We are at it again: This time we have selected a '64 Ford Galaxie as our latest late-model project. Apparently Dean Livermore of Hot Rods by Dean in Phoenix wasn't burned completely to the ground putting in the hours building our 2014 AMSOIL/Street Rodder Road Tour '59 Chevy and thought it would be fun to build a full-size Ford. This time we will be using much of the original car but of course we couldn't pass up the chance to use the latest in Ford muscle: a Coyote mod motor chock full of COMP Cams components and topped with an 8-Stack individual port electronic fuel injection. We will be keeping the rearend but freshening it up while using a bolt-in RideTech rear suspension kit (shocks, no airbags), going with a modern overdrive transmission from Hughes, and a combination of CPP and Wilwood suspension and braking components up front.
Over the past few decades only a handful of family names have become synonymous with quality parts in the street rod aftermarket, and Currie is one of them. Frank Currie started in his Southern California garage back in the late '50s rebuilding rearends for golf carts and by the mid '60s Currie Enterprises had found a 5,000-square-foot home in Placentia, California.
With the rise in popularity of off-roading, Currie was at the forefront of developing their own line of super-duty rearend components that could withstand the harsh conditions competitive rock crawlers and off-road racers would put them through.
Frank never lost touch with his hot rod beginnings and, in 1997, drove his '32 roadster to Bonneville, recorded a 205.680-mph run with it, and then drove it back home. After moving in 2011 to a 40,000-square-foot facility in Corona, California, Currie Enterprises is still growing and expanding their product line that now boasts 6,000 part numbers. Brought up in the business, Frank's sons, Charlie, John, and Ray, now run the company, which has a presence at more than 40 events across the country each year.
For many years Currie was known as the place you would take your 9-inch Ford for a rebuild but, with the company now producing nearly every item you would need to do a rebuild, it's usually cost-prohibitive to rebuild an old rear when you could custom order a new one from Currie for less.
But if you're concerned with restoration, or at least keeping the rearend that was in your ride for sentimental reasons, Currie will update it (they don't do “restorations,” per se). It may not be cheaper than buying a new 9-inch from them (especially when you consider shipping costs for the 300-pound rearend). But we wanted the original housing in our hot rod (with new innards) in order to keep the necessary suspension points and brackets in their original position.
For this application, a rear for a '64 Ford Galaxie, Currie installed larger axle bearings, updated the 28-spline axles with 31-spline units, changed from the old style axle bearing to the new larger “Torino” axle bearing, added a new pair of 11-inch drum brakes, and replaced the tired ring-and-pinion with a new 3.70:1 set of cogs. The only thing not replaced was the housing itself, which still had the original leaf spring pads in place. So follow along to see how Currie does it and, keep in mind, we were only able to capture a portion of all the measuring and rechecking of the parts and pieces during the build process—they're obsessed with it!
1. Disassembly of the rear starts with the removal of the pinion snubber, any brake lines, brake line clips, and the rearend's breather tube.
2. After the brake's backing plates are removed Currie measures the distance from a third member mounting stud to the edge of the axle flange. They then transfer that measurement to a computer program that spits out all of the rearend's other pertinent measurements.
3. This is telltale evidence signals you have a Ford 9-inch: The two nuts at the bottom of the third member are removed with an open end wrench because a socket won't fit.
4. On the centersection and next to the ID tag is a raised boss, which is where Ford will eventually have a filler screw so you can add oil, but this rear is an older version, with the filler still on the backside of the housing.
5. Fitting a long socket through the axle access hole you can remove the four nuts holding the bearing retainer plate to the housing and pop each axle out.