Thanks for all the encouraging comments. There is always a point in a project where I am extremely glad that I did not realize how much work the project would be because if I did know then I doubt I would have started it. I think I am at that point. But there is no such thing as being a little pregnant so I guess I'll go the distance with this thing at this stage.
I ordered and received a limited slip third member from Speedway motors for the Ford 9” and then started getting it prepped for installation. I also pulled out the rear housing as well to start prepping it too. The housing did not have a fluid drain in it so now was a good time to install one that I purchased online.
I also bought some trim-to-fit axles for the rear assembly. With a quick and simple set-up I then trimmed them using cut-off wheels on my 4-1/2” dia grinder and deburring them. The next task was to press in the wheel studs on each axle.
My end-of-the-year goal is to get this thing standing on all four tires. So I have to get the rear end and brakes installed and then try to get the wheels and tires ordered and fitted. That might be a stretch with all the supply chain issues but I like to keep putting small attainable goals for myself.
With things getting stopped due to various reasons, I went ahead and ordered the tires that I thought would work from tirerack.com. I bought 4 Firestone Firehawks....235/45R18s for the front and 245/45R18s for the rear. Per the IFS vendor's recommendations the front wheel needs to be 8” wheels (with 4” backspacing) and I set the rear suspension to accept 9” wheels (backspacing TBD).
The front suspension is complete enough to check the clearances and backspacing so I went ahead and knocked that out. I also bought a neat little tire fitment tool for the tires so I could check all the requirements before I order the wheels. I set the fitment tool at the IFS vendor's recommended backspacing and articulated the front wheels lock-to-lock to check for any scrubbing or rubbing. All looked pretty good. With the front headlight buckets out I could look into the wheelwell and see if I was bottoming out anywhere. Once I get the rear brake and rear diff reinstalled then I will be able to do the same for the rearwheels/tires.
Last edited by FrankenChevy; Sat Nov 12 2022 01:14 AM. Reason: Grammar
After I got the rotors back from the machine shop then I could final assemble the rear diff and the rear disc brake conversion kit. After struggling to work on the rear diff without some type of cradle to hold it, I took some of my scrap lumber and the wheels from an old moving pallet and made a simple cradle for the rearend.
With it in the cradle then I took some time to thoroughly clean the rear housing prior to installing the mechanism. The first thing in was the third member. I opted to use the newer type gasket that does not require any sealant. We'll see how that does longterm. Then I dropped in the third member and torqued down the t-bolt nuts.
Next were the rear axles. I had a hard time trying to get these installed. I got the RH side in and then the LH side would not go in completely. I kept working the LH side trying to get what I thought were misaligned splines to engage. So after scratching my head for a bit it was time to do some internet browsing to see what I was doing wrong. After about 20 mins on the web then I hit upon the issue. On Ford 9” diffs the rear chunk is not centered on the housing so the axles are unequal length....I knew that part. This particular housing has the chunk less offset than the typical stock ones but it it is still offset. The part that threw me was that I was putting the short axle on the side of the housing that “appeared” to be shorter and the long axle on the opposite end, the installation was actually opposite of this due to the internal engagement of the axles in the third member. I then swapped them and viola, easy fix. Rookie mistake but I learned something (until I forget it next week).
With the axles installed then it was on to the rear disc brakes. The kit from Speedway Motors used the widely available GM metric calipers with integral parking brake. These went together fairly easily except for the wire anti-rattle/pad retaining clips.... these were a pain.
With the rear diff pretty much assembled then it was time to slide it back under the truck and see how things fit. After I slid it in place then it was pretty obvious that I was going to have a major clash of the parking brake arm/mechanism with the inner wheel well that I had formed. Oh, well. The metal work will never end. It was late so I just left it like it sat. I will just cut out the area to clear and then fix the metal later. My goal is to check rear tire and wheel fitment. That will be the next task.
Last edited by FrankenChevy; Sat Nov 26 2022 10:56 PM. Reason: Grammar