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Old 05-25-2008, 03:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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4x4 roadster front axle suspension questions

Hello my name is Tim Iacobucci. I am in the planning stages of building an older 20's hot rod project and I would like to do something crazy and make it all wheel drive. I realize this is not specifically a 4x4 off road build but I think most of the parts and knowledge I am looking for I am only going to find in this community so I am just putting myself out there.

The base car is a 20ís roadster with a 385 big block with somewhere around 7-800 hp. I can build this with a 4 speed and a 9Ē rear as a great drag car but that will probably be the only thing it will be very good at with the high power, light weight and short wheelbase. But I got to thinking how it might work to try and build it with 4x4 parts to make it all wheel drive. I realize this will really add weight, even more so than most other car awd systems but I feel the car is already going to be so light ( I figure not much over 2000lbs) and most of that power will be so unusable most of the time with straight rear wheel drive it might be worth it to try out and it sure would be original and cool as hell. I have read about a car called the quadraduece, this was built with a typhoon drivetrain, my question is do you think it would be possible to build it with 4x4 parts in any reasonable manner? There are the only things I can think of for an awd drivertain that are both accessible and available (unlike typhoon parts) and strong enough to standup to this power level.

I was thinking straight standard 9Ē ford axle in the back and a danna 44 or 60 if the 44 is not strong enough for the front axle. What power level in a light car do you think a 44 can withstand with good tires? Iím thinking 33Ē x 20Ē drag radials on all 4. Most discussion of these axles strength is based on truck weight and tire size relative to power.

Also are there any other accessible alternatives for a full time transfer case other than the np203? I need something with a center differential to allow driving all 4 wheels on the street. I have read even with the chain drive these units are very strong given proper care and oiling. Would this be strong enough, and are there any kinds lsds for the differential? Or are the only alternatives locked or open? A torsen would be ideal but I canít find anything for this in the aftermarket, most people dump the dif and only want the gear reduction to stack on a 205 which is ironic because I donít even need or want the gear reduction.

Also what were the available transmissions that this transfer case came with? I would like to use a 4sp toploader. Are there any divorced version I could run the toploader to? Or perhaps another tcase that has these characteristics I have not read about? Full time 4 wheel drive with differential, lsd availability and possibly divorced setup available or directly adaptable to a toploader? Also what are the ballpark weight of a dana 60 and a np203? Or any of the other components you might suggest?


My next question is regarding front axle suspension design. I know a good deal about rear live axle suspension for drag racing and the relation of control arm instant center to the center of gravity for anti-squat. This is what launches a drag car and I understand how this works, and also the fact that it wacks out your pinion angle with allot of articulation so you guys donít really like it much.

My question is regarding the torque reaction of a FRONT drive live axle. Nothing in my reading and research has covered this well at all but you guys must have experience with it right?

I know you guys want to design out most anti- effects from a 4x4 suspension because it causes bind and perhaps unwanted behavior at the wrong times, but I think it might be pretty interesting to mess with on an awd car. I mean lets face it all the modern awd cars use independent front suspension, and like independent rears, there are limited in the amount of anti-squat they can use unlike a live axle. The awd rally cars and some pro front drive drag racers are starting to come around to the use of driveline torque to help plant the tires on acceleration but they are very limited with how much negative anti-lift or pro-lift (basically anti-squat on a front driven axle) they can use because of the independent suspension design.

Most roadsters with a suicide front end (the axle out in front of the frame) use split wish bones or a parallel 4 bar setup to locate the solid front axle. What if this was a driven dana 60 using a triangulated 4 link, sort of a mirror setup of the drag racing rear suspension? I realize it will not react the same as the rear and that weight will transfer to the rear on acceleration no matter what but what would be the effects of a good amount of negative anti-lift designed into the front suspension? Is it possible it would lift the front end similar to a rear suspension reaction with a high anti-squat value and plant the front tires harder under acceleration?

Well I didnít mean to write a novel here but I guess it is a good introduction to my long winded and off the wall ideas.

What 4x4 parts do you think would be best suited for this design?

What do you think of the pro-lift front suspension?

What do you think of this whole idea in general? Am I crazy or could it possibly work?
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Old 05-25-2008, 04:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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look at spidertrax for the front axle you can build one lighter than a 60.
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Old 05-25-2008, 05:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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That sounds sweet. As far a t-cases go, the 203 should be up to the power but it is a BIG and HEAVY case. I would look into a newer New Process case from a diesel as it should be smaller and lighter. If a single speed Quadra-trac was up to the power it might be a good option as well.
Good luck with the build. Keep us posted!
Hope this helps.

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Old 05-25-2008, 05:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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A complete Spidertrax front axle would be tits in a project like that. You would probably just run a standard low pinion 35 differential to keep the driveshaft out of the way. You would also want Longfield CV axles to keep everything smooth while turning. I think that would be pretty important.
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Old 05-25-2008, 05:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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i saw a newer 300C the other day that said AWD on the back, why not go with a late model car system that is already designed for that?
Or are you trying to stick with old school looking stuff?
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Old 05-25-2008, 06:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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a T-176 is effectively a Ford Toploader transmission, (Jeep CJ's and FSJ's 80 up) In a Jeep application it will have a 1-1/8" x 10 spline input (iirc) and a 'normal' (for jeep) flush 23-spline output.

an NP229 from a wagoneer will match that transmission, and has the on-road limited slip capability that you are looking for. an NP 129 (out of an AMC eagle car) is the same case (big case, not small like an NP231) big chain, same differential, but high-range only.

If you are dead-set on an AWD hotrod with a manual transmission and relatively 'normal' parts, then that is the path I would suggest. (heck, it is the path I would take if I was doing the same thing).

I would probably just use the driver-drop D44 out of whatever waggy I got the case from.

Get a bling diff cover, burn mucho rubber. (well, not so much on the burn rubber, but launch like a stick of dynamite)

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Old 05-25-2008, 06:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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True 4wd is gonna suck driving it on the street. Did any company make a full size case with full time 4wd? I know Dodge did, but he'd need something with cluthes to provide slip.
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Old 05-25-2008, 06:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
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True 4wd is gonna suck driving it on the street. Did any company make a full size case with full time 4wd? I know Dodge did, but he'd need something with cluthes to provide slip.
You suck at reading.

I agree with everything said pretty much.

NP203 is an option but big and heavy. Wagoneer full time would work but I am not sure it is AS strong, don't know much about them. There are several overseas options but I doubt you would want to go that way because you would get into adapters and such.

One thing I would make sure to look at is the ability to clock the case. Most 4x4 transfer cases have front outputs that exit lower than the rear output. Seeing that you probably would want all this running gear very close to the ground the ability to rotate the case will probably play a big part in your design process.

Good luck, sounds like a fun project. We want pics if you decide to go through with it..
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Old 05-25-2008, 07:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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NV242AMG out of an H1?

Sounds like a cool project. As far as suspension goes I think a set up similar to the aftermarket radius arm style "long arm" kits for an XJ might be the ticket. It will keep that nostalgic look while still being strong and up to the task. It would also allow you to run whatever you please for a front spring/shock, be it a small coil over, coils and shocks, bags, or even a transverse leaf (the only issue there being the differential).

Honestly, I think you might be ok with a part time case too. Just because your engine is capable of 800 horsepower doesn't mean you're going to be using that all the time. My guess is that the wheels would break traction before an axle breaks. If it were mine I would design it that way (hard compound narrow tires) as a safety. When it's time to go fast you're going to be going in a relatively straight line anyway so it wouldn't hurt to lock in to a part time 4wd. Again, I still think the tires would break traction before you would get into a bind situation.
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Old 05-25-2008, 08:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Sounds like a cool project... I've thought about something similar before, though I was thinking more along the lines of mild LS1, you know, only around 400hp!

You might see if you can find out some more about the t-case used in the AWD Silverado SS. They ran around 380lb-ft (high output 6.0) and were single speed. For some reason I thought the t-case used in the typhoon/cyclone was the same as used in the AWD Astros...?

I also remember a viscous coupling you could buy to convert your part time t-case into a full time unit... As far as I know, it bolted on in place of the front output yoke. I did some searching, didn't find a thing. I remember reading a review in one of the 4wd rags... about 15 or 20 years ago. Maybe somebody still makes something like that?

I don't know what your budget is, but there are probably some real trick parts out there in the racing world....

For front suspension design, from a drag race perspective, you might take a look at what they use in the 4wd mud-drag racers.
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Old 05-25-2008, 09:04 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Old 05-25-2008, 11:57 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thats the car I was thinking of.
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Old 05-26-2008, 12:14 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Cant find a picture of it right now... but this reminds me of the pink 30's 4x4 coupe running 38.5" Sx's in front and 42" TSL's rear.. It did very well. I remember seeing it at Shiloh Ridge at the Texas Truck Challenge.. I think he made it to TTC also? Memory failing... halp
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Old 05-26-2008, 01:04 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I would go for an AWD astro van case before the 203
you could use the factory adapter and mate it to a built 700r4

As for a front axle... something narrow like a CJ7 dana 30 would work running hairpins and a buggy spring or a quarter elliptic....and they are 5 on 5.5 so the ford wheels will fit...
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Old 05-26-2008, 01:13 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Cant find a picture of it right now... but this reminds me of the pink 30's 4x4 coupe running 38.5" Sx's in front and 42" TSL's rear.. It did very well. I remember seeing it at Shiloh Ridge at the Texas Truck Challenge.. I think he made it to TTC also? Memory failing... halp
Shoot...I know that one....Cant thing of where I have pix...
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Old 05-26-2008, 08:46 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Another thing I'd look into (for a transmission) is this:

http://www.rsgear.com/terminator.asp

No association with them or anything, but it should be something you could adapt to a SBC and a NP style t-case. I'm still thinking this is a little light duty for your planned motor, but considering what some of the supra folks run, it--or some variant--might just hold up. My understanding is the Jeep AX-15 and Toyota Aisin turbo/V6 and supra transmissions share a lot of parts; I believe this 'terminator' transmission capitalizes on that.

BTW, the above site has a pretty nifty t-case lookup tool. Looks like the Astro's came with a BW 4472-01 or -02. They list the typhoon as a 4472-03. Might call them up to see what the differences are. I'm still thinking these are light for what you are building. What did a typhoon make, 260hp? and similar torque.

Wait, you said 385.. as in Ford Big Block? Hmm, maybe another option might be some T5 variant?
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Old 05-26-2008, 11:04 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I think a Bravada or Astro van AWD case would be best. Forget the low range, you have no use for it anyway.
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Old 05-26-2008, 11:15 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I think a Bravada or Astro van AWD case would be best. Forget the low range, you have no use for it anyway.
With low range, he may have the option to run the 1/8 and 1/4 mile tracks in the same evening
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Old 05-26-2008, 11:27 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Sounds like a cool project... I've thought about something similar before, though I was thinking more along the lines of mild LS1, you know, only around 400hp!

You might see if you can find out some more about the t-case used in the AWD Silverado SS. They ran around 380lb-ft (high output 6.0) and were single speed. For some reason I thought the t-case used in the typhoon/cyclone was the same as used in the AWD Astros...?

For front suspension design, from a drag race perspective, you might take a look at what they use in the 4wd mud-drag racers.

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I would go for an AWD astro van case before the 203
you could use the factory adapter and mate it to a built 700r4

As for a front axle... something narrow like a CJ7 dana 30 would work running hairpins and a buggy spring or a quarter elliptic....and they are 5 on 5.5 so the ford wheels will fit...
I've daydreamed about building a low slung rat rod that was All Wheel Drive myself... The concept is too cool. We built several all wheel drive S10's several years back with Turbo V8's. We used the transfer case out of the Chevy Bravada's mated to a 700r4. The Astro's, Bravada's, and silverado's are all the same trans that was in the Typhoon and Cyclone's. Look up some of the Turbo S10's John Lingenfelter built in the early 90's. We modeled our builds off of the same stuff he was doing... successfully putting 700hp to all 4 tires.

If you go with a live axle in the front your going to need something pretty beefy... the 609 talked about above is going to be the best choice to save weight. Your 2000lb est. is probably a little light once you get everything you'll need to handle that much power.

Most of the mud dragsters are running a 5 link front suspension... I think it would be the way to go to keep the front low slung.

Definitely a cool project... keep us posted. -Tim
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Old 05-26-2008, 01:11 PM   #20 (permalink)
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In the original post, the builder says he will be running a 385 motor (that is a 429/460 Ford, in case anyone wondered). I wonder if the gearset from a car toploader can be installed into the T-176 (which as mentioned above is basically a Ford toploader trans - the downfall in the OP's application would be the VERY wide gear ratio's) Otherwise, maybe advance adapters can set you up to put a 23-spline, 6-bolt round pattern t-case behind a Ford 'Car' toploader. (NP229 from a FSJ or NV242 etc AWD case from later AWD trucks)

It would be pretty easy to do a C-4, C-6 (or beefed AOD) and adapt it to whichever AWD case you can scare up. Easier on tires/axle shafts/etc also.

anyhow, still interested to hear what you do.

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Old 05-26-2008, 07:55 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Wow you guys rock. Usually when I post some crazy stuff like this it takes weeks to get nearly this many responses with 1/8 this amount of information. You have given me allot of stuff to go research more before I can really respond very well.

But I will say in general I think the mud dragster setup looks to be the closest to what I was I wanting and if you guys are still interested in helping me out I am really looking for specific info on those suspensions and driveline setups, the Lingerfelter setups as well. I would really like to keep this old school but I am more focused on function over form, so if something works better then it gets the pick even if it looks too new or trick.

I want this to be old and ratty with lots of steel and iron with a big truck axle suicide out front like the mud dragster, to lull the unknowing modern tech fiends and their flashy bs $ parts so I may roast them when this monster actually performs like a raw beast from hell. Basically something you would need to coerce your girlfriend into climbing in, and that your mother would never get into, and your grandmother would probably not even recognize as a car. Granted you personally may have very different relatives than most, but you get the idea I am going for here.


Not that I want the truck parts for looks really, but my main priorities are
#1 strength and durability
#2 availability
#3 size and weight

I really think the live axles might work really well and can give a ton more anti-squat/pro-lift. I donít want to use a modern independent awd system. I would like it if the pieces are smaller or lighter or have better ground clearance so I can get the car low, but none of this matters if I canít find the part or if it is going to break when I launch the car with 800 ft/lbs with a manual and 4 sticky tires.

Also someone said something about a part time case and narrow hard tires, I am building this to really work. And hard narrow tires donít really work well and I think grippy wide tires will eat a locked part time case alive when trying to turn all the time with no differential. No offense, I appreciate the idea and it would help a ton if I could use a np205 or similar part time case but this is just not the route I really want to go with it.

I also would really like to use a manual if at all possible. I can build a c6 for the application if I need to but I really want a manual. Also I would use a full manual valve body with a transbrake in the c6 so I donít think the juicebox is gonna be any easier on driveline parts setup in that fashion.

The astro/bravada/typhoon transfer case looks promising if it has been proven to 700hp. Is there any way of possibly divorcing it or mating it to a ford tanny?

I build stuff to abuse the hell out of it and I wouldnít build an engine this strong if I wasnít going to use it, and I wouldnít build an awd system unless I needed it. This is why I build stuff overkill too, I donít know if it will really make quite 800 but it should be at least over 700hp and torque so I would like to leave a bit of headroom. This is why I am interested in the hardcore truck parts.

Also for the 2000lbs I meant the base foundation when it was a rear drive dragster type build. I canít really guess how much the awd parts like the heavy ass front axle and big transfer case are going to add yet because I donít know which ones I am going to need to use. I am hoping to keep the extra awd parts under 1000lbs? With the heaviest hardcore parts I might need to use to reliably handle heavy abuse with this engine, is staying under 3000 lbs reasonable?

That is still a serious power/weight ratio and that much power will be 100 percent more usable 90 percent of the time turning 4 wheels vs the rear drive setup I believe. And of course it always might even weigh in substantially lighter, but I am not disillusioned about the weight penalty of this concept.

I am very encouraged by the response so far here and I really think this might work. I donít mean to ask all this and not reply thoroughly but like I said I need to go research more and I will get back to you with more specific responses, I really do appreciate the input greatly.

Also are there any specific thoughts on the whole front live axle/ pro-lift idea?

I am not forgetting you Tim, I will look into the mud dragster 5 link you mentioned.
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Old 05-26-2008, 08:13 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Also for the jeep tranny, how will that connect to a big block ford? I doubt there is a bell housing for this.

The wagon np 229 or amc np129 transfer case sound cool but how strong are they and where the hell would I find them?

I have read a bit more on the 229, part-time/full-time? How is this designed exactly? Does it have a differential? That would be really cool if I could have a full time 4 wheel drive transfer case with a differential and the ability to shift into 2 wheel rear drive. This also has a viscous coupling? Is this coupling used AS the differential or is it used as an lsd IN the actual differential? If the later are there any other lsds available for it anyone knows of?

I also found a replacement drive chain and it is 1.75Ē wide, the np203 is 3Ē wide so that is a big difference for possibly the weakest part of the driveline.

What are your opinions on the chain drive strength? Allot of people locally are telling me the chain drive is weak and that is part of the reason most switch to an all gear np205. But other places I have read say the chain only breaks from misuse and neglect, and if taken care of with proper oil it is nearly bulletproof. What is the deal here?

Oh and sorry about any confusion before on the 385 thing, I didnít even realize that I only wrote big block and not specifically big block FORD. It is a 460 base engine. I think I want to stay nearly stock displacement but there is a chance I might stroke it which would mean even more torque over a broader range. Basically without going into too much detail the plan is a 460 with a tunnel ram manifold and probably zoomies ( I never had the freedom of an open engine bay before) with a HUGE cam, 7000 rpm.
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Old 05-26-2008, 08:21 PM   #23 (permalink)
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They're mentioning the Jeep trans because it uses a Ford bell housing bolt pattern and will mount any of the t-cases mentioned with stock parts. Might take a bit of mixing and matching, but not really tough to do.
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Old 05-26-2008, 08:26 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Also are there any specific thoughts on the whole front live axle/ pro-lift idea?
The first thing that comes to mind is Supercars, one of the issues with AWD platforms is the inertia created by the additional drivetrain and the power robbed by it. AWD is slower off the line than a properly set up RWD because of this. If I were setting up an AWD platform like yours I would still try to keep as typical an AS number on the rear as possible for launch and then rely on the awd for control. I wouldn't want the front to come of the ground, but I would want most of the power to go to the rear wheels. That may be one more thing to look at, can you control the torque split F/R?
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Old 05-26-2008, 08:31 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Location: KENTUCKY
Posts: 1,782
I use to have an old book that covered swapping a V8 into an S10 that had a feature on an older S15 that Lingenfelter built to put Cyclones in there place. We modeled the same exact truck in the shop I worked in part time in high school. I can't find the book any more... but with a little searching I see that he built a new version... interesting read if nothing else.

http://www.cardomain.com/ride/527910
http://www.chevyhiperformance.com/te...cer/index.html
http://www.cbrperformance.com/gallery.php

I know your working with a Ford motor... still good info though. I like the RAWNESS of what your proposing

-Tim
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