Comments on this GenIII subframe & suspension - Chevy Nova Forum
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Old 2nd-February-2011, 09:14 AM   #1
chevy406
 
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Comments on this GenIII subframe & suspension

Someone on our local car forum posted this Nova subframe for sale (don't know the price yet though). I haven't seen this lower control arm arangement on a GenIII suspension before. Can anyone comment on this arrangement for street/strip duty in a pretty high power build (anticipate at least 800 whp with my twin turbo 408). Looking for good strength, stability, lighter weight, and increased clearance for routing turbo piping.



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Old 2nd-February-2011, 09:58 AM   #2
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That's an interesting piece. I personally have never seen that type of lower control arm before. Look's nice though. Hopefully someone will have some info for you.
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Old 2nd-February-2011, 12:40 PM   #3
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Looks like a Smith Racecraft drag clip to me.....

John
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Old 3rd-February-2011, 12:54 PM   #4
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I found out this is a Martz subframe. The seller is asking pretty much the same price as anyone can buy it for minus shipping. So I'll probably go with a different subframe that uses OEM style upper and lower a-arms - like Heidts or Alston.
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Old 3rd-February-2011, 10:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chevy406 View Post
I found out this is a Martz subframe. The seller is asking pretty much the same price as anyone can buy it for minus shipping. So I'll probably go with a different subframe that uses OEM style upper and lower a-arms - like Heidts or Alston.
What are you trying to accomplish with the clip changeout? If you want the car to carve corners then I would also look at a Speedtech clip for your 3rd gen.

John
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Old 4th-February-2011, 07:20 AM   #6
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For clarification, this is the Smith Racecraft clip.









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Old 4th-February-2011, 08:42 AM   #7
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WOW that smith clip looks like a friggin' piece of artwork.
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Old 4th-February-2011, 08:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novanutcase View Post
What are you trying to accomplish with the clip changeout? If you want the car to carve corners then I would also look at a Speedtech clip for your 3rd gen.

John
From the look of his avatar I don't think carving corners is his goal. Just an observation.
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Old 4th-February-2011, 08:49 AM   #9
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WOW that smith clip looks like a friggin' piece of artwork.
You got that right. Wow that's beautiful.
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Old 4th-February-2011, 09:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bad69Nova511 View Post
From the look of his avatar I don't think carving corners is his goal. Just an observation.
Well said my friend.
But novanutcase brings up a good point, and one that I hope to gain some insight on - What is my interest in upgrading the front subframe. After 13 years with my street/strip '69, I am converting it to LSx power and adding a couple turbos. My goal is to drive it to the track on pumpgas, knock down a 5.9 1/8 mile ET and hopefully drive it back home. I certainly should be able to generate enough power, but I'll also have to learn how to harness it.
I have nearly completed the LSx conversion, but haven't started on the turbo plumbing yet. Here lately I started looking at aftermarket clips in order to:
  • convert to front steer for more exhaust downpipe clearance on the driver's side.
  • convert to rack & pinion steering for more stability at the drag strip.
  • improve the handling characteristics of my 42 year old Chevy (spoiled by my '99 Corvette daily driver).
  • open up more clearance around the engine mounts and frame to make the turbo plumbing a little easier.
  • reduce some front end weight to offset the 2 turbos & intercooler

The car will still be street driven, and I want it to handle decently on the road, but primary focus for me is at the dragstrip.
I could really use some advice on selecting a front suspension. Thoughts are:
  • buy a Checkers Racing clip ($2,300) and use motor plates
  • buy the local guy's Martz kit (asking $3,500 has upgraded shocks & brakes) and use as-is
  • save up more money and buy a TCI ($4,400), Heidts (3,800), Smith Racecraft (?), SpeedTech ($4,800)
  • Probably won't even consider the Detroit Speed ($6,900) or Morrison ($6k) at my build level.
The Checkers Racing kit is budget friendly, but looks pretty basic and low tech. It would require some fab work on my part, but I think it would really open up some room for the turbo plumbing.
The Martz frame looks like nice quality, and I talked to the owner today. He has used these frames in some high hp and high mph cars with good success. It would be a good fit for my build, but would that design meet "stock style front suspension" rules of some racing organizations like Hot Rod Pumpgas?

You get what you pay for I understand the saying, but I also live in a world of restrained car budget and I always question cost vs benefit. Do I really need the mid level or upper end frame kits? I'm struggling to make a decision but I don't have experience with aftermarket frames. Any advice would be appreciated.

Last edited by chevy406; 4th-February-2011 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 4th-February-2011, 09:42 PM   #11
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My bad on the smith racecraft clip....

You probably should also ask yourself how serious are you and how much performance do you need/can afford to wring out of the clip you are looking at? Stock front end may be able to handle, with a few choice parts, all the duty that you want to throw at it for the level of performance that you are looking for.

Just a thought....

John
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Old 4th-February-2011, 10:44 PM   #12
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You are correct John. The stock clip is no doubt suitable for my needs. I forgot to list modifying the stock clip to my list above. I could enlist some help from a local fabricator (DavidLemmond.com) to help with the heavy welding - my 135 Miller mig probably isn't suitable for chassis welds.
I need to at a minimum rebuild my stock steering box (it has a lot of play). But here lately I have just gotten the bug to convert to front steer for some extra clearance. If I do that, I should also trim down that cross member, and those stock upper a-arms are just too protrusive... Again it comes down to cost vs benefit. I want to ensure safe handling up to maybe 140 mph in the 1/4, and my car just doesn't inspire confidence at even the 110 mph I was previously running in the 1/8. I'll probably just go down and talk to David Lemmond and see what he thinks about modifying my frame vs buying a package.

How serious am I? I've probably gotten in a little over my head with adding more power than can be reasonably used on the street, but it's too late now. After years of nitrous and carburators it's time to try out turbos and fuel injection.

Last edited by chevy406; 4th-February-2011 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 8th-February-2011, 08:56 AM   #13
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After mulling on it over the weekend, I bought the Martz setup pictured in the first post. It includes the upgraded 12" Wilwood brakes, adjustable QA1 coilovers and powder coating, for less than the base kit unpainted from Martz (did a little price negotiating). He brought it over to my house (no $250 shipping charge for me). I can carry around the bare subframe by myself with no problem. Nice weight savings over the stock frame. Unfortunately my family life will have me away for the next two weekends so I can't get it swapped in for a while, and that's OK too.

So for others that come to the same crossroad in their build - for me the decision came down to economics. Like John gently pointed out - how radical am I willing to go and how much am I willing to spend. I'm not building a pro-touring car, and I don't expect to road race it. I want improved handling for street driving, and I want good stability for dragstrip passes. So I "settled" for what I could afford. Let's see how I think 2 years from now. Somebody remind me to re-visit this thread in 2013. I suspect with my son probably in college at that point, I'll still agree with this decision.
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