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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I'm starting with a 71 Nova that currently has a 250 inline six, powerglide, manual drum brakes and mono leaf rear springs.
Plans include swapping in a mild 383 (375-380hp), 4l60E, single piston stock front disc brakes, with 69-70 14x7 (SS 396 Chevelle style) wheels and stock ride height.
Can someone recommend spring rates (front and rear) that would make for a sweet handling, street only, daily driver yet not too harsh or stiff?
I was researching the specs for the optional F41 suspension and found 13/16 front and 9/16 rear sway bars were used. I couldn't find stock replacement F41 sway bars offered, only 1 1/8 and larger through the aftermarket.
Any tips or recommendations will be appreciated, Thanks.
 

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I had Moog #6320 coil springs in front with heavy duty shocks, before switching to coil-over shocks. I liked the firm, but not stiff, ride that they gave.

For the rears, if you're going to run multi-leaf springs, Summit has a good one: SUM-7081GM.

The quality of your shocks is going to make a LOT of difference with how stiff the springs feel. The rear springs in my car felt like truck springs until I installed some heavy duty adjustable shocks from Calvert Racing. I couldn't believe how much the shocks improved the ride.

My front sway bar is 1 1/8" and it works well. I wouldn't do a rear sway bar. It won't help as much as you think, and will likely cause oversteer instead, if you push the car hard in turns.

Switch to polyurethane suspension bushings and body mount bushings, and some sub-frame connectors instead of a rear sway bar. I made these changes and the handling is VASTLY improved.

Gerry
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it. I finally found info on spring rates for the front. Stock with a 350 was 280 and HD suspension was 345. The 6320's you mentioned are 380 which sounds exactly like what I'm looking for. Did you notice any change in ride height with those?

I'm definitely going with a subframe connector, just forgot to mention it.

I may just go with the 1 1/8 front sway bar and call it a day. Is there any harshness with the poly bushings? Thanks again.
 

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I did get a big lift in the front end, but my stock springs were REALLY sagging. However, the ride height, even after the springs settle in, was a bit higher than I prefer. I eventually opted for coil-overs, they're adjustability made more sense than figuring out spring rates and installed heights to try to get what I wanted.

Yes, they're a lot pricier, but I've never regretted spending the extra money to do the job ONE TIME and be done with it. I got the Viking double-adjustable shocks from Church Boys Racing (an active and helpful sponsor on this site). They work with stock control arms, too, so you don't have to upgrade everything all at once.

Something to keep in mind is the differences in the weight of individual cars. Mine has factory A/C, but it also has aluminum heads and intake, and headers, so unless you weigh your car at all four corners, it's impossible to make and apples-to-apples comparison.

If you don't want to do coil-overs right now, a spring rated in the 345-380# range will give you a fairly firm ride, which it doesn't seem you'll mind. But if you don't want to raise the nose as much, look for something with a lower installed height of 1" or 1.5" less than the Moog 6320. I have a table of part numbers and specs at home, but I don't have access to it now. Sorry. If you can't wait, I found it by scrounging around the web, so if you have the time and the patience, the information is out there.

The polyurethane bushings didn't add any harshness to the ride, but they made a big improvement in steering feel and control. Just make sure that you periodically lubricate the sway bar bushings (the middle ones), they are the only ones that will squeak. I lube mine with Amsoil full-synthetic grease about once or twice a year.

Sorry for the late reply, I'm on vacation and not spending much time on my computer.

Gerry
 
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