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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All! First time poster!

Anyways, I traded a 95 v6 mustang with 250k miles for a 1974 Nova "SS" a couple years ago, and its been sitting in my garage ever since.
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Rusted out pretty bad, missing some parts, but in my newby opinion not too far gone. I didn't want to start wrenching on it until I had a rough idea on what I would have to do to get it on the road. Once in a while I would put a part or 2 on a credit card and pay it off slowly to build credit and to slowly prepare myself for project. Upon one of my random trips out to the garage to plan the next step, I noticed some pretty shoddy repair work to the subframe near the suspension. Not to mention it has the original ball joints as well as the rest of front end.

Well, now I have an opportunity to buy a 1971 subframe with newer tubular A arm suspension, wilwood brakes, powersteering components all together as one pre-built kit. More importantly not patched up. The gentleman thats selling it is building a pro street, and is buying a ready to roll tubular front end kit, so he offered to sell me his old one

Will my big question is would the 1971 frame bolt on as a direct replacement for a 1974 frame? I know bumper mounts would need to be replaced. But is there anything else that I would have to change to make it work?

Eventually once I start wrenching on it I will start a thread on the resto!

Thanks for the help in advance!
 

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I believe that these subframes are largely the same from 68-74. The engine mounts are a little different but that shouldn’t be too big of a deal. The suspension setup is the same basic setup for 68-74 as well. The 75-79 subframe is a whole different animal..
 

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Just be aware you will run into "small" things here and there. The body mount bushings are different '73 - '74, GM changed steel line routing, stuff like that. Not anything to keep you from swapping the subframes, just takes awareness as you are replacing parts and getting things dialed in. People have done this many times over the years.

Another word of caution... the subframe bolts on these love to break, especially in the worst locations. Soak everything with a good penetrant way in advance to disassembly. Might have to use heat. Replacing the subframe cage nuts on these can be a big job. The gentleman building the '70s Omega here has some good pics of that process.
 

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Has anyone swapped a '75 or later subframe on a '68-74 vehicle? Seems like it might be worthwhile for the improved front suspension geometry, but maybe there are better ways to skin the cat.
 

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You will need to use motor mounts for a 68-72, as the 71 frame will not have the added metal tab on the frame for the 73-74 clamshell style motor mounts. You will need frame mounts and engine mounts that match together as there are two different types of frame mounts for 68-72, and also different from Small Block and Big Block.
As far as the front bumper mounts, all you have to do is cut and drill the mounting holes into the 71 frame, use the 73 frame for the locations. You might also have to drill new mounting holes for the rear crossmember, again use the 73 frame for locations.
That is what I had to do to put a 73-74 subframe into my Son's 72. Really easy to do.
Here is some good info on the motor mounts for 68-72 Novas. The site talks abot 67-69 Camaro's, the 68-72 Novas use the same subframe as the first gen Camaros.

If you need help, I have some pics of the subframe I did for my son's 72.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you to everyone for the advice!!

Sort of hit a snag today though... So the gentleman who was going to sell me his rolling Subframe was given an estimate of 16 weeks until the new tubular frame would be ready to ship. Well, by May he wanted to be cruising around and on the track, not tearing down understandably. So now he is limbo on what to do. Maybe it's for the best, as my car needs a lot of body work, and subframes something that can wait till after.

I did look into a local parts yard, and they had a few 70s, 71s, and 72s, so maybe I'll have to go that route and take a non mangled stock subframe and upgrade one myself. Till I'd replace all the old worn parts, decent shocks, tubular A arms, and convert to disk brakes it might just be worth ordering a similar kit the gentleman was going to order. Any recommendations on a specific one?

Truth is I am not 100% sure what direction I want to go with my Nova, I just know I want to start making progress on it. More than just buying a part or 2 in a few month span.
 

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A lot of us are like you, we have to buy parts a little at a time.
In my opinion you don't need the tubular control arms, unless you are going to be road racing the car. The stock control arms will be fine for most anything you do with the car, and are easy to change later on after you have the car together. This way you can spend the money in the other areas that you do need to get the car on the road.
As far as the disc brakes go, if you are going to go with the stock type of brakes, then I would buy all the parts individually. You can get the spindles, caliper brackets, and backing plate at Summit pretty cheap, all the other stuff I would get from a local parts place that has lifetime warranty, this way you don't have to buy it again. Just get all the brake parts for a 69-74 Nova.

Also , not sure of how much you have to spend. There is a guy on here selling a used front suspension kit, in case you haven't seen it, here is a link to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
A lot of us are like you, we have to buy parts a little at a time.
In my opinion you don't need the tubular control arms, unless you are going to be road racing the car. The stock control arms will be fine for most anything you do with the car, and are easy to change later on after you have the car together. This way you can spend the money in the other areas that you do need to get the car on the road.
As far as the disc brakes go, if you are going to go with the stock type of brakes, then I would buy all the parts individually. You can get the spindles, caliper brackets, and backing plate at Summit pretty cheap, all the other stuff I would get from a local parts place that has lifetime warranty, this way you don't have to buy it again. Just get all the brake parts for a 69-74 Nova.

Also , not sure of how much you have to spend. There is a guy on here selling a used front suspension kit, in case you haven't seen it, here is a link to it.
So, after reading this I think I may go with the parts yard route for the subframe, and take your advice and rack up the Summit bucks / autozone rewards on replacing the old worn parts. That front suspension kit that you shared seems like a pretty good deal, but its a little bit of a hike for me (Harrisburg Pa area) and its a little more than I can afford at this point. My original plan was to take out a small personal loan for the subframe that I was originally going to buy($2800) and he lives 10 minutes away so fuel cost wouldn't be a concern. My friend is still teeter tottering around on ordering the tubular subframe kit for his Nova so its not completely off the books yet.
 

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if you were going the route of a personal loan( i did it myself for paint and body work on my car) could you afford a big enough loan and build the car all at once? If so that's the route I would go. I got my loan through a company called Lightstream. Great rates and did everything over the internet. Also you may find more subframe options by looking for 1st gen camaro/firebird subframes as well. Again small differences but nothing that stops them from working. Also if you don't keep track of your body mount spacers for the two at the firewall and lose them like I did, Detroit Speed sells them with their solid body mount kit.
Good Luck with the build
 

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Send me a PM I may be able to help on some parts. We stopped doing used 3rd gen parts and I have been selling everything off. Not much left but I think we have some disc brake & suspension stuff. We also give SNS members discounts on new parts when feasible.
 

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I'm on the verge of picking up another sub-frame from somewhere, they are out there, restoring it and putting stock control arms back on. On my build I used the stock sub-frame added the front disc upgrade with 2" drop spindles. Then I bought these piece of S**T tubulars that claimed they did not drop the front end at all. Others started chiming in and said they drop up to 2 ". The place I bought them from said no, they as a fact drop 2". My pan is 4.5" off the ground. I will retain the 2' drop spindles and dump the cheap crap tubulars that I purchased. I'm not bashing tubes because there is quality out there and for my use, not needed. I will just yank the sub-frame out with the engine and trans, swap things to the other sub-frame and shove it back in. My original sub-frame has a couple flaws that I would like to eliminate and I can add power steering at the same time, manual is tough and my wife wants to be able to drive it.
 
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