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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First this is the best car web site I have ever come across. Secondly I'm a newish convert to muscle cars. Prior to now I have been into motorcycles and racing rice rockets. Unfortunatly for the imports it costs $10,000 to add 100hp. Kind of a waste/ripoff. So I now have a 66 chevelle in storage while I wait to find a garage I can use (stupid apartments).

My question is this; while straight line performance is most important being able to turn is nice also. This is going to be a daily driver. The car currently has a 350 with 380ish HP in it, but I have been offered a GREAT deal on a 454 with about 500+hp. My concern is that the additional weight on the front end is going make the handling worse than it already is. Is this a legit issue? Are there inexpensive suspension changes I can make to solve this.
My second question also about handling is what is the best money is no object set up for great handling. And alternatively what is the best money is a big object and I have none, set up i.e. junkyard parts.
Last question is what kind of mileage and drivability differences will I see between A 4 speed muncie and a late model camaro 6 speed. Is a 6 speed pointless with 380+ HP?
Okay and one more question sorry. I also have no rear end (on the car not on me) I know nothing about gear ratio's and rear ends. Where can I learn about rear ends? What do I need to know?

Sorry about all the questions at once but I have alot of planning to do before I start working and spending money and not enough knowledge (in import cars we just pretend to know about cars, and call upgrading an air filter major engine work
.

Thanks in advance for any advice
 

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First, welcome to Team Chevelle.

That is a lot of questions all at once!

For handling, the first step is new bushings, springs, and shocks. There are plenty of each to choose from. From budget to expensive exotic.

For the "money is no object", try Global West. For budget get poly bushings, KYB shocks, a 2nd Gen (70-81) Trans Am front sway bar, and a rear sway bar. You'll find lots of info on this in the Brakes and Suspension forum if you do a search there.

For the transmission and rearend, the Engine & Drivetrain forum is great.

First you need to know what you plan to do with the car. Do you want economy? Do you want to race 1/4-mile? Maybe 1/8-mile? Do you want a compromise between street & strip? Once you've answered these questions for yourself, you'll be ready to ask your question in a way that will give you more useful answers.

There is a lot to learn in this realm. I suggest you read as much as possible in these forums and when you can't find a subject, perform a search. Also find a magazine that you like and subscribe to it. Car Craft is the only one I subscribe to, but I'm biased because there have been a few Team Chevelle members cars in there.

It's good to see a "ricer" convert showing up here. I hope you stick around, and I wish you luck in your upgrades.

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My Elky Page (updated 5-15-01)
"Think for yourself. Don't let popular opinion make your decisions for you."
Chad Landry
TC Member #643
ACES Member #04556
'68 El Camino
 

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I just redid my suspension. I installed it in steps and the biggest difference in handeling came with the front and rear swaybar. The poly bushings did not make a lot of difference, except when replacing ones that had totally fallen apart. new rubber bushinngs would probably feel just as good.

For a budget deal, I'd start with a 1-1/8"+ front swaybar from a trans am, as cjlandry suggested. I'd next try to box the rear arms and get a rear swaybar. KYB shocks are good when using stock springs.

As far as the big block, it will add 100+ Lbs to the front end. This will effect your front to rear weight distribution. You can compensate somewhat by getting big block front springs, but the weight is still there and I'm sure you'll feel it.

But 500HP might be worth it, especially if your getting a good deal. It will probably still have a better weight distribution than your typical front drive ricer (55-60% front vs. 60-65% front).


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Charles Perrell
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65 malibu SS Convertible
283 2v powerglide
 

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Welcome, and may your Chevelle prosper under the guidance of Team Chevelle! You will find that there are a lot of people like me (middle aged gearhead) who love to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for American musclecars.

O.k., since you profess to be limited in wrenching experience, here is how to put your unbridled enthusiasm to work:

1) repair any safety components that need attention before proceeding with any mods. Good functioning brakes are important before all else (on par with the importance of good tires). Next would be to repair or improve steering - I.E., a modern quick ratio steering box to replace your original.

2) Now you need to make some decisions about power - and I gotta tell you that I've never met anybody who regretted big blocking their Chevelle. Cubic inches make for cheap and reliable horsepower. If weight still concerns you then install aluminum heads when you get the cash.

3) As stated in previous replies to this topic you should spend some time reading over the different topic areas of this site. Read, and then reread the more technical postings - some of this stuff has to be read a few times before it makes sense.

4) Really, the ultimate outcome will depend on two interrelated items: what do you want this Chevelle to do, and how much are you willing to spend to get there? Decide upon a realistic budget and make the outcome fit into your means. Do not forget the swapmeets and newspaper classifieds in your quest to get the maximum result for the least bucks - if you can be patient, you can find deals.

Past that, the infusion of more modern tires, brakes, steering and suspension will have an amazing difference in your Chevelles
road manners.

Just remember that a huge portion of Team Chevelle cars are works in progress, and that many members will learn from the postings that you will make as issues arise.

So let me start with a few of your questions. Six speed vs four speed: if you are willing to do what it takes to install the six speed you will get the advantage of a transmission with two overdrive gears (fifth and sixth), what this means to you is that you can run a numerically taller differential ratio (like a 3.73 or 4.11), yet still cruise down the highway with your engine loafing along in sixth, yet you will still have good gearing for acceleration at the dragstrip through the first four gears.

Now as to choosing rear end ratios there is much to say, but it can be greatly simplified at this point: first you need to know what the power curve of your engine is like - so naturally you need to settle some engine details before you can start to choose a gear ratio. Ultimately for dragstrip action you will want to choose a ratio that has your engine within 500 rpm grater than max hp rpm as your Chevelle is going through the traps at the 1/4 mile. the idea in very simple terms is to lay down as much hp as possible over the 1/4 mile distance. Do not forget that tire diameter plays a very important part in this equation.

I say with a little time and effort, Team Chevelle will have you living up to your UserName.




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"Bomber" '67 El Camino, Beater comes back to life.
Was 350/TH350 14.90 @ 93mph, 360,000+ miles on car
Now 406 roller, 340rwhp, more hp coming, 3.08 gears
Street radials, left in drive, 13.20 [email protected] mph
 

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