Putting in a new rearend in a 1958 Chevy
You can install these Jim Meyer kits at home in a weekend
Jerry Slattery - February 16, 2012 10:00 AM
Like this ’58-’64 Chevy rearend kit, any car-specific rearend kit is available with or without the housing. The suspension kits come with brackets; however all components are also available separately. The best idea is to buy the housing with the brackets jig welded in their correct locations. All housings come with Dutchman alloy axles to fit the width you order. The anti-sway bar is also optional.
Most Jim Meyer rearend kits can be installed with the body on the chassis, since you will be installing it just under the body floor pan. Like this ’58 Chevy chassis, it’s a lot easier with body off to see what you are doing.
You’ll need to cut the forward control arm hanger away from the frame bracket to accept the new four-link bracket as shown.
The new forward four-link bracket simply slides into the rear of the existing frame bracket until it seats all the way inside.
Lift the new four-link bracket to the top of the frame bracket opening and weld it in as shown. Weld as many places as you can to attach the new bracket securely to the stock forward control-arm bracket.
For additional strength, Jim Meyer recommends welding a small plate (3/16-inch thick) over the front of the stock frame bracket opening as shown.
Looking at the upper coil spring pocket, you’ll see the two existing holes. Enlarge the inner hole to ¾-inch on both upper coil spring pockets. The larger hole will accept the new upper coilover shock bayonet style mount.
After the forward four-link brackets are welded in position and the upper coilover shock hole has been drilled out, installing the rear end housing with urethane-bushed four-link control arms and coilovers is next. Jim Meyer set the pinion angle for you in the assembly jig, so there is nothing to do but install the bolts in the holes and tighten them. Grade-8 bolts and Nylock nuts are the only way to go.
The one-inch diameter by .156-inch wall four-link bars come pre-adjusted so they are all the same length (with four-threads showing) and greased, so there is no measuring or adjusting before installation; just put the bolts in. They offer two different styles of rear suspension brackets. The street rod style is shown on the ’58-’64 installation, while the multi-hole drag racing style is shown here. The multi-hole drag racing version also offers more adjustment and features additional tube supports between the bracket and housing for lots of torque.
The upper coilover mount receives a urethane bushing, washer and an extra nut to lock it down, while the lower 5/8-inch coilover mount bolt installs into the housing bracket with a steel bushing and Nylock nut.
The forward lip of the coil spring pocket, where it meets the chassis rails, needs to be trimmed vertically about three inches for extra four-link clearance.
The Panhard bar uses an existing inside frame hole that has a larger outside frame hole to install the nut in the socket through the rails.
Attaching the 7/8-inch diameter anti-sway bar to the back of the housing’s pre-drilled four-link bracket goes quick. A little grease around the urethane bushings is recommended. The outer ends of the bar with links and bracket installed weld to the middle of the rails
This installation can be easily done in one day, and if your engine and transmission are in the original locations, you can use the stock driveshaft and stock U-joint with their new third members or a U-joint with two different cup sizes. Most Jim Meyer any-width rearend kits are very complete, and can usually be installed at home and take only a weekend to install. For most cars with a complete chassis, Jim Meyer also offers transmission crossmember kits that include multi-hole frame brackets to accept all the popular GM transmissions and Tremec manual transmissions.
There are a lot of reasons why you may want to install a new rearend kit in your ride and these Jim Meyer Racing Products, any-width kits, with new 31-spline (or optional 35-spline) Dutchman alloy axles, cover most of them.
They make tailored universal kits that will fit just about any car with a chassis from 1937 on up or year specific kits, like the ’58 Chevy kit shown here. Like most of the kits, they bolt to some of the existing factory holes. And, there’s only one existing hole you’ll have to enlarge in this kit. This ’58 Chevy kit has to be one of the simplest to install.
The Jim Meyer nine-inch kits include a new center housing, new axle tubes, new flanges and bearings, and are aligned and jig-straightened. The housing with axles, any width at no extra cost, comes with all the brackets TIG-welded to fit your application. The kits feature one-inch diameter by .156-inch thick wall, urethane-bushed, adjustable four-link control arms, usually in 18 or 24-inch lengths (depending on the application); an adjustable one-inch by .156-inch thick wall Panhard bar (either a urethane-bushed low roll-center bar or a straight bar shown with this kit); forward four-link mounting brackets (that you weld in place); and a Panhard bar-to-frame mounting bracket (usually welded in place, however this ’58 kit uses an existing factory hole).
The optional anti-sway bar will make your ride handle like a sports car with the aluminum adjustable coilover shocks provided in all the kits. The optional 7/8-inch diameter anti-sway bar bolts to the back of the four-link bracket on the housing in the ’58 kit, while the anti-sway bar arms and links go toward the rear. The brackets holding the end links weld to the inside of the rails on the kit shown. Other kits have forward mounted anti-sway bar arms. Each kit is tailored to your car, depending on the application. Your anti-sway bar may be a different shape and the four-link may be longer to fit your ride. All the same parts don’t fit every car, so the kit parts vary to fit you chassis. Jim Meyer representatives will ask you all the questions about your application when you order.
Most kits can be installed with the body on the chassis, at home in the driveway, if you can weld or have a welder friend come over and help. Since the chassis on ’58-’64 models were built in an “X” fashion, Jim Meyer provides a centered-pinion housing so your third member will align perfectly through the stock driveshaft tunnel. Other applications may have a centered housing. The photos will show you how minimal the welding can be.
With all kits, you’ll usually have to weld the forward four-link brackets into the chassis. Like this installation, they weld into the forward control arm brackets. The ends of the anti-sway bar tabs also need to be welded, while others may bolt to the chassis.
In some instances, like this installation, some trimming may need to be done, but not with every kit. Here, Jim recommends trimming the edge of the stock coil spring bracket to maintain extra clearance above the four-link bars, and that can be done with a Sawz-All and grinder. Some kits include a forward four-link crossmember, while some housings have the brackets in different locations to accomplish the same thing for your ride.
Everything else bolts together with basic hand tools. Even the stock driveshaft is compatible and can be used with the stock U-joint when mating with third members that provide a matching yoke. Or, you can give them your yoke cup size and they will provide a new U-joint with two different cups sizes to match your existing yoke. Grade-8 fasteners and Nylock nuts and washers along with installation instructions are provided.
The Jim Meyer rear end kits are tailored for your application and the industry popular nine-inch rearend will allow you to find parts available everywhere. All parts are available separately. Your options include third members with any gear ratios, anti-sway bars, different spring rates (at no extra cost), disc brake kits, coilover shocks with double adjustment for rebound-and-compression and Air Ride Technologies remote operated ShockWave air suspension system.
For Your Information:
Jim Meyer Racing Products, Inc.