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Rear end swap

4173 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  novaboy009
I have 1978 nova 496bb 400 tranny with a 10 bolt 8.5 ring with limited slip. I'm looking to beef up the rear end. To change it to posi would be around 500 bucks. I read a post from another member that a 77-81 z28 rear end would bolt up. Can anyone confirm this or any suggestions on what I could do. The car is currently just a fun toy and I don't drag race... For now that it is. But I want to do it right where it's going to last without spending an arm n some of my leg. Any help/suggestions would be much appreciated.
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Ajram, im prety sure that a z28 rear is a little longer and wont bolt right up. but i have a few concerns about your post, you said that your rear end is a limited slip, that means that it IS a posi unit. so why would you want to switch it? your 10 bolt 8.5 carrier is an extremely strong rear end, very under rated. dont listen to people that tell you that you need a over rated, overly heavy Dana or Ford 9 inch! your 10 bolt will handle ALOT of horse power, i have a 10 bolt 8.5 rear in my 500 horse power 500+ foot pounds of torque skylark with stock axles, the only thing i upgraded was the posi unit and gears (since i changed out graes anyway).
Wormwood, thanks for reply. I did plan using the 10 bolt. The limited slip doesn't seem to catch all the time though. Could it be worn out. So you think just upgrading to a true posi and some gears I would be set? The axles were also concern I'm glad you mention them. I was going to also get traction bars n some new leaf springs, which I found a place here in st. Louis to get them. Any recommendation on shocks. Ive heard bilsteins n QA1 were good brands. I just want it to hook up, cuz right now i just sit n burn the tires.
2nd gen camaro is too long for a nova by 2" also the perch locations differ from novas. Won't bolt in and is too long. Just upgrade the gears in the rear you have as already posted, it is plenty strong.
use the money you were going to spend on upgrading to a beefier rear to buy caltrack or slide-a-link bars, much better then the old slapper traction bars.
Lets dig a little deeper into your future for the car, you say that you dont drag race now but you may in the years to come. what are your plans for drag racing? a street/strip car? or pure drag car? if you are planning on a 10 second or less drag car, then maybe a ford 9 inch or 12 bolt is a good idea, but if not, stay with the 10 bolt.
I know I said traction bars but I did mean slide a link or cal tracs. Any recommendation on which? It will be street/strip if I do take it that far. Always want to take it out for the Sunday cruise.
To get a street/strip 4th gen to hook, in order of effectiveness (my thoughts):

1) 275/60 15 drag radials. Tallest, widest tires that fit the stock wheel wells. ET Streets, 4.5-5" backspacing rims.

2) Cal-tracs or Slide-A-Links. A lot of people like cal-tracs and they seem to run them in most of the stock suspension heads up classes. I've got slappers and SSM lift bars to work as well.

Usually you can get it to hook with those two things, but if not, continue on:

3) 90/10 front drag shocks - will make the front end come up fast, will not make the car handle very well.

4) Front Moroso Trick Springs - works with the drag shocks to transfer the energy to the rear tires on acceleration

5) Subframe connectors - probably want these if it's any kind of a performance car anyway

If it still won't hook then you can mess with pinion angle, rear shock settings, front tire camber/caster, etc. But if the 1,500 hp outlaw guys can get their mustangs to hook on that tire.......

Last resort is a tub job and some monster slicks. No wheel spin issues ever again.
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Just ordered slide a links, new lead springs and bilstein shocks. Still up in the air about which gear ratio to go with.
Just ordered slide a links, new lead springs and bilstein shocks. Still up in the air about which gear ratio to go with.
Im in the same nova I guess you could I have a 454 with 3.08 drag shocks, springs, and a great set of traction bars. My car hooks like a champ with the combo I have now. But after the I install the edelbrock heads and 612/612 lunati roller cam. On the cam spec it say 3.73 or higher required. I think if I put 3.73 or 4.11 its going to just smoke the tires down. Then again I can really feel the weight transfer even on the street.

Your going to have to match your gears to your engine and transmission if you want the best performance.
i got a eaton carrier with 30 spline axles
new 3.42 gears
upgraded the carrier with stronger springs
mine should be bullet proof up to 600 hp

so i recomend just rebuild your rear

Did you get 90/10 drag shocks? If not, the normal Bilsteins are set up for cars that handle. They will be great for a nice, tight suspension and terrible for getting the weight to transfer to the rear wheels.

Most importantly, what rear tire are you running. A Radial T/A or Cooper Cobra type street tire will go up in smoke regardless of the suspension set up.
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