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econoline front beam

rusty buckets

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i was wondering if anybody had done this before i have a 67 econoline that is rusted to death but the front and rear ends are in great shape i was thinking of using them on my bucket build, any and all help greatly appreciated:confused:
The problem with the Econoline type axles is that they are set up for parallel front springs as opposed to the more common on hot rods cross spring. Some guys have built perches that either bolt or (God forbid) weld to those axles to allow them to put a cross spring setup on it, but I'm not real keen on the idea. Looks ugly IMO and the safety thing is the real concern.

I'd sell the Econoline setup to a guy building a gasser type car and buy the correct axle to start with. They aren't all that expensive any more and make life so much easier.

rusty buckets,

Other then the axle width (and it might be just right) there is nothing wrong with running the complete frontend assembly. If you look back at the '20-'30s race cars or speedsters you will see this style of suspension was quite common. I think they do look good and are different then the normal style bucket. Plus, it appears you have all the parts on hand and at a great price. The attached pictures were taken at the July 2009 Bucketbash in Mountain Home. This is really a neat car and I meant to go back and take more pictures but got side tracked. Maybe the owner will see this post and respond. Being a little bit different is what hot rodding is really about. Hope this will give you some new insite. Good lick.




I have an early 50's beam in the parts pile and was thinking of doing a low bucks rod out of extra stuff...I have some early chevy springs that are shorter and could mount the radiator just foreward of the beam
rusty buckets said:
i was wondering if anybody had done this before i have a 67 econoline that is rusted to death but the front and rear ends are in great shape i was thinking of using them on my bucket build, any and all help greatly appreciated:confused:

Econoline narrowed 7" and radius rod brackets added.
I'll bet those spring pads on the axle would make for interesting 1/4 ellip spring set up.
Thanks for the help guys, the pics ot the full spring and axle assembly make the frame way to long for my taste but helpfull, i think im just going to buy a drop tube axle but i was looking to the cheap side im trying to save bucks and i happen to own the econoline that was why i was looking into it, thanks, Tom
Like I mentioned, gasser guys love these axle setups. With the current popularity of gassers you will have no problem selling it. If you were closer I would be interested as I have a gasser in my future. :hb::)

Tom i wonder if you could make a bracket and bolt it to the top of the axel. mount the shackel to it and do a spring over setup. You can purchase a weld on bracket for the radius rods. Unless the axel puts the frame to high.
I have looked at going 1/4 elliptical and im thinking this route to keep it low the axle doesnt have much of a drop in it, this forum seems to have everything ! i cant say thanks enough for all this info you guys are great,i will try and keep posted on thing to come
Here's my point of view. Buy the dropped tube axle and use the early Ford spindles.

Two points I'd like to make here. First one is resale. Someday most all of the bucket you are building will be sold to the next caretaker. As such there are certain components folks look for on a car. the front axle is one of them along with the radiator. windshield and so forth. If you vary to far from the norm, the value goes down. Step up and buy quality parts and your car will hold it's value.

Secondly, some of these bargin pieces will end up costin more in cash and headaches than they are worth. Check the availiblity of brake kits, bearings, and rebuild kits before you use these alturnative parts.

A third item might be the safety issues.

Jmho guys but something to concider.

The Econoline can and will work. You slice off the extra material from the parallel pads, do a little clean up, you got an I beam that will work and has been done many times.

It does take work though. A lot more work than an inexpensive tube axle goes for IMHO.

If you stick with the Econoline, you can bolt up Chevy disk brakes with only a grease seal change and a 1/4 inch spacer.

I think Greenhalgh put that info in the "how to build a T bucket" books.

Look up Roadster Mike's old geocities pages for his Purple and white bucket. It wasn't the best example of how to do it but he did it in his garage with not much more than the average guy has...

Mike "Roadster-Mike" Clark

I think Ron has a very good point about the value of a car based on what components were used to build it. You may not think now about selling it, but someday you might. A knowledgeable potential buyer will be able to make up his mind pretty quickly based on how things were done and what parts were used.

I passed on a T bucket a while back that I could have bought pretty cheap. It had American spindle mounts and some other hard to find nice goodies, but he also did some goofy stuff and used some parts that turned me off. The shifter sitting right in front of the driver was one, the steering setup was another, etc. I considered buying it and parting it out, but there were so many non standard parts used I figured I would end up with very little to sell or use.

You will ultimately have to decide for yourself what to do, but I like the Econoline axles. They have small diameter brakes which will accommodate just about any wheel. The small diameter is compensated somewhat by the brake shoe's width. Of course you can convert to disc brakes as previously mentioned.

My son's fenderless Model-A sedan has an econoline axle converted for use with a transverse spring (buggy spring) mounted behind the axle and my track-style T has an Econoline axle mounted with coil springs. In both cases we cut off the excess material of the original spring pads, made our own batwings, and used hairpin style radius rods. A lot depends on your ability to fabricate and weld.

Welding on these axles is not a problem, either. They are made from drop-forged steel which is very dense and welds very nicely without adverse affects. If you are not confident in your welding skills with heavy material, hire someone with more experience on such material.
I didn't mean to say the e'line wouldn't work. Sprry if it sounded that way. The point I was trying to make is check out all your options before you make your choise.

As far as welding on these axles, meangreen is absolutly correct. A good welder will be able to add plates with no problem.

We used econoline and a wide 8" rear on John Jr's car. Makes it a bit different. Good hubs are getting hard to find though. Now...
My nickles worth...
If you are building it to sell it buy a kit that way it will be like a lot of others and easy to sell.(and paint it red with a chevy 350, 350)
On the other hand, if you want YOUR car, and YOUR car isnt Total's or Spirit's or Speedway's then build it yourself. Waiting till you can aford to build it "right" may not be an option. Build it safe, and build it fun. This forum will help on both.
There may be a saleable way and there may be a best way but as long as it's safe there is no other "right" way.
JMO :cool:
jmr122848 said:
We used econoline and a wide 8" rear on John Jr's car. Makes it a bit different. Good hubs are getting hard to find though.

Might be worth mentioning to those considering an Econoline axle that '37-'48 Ford spindles are easily adapted and really broaden the brake options. The kingpin inclination is the same. All you'll need is spindle bushings with an I.D. to fit the smaller diameter Econoline kingpin, and a 1/8" spacer to make up the slight difference in the height of the kingpin axle boss. I've got '37 Ford spindles on mine.

Thanks for all the info guys,I have decided to go with the econoline axle in front and i have the matching 9"rear end out of the same van i scrapped the 1/4 ellip idea for a buggy type spring,i have no plans on selling this car it will be a project that i have wanted to do since i was 7 years old and am planning on doing this with my 13 year old son,and possibly handing it down some day ,but as for now it is a dream of mine that will come true and i am in the procces of ordering a 10"streched body from hermans, i already have the steel for the frame and front cross member, so waiting on body to get some in person measurements, and start this project,i will try to keep posted, and again thanks for all the info and help,Tom:)

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