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1966 Chevy Nova Rearend Build - Rear-Surrection, Part 2
Cut, Weld And Construct-Project Getaway Receives A Narrowed 9-Inch For The Road Ahead.
Sep 1, 2008
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1966 Chevy Nova Rearend Build - Rear-Surrection, Part 2
Before beginning any project, it's always good to lay out all of the components on a clean workable surface. Pictured is the Chris Alston's Chassisworks FAB9 9-inch housing, the late Ford #8001 housing ends and all of the necessary tooling to properly align and measure in order to narrow the rear and weld the ends on.
The first job at hand is to install the threaded fasteners into the housing, which will eventually hold the differential into place. (Loctite threadlocker should be used.)
Next, Bobby attaches this plate to the differential to determine the pinion centerline, which will be the central point of determining the final length of each axle tube. Also to be considered is the actual length of the housing ends to be used.
Since the overall length of our rear from housing end to housing end needs to measure 44.625 inches, we'll need to deduct 2 inches from each side (housing end length) for the actual tube length.
Here's Bobby measuring for the length of the passenger side axle tube. Since the pinion offset of our FAB9 rear is 1/2-inch to the passenger side, the passenger tube will measure 19.8125 inches and the driver's side 20.8125 inches before adding 4 inches total with the housing ends installed.
Bobby employs the use of a Porta-Band portable band saw to carefully cut down the axle tubes in a squared off manner.
Once the tubes are cut down, the edges are beveled to make room for a thick, penetrating weld.
Next, the housing end and alignment bushing are prepared for use on the straight bar. This process is critical because the finished product must be perfectly straight in order for the axles, bearings, and differential to properly align.
Before sliding the bar completely through the rear housing, Bobby uses this old 9-inch case with alignment bushings residing in place of what would normally be the carrier bearings. This ensures that alignment from the axle-housing end to the differential is straight all the way through to the opposing side.
Once mounted to the rear, the housing is set square to earth at a 90-degree angle. This will assist with the clocking of the housing ends.
Now that all bushings, housing ends, and the straight bar are in place, Bobby applies a series of spot welds to the housing ends to position it and keep it square against heat expansion.
Once satisfied with the placement, a smaller penetrating pass is made, being careful not to overheat the metal, which may distort.
Finally Bobby gives it a final penetrating pass in a wide format for strength. All components are being TIG-welded-better than MIG welding, which can lead to cold pass inconsistencies (bad penetration).
The straight bar is easily removed, indicating that all is properly aligned. It's now time to install the Strange Engineering Pro Iron third member, complete as ordered with a Detroit Locker and 3.90-ratio street gears. The Iron unit is plenty strong-able to handle the extreme loads we plan on throwing at it.
The street gear is harder than a race gear and will not wear as easily. Since this Nova will slay the street, road course and even a little drag action, we opted for the Detroit Locker for its reliability and slip capabilities when turning.
Now that the third member has been installed, it's time to install the Strange S/T Series 35-spline axles-complete with bearings and 1/2-inch studs-along with Wilwood's SL4R radius mount with incorporated emergency brake mechanism. The S/T series axles contain a massive 1.5-inch shaft diameter and come with a three-year guarantee against spline breakage. You can't beat that!
The Wilwood radius mount provides two planes of caliper adjustment and is complete with competition-grade fasteners.
Next, Bobby installs the caliper mount over the axle shaft and inserts the shaft into the housing. Axle shaft penetration into the differential was measured at approximately 1.25-inches with 1 inch being the minimum allowed. Bobby uses grade 8 fasteners to hold the axle retention bracket and radius caliper mount into place.
Keep in mind that all will be taken apart for painting and/or powdercoating at a later date. This is where the clocking of the housing end comes into play with the mounting position of the brakes. Most systems want the caliper to mount toward the rear of the car in a 90-degree fashion.
Our next mission is to mate the massive 13-inch slotted rotors with the hub, then get the monsters mated to the axle.
All Wilwood SRP vented rotors are built to provide high-cooling efficiency and increased leverage for the ultimate in stopping power, never mind the unmatched looks. We can't wait to perform some brake testing once Getaway is complete.
Once the rotor was in place, it was time to install the Wilwood Superlite 4R calipers and BP-10 "Smart Pads."
The four-piston SL4R caliper is forged aluminum billet and provides the highest clamping power and lowest deflection of any caliper in its class (or so states Wilwood).
The BP-10 Smart Pads deliver increased friction, higher fade resistance, and longer wear with virtually no noise or dust.
Finally the FAB9 rear is a complete product (for now). It's time to mock the completed unit in between the rear framerails of Getaway.
In order to connect the rear to the frame Chris Alston suggested we utilize his billet aluminum 4-Bar Links (upper and lower rear control arms), which provide precise control of rearend housing movement. The Links were designed through careful computer analysis that enable the removal of unnecessary weight while eliminating stress issues. The billet links also incorporate the use of TrueCenter Pivot Technology, which is a serviceable pivot socket that provides a deflection-free high load capacity and maintains constant bearing preload.
Here we have the 9-inch mocked into place. All rearend components fit together flawlessly with no persuasion, (big honkin' hammer) of any kind.
At a later date we'll install the double adjustable Varishock coilovers and integrated sway-bar system, which has provisions built into the framerails.
For final fitment, we snatched up the Intro Wheels 20X12-inch wheels with the 345/25ZR20-inch Nitto Invo rubber and stuffed it up into the rear wheel housing. Once bolted into place, there were no caliper clearance issues, nor any interference with the body. Future stories will include the 3-inch stretch of the rear wheel opening and the tinwork within the trunk and rear wheel area. Until then.
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