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  • any tips on narrowing rear?

    I'll be narrowing my rear about 4" on each side this week. it's an 87 camaro. i'll also be tubbing it. guessing i'll have to get a fuel cell. thinking of possibly lengthening the lower control arms for better traction? anyway, looking for any tips or pointers. its just a 350/350, 10-bolt with 3.73 gears. eventually i'll get a much stronger rear.
    oh, took it to the track finally a few months back, first time for me. ran a best of 8.3 at 83 mph with 100 shot at an 1/8 mile. really hoping to dip into the 7s eventually.
    thanks for any tips. hope everybody had a great 4th of july!
    Joe



    Last edited by redneckjoe69; July 5, 2016, 04:54 AM. Reason: added pics

  • #2
    my personal experience is with a ford 9" - you have to get the end caps absolutely straight which can be a challenge when welding them on. The first time we did mine we used a 1" dowel with spacers for the carrier bearings and wheel bearings and the end caps still were not quite perfect. The second time we did it my friend (welder) had a 1 1/2" bar which deflected less and it came out really good.

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    • #3
      you can get special tools that help center the end caps,,, but if you don't have one, just order a housing and axles cheaper in the long run

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      • #4
        Cutting each side back 4" is going to take out a bunch of unibody structure and require a fabricated subframe and new suspension of-course, along with the tank and all the sheetmetal work. Yep rr housing narrowing is done with a round-bar-and-sleeves fixture for positioning and checking/removing warpage after all welding is done, for the amount of trouble it is and considering you can't re-cut stock tapered c-clip axles and would have to buy new ones, now is the time to upgrade the whole bit. The body would need to be supported by it's own jig with all that metal removed, etc. Cutting, welding, measuring, specifying...a bit more than a week's work. Which I encourage anyone to try, of course, once you've worked up your commitment.
        ...

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        • #5
          i already have 4" shorter axles here with the correct spline count, and fit the bearings. i'm planning on cutting 4" out from the center of each tube on the rear and re-welding. same with the rear sway bar. i'll be making a jig to support the weight of the rear of the car as i know a lot of cutting is going to take place. i saw the tools for keeping the axles straight when welding but theyre like $500! i guess i'll figure it out as i go. should be interesting, lol.

          going to be using 1984 s-10 axles, lol. hey, they fit for what i'm doing. should be a learning experience.
          Last edited by redneckjoe69; July 5, 2016, 10:15 PM.

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          • #6
            Just thinkin' here..... If the S-10 axles are the right length, wouldn't the S-10 axle housing be the right length? Seems like it would be simple to re-bracket an S-10 housing and call it good.

            Dan

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            • #7
              I can't imagine why lengthening the lower control arms would help you with traction. The camaro uses a torque-arm - that's what keeps the rear planted on acceleration. I hope you have an automatic in front of the 8.5 rear differential, even so, that's a lot to ask those 28 spline axles to take with slicks.

              Narrowing is fairly simple, the trick is to get a solid bar that runs all the way through the axle that is straight. With a lathe, you could make the adapters to hold it all straight.

              And with that all said, you'd be miles ahead to take this opportunity to put a 9" Ford rear differential in your car - they are stronger AND if you break an axle, you won't lose the wheel and wreck. If you can't find a 9", get a 8.8 from an explorer - those are basically a 12 bolt.
              Doing it all wrong since 1966

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              • #8


                Re: S-10...ahh if only things could be that simple. S-10 center casting has no provision for the torque arm, which is near-impossible to mount otherwise on that cast-w/-pressed-tube housing. Same trouble w/ an 8.8. Suspension and body structure will be it's own whole issue, and I agree about the 9" which also with it's sheet-metal housing has somewhere to weld torque-arm brackets to. But as far as the subject of narrowing the Chev rear goes:

                Usually the welding is done out at the end for various reasons, but one total-back-yard way to do this and get away with it for strength and straightness (sorta) would be to cut the housing where you have at-least a couple inches of same-diameter tubing on either side of the sectioned cut and sleeve it from the inside, using something bought or made that would be a tight fit and at-least the thickness of the axle tube all the way around, probably 3/16 but 1/4" better. When I say "made", I mean like if some steel sleeve tubing you found were a loose fit you'd split it and expand it with a chisel or something until it fit snug, or better-yet have something that was too tight and split it to bring it down. Install with the split gap down to let oil slosh thru back-and-forth, plug-weld that through 3-4 holes on each side, then weld the crap outta it at the seam. Your fit-up would still need to be good and even to keep the tubes from pulling around unevenly from welding, and you'd never know how straight you got it, but I've gotten away with worse in my day. If it's out of alignment (it probably is some anyway) the axles will absorb some through flex, if it's really whacked you'll just have short bearing life which will show up when the axle seals start leaking so pay attention to that. Half-ass? Yeah, but it's probably the diff or axles that are going to be the first to go here, not the housing.

                Sitting here is an alignment jig set as mentioned, a press and torch for straightening, and all the welding equip. but San Diego is a long way from Florida.
                Last edited by Loren; July 6, 2016, 07:51 AM.
                ...

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                • #9
                  We weld the center sections to the tubes when putting rears together for derbying.. Even the heat generated by that welding makes the yoke harder to turn..meaning there is some warpage.. Which in a derby car is not critical..
                  We do have the jig to narrow rears..
                  Narrowing mid tube can be done..
                  I've seen rears narrowed by just removing the ends (usually c-clip switching to BIA ends) and carefully installing the ends.. No jig, not sure how straight he actually did it..
                  That said.. We have ran lots of 28 splined axles in our cars and started breaking them.. Went up to Caddy rears 31 splines!
                  You could use 2 short side Caddy axles.. But be warned there are 2 or 3 different pair combos.. You will need the side gears to fit your carrier.

                  This is a stock caddy rear in a Crown Vic (pink car with the rooster) look at how long the trunk became.. 327 powered big cam, flat top, E-85, turbo 475 in the throttle when shifting directions on concrete.. Drove it on the trailer after changing the front tires

                  https://m.youtube.com/#/watch?list=P...&v=boZslbLtwl0

                  The reason he is running short tires is there are NO DEEP GEARS for the caddy rear.. But you can use the axles in the housing you have if you can find the right side gears to fit your carrier..

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                  • #10
                    Sorry for the hijack and shameless plug!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Loren View Post

                      Re: S-10...ahh if only things could be that simple. S-10 center casting has no provision for the torque arm, which is near-impossible to mount otherwise on that cast-w/-pressed-tube housing. Same trouble w/ an 8.8. Suspension and body structure will be it's own whole issue, and I agree about the 9" which also with it's sheet-metal housing has somewhere to weld torque-arm brackets to. But as far as the subject of narrowing the Chev rear goes:

                      Usually the welding is done out at the end for various reasons, but one total-back-yard way to do this and get away with it for strength and straightness (sorta) would be to cut the housing where you have at-least a couple inches of same-diameter tubing on either side of the sectioned cut and sleeve it from the inside, using something bought or made that would be a tight fit and at-least the thickness of the axle tube all the way around, probably 3/16 but 1/4" better. When I say "made", I mean like if some steel sleeve tubing you found were a loose fit you'd split it and expand it with a chisel or something until it fit snug, or better-yet have something that was too tight and split it to bring it down. Install with the split gap down to let oil slosh thru back-and-forth, plug-weld that through 3-4 holes on each side, then weld the crap outta it at the seam. Your fit-up would still need to be good and even to keep the tubes from pulling around unevenly from welding, and you'd never know how straight you got it, but I've gotten away with worse in my day. If it's out of alignment (it probably is some anyway) the axles will absorb some through flex, if it's really whacked you'll just have short bearing life which will show up when the axle seals start leaking so pay attention to that. Half-ass? Yeah, but it's probably the diff or axles that are going to be the first to go here, not the housing.

                      Sitting here is an alignment jig set as mentioned, a press and torch for straightening, and all the welding equip. but San Diego is a long way from Florida.

                      I think he's just using the S-10 axle in a Camaro 8.5 housing... s-10 housing wouldn't have the provision for the torque arm.
                      Doing it all wrong since 1966

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                      • #12
                        Yeah, it was a response to Dan's comment.
                        ...

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                        • #13
                          i like the idea of slipping in a piece of tight fitting pipe. i had thought about something on the outside, but inside sounds much better.
                          yes, i'm sticking with this rear because of the stupid torque arm.
                          i'm on a penny budget, lol. shadetree, junkyard, scrap parts build.
                          its a 7.5 rear with 26 spline axles! yikes! but its lived this long, sorta. the posi broke and the spider gears are welded.
                          its a 2-series carrier with the thick 3 series gears,...3.73. the gears are in great shape. if this works out, as money permits, i'd like to put a 2 series detroit locker in it and re-use my gears.
                          in any case, i need to tub the rear area for bigger meats.
                          had no time to mess with it today. worked on another car and have to move my daughters stuff. uhhggg. maybe tomorrow?

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                          • #14
                            ended up cutting 3 3/4" out of each side. beat in some tight fitting exhaust pipe, lol. took a million measurements. mocked up the carrier and made sure the axles fit. looks like a go for tacking and welding tomorrow.






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                            • #15
                              the little harbor freight inverter tig welder did a nice job IMO for what it is.




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