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Rear Axle upgrade
#540293 Sat May 23 2009 05:43 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 346
OlBlue Offline OP
Shop Shark
Seems a frequently asked question is "how get better gears so I can cruise at current hiway speeds?".

I bought this Chevy motor home rear axle 11,000 lb axle a few years ago to put under my '38 1-1/2 ton.

Axle ratings for 1-1/2 ton trucks up through '54 are also 11,000 lbs and the width is identical to my '38. The bolt pattern accepts '54 big truck wheels or later model 19.5's.

The motor home axle is a Dana 80 with parts and a wide range of gear ratios readily available.

'38 Chevy 1-1/2 ton
'49 Chevy 1/2 ton
'54 Chevy 6400 2 ton
'55.2 GMC 3/4 ton
'56 GMC 1-ton

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Re: Rear Axle upgrade
OlBlue #540324 Sat May 23 2009 09:07 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9,146
Thanks for sharing, that's a great idea!

The Dana 80 axles can be had with gears as fast as 3.31. Or if you find a 70HD they can be had with 3.54. Either way you'll need to swap gears if you want the really fast ones, as most RV's and box trucks had 4.something or slower.

Read more about axle swaps in this tech tip:


1951 GMC 250 in the Project Journals []
1948 Chevrolet 6400 [] - Detroit Diesel 4-53T - Roadranger 10 speed overdrive - 4 wheel disc brakes
1952 Chevrolet 3800 pickup []
---All pictures []---
"First, get a clear notion of what you desire to accomplish, and then in all probability you will succeed in doing it..." -Henry Maudslay-
Re: Rear Axle upgrade
Grigg #540434 Sun May 24 2009 06:26 AM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 4,686
Shop Shark
I never thought of that. I go to truck salvage auctions and motor home axles are almost worthless because motor home owners don't think of salvage parts as an option.

Re: Rear Axle upgrade
crenwelge #540844 Tue May 26 2009 12:45 AM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 114
Wrench Fetcher
For those of you with COE trucks that are looking for new frames and drivelines, pick up an older motorhome and use it. Take off the body (and put it in the backyard as your new home once momma finds out what you bought!) and you have an new foundation for your truck with a newer engine, transmission, axles and brakes.

Some of the newer motorhomes have disk brakes on both front and rear axles. You should also have better luck hooking up these upright steering boxes!


Moderated by  69Cuda, Grigg 

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