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Anybody ever swapped axles or rear ends on a 53 Plymouth cranbrook or similar?


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Years ago when I was a pup I had the pleasure of knowing a guy that built these things back when they were new.  One trick they did back in the day was to cut a second key way so that they had to keys to handle the added power of the Hemi's he stuffed in them and they'd still shear off the keys..  His suggestion in light of later parts durability was to put a newer axle in it.  I am glad to see you are thinking along these lines, too many stuff a fat engine in there and then find out the weakest link, fix that and next weakest link and so on.  Good luck.

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42 minutes ago, DavidJose1 said:

Hello, I'm building a twin turbo 318 53 Plymouth and need to know if I need to change from those single key way axles and how strong the actual rear ends are?

While you are at it,you might want to spend a little time thinking about the pressures a twin-turbo is going to put on the bottom end of that engine.

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David............as Knuckle mentions a pair of turbos will stretch the bottom end of a stock 318 more than it may like..........if you have the expertise to install a V8 then the rear axle swap is a fairly straightforward operation....biggest hassle is finding a rear end to suit the width, spring hangers, axle ratio and wheels to suit..........for what its worth when I built the 1940 Dodge I have and installed the 1962 318 Poly I also used the rear axle which was from the same car the V8 came from, an Oz 1962 Chrysler Royal.......these cars were based on the 1953/54 US Plymouth BUT  used 55/56 Plymouth fenders and the Oz factory installed the 55/57 style rear axle, complete with the keywayed hubs...........and thats what I installed in my Dodge.....I hotted up the V8 Poly to the extent that I ran a pair of Holley carbys on a crossram manifold, lumpy cam, etc(see pic)......was probably putting out 300hp.........even took the car to the local drags.............the rear axle keyways held together and that rear end lasted in the Dodge till the early 2000's from being installed in 1973......it was replaced with an Oz 1990 Ford Falcon Wagon  rear axle as the outer axle baerings had spun in the housing and the housing was buggered..........so .the moral of this story is that I suppose the 53 Plymouth rear axle MAY hold up for a while but with a pair of turbos you sound like you may like to put your pedal to the metal so..............I'd be swapping the rear end.............Aandy Douglas

Andys318Poly.jpg

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I don't know the difference between a 48 and a 53 rear end, but there is a lot of information on rear axle swaps for a 48 on this site.  This spring I had a 2000 Cherokee 3.66 installed in my 48, best thing ever in a car that I've owned for 52 years. ( Although it sat for 25)

 

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14 hours ago, Sniper said:

Years ago when I was a pup I had the pleasure of knowing a guy that built these things back when they were new.  One trick they did back in the day was to cut a second key way so that they had to keys to handle the added power of the Hemi's he stuffed in them and they'd still shear off the keys..  His suggestion in light of later parts durability was to put a newer axle in it.  I am glad to see you are thinking along these lines, too many stuff a fat engine in there and then find out the weakest link, fix that and next weakest link and so on.  Good luck.

I've never been concerned with the tapered axle/hub combo.  As long as they are assembled dry.  Think about early/mid sixties Mopar 383/413 etc drag cars.  Seemed to work fine.

 

I have seen some failures back in the day.  but every one could be traced to lack of proper torquing and / or lube of some kind on the taper.  They are not supposed to be easy to remove.  There is a reason the shop manual specifies dry and clean assembly.

Edited by kencombs
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28 minutes ago, kencombs said:

Think about early/mid sixties Mopar 383/413 etc drag cars.  Seemed to work fine.

 

 

And virtually no one uses those axles anymore, because they fail.  In fact almost no one uses the 8 3/4 in serious racing anymore either, tapered axle or not.  The race community pretty runs the Ford 9", all aftermarketed out though.  How about the M37 community?  They routinely break tapered axles and they have a number of fixes, the best being different axles altogether and they are not pushing anywhere near the power.  Pretty sure with a twin turbo V8 the stock axle will give up the ghost.

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2 hours ago, kencombs said:

I've never been concerned with the tapered axle/hub combo.  As long as they are assembled dry.  Think about early/mid sixties Mopar 383/413 etc drag cars.  Seemed to work fine.

 

I have seen some failures back in the day.  but every one could be traced to lack of proper torquing and / or lube of some kind on the taper.  They are not supposed to be easy to remove.  There is a reason the shop manual specifies dry and clean assembly.

After having sometimes literally spending days  "smacking the arm with a BFH" a time or two to tighten it up again,and then going back into the house to wait another day to do it again,I think it may be impossible for me to NOT lube the axle end when replacing a drum.

 

Then again,all I am doing is driving around,not looking to set drag race records.

Edited by knuckleharley
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3 hours ago, Sniper said:

And virtually no one uses those axles anymore, because they fail.  In fact almost no one uses the 8 3/4 in serious racing anymore either, tapered axle or not.  The race community pretty runs the Ford 9", all aftermarketed out though.  How about the M37 community?  They routinely break tapered axles and they have a number of fixes, the best being different axles altogether and they are not pushing anywhere near the power.  Pretty sure with a twin turbo V8 the stock axle will give up the ghost.

M37 failures are mostly due to leverage from BIG tires.   Thetricked out Ford 9" is a great differential, but overkill for a small block in street use.

 

I'll take your word for the failures you've seen.  but I've owned 413s, 383s (and a wicked little 273HP) in several vehicles that got abused in my younger years.  Not a single failure.  Never broke the Ford 9" in my 58 1/2t either after the hemi was installed.  Good diff.

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1 hour ago, knuckleharley said:

After having sometimes literally spending days  "smacking the arm with a BFH" a time or two to tighten it up again,and then going back into the house to wait another day to do it again,I think it may be impossible for me to NOT lube the axle end when replacing a drum.

 

Then again,all I am doing is driving around,not looking to set drag race records.

Just remember, that makes them easier to move in and out. good!.  Also makes the easier to move round and round, not good.

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Can't wait to see the build.. I just got my v8ed 53 Plymouth on the road.. Who knows, maybe 53/54s are the new go to hot rods..... I used a Ford Ranger rear end in mine...

Edited by milo9rat
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3 hours ago, kencombs said:

Just remember, that makes them easier to move in and out. good!.  Also makes the easier to move round and round, not good.

True,but since all I am doing with the old stuff is just driving around,I am not worried about it. I know the hub isn't going to come off because of the big "castle" nut with the cotter key in in.

 

The worse thing that can happen is that the key in the axle brakes and it keeps me from driving it,which I consider to be VERY unlikely to happen.

 

If it does,no big deal. I just ride home in a rollback and fix it while home.

 

 

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Or consider a late model ford 8.8 from an explorer, lots of ratios, limited slip units, with disc brakes 95 and up in the bone yards, and cheap - should be close to right axle width  at 59.5 ". I had found a ford enthusiast website that had all the axle code info to search by the door tag. Another website to check is called "the ranger station". Mustang drag racers use these 8.8's with good success and durability. I considered using an 8.8 until I found the cherokee 8 1/4's w 3.55 ratio are cheap, plentiful and strong enough for a flattie powered car.

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IMHO, the strength of the rear axle is dependent on the size and how sticky the rear tires are.

Every car/truck/tank/whatever will have a 'weak-link' and if you can generate enough torque then you will find it.

The 9" and, especially the aftermarket 9", is overkill for 90% of the cars on the street.  The 9" also suffers from the most parasitic power loss.

The Mopar 8-3/4 is an excellent axle but now days expensive. The Ford 8.8 has proven itself as very durable.

Until you make more than 500 lb-ft of torque you will be fine.

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2 hours ago, wayfarer said:

IMHO, the strength of the rear axle is dependent on the size and how sticky the rear tires are.

Every car/truck/tank/whatever will have a 'weak-link' and if you can generate enough torque then you will find it.

The 9" and, especially the aftermarket 9", is overkill for 90% of the cars on the street.  The 9" also suffers from the most parasitic power loss.

The Mopar 8-3/4 is an excellent axle but now days expensive. The Ford 8.8 has proven itself as very durable.

Until you make more than 500 lb-ft of torque you will be fine.

Even then,unless you have a serious drag race rear suspension and tires,you are not going to "hook up",so it doesn't really matter.

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If you're really worried about the strength of a post 95 8.8, cut the ends off the tubes and weld large bearing 9" ends on it.  Then have some 9" axles made up, it is already 31 spline.  Just as strong as a 9" and in some ways even stronger...

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