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1972 6 Cylinder Dragster :)
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Discussion Starter · #821 ·
Sept 4, 2022
Drilled some holes in brackets, did some grinding and got these up today.

Motor vehicle Hood Automotive tire Water Vehicle door
Vehicle Automotive tire Automotive lighting Hood Motor vehicle



Looks like exhaust is going to clear. This isn’t a final installation of the brackets for the shockmember it’s just a, let’s get them in place and get everything where we want it and back together enough to get to someone else to do a final weld on it.

This is something I would weld but I don’t have great power where I’m at. I have a thick extension cord but it’s not long enough. This welding machine wants to die when I crank it up and lay into it. No hood either at the moment.
 

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1972 6 Cylinder Dragster :)
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Discussion Starter · #824 ·
September 8, 2022
Minor update: Had the jackstands under the axle and had to jack her up and move them to unbolt the U-bolts and flip the brackets. Not a huge deal but annoying, putting things together only to take them apart to put them together again.

@xxdabroxx the calvert shocks with the T-bar isn’t going to work with this setup without some serious rigging. Even if i were to press the t bar out, it would leave me with an eyelet and I actually need a stud similar to what you’d normally find in front shocks.

My welding machine managed to do a halfway decent job of the welds on the brackets. I was able to see them a little more clearly today and I definitely plan to go back over them or even pay someone to weld on it but for now the plan is really to just try to get her back on the ground before fall and winter set in. It’s really not a ton of work, I just need to get after it. Between work and trying to manage the relationship with the woman and feeling exhausted, I struggle to get out and wrench.

Where are we at?
+remove shocks from brackets and sell them
+drill out the eyelets and move the studs to behind the axle.
+install crossbar for shock mounts.
+Tighten everything up
+Install rotors and calipers
+Assess the emergency brake situation
+Plumb brake lines which also involves handling that stripped fitting
+Throw wheels on

at this point I should be able to push her out of the garage and get her up on jackstands so that I can have someone come do the finish welding on the subframe connectors and the shock relocation crap if I don’t just do that part myself, which i may.

+Gas tank reinstall

This would also be a prime time to measure for a driveshaft BUT, last Thursday I worked late over in the engineering building and I went out into the shop and what did I see but a TH-400 partially assembled and the case painted and this had me plotting

I guess in the grand scheme of things, we are getting stuff done, just not quickly enough for my liking but I am pretty confident this will be the only year that she’s off the road like this
 

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1972 6 Cylinder Dragster :)
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839 Posts
Discussion Starter · #825 · (Edited)
sept 10, 2022
Anger and hatred. axle brackets flipped and drilled and studs moved. Rotors on and calipers installed.
Figured I’d get the shock bar installed / bolted in so i could measure for shocks here is what incited me to renounce all religions, Novas, GM, Performance Online, Ford rears with disc brakes in 3rd gen Novas, the year 1972 and pretty much life itself.

Passenger side bolted up fine even if it was a little pain because of clearance on top. Drivers side I didn’t manage to get because of clearance. I fought with it for as long as my patience would allow and finally started throwing wrenches and decided it was time to call it a day.

Drivers side exhaust interferes and will need to be re-routed. All of the extra gas tank stuff is kind of in the way but there’s room, it’s just a tight fit.

no photos today folks
 

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1972 6 Cylinder Dragster :)
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Discussion Starter · #828 ·
September 14, 2022
Decided the clearance issues at the top of the shock crossbar was best addressed by tack welding a flange bolt nut onto the hole opening. Made the holes a little bigger, went to the hardware store and went through countless drawers of bolts until finding something that looked like it would work. Came home, ground off the nice powdercoat on the crossbar 😔😔 ran the bolts through the holes to keep everything aligned, tightened up the nuts and tacked it.

Decided also that the drivers side exhaust offends me and there’s no way to mount a shock with the way it’s routed now so I cut it off about 3-4” behind the muffler.

Slid the crossbar into place and ran the bolts through and tightened em up. Simple when you stop messing around and get out the sawzall and the welding machine.

Grey Wood Font Road surface Auto part
Hood Automotive tire Automotive exhaust Automotive lighting Alloy wheel


Not sure what possessed me, maybe the secret hope that quick performance 9” rear kits are magically an inch or two more narrow than stock rears and I decided to try those sexy fat mickey thompson on the back but it’s not to be, at least now. The good news however is my existing rear wheels clear all the new brake stuff and they fit just as good as they did before, so that’s a win…look at me being all Mister Brightside.

The only small problem and confusing one that I’m having is, I need to measure for shocks and I figured with the jackstands on (mostly) level ground and positioned inward toward the pumpkin that this would be somewhat similar to if I had wheels on and it was sitting on the ground…am I really this bad at physics?

Any how…I somehow have a half inch discrepancy between my drivers side and passengers side shock mount to the upper mount. Clear as day when I actually look at the passenger side stud it seems to be sitting higher than the drivers side.

What I didn’t do: measure from the ground up to the leafs or the rear. What my stupid self did do: throw a level on the ground. 😂😂😂
 

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1972 6 Cylinder Dragster :)
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Discussion Starter · #830 ·
Well, was the ground Level?
According to the short level I had, it appeared to be. Really I think the smart thing to do would have been to measure from fixed points on the suspension down to the ground to see what that looked like. i.e. rear housing drivers side down and same on passenger side. Then shock bracket on each side down and see if those match. It wouldn't make sense that we'd be 1/2" difference here.


Cut the exhaust at the back of the mufflers. Problem solved. Nice and quiet
@xxdabroxx I did that on the drivers side pipe, should I just whack the passenger side also? I seen someone concerned with the exhaust blasting straight towards the rear...but in my experience usually if you put your hand down at a tailpipe, it's usually relatively cool. Also, the YouTube guy SS396RAT who runs Novas and actually has a video on this kit...his exhaust ends much closer towards the engine but he remarked on the 90 degree bends he has in his exhaust pointing at his rear wheels and said he wants to point them straight down in case oil blasts out of the exhaust he doesn't want it landing in the pathway of the rear wheels. You can see in this photo that my drivers side muffer is pointing directly at the rear: Are we calling this ok and not a problem or do I need to address this?


 

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My old exhaust turned down and straight back halfway between the pinion and the inner edges of the tires (approximately). Never had any issues other than lots of dust gets stirred up on dirty roads. New exhaust is just sprint car mufflers on header extensions turned down and out, far from quiet though. And definitely a street sweeper.

Burnout competition guys intentionally point the mufflers at the tires so that it helps blow the smoke out away from the car and makes the clouds look bigger.

If I was making a pro touring car or something I was going to spend a lot of time on the highway I'd definitely like it ran out the back. Otherwise loud exhaust doesn't bother me and saves money you'd otherwise spend on a stereo.
 

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1972 6 Cylinder Dragster :)
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Discussion Starter · #832 ·
thank you. I'll hack the passenger side off as well. At the tail end of my lunch break, I crawled under the car and ran a tape from the ground up to the axle and I have different numbers from left to right so she's not sitting level. I guess it will take a little tinkering to get this figured out to take a measurement for the shocks. I really figured that with the jack stands on flat/level ground and them being set to the same height would do it but that is not the case.

Tonight, all depending on how I feel and what's going on will determine what else I get done. Hack off the passenger exhaust, try to level her up to measure for shocks. I have brake line stuff to figure out. The list doesn't seem all that bad.
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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I recall l that you installed the Global West rear shackle kit on your Nova.
Is it possible that one... or more of the shackle "nuts & bolts" may have been over tightened/torqued and is causing a binding issue with the leaf springs (and/or frame) where the shackles are attached?
I crawled under the car and ran a tape from the ground up to the axle and I have different numbers from left to right so she's not sitting level.
The only other reasons that I can think of that the rear axle is not level with the ground (with weight of the vehicle resting on the tires) is that the diameter the rear tires are different... or the bottom of the axle perch is not sitting squarely on the top of the leaf spring(s).
 

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IIRC you have adjustable springs on the front too. Extra spring pressure on one side of the front puts additional load on the opposite rear corner. A lot of variables out there. I know my car can sit on 3 jack stands depending on where you put them on the frame.
 

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1972 6 Cylinder Dragster :)
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Discussion Starter · #836 · (Edited)
@RifRaf thank you for the ideas sir, I will take a look. I'm pretty sure that I have plenty of play in the Global West Shackles but I will check them. In the course of messing around, I did put a hydraulic jack and a block of wood under the rear bumper and jacked a bit in hopes of gaining some clearance for something I was doing and everything seemed to move pretty easily. I was actually shocked that with the rear on jack stands that the body seemed to move in such a "light" sort of way.

@xxdabroxx I thought that I had them even but it's a possibility.

@sudden_impulse I'm not sure what you mean about the leaf spring buttons. My setup is new spring pockets, Calvert split monos @ regular height, Global West shackles in the rear with their bushing setup. I've had everything apart and back together several times, I'm getting really good at doing it and I'm pretty confident that everything is lined up and such because my leaf pockets sandwich my subframe connectors so if I wasn't lined up right, the stuff wouldn't bolt up.

EDIT-->Oh you mean the leaf spring bracket deal that locates on that little hole. Pretty sure the rear is sitting on the button and I'm pretty confident, but I can double check that my bracket is sitting on the opposite side nut the right way.

For whatever it's worth: I recall looking at this darn car more than once while it was sitting in the garage and feeling like she wasn't sitting level. I wasn't sure if it was the floor in the garage or the OEM / rear suspension on the car. When I disassembled everything, the passenger side rear shock was missing a nut on the lower mount and it was running air shocks. I just figured that with new components that I'd be in good shape.

I did notice the other night that there were sheet metal screws in my passenger side wheel well towards the rear and as I mentioned the passenger side rear frame rail seemed a tiny bit wavy when compared to the drivers side. If you ran your hand on the area of the bump stop where the shock relocation bracket want's to sit, I'd say there's 1/16-1/8th inch of wave in the rail. I don't really see any other sort of evidence of a massive collision or anything so my money is just on the ground not being level, or something. Probably the easiest thing to do here is going to be throw the wheels / tires on and let her down onto the ground and take a few measurements and adjust accordingly. Maybe bottlejack up the low side until I have even measurements to the ground and call it good. Never had to level a car before so idk.
 

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1972 6 Cylinder Dragster :)
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Discussion Starter · #838 ·
Aug 16, 2022

I put the wheels on, dropped her on the ground and measured from the ground up to both sides of the axle: numbers matched.

I measured from the ground up to the frame rails and i’ve got a discrepancy. The body is sitting higher on drivers side than on the passenger side for sure. I took the first bit of advice and made sure the shackles weren’t binding, I backed out the nuts a little just to be sure. Pushed up and down on the deck lid to articulate the shackles…wow it seems light, but everything moves. Measured again and we are still off.

Not wanting to actually try to figure out what is causing this, I spent maybe 20 minutes trying to jack up the body on the passenger side hoping we might hit the magical number of pumps in the jack to get equal measurements on both sides which would allow me to measure for shocks and continue on my merry way….no such luck.

Welcome to the most important thing in drag racing…suspension. I’m not sure I have the mental capacity for this when I can’t even manage to measure for shocks because the body isn’t level but the rear end sure seems to be in relation to the ground. 🤯🤯🤯🤯
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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Okay... the rear axle is level with the ground, but the body is higher on one side at the rear.

As @xxdabroxx already mentioned... the first (and easiest thing to check) would be the ride height of the front of the car... since an un-level position of the front end could effect the ride height at the rear.

The next thing to check is that both of your front leaf spring brackets/pockets sit the same distance from the underside of the rocker panel (I think that is what this part of the body is called). There are 2 different height front leaf spring brackets that will fit on your Nova...
  • The original 3rd gen Nova front leaf spring bracket that sit a lower in the frame (see image below). Looking from the side of the car, you should be able to see the bolt that runs thru the front leaf spring eye just below the rocker panel (red arrow).
Tire Wheel Car Vehicle Automotive tire

  • The 1st gen Camaro (and most aftermarket replacement) front leaf spring brackets sit higher in the frame. When looking from the side, you would not be able to see this same bolt.
If somehow you had a mismatched set of front leaf spring brackets, this would effect the ride height in the rear.

The next thing to check is not going to be fun at all. It could be that the new leaf springs do not lift the rear of the car evenly. To see if this was the issue, you would need to disassemble the rear suspension so that that the leaf spring on the right could be moved to the left side... and visa versa with the leaf spring on the other side.
  • If the ride height difference in the rear follows the leaf spring move, your new leaf springs are most likely the issue.
  • If the ride height difference in the rear does not move side to side with the spring move, you may have rear frame rail issues.
I know... probably not what you wanted to hear.
 
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