Rear End Question

I have a 1952 chevy 3/4 ton truck with a stock rear end. I would like to update it. Would I be better to replace the whole rear end or try and get the gears for it? Any help would be appreciated. Also, I am a 19 year
old on a budget...
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Well, I'm not sure about chev, I have a 51 ford, and I've been told from many that for me it would be easier to swap in a 60-65 ford rear end because it will give me better highway speed and it bolts right in. Likely you would be able to do the same with a chev rear end, and thost parts are relatively plenty at autowreckers.

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Jeremy, I have a 50 F-1. I put a ford 9" in from a 69-72 f-100. The wehhl to wheel space is correct for stock, you just have to add shims to adjust the pinion angle and possably adjust the driveshaft length. http://members.tripod.com/sacketttt/1950_F-1p3.htm I have one in mine, but not on the road yet. Steve

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You should be able to find a late-model 8 lug rear axle with a freeway friendly rear axle at most truck salvage yards. I'd get rid of split rims if I were you. Get some late 70s Ford F 250 sixteen inch wheels. Check your backspacing. Take mesurements first, write them down, take mesuring tape to salvage yard, rechek before bying.
When installing, carefully grind of old perches, get a new set from Currie Interprieses, put axle on springs. Space it correctly then tack weld perches, recheck, then remove axle and finihs welding, careful not to spend too much time in one place in order not to warp axle.
There may very well be latermodel Ford of Chev 8 lug axles that will bolt right up. Have to do some research ......
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It would be easyier to swap the whole rear end for a new GM style, save your old diff for the spring pads etc. You might have to weld these onto the new diff. Also you may want to consider your tire size. I beleive you have a 17 inch split rim ( Widow Makers ) if you have split rims make the change over all around. Get a gear ratio suitable to what your needs are. Example are you going to be towing a trailer or hauling a camper.
Regards G

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Probably the only parts available for your 3/4 rear axle are bearings and seals. If it works and isn't worn out, why replace it? I'm still using the same one after 30 years of ownership (1953 3600, bought truck used in 1973).
If you do get an entire new rear axle (you won't be able to change just the differntial), and install more modern rims (like tubeless rims), be sure the tires will fit in the wheel wells. Tried some extra 950x16.5s and rims off my 70 C20, and the tires would rub on the inside of the fenders on the rear. On the front, they wouldn't clear the fender and go on the hubs. So I went back to the original 2 piece rims with their 650x16s.
The heat from welding the spring seats will bend the axle tubes slighlty, and they will have to be straightened afterwards. Ran into this when I changed the rear axle on my 70 C20 (Chevy HO-72, coil springs, to GM corporate 1992, leaf springs).
There are are about 5 kinds of "split" rims, so the term is a bit meaningless. My [53] truck has 2 piece rims: the rim and a separate, self-locking outer ring. The ring is rather easy to remove and re-install once you figure out the trick (a large screwdriver and 2 lb hammer is all you really need). Do not try to remove the tires on a machine because it will bend the ram--these are not "drop center" wheels.
A later rim had the outer ring held in place by a [3rd] locking ring which was more or less a giant snap ring. You have to be careful with a tire mallet with this style. I also tried some of these rims (with 650x16 tires), but the inner lip of the rims rubbed against the tie rods.
Then there is the kind which was split across the [main] rim at the tire valve and had a solid outer ring. This type of rim has to be collapsed slightly at the tire valve with a special pry bar in order to remove the outer ring. There are several more types . . .
The 2 piece kind are easy to change /if/ you sandblast and repaint the entire rim (as I recall they are were made by Firestone). If the flap is brittle or badly torn, get a new one. Before you inflate a tire, be sure the lock ring is on (fully under the lip) and you can rotate it around the rim without its coming off. Then use a cage or put it under a floor lift so that the lift's arms hold locking ring so it can't go flying should it come loose.
If you're doing this to get rid of the torque tube and convert to Hotchkiss drive (open driveline), then you'll have to add all the gizmos to prevent the rear axle from stray, indesired movements, particularly if your going to drive /fast/. With torque tubes, the rear axle pushes on the engine and transmission which then moves the truck. In the 3600s I believe the torque tube pushed on a crossmeber under the front of the bed. With Hotchkiss drive, the axle pushes on the rear leaf springs, which then push the truck around, something which suspension designed for torque tubes isn't really intended to do.
Pete
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