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Rear Axle Options ??

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  • Rear Axle Options ??

    Hi All - I recently purchased a '62 Hawk equipped with an A/T and 3.07 rear end gears. I don't like this combination at all so I'm going to install a T-86 with OD and a rear with 3.54 gears. Prior searches for a TT Dana 44 with 3.54 gears for my '60 Hawk with the same tranny were sadly unsuccessfully. The engine is stock and I'll be running 6-1/2" wide Ford wheels so a Ford 8" would be the obvious choice. Anyone out there used a Ford? What fits the best?
    Thanks - Mike

  • #2
    I put a Ford 8-inch in my '53. It was within about an inch of the Dana 44 and only needed the spring perches moved. I got hold of a couple of Dana 44's but they were both bad, as was mine so I decided to go F*rd and have brakes I could service without a hub puller. Doesn't your Hawk have flanged axles? If the rearend is good, can't you just have a 3.55 installed?


    • #3
      I've got a 53 coupe, and am running an 8" ford with 7" wheels. These are a tight fit when changing a wheel but thats the only minor problem.

      Rear is from a 73 comet or maverick.


      • #4
        The Dana 44 is a VERY sturdy unit, as you probably know. It's also tailor-made for your car. There might be good reasons not to transplant and make fit a totally different unit. If you check out "Drive Train Specialists" website, you will see that you can get the gears you want and a posi unit for your 44 to convert it to "TT". Only other thing you'd need, if you can't make the conversion yourself, is a good rear end mechanic to do it for you.



        • #5

          I'll submit a data point on a rebuild. A quality posi unit and Richmond gear set will be $700 and install about $150. One the other hand, the Dana 44 in my Avanti with that setup has a great lockup that is handling 350+ HP according to my builder and leaves 2 long black 8" wide marks when ever I ask it too.



          • #6
            A search will find more than a dozen threads about pro/con axle swaps and Dana 44 builds.
            Prior searches for a TT Dana 44 with 3.54 gears for my '60 Hawk with the same tranny were sadly unsuccessfully.
            Of course, when one is in the arse-end of nowhere, like Spokane, WA or Wakonda, South Dakota, the search for anything Stude-specific is more difficult than in SoCal or South Bend. However, the Dana 44 is the most widely used rear axle ever built. Not only Stude, but Ford, GM, IH, Jaguar, Sunbeam, Jeep and many others used it. Even SD must have a 4WD shop somewhere in the state. The off-road shops build Dana 44s every day, because Jeep used them for about fifty years. The parts to build what you want are definitely there. As Bob mentions, the price for a new Dana 44 build seems high to some CASOs , thus the dozens of threads about axle swaps and some will turn to the U-Pick.

            OT, but if making a trans swap for a hotter Stude V8, go all the way to a Borg-Warner T85 or T89. Much stronger than a T86

            As always, your car, your money. your decision.


            • #7
              For what its worth, when my GT Hawk with a T-85OD was a daily driver, it ran a 3.54, and the clutch life was horrible.

              When the 3.54 got noisy, I went with a 3.73, and clutch life improved greatly.


              • #8
                ran a 3.54, and the clutch life was horrible. I went with a 3.73, and clutch life improved greatly.
                Studebaker engineers knew a little bit, including that overdrive worked better with lower gears. The '56 Golden Hawk with the Packard V8 had far more low end torque than tne Studebaker V8 and it came with a 3.89 rear gear with overdrive.

                For anyone with a higher-than-3.89 rear axle ratio and wanting the trade-off of a lower overall first and second gear the truck T89 is an option. It doesn't shift as easily from first-to-second, but it double-clutches with less clash from second-to-first.

                T89 Truck ratios: 3.17, 1.75, 1.00, .722, r3.666
                T85 Hawk ratios: 2.49, 1.59, 1.00, .722, r3.154

                jack vines


                • #9
                  Thanks for the input everyone. Unfortunately this was a special order car, spec'd by the customer with only a Dana 27 axle.


                  • #10
                    So we're clear, what are you asking?

                    1. Do you want to keep the Dana 27? They work fine for normal driving and gears and limited slip are again Jeep parts and 4WD shops can build them at the same price as a Dana 44.
                    2. Do you want to upgrade to a Dana 44? Again, any Stude Dana 44 housing will fit and can be built to your specs. There are plenty of them, even in SD.
                    3. Is there a reason, other than wrecking yard cost, a Ford 8" is preferable? Many here have found over the years, the more original the build, the higher the resale later on. While a Ford 8" may seem to be less to install, I've seen potential buyers shy away from modified cars, even where the parts aren't visible.

                    jack vines


                    • #11
                      "Studebaker engineers knew a little bit..."


                      It's a little scary how often we agree.



                      • #12
                        I'm just getting into my (now running) 63' Cruiser w/ 289 T86OD and 3.31 R/A. The engineers optioned the 3.31 w/ the standard 3.73...same as the Hawk. At this early running, I doubt I'll ever use OD until I'm at road speeds above 50 mph. The engine is strong w/ all new clutch's just too boggy at 40 mph......we'll see.....


                        • #13
                          I've a 8" ford in my '53 from a '77 maverick/comet. The axle is about 1-1/2" narrower than the original. I have 6" ford rims with 5/8" wheel spacers to get the wheels to sit "right" in the rear. I ran the stock 5" stude rims w/o those spacers for a while but the tires were really tucked under looking and didn't look right at all. Depending on the rim offset, you wouldn't need spacers. I only have the 2.79 gears in mine for hiway cruising since its not a rod and doesn't have a O/D automatic. At the time I built the car, one reason I went with that 8" is the ability to swap out the gears easily for a different ratio if I wanted.

                          Jeff in ND


                          • #14
                            I also have a Maverick 8" in my 53. They are only 56.5 inches wide from drum to drum. Fit with 7" wide wheels is excellent. I found a complete Traction lock center section with my choice of gears (3.80-1 for me) on EBay for about $500. I am told the 8" will stand up to 400hp. 8" parts are actually harder to come by and more expensive than 9" Ford. My next build is a '54 Conestoga, if I can find a decent Dana 44 when the time comes, I may go with that.

                            Pat Dilling
                            Olivehurst, CA
                            Custom '53 Starlight aka STU COOL

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