More parts and design criteria for the old Ford

I know it's been a while, but I haven't been completely idle on the old truck project.... While I'm not directly working on it (I'm still in the collection phase), there's been a few developments worth note...

First - I picked up an engine and transmission. The engine is a 4-bolt main 350 chevy, I'm not sure of the year, but it's a good block. It's a rebuild, but it has less than 20k miles on the rebuild, and the bore and grind are virgin - never cut. There are some that might be taken aback some by putting a Chevy in a Ford, and I had those thoughts too... Truth is, I've been a Ford person all my life, and when I think back on my experiences - well, I don't feel too bad about stuffing a Chevy in there.

The tranny is a Chevy TH350  also with less than 20k miles (from the same place), and as it's geared it will work out well with the 2.75 gears in the Ford 9" rear end I acquired. I was considering a 700r4 overdrive transmission, but the price was right for the TH350 - and with it working with the rear I have I couldn't turn it down. It was a good price too - my brother got it as a trade for some work, and he traded it and the engine to me for a really decent price.

I've been remiss in showing some of the research that I've done in choosing these as my drivetrain - I hope to remedy that with the following, taken mostly from emails I was trading with my brother, out of old textbooks, and of course off of the web. Note - I make no claim as to the accuracy of any of this information, and the large majority of it was gleaned off of several diferent web sites, some of which are linked to, and some of which I have lost or simply combined information from many different sites.


Calculating transmission and axle ratios

Here's an online calculator for figuring axle ratios and the like:

There's a discussion of overdrive transmissions here:

They seem to suggest this:

"For street rods the magic number for smooth running in overdrive seems to be a minimum of 1,800 engine rpm with 2,100-2,300 rpm at 55-65 mph a good goal"

Using a 25" wheel (same height as on my lumina, should be close enough),

A TH350 trans with 2.75 gears will be going 57 mph at 2100 rpm and 62 mph at 2300 rpm (not overdrive)

A 700r4 trans with 3.25 gears will be going 67 at 2100 rpm and 75 at 2300.
A 700r4 trans with 3.50 gears will be going 64 at 2100 rpm and 69 at 2300.
A 700r4 trans with 3.75 gears will be going 60 at 2100 rpm and 65 at 2300.

So, according that - the 2.75 gears are perfect for a TH350, but a 700r4 might need as tall as 3.75 gears. But that article also mentions that a overdrive transmission will have problems with a carbureted engine unless a "kit" is installed, and also mentions the computer we talked about. Anyway, it seems more and more like the TH350 is the way to go, especially since it means the rear end I have is already geared right.

Transmission Gearing:
Turbo 350___2.52__1.52__1.00_______1.94 R
Turbo 400___2.48__1.48__1.00_______2.08 R
700R4______3.06__1.63__1.00__.70___2.29 R

While I'm at it, I should list some of the research I've done on the Ford 9" - the one I ended up with is out of a 1977 Lincoln Versaille, which I think will fit perfectly - though that has yet to be seen...

Ford 9" Rear Ends


Going through some rear-end options, just researching. I'm just guessing, but I think the width I need is a 56". I think a 9" out of a truck -which is the most plentiful 9" out there - are too wide. A more optimum find would be out of a 60's galaxie, as from what I read, all 60's Galaxies had 9" rear ends.

I also looked at a "crate motor" from Summit Racing. A 5.0L ford longblock was $4000. Way outta here with that. A complete engine from Spaldings runs $800 to $1200. I still think finding a donor car might be the way to go. V-8 Thunderbirds or Cougars would work as well as Mustangs, and might be easier to find.

Additional Options:

Might consider the 8.8" rear out of an '98 and newer Explorer if the width is OK. Factory posi, 31 spline axles, 3.55 or 3.73 gears, disc brakes and built in E-Brake. Best of all, cheap and plentiful. I gave $250 for mine from a local wrecking yard. Bolt pattern is 5 X 4.5."

Thunderbirds and Mustangs in 1995 used an 8.8" rear end also that came with or without ABS brakes. 1990 Mustangs had no ABS brakes, but used the 8.8", where 1990 T-Birds did have the ABS option. There was also a 7.5" rear used for these cars that would NOT be suitable, but I think those were on the 4 and 6 cyl. models.

An 8" out of a 1977 Granada was used in one project. Had 3.25 gear ratio stock. Basically from what I've read an 8" will work fine for anything up to and including a 300 horse motor.

A Currie Enterprises version of a 9" made for a 1965 Ford Galaxie was used in "Old Bleu". This was a truck where a guy used mostly new parts:

Just out of curiosity, I took a look at Currie Enterprises, and priced out a "crate" rear end. They have what they call a "Hot Rod" rear end ("hot rod" means a universal application, 56" wide rear end), that one can buy with options on what you want. Here's what I priced out:

31 Spline - Stock Gear Case & Pinion Support

Traction Lock 3.25 Gear ratio (same price for any ratio)

11" Explorer Disc Brake Kit w/5 X 4 1/2" Wheel Bolt Pattern (the drum brake version is about $50 cheaper)

Base Price: $849.9

3rd Member: $999.65

Brakes: $899.95

Total Price: $2749.5

Price for Housing and Axles Only (Base Price Above): $849.90. When I broke it down further, the housing and axles were priced at $400 each.

That's directly from Currie.

I found this page:

Says this:

The Rod Factory offers narrowed 9" Ford rear axles in 3 different stages. Our Stage 1 rear axle is 56" wide from wheel surface to wheel surface and comes with 28 spline axles, bearings and seals. The Stage 2 includes new backing plates, brakes and drums. The Stage 3 comes with a rebuilt, 2.75 or 3.00 Open differential. Other widths are also available and additional options are listed below.

9" Ford Rear Axle Assemblies

Part No. / Description / Price

2590-1 / Stage 1 Ford 9" rear axle 56" wide / $695.00
2590-2 / Stage 2 Ford 9" rear axle 56" wide / $1045.00
2590-3 / Stage 3 Ford 9" rear axle 56" wide (2.75 open) / $1595.00
2597-1 / Stage 3 Ford 9" rebuilt 31 spline 2.75 TSD / $2045.00
2597-3 / Stage 3 Ford 9" rebuilt 31 spline 3.0 - 4.11 TSD / $2195.00
2598 / Rebuilt 28 spline open 2.75 3rd member / $649.00
2598 / Rebuilt TSD 28 spline 3.00 - 4.11 / $999.00
2598-2 / Rebuilt Trac Lock 28 or 31 splin 3.00 - 4.11 / $899.00


Currie Hot Rod 9" Ford Rear Axle Assemblies

Part No. / Description / Price

2590-1H / Stage 1 Ford 9" rear 56" wide / $799.00
2590-2H / Stage 2 Ford 9" rear 56" wide / $1149.00
2590-3H / Stage 3 Ford 9" rear 56" wide (2.75 open) / $1795.00
2597-1H / Stage 3 Ford 9" rebuilt 28 spline 2.75 TSD / $2095.00
2597-3H / Stage 3 Ford 9" rebuilt 28 spline 3.0 - 4.11 TSDk / $2295.00

The list below is incomplete, I think - and I've seen some inconsistencies w/other web sites.

Here's a couple good links on rear-ends:


Widths and technical infor on 9" Ford Rear Ends

housing width in inches

year/model 46 50 52 54 56 57 58-3/4


64-77 Broncos are 46" wide
58-60 T-birds are 50" wide

57-59 Ford/Edsel are 52" wide
63-69 Falcon are 52" wide

63-65 Comet are 52" wide
63-65 Fairlane are either 52" or 54" wide

65-66 Mustang are either 52" or 54" wide
67-70 Mustang/Cougar are 52" wide

66-69 Fairlane/Cyclone are 56" wide
66-69 Fairlane/Cyclone are 52" wide

70-71 Torino/Cyclone are 56" wide
71-73 Mustang/Cougar are 54" wide

60-64 Ford/Mercury are 56" wide
61-67 T-bird are 56" wide

58-72 F-100 pickups are 57" wide

73-90 F-100 & F-150 are 58-3/4" wide

Another list had it like this:

Year & Model / Axle Length / Notes
1965-1966 Mustang / 57.25 inches
1967-1970 Mustang / 59.25 inches
1971-1973 Mustang / 61.25 inches
1977-1981 Versailles / 58.50 inches
1967-1973 Mustang, Torino, Ranchero, Fairlane /59.25 inches to 61.25 inches
1957-1959 Ranchero and station wagon / 57.25 inches
1966-1977 Bronco / 58 inches
1977-1981 Granada/Versailles / 58 inches
1967-1971 Comet, Cougar, Mustang, Fairlane / 59.25 inches
1971-1973 Mustang / 61.25 inches
1964 Falcon / 58 inches
1967 Cougar / 60 inches
1967 Fairlane / 63.50 inches / coil springs
1972 Ford Van 3/4 ton / 68 inches

Yet other information went this way:

Where To Find The Nine Inch Rear Axle

1967-1973 medium and big block Mustangs and Cougars 1966-1971 Fairlanes, Torinos, Montegos, Comets, and other Ford intermediates with big blocks.
1957-1959 V8 Fords and Mercurys
1977-1981 Lincoln Versailles & Trucks

Types Of Nine Inch Axle Housings

1967-1973 Mustang/Cougar - light duty, thinnest housing material, small axle bearings, 28 and 31 splines.
1957-1968 passenger car and 1/2 ton truck - medium duty, stronger than Mustang type, 28 and 31 splines.
Ranchero/Torino - heavy duty thick wall housing, 3.25 inch diameter axle tubes with flat tops.
1969-1977 Galaxies (coils), Lincolns (coils), and late pickups (leaf)- 3.25 inch diameter all the way to the backing plate, coil housings have upper control arm mount

How To Recognize Nine Inch Housing Centers

1957 - no dimples, flat center band up the center of the rear cover, bottom drain plug.
1958-1959 - two dimples on back of housing, flat center band, some had drain holes.
1960-1967 - two dimples, flat center band, oil level hole in back cover.
1963-1977 Lincoln, LTD, Thunderbirds had 9.375 inch centers, housings were cut away at the gasket surface for ring gear clearance, one curved rib at the front top portion of differential, strong but no gears.

Tips On Shortening Nine Inch Axles

1972 and earlier 31 spline axles have the ability to be shortened.

28 spline axles are tapered and cannot be shortened and re-splined.
1973 and later cars have a 5-on-5 bolt circle and the axles cannot be shortened.
1967-1973 Mustang axles can be identified by wheel flange:
Oval hole = 28 splines.
Two large holes and counter-sunk center = 31 splines.

I looked at some old Ford Galaxies that were good candidates for width, but in the end the Versaille rear end came up on the local at a fair (but not cheap) price - so went with it.  What this all ended up telling me is that I am not going to go with a fuel injected, computer driven system like I first envisioned, but a naturally aspirated, old-school setup.  I'm more familiar with that setup anyway...

Back to the search: 

Other parts have been showing up at the door on occasion... First, an original stainless steel grille trim with only the most minor ding:

 Grille Trim

They do not make a replacement trim that I have found, and the grille I have didn't have one - so this was a good find. Next up, a piece that was supposed to be included with the parts I initially bought, but "mysteriously" was missing - the windshield frame:


There are companies out there that make a windshield frame, the cost is around $300 for a plain steel frame, and closer to $700 for a chromed one. The one I got cost 1/3 of the painted style and is in excellent shape - and as a bonus contains a windshield I may actually be able to use... Next at the door was the passenger side of the hood:

 Hood side

I have a full, complete hood, but the fins on the right side are pretty banged up. This one, while it has a good amount of surface rust on the exterior, is in much better shape. For $30, it will save me hours of work straightening metal. Here's the interior:

 Hood Side interior

Now - one of the rarest body pieces you can find on a '36 Ford pickup is original steel rear fenders. There are no steel replicas made, all that's available is fiberglass at a cost of about $275. I have a pair of original rear fenders, but they are in pretty sad shape. I've been always on the lookout for replacements, but it often seems they go for between $900 and $1200 a pair, more than I want to spend - I can probably repair the ones I have for less than that. I did finally find one, a driver's side that I got for a somewhat fair price, though the fender needs substantial repair:

Rear Fender

The crack is nasty, going through half the width of the fender:

Rear Fender Crack

Not only that, but there's the typical rot you find at the spot below the floorboards:

Rear Fender Rot

Still - even with all that wrong with it, it's still in better shape than mine. I'll still keep an eye out for another, esp. a passenger side - and if I end up with extras I'll either use my originals as source material for repair, or sell them at some point. I still may have to fix them, too - the one depends on how bad this one is once I get into it. Mine doesn't have much for rust, but it looks like someone was hooking a chain to it to try pull fence posts out or something... I would probably need an English Wheel to straighten it out, along with some metalwork that's quite likely well above my head.

That's it for now - I'll add more as it comes.