The last time we worked on our F-1, we installed a Heidt's Mustang II independent front suspension to replace the stock, dilapidated axle and parallel leaf springs. The kit was not only a great suspension upgrade, but also stiffened up the front of the frame tremendously due to the boxing of the 'rails and the addition of the strong crossmember. Moving our way rearward, we also hung the engine and transmission, a '53 Chrysler 331ci Hemi and T5 trans, which we'll get into in a future issue. Continuing on, we arrived at the worn-out 9-inch Ford rearend that was in the truck when we purchased it and the stock, de-arched and broken leaf springs. With such an upgrade made to the front suspension, it only made sense to upgrade the components out back as well.
When it comes to rear suspension designs, the sky can definitely be the limit. Anything from stock replacement parts to Jaguar or Corvette independent suspension designs have found their way under many an old pickup. From mild to wild, anything's possible, so when the time comes to start replacing and upgrading those old components, one's faced with the decision of what to use. Our little hauler is going to be just that, a parts truck that's gonna be rode hard and put away wet. Since the F-1 is going to become the primary hauler in our fleet, it needs to be able to not only cope with the Southern California stop-and-go traffic we're so blessed with, but also needs to be capable of hauling any load we need to throw into the back of it.
The first choice we made was to ditch the old 9-inch rear and replace it with a brand-new Currie 9-inch. While this may seem logical to a few of you, some may be wondering why we tossed aside a seemingly good rearend just to put a new one in its place. The answer is simple: economics. For starters, the old rearend had a 4.11:1 gear ratio, which is way too low for our plans to use the truck as a daily driver doing at least 40 highway miles round trip every day. It also had some pretty severe signs of wear on the ring-and-pinion as well as having a bit of metal shavings in the filthy gear oil. A quick call to Currie Enterprises also revealed that the early Ford 9-inch rears had a fairly weak housing, which tended to fatigue with time and a gear case good for only about 200 hp. We crunched a few numbers and realized that for only a few more dollars, a brand-spankin'-new rearend assembly could be put together, with an upgrade in the brake department, too!
Next we opted to stick with the stock-style parallel leaf spring design and utilize a Total Cost Involved kit. The Total Cost Involved kit consists of a pair of leaf springs, spring pads, U-bolts, shackles, shocks, a shock crossmember, and all the necessary hardware to plug it in. What's even better is that it's a total bolt-in deal with the exception of the spring pads, which we had Currie weld onto our new rear using Total Cost Involved's specs. This kit completely replaces all that old, worn-out junk and also moves the rearend above the springs, effectively lowering the back of our truck as well.
Between the Total Cost Involved kit and the new Currie rearend, the rear suspension went in so quickly and smoothly, it took longer to remove the old stuff than it did to install the new bits. Check out the story and see for yourself. CT
Once all the original suspension...
Once all the original suspension junk was removed, it was time to remove the stock Ford spring perches, which are attached via four rivets to the framerail.
To remove the spring perches,...
To remove the spring perches, first the heads of the rivets are ground flush. Each rivet is then center-punched and drilled out with a 5/16-inch drill bit. We're going to be using the holes to locate the new perches, so care is taken not to drill the existing holes larger or off center.