for the US market were offset to the right. I can only guess at how the motor mounts were placed. This is an IF,IF, if I have ever seen it. I have put Jag. XK rears in Studes but that was 30 years ago. The Stude frame is very flexible and needs a lot of reinforcement. Does it still have the 2 piece drive shaft? If they went to a 1 piece it has to be a 3 1/2" monster. I hate guessing, more pics. needed.

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    When I had the 9" narrowed for my 54 Coupe, I had the guy cut it to center the pinion on the driveshaft. That offsets the pumpkin, but keeps the alignment on the shaft. For clearance under the very shallow driveshaft tunnel, I've added a wedge to push the pinion down a degree, (or two... its been too long ago to remember exactly). You could accomplish this through adjustments in the 4 link.
    But I've not had even the slightest problem with it in 45 years of service.
    sals54

  6. #6
    Golden Hawk Member StudeRich's Avatar
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    This sounds like one heck of a lot of work to "Center" a Ford offset Axle.

    It sounds like you have done a serious amount of good research to help your friend and I am sure you now know more about Ford Diffs. than a lot of us, and certainly me.

    However, isn't there a 2 Wheel Drive Ranger Axle that is already centered?

    If NO, I would search for a Granada, Monarch, Lincoln Versailles, V8 Maverick or EVEN a Plymouth Volare/Dodge Aspen, Chrysler Fifth Avenue, Dodge Diplomat, Civilian and Police Interceptor versions.
    All of these are Narrow enough to fit a Stude. AND Centered with only Spring Perch Mods, easy, Peasy!

    I know they are getting hard to find, but there have to BE some junkyards left with a few somewhere, a Bolt-in is SO much better than all these difficult AND expensive Mods.
    Last edited by StudeRich; 09-19-2017 at 05:00 PM.
    StudeRich
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    Hey guys, at the moment I dont have pics of the trans cross member or the engine mounting. At least they didn't cock the engine / trans to point directly at the offset pinion. They left them pointing straight. I'll included some pics of the 4 link install.

    The driveshaft is a one piece, where it came from I dont know. Probably from the ranger but it is a 3 inch OD with a GM slip yoke for the 4L60E trans (electronic 700R4) with a GM to Ford Ujoint 457 in front. It has @ 3/4 of an inch slide capability into the trans before it bottoms out.
    The rear end of the driveshaft is a Ford large flange with a 354 type ujoint. Problem is with these Ford rearends, you can bolt the driveshaft flange up to the rear pinion flange in 8 different locations around the pinion. In other words the drive shaft flange has 4 bolt mounting but the pinion flange mate has 8 holes around the flange. So what I did a one point is rotate the driveshaft 90 degrees (phasing) and rebolt it, test driving with each 90 degree rotation. Made no difference. I couldn't see doing it 8 times.

    I gave Fred some alternatives to using another 8.8. The Ford 9 inch or Mopar 8.75 is way over kill for what he is going to do with it. The Mopar 8.25 from an A body Duster, Dart might work. They have the same "C" clip type axle shaft as the Ford 8.8. But he doesn't want anything that old. He says if he is going to replace the axle he might as well get as new as he can that has rear disk brakes. Course I've told him that requires a new brake master.

    I was under the assumption because I read somewhere, that the 53 Champion had a rear axle width of like 55 1/2 inches flange to flange or about 58 inches between wheel mounting surfaces. All the modern axle widths seem to be in the 60 inch range. Of course that is trying to keep the 5 on 4 1/2 tire mounting.
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    Last edited by GiTarMan2; 09-19-2017 at 06:18 PM.

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    I am suspicious of that drive shaft. You can get Ford 9" 56" or 58" wide from Speedway for $650 including axles, made by Currie. I have known Jim Currie since the 50's when he was going around junk yards buying up Ford 9" rears to put in electric carts for $50 and I can't get them from Currie for less than Speedway.

  9. #9
    President Member Jeff_H's Avatar
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    One option is to use the 8" axle from a Maverick/Comet. I have one in my own '53. Same sort of design as the ubiquitous 9" but smaller. Same wheel lug pattern as Studebaker. These are narrower than Studebaker, about 1.5". Center pinion location. There are disk brake conversions available I believe as these were also used in some early mustangs.

    In my own car, I have 1/2" wheel spacers and longer studs to get the rear wheels (6" crown vic steel rims with original stude wheel covers) to look correct. But, I am not racing either.

    Jeff in ND

  10. #10
    President Member junior's Avatar
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    a couple of thoughts here...according to hotrod magazine (apr 17, page 92), the new style cv joints for driveshafts can tolerate up to 10 degrees of joint angle without vibration...the upper bar mount on the frame appears to be in single shear. personally I would not tie that mount into side of a Stude frame unless the mounting stud runs through the frame and is fish-plated on both sides, better yet, tie into the bottom of the frame ...is that a copper brake line, or a new style copper-nickel one, hopefully its not pure copper. looks like you have your hands full with taking care of some other builder's poor design. good luck. cheers, junior

    1954 C5 Hamilton car.

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    Believe me guys you dont know the half of it. This car was supposedly built by a professional shop. Yeah well - whatever. Somebody has been watching too many stupid TV shows and reading too many magazines.

    My friend Fred liked the car because it was unique and likes the Stude. He thought it was great that it had all been updated - modern engine, fuel injection, drivetrain, overdrive an aftermarket AC system, new type front suspension and power rack & pinion steering, stuff like that. He is not a technical car guy, and had no idea of how the modifications were done. Even if he had crawled underneath the car, he would not have known what he was looking at.
    When I told him of the things that has to be done - He said he could not in good conscience saddle someone else with its problems - enough said. It has been done - nothing left now to do but to straighten it out.

    Yes the 4 link frame brackets are suspect - I would not have done it that way either. Through the frame I would have welded a sleeve in the hole to run the bolt through and used fish plates on both sides. The upper bars shown in the pictures are the old bars. In places they had been flattened by the use of vice grips to adjust them. I put in two new upper bars - shorter to be able to get enough adjustment to get the pinion angle right.

    It does look like the brake line is copper, that will get replaced.
    Looking this thing over my take on it is there is only two choices to make- its either fix the 4 link system frame and brackets correctly and use some type of joint to live with the offset pinion to eliminate the driveline vibration. I dont know if there is enough room or clearance in the driveline tunnel for such a CV or cardan type joint. Now is there a driveshaft flex problem with higher RPMS due to the OD in the transmission and a 4.10 rear end with the driveshaft being only 3 inches OD. I don't know for sure. The guy that balanced the driveshaft ran it up to @ 2000 RPMs on his balancer and didn't see a problem. That's what he said.

    The other choice is to take the offset pinion axle out, replace it and go to a leaf spring type of stock arrangement. Either scenario is some work.

    The 4 link and coil overs are way too stiff and rigid, allows almost no independent flex or movement of the rear axle up and down side to side to drive pleasantly cruising on the street for everyday use. In turning a corner with the road pavement at a good slant one of the rear tires will come off the ground. A 4 link does not allow the wheels to move up and down independently very far without the 4 link bars binding. Both wheels straight up and down yes, one wheel up the other down - no. The road Fred lives on is a rural road, bumpy with an uneven road surface and the ride is horrible.

    In theory , if done right, a 4 link set up is good only for drag racing and trips to the track or driving down good flat streets and highways. But it is also the way people put rear axles in a vehicle that doesn't belong there.

  12. #12
    President Member Corley's Avatar
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    So why not just use an S10 rear axle. It's the right width, centered pumpkin, still has the drum brakes, and is pretty easy to adapt, since it only has leaf spring perches that can come off if needed without much trouble. Being from a small pickup, most have a 4:10 or there abouts ratio to boot. Ujoints are available to marry the Ford driveshaft to the Chevy diff.

    I don't agree that a 4 link is only good for drag racing, it is a very good way to go for any use of the vehicle. It controls axle wrap, which contributes to NO VIBRATION, which can be a problem when you get on it with a leaf spring setup when the nose of the diff raises up. (Of course you do also need a Panard rod with 4 link.) Given that it is already there, the hard part is done, and you just need to buy some axle mounts for the S10 10 bolt to be good to go.

    Just what I'd do.
    Corley

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    The reason I said that the drive shaft was suspicious is there are gouges or scrapes to the inside edge of the weld, the shaft looks dented and the cap end is smashed in like it was dropped and there is a chunk taken out of the flange that bolts to the rear.

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    Sorry that was the driveshaft before the shop fixed and balanced it, Here is one after new ujoints and the new Ford Rear driveshaft flange with the correct bolts. And other pictures of the lower 4 link bar mounting and the panhard bar axle and upper frame mount.
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    Last edited by GiTarMan2; 09-20-2017 at 02:53 PM.

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    I can see where it rides so harsh. All of those heim ends. Did you ever check out the spring pressures? Anything over 150# inch will jar your fillings out.

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    Yeah I checked the springs they are 130s. I had a time getting the right QA1's to replace the bent ones. They changed the product line since the time the originals were installed and their interchange lists sucks. The originals were DR5855B the replacements are DS501. Really the only difference is the originals had I think 8 settings and the new ones I think have 16.

    Been digging into different rear axles checking for widths. You know how many internet web sites list different specs for the same axle? Seems hard to find two that agree even using the same reference point.

    Anyway to keep the same 5x4.5 bolt pattern he has now ,you got to stay with a Ford or Mopar.
    Go with GM the bolt pattern is all wrong, Unless you use adapters or change the axle shafts. The S10 axle is said to be 54.25 wide with a 5x4.75 bolt pattern, now you need spacers and bolt adapters.

    The ranger axle in it now measures 58.50 wheel mounting to wheel mounting or 52.5 flange to flange. Thats very close to what I've read is the stock width of the original 53 Studebaker Champion rearend with the same wheel bolt pattern 5x4.5. Thats why someone chose the ranger rear axle - it fits physically width and bolt pattern.

    The explorer rearend is 59.81 wide but by the time you narrow the drivers side to get a centered pumpkin you end up with 56.75, according the the Hot Rod /network article. Now the tires will set in about an inch but the wheels will bolt up. You get spacer plates and put in longer studs to get the wheels set back out. At least you only have to narrow one side.
    With the Mustangs you gotta stay with 94 and up to get 5x4.5 bolt pattern but their 60 & 61 inches wide. Now you have to narrow both sides or the wheels tires are out an inch which might be ok.

    On the Mopar side the F, J, or M body are 58.5 in an 8.25 flavor, thats Aspen, Volare, Diplomat or Mirada, yeah there are a lot of those around here.

    I guest its just a matter of seeing how much wheel spacing room we got, picking from whats available around here in the bone yards, then picking the best of the bad and seeing what mods have to be done to get it to fit.

    Cheers

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    I was going to refrain from commenting...but...

    Ummm...those Panhard mounts are VERY dangerous..!
    They need some heavy duty reinforcement to remove the major flexy..! Those are hardly good for driving in a straight line in my estimation. Either side is asking to be easily broken, then it's a major loss of control.

    And assemble a stock front suspension back in place, (this is my original...don't comment..!) of the Slick Street goodies..!

    Mike

  18. #18
    President Member bensherb's Avatar
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    I agree with Mike, the panard mounts.... well, you know. An 8" from a Ford Maverick works very well in a C/K. Our '53 Coupe has one and we use 6 1/2" x 15" Crown Vic wheels with 215-70-15 tires and a 3" one piece drive shaft. No fender interference, no need to fuss with it, just center it up and mount it.

  19. #19
    President Member Corley's Avatar
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    Changing wheel bolt pattern is a pretty trivial problem to overcome, either with redrilling or wheel adaptors.
    Corley

  20. #20
    President Member junior's Avatar
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    okay, the car's situation is worse than I first thought...

    a few other considerations are the driveshaft is going to need to be balanced or tested at an rpm a lot higher than 2000 if the trans is overdriven, and being single shaft and 3" dia. it's critical speed may be an issue.

    looking back at the photos, I agree the panhard bar mounts are sketchy and have a lot of leverage on them...and if the car lifts one tire in the twisties I would suspect there are some geometry issues at hand with the whole arrangement. looking at your sketches, are the top and bottom bars parallel...I thought the bars were supposed form an imaginary triangle to control axle rotation on acceleration. I don't know nearly enough on the theory of suspension design, but something seems wrong somewhere other than just over-stiff coilovers.

    with so many issues to solve you may be better to go with the tried and true parallel leaf springs...yes they are simple but they have been proven to work in the long haul. kiss theory at work here. like others have suggested, go with an 8 or 9 inch ford...once again, simple and proven over time, with awesome aftermarket support...no c clips, easily narrowed or if going aftermarket you can order any width. if going this route, consider mounting the diff so pinion angle is broke-back configuration so you can keep a single driveshaft without having to enlarge the driveshaft tunnel, especially if you have to go to a larger diameter shaft.

    lastly, considering the front suspension swap from what I've read there many be some geometry issues with this design...there is lots of conflicting info on this forum about that frontend conversion, one being bumpsteer. If the car is unpleasant to drive on bumpy twisty roads, this front suspension may be a contributor to the spooky handling. happy this is not my headache to deal with, wish you and the owner luck...it just going to take some time and $ to sort out...simple right? cheers, junior
    Last edited by junior; 09-21-2017 at 09:33 AM.

    1954 C5 Hamilton car.

  21. #21
    President Member Corley's Avatar
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    Was just re-reading your original post. If your driveshaft angles are only 3 degrees as shown in your drawings, that is not your vibration issue. Have your run the engine up in neutral to be sure the vibration is not a mismatch of parts in the flexplate/converter area? 3 degrees is really not much angle at all, and many 4X4s run way more than that without vibration issues, and they are running taller rear axle ratios, so the driveshafts are turning faster to boot.

    Phasing of the joints is critical. If they are out of phase, they will no longer cancel each other out, and you get bad vibrations. I've seen a driveshaft fresh out of a shop that was true, but out of phase. Plus, if you are using an offset joint to accommodate the angle better, you need to use two of them, and they need to be installed so that they cancel each others offset out rotationally. Remember, when you have driveshaft angle, the driveshaft has a jerky rotational motion, not a linear smooth rotation, so one joint must cancel out the other, providing a smooth rotation at the diff.

    HOWEVER:

    I remember years ago, my brother replaced the rear end in his '41 Chevy for a "vibration", thinking maybe it was the driveshaft within the torque tube being bent. This did not affect the problem, and he subsequently found a bad front wheel bearing was the culprit. Sure seemed for all the world to be a driveline vibration, but was not. The test for this, jack up the rear wheels and run it up to speed...

    As to the brown mud in the diff., seems that one got a lot of water in it at some point. Bearings would be suspect in that case, and a bad bearing can create quite a lot of rumble, which some might mis-interpret as a balance issue.

    Not saying any of those thoughts are your case, just possibilities to think about until proven wrong.
    Last edited by Corley; 09-21-2017 at 11:11 AM.
    Corley

  22. #22
    President Member bensherb's Avatar
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    Yes, changing bolt patterns is quite easy. I changed a 5 on 5 1/2" pattern to 6 on 130mm pattern by simply drilling and installing new studs.

    Not sure what engine you have but some are externally balanced. If this is overlooked and the wrong balancer or flywheel is used you'll have vibration.

    True, 3 degrees driveshaft inclination is nothing, but if those 4x4's are running "taller rear axle ratios" ,usually meaning higher, their driveshafts are turning SLOWER at a given speed.

    U joint phasing is important, but, perfect zero phase alignment is not always optimum. In some cases the factorys have missaligned U joints intentionally to correct driveline vibration, as GM did with the Camero.

    I'm not sure what Corley means by "an offset joint to accommodate the angle better". I understood you have an asymetric u joint with one side that fits the GM yoke and the other side fitting the Ford shaft. Those U joints are made for that purpose and as any other, will work fine if properly fitted. You don't need two of them.

  23. #23
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    First - let me say, thank you for all the advice.
    then I'll say - OMG! - sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the crap that has been done to the car. It is absolutely criminal what has been done. You just wouldn't believe it! I dont believe it - I've been restoring vintage and classic vehicles for most of my life and I have never, ever seen anything like this before.

    I dont want to go into all the front suspension issues right now, its a whole nother topic. I will tell you a few things I found and let it go at that.
    The original Slick Street Stuff (I talked with them) front suspension modifications were further modified by somebody installing a Dodge Onmi power rack & pinion and crap welding the rack arm to the tie rod end across a slip over sleeve. The bushings holding the rack to the welded add on frame were falling out and I found remnants of one of the bushings in my drive way where it had completely fallen out. One of the bushings was trying to be held in with steel hole punched tape like you would use on plumbing pipes.
    The tie rod & rack pivot is well out of alignment with the lower control arm pivot point.

    I will also say that there were no cotter pins in any of the ball or tie rod joints. The right side upper ball joint was screwed half way out of the upper control arm. This type of upper ball joint is the same as you would find on a Mopar A body Dart or B body Charger - they screw in with a special socket, they do not press in. All of the bolts holding the upper control arms to the frame were loose on both sides to the point of the adjustment shims were falling out. Now this car went to an alignment shop before - how in the hell did that shop not find these problems and report them to the owner. Its Criminal!
    I will end this front suspension conversation by telling you the car has terrible , horrible bump steer.
    I will not even go into the screwed up wiring in this car - with wires trapped under screw heads causing multiple fuses to blow.

    Now I will tell everyone that reads this thread - do NOT ever do this kind of **** to any car and then resell it to an unsuspecting person, it is criminal and you should be put in jail!

    Rant Mode Now Off, I'm sorry my anger got the better of me.

    Now I need to go to a real professional fabrication shop and speak to a guy about a rear axle. I've got to concentrate on one thing at a time.

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    You don't have to go to a fab shop. Lets see what you have front and rear on the spring hangers. Let's hope they didn't screw those up.

  25. #25
    President Member Corley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bensherb View Post
    Yes, changing bolt patterns is quite easy. I changed a 5 on 5 1/2" pattern to 6 on 130mm pattern by simply drilling and installing new studs.

    Not sure what engine you have but some are externally balanced. If this is overlooked and the wrong balancer or flywheel is used you'll have vibration.

    True, 3 degrees driveshaft inclination is nothing, but if those 4x4's are running "taller rear axle ratios" ,usually meaning higher, their driveshafts are turning SLOWER at a given speed.

    U joint phasing is important, but, perfect zero phase alignment is not always optimum. In some cases the factorys have missaligned U joints intentionally to correct driveline vibration, as GM did with the Camero.

    I'm not sure what Corley means by "an offset joint to accommodate the angle better". I understood you have an asymetric u joint with one side that fits the GM yoke and the other side fitting the Ford shaft. Those U joints are made for that purpose and as any other, will work fine if properly fitted. You don't need two of them.
    This is what I meant by an offset joint. These are typically only used in extreme angle situations. If it is not obvious from the picture, the two axis of the cross are not on the same plain.

    http://www.ihpartsamerica.com/store/...hoCn3EQAvD_BwE

    As to phase, it would take a good bit of engineering to determine an out of phase would help anything. Generally speaking, out of phase is a serious no-no.
    Corley

  26. #26
    President Member bensherb's Avatar
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    That's a weird U joint. Clearly not meant for any rpm, slow rotation only. With the U joint's slightly out of phase they remain loaded all the time reducing most harmonic vibration at the cost of a slightly shorter life, but yes, generally and ideally they should be in phase, aligned with one another.

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    Hi guys , sorry about my rant.
    Lets see answer some questions. Yes the 4 link bars are parallel and not triangulated. I dont know what the GM 5L vortec engine came from originally but from the information I have the engine and transmission came from the same vehicle, so they should be matched.
    The drive shaft phasing is in phase verified first by me placing the shaft on a level concrete floor with the shaft yoke ujoint cap holes flat on the floor, there was no teetering or seesaw of the shaft, and then by the driveshaft shop I had it fixed and balanced at. They told me the drive shaft was bent and out of balance but it straightened out and balanced fine. They balanced it with the new ujoints and new rear ford flange.

    At the moment I'm waiting on a new transmission extension housing bushing and seal that I will be installing later today. I also found the left rear brake drum has a flattened and cracked part like it was dropped, see pic. I have a new one I'll put on today at the same time. I took the transmission cross member out while taking the trans extension housing off and looked at the trans mount, all seems good there. Also the engine mounts and rubber bushings, they look good, newer and all bracket bolts are tight.

    Get you up updated on the rear axle in a moment.
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  28. #28
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    Went down and spoke to an automotive fabricator to see if they have a jig to cut and shorten an axle if we go that route. They do, nice setup.
    Was looking into other rear axles, there are several 94 - 98 ford mustang available at the local pick and pull. These would be 8.8s, 60.25 inches wide, 5x4.5 bolt pattern, disk brakes but with coil springs.
    Using one of these would only make the tires / rims out farther about an inch on each side.

    We could get some spring perches for the axle tube and a set of leaf springs and U bolts to mount it to the car. Also come up with some shock mounts. That would eliminate all the kludged up 4 link bracket problems and the offset pinion ranger axle.
    Been looking at the car frame to see what we have there. see picks
    The width of the front box is 2.875 width and the rear mount is 2.5 sleeve width with the sleeve having an inside dia of .88. Would have to find springs that are the correct width , length and bushings to match.

    New heavy duty 5 leaf springs seem to be available to fit this 53 Champion like stock. just would have to get them centered on the mustang axle tube and get the pinion angle set right before welding on the perches.

    /In all the research I've done on this rear offset axle, some say it will work if the driveshaft angles are equal and opposite and it doesn't matter if the driveshaft has both a vertical and horizontal angle as long as they are equal and opposite. Others say it wont work, it will never work.

    I came across some information yesterday that suggest the axle in the car now is the third axle that has been in this car. First was the original Studebaker, then a 2002 Ford Explorer with 3.73 gears and 31 spline axles shafts, now this 94 Ford Ranger 8.8 with 4.10 gears and 28 spline axle shafts. This is verified by the tag under one of the bolts on the diff and having an axle shaft out and counting the 28 splines when I replaced the outer shaft bearings and seals.

    My parts are in, gotta go pick them up. I'm also going to swap around the wheels ( supposed to have been checked and balanced) front to back and take her for a test drive.
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  29. #29
    President Member bensherb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GiTarMan2 View Post
    /In all the research I've done on this rear offset axle, some say it will work if the driveshaft angles are equal and opposite and it doesn't matter if the driveshaft has both a vertical and horizontal angle as long as they are equal and opposite.
    This is True, works fine, at least it has for over 40 years in several cars I've put together.

    It sounds like stock springs will bolt right in still. In this pic, the bushings and shackles on the far right are the factory ones I removed from my car. They'll fit right into the spaces you measured. In my opinion the shackle bushings are a poor design allowing the shackles to "Z" and the rear end to move sideways under the car far too easily. The bushings and shackels on the left are ones I made to replace them that eliminate that tendency. With a 60+ inch wide axle side movement will be a problem with anything larger than a tiny tire, especially radials as they're wider in the sidewall area than bias tires.

    20160607_174338.jpg20160610_190831.jpg
    I made my bushings from Delrin, some will say it's too hard and will transmit too much road noise, but I haven't noticed any significant difference from the stock bushnigs. There's very little, really hard rubber in the stock shackle bushings, so not much isolation there to start with. Here are the dimensions for the bushings I made.
    Stude rear spring bushings.jpg
    Last edited by bensherb; 09-22-2017 at 02:38 PM.

  30. #30
    President Member Corley's Avatar
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    When the diff is both offset and lower, it's really just offset but at an angle. So, the overall offset is just the geometric sum of the two angles. (You can do the math, I'm too stupid.) In your case, probably about 4 degrees, but at an angle, not vertical or horizontal. Assuming that the trans output shaft and pinion shaft are on the same plain, this should not be a problem at all, and I would say it is NOT the source of your vibration. Have you jacked up the rear wheels and run the speed up to the vibration point to make sure it's coming from the rear end? Next, if that still vibrates, remove the wheels and brake drums, and run it up to see if it could be a wheel / tire issue. Next, pull the driveshaft, put a plug in the trans to contain the oil, and run it up to make sure it's not something in the engine/trans area. Next, run it up in neutral, to make sure it's not engine associated. Are all the fan blades on there??? Stuff like that.

    Just some more thoughts to consider...
    Corley

  31. #31
    President Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    This car is a perfect example of the kinds of modifications I generally rail against - much work has been done, but without the benefit of research and understanding proper design parameters. Some folks say "his car, his money, his choices" but what I see is another beautiful Studebaker that can easily be relegated to the status of parts car if the gremlins cannot be sorted out.

    IMHO, people should understand what they are doing before they do it.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

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  32. #32
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    Personally, I would tear out all the suspension changes and install a Dana 44 with flanged axles and a disc brake conversion and be done with it! My opinion! -Jim

  33. #33
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    Well guys it's Monday, start of a new week.
    I think we are making progress - but here's an update. The vibration had always started around 60mph, no change in vibration adding or reducing throttle. Shift into neutral at 60 + mph and let it coast no change in vibration until it slowed to below 55. At one point I didn't have a speedometer because it didn't work, the VSS was bad in the tranny and the wiring was atrocious behind the dash - fixed all that.
    It always felt like the vibration was coming from underneath the car and towards the back.

    This last weekend I installed a new transmission extension housing bronze bushing and seal. It felt too loose to me, too much play. Also installed a new left rear brake drum to replace the one that had been dropped flattened and cracked, or the car had been sat down on the brake drums.

    Then In the process of moving the tires from front to back, I had never had the front hub caps off , I noticed the rims that were on the front were uni-lug rims and the ones on the rear are some sort of old stock single pattern rims. Now Fred had told me he had the tires checked & balanced, I didn't ask where, but what I noticed was that only one tire / rim had new weights on it, the other 3 still had paint on the weights. Looking farther - crap - all the tires are dated 2003 but they look newer. No tire store will touch a tire that is 14 years old.

    This is going to be a part of the problem, the tires are bad.

    Took it on a test drive anyway and the vibration is better. Starts at 60 mph and stays constant. No change with throttle. Shift into neutral, let it coast and vibration is still there although now its not as bad and seems to be coming from the right front. OK, we got a handle on it.

    I believe what we have here is a combination of bad things. I know the rear Ujoint had failed at some point, the drive shaft was bent and badly out of balance, and the rear Ford driveshaft pinion yoke was bad. Had all that fixed. The driveline angle was way out on the rear pinion because the upper 4 link bars were too long and didn't have enough adjustment to get the pinion angle within limits. Most likely the transmission extension housing bushing went bad because of the driveline vibration, I fixed that. The rear diff oil mud was flushed out, changed and the outside axle shaft bearings & seals were replaced because I didn't like the way they looked.

    Now we have to get new tires and balanced and I'll bet the vibration has gone away.

    Steve

  34. #34
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    Well, hate to resurrect an old thread but, no matter what we have done we have not been able to eliminate the vibration issue. Got new tires on the old rims, no joy. Fred decided he wanted new nostalgia rims, so got new rims, mounted new tires on new rims and balanced, no joy.
    In the mean time had done some needed work to front suspension so took in to get front end alignment. Rebalanced new tires and rims again - didn't like the way Discount Tire did the initial balancing. Alignment shop has a newer style laser alignment rack - said rear axle is in dead alignment with front suspension - so thats good news, but no joy on eliminating vibration.

    So, for various reasons we decided to rebuild the rear 8.8 ranger axle with all new pinion & carrier bearings, spider gears and ended up replacing both axle shafts as well, pretty much everything but the ring gear and pinion. (see pics of the axle shafts where the outer bearing rides). Set all the proper 8.8 adjustments like back lash & pinion death. Took on test drive - no joy on eliminating vibration.

    So now we are down to replacing the complete rear axle with something else to achieve a centered differential and going back to leaf springs to eliminate all the 4 link stuff- there is nothing else left. Now looking for an original Dana Studebaker rear axle that might be available locally. Checking on a few sources for that or something else from a variety of available donor vehicles.

    Just thought I would left you all know that we never did fix the vibration problem.
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  35. #35
    President Member 48skyliner's Avatar
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    I hate to keep repeating myself, but installing the Nissan independent rear suspension like we did on my 48 Champion is not that complicated. The whole thing is mounted on a subframe that attaches with four bolts through the shock mounts as seen here, then all that is left to do is the coil-over shocks /springs, of which there are a huge selection available - we used the Carreras. This would give a huge improvement in both handling and ride quality.

    The unit from a 240SX will definitely fit, the unit from a Infiniti J30 is about 2 inches wider, has a heavier limited slip diff and slightly bigger disc brakes, fit just fine in the 64 Mustang we did, not sure about the width of a 53 STude. We used a Skyline unit, which is in between the widths of the others, but not easy to find. All of these are pretty low profile and should fit under the frame with little or no cutting.

    Skyline R33 Rear suspension.jpg Skyline Suspension in 48 Champion.jpg
    Last edited by 48skyliner; 01-09-2018 at 06:25 PM.
    Trying to build a 48 Studebaker for the 21st century.
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  36. #36
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    Am I missing something or is the only vertical support of the car with that Nissan set up what looks like shock springs? The overall set up looks nice to me.
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

  37. #37
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    Two things to the OP:

    1. If they left the mounts for the leaf springs in place when they butchered the rest of the car, I would just go back with a stock axle set up. It isn't like that thing is a canyon carver with that four link set up.
    I may have an extra rear axle here before long, and am just one state away from you. Sent you a pm.
    2. If your friend is running aftermarket wheels (and it sounds like he is) they need to be balanced on a machiine that locates the wheels via the lugs, and not with a cone in the hub hole. Makes a huge difference

    And to Ben: your skyline transplant is awesome. Really like the IRS.

  38. #38
    President Member 48skyliner's Avatar
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    "Am I missing something or is the only vertical support of the car with that Nissan set up what looks like shock springs?"

    Coilover shocks are pretty standard on a lot of modern cars. The original Skyline rear coilovers are very long, would have reached almost up to the trunk lid! We used the aftermarket coilovers, originally with the chrome springs, which were 200 pounds/inch. They were too soft, 250s would probably have been fine, but I went with the 300s, a bit firm, but the handling is excellent. You can see that we have three sets of holes in the upper mount for ride height adjustment. You can also see the shock body is threaded for adjustment of spring preload. Several sizes of these springs are available in 50 pound increments.

    The front coil overs are stock Skyline and are not adjustable. Aftermarket coilovers are available for most Japanese cars, some with ride height adjustment and some with shock damping rate adjustment.

    Rear Suspension Details.jpg Rear suspension with 300 lb springs.jpg 104 - Front brakes installed.jpg
    Trying to build a 48 Studebaker for the 21st century.
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  39. #39
    President Member junior's Avatar
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    -if going back to parallel leaf springs, and a centered pinion rearend I personally would not choose to go with a Studebaker rear axle, but would go with the 9" Ford simply because of the awesome aftermarket support and no funky tapered axles.

    -may be very basic, but looking back through this thread I have missed somewhere what the pinion angle is, and what the crankshaft centerline angle is...were they measured with the rear axle at ride height?

    -having verified that the rear axle is parallel to the front axle in plan view (good news) have you checked if the pinion angle is doing something goofy with the 4 bar setup as it moves through its travel? If its changing its angle significantly through travel it may be causing vibration issues.

    -you've changed so many things, and spent $ at this issue I can understand your frustration, and the owner's too. My own car's vibration (so severe I thought the rearview mirror was actually going to get ripped off its mount...no kidding) caused me so much grief , but I finally figured it out. There is so much info on the net with many 'professionals' giving information to help rodders out that it is so hard to know if the well-intended advice is actually factual or not. What helped me was going to a manufacturer of driveline parts to get the real low-down how to set up a system. I used the Spicer J3311-1-hvtss publication I got online. It's old now (2005) but contains excellent FACTUAL information from ENGINEERS who are in the business...and specifically targets compound angle installations. Give it a read, and for the umteenth time check the drivetrain angles and see if something has been overlooked before giving up on the present components you have. Cheers, junior
    Last edited by junior; 01-11-2018 at 09:52 AM.

    1954 C5 Hamilton car.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by junior View Post
    -if going back to parallel leaf springs, and a centered pinion rearend I personally would not choose to go with a Studebaker rear axle, but would go with the 9" Ford simply because of the awesome aftermarket support and no funky tapered axles.

    -may be very basic, but looking back through this thread I have missed somewhere what the pinion angle is, and what the crankshaft centerline angle is...were they measured with the rear axle at ride height?

    -having verified that the rear axle is parallel to the front axle in plan view (good news) have you checked if the pinion angle is doing something goofy with the 4 bar setup as it moves through its travel? If its changing its angle significantly through travel it may be causing vibration issues.

    -you've changed so many things, and spent $ at this issue I can understand your frustration, and the owner's too. My own car's vibration (so severe I thought the rearview mirror was actually going to get ripped off its mount...no kidding) caused me so much grief , but I finally figured it out. There is so much info on the net with many 'professionals' giving information to help rodders out that it is so hard to know if the well-intended advice is actually factual or not. What helped me was going to a manufacturer of driveline parts to get the real low-down how to set up a system. I used the Spicer J3311-1-hvtss publication I got online. It's old now (2005) but contains excellent FACTUAL information from ENGINEERS who are in the business...and specifically targets compound angle installations. Give it a read, and for the umteenth time check the drivetrain angles and see if something has been overlooked before giving up on the present components you have. Cheers, junior
    The drivelines angles were measured with the vehicle weight setting on all 4 tires. A digital drivelive angle finder (Tremec driveline angle calculator) was used to take the vertical measurements. I have since changed the vertical angle even more by tightening the upper 4 link bars to bring the nose of the pinion down even more.
    The output shaft of the transmission is 3.1 degrees down. The driveshaft angle is 3.4 degrees down taken in the middle of the driveshaft. The pinion angle is 4.4 degrees down. Thus the calculated driveline angle is : at the transmission end is 0.3 degrees. The pinion angle is 1.0 degrees. So total calculated driveline angle is 0.7 degrees.

    The horizontial driveline angle was taken by covering the floor with a roll of paper and using a plumb bob to hang from various points on the car and driveline parts and making scribe marks on the paper. Then using a manual angle finder to calculate the angle degrees. See attachment. The horizontal angle is 3 degrees.

    The car has been test driven each time on the same 4 lane divided highway which is very flat. The cars speed was gradually increased up to 70 mph and over during the tests. No jerky motions with the throttle other than to see if the vibration changed any. The rear axle is mounted very frim and I can not believe the pinion is moving up and down or side to side.
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