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Discussion Starter #1
First off, many thanks to Nova Thug for steering me to suspension information!

I have a 72 nova. I'm a week or so away from completing an LS swap (5.3L LM7 completely rebuilt and beefed up to @ 400hp at the crank). Once the swap is complete there will be NO power steering or a/c; however, in the next year or two I will install both. I believe the radiator is for a bbc (I swapped out a bbc 396). The front springs and shocks I believe to be original to the car (which came with a 6cyl...rode like crap with the bbc) and the previous owner incorrectly installed 5 leaf springs in back. Has 15" rims with 205/60/R15 front and 255/60/R15 rear.

This car will NOT see any racing of any kind. It's basically a cruiser. I do want to be able to be aggressive in the corners if I want. I also want to be able to travel on the highway at 70mph and not feel like I'm going to lose control of the car. I would like a reasonably comfortable ride, doesn't have to be super smooth over bumps, but reasonable. I also want to lower the car (@ 2" in front and 1.5" in rear).

My first phase of upgrading the suspension is going to be to add subframe connectors and front/rear sway bars, replace the front springs and shocks, and replace the rear leaf springs and shocks. My budget is @ $1,300. So far I've chosen (but NOT purchased) the following:

Summit Racing bolt on subframe connectors $129.99
Speedway Motors front sway bar kit 1 1/8" 184.99
Speedway Motors rear sway bar kit 7/8" 139.99
Hotchkis Sport Suspension 1 1/2" lowering leaf spring package 448.99

Total thus far $903.64

So, I've got @ $400 more in my budget and need recommendations for:
1.) front lowering springs 2"
2.) front shocks
3.) rear shocks

I picked the Hotchkis leaf spring package because I couldn't piece together another option for much less (meaning more than $50 - $75 less). If you have other options for less please advise.

So my questions for you guys are:
1.) Please recommend front lowering springs (2") and front/rear shocks; and
2.) What do you think of my picks thus far? Anything you would change given my budget?

Any and all input is greatly appreciated!!!!!

:cool:
 

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Your spring may have sagged if you had 6 cylinder springs supporting a big block but I will suggest a low cost option to lowering springs. Take the coil spring you have and cut one complete coil off of the tangential end. This should bing you down about two inches. Even if the springs are soft a fat front sway bar like you have sellected will manage body roll. For the rear leaf springs you can have them reworked (de arched) at a spring shop in your area. I have done this to my car.

As for shocks, I like KYB they are gas charged and will add a bit of resistance as well.

Evan if your front springs have sagged a little bit, taking a coil off will increase the spring rate as there is less available coil wire to compress.. You can always get another set of coil springs if something ain't right..

Another thing, hold off on buying a sway bar for the rear.. Reason being the rear end needs to be compliant to and maintain a good contact patch on the pavement. Having a rear sway bar can reduce the contact pressure of the inside rear tire under hard cornering. As the body rolls over going through a corner the front sway bar can do its job of managing the body roll and since the outside front tire is being loaded up making the most contact pressure the inside rear is receiving the least contact pressure. Having a rear sway bar exacerbates the situation. Loosing grip on the inside rear tire has a tendency to make the rear want to come around on you.
 

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I think you have made some great choices so far.
I have a 72 also. I put on the Hotchkis TVS package with the Hotchkis/FOX front and rear shocks. I also added some subframe connectors. I love how it drives. It has the rear sway bar on. I dont notice any issues with it. But maybe thats becuase I really havent pushed the car.
If you have any questions about intstall or anything just ask.
Cant wait to hear how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Many thanks to Nova Thug and IronSwede for their input.

Nova Thug:
I like the low cost option you suggest. A few follow up questions: will a spring shop be able to accurately "de arch" the springs to a 2" drop (or close enough)? Also, I created the above parts from the Hotchkis TVS system. When I spoke with someone at Hotchkis, they said that if I do not install the rear sway bar that the car will oversteer ... so he recommended installing both front and rear sway bars at the same time. The sway bars I picked are the same diameter as the Hotchkis. The only difference I believe is that the Hotchkis are tubular and the ones I picker are solid. Believe me, I'd rather not spend more money and would love to NOT get a rear sway bar; however, I don't want the back end coming around on me in a corner??? I'm confused :confused:

I have seen the KYB (I think that what you said) gas-a-just shocks. They seemed to be pretty inexpensive (as low as $35/ea.). I'm glad to hear these are a reasonable option. Which ones do I get (length, adjustment range, I don't even know what this stuff means/is).

IronSwede:
I looked at the Hotchkis TVS package and loved it!!!! I called Rob at Hotchkis and discussed it all with him and they were great. He recommended the Hotchkis/Fox shocks to complete it. Given the $, I wanted to look to see if I could build something similar to the TVS package before I dropped that much coin. That's what my approach above was modeled after. I have no doubt that the Hotchkis quality is superior; however, I'm hoping that given my mostly cruising driving, with a little spirit in the corners from time to time, I can get away with the less expensive set up??????

I've got to wrap up the LS swap first (including new gas tank from tanks, inc., new fuel pump, sending unit, fuel lines, filter, regulator, yadayada). I live in Maine so I'll try to do the suspension over the winter in hopes to have it ready for a test drive in April. I'll keep you posted!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Nova Thug:

Well, I just watched a video by Engineering Explained on youtube. According to him, to reduce oversteer (which I believe is the same thing as having the car come around on you) you can install a front sway bar/increase the stiffness of the front sway bar, or remove the rear sway bar/decrease the stiffness of the rear sway bar. I believe this is what you were saying, yes? I'm inclined to go with your explanation (ie wait on the rear sway bar). Maybe I misunderstood what the guy at Hotchkis was saying????
 

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Based on the selections you've made, I don't see anything that's going to make a case for oversteer. A fat front sway bar and lowering ride height will have the effect of lowering the center of gravity(CG) and managing body roll. Your front end geometry is still pretty much unchanged and prone to understeer as set by the factory. I might suggest offset cross shafts as a way to increase caster and camber correcting tall spindles that will make some improvement in those areas. The hope would be to bring the geometry to a more neutral setup not under or oversteer with a more crisp response but not twitchy..

This is a pretty informative page to help understand the terminology.
https://www.turnology.com/features/chassis-geometry-101-engineering-speed/
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Based on the selections you've made, I don't see anything that's going to make a case for oversteer. A fat front sway bar and lowering ride height will have the effect of lowering the center of gravity(CG) and managing body roll. Your front end geometry is still pretty much unchanged and prone to understeer as set by the factory. I might suggest offset cross shafts as a way to increase caster and camber correcting tall spindles that will make some improvement in those areas. The hope would be to bring the geometry to a more neutral setup not under or oversteer with a more crisp response but not twitchy..

This is a pretty informative page to help understand the terminology.
https://www.turnology.com/features/chassis-geometry-101-engineering-speed/
Thanks once again Nova Thug....you are a gentlemen and a scholar.

So, basically I'm going with the front sway bar only, assuming the front springs aren't spent, I'll cut them, and new shocks all around. The rear springs and mounting hardware are a mess (prior owner). I will probably spring (pun intended) for the Hotchkis lowering leaf springs.

Really appreciate all your incisive advice!
 

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I have been looking to do my entire rear end. All this has been super helpful. Ive been seeing different leaf spring rates. What affects will a light to heavy rate have on the car? Street/strip. Thanks you guys seem to know your ****
 

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I must confess that drag race suspension setup is not really an area I'm super knowledgeable in but I can say a couple of things to the subject and maybe we can learn a few things along the way. Drag raceing is a race of acceleration. The dynamics involved here are still the same physics that a car experiences doing around a road corse. Negotiating corners is a game of managing body roll and putting the wheels in the best possible attitude in relation to the pavement to be able to get through it quickly. Body roll is the transfer of weight from one side of the vehicle to the other or from a neutral position when moving in a straight line. Think about it like this. Hang a chain from the rear view mirror and watch what happens as you start to move and change directions. The chain will tell you wher the center of gravity is going if you take off from a stand still nice and easy the chain will deflect to the rear of the car. If you take off hard the chain will deflect more so in reaction to the change in energy input from acceleration. This is still the dynamic of weight transfer but in a straight line the transfer shifts to the rear under acceleration. In order to effectively launch a vehicle from a stand still the the weight transfer has the effect of lifting the nose up front and squating in the rear. You want to take full advantage of this weight transfer as this shift to the rear plants the rear tires to the ground and that is a good thing to put in your favor as this load to the rear creates the potential for traction and a good launch. Depending on how much street vs. strip purpose you want to bias your car to you can make changes to the suspension setup to facilitate weight transfer dynamic in more or less to your liking. Tuning the suspension is another way of saying setup here. In a leaf sprung car the rear springs serve to purposes. First is to support the vehicle second is to locate the rear axle. The balance you need to figure out is where the spring rate needs to be to do both jobs. You want the rear to squat, bite, and go. A soft to moderate spring rate would be in my thinking the more desirable then a high spring rate as you want to facilitate the weight transfer to the rear as effeciently as possible. Another thing to keep in mind is that the leaf springs will deflect or wrap when you launch and this can cause wheel hop as the springs can load and unload very rapidly. This is not a desirable trait. I would look at Calvert Racing for their spring rates they offer as guide to see what you want to do. You may already have enough spring under your car now. A rear sway bar is also a desirable addition to the rear of a drag car setup as it distributes the weight transfer evenly to both rear wheels. Up front you may want to look at drag shocks. Again, this is in order to facilitate the weight transfer.
 

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Yeah I planned to install the Assasin traction bar for the spring twisting. Just wasnt sure what weight rating leaf spring to purchase. And I did not realize a sway bar would do that much for drag. Thanks for the info!
 

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Viking Shocks Suck!!!

Don't buy Viking shocks!! If you have any interference, they want you to cut up your car to make them fit. Also, if you pay a lot of money and the parts don't fit right, Viking will look for any and every Excuse to not refund your money! And their boss Chris is an AssHat!! QA1 Coil Overs are way Better!!!
 
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