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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

New member here, but I have been here plenty of times to see others posts.

Really odd situation that is confusing many car mechanics I have discussed/shown this to....as well as a guy who builds older camaros.

My 1972 Nova became disabled....ie wrecked when a lady too old to be driving pulled out in front of me on an highway, one of those partially divided highways and she did a U turn.....

So I had to get a brand new subframe, hood, pass fender, etc. The driver fender survived unschathed.

I used the same factory original control arms and springs, and new poly bushings all around, same tires and spindles, new moog ball joints.

Once reassembled the car very clearly sits about 1 inch, or perhaps as much as 2 inches higher in the front, in order to avoid the gasser look the rear needs quite a bit of airshock height and the entire thing drives very stiff as a result. if you push down on the front end it is also very stiff.

I have had the car for 20 years and no one ever commented but now several folks have asked if I had big block springs in it, or ask why it was so high. Then everyone asks if I got the springs in the pockets wrong until they inspect them and see they are right. The upper coil pocket is hard to see in the assembled conditions, but some of you may recall that at the end of the pocket there is a hole drilled through, so when I got them in and decompressed, I took vice grips and grabbed the springs and rotated until I got the spring end right at that hole, so I know 100% that they are correct up top, and you can see that they are correct on the control arm bottom pocket.

What could multiple people be missing that same parts equals different ride heights on a new subframe?

I read that the 67 camaro subframe is different than the 68 and that the 69-72 is different yet again for some aspect.. I am not 100% sure that perhaps the distributor did not give me the wrong frame, or that perhaps what I thought was my original 72 subframe was actually off a 67 or 68 and now I have a 72 frame, does anyone know the exact difference between 67, 68, and the 69-72 frames? Manufacturer says no one even makes a 73 onward frame, so I did not get one of those accidentally unless that is what I had under it before the crash?

I did change the engine, still a SBC but it has trimmed a small amount of weight of the original destroyed radiator (now an aluminum radiator) and aluminum cylinder heads....neither of which is a rare swap for folks. So I am not sure but I figure that is about 100-150lbs of reduced weight and not what I would expect to cause this. I added that sound barrier stuff to the cabin, so the weight is partially back but not as far forward of course.

I still have the old subframe and measuring things I never noticed anything odd. The only difference I noted was that where the auto transmission bracket mounts into my old subframe the hole was large but was very small on the new frame. I put a floor shifter instead of the column while the car was wrecked, so this difference did not affect me.

Measured from concrete floor pass side is 27.75" floor to under edge of fender well, driver side was like 27.25, not sure why the 1/2 difference there but both sides look high. The tires are about 24.5" in diameter so of course that affects how any of you could compare....... you could do some math.

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That's a really good question . . . .
I would not think so , but I would think the 'sub-frame builders' should know if their's any difference .
I do have a spare 69 Nova (SS) sub-frame ; and used all those 'stock front disc brake parts onto my car.
Then, I have a 73 Parts car . . . which has the different front frame horns (but should be the same frame , otherwise) .
Springs would make it higher = but , you used the same parts + same wheels & tires . . . . . strange .
Keep us posted about what you may find out . . . . . I'm sure others will jump-in .

...... and , WELCOME To STEVES . . . . glad to have you here . . . .

jim
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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Hello and welcome to the sight.
Sounds like you have the coil springs indexed correctly (used the hole in the upper spring pocket), but I would still make sure the springs are fully/correctly seated within the upper spring pockets.

When the new control arms were installed, was the Nova's weight on the suspension?... or was the front end lifted off the ground when the control arm attachment nuts & bolts (that go thru the bushings) were tightened.
If these nuts & bolts were tightened while the front end was in the air (using stock or poly bushings), that could cause the front end to sit higher.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I built the subframe, added the motor, then installed all that in the car. But I thought I did not torque the bushings until the car was on it.......trying to remember perhaps I torqued those after the motor was in but before connecting to the car, either way these would have been torqued prior to installing the fenders, rad support, hood so it would have been less weight. I am 100% sure full weight was on the rear when I torqued those, but the rear was a more recent thing and easier to remember, I did the front more months ago.

So, if it is the case that I did torque when I assembled them or with just the motor on it: At this point if I loosen the 4 lower control arm bolts, will it settle or do I then need to like bounce on the bumper or something as well? The upper control arm bolts are little things, but I guess might as well loosen them as well?

To the other comments
I have driven the car probably 150 miles so far, so I am not expecting much settling on its own, I thought the same thing at first. Shocks are new, so I would not expect them to be broken, I suppose I need to take a shock off, perhaps its too long or something and holding the thing up.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I loosened the suspension bushing bolts on both upper and lower control arms on both sides. Using one foot on a ladder and the other to bounce down on the bumper I was able to get full suspension travel (Smartphone propped on something and in video mode). After letting it come back to resting position I measured and it did not help.

I removed the shock on the driver side and below is a picture of the spring height with all 4 wheels on the ground and no shock on the driver side.
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I re-examined my spring arrangement and its really tough to see, but looks to be right at or over that hole in the upper mount. You can actually sorta see the hole if you use a mirror and a small flash light.

SO my next question was if there was a way I had the springs in upside down, and I want to know opinions on this before I go putting these since it is quite a chore to do with that limited space to compress them. I am wondering this because you can see in this next picture that the 2nd coil is contacting the end of the coil in the lower control arm (Car jacked up for the pic) and with the shock out of the way I fished a wire up the shock hole and I do not think the upper spring is contacting itself like this lower one is.

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I tried looking out at eBay for pictures and if there are differences between the top and the bottom they sure are subtle, like here in this used set listed as for a 69 Camaro, or the Moog new springs picture. It is so hard to tell if the one end is any different from the other. The Used set look to be sitting on a flatter end of the spring in that picture, but the moog set do not really look different. Looking at the surface of my bent subframe I still have if there were a flatter end of the springs perhaps it should go up into the subframe? Based on my picture above the spring looks like the end against the lower control arm is not noticably flat but not sure if the semi-compression would make it look odd anyway.

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Anyone know for sure or have a set laying around to compare the ends and advise?

Also, I did bushings 20 years ago on this, and again just recently, it is so, so, so, hard to pull springs on these cars. Is there a trick to doing them better? The spring compressors you borrow from Advance/Autozone do not fit, tried several styles, my homemade ones from 20 years ago was what I used again. I will need to see if anyone has a thread out there about compressing these springs if no one has a comment right off.
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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When I removed and reinstalled my front coil springs on my Nova several years ago, I could not see any difference between the top and the bottom of the spring.

Are the front shocks the same ones used before the accident?... or are these new?
The reason I ask is they seem to be the KYB Gas-a-Just shocks, and these shocks have a higher internal gas charge (air pressure) then the KYB Excel-G shocks... or other types of gas charged shocks.
If these are new front shocks, you might try disconnecting both front shocks and bounce up and down on the front bumper with the weight of the vehicle on the front suspension to see if anything changes.
 

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If your springs are not positioned properly it will indeed effect the ride height.

Coil springs typically have three types of terminations flat, tangential, and pigtailed. The latter is not applicable to Nova/Camaro front suspensions. The springs can be made with the same termination ends on both ends or with a combination tangential/flat ends depending on the application.

A flat end will stand up straight on a flat surface and a tangential spring will not.. These springs are from a 2nd Camaro clip and the flat wound end should be up in the spring pocket while the tangential end locates in the lower control arm reliefs.
D18ADB10-6E56-48B1-B002-9F47FDB9194F.jpeg


If the spring is inverted, it will not seat correctly in the control arm and my cause a couple of issues. They could make noise as the suspension cycles over various road surfaces and they will likely effect ride height..

These pictures are of a 70-81 Camaro but should be representative of the earlier Nova and Camaro front suspension..
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Hey Ken . . . . . have you ever read this =


Ray has a "Front Sub - Frame" section . . . about 1/2 way down . . . anyway , all good reading info .

and, maybe Joe has a good post ; about (could - be) the front springs are "up-side down" . . . ? ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

later , jim
 

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I replaced my springs about 3 years ago on my 69 with standard small block no A/C springs from Moog, with tangential ends. Pictured is one of the factory springs, which measures 16" long when uncompressed, tangential type on both ends. The upper end was located next to the subframe spring pocket hole, on both sides.
I used a compressor from autozone to get them out and later to get the new ones in. It wasn't fun but it worked. The upper hooks should be threaded up as high as you can get them and the fork as low as possible. Subframe was out of the car.

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Discussion Starter #11
Great info, my progress is as follows:

After removing the other shock no immediate change......however I got to thinking, when you let a car down the tires tend to hit on the outside edge first and then settles in but perhaps still kinda propped up, the only way to get the suspension to truly level is to drive it. So I did that and it does appear now that I have reduced by 1/2 inch at the spring (See picture with tape measure in post #6) and I thing around 1" at the fender. Still looks a little high but better. I am not sure if it was the shocks or the loosening of the bushings.

Does the below picture look more like any of your cars? I would be curious where your cars measure at for similar to that picture I put in post #6.

Note: Good eye RifRaf, they are KYB Gas-a-Just shocks.

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I guess if I reattached the shocks and it seems to come back up that is the culprit.

Regarding springs I have seen your posts above, mine were like Rudy's, mine did not have flat spots like the pictures Nova Thug provided. So it sounds like the upside down thing may not be an issue for me.......Also, readers take note of the spring compressor Rudy borrowed, that one would actually work out ok, the only ones I ever saw had the swivel arms on the top and bottom and you run out of space real quick, his has swivel arms just on top and that bar at the bottom seems it would be the key.

I looked around a bit and found the following site mentioned by another string: Springs have sprung - Nova Tech

Within there is some recommendations based on application as well as compressed heights. That author lists loaded heights at 11" or 10.75", and use of different spring force options to obtain desired results.

So, I put a small diameter rod down the shock hole at the top and marked in sharpie at the top and bottom. The only issue is this measurement includes height above the spring so I measured my old subframe and subtracted 1.4inches ( in pic below X to Y was 2.1" and Y to Z was 0.7") , my final estimated compressed spring height was 11.35". Of course there is error in this measurement I am sure, but according to that I am close but a little high.

I am thinking to drive it a few miles without shocks to let it settle in.....either before or after that try to re-install the KYB shocks and see if it drives the thing back up, then if so await some KYB Excel-G shocks.....see the past picture, they have different listed lengths according to rockauto, both same travel the Gas-A-Just is capable of extending farther but can not compress as far, even still it can compress down below my measured 11.35 so it would just be bottoming out sooner at the 9.65 than the others would at 8.66.

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Discussion Starter #12
Hey everyone,

Put some miles on the car with no shocks and it's lower, one time I checked it was about an inch lower and another time it was about 3/4 inch lower, so probably close to normal height. Not sure why it would varry up and down, but it is better. I did order some of the more stock KYB shocks that I want to put in. I plan to let you know the outcome. Technically the real test would be to reinstall the gas-a-just ones later as well, but I am not sure I am going to mess with that.
 

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Glad to hear that the front end lowered down some when the front gas-a-just shocks were removed.
Thanks for keeping us posted (y)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I put the other model shocks in and I think its about the same as without shocks or a bit higher again. So, overall its a bit odd and I am not sure the gas-a-just are really what is pushing it up, but certainly suspect. I may need to trim a coil someday if it bothers me enough, but for now its at least looking ok, and not gasser.

For your information pictured are the two shocks side by side. I guess my recommendation would be if you have weak springs or bigger tires that rub go with the gas-a-just for sure and it may help. But if you have a stock normal ride height that has good springs I feel either shock may be ok, but it would not hurt to just go with the OEM style GR-2/Excel-G, just in case.
 

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A little late to the party sorry. I have a few thoughts:
What was the weight of the new subframe and can you weigh the old and compare? If its a lot lighter that could be your issue
I think its possible your springs are installed just fine, however I would also measure the height/ mounting of the upper spring pocket compared to the old one, perhaps the new pocket is mounted lower and that's raising the car up
Here is some research did on front springs:
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It doesn't list all possibilities, just what I found.

Another solution might, I say might be is to heat the springs and push down on the car. probably not thewisest.
you can remove part of a coil, however a little goes a long way , as the load and spring rate as I inderstand it is that the given weight will compres the installed spring one inch.

GL, hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Rupertflood:

My estimated compressed spring height was 11.35", I put how I got that in a prior post. If this winter I feel up to it I may pull a spring and see what it measures uncompressed, and trim it some either way. I think I agree with you if I understand you......to a point. Because weight and spring force is most important to the spring height cutting 1/2" off should correlate to about 1/2" shorter height. SO, if for example I take half of the 0.64 wire diameter from the top and bottom I will have lowered the car 0.64 (or worst cast 1.28"), if however I take off 1" uncompressed height by instead of halving the 0.64 if I were cutting linear length of coil wire off the coil I think it also removes a similar height but is kinda going to begin to be nonlinear height drop, I bet the first 1" is cool perhaps close to 1:1, but cut 2" and then 3" you begin to be exponential.

I got rid of the old frame last week. Refrigerator went out and among other metal things stacking up around my house was stating to look like a junk yard so I sold it to the scrap yard. No way to weigh the one on the car anyway, but it was supposed to be AMD so they are not supposed to skimp on the manufacturing like some manufacturers......but its advertising so whatever.
 

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Ken, before you do any coil spring cutting, go to "Eatondetroitspring.com/cutting-coil-springs.com" for a great explanation of calculating the amount to cut off. Google "cutting coil springs" and other good info. will come up also.
Rudy
 

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