Monte Carlo Rearend - Got My Nine

We Build An Indestructible Street/Strip Rear For Project True Sstreet With Goodies From Chris Alston's Chassisworks And Strange Engineering

Dan Ryder Jun 1, 2008 0 Comment(s)
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In last month's issue, Project True SStreet, our '87 Monte Carlo SS project car, received a fresh coat of color, as well as some wild ghost flames. Once that was completed, we had to determine what part of the beast to tackle next. From past experience, we know that all the power in the world will go to waste unless we can get it to the ground. With that being said, we decided to start with the G-body's rear. For those of you unfamiliar with the Tremec True Street class we'll be running at Super Chevy Show events, here's a brief overview. All vehicles must be Chevrolet or Chevrolet-powered, any drivetrain is permitted, and any size tires and wheels are permitted as long as the front and rear rubbers are DOT-approved. The driver must provide a valid driver's license, vehicle insurance card, and registration from the state they reside in. All DOT-mandated safety equipment must be in proper working order (headlights, turn signals, horn, etc.).

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Before beginning to assemble our Chassisworks FAB9 rear, it had to receive a protective coating of either the bare minimum paint or (better yet) powdercoating. We opted to call upon the professionals at Johnson's Powder Coating in Burlington, N.J. The crew wasted no time and began taping off the important machined portions of our rear before media blasting could commence.

Once a drag race entry is purchased at the front gate and your car passes technical inspection, you will proceed to the designated area to line up for the cruise/road tour portion of the event to prove your ride's streetability. After returning from the road tour, all True Street participants will be lined up to make three back-to-back passes down the quarter-mile-you cannot open your hood, work on your car, refuel, or obtain assistance from any outside sources. All three runs are averaged out to determine the winners.

As you can see, your car must be in tip-top condition to endure such an event, especially since there's no time for last-minute repairs. With this being said, we embraced the challenge and are building an 8-second machine for True Street competition. Hopefully our trials and tribulations will ease your next hot rod's build process.

Back to our Monte Carlo. Obviously, the 7.5-inch 10-bolt stock rear would not be adequate, so building a bulletproof rear would be necessary to handle the 1,200-plus horsepower we plan on throwing at it. Putting in calls to both Chris Alston's Chassisworks and Strange Engineering shed a multitude of light on our situation. We learned that there's a fine line between a daily driven and an all-out drag car; we will try to implement them both into the equation, but it will be a give and take thing in the end.

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Beyond that, the entire unit is mediablasted to ensure the powdercoating will adhere for years of service and unparalleled good looks.

We knew our FAB9 housing-loaded with options-would hold up to virtually anything, yet we were slightly unclear on what to stuff it with. After speaking with J.C. Cascio of Strange Engineering, we were given a clear path. At first, we asked the difference between its Pro Gear and its normal Street Gear. J.C. explained that the Pro Gear is made of a 9310 material, making it softer and able to handle and absorb shock in a high-horsepower vehicle; the street gear would break over time. Next, we asked the difference between the aluminum third member as opposed to the nodular iron unit. J.C. indicated that the main difference is the unit's weight, with the aluminum member checking in at less than 10 pounds-and, of course, its greater cost.

We knew the 40-spline axles were stronger, but are there any drawbacks? J.C. indicated that the 40-splines work best with a spool, which is not streetable, and the axle bearing has to be smaller to fit into the 9-inch housing end, leaving it exposed to a faster wear rate if used for daily street driving. As previously mentioned, there's going to be some give and take. After much thought, we based our decisions on the fact that our Monte Carlo would see much less road time and a boatload of track time. As always, weigh all your options before jumping in with both feet.

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