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Old 01-26-2017, 01:14 PM   #1
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'46 Chevy 2 ton rear axle replacement/swap

I have a '46 chevy 2 ton that I want to change the rear axle assembly. Right now, it has 6.17 gears. From information that I've researched, this rear end could fit 5.43 gears. However, information on another thread notes that the ring and pinion for this gear ratio are almost impossible to find. I've noted from the same thread that a Dana 80HD from a Chevy 3500 has a hub/lug pattern similar to the 20" wheels that I have.

Here's the rub: The rating for my 6000 series 2 ton is 12,500 lbs. The Dana 80HD is rated at 11,000 lbs. I don't plan on filling my bus up with "stuff" or over 16 passengers.

Question: Am I safe if the lower rated Dana 80 is used? I've researched Dana S110's, which are rated at 14,000 lbs, but they run about $1800, used.

Question: Am I better off going with the 110 over the 80?

Question: Can the hubs from a Dana with an 8 lug pattern be changed to a 10 lug pattern?

Question: My research suggests that the series 5000 (1.5T) and the series 6000 (2T) use the same rear end (Banjo, seamless tube). Is this correct? If so, is there any advantage to this?

Question: Would a rear end from a 1947 or newer Chevy AD work? Would internal parts work as replacements for my '46?

Question: What other pitfalls might I encounter?

I know, lots of questions and I have about 1000 more, but the more I read, the more I realize how much I don't know.
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Old 01-26-2017, 05:00 PM   #2
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I can tell you I searched all over the US for the mythical 5.43 ring & pinion set for three years with no luck. Your current axle will have hub-piloted rims with a 7.25 circle, ten lug circle (same as a 1.5 T). If swapping the rear axle, your best bet is to start with a search of wheels (rims) that will be compatible with your front unless you plan on also changing out the front axle or running two totally different sets of tires. There were a few Chevy 2 tons I believe in 1958 that had the exact same center hole and lug pattern but in a 22.5 size. However...they appear to be every bit as elusive as the 5.43 gearing plus you need to find six of them in good shape.

The Dana 80HD axle is a tough one and good to 11,000 so as long as you don't plan on going much beyond that, it should be fine. There are also lots of gear ratios available for it. The rims that fit it are easily fitted to your front axle with a small (1/4") spacer, however, at 19.5" are slightly smaller and take a tire that is also slightly smaller. The tallest tires I could find for mine are 33.6". Good news is you can run steel belted, tubeless radials instead of having to settle for tube type, bias ply. If you ever plan on going over 50 mph, the tubeless radials to me are a must have.

One more note on the Dana80...you will have to move the spring perches on the axle out a tiny amount, but it's fairly simple if you can weld. I did mine and have a ton of pix of the process.

Best of luck with the homework and let us know what route you take.
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Old 01-26-2017, 07:51 PM   #3
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Tango: Your thread has been my road map. I've been researching rear axles all over the place. Thanks for the info and I look forward to following your build progress.

Mike
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Old 01-26-2017, 09:00 PM   #4
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what if instead of trying to find the mythical 5.43 rear you installed a 6 speed automatic like an allison 1000 / 2000 with a .75 or .5 overdrive?
-Christopher
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Old 01-26-2017, 09:03 PM   #5
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That's the route I went. An Allison 2200MH. 6 speed double OD. Combined with the new rear gears should be good for 65 mph at 1800 rpm...the "sweet spot".
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Old 01-26-2017, 09:16 PM   #6
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thats what im going to do to RedByrd if I ever waste the 545 in it... or if I get that wrecked 2004 (2003 chassis) 444E with allison 2500 from the local district here.. supposedly they will sell it to me once the legal issues are handled..
-Christopher
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Old 01-26-2017, 09:32 PM   #7
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Hey Chris...if you get the chance to snag it...also grab the complete shifter and cabling, the dipstick and the TPS. Only the TPS is an Allison product and the other items can be a bear to locate and get right.

Ask me how I know.
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Old 01-27-2017, 11:03 AM   #8
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There are any number of transmissions that can be used (read as $$$). So, let me pose this question: If I were to install an overdrive transmission (0.75 or 0.5), would the existing 6.17 rear end be able to handle being "spun" to a speed of 55 mph?
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Old 01-27-2017, 01:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 46 Express View Post
There are any number of transmissions that can be used (read as $$$). So, let me pose this question: If I were to install an overdrive transmission (0.75 or 0.5), would the existing 6.17 rear end be able to handle being "spun" to a speed of 55 mph?
I don't forsee an issue with it spinning at that rate. It's the torque, horse power & weight rating that would have the most effect on failure.

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Old 01-27-2017, 03:40 PM   #10
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my only issues with Numerically high gear ratios are the fact the pinion gear is smaller.. and ive broken pinion teeth in hot rods before blasting those small pinion gears with lots of torque..

your torque would only increase if the 1st gear in the new transmission is much lower ratio..

as for "spinning".. driveshaft RPM CAN become an issue if the driveshaftys are not balanced properly or if the angles of the U-joints are incorrect.. esp at the carrier bearing where excess vibration could occur.. if all is in order with your angles and driveshaft balance you should be Ok to spin the driveshaft faster..

Tango - thanks for the TIP.. I figure most likely i'll end up with the whole bus.. at which time i'll yank all the harnesses, goodies, and such along with the trans and motor.. then send the rest to the junkyard. I already told them I have no intentions of trying to make it driveable again ,which made them happy so they can keep seats, tires, etc.. theyve got no interest in the drivetrain.. its one of the few they have left thats not a MaxxForce.. theres about a dozen shorties like mine(6 window bluebird) most of them 444's a couple DT-466E's that are starting to turn into rust buckets.. and they mentioned if one of those blew up theyd just put it out to pasture..

-Christopher
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