1963 wagon: Adding TCI clip and 4 link rear. Thoughts, observations, and questions. - Chevy Nova Forum
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Old 18th-May-2009, 03:37 AM   #1
loyter's Avatar

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1963 wagon: Adding TCI clip and 4 link rear. Thoughts, observations, and questions.

Some of you have seen my wagon before. It started as a budget build with an inline 250 and a powerglide along with all original suspension. It was meant to be a driver. Well, that worked for 2 years and then I got bored and decided to upgrade the underside and the engine and trans.

So, I am using the TCI front clip and their 4-link setup on the rear. I am about 3/4 of the way through the process and I thought I'd post up some thoughts.

First of all, the quality of the TCI product is really great. Everything fell into place just as expected. There have been just a few items that I have struggled with. One was getting all the brackets off of the rear subframe rails (not TCI's fault). What a pain. A full 12 hour day was spent just removing all that stuff before I could get the money shot of mounting the TCI brackets.

The 4 link brackets fit perfect, the mounting plates all had perfectly matched holes, and the parts went right together. The front clip went together nearly as easily - although there is much more to the front. The down tubes were a little off when I installed them. I am hoping the fenders line up well.

Downsides of the TCI product: The instruction sheets pretty well suck. They read like this: "Jack car, carefully place jack stands in a safe place, test car once it is on jack stands, install kit." The details, measurements, and photos are poor at best. Most of it is left to the installer to figure out. Also, there is a real dearth of information on TCI's website. I have struggled to find out things like what size/spec are the fittings that go into the rack for the PS lines, what is the max/suggested pressure for the rack, what are the torque specs for each fastener, why are the front springs so long, etc...

Also, I purchased the kit from Tim's Hot Rods on eBay, and the following were issues: 1, I got 4 upper A-arms, 0 lowers. 2, I got 2 right hand subframe connectors 0 left hand. 3, I got a rear sway bar kit for a 1940 ford, not a 1st gen Nova. Each of these was replaced with no questions by TCI. They sent out a shipper and I mailed back the wrong stuff. Great customer service by both Tim's and TCI. (Interestingly, I bought the kit some 4 years ago for my 64 SS but never installed it, and even after all this time, TCI gladly replaced the rear sway bar kit, which was the only thing I didn't discover was wrong until recently.)

As far as the car goes, it's getting a warmed up 350, power steering and brakes, a 200r4, and an original 12 bolt 4:11 posi from a 66 SS, and 16x7 reproduction rally rims. Should be a nice riding machine when it's done.

Anyone here have suggestions on a few things?
What's the widest tire with stock rear openings with the 4-link?
What power steering pump/hoses will work best?
I am trying to keep my original column and I have purchased a column saver, but can I use it with the column shifter?
I am kicking around the Classic Air A/C kit idea, but the $1300 is a lot of cash - if you have one, how do you like it? And, how did you work out the brackets for the compressor?
Were you able to get your exhaust out the back of the car with all the new hardware that hangs under the car?

This is a long post, and if you are still reading, you must be very interested, so here are a couple more observations regarding this project:
1, It will take much longer than you expect.
2, It will cost much more than just the cost of the kit.
3, It is pretty easy, but the steering setup, new headers/exhaust are a challenge as well as the power brake booster/proportioning valve/brake lines arrangement.
4, From the advertisement, the fully equipped 64 SS scored a better slalom time than a 2002 Camaro Z28.
5, The work is hard. Particularly if the work is being done on a running car and not just a shell. Lots of lifting, working under the car, and so forth.
6, The full kit comes with about 75 parts that all need to be prepped and painted or powder coated, so there is more investment - either in time or money.

And finally, here are a couple of photos:

And this was before I tore the car apart this time:
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Old 18th-May-2009, 09:34 AM   #2
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well it looks nice, where is the pics of the 4 link install I wold like (as well as everyone else)to see them, try the kugel linkage to column shift your 200r4 it works great and is only $44, check autozone for the power booster and master cylinder(get it for a 1967 nova disc/drum) and bend you own lines using 12 or14 gauge insulated household wire as templates, easy to bend and cut. don't forget you need to double flare brake lines

Last edited by thmpsn70; 18th-May-2009 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 18th-May-2009, 08:57 PM   #3

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Your definetly right about the TCI front clip. I'm doing one right now on my 63 SS, alot of work time and patients. But, SOOO musch better than the stock front suspension. Definelty worth in in the long run.

Good luck with the build!
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Old 19th-May-2009, 02:48 AM   #4
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Thanks for the responses. I'll try that shifter linkage.

Unfortunately, my camera was missing during the 4-link install or I'd post up some photos of that too.
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Old 20th-May-2009, 08:15 AM   #5

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I did the same install on my 63 a couple years ago, and it works great for me. The only complications were the steering shaft joints didn't work with what I had (not TCI's fault), the instructions for the front, but I already had that covered with a magazine article that did one, and Super Chevy's Nova Handbook. I also have the problem of not being able to run exhaust out the back of the car because of the bar that goes across the underside of the car right where the exhaust should go. I was thinking of cutting it and moving it higher, or putting reenforced loops in it for the exhaust to pass through, but it's just a lot cheaper to run side dumps, which is what I'm currently working on. Other than these small things, I agree that this is a great kit both front and back.
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Old 20th-May-2009, 09:22 AM   #6
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"I also have the problem of not being able to run exhaust out the back of the car because of the bar that goes across the underside of the car right where the exhaust should go."

I cut out that bar(after the initial installation) and made thinner upper and lower bars to replace the tall one. My exhaust should fit between the bars now. I also made the driveshaft loop thinner to allow for the driveshaft to be higher(air ride on the car).
64 hardtop, 63 wagon, 65 wagon

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