Even we diehard Chevy fans can't ignore the brute strength of the Ford 9-inch rear axle assembly. As a staple in the off-road and drag racing community, this beefy design is a solution to spindly stock rearend breakage, and its removable center section makes trying out different gear ratios super-easy. Although purists may cringe at the thought, hardcore Chevy drag racers have accepted this design and, these days, most fast Chevys have this part under their car without apologies.
When it comes to high-performance rearends, Moser Engineering is among the top manufacturers in the industry, and we recently perused their user-friendly website and were impressed how they setup a multiple choice format that made ordering a rearend a breeze. Whether you're looking for a fabricated housing to handle brutal horsepower or something more of a stock replacement, Moser has what you're looking for. And, for those that are impatient enough to order car parts in the middle of the night, Moser's site caters to the internet savvy that would rather select exactly what they want and know that their order is in process, regardless of the time of day. Want a narrowed 12-bolt for your second-gen Camaro? Or how about something weird like an 8 3/4 Mopar housing for your leaf sprung Chevy, Moser can do that too, they are that capable. You just need to know some things like: desired gear ratio, differential type, bearing end style, overall length, axle spline count and spring perch/suspension type.
There are two basic complete rearends you can order from Moser; the built-to-order line, which you can custom tailor your ideal rearend, and the MusclePak line of rearends, which are ready-to-go, brake-to-brake. Both options can be shipped to your door within two business days after you complete the online order. The hasty shipping is cool; it definitely beats digging a housing out of the junkyard then having it rebuilt and welded up.
For our Chevy II project, the Hardtop Hellion, we opted for Moser Engineering's built-to-order, bolt-in 9-inch housing, which they offer sized and ready-to-go for these little cars. We weren't even going to begin to try building the 8.2 10-bolt rear that came in our well-worn 1963 Nova, nor were we going to pull a greasy rear from the junkyard; Moser makes the decision easy. With a few clicks we had a new heavy-duty 9-inch on the way. Features include an American-made housing with OEM located mounting provisions, seamless steel tubing (3-inch O.D., ¼-inch wall), we upgraded to custom alloy 35-spline axles, bearings, 1/2-inch x 3-inch screw in wheel studs, seals, heavy-duty retainer plates, new housing ends (we ordered ours with large Ford-style ends), t-bolt kit, aluminum pinion support, nodular iron case, and a 1310 Series pinion yoke. For gears, we went with 3.75s, but there's long list of ratios available. We may be testing various sized tires and possibly and overdrive gear on this car, so being able to swap gears easily is a nice feature. And, instead of a typical posi unit, we upgraded to the WaveTrac differential (see sidebar on page three).
Wavetrac Differential Specs:
With the rearend out of the car, we cleaned the underside of the Nova, and to bolt up our Moser 9-inch, we used Competition Engineering's Slide-a-Link traction bars (PN2099) and Adjustable Drag Shocks (PN2720). The Slide-a-Links are an easily installed traction device for leaf spring cars that can drastically improve your car's traction by changing the instant center so that your car transfers weight more effectively.
We have to point out the great job Ben Hermance did to capture what this project will look like. In the following month we plan on showcasing the next step in our Chevy II build, where we lose the greasy stock steering components for a much nicer column, wheel, and linkage.