Chevy Nova Forum banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Good afternoon everyone. last year I finished the 383 in my 71, but had to take a break from the car. Now that i'm able to continue to build the car, the next "issue" is the suspension. The last time I drove the car was on the interstate. The car drove like a boat, bouncing all over the road.

The front suspension, as far as I can tell, is stock. I have done a front disk brake conversion with a 2'' drop spindle.

The rear is stock with of the shelf shocks (the original air shocks were pulled off to get the 28/10.5 to fit.

My plan for the car is for it to be a true street car. It will be raced in the track from time to time but the streets are where it will predominantly be.

So what I need from you all with more experience than myself is your recommendations on suspension. Any advice you guys can give will be much appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
Joined
·
1,659 Posts
It really depends on your budget and your goals.
I was in the same boat as you a few years ago. I own a 74 Nova and the handling was very poor. I finally decided to rebuild and upgrade my front and rear suspensions. I wanted to keep my ride height stock, but improve overall handling. I did a lot of research on what was available and how to get the “best bang for my buck”. There are popular handling kits that are offered by several venders (Ridetch, Detroit Speed, etc) but I decided to purchase my suspension components separately. I did reuse my stock front coil springs and stock rear multi-leaf springs.

I started off by replacing all of the body bushings with Energy Suspension’s polyurethane kit. While I was doing the body bushings, I also installed some Competition Engineering “bolt-on” subframe connectors to help remove body flex. Next, I installed Global West tubular upper control arms (with Delrin bushings) for the caster gains. I also removed the original upper ball joints that came with the Global West upper control arms and installed Proforged 1/2" taller upper ball joints to change my front end geometry to negative camber gains (unfortunately, Global West does not sell the upper control arm without ball joints). I reused my stock lower control arms… but I installed Global West Del-a-lums inserts/bushings and new Proforged lower ball joints.

I also installed new Proforged taller tie rod ends to help with bump steer. I installed a CPP 1 1/8” front sway bar and used regular KYB Excel-G gas filled front shocks both front and rear. The other items I upgraded was switching over to a close ratio power steering box and installing Global West Del-a-lum rear spring shackle kit. Good radial tires with a “modern spec” front end alignment will help handling.

If you install aftermarket upper tubular control arms that provide increased caster, I recommend the following front-end alignment specs (taken from Global West website).
Caster: Drivers Side = 5° Positive / Passengers Side = 5 ½° Positive
Camber: Negative ½° both sides
Toe-in: 1/16”- 3/32”
If you keep your stock upper control arms, the most caster you can expect to get is about 2.5°- 3° positive and still maintain a negative .5° camber on both front wheels.
Whatever you do, don’t let any shop set the front-end alignment to stock specs for your year Nova. Stock specs were based on using bias ply tires.

I learned how to proceed with all of these upgrades by reading many forums. Just do your research and take your time. Tackle one project at a time.

While I do not consider myself “Pro Touring”, I think my Nova handles great. There is not one squeak while bouncing the front or rear suspension and the ride is not harsh at all. I am very happy with the results of these upgrades.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,106 Posts
If you want to perform well on the track, its not going to handle awesomely on the street. If you want corner burning handling, its not going to hook as well as it could on the strip. Everything is a compromise.

My street set up in my big block 71 is this. I run Hotchkis drop springs front and rear. In the fro t I have Global west control arms, an Addco 1 1/14 sway bar, Edelbrock ISA shocks, an Iroc high effort fast ratio steering box. The rear runs Gabrial gas shocks. I dont run a rear sway bar because my front is adequate, and adding the rear just adds understeer to my car. It handles well,, even on 15" BFG tires. What I'm going to change is the front shocks/springs to a coil over and the rear springs to Global Wests reverse eye spherical bearing springs.

For the strip I use stock control arms with poly bushings heavily greased, front springs for a 6 cylinder AC car, no swaybar, and adjustable drag shocks. In the rear, Cal Trac bars and their split mono leafs, with adjustable drag shocks and an anti roll bar. Its drivable, but not great on a twisty road.
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Top