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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys. I just got done changing my rear suspension abit and thought you might like to see some pics.

My car is a 62 Chevy II Nova coupe that I bought in 1995. Was just gonna keep the 350/350 combo and have fun driving it. But the front drum brakes were just too scary. So I installed a Mustang II front (build pics on that later) so I could have disc brakes. And with the nice front I wanted a lil more at the rear. So I bought an Art Morrison 4-link rear clip and installed that. Built an edelbrock injected engine then had a few changes in life. Family (wife wanted kids), moved to a house (was in a condo) and my job was demanding more, more, more. So the car, still un-driven was put on the back burner for many years.

I retired last year so full steam ahead on the car. The 4-link was used for simplicity of the build back in 95 when not much was available for the Novas. But after thinking about it I didn't like some of the characteristics of the 4-link. Narrow pan hard bar and the coil over placements. I did alot of looking around and decided to use Air Ride technologies air ride system with the shockwave air springs and hydraulic shocks. And I couldn't get a longer pan hard bar in there, the one I had was only 24" long, too short, the rear would wallow around on the street, yeah, I did get to drive it around on the local neighborhood streets a lil. So I liked the idea of a watts link. The kits that are out there are great!! But again, I was limited on space so I made up my own. No real cost savings..

So here are some pics of that install. It was fun, and frustrating at the same time..

I have never worked on cars before, this is my first. And I never welded before. So you will see alot of odd looking ideas and some bad welds. I know cause I have to look at them everyday LOL But,,, its the best I can do and its solid so Im not afraid of it coming apart.

Anyway, enough of my back peddling trying to justify the rough looking work. Enjoy and please comment, any of your knowledge will be great for the next project (71 Fiat spider with a large-ish V6. JR


When I bought the car, 1995....



Art Morrison rear clip.



After the rear clip install in 95. Thats kinda covered in another post of mine. Wont bore ya more than Im gonna :)






First job at hand was the lower shockwave mounts. I used some 9" leaf spring perches cut in half. Had to use two cause they aren't exactly in half. They are heavy duty brackets, 1/4" bent steel. Some additional 1/4" plate to add to the beef of it. I was going to be using the holes in single shear for the shock mounts and I thought a 1/2" would be better than a 1/4" shear plane.







TIG welded up and ready to go.



MIG welded onto the axle housing. I didn't disassemble the housing. I did make sure all the weight was off the housing for the weld. And I welded in about 1.5" sections and cooled the area with a damp rag in between. Took a long time but it never got the housing tube past warm to the touch after cooling. And I beveled the heck out of the brackets so the penetration is pretty good. They aren't going anywhere.



Next was the upper mount. I get alot of use outta this lil 7" band saw.. 1/2" plate.





Plasma cut the extra off to make the right shape.







Shock used for placement of the upper mount. It is all at ride height. Coilovers still in place. I made some stainless steel spacers so if I need to adjust the 4-link in the future I have some wiggle room inside of the upper mount. The 4-link bars are at their shortest length right now. If I adjust them it may move the rear end back some.







Time to weld in the uppers but no way did I want the shocks in there, rubber!! So I made these links that are the same length eye to eye as the shocks at ride height. And they were gonna be needed for the watts link welding too. They helped to get each side of the car exactly right for height when making the watts. I measured everything so many times, jumping back and forth. But the sides are equal to within a 32nd of and inch. And thats axle to frame and body to ground.







Plasti-coat bed liner paint I love so much, you will see it on everything.



Finally, the coilovers are outta there, full weight on the struts I made. Ill need the additional space, going be filled up soon.







I was a lil pissed. AR sent me the shockwaves with the optional air can (big ugly can over the bag) they sell for a hundred bucks. I didn't want it, looked cheesy IMO.. But. I thought I would give them a chance. If I didn't like the look I could remove them later. No, they didn't charge me for them. Guess they were having alot of problems with guys tearing the bags due to close tolerances. So I really didn't want a massive aluminum can sitting in there. Time for some plasti-coat!!

Ghetto paint booth LOL





So thats the coilover swap. Watts link next..
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Watts link time.. I stole some ideas from just about everyone. Looked at ALL the pics out there. Came down to space limitations. I ended up just going simple.

I bought the center pivot from Tim over at Fay’s 2. Nice piece. And the DOM tube and weld in ends from another company. I used QA1 rod ends, some of the best out there. I used 3/4x5/8" instead of the 3/4x3/4" Tim uses so I had to make some shims for the center pivot arm mounts.

Now bolts. I could go on and on about bolts. But basically I looked into some NAS (aircraft) bolts cause this stuff is in shear, watts and shock mounts and I wanted the proper grip length. UMMM!! 90 bucks a bolt. I called seven companies all over the US. Yeah, all the regulars, AC spruce, coast fabrication, and all the same. So there are "grade 9" bolts available. Fastenel, Grainger (PFC) and CAT were who I used to get the right length bolts so ALL the shear joints had the grip in shear, never the threads. The grade 9 bolts are all 180k PSI. And really, they are great fasteners and the price was right. Still a couple hundred in bolts.

Anyway.. Some pics....

This is the original pan hard bar, very short, gotta go.



My shopping list. Prolly four dealers here



Links TIG welded up. I know, not the greatest welds but they are HOT and deep. Had to chase the threads after welding.



And the center pivot mounting. Started as a 1/2" plate. I drilled the 3/4" holes under sized and reamed to a tight slip fit for the center bolt. Then clamped it up to my welding table, its a beast of a table. I used some 2x2" 1/4" wall tube. The stuff is very stiff. Tacked it up, both sides, heavy beveling at the joints then took it outside to put some real heat to it. MIG welded it up tight. Sanded the welds down on one side to have clearance for the center pivot and it helped the appearance too.














Test fitting it up in the car. I used the same 2x2" tube for the cross member to attach it to the frame. I made some angled braces out of heavy walled 2x1.5" tube that would be up above the line of site. Welded it in. That my friend was a drag. Up under the car, leather draped everywhere on the car and myself as Im on my and had to be directly under the weld to see it. And I had the welder on full tilt, welding the 1/4" wall tube to the frame. Heavy bevels again. But I wanted a SOLID connection. Nothing worse than cold joints, not a one here. But it was tight, just to get the gun tip in there, and I dont pull the trigger unless I can see the joint (auto helmet is a must). Wasn't diggin this part at all.







Next was the axle tube mounts. Stole this idea from Tim at Fay’s. Sorry. Heavy duty 1/4" steel axle clamps. Oh, they dont move at all with just the slightest bolt tightening. Clamp them down tight and they are NOT gonna slip. The full contact makes them so solid. I was kinda wondering if they would deform my axle tubes if I really put the wrench to the bolts so I clamped them up to a thin walled exhaust tube I had. And really laid on the wrench. Didn't deform the 16ga tube at all, no worries for the axle tubes. Oh, and there was alot of pre-weld measuring steps, alot. The arms are clocked different for each side.






Welded while clamped.







Ready to bolt up







Oh, and bolts.. Some of the fasteners if yer interested. These are all "grade 9" bolts. But I wanted to show how they are hardened. Pretty cool actually. I had to turn down the watts link arm pivot bolts to get the right grip length. I really noticed how hard the outer case hardening was on the bolt and how it got softer at the center. You can see it on the turned end. And when I say hard I mean it. I was using some good carbide inserts and for a second I thought about grabbing the CBN inserts. But I just cranked up the RPMs and let the sparks fly, I love hard turning… But you can see the softer center of the bolt. Thats a good bolt. Not just a bulk hardening of the entire bolt. Has a hard outer surface, pretty deep really, and a softer core. Dont ever let anyone tell you a grade five bolt is better cause a grade 8 bolt is too hard, its just comical some of the threads I read.







 

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Ok, so I'm gonna wrap this up. Sway bar is next. I looked into the sets available. Again, space was an issue, and rates really. My lower roll center with the watts link is gonna give more body roll. So I asked and looked around alot for a good starting point for the bar spring rate needed. Kinda a shot in the dark really without driving the car. But I decided on around 295lbs for the bar. And I already decided on a three piece bar from Speedway Engineering. They have some great stuff, many three piece bars you see labeled under a diff name may be their bar.

Its a straight torsion bar, solid or hollow, with splined ends. The arms are splined also and they come undrilled for the links. So you determine the rate you need and find the length bar that will suit the space issues. Thats where I screwed up, had to buy another bar cause my tires were too close to the first bar’s arms. So anyway, get yer rates you need, the length bar that fits and drill the arms for the proper rate. They can be drilled from 10 to 15 inches for various rates.
I ordered the low profile pillow blocks. They come drilled to bolt them to the frame. I wanted a different mount. I made some brackets to bolt through the frame sideways instead of up through the frame.

I had intentions of being able to slide the mounts fore and aft to adjust for sway bar rates and just change the arm mounting holes. Not gonna happen that way. Too difficult to drill perfect holes through the frame. So I’ll just get a different bar, same length but different rate if I need to change the rate later down the road. Gotta drive it first to even get to that point. So, here are the pics...

Made some brackets for the pillow blocks. It was a slow process. There is rubber in there. So I plug welded the holes up, cooled with a wet rag in between, made a weld, cooled, and so on. Never got it hot on the rubber side. LONG process.





They weren't set up with zerks so I drilled and tapped some holes and put on some zerks. I also lightly grooved the bearings in an outward spiral direction to allow the grease to move to the entire surface of the bearing. It seems to work, I have done it on some bed mills too.






Made a lil tool to help with holding the bar and pillow bocks up while I figured out the placement.



Arms drilled and reamed for the links.



Measuring up the link mounts. I can conveniently use the flat I welded to the spring perch earlier. Yeah, it was planned. Yeah RIGHT!!!



Some Zoop seal to protect the links?? I'm just looking for stuff to Zoop, have so much left over from the wheels I did..



Ok, I know, long thread. Here are the last pics as its all done..













Comparison………
Before


After





On the ground, not ride height but sitting on the bump stops.




Sorry for the long thread, I still had to edit out a hundred pics. And I tend to get a lil long winded LOL The front end is jacked three feet in the air and the control arms are on the bench getting welded on this week. Hope the front goes faster. Thanks for reading, JR
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Nice work Jack Rousch. Doesnt look like rookie results at all.


OBTW, grade 8 hardware would have been more than enough.
Thanks!! Umm, its John Rouche. And really, it doesn't matter, just a screen name :) A Nym if you will.. Thanks for the help. Yer right, grade 8 bolts would be fine. JR
 

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Thanks!! Umm, its John Rouche. And really, it doesn't matter, just a screen name :) A Nym if you will.. Thanks for the help. Yer right, grade 8 bolts would be fine. JR

It a joke, Jack Roush is a ford guy..........forget it.

I like the grease relief in the bushings. I wish I would have machined some round grooves on the inside of my four link brackets for the urethane bushings. A groove with a small hole tapped for a zerk on the outside would have made greasing the bushings a snap. Im still going to drill and put zerks which will be better than having to loosen or remove them to lube.
 

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Jack, quit baggin on that welding, it looks more than sufficient and easy on the eyes.

I had a question though that I think I know the answer to. Why didnt you put the watts center pivot on the rear housing. This usually takes up less space. I think you probably didnt because those frame rails are too high to bring brackets down for the ends of the watts? correct? Nice work, im just curious.

And for some reason I cant quite accept the angle of the passenger side rod end, it bothers me, i need to process it some more to figure out why.

Another thing I noticed is it looks like your four link bars are urethane bushed but everything else is steel on steel. You do know this is going to let some shock factor back into the ride. Im using a diagonal link with chassisworks urethane pro street bushings, good for ride but might allow some movement if I let things get a little worn. Time will tell. I guess solid or bushed, both are a compromise in some way.
 

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WOW!!! Great Work!! The watts link is STOUT!!! How heavy is that thing?

My only concern is the axle collars that you used to attach the ends of the watts to. I would have drilled a small notch in the axle tube. Not all the way through the wall but just enough so that you could pin down collar with a little pointed hex screw through the collar.

I can say this....you can weld better than I can. The guys at Ironworks laugh at me whenever I start welding stuff over there. Then they break out the grinder or cutting wheel and do it over again! :eek:

John
 

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It looks like you really did your homework designing your suspension. The welds all look good and your brackets are well built. The machine work to fit the parts together is really nice too. I wouldn't worry about being long winded, it beats answering a bunch of questions. Looks good.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I had a question though that I think I know the answer to. Why didnt you put the watts center pivot on the rear housing. This usually takes up less space. I think you probably didnt because those frame rails are too high to bring brackets down for the ends of the watts? correct? Nice work, im just curious.
Traveling rear roll center in relation to the CG and front roll center.. As the rear end moves up and down (in relation to the body) the RC will also move if the center pivot is attached to it. With it attached to the frame it stays constant to the CG and front RC. And I have an adjustable RC height now. Its at its lowest setting right now. I can go up another 5" if I need to. I think five, gotta measure again, I forgot already LOL

Another thing I noticed is it looks like your four link bars are urethane bushed but everything else is steel on steel. You do know this is going to let some shock factor back into the ride. Im using a diagonal link with chassisworks urethane pro street bushings, good for ride but might allow some movement if I let things get a little worn. Time will tell. I guess solid or bushed, both are a compromise in some way.
Yer right, always a compromise. Umm, shock factor? Whats that. Sounds like race terminology? Strictly a street car here.

Ok, lets see. I have 20 rod ends back there :eek: Eight are spherical bearings. Four of those are for the sway bar. The U-shaped connector for the bar has some very thin poly I sandwiched between the frame and itself. The pillow block also has some thin rubber in it.. If it still transmits too much noise I can always add one poly rod end on each side for vibration issues. I dont think I will need too. Same with the watts links. I just happen to have two new stainless steel poly rod ends right here. From where??? The old pan hard bar. They are the same ones that are on the 4-link..

So if its noise you are talking about I can deal with that as it rears its ugly head. If its race type performance, already squashed that problem. Should be just fine for going to the grocery store to get more margarita supplies :D Thanks for the input... JR
 

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WOW!!! Great Work!! The watts link is STOUT!!! How heavy is that thing?

My only concern is the axle collars that you used to attach the ends of the watts to. I would have drilled a small notch in the axle tube. Not all the way through the wall but just enough so that you could pin down collar with a little pointed hex screw through the collar.
Thanks John.. Nice idea. They really do clamp down tight. I could mark them and monitor any movement. I could jack the car up by one of the bars and jump on the rear of the car and it doesnt budge. I'll keep an eye on it. If it moves Ill think about pinning it. I like your idea. Simple and it would work. JR
 

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never mind on my other post :eek: was looking at your other post and came across it and all i have to say is WOW!! looks good :yes:
Blast from the past for me. Im solly, I missed yer question from before?? Thanks though. Im in the process of showing what I did on the front next. I really thought it was gonna be a cake walk compared to the rear. My bust. It took a lil more work than I expected. But its done, FINALLY!!! Im gonna load up some pics for anyone thats interested. The trials and errors. Its all gonna be aired out here.. Soon as I can get all the pics sorted out :) JR
 

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wow, this makes 2 aprils in a row that this thread has been revived! it looks great, man. the watts link threw me off for a second because im used to the center section being welded to the axle, but i see where your coming from. once again, looks great man!
 
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