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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The next big step on my '66 will be buying the suspension parts. I almost have the body off and then the frame rebuild will be fully underway. I'd like to get my suspension parts ordered up so I can keep the project going timely as possible. I have kind of focused in on the UMI Stage 4 setup but I am wondering if I am getting too overkill? The car will be street only, no drags or auto cross. I'm trying to make this a really nice driver with muscle.

Any suggestions?
 

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I'm currently running only UMI front and rear sway bars and two inch lower BMR springs (but stock weight carrying capacity) on stock upper and lower control arms set to 1973-75 Monte Carlo alignment specs. Stock upper and lower rear control arms, both unboxed. High quality but generally stock gas-filled shocks, no coil overs. Steering through a junkyard-acquired 1995-98 Jeep Grand Cherokee steering box with a new Dorman 31011 rag joint. All new but stock front bushings, ball joints and tie rod ends, etc. All bushings are rubber, not poly. Stock ride height spindles.

Lovin' how it feels, drives and takes corners with almost no body roll and no squeaky bushing sounds. And I didn't spend Fort Knox amounts of money doing it. A lot of this was simply replacement of 50 year old worn out parts that needed to happen no matter what my goals were. Yea, I'm street only. I just drive and never smoke tires or race - and I'm very happy with the stance.

Rick
 
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1968 Malibu sport coupe, 489 ci. 590 hp 600 tq, RV T-400 Freakshow 3200 stall, 3.73 12 bolt posi
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IMO you can't go wrong with UMI parts, I'm using Speedtech tubular upper & lower A arms, Proforged steer kit & BJ's, UMI front sway bar, gas shocks all around, rear parts are 70 F41 & boxed lower arms with ES poly bushings But I used HD stock springs and made the ride pretty Harsh...like 1/2 ton truck Harsh, rides like a New truck though :ROFLMAO:
 

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Ryan
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For a strictly street car you could probably step down to a stage 2 and save yourself some money. Money spent on suspension for street cars have a diminishing return after a certain point. But if you want the clout (which I understand) get the coil overs. Ease of ride height adjustment too.
 
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For a strictly street car you could probably step down to a stage 2 and save yourself some money. Money spent on suspension for street cars have a diminishing return after a certain point. But if you want the clout (which I understand) get the coil overs. Ease of ride height adjustment too.
Agreed with everything here, but might step up to a Stage 3 with adjustable rear arms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
How much drop? I am hoping that a 1" drop will be enough to get some advantage for steering alignment/performance and I am concerned that going lower would start to get me too low. I don't want header dragging problems or scrape over every driveway entry.

I am leaning toward the Stage 4 because I really like the thought of being able to set the ride height am looking at this as a buy once cry once moment.
 

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Whatever you do I suggest stepping up to shocks with adjustable rebound damping. Unless you're racing, you can skip the double adjustable as you rarely need adjustablce compression damping. But being able to dial in the rebound can yield good ride and handling. These's a sweet spot in rebound damping that is worth looking for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It will be a BBC 520hp, manual trans (have an M21, but considering an Auto Gear or TKK), GM car 12-bolt on 15s with front and rear disk brakes. Not sure on tires yet, but something kind of old schoolish. Probably Rally wheels with 7s up front and 8s in the rear with somebody's radials. I'm going for old school day-2 hot rod Chevelle.
 

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-Make sure you use Delrin bushings on all control arms except the upper rear on the rear end side, just use rubber there. Don't let anybody talk you into Poly. There good for sway bar bushings but that's about it.

-You want every control arm adjustable except for the front lower. The front lower should give you one degree of positive caster.

-Use spherical control arm bushings on the rear. Spohn has some of the nicest rear control arms I ever seen and they're very reasonable. There called Del Sphere.

- BMR springs. I like the one inch lower in the front with 2" lower in the back. Thats right lower in the back. This puts the car at a perfect stance.

-No rear sway bar needed.

-Use a Helwig front sway bar.

-I used SPC front control arms with .9 tall upper ball joint and .5 lower tall ball joint. The tall ball joints are important to fix the camber issue.
The spindles that come on GM A body's are very strong and have a nice KPI of 7.5 to 8.5. Put about 7 degrees positive caster with zero to maybe a 1/4 degree of negative camber and you'll have a great handling car that stays on the road with a comfortable feel. Don't use a lot of negative camber, it will have your car going from side to side you will be continuously correcting it.

I find correcting pull with more positive caster on the side its pulling to. However, if your car is drifting or lightly favoring say the right because of road crown, put slightly more negative camber on the side its favoring. You don't want a lot of camber on a street cruiser never go over a quarter degree. It's not needed with positive caster numbers like +7 or +8.


- One of the most important things on a car is the steering box. Dont cheap here. Call Lee suspension. Order one of their new, blueprinted, 800 Series boxes with either a 14:1 ratio or the 12.9:1 ratio. I like the 14:1 because I like to use the Grant, three hole, 13" steering wheel.
I ordered my box with a 30 pound torsion bar. This is a very important step! My 69 el Camino has an excellent feed back much like a manual steering box but its very fast and parking is easy but it does have take a little oomph. I like pulling into a cruise and having to man handle the steering wheel when parking. It's nothing near like a manual box but it's no one finger deal either.
You will love the way your car handles and feels. Its been four years since I did my car and I'm still thrilled about it! Having adjustable uppers makes tuning the alignment so much fun! I have my car set uo just the way I like it.
Who sells Delrin bushings?
 

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It will be a BBC 520hp, manual trans (have an M21, but considering an Auto Gear or TKK), GM car 12-bolt on 15s with front and rear disk brakes. Not sure on tires yet, but something kind of old schoolish. Probably Rally wheels with 7s up front and 8s in the rear with somebody's radials. I'm going for old school day-2 hot rod Chevelle.
If you're going for a Day-2 hot rod look, I'd stay away from the tubular arms & coil overs. They'll be overkill on this car & won't adhere to the build theme. Stick to stiffer springs, hi performance shocks, upgraded sway bars & a good disc brake system. Rebuild all the steering linkage, plus the arms with moog bushings & ball joints. You'll save yourself a bunch of cash in the process.
 

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1969 Malibu
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Im not sure if you’re on a budget or not. If you are, may you consider CPP’s Stage II pro touring kit and upgrading to rear adjustable coil overs. I went that route as my goals were the exact same as yours other than I may autocross once a year. I also upgraded to a fast ratio steering box. I absolutely love the stance and it just wants to eat up back country roads. To save almost 2k was worth it for me over a more expensive brand. I also am running 15x7 rally’s up front and 15x8’s in the rear. When I called to order I just asked to upgrade to the adjustable rear coil overs.

 

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Im not sure if you’re on a budget or not. If you are, may you consider CPP’s Stage II pro touring kit and upgrading to rear adjustable coil overs. I went that route as my goals were the exact same as yours other than I may autocross once a year. I also upgraded to a fast ratio steering box. I absolutely love the stance and it just wants to eat up back country roads. To save almost 2k was worth it for me over a more expensive brand. I also am running 15x7 rally’s up front and 15x8’s in the rear. When I called to order I just asked to upgrade to the adjustable rear coil overs.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but every part CPP sells is a chinesium knock off part that companies like UMI, Hotchkis, Global West, BMR etc spend a ton of money on research & design. UMI is here answering questions and offering guidance. Have a problem with a CPP part, good luck getting someone on the phone. Put your trust in CPP's cheap ball joints, not this guy.

I understand we all have budget restrictions, but steering, braking & suspension parts are not the places to cut corners on chinese junk, IMO.
 

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1969 Malibu
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Please don't take this the wrong way, but every part CPP sells is a chinesium knock off part that companies like UMI, Hotchkis, Global West, BMR etc spend a ton of money on research & design. UMI is here answering questions and offering guidance. Have a problem with a CPP part, good luck getting someone on the phone. Put your trust in CPP's cheap ball joints, not this guy.

I understand we all have budget restrictions, but steering, braking & suspension parts are not the places to cut corners on chinese junk, IMO.
None taken.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I don't have an unlimited budget, but that's one of the reasons I intend to do everything I can do on this build. I want this car capable of hot lapping an auto-cross course for fun, be a solid street machine, and reflect it's old school heritage. I'll be 70 early next year and I want this car to send shivers down my spine when I fire it up.

I will be stiffening/boxing the frame, adding rear disk brakes, replacing all of the steering components, as part of the plan already. After reading these thoughts and comments it makes me wonder about how any of this discussion about suspension components might change, if I wanted it to be capable of auto-cross?
 

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With all the suspension improvements your looking at you may want to investigate the available tires in your wheel size, no sense loading up on all that suspension goodness and run a tall sidewall “all season” treaded tire.

A quality tire is the best and most cost effective money spent on improving handling.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
With all the suspension improvements your looking at you may want to investigate the available tires in your wheel size, no sense loading up on all that suspension goodness and run a tall sidewall “all season” treaded tire.

A quality tire is the best and most cost effective money spent on improving handling.

Good luck!
I am very open to suggestions and I'm also going to look at some wheel options too.
 

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I have the full on Hotchkis package on my 66 and if I had to do it again I’d go much closer to stock. My 67 convertible had all stock rebuilt suspension and i added front and rear sway bars. It rode like a dream compared to my 66 which is VERY stiff.
 
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