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Discussion Starter #1
Ok...1971 Chevy Nova...stock front suspension on rubber (soon to be poly) bushings....stock front sway bar.... ZZ4 aluminum headed 350 with a turbo 350 trans....18 inch wheels on semi-lowpro rubber otherwise pretty much a bone stock car...... any idea on what spring rate to run with the QA1 front adjustable coilovers? My last toy was a C5 Corvette, while I know the handling will never be on par with that (not on my current budget anyway) Im looking to signifigantly stiffen up the front end...I plan on doing the poly bushings and a beefier sway bar to help with the total handling but...for now, I feel the stock springs are pretty much spent, I need to lower the car down a bit also so this might be the best of both worlds at the current moment....any help or reccomendations will/would be greatly appreciated...thanks...nick
 

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Its more about a good balance all around than just stiffening up springs if you want good handling. What do you want to do with the car?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I agree with the balancing of the entire package...however, upgrading this thing with one chunk of every other paycheck (maybe...if Im lucky) Im trying to do a little at a time...The car is 99% street crusier with maybe a pass or two down the 1/4 mile. I know what I'd like or should do but $$$ only allows so much...Im not looking to autocross it or anything like that ...just have it a little flatter when coming around some slower traffic, making abrupt manuvers.. or just plain getting after it , tooling around at a bit faster pace.....I passed a dump truck the other day...wicked it up to 85-90mph and it felt a bit loose...I just want to tighten it up a bunch...I fig the bushings, a hotchkis swaybar, and the coilovers would have to make a signifigant difference......correct?
 

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I run QA-1 coilovers on my 72 nova. I tried a 250# spring and it binded So I had to order a set of 350# ones that worked perfect for my Nova and I got the desirable ride height out of them.
I have the factory arms with stock bushings aluminum headed 383 sbc. No heater or air, Manual steering and brakes. My Nova weighs in at 3,080 lbs without me in it.
 

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I run QA-1 coilovers on my 72 nova. I tried a 250# spring and it binded So I had to order a set of 350# ones that worked perfect for my Nova and I got the desirable ride height out of them.
I have the factory arms with stock bushings aluminum headed 383 sbc. No heater or air, Manual steering and brakes. My Nova weighs in at 3,080 lbs without me in it.
my 71 nova also had QA1"s on it and i also ran the 350# springs with a 421 sbc..car weight 3096.factory arms ,manual steering.just put the QA1R setup on my 70 nova with the 450# spring but its a big block car with a little more weight and so far they are great..
 

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If all your looking for is a little more safe manuverability on the street, and have a strict budget, I would skip the QA-1 conversion for now. I'd spend the money on a set of Hotchkis front and rear springs. Then use the left over money for a fast ratio steering box conversion. This along with new bushings and a bigger sway bar will make the car handle much better and you get more bang for your buck. I have this set up on my big block 71 and it handles pretty flat. It out handles my 2000 Grand Prix GTP. The small block springs with an iron headed small block sit pretty good as well. I also like the Edelbrock IAS shocks. This overall will save you a few hundred dollars and then you can spend that on a nice big brake upgrade, which you'll need with the suspension mods. just my opinion.
 

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If you are stuck on the QA-1 coil overs, 350 is the minimum. 450 would be more to my liking for a street cruiser.

71SS has a good point about the Hotchkis kit. It is a proven combination that delivers excellent handling and a decent ride. Hotchkis' front springs are 600 lbs. I have the front and rear springs and Hotchkis front sway bar on my Nova with a ZZ4.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
will the different rate springs affect ride height at all even though they are adjustable with the spanner wrench, what would be the benifet or difference between the 350 or 450 lb springs? I need to lower my nova an inch or two....but dont want to lower it to much to the point where Im pretty much not getting any shock travel....i did some searching...if I run the hotchkis rear springs..I believe they lower the car 1.5 inches.....Im already tucking tire on my 18's in the rear (is it because of the stock multi-leaf springs being worn out?...maybe) and will the new springs work with my traction bars? Im not opposed to running the hotchkis stuff but I can get the QA1's for like 365.00 so I thought ..."why not" man ...decision decisions........lol

I am doing a front disk brake upgrade with new booster and master to get rid of the drum brakes so I fig I'd do everything at once since everything would be apart.........
 

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I ran 350lb spring rate before with a alumium headed sbc, Im currently running the 250lb because I switched to a LS2 which weights 80lb less on the front of the nose. So the answer to your question is yes a lighter spring rate will yield a lower stance. if its the same coil size and length. In this case it is.
 

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will the different rate springs affect ride height at all even though they are adjustable with the spanner wrench, what would be the benifet or difference between the 350 or 450 lb springs? I need to lower my nova an inch or two....but dont want to lower it to much to the point where Im pretty much not getting any shock travel....i did some searching...if I run the hotchkis rear springs..I believe they lower the car 1.5 inches.....Im already tucking tire on my 18's in the rear (is it because of the stock multi-leaf springs being worn out?...maybe) and will the new springs work with my traction bars? Im not opposed to running the hotchkis stuff but I can get the QA1's for like 365.00 so I thought ..."why not" man ...decision decisions........lol

I am doing a front disk brake upgrade with new booster and master to get rid of the drum brakes so I fig I'd do everything at once since everything would be apart.........
It is a combination of spring rate and hieght that affects ride hieght. You need to know how tall the spring is and how much it will compress. A 350 lbs spring needs to be taller to yield the same ride hieght as a 450 or 600 lbs spring. The QA-1 coil overs are adjustable, so you can tune your ride hieght. That is their main advantage. Talk with the vendor. They should know what spring to sell to give you the stance you want. If they don't, find another vendor.
 

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do you guys think that the 450 lb. springs would be too harsh on a 3rd gen? I'm going the same route because i keep blowing out shocks with my hotchkis springs.

Not to hijack or anything but my car gets driven on the street mostly, but i will be taking it to a couple of autocrosses next year so i don't want to go too harsh but i still want it to be fairly stiff. If its too much to ask here then i will open a new thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
good question....I was thinking of maybe going the hotchkis spring route after the reccomendation of a few members.....maybe shorter shocks are your answer to blowing them all of the time...prob bottoming out the shocks with the new limited travel from the 2 inch drop....its sounding like the 350's are what most recommend but 450's dont sound too bad when compared to the 600 pound hotchkis front springs?.....any ideas guys?
 

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wow didn't realize how high the spring rate was on the hotchkis springs, in that case i would go with the 450 lb. springs, but that makes me wonder if the 550 lb springs would be a little more comfortable than the hotchkis springs, or should i just rely on the 1 1/4" sway bar instead of the extra spring rate, don't want to go more loose.

The reason that i keep blowing shocks is just that, they are just running at too low of a height to last, but the bilsteins that hotchkis recommends are over a buck a piece so i thought i would try some kyb's...bad investment lol

If you want to buy my springs let me know, maybe we can work something out, fronts anyway, leafs won't be coming out untill after september.
 

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do you guys think that the 450 lb. springs would be too harsh on a 3rd gen? I'm going the same route because i keep blowing out shocks with my hotchkis springs.

Not to hijack or anything but my car gets driven on the street mostly, but i will be taking it to a couple of autocrosses next year so i don't want to go too harsh but i still want it to be fairly stiff. If its too much to ask here then i will open a new thread.
450 lbs springs would be pretty mild. If your shocks are two long, you will blow them out no matter what spring you put in. Factory front springs are in the 325 - 375 lbs range depending on they year, model and options. Another thing about stiffer springs is they require a firmer shock to control their motion.

Edit: My neighbor used to road race 1st Gen Camaros and he ran 900 lbs springs in front.

You can over shock soft springs, but you don't want to under shock firm springs. Putting a large sway bar on soft springs will cause the sway bar to act as a spring when going over bumps. IMO a 1 inch bar is the max with factory spring rates
 

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ok so then with the qa1 coilovers for the stock arms (for now) the 550 lb. springs would't be a problem? seeings how the hotchkis springs are 600 lb. and the shock would be built to work with that spring rate

I know that my current spring/shock combo is terrible because i could only afford the springs and not the bilstein shocks before but i figure that the qa1 coilovers not only have adjustability but they are engineered to work with whatever spring rate you get, or you can adjust the shocks to whatever spring rate you have (looking into the single adjustable ones from jegs)

http://www.jegs.com/i/QA1/122/GMP1550-1/10002/-1
 

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QA-1 should have a shock to work with the Hotchkis springs too. I'm running Koni reds. That are adjustable for rebound and I have them set to the mid point. The ony advantage to the QA-1 coil overs is they are adjustable for rid height. If you are happy with your height, just get shocks.
 

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The ride height is ok...but i would like the ability to adjust that and really tune it in to the stance that i want so i guess i'm going to go with the 550 lb. QA1's. I figure i will have my ride height adjustability, shock adjustability, and a tiny bit softer ride, but even with a softer(barely) ride i will probably handle better than my mismatched combo now. I plan on going with the DSE quadralink for the rear too so i will have coilovers all the way around and i can work on really dialing everything in for a mix of comfort(i do like it a bit stiff) and performance.
 

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The ride height is ok...but i would like the ability to adjust that and really tune it in to the stance that i want so i guess i'm going to go with the 550 lb. QA1's. I figure i will have my ride height adjustability, shock adjustability, and a tiny bit softer ride, but even with a softer(barely) ride i will probably handle better than my mismatched combo now. I plan on going with the DSE quadralink for the rear too so i will have coilovers all the way around and i can work on really dialing everything in for a mix of comfort(i do like it a bit stiff) and performance.
Are you road racing this car or drag racing it? a 550lb spring is still stiff if you have access to some scale's get a front end weight on the car then pick you'r springs I had 550lb springs on a 68 chevelle with a 572 and the car did not transfer at all I then switched to a variable rate 365/465 spring and the car works better. You might want to call Qa1 and talk to them about this and what you are doing they are great to deal with. If you car is a small block i just don't think the 550 lb is what you'r looking for but thats just me thinking out loud again.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I just ordered the coilovers with the 350lb springs ....Im doing polygraphite bushings in the stock control arms and front disc brakes too....... Ill let you know how they work out.......this weekend Im doing the Auburn posi with Motive's 3.73's.....so the front end might not happen for a week or so...........man ...having fun is getting expensive...lol Thanks everyone for the input....much appreciated :thumbsup:
 

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good luck with the posi and installing the coil overs

I will be doing a bit of autocrossing with the car and sometimes taking it drag racing, but i'm not looking for the absolute lowest time dragging it, it will mostly be an aggressive driver that handles really well.

How stiff do you guys with 3rd gens think the 450 lb springs are? i haven't seen anyone use the 550 lb springs but since the hotchkis are 600 lbs i can't imagine they would be too bad.
 
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