Help is just a click away!
Click here to chat with a Speedway Team Member
💬
Online - Chat with us!
Chat
$20 off $299 | $40 off $599 | $60 off $899 | $80 off $1199      Promo: AUGUST    Expires: 8/9/20
$20 off $299 | $40 off $599 | $60 off $899 | $80 off $1199
Promo: AUGUST    Expires: 8/9/20
Products to Compare (max of 3)
X
Compare These Parts
Talk to the Experts. Call 800.979.0122, 7am-10pm, everyday.
Since 1952
in
in
Talk to the Experts. Call 800.979.0122
Shop By
Support
Account
Street Race Truck More... The Toolbox

Solid Axle Front Suspension Options

9/15/2016

If we look back to the Model T era up until the late 1940’s, Ford used a solid I-beam front axle supported by a transverse leaf spring (runs lengthwise with the axle). The front axle pivoted off of what is known as a wishbone – a triangulated locator with arms running from each end of the front axle back to a single pivot point near the transmission. Ford’s original design worked well for its era and its purpose, allowing a large range of suspension travel. The basic transverse-leaf design is still used on many street rod applications, though with a wide range of refinements that have been developed by rodders and the aftermarket through the years.

As the use of bigger engines and lowered suspension designs became popular among hot rodders, interference problems meant an alternative to the original wishbone design was needed. The solution developed by early rodders helped define the traditional hot rod look we see today. Using a little ingenuity, hot rodders would split the original wishbone at its pivot point, creating two locating arms that could be mounted further apart to allow more engine and transmission clearance.

From these beginnings, many variations of solid axle front suspension designs have developed. Many rodders began using purpose-built hairpin-style radius rods instead of split wishbones and, in later years, four-bar style suspensions gained in popularity. As a street rodder, depending on your front suspension design and the appearance you’re trying to achieve, there are three basic options to choose from.

Split Wishbone

For the traditionalist, Speedway offers a wishbone splitting kit that allows you to split your original Ford wishbone assembly. Kits can be supplied with either 7 degree tapered tie rod ends, PN 91645140, or 11/16-inch rod ends, PN 91645142. Once split, the wishbones can be attached to your frame using one of several styles of brackets (91635050 and similar), or with a combination transmission/wishbone mount PN 9161940. Another option is to use Speedway’s Wishbone-Style Radius Rods, both standard like PN 91645127, or lightened with holes, PN 91645128. These are new manufactured steel arms with forged front yolks that deliver the traditional split wishbone look without the need to locate or modify an original wishbone.

Hairpin and Curtis Style

Both hairpin and Curtis-style radius rods will still offer a traditional look for your early solid axle street rod. We typically we see them used on ’34-and-earlier cars with spring-over or spring-behind suspensions. Speedway offers both a 27” Hairpin radius rod and a 36” Curtis style radius rod,plus a wide range of brackets for attaching them to your frame and front axle.

Four Bar

A Four-bar design is engineered to allow the front suspension to travel freely at all angles, which improves ride quality and handling. With Ford’s original wishbone front end, the wishbone limited side to side movement. Even with wider axle mounting points, the split wishbone or radius rod design will provide some measure of triangulation to help control side motion. However, a four bar design cannot control side to side motion, so it should be considered mandatory to use a panhard bar on all four-bar systems. Speedway carries Four-bar suspension kits for Model A, '32 to '34 Ford, and '35 to '40 which are recommended to be used with stock style or tube axle front ends.

Products Featured in this Article

Related Articles

Model A I Beam Front Axle Install
by Speedway Tech Team - Posted in Tech
3/6/2018
Our hot rod expert takes you through his ford I beam axle setup. Follow as he sets up the front end on his split wishbone front suspension Model A.
Selecting the Right Coil-Over for Your T-Bucket
by Speedway Tech Team - Posted in Tech
6/15/2017
Speedway Motors shares a How-To of selecting the right coilovers for your T-Bucket.
How to Build a DIY 3 link Suspension
by Speedway Tech Team - Posted in Tech
12/6/2016
Learn how to build your own 3 Link Suspension. Our expert goes over his process for building a custom adjustable 3-link rear suspension for his 1967 Cougar.
Do I Need A Panhard Bar?
9/19/2016
Do you need a Panhard Bar on your front suspension? Find out whether its recommended to have one on your four-bar or cross steering system.
Coilover Spring Rate Chart - Selection and Installation
by Speedway Tech Team - Posted in Tech
8/1/2017
Learn how to select the right Coilover shocks for your street rod. Us our chart to find the correct spring rate and get some install tips from the experts.
Stallard SST Front Axle Installation
by EMi Tech Team - Posted in Tech
6/29/2017
Eagle Motorsports, Inc. put together a how-to video on installing their Stallard SST Front Axle Assembly.
Stallard SST Rear Axle Installation
by EMi Tech Team - Posted in Videos
6/29/2017
Eagle Motorsports, Inc. put together a how-to video on installing their Stallard SST Rear Axle Assembly.
Picking The Right Shock For Your Project
by Speedway Tech Team - Posted in Tech
9/16/2016
Information behind the various styles of available shock absorbers.
Ford And Chevy Options For Solid Axle - Spindle Solutions
by Speedway Tech Team - Posted in Tech
9/16/2016
Dive into some of the history and unique differences between Ford and Chevy spindles for a solid front axles and what will perform best on your hot rod.
Speedway Tech Talk - Air Ride Setup
by Pat Orth - Posted in Videos
10/27/2016
Pat shows how his air ride is setup in his 1964 Impala.
Error
X
Note
X
Ok