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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone
I have a 69 ss bbq with very poor handling, car wanders on the highway, a lot of play in the steering etc.
I just rec replaced all stock new upper& lower control arms
new spindles
new front coils
new leafs coils& leafs from eaton multi leaf
all new body mounts.
I realize these cars don't ride great but my car rides very rough, harsh!
I have not touched the sway bar& shocks & at the present time has extended shackles on the rear, which I'm
in the process of removing.
any help would be appreciated
I was told with replacement shocks these cars don't like gas shocks & prefer an hydraulic shock thoughts on this?
thx Brian
 

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Hey Kingbri,
No, the engineering in that time period wasn't what it is today but neither were the highways. Curious, I see you replaced your body mounts. All of them? With what product? Polyurethane? If yes, you already know it's pretty hard material when brand new. Mine are a year old and still hard.

Regarding the play in the steering wheel, it's likely the steering gearbox. Do a search in this section for some information from other members on what they've done and then chose your own approach.

Wandering and poor handling can be corrected with a front end alignment. If that doesn't make it right, I refer you back to the previous paragraph,

You've got quite a list already taken care of and when it comes to shocks, I have gas and have no issues with them. I have not heard of hydraulic over gas for these cars. Perhaps others have.
 

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Did you tighten all the leaf spring bushing locations and front A-arm bushing locations with the car up in the air on stands?? This will preload all the bushings and can make for a harsh ride. None of those locations should be tightened until the car is sitting on the suspension fully.

Poly bushing by their very nature transmit more harshness to the passenger compartment, so that can be some of what you feel..

Tie rod ends, pitman arm, drag link all new also?? Looseness here along with the steering box sector adjustment and alignment can contribute to wandering.
Front end get aligned after all the new parts installed?? New A-arms would make this mandatory.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hey Kingbri,
No, the engineering in that time period wasn't what it is today but neither were the highways. Curious, I see you replaced your body mounts. All of them? With what product? Polyurethane? If yes, you already know it's pretty hard material when brand new. Mine are a year old and still hard.

Regarding the play in the steering wheel, it's likely the steering gearbox. Do a search in this section for some information from other members on what they've done and then chose your own approach.

Wandering and poor handling can be corrected with a front end alignment. If that doesn't make it right, I refer you back to the previous paragraph,

You've got quite a list already taken care of and when it comes to shocks, I have gas and have no issues with them. I have not heard of hydraulic over gas for these cars. Perhaps others have.
yes poly question if they are hard why are they recommended, prob because of how long they last?
ok thx
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Did you tighten all the leaf spring bushing locations and front A-arm bushing locations with the car up in the air on stands?? This will preload all the bushings and can make for a harsh ride. None of those locations should be tightened until the car is sitting on the suspension fully.

Poly bushing by their very nature transmit more harshness to the passenger compartment, so that can be some of what you feel..

Tie rod ends, pitman arm, drag link all new also?? Looseness here along with the steering box sector adjustment and alignment can contribute to wandering.
Front end get aligned after all the new parts installed?? New A-arms would make this mandatory.
I will have to double check on the tightening part, if this was done wrong can it be reversed do you know?
tie rod ends & etc are not new, Alignment was done
 

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I will have to double check on the tightening part, if this was done wrong can it be reversed do you know?
tie rod ends & etc are not new, Alignment was done
Yep, loosen all the bolts at a bushing connection, bounce the suspension up and down half a dozen times and then tighten it all back up.

On the '68-74 Nova, the pitman arm on the steering box is a wear joint, make sure the ball joint in that is not sloppy.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yep, loosen all the bolts at a bushing connection, bounce the suspension up and down half a dozen times and then tighten it all back up.

On the '68-74 Nova, the pitman arm on the steering box is a wear joint, make sure the ball joint in that is not sloppy.
thanks
 

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You may have already tried this:

Raise the front wheels off the ground and try wiggling the front tires. Anything badly worn will show up as slop. Next put the car on ramps and have a helper move the wheel back and forth slightly while inspecting all the steering joints and steering box for play.

Is it a power steering box?

There may be an adjustment available for the steering box to tighten up the “neutral” zone. It’s usually on the head of the steering box and looks like a small threaded bushing with a screw through it.


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There! See, Kingbri? I knew there was good info out there on this.
Good stuff Ericnova and Kimmer71!

Now, to readjust my leaf spring and A-arm bushings I need to get suspension on ground then....
 

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If you have new control arm bushings and ball joints then you can look to the parts that haven’t been dealt with. An alignment, rag joint, worn steering box, and tie rod ends are all possible areas to pay attention to for sloppy steering..
 

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Is it a power steering box?
There may be an adjustment available for the steering box to tighten up the “neutral” zone. It’s usually on the head of the steering box and looks like a small threaded bushing with a screw through it.
If it is a manual steering box, then yes... I agree that you could adjust/tighten-up the "free play" at the neutral zone.
BUT... if it's a power steering box, I highly recommend to not mess with the adjustment nut & screw. This adjustment is set at the factory using a special tool while the steering box is removed from the vehicle (checks gear resistance while turning thru neutral zone). You should not attempt to adjust the power steering's adjustment screw in the same fashion that you would try to adjust a manual steering box (to remove the steering wheel play).
If you over-tighten the adjustment screw on the power steering box, the steering wheel will not return to center after a turn. Too loose and the steering will feel very unresponsive (ask me how I know).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
If it is a manual steering box, then yes... I agree that you could adjust/tighten-up the "free play" at the neutral zone.
BUT... if it's a power steering box, I highly recommend to not mess with the adjustment nut & screw. This adjustment is set at the factory using a special tool while the steering box is removed from the vehicle (checks gear resistance while turning thru neutral zone). You should not attempt to adjust the power steering's adjustment screw in the same fashion that you would try to adjust a manual steering box (to remove the steering wheel play).
If you over-tighten the adjustment screw on the power steering box, the steering wheel will not return to center after a turn. Too loose and the steering will feel very unresponsive (ask me how I know).
its a power box & thanks for the heads up!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If you have new control arm bushings and ball joints then you can look to the parts that haven’t been dealt with. An alignment, rag joint, worn steering box, and tie rod ends are all possible areas to pay attention to for sloppy steering..
thanks
 

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Kingbri, Glad you got my humour on that response. Hard to do with one dimensional text sometimes.
 

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Hello everyone
I have a 69 ss bbq with very poor handling, car wanders on the highway, a lot of play in the steering etc.
I just rec replaced all stock new upper& lower control arms
new spindles
new front coils
new leafs coils& leafs from eaton multi leaf
all new body mounts.
I realize these cars don't ride great but my car rides very rough, harsh!
I have not touched the sway bar& shocks & at the present time has extended shackles on the rear, which I'm
in the process of removing.
any help would be appreciated
I was told with replacement shocks these cars don't like gas shocks & prefer an hydraulic shock thoughts on this?
thx Brian
I did the same upgrades in my 72 except I added new bilstein shocks, complete front end kit including pitman arm, bigger front and rear sway bars, rag joint and close ratio steering box. Night and day difference.
 
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