Low-Geared F1


I have a 1949 Ford F1 pickup (hope I can sneak in a Ford question). Is there a later differential with higher gear ratios to “speed” things up?


Low gears are a common issue for many early truck owners, as most were used as tools to move stuff and rarely seen as a vehicle for general transportation. In 1949, Ford commonly used gear ratios of 4.27:1 and 3.92:1 on F1 pickups. These are gear ratios that can make modern highway driving difficult or even impossible.

Many convert these trucks over to a more modern 9-inch rear axle that offer a wider range of gear ratios. While the 1957 to 1972 F100 9-inch axle is a close fit, it will still require some modifications, which commonly include shock mounts and sometimes pinion yoke to reconnect the driveshaft.

Another option is to locate a 3:73 higher gear rear axle for the F-1 that was offered from 1948 to 1950. These are a little harder to locate, but they’re out there.

Finally, you could change the gears in your rear axle. There are sources that offer 3:54.1 rear axle ratio gear sets for your truck. If you’ve never done this though, I would encourage you to get the hands-on assistance of someone who is familiar with these axles and how to properly setup the gears.

Wrench Safe,

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

Make a comment:
characters remaining

6 Responses to “Low-Geared F1”

  1. Darren Jeffery

    Hi, In in Australia and New to these old trucks. The ratio in my 52 panel is 4.27:1 but I have fitted an S10 T5 with the gear ratios and the overdrive 5th gear I'm hoping it will have better drivability. I put the ratios into a rev calculator and it looks respect able. So fingers crossed.

  2. Fred Hollen

    Same problem with a 55/56 Dodge C-3 pickup. Any possibility of using an automobile diff?

  3. gary

    8" out of maverick, Granada would work great, 491/2"backing plate to backing plate

  4. Paul arnold

    Have a 46 Chevy 3/4 ton 216 cu in 4 speed never use first (crazy ) that can’t get past 45 mph ?? Without the motor screaming help

  5. James Stevens

    Late model Ford Explorer rear end works well and good gear ratio

  6. HDMania

    As long as you have a welder or a torch or plasma cutter you're good to go..measure your rear end from backing plate to backing plate..use that measurement for a new rear end..plenty of different gear ratios out there to choose from..probably get one from a newer truck..maybe one with disc brakes too..what ever you're comfortable with..use one from a car or truck..