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hi everyone
Im trying to plan out a v8 swap for my 62. my plan is to put a 383 stroker, not sure yet about the transmission. my question is do I need to do anything with my suspension. i thought for sure that I would have to upgrade, but I have read a few threads and some guys are saying that you don't need to.
thanks.
 

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For that question, you'll get about 100 different answers. Some of them are based on experience, some based on recommendation of people who have done the swap before, and still some of it is hearsay. I'll give you my opinion, and it will differ from others'.

Stock, the '62 would have a woefully inadequate front hubs and rear axles. Front spring and rear leaf springs are inadequate to the new weight and power, and the stock 1962 brakes for the added weight would be straight up unsafe. The '62 idler arm was not a good design even new, and even with the advent of the 283 V-8 in Chevy II/Nova in 1964, increased spring rates, an anti-sway bar, bigger brakes and hubs front and rear and a 10 bolt rear end were just barely enough to handle the change. Add to that the increased power of a stroker small block as you have planned, and the suspension from a later car would suffice, only if none of the parts were worn, and everything was in excellent condition and alignment.

There are myriad upgrades on the market for suspension and braking on these cars, but the stock suspension is not nearly enough for your 383 plan.
 

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I touch on that below, as well as the 4-lug system in general. Can you run a V8 with a 4-lug setup - of course. It's been done countless times. It is not something I would plan on running long term though. You will inevitably break something with any kind of power. The springs would be the least of my concerns. I second the front spindle, hub, brakes and the rear end.

 

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Shane, I sent you a private message.
Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ok so I should have specified a few things
I already have a Chevy 10 bolt and five lugs in the front too. I’m planning on converting to discs once I have the money. I’m more asking about front end suspension.
 

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I think AllyMcReal touched on it all, I tried driving my 64 as a daliy driver, these cars wernt built for todays driving, quick starts, stops, 80 MPH pot holes, ect, had folks honking flipping me off, cause I didnt take off fast enough,
 

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Ok so I should have specified a few things
I already have a Chevy 10 bolt and five lugs in the front too. I’m planning on converting to discs once I have the money. I’m more asking about front end suspension.
The only thing that varied with the V8 cars was the presence of a front sway bar and different rate springs. The lower control arms are different starting in '64, the center link stop was moved. Sway bar optioned lower control arms also have the bushing cup welded in. So next steps would be upgrading to aftermarket parts to improve drivability. I agree with everyone else the stock suspension is completely inadequate for any kind of performance driving, but it will hold up with normal driving.
 

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Wow, I'm glad no one told me about that "inadequate suspension" back in 1968 when I bought my '63. I would have missed out on 52 years and 100,000 miles of "spirited" driving!
In 1973 I installed a 327, a 5 lug conversion, a stronger rear and Mr. Gasket "clamp on the spring" slapper bars. I bracket raced every weekend, for 15 years, in the '70s & '80s (literally thousands of 11 second passes). I've built a couple of other street engines for the car and now an aluminum LS that runs 10.20 @ 130. I did upgrade(?) the suspension with polyurethane bushings and new ball joints about 20 years ago.
If, by performance driving, you mean road course or autocross, I would agree the stock suspension is inadequate. For spirited street driving and drag racing, I would say mine has been adequate.
 

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would love to see pics of this car, Jim.

basically, what you are saying is the car is adequate for road use with stock suspension? maybe we all too used to modern cars.

oddly, we removed the new v-8 springs from my hard top for '63 wagon springs from my parts car. can't remember why.

-Rusty
 

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Remember, we were talking about stock '62. Stock '64 and up is a different story, at least from the brakes/axles/hubs standpoint, and that's adequate to a small block. But the OP is considering a 383 stroker motor, likely north of 400HP and a bunch of torque. Even with a 10 bolt and five lug conversion, landing on 6 cylinder front springs and launching with 6 cylinder rear springs probably isn't the best use of the power. If you put a 327 in your '63 and raced it, then you know that without the slapper bars you were likely to get some wheel hop, and that front control arm bushings and ball joints and all the steering components had better be in great shape to manage the V-8 weight with the 6 cylinder front springs. I drove a 327 powered wagon around (manual trans) for over 90K miles, and if front end parts started to wear, it became a bear to handle. Even with V-8/wagon rate stock rear leafs and cal tracs, launching was a sloppy application of power. So a stock front end can just do the job, in my opinion.
 

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Does anyone know the difference in spring rates for 4, 6, and 8 cylinder ChevyII’s..? Just curious.

ShaneT,
Do you know the build specs for your 383...?
Does it have all cast iron parts i.e. cast iron block, heads, intake and exhaust manifolds..?
If not and you have aluminum heads and intake manifold and tubular headers you could be lighter and more powerful then any old stock 283, 327, or 350 ever offered. When you determine what transmission you will run you can begin to estimate what kind of weight difference you have from your current engine/trans combo. I wouldn’t think that the cast iron 6 cylinder engines are that different weight wise from an all cast iron V8 but they certainly did offer more power.

I’m definitely not impressed with the stock front suspension that there cars came with but they were sold with V8’s in 64, 65, 66, and 67 with the same basic setup as a 62. The 64 and up 5 lug drums, spindles, and lower control arms are a little different but not really a radical change.. In 67 disc brakes became an option but most GM vehicles didn’t get standard factory discs until about 73.

My suggestion is this, stiffen up the chassis with subframe connectors that will better manage the hp/tq level that is goin to be installed. These cars are flimsy at best and will flex even without any powerful engines. If you want to find out for yourself jack up your car and then try to open the doors..

Stiffening the chassis will also improve the suspensions ability to do its job more predictably as the chassis flex is minimized it allows each corner to react as it should..

You can certainly spend a lot of money on suspension stuff and it may not make the car any better if you don’t have any plan based on what you have and what you need for your specific build.. Arm yourself with as much information about your car and it’s intended use and go from there..
 

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I will always regret offing my 1970 Canadian parts catalog for Chevy II. This catalog had only Chevy II, no Corvair, Chevelle, big car, truck. It had all the parts and some superseded numbers.

In that catalog, or another with all the Chevy II parts, you'll see different front spring rates for 6 cylinder, 8 cylinder, 6 with A/C and 8 with A/C, and maybe taxi. Maybe not the rates, but different part numbers definitely, so assume differences. Same goes with the rear mono leafs, 6 cylinder and 8 cylinder, convertible, wagon, sedan, taxi, and they had different color paint stripes to designate what was what. I used to think it was bunk, but if you side-by-side a rear leaf from, say, a sedan and a wagon, you'll see the difference in thickness and widths at different points along the spring when you compare them. The hourglass shape is different for different models, and the vertical thickness changes.
 

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Rusty, here's a picture of the car from 1975. At that time we all wanted the cars to sit high so I did have V8 coil springs in it. A few years later as the trend was lower cars, I swapped back to the 6 cyl springs. I remember being disappointed when it only sat 1/2 inch lower. I then cut one coil off the V8 springs and put them back in. It stayed that way until recently and am back to the 6 cyl coils with the LS motor which is maybe even lighter than the original 194 was. By the way, I still have the the original 194 and floor shift powerglide I took out in 1973. The rear leafs are still the 57 year old factory springs with polyurethane bushings installed on the shackles. The front end of the leafs have new stock bushings, I didn't like the way the poly bushings fit.
 

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I second everything from AllyMc, the suspension and brakes on these cars was barely adaquate stock, and dangerous with added HP. As some have said, you can slide by in a drag racing application, as long as you don’t need to stop or turn suddenly.
In my opinion, if you’re going to actually drive the car at modern speeds (80 mph), the motor swap and front suspension/ brake upgrades should be looked at as one process.
 

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Right, I drove with a v8 and original suspension for 30 years (when you are 20 all that is important is a big motor!). It is unsafe as the car will over-steer at every opportunity, brakes are under performing and unbalanced, the steering linkage is worn, the master cylinder is a single reservoir (mine was leaking, but we will not talk about that), rear leafs are sagged, the bushing are disintegrated, the old 4 lug rear end does handle HP 270 (maybe) but its not posi....ect - it was all over the road. (someone also noted this....that...) the v8 front springs keep the car at the factory height which is high. (IMO). Long ago, i also cut the v8 front springs to make it look cool which made handling worse.

This winter I upgraded the car with a Classic Performance ProTouring 4 (suspension, brakes - and 3 months in the garage). I also purchased all new steering linkage and re-piped the brakes and added a new master cylinder with booster. The car is safe, I can hammer the throttle, corners well, stops exceptionally well and straight - the adjustable coil-overs on front and 2 inch lowered spindles and 2 inch lowered leaf springs.. it was a ton of work. Not saying this is the correct purchase for you, but if you are looking at all the things you will need to do to run that motor, it makes a good starting list. Pro Touring Kits. That is my .02 (PS: I am still running the old rear end modified to 5X4.75, it works but the ratio is for economy, not power boating :) ). if I get a new rear-end, I would look to make it narrower to fit a wider tire between the leafs and inner fender - its a tight fit.
 
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