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What would be a good 2R rear axle swap?

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  • Rear Axle: What would be a good 2R rear axle swap?

    When I got my 52 pickup it came with some kind of 3/4 ton rear axle. I really just want a 1/2 ton truck and I would like my wheels to match. I have considered finding a Studebaker 44 rear end and swapping to it, but I have been wondering if there was a better alternative. Does anyone know of a Chevy pickup rear end with the 5 on 5" bolt pattern that is a good width for a Studebaker 2R?
    Right now I am just in the planning stages because of other things on the truck I am getting done. I am just trying to keep my eyes open for a good replacement and need to know what to look for.
    The truck looks okay now and certainly looks like a truck, but I would like my wheels to match for practical reasons. Suggestions?
    Attached Files
    Last edited by 52-fan; 06-10-2019, 07:20 AM.
    "In the heart of Arkansas."
    Searcy, Arkansas
    1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
    1952 2R pickup

  • #2
    I'm really just speculating here, but I'm thinking within a couple hundred mile radius of you, you should be able to locate a standard 1/2 ton truck rear end that would bolt up without much modification (if any). You don't say what engine/transmission combination you have to connect to, but unless you are going to be kicking it around, I think just about any OK condition truck rear end will handle normal use. My '55 truck is a 185ci six and did not come with overdrive. Therefore, the rear is geared for a standard three speed manual transmission. Around 1979, I found and installed an overdrive transmission. It works great, and will cruise all day on flat interstate at 70 mph, but will quickly lose speed going up hills. I live in a hilly area and have adjusted to the gearing combination. Since I don't really haul loads in my truck, I have learned to anticipate the hills and keep my kick down switch adjusted properly.

    It would probably be best to find the proper rear gear ratio for the overdrive, but you can live without it. Another speculation on my part is that the rear end from any commander car would probably work for a C-cab 1/2 ton truck. Hopefully, someone with more certain knowledge will let us know.

    (Or unlike me, someone not too lazy to grab the manuals and look it up before banging away on a keyboard.)
    John Clary
    Greer, SC

    SDC member since 1975

    Comment


    • #3
      There are some possible Studebaker donors that I know of. The truck has a 259 with a short tail shaft T-86 and overdrive. The current axle is of unknown origin and has a 4:55 gear. I would really like to try something like a 3:73 ratio.The main reason I thought a later rear end might be a good idea was the availability of brake parts and I will have to have a driveshaft made up anyway.
      As far as car rear ends go, I would have to source a 50 or earlier Commander rear to get the 5 x 5 bolt pattern. I already have mismatched patterns on both my 52 Commander and the pickup and I would like to correct that.
      Last edited by 52-fan; 06-10-2019, 07:21 AM.
      "In the heart of Arkansas."
      Searcy, Arkansas
      1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
      1952 2R pickup

      Comment


      • #4
        So, what's the problem? 1952 Studebaker CARS used a 4.55 rear end with overdrive. That works out to 3.19 when in overdrive. The is NO gearing problem in OD. No need to fix it if it's not broken.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ChampionRuss View Post
          So, what's the problem? 1952 Studebaker CARS used a 4.55 rear end with overdrive. That works out to 3.19 when in overdrive. The is NO gearing problem in OD. No need to fix it if it's not broken.
          The problem is that big axle with 8 lug wheels that is on it now. I would really like to have a 5 lug axle and a little higher gear wouldn't hurt. My 52 Champion, which I drove all over the country, had a 4:56 with overdrive so I know I can live with the 4:55. A 4:09 would be fine if the right one comes along. My 52 Commander now has a 3:54 with overdrive and drives just fine.
          "In the heart of Arkansas."
          Searcy, Arkansas
          1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
          1952 2R pickup

          Comment


          • #6
            Look at variants of Dodge and Durango 1/2 tons from the 80's to mid 2000's. Bob

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            • #7
              Find a Champ 44 with 3.73's and just drop it in. It will be a bit wider, but if you keep the narrow tires, it looks good IMHO...

              Comment


              • #8
                I suspect the easiest solution would be to find a model 44 from a pre-56 Stude pickup. They are not that hard to find, would not be expensive, and everything will fit and interchange that should. Not sure about the width of the GM truck axles, but you still would have the issue that the brake parts will be different, and the wheels, etc will not completely interchange front-to-rear and vice-versa. Any of the available ratios will work well with OD, and those as low numerically as 4.09 were available. I think I may still have one from a 3R5 in storage, but I'm a long way from Arkansas. You might try posting your wants on the Stude truck talk site, as more truckers hang out there.
                Skip Lackie

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by sweetolbob View Post
                  Look at variants of Dodge and Durango 1/2 tons from the 80's to mid 2000's. Bob
                  I did not realize they had the same bolt pattern. Lots of those around.
                  EDIT Yes, I now know they aren't what I need. I had the original pattern entered wrong.
                  Last edited by 52-fan; 06-10-2019, 07:27 AM.
                  "In the heart of Arkansas."
                  Searcy, Arkansas
                  1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
                  1952 2R pickup

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Skip Lackie View Post
                    I suspect the easiest solution would be to find a model 44 from a pre-56 Stude pickup. They are not that hard to find, would not be expensive, and everything will fit and interchange that should. Not sure about the width of the GM truck axles, but you still would have the issue that the brake parts will be different, and the wheels, etc will not completely interchange front-to-rear and vice-versa. Any of the available ratios will work well with OD, and those as low numerically as 4.09 were available. I think I may still have one from a 3R5 in storage, but I'm a long way from Arkansas. You might try posting your wants on the Stude truck talk site, as more truckers hang out there.
                    Yeah, you are a bit far.
                    I know of a rear end from an E series truck about 50 miles north of me. I may go back and check on it. I have no idea what ratio it is.
                    "In the heart of Arkansas."
                    Searcy, Arkansas
                    1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
                    1952 2R pickup

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 52-fan View Post
                      Yeah, you are a bit far.
                      I know of a rear end from an E series truck about 50 miles north of me. I may go back and check on it. I have no idea what ratio it is.
                      That sounds like a potentially good option! A few questions come to mind. Since your current rear end is a 3/4 ton, I wonder about the springs? If they are the same as the 1/2 ton, and both rear ends line up and bolt up...is it possible that you can use the current drive shaft? How about the emergency brake cables? It would be great if everything does line up and all you end up having to do is bolt it up and you are good to go!

                      If that's the case, then you can play with the truck and drive it while you go through the replacement rear end to make sure all is well with it. Like checking out the axle bearings, propeller seal, and don't forget to remove the plugs at each axle bearing, insert a grease fitting, and give them a shot of grease until it oozes out the weep hole. I would be tempted to give the rear gears a kerosene bath for a few days, and then drain it, use a very bright flashlight to inspect the gear teeth. If everything checks out, then replace the cover gasket, button it up, lube it up. While you are working on it, you can replace or rebuild your brake cylinders, and even make new brake lines to the distribution "tee" block on the rear axle housing. All of this is assuming that the "E" series rear end is complete with backing plates, hubs/drums, etc. in place.

                      Good luck and keep us informed. Sounds like you have a fun project that should keep you outta trouble for a while!
                      John Clary
                      Greer, SC

                      SDC member since 1975

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jclary View Post
                        That sounds like a potentially good option! A few questions come to mind. Since your current rear end is a 3/4 ton, I wonder about the springs? If they are the same as the 1/2 ton, and both rear ends line up and bolt up...is it possible that you can use the current drive shaft? How about the emergency brake cables? It would be great if everything does line up and all you end up having to do is bolt it up and you are good to go!
                        The springs appear to be the heavy duty springs that would have been available on my truck. I hope the later spring pads match. The parking brake cable on the truck now is stock up to where the different rear end's cable meets it. It would be great if the drive shaft would swap, but I am not counting on it.
                        The actual refurbishment of the rear end would be similar to what I did when I changed out the axles on the Scout I sold to buy my Commander. At least I won't have the front unit to wrestle with this time. In any case, the 3/4 ton rear will work for a while. It has new wheel cylinders and shoes.
                        "In the heart of Arkansas."
                        Searcy, Arkansas
                        1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
                        1952 2R pickup

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 52-fan View Post
                          Chevy pickup rear end with the 5 on 5 1/2 bolt pattern
                          I've never heard of such. Starting in '71, Chevy and GMC 1/2 ton 2WD PU's had a 5 on 5 bolt pattern.
                          Jerry Forrester
                          Forrester's Chrome
                          Douglasville, Georgia

                          See all of Buttercup's pictures at https://imgur.com/a/tBjGzTk

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by sweetolbob View Post
                            Look at variants of Dodge and Durango 1/2 tons from the 80's to mid 2000's. Bob
                            Hard to imagine one of them having an axle ratio in the high four numbers. Based on my experience with a 51 car, a Champion six will have a hard time hauling a truck with any ratio taller than that.

                            Will a 47-50 Commander CAR rear axle fit?
                            RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

                            17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
                            10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
                            10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
                            4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
                            5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
                            56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
                            60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RadioRoy View Post
                              Hard to imagine one of them having an axle ratio in the high four numbers. Based on my experience with a 51 car, a Champion six will have a hard time hauling a truck with any ratio taller than that.

                              Will a 47-50 Commander CAR rear axle fit?
                              My truck has a 64 model 259. I'll get it working some way. I was hoping someone had already done this and could save me some searching.
                              "In the heart of Arkansas."
                              Searcy, Arkansas
                              1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
                              1952 2R pickup

                              Comment

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