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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,
Here's my current situation: I have a very original '69 with the orig. 307, suspension, and PG tranny.

The 307 is not very powerful, but has a fresh rebuild and balancing and runs like a sewing machine. The suspension out right sucks, the thing handles like a school bus on dope. The tranny is sort of cool, but sucks too.

My long-term (stress the word long) goal is to replace the suspension with a complete Global West system w/4 wheel discs. Replace the PG auto with a Richmond 5-speed and Centerforce clutch. Replace the 307 with a 502 BB.

I was considering doing it in that order. Suspension, then tranny, then engine. I have a good amount of money in the 307, and would like to run it for 50,000 more miles before replacing it. If I had the 5-speed behind it and new suspension, it could actually be fun to drive even with the underpowered motor.

Anyone have advice on how to proceed with this plan on a limited budget. What order would you upgrade components in, etc? I've been saving up, and I'm getting to the point of actually doing something with it besides daydreaming.


thanks,
Brian
 

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For long term planning, remember that the same springs you want to use when the big block arrives will not be the same ones you want when you are running a small block.

If you want cheap, easy and fast improvements to the handling, first install anti-sway bars. Addco makes great kits with good sized bars (my 65 has a 1 1/4 inch front, 1 1/8 inch rear) which are of high quality but less expensive than most. Make sure to opt for the urethane front link bushings.

Then also go for wider wheels and good road tires. Spend more money and get GOOD tires. Average tires with anti-sway bars is just a waste of time. I have 69 SS wheels (14x7) with Goodyear Eagle GTs. These are the old good GTs, not the limp crap they make currently. Avoid Eagle GAs, they have no grip at the limit and absolutely no grip in the wet. You want tires with stiff sidewalls. There are some awesome Michelins out there but I don't recall the model name.

Then go for good quality gas filled shocks. I went with Carrera shocks. My fronts are adjustable (60/40, 50/50, 40/60) but I've always left them in the 50/50 setting.

These mods will definitely give you the most bang for your buck in the handling area. If it is a daily driver I would suggest avoiding urethane suspension bushings (more harsh ride, modest improvement for the money spent, need to be replaced more often, etc.) and fancy front or rear control arms. Keep it simple=keep it bullet-proof.

My 65 handles like a sports car, launches hard and straight with no wheel hop. If the suspension is tired, look at replacing the bushings and ball joints. You don't want to put extra stress on tired parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, I forgot to mention wheels, that will be a neccessity for disc brakes anyway. I currently have the original 14" with 215-70 goodyear st's. I'd probably go to a 16" wheel
for the stance and handling I'm after.

I would probably go for Bilstein or Koni shocks. Expensive, but they're awsome. I put a set of Bilsteins on my truck, and that alone made a world of difference.

I am afraid of replacing part of the suspension with new parts, and the added stress causing the remaining old ones to fail. My idea was to buy the new parts as I could, and replace them all in one fell swoop.
 

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You could probably replace all the suspension bushings and ball joints for under $200 if you do taking-apart and putting-together work yourself. You will have to have a suspension shop press the bushings out and in. If the ball joints are original you can chisel off the rivets and bolt in the new ones. If they've been replaced, you can just unbolt them. Pretty cheap repairs which are best done while you have things apart. You do have a ball joint fork, right?

If your tie rod ends are shot you can replace them too for tighter steering, but most of the slop is usually in the steering box. Tie rod ends are usually $20-$25 each (you need four) so they are not too expensive either.

Addco anti-sway bars are usually around $200 each for the whole kit (front or rear) so, again, it is a cheap way to get a great deal of improvement.
 

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If it were me, I would not spend the money for rear disc brakes. You will be amazed how much better things are if you do the front conversion and rebuild the rear drums completely. Use the cash for some of the other mods or wheels and tires or to save towards the BB502. Also, after a lot of soul searching, I went with the 454HO instead of the 502. I wanted one, too, but the $800 difference was hard to justify. for the $800, I got a completely rebuilt TH400, yoke, and converter. I also wanted the stock look, which you get with the 454 mechanical fuel pump vs. the 502 needing an electric. Look over the performance specs in the Chevy Hi Perf catalog for yourself. If you are going for the 502HP 502 package, then disregard. I would love one, too, maybe in the next car, after a few more bank jobs! I knew I wanted a BB and my combo will run around 12.0s according to Elkie and his dyno program, so that is my compromise setup. When I go for 10s in my next car, I'll go all the way!
Regards,
John
 

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It was suggested to not use poly bushings due to the harsh ride. In my experence, I ran polygraphics in the rear for many years and had a great ride. However, when I put them in the front the ride did become harsh. I'd say put them in the rear but not the front. Of course, if you want the very best handling, you should go all the way around. It will handle like it's on rails.

Another thing I did notice after installing the fronts, squeaks and rattles began to appear in earnest. If I were to do it again, I'd do the rears but not the fronts in poly.

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Pat Kelley
66 El Camino, daily driver
67 El Camino, STRIP/street


[This message has been edited by Pat Kelley (edited 01-19-2000).]
 

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66 El Camino 57 Chevy pickup 2004 Tahoe
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Ok, I'm cheap. What I did to my car was put a 1&1/4" front sway bar off a 79 TA Pace Car with longer end links to keep the bar off the tie-rods, and a set of front disc brakes off a 72 Olds Cutlass. Handles and stops great.

Tom
 

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Brian - Rich is right about the BB vs SB springs.
I think you should go with the Global West set-up. I bought the full meal deal, Camaro spindels w/4whl disc, 12:1 steering box, tubular control arms, frt sway bar only, Del-A-Lum bushings, tubular rear bars and Global West springs, etc. My 67 Elcamino takes corners like its stuck to velcro

I'm running a ZZ430HP and a 4L60 tranny from Sallee Chevrolet. This sucker launches straight and true!!! I lost about 100# off the front of the car and added 25# to the middle with the 4L60. Currently I have 3.55 gears and on the freeway at 65mph I'm spooling around 2000rpm, when I stand on it you swear that SuperMan crawled up the tail pipe

The 6 speed may be a nightmare to install, so I've been told

Total cost to upgrade my 67 Elcamino with the ZZ430hp engine, 4l60 trans, and Global West suspension, was around $10,000. This includes the $2000 serpentine system.


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Lowered '67 Elcamino
ZZ430HP / 4L60
"Canyon Carver"


[This message has been edited by Cardiac (edited 01-20-2000).]
 

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Discussion Starter #9
wow, thanks for all the comments. I've been perusing this site for months just absorbing info, but never actually posted about my ideas for my car.
No, I don't have a ball joint fork, but I'll be getting one before I start any operation like this. I'm hoping to do as much of the work myself as I have equipment and know-how for.

Anyone else used the Global West system? I've heard nothing but good things about it. It's looking like it will run around $3500 to $4000 for the complete suspension and brake re-do. If it meets their claim of making a chevelle handle comparable to a late model 'vette, it would be worth it.

The great thing about a chevelle is, one can spend $10k and have a car that will outperform most new cars (with a good BB, I think 'outperform' would be an understatement), and have better looks and more character than any new car on the road.

BTW Cardiac, I'm looking at a 5-speed rather than a 6 speed. I've also heard bad things about installing a 6-speed in the chevelle.

-Brian
 

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I too am trying to save money where ever I can but the Global West system was too great to pass up. Global West's engineering is far superior to the other stuff out there.
Here is what I did:
Rear disks from an early 80s El Dorado.
Front spindles, disks and 1 1/4 inch sway bar from a 79 Trans Am.
Global West upper control arms, Del-A-lum Bushings with offset bar, new tie rod ends - everything needed to make the Trans Am parts work.
Boxed my own rear control arms.
Polygraphite bushings on rear control arms
Added a rear sway bar from Hotchkis (that was an expensive mistake).
New stainless brake lines throughout.
I cleaned, painted and rebuilt all used parts which came from the local pick-a-part.
Rotors were resurfaced and some minor machine work were done free by friend/relatives.
Total cost? $1,500.
Be aware that Global West recommends that when using their suspension you don't use poly bushings on the rear and you don't need a rear sway bar.

Go to their site and read up on it. www.globalwest.net

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1967 Malibu
1967 Impala SS396 Conv.
"Let me show you how the guards used to do it."

[This message has been edited by garyB (edited 01-20-2000).]

[This message has been edited by garyB (edited 01-21-2000).]
 

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OOOPS......on the 6 - I mean 5spd

I had the same reservations when I bought their kit. I know you'll be happy with they're kit. It cost me shhhhh but it cost me almost $4000 with everything including the alignment. BTW they give you a spec sheet to set your caster/camber.
As it sets my 67 Elcamino leaves the new Firebirds & Camaros W-A-Y back there. I haven't had the chance to pic on a vette though. Definatly get the tubular REAR lower trailing arms w/Del-A-Lum bushings, this is what makes the car launch STRAIGHT

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Lowered '67 Elcamino
ZZ430HP / 4L60
"Canyon Carver"


[This message has been edited by Cardiac (edited 01-20-2000).]
 

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Discussion Starter #12
thanks guys, I'm going to print this thread out when it winds down...

any suggestions on wheel brands and backspacing for 16" wheels on a '69? I know nothing about buying wheels, never done it. I don't want flashy or lots of chrome. I'm going for the conservative, as-stock-as-possible look. I was considering plain black nascar-type wheels. they'd give it a more 'business' than 'show' look.
 

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4 (front)late model Camaro wheels I was told they're a little differant than the rear. I'm not sure what year though.
Also get the Koni shocks from Global West, they're price is cheapest I could find at $89ea

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Lowered '67 Elcamino
ZZ430HP / 4L60
"Canyon Carver"
 

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I would ditch the 4 wheel disc idea and only put disc's up front most of the braking is done on the front heck i had my back brakes not working for about 2 years and when we got em working again i didnt' even notice a difference.
 

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Tom and gumball are right about the brakes. If you want good stopping power for now spend the bucks and get a set of shoes from Praise DynoBrake in TX. They're bucks but well worth it.

My unprofessional evaluation is that for normal everyday driving, front disc/rear drum may be more "positive", but for "on the ragged edge" driving these shoes are absolutely awesome. IMHO they outperform a disc/drum setup, but I bought heavier springs, etc, the whole kit. I know I can stop quicker than my friend who has a 68 Camaro SS. His system is in good shape too.
 

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I installed the Global West upper control arms in the front with 12"discs from a wagon.They tell you in the instuctions if you have a rear swaybar to remove it.Go with the fast ratio steering as well.Money well spent...FRED

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One part I didn't see or missed was the center link in the front. My 64 was quite a road show, especially in the snow in Alaska until I replaced the link. I had replaced all the bushings, ball joints and sway bars. I still had the drunken sailor steering until the new center link, then it went straight! Best $100 shipping I ever paid! Year one's got em for $70.
 
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