What upgrades would you recommend? - Chevelle Tech
Brakes, Suspension & Steering Conversion questions & more.

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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 19, 2:26 PM Thread Starter
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What upgrades would you recommend?

Iím planning to start work on the suspension of my 72 soon, and Iím not sure what upgrades are worthwhile for me. I donít have a big budget, but I want to use quality parts.

What kinds of things would you guys swap out? Iíd like the car to handle as much like a modern one as I can manage.

Iím definitely going to use a quick ratio steering box, and want to lower the car. I also intend to use Wilwood brakes if I can fit it into my budget.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 19, 2:40 PM
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Re: What upgrades would you recommend?

Stiffer springs and a good set of shocks will go a long way on a budget and you can get your lowering done in the process. I used UMI springs and Bilstein shocks which were a dramatic difference from stock. After that, you may want to add sway bars but you can go in steps.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 19, 2:55 PM
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Re: What upgrades would you recommend?

Wilwood brakes? You may want to get those sorted out before thinking about budget. But as for the suspension, rebuilding it stock with Moog parts isn't too bad, the stock suspension is ok, it does have some geometry issues but if you put some sway bars and 17 or 18 inch wheels it handles fairly well on the street, lowering the center of gravity always helps so they have lowering springs and spindles for that, probably your best bet would be to give the UMI guys a call and tell them what you are after and they will steer you in the right direction, those guys are very helpful.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 19, 3:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What upgrades would you recommend?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sampoerna415 View Post
Wilwood brakes? You may want to get those sorted out before thinking about budget. But as for the suspension, rebuilding it stock with Moog parts isn't too bad, the stock suspension is ok, it does have some geometry issues but if you put some sway bars and 17 or 18 inch wheels it handles fairly well on the street, lowering the center of gravity always helps so they have lowering springs and spindles for that, probably your best bet would be to give the UMI guys a call and tell them what you are after and they will steer you in the right direction, those guys are very helpful.
Itís not a super tight budget, Iím just trying to save a few bucks here and there in order to put extra money where I want it, like big brakes.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 19, 5:40 PM
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I’d recommend using the search on this website. Lots of good info. Brakes though Hydroboost and C5 Corvette brakes.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 19, 8:16 PM
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Re: What upgrades would you recommend?

I just redid the suspension on my 67 that had manual drum brakes and here's what I did on a budget :

4 wheel disc brakes from 98-02 Camaro (12" rotors) - you need to have 17" wheels
BMR 1" lowering springs

Jeep Grand Cherokee steering box

1-1/4" front sway bar and 1" rear bar - addco

KYB monotube shocks

All new moog rubber bushings

And to top it off (not needed in your case) , a Strange S60 rear end with S trac helical posi and 3.73 gears
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 19, 8:55 PM
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Re: What upgrades would you recommend?

To start: New springs, shocks and sway bars fore and aft. You will not believe the difference in the ride just with these changes alone.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 19, 10:22 PM
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Re: What upgrades would you recommend?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sputnik View Post
Iím planning to start work on the suspension of my 72 soon, and Iím not sure what upgrades are worthwhile for me. I donít have a big budget, but I want to use quality parts.

What kinds of things would you guys swap out? Iíd like the car to handle as much like a modern one as I can manage.

Iím definitely going to use a quick ratio steering box, and want to lower the car. I also intend to use Wilwood brakes if I can fit it into my budget.
Do you want it to "feel" like a modern car, or do you want it to be capable of cornering speeds of a modern car? Very different things, and very different costs involved.

I've done significant changes to my suspension, front and rear, and it different steps and have taken it out to track days to see the differences.

Replacing all the worn out bushings with new MOOG rubber ones was a huge difference in feel and responsiveness. A fast ratio steering box is another major upgrade. It sounds like your goals will at the least eventually intend for you to change spring rates, so I recommend changing your front springs while you change all your bushings and ball joints.

I'd recommend tall ball joints to fix the geometry. Tubular control arms are kind of a waste of money in most applications, but typically do offer built in caster, which is beneficial.

I like Viking shocks, as they are double adjustable, but most people never adjust the shocks anyways, especially the fronts since they are hard to get to in a conventional spring package. Plus they are more difficult to install as they won't just slide through the lower control arm pocket. I'd say some Koni or Billstein monotube shocks would be fine for your application.

Sway bars are a bit of a placebo. Great bang for the buck for sure. But on the street, without driving well past the point of just being an idiot, you will not load the suspension enough to actually see the improvements. It can be a bit more responsive and the reduction of body roll at the same given speed can help give the "feel" of a modern car though. With stiffer front springs, it will have a similar effect, as it will reduce body roll at the same given speed, so you probably don't need a bigger front bar at this time.

A lot depends on what you have now, which we don't really know. Is it completely stock? Is it worn out? Is it a big block, small block, LS? Manual or auto? What wheels and tires?

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 19, 10:29 PM
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Re: What upgrades would you recommend?

Quote:
Originally Posted by -SS454- View Post
Do you want it to "feel" like a modern car, or do you want it to be capable of cornering speeds of a modern car? Very different things, and very different costs involved.

I've done significant changes to my suspension, front and rear, and it different steps and have taken it out to track days to see the differences.

Replacing all the worn out bushings with new MOOG rubber ones was a huge difference in feel and responsiveness. A fast ratio steering box is another major upgrade. It sounds like your goals will at the least eventually intend for you to change spring rates, so I recommend changing your front springs while you change all your bushings and ball joints.

I'd recommend tall ball joints to fix the geometry. Tubular control arms are kind of a waste of money in most applications, but typically do offer built in caster, which is beneficial.

I like Viking shocks, as they are double adjustable, but most people never adjust the shocks anyways, especially the fronts since they are hard to get to in a conventional spring package. Plus they are more difficult to install as they won't just slide through the lower control arm pocket. I'd say some Koni or Billstein monotube shocks would be fine for your application.

Sway bars are a bit of a placebo. Great bang for the buck for sure. But on the street, without driving well past the point of just being an idiot, you will not load the suspension enough to actually see the improvements. It can be a bit more responsible and the reduction of body roll at the same given speed can help give the "feel" of a modern car though. With stiffer front springs, it will have a similar effect, as it will reduce body roll at the same given speed, so you probably don't need a bigger front bar at this time.

A lot depends on what you have now, which we don't really know. Is it completely stock? Is it worn out? Is it a big block, small block, LS? Manual or auto? What wheels and tires?
That's a good post here folks, you all should read it again.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 19, 5:30 AM Thread Starter
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Re: What upgrades would you recommend?

Quote:
Originally Posted by -SS454- View Post
Do you want it to "feel" like a modern car, or do you want it to be capable of cornering speeds of a modern car? Very different things, and very different costs involved.

I've done significant changes to my suspension, front and rear, and it different steps and have taken it out to track days to see the differences.

Replacing all the worn out bushings with new MOOG rubber ones was a huge difference in feel and responsiveness. A fast ratio steering box is another major upgrade. It sounds like your goals will at the least eventually intend for you to change spring rates, so I recommend changing your front springs while you change all your bushings and ball joints.

I'd recommend tall ball joints to fix the geometry. Tubular control arms are kind of a waste of money in most applications, but typically do offer built in caster, which is beneficial.

I like Viking shocks, as they are double adjustable, but most people never adjust the shocks anyways, especially the fronts since they are hard to get to in a conventional spring package. Plus they are more difficult to install as they won't just slide through the lower control arm pocket. I'd say some Koni or Billstein monotube shocks would be fine for your application.

Sway bars are a bit of a placebo. Great bang for the buck for sure. But on the street, without driving well past the point of just being an idiot, you will not load the suspension enough to actually see the improvements. It can be a bit more responsive and the reduction of body roll at the same given speed can help give the "feel" of a modern car though. With stiffer front springs, it will have a similar effect, as it will reduce body roll at the same given speed, so you probably don't need a bigger front bar at this time.

A lot depends on what you have now, which we don't really know. Is it completely stock? Is it worn out? Is it a big block, small block, LS? Manual or auto? What wheels and tires?
Very helpful, thank you.

I donít push my cars hard, and while it would be cool to take it to the track, Iím not sure I ever would.

The car was someone elseís project that I fell into, so Iím not 100% sure what I have, but it appears that all the wear items up front have been replaced.

The car came with a small block, but Iíll most likely be using a big block with a 700r4 transmission. Coyís 17 inch wheels up front with 18s in the rear, I donít recall what size tires.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 19, 12:09 PM
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Re: What upgrades would you recommend?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sputnik View Post
Very helpful, thank you.

I donít push my cars hard, and while it would be cool to take it to the track, Iím not sure I ever would.

The car was someone elseís project that I fell into, so Iím not 100% sure what I have, but it appears that all the wear items up front have been replaced.

The car came with a small block, but Iíll most likely be using a big block with a 700r4 transmission. Coyís 17 inch wheels up front with 18s in the rear, I donít recall what size tires.
I think the first thing you need to do is diagnose what you actually have on the car. If needed, take some pictures and get help from Team Chevelle's forum. So many on here that are very helpful. Given you are on a budget I think this is a very important step so you can get the maximum bang for the buck.

Get the car in the air and check every bushing and boot covered joint. Check for play in the ball joints. If anything looks suspect, replace it. MOOG stuff is cheap.

Are your upper and lower control arms stock? If stock, check for cracks, particularly on the LCA. Are the bushings good, or have they been replaced? If replaced, are they poly or rubber?

Is the front sway bar stock? Is it even there? Again check the bushings, condition and rubber/poly. If it is there, what diameter is it? A simple way to do this is take an open end wrench and slide it over the bar. Start with a 1" and change till it fits.

Same questions for the rear bar.

Do you have a 10 bolt or 12 bolt? Is it stock? Are there any no-hop bars installed?

Check your rear upper and lower control arms. Are the lowers boxed?

Does the small block have alum heads or iron heads?

When you go BBC, do you plan on alum heads or iron heads?

Is the car a hard top or convertible?

What brakes are on it now? Front and rear

What brand of tires and what sizes are they? Also what condition are they in? Front and rear.

Weight is very very important to a car's handling capabilities. Weight distribution is also important. Engine choice makes a very impact on this.

You say it was someone elses project, so I am guessing the car is not driveable? Please state the condition that the car is currently in, and if you have ever felt the car driving?

I know this is a lot of questions, but to best guide you in a direction of your goals, we first need to know what you have and what your goals for the entire car are. Simply saying go buy XXX kit or whatever is blind advice at this point.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 19, 12:35 PM
 
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Re: What upgrades would you recommend?

Kinda can't go wrong with springs, shocks and sway bars. Around $1k will do it. You can even use 1/2" taller ball joints with stock arms to help it corner.

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 19, 4:14 PM
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Re: What upgrades would you recommend?

Quote:
Originally Posted by UMI Tech View Post
Kinda can't go wrong with springs, shocks and sway bars. Around $1k will do it. You can even use 1/2" taller ball joints with stock arms to help it corner.

ramey
Absolutely !

And I do disagree that sway bars aren't beneficial unless you "really push it."

Big Block cars especially benefit from bigger sway bars. The 70 Chevelle SS came with a front 1-1/4" bar. My 67 SS came with a 15/16" bar.

I know several first gen Camaro owners that said a bigger front sway bar was the most noticeable improvement in handling.

And read the reviews at Summit about the KYB monotube shocks. Almost 5 stars.

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 19, 7:04 PM
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Re: What upgrades would you recommend?

JGK Steering box was the most noticeable upgrade I made on my suspension. Love the tighter T bar.

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 19, 7:19 PM
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Re: What upgrades would you recommend?

You will pay a big premium for the Wilwood name on brakes. There are better deals out there but you do have to be careful as there is a fine line between good and junk. I have been happy with my Aerospace Components front Disc setup and they often have really good deals.

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