Want opinions on suspension rebuild/upgrade - Chevelle Tech

Brakes, Suspension & Steering Conversion questions & more.

 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 04, 2:47 AM Thread Starter
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I'm about to drop a big block in my '65 Malibu conv, and would like to rebuild (and upgrade)the front end before doing so. The car has front disc brakes from a later Chevelle and it will have a 1 1/4" front sway bar I picked-up at Pomona. Hotchkis 1901F front springs (recommended for a small block, is this a problem?). New stock replacement rear springs, and I plan to box the rear control arms and add a 1" rear sway bar.

I'm considering a polygraphite front end rebuild kit ffrom Performance suspension... ball joints, control arm bushings, inner/outer tie rod ends, and a idler arm. I'm not familiar with their products. Do they have a good quality reputation? Are new tie rod sleeves a necessary upgrade?

I'm also planning to install a new centerlink, and a NAPA #51639 quick ratio steering box (as seen in other posts). Would there be a benefit to using a 1978 Trans Am box instead of the previously listed Chevelle box?

Any suggestions for body mounts, rubber/polygraphite? A source for them?

My goal is to improve the handling and driveability of the car for my girlfriend who will be driving it.

Thanks in advance.

Wes
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 04, 7:33 AM
 
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Check out www.bmrfabrication.com

I am going with Prothane bushings. I am not a big fan of PST.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 04, 9:19 AM
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You need to go with energy suspension comes with all you bushing including Body Bushings. And order PST hardware Suspension Kit that has all you tierods and balljoints are just go to you local autostore to pick themup you will still come out about the same price.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 04, 11:12 AM
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i have the pst kit you decsribed very nice with moog ball joints and tie rods. i would think about poly body bushings. they add harshness to the ride. i am going to take mine out and go back with rubber. i used poly suspension and rubber in a camaro i did last summer and my choice for those, was based on what i learned the my lemans.
i can assure you with 1 1/4" front bar and 1" rear and the hotchkis springs your car will handle very flat and carve the roads. i would go with some ias eddy shocks or bilstiens to further inhance setup. i have a feeling you will be replacing the rear springs in the future

i cant speak specifically about your box but i went with a arg box close ratio and it is great. i would suggest a good pump. arg minimum. i used a krc pump that allows me to control the flow to the pump so i dont have that mushy easy steering.

i feel you will be ok with the springs and the big block. i have small block heavy duty srpings with my big block and it sits nicely. i also have 2" drop spindles so if you check out the picks you will know why it is almost in the weeds. i probably should have used shorty headers...my bad. hope that helps.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 04, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to all who replied.

Mr. GTO, thanks for the link; their rear control arm sets are tempting. Regarding the suspension kit, the company I was referencing was Performance Suspension Components www.performancesuspension.com not P-S-T. Have you ever heard of them?

Chevyboy, I was considering Energy Suspension; I used them on a '63 Nova SS conv I used to have, but I never quite beat the squeaking problem, and I did use plenty of their lube. I did notice, however, that Summit had # ENS-3-3117G, that were graphite impregnated. They are being considered.

67Lemanster, did you use the kit from www.p-s-t.com ? If so, how long has it been on your car. Was the ride with the poly bodymounts just too rough, did it cause the body to rattle over bumps? I'm kinda leaning towards rubber body mounts for the reason you mentioned, but I'm a little concerned about their long term durability.

Regarding the 1978 Trans Am steering box vs. the NAPA quick ratio box, does anyone have an opinion? Thanks again, Wes
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 04, 2:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by wes migletz:


67Lemanster, did you use the kit from www.p-s-t.com ? If so, how long has it been on your car. Was the ride with the poly bodymounts just too rough, did it cause the body to rattle over bumps? I'm kinda leaning towards rubber body mounts for the reason you mentioned, but I'm a little concerned about their long term durability.

wes yes you are correct(performance suspenions) and that is the company i used. if i were to do over again i might do a little different. just because i can find the parts cheaper. if you get ball joints, tie rods ends, center links from a race shop like afco or speedway motors however theres is complete and you might only save around 50 to 75 bucks but you know its right. make sure you dont get the kit with the sway bar stuff because it wont fit you big as bar.

the kit has been on the car for around 2.5 years and everything seems to be holding up good. its hard to explain the body bushings without riding in the car expecially that i can now compare apples to apples with the camaro. but yes they just dont have any give on small bumps in the road and you can feel it through the seat. mine wanna squeek but that seems more dependent on weather, ie: hot outside.

i also used the hotchkis rear arms with adjustable uppers which is needed if you lower the car any mount over an inch to correct pinion angle.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 04, 2:51 PM Thread Starter
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67Lemanster, thanks for the follow-up. I'm really leaning towards the rubber bushings. My '70 SS had aluminum bushings back in '89; I don't remember the ride bothering me, but I was 18 at the time. My 'vette has some old Ansen traction bars that mount on the rear and bolt to the frame. Not bad until you hit bumps... kinda reminds me of how I remember the '70 SS, which is a bit rougher than I'm looking for.

I'll be heading to NAPA during my lunch break to price tie rods, ball joints, etc. If I order bushings or a kit, I'll probably doing it this afternoon. Thanks again, Wes
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 04, 3:25 PM
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wes i went to www.afcoracing.com and found a center link of 44. idler arm 24. outer tie rod ends 15. that will give you an idea. i thought for some reason your car was a 69. i dont know if they have stuff for a 65 but i bet it is worth the call. i remember i got my center link from napa and it was like 65. anyway just a thought. then the suspenion bushings are usually what 50 bucks max. might help you save some cheese. tommy
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 04, 3:40 PM
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Wes

I have a set of Moog springs for a big block with AC sitting in my garage. I can dig-up the part no. if you're interested in them. I suppose they could be cut-down to whatever size you need (they are about 17 inches tall). You may have them for free if you can use them. I'd prefer to not have to hassle with shipping, however. They have maybe 2000 miles on them at best.

Tim
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 04, 4:32 PM Thread Starter
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Tim, Thank you very much for the offer. I'm going to try the Hotchkis springs I have first. If the car is too low due to the big block, I'll take you up on your offer.

Lemanster, thanks for the link. I went to NAPA (on Normandie in Gardena) and ended-up buying everything but the control arm bushings and centerlink (they didn't have a listing for it). It wasn't much more than a mail order kit, all lifetime guarantee. The tie rods, idler arm, and ball joints were all Dana. I went with a '78 Trans Am steering box; the core was a bit pricey, though.

Just called PAW and they had the black energy suspension bushings in stock. Looks like I'm all set to tear into the front end this weekend. Thanks again to all who replied. Wes
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 04, 12:48 PM
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Wes, I don't know if you've seen my posts, but I did real close to what you are considering on my '70. I think you'll have a very stable, tight handling machine when you are done, not a rough ride either.

As 67lemanster said, combine this stuff with a good set of shocks. I've used the PST stuff many times over many, many miles and have never had any trouble with them. In fact, they sent me the wrong parts and quickly rectified the problem when I called - I highly recommend them.

Good luck!
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 04, 5:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by mrgto:
Check out www.bmrfabrication.com

I am going with Prothane bushings. I am not a big fan of PST.
I second that from experience. I have all prothane and BMR suspension. The stuff is nice and the fixed upper and lowers for the rear already are designed to improve the pinion angle without using adjustables up top. Really nice stuff
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 04, 2:34 AM Thread Starter
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Xtreme70SS396, I read through many posts to get a feel for what people used and liked. I'm hoping for a nice, stable ride. I already have KYB shocks, so I'll use them for now.

Zefhix, I really liked the looks of those BMR control arms. I may upgrade to them in July. For now, I'm gonna rebuild the front end, and I'll also be replacing all the wear parts in the brake system with new; the car already has later Chevelle front disc. If the BB swap goes fairly smooth, I'm going to try the body bushings and rear control arms in July.

Thanks again to all who replied. Wes
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