Speedway motors gasser front ends - Chevy Nova Forum
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Old 20th-October-2012, 02:41 PM   #1
rjy

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Speedway motors gasser front ends

Has anyone used this front end and if so what do you think of its ride and quality. Was it a complete bolt in and how easy was it to set up. Also how complete was this unit at the price listed and how much more do you have to spend on extras.http://www.speedwaymotors.com/1962-6...Kit,64330.html

Last edited by rjy; 20th-October-2012 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 22nd-October-2012, 03:28 PM   #2
Vinco

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No offense, but one doesn't install a gasser-style front end for the excellent ride
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Old 22nd-October-2012, 03:38 PM   #3
64IIGolfLover
 
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Looks pretty sweet to me. $1500 bucks, seems like a good deal, but they are on back order.
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Old 22nd-October-2012, 05:58 PM   #4
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None taken, Just want to know if it more trouble then its worth. Always loved the look but never driven a car with a straight axel. I would think anytghing new would have to be better then the stock combo they put under these things from the factory.
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Old 23rd-October-2012, 07:39 AM   #5
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Sprint cars have straight axles and they seem to perform quite well. If you set up the angles correctly and stiffen it you will have a comparatively controllable ride. Now if you raise the front then things are not going to handle the way you may want for the street but down low at normal ride height you will be surprised. Just like with our antiquated rears, straight front axles are quite capable when set up properly.
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Old 23rd-October-2012, 02:13 PM   #6
Dan_Lockwood

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I cannot speak directly about Nova's handling with a straight axle, but I do have some experience with solid front axle setups.

I had a '40 Willys coupe I built with a 4" dropped front tube axle. It ran coilovers and had a new Flaming River Vega steering box. It was a rear steering setup and had your normal drag link and tie rod setup.

I changed a few things trying to reduce the angle of the drag link from the pitman arm to the right front steering arm. The flatter the drag link is at normal ride height, the less the bumpsteer.

Most kits today have one lower steering arm on each side. The right side steering arm usually has two holes. The inside one is for the tie rod from arm to arm and the rear hole is for the drag link to attach.

What I did on my Nomad Gasser was I purchased a second steering arm and mounted it to the top two bolts on the spindle. This let me run the drag link above the front leaf spring and the drag link was parallel with the tie rod and had I kept the Nomad and not sold it, it would have been a pretty good handling car, considering it was a straight axle setup.

Dan's '55 Nomad Gasser Pictures

Here are some pictures of the work I did on the Nomad and front straight axle.

The axle kit I had on the Nomad came from Bill Merlock in Arcadia CA. He's been making straight axle kits since the '60s and came highly recommended. At the time I did the Nomad there was only one other available, MAS up in MN and they did not have a good rep for larger cars.

Bill had a great kit and his tube was the same as most others now, but when he made the tube and prior to welding on the kingpin housings, he took a piece of 3/8" bar stock and pressed it into the end of the tube all the way through to the other end. This bar stock now turned the round tube kind of into an "I" beam. He said that for the weight of a '55 Chevy, you do not want to bend your tube axle. I thought that was a great idea and the thing that sold me on him as my vendor. He also worked with me on extra parts like steering tubes that I could tap myself and make my own steering links.

On my Willys, which I drove 16k miles in two summers including one 6300 mile trip from MI to CA via Bonneville, it handled and drove very well. This car only had a 100" wheel base and was a bit choppy, but even a IRS front end with 100" wheel base and my weight distribution would have been a bit rough.

I set it up with caster only as the camber cannot be set without a frame machine. So if it's built with the kingpins at the correct angle, caster is all you have. Okay, you still have toe in to adjust, but every car has toe in, not just straight axle setups.

I played with the caster and finally ended up with 6 degrees positive. This allowed it to track great going down the road and I found it was easy enough to steer. There several times during my 6300 mile trip that I was well over 120 mph and it never once gave me any indication of looseness or that it was not stable at that speed.

So after that experience I felt the Nomad would be a good candidate for a gasser. With an additional 15" wheel base over the Willys, it should have riden quite nicely, relatively speaking...

I would not hesitate to do a Nova gasser and that is exactly my plan on my '62. Also if you flip the steering to the front, you can get the steering linkage out of the way of the pan. I would also use the Flaming River box as it was very easy to setup.

As a side note on steering boxes. When setting up my Nomad from scratch wtih the Flaming River Vega box, it had about 3.5 turns lock to lock. When I started to do the setup with the pitman arm and steering linkage, I took whaterver the exact turns lock to lock were and split the difference. That then became my straight ahead steering setting. I notied that with the frontend off the ground, it was a bit loose in the center and if I turned it about 1/4 turn it got a bit stiffer, or it had a tighter feel. The other direction off center by a 1/4 turn did not give the same feel. I called Flaming River and they set me straight. They said that "ALL" boxes have a slight high grind that is usually at center or just a bit to one side or the other. This high grind is the slightly tighter feel that I felt. They told me to move my straight ahead to the tighter spot and adjust from there accordingly.

Most of the straight axle frontend kits do not have spindle hard stops to stop the spindles in the lock left or lock right position. These will have to be made up and welded in when you have the frontend all setup. You want the spindles to stop in full turns, not the steering box.

Okay, that got WAY out of hand with my original "short" thoughts. Sorry for the rambling again, again, again, sorry!!!

If you have any questions that I might be able to help you with, let me know and do take a look at the Picture trail link to my photos. I also have about 100 more build pictures of the Nomad, but only uploaded the more relavent ones to my Picture Trail Nomad album.

Thanks for putting up with me...
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Old 23rd-October-2012, 06:22 PM   #7
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Check out BzRods.com. Better than speedway clip with the speedway accessories as a weekend bolt on.Took me 3 months (working after hours)with everything ready. Down the track it's great, City driving it sucks, But the attention it attracts is cool. I have 7500 miles on mine since the build and most in town




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Old 23rd-October-2012, 08:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan_Lockwood View Post

Okay, that got WAY out of hand with my original "short" thoughts. Sorry for the rambling again, again, again, sorry!!!
Dan, that was a lot of good info there!
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Old 24th-October-2012, 01:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baddbob View Post
Dan, that was a lot of good info there!
Thanks.

I've not been a member here very long and the actual Nova stuff is overwhelming me. I do have many years of just your average car experience and that's gotten me through a lot of rough times trying to make my own stuff.

As an example on the Willys, there were no reasonably priced headers available for fender well installation. I bought BBC 2" fender well headers uncoated from Speedway for $199. I bought the 3/8" flanges and pre-welded stub 2" tubes from Headers By Ed. I had to basically cut the top four tubes off at the first bend above the collector and reroute them and cut and add pieces here and there to make them fit my application. I learned a lot about tubing, cutting and welding on those babies...

But having a need usually presents a solution and I try to do as much myself as I can.

I like the looks of the Nickey straight axle frontend very much. If I get to the point on the Nova project, I'll probably try to make my own front sub frame similar to the Nickey unit.

There are a lot of very talented people on this site. Smokinbill sent me his link to his photos and he has a VERY nice gasser there. The work is excellent and I like the low key look, not many frills, just business.

Very nice thread and I look forward to more input. I eat this stuff up. I turned 63 last weekend and I have to be a bit discriminate on what information I log into my brain. I cannot afford to move out other important stuff for new stuff. But I think the Nova stuff will need a new folder started in my brain.
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Old 28th-October-2012, 12:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
The axle kit I had on the Nomad came from Bill Merlock in Arcadia CA. He's been making straight axle kits since the '60s
I'm guessing you mean Tom Medlock of Artesia, CA.
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Old 28th-October-2012, 01:35 PM   #11
Dan_Lockwood

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Originally Posted by bowtie0069 View Post
I'm guessing you mean Tom Medlock of Artesia, CA.
Hey, cut me some slack... I'm older than dirt, I have grey hair and it's been more than a week ago that I bought the frontend from him. I at least gave enough information that you got the jift of who I bought from..... I had "some" of the letters correct. He's IS from California, I got that right anyway.

All kidding aside, thanks for updating incorrect information. I could have looked at the receipts I kept on the purchase, and I was not even going to try to list a name and city. Good think I did now.

"Tom" was great to work with and knows his stuff like no one else I bumped into doing that project.

On a lighter car like the Nova, I don't think I would be concerned about using the Speedway kit. I would do my research before hand and ask the right questions when I ordered. They do have lots of variables in track widths, which have just been available for a few years.

But if you have ANY doubts about specifications or application and need experience, Tom Medlock in Artesia CA is the guy to go to. He knows it all and have a high quality setup.

Thanks Bowtie for the correction! You may have helped someone big time with the right information on Tom.
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