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I just picked up a 71 Nova. It’s been sitting in a barn since 06 (notice the cobwebs). Previous owner had big plans but didn’t do much. Supposedly was an drag car in Arizona before that.

I’ve started giving it the once over and I’m having a hard time ID-ing these traction bars and figuring out what the brackets on the side are for. The shocks are not currently bolted to the axle. The guy said there was something connecting the frame together to prevent twisting while racing. I don’t know if it was supposed to go here or what.

Any help with this would be appreciated. I’d like to either find the rest of the parts or replace it it if it’s out of date tech.
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As for connecting the frame, google Subframe Connectors. I made a set once. Just connect the front and rear sections of subframe.
 

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Bars look like old competition version Lakewoods, might possibly be the very similar Competition Engineering version. If the rubber snubber isn't directly under the front spring eye, they are Lakewood....if it is directly under the eye(like they really should be) they probably are Comp Engineering.
Can't really see from your pics, but it does look like they are short of being long enough to reach the spring eye, hence IMO they are Lakewood.
If you plan to keep and use them, to make them really work you need to add a 3-4" extension to the front of the tube and move the snubber forward to directly under the center of the eye so that it's lever action prys against the spring's pivot point to force the suspension to plant the tire instead of hitting the spring back several inches on the main leaf abd trying to bend the leaf aft of the spring pivot point.
I've fixed several sets of these over the years by cutting off the extra chunk of tube that is on the back secion and using it fo fix and extend the front. That way you don't have to buy any tube. Lakewoods current version no longer has the extra tube length there...but they are still short on the front half.

The extra shock mounting points are there because the same traction bar is listed to fit a number of different body and year GM leaf spring cars...pretty much all of them from the 1955 Chevy up through the 1981 Camaro and the S-10 trucks.
Some of those need the inboard mounting locations, and there are guys who also add a new upper shock crossmember and move the shocks inboard of the springs and frame rail for mini-tub clearance.

Those tabs have nothing to do with connectng to any frame connector.

One note to add, those front anti-dive spring clamps that loop over the spring up near the front eye...those should never be cranked down to touch the spring or or worse yet to pull the snubber up closer to or tight to the spring eye....all that does is bind things up....at rest, car sitting on the ground on it's tires, there should at least be a 1/16" air gap between that clamp and the leaf pack.
All that clamp is for is to prevent the front of the bar being shoved into the ground on hard braking. it's just a safety clamp, not a solid clamp/tuning clamp....a lot of guys mess this up.

If the snubber gap isn't as close as you want it, the correct way to get it closer is either spacer washer/shim under the snubber, or wedge shim put on the axle pad between the leaf pack and the traction bar spring plate to re-angle the entire bar.

I've seen properly set up competiton slapper bars run well into the 9 second 1/4 mile zone.

Cal-Tracs, Slide-a-Links, and Smith Racecraft Assasin bars may be the latest trick leaf spring traction device, but old school slapper bars can get the job done very well if you take the time to properly set them up....Lakewood didn't do their homework correctly, Competition Engineering did. If you copy the CE bars configuration onto the Lakewood parts, they work real well.

Competition Engineering catalog PDF has a nice couple of pages at the front of the catalog that explain how all the various traction bars work with visual diagrams
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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I agree that the slapper bars look like they are the older version of the Lakewood competition traction bars. I'm also guessing the that front snubber is about 3"- 4" short of contacting the leaf spring directly under the spring eye.
If you plan to reuse these bars, I recommend lengthening the front of the bars as Ericnova has suggested.

A couple other things I noticed that should be address. In the photos below, your current set-up is on the left and mine is on the right.
  • One side of the traction bar's mounting plate is attached to the spring perch using "T" bolts (Red arrow). The "T" bolts could damage the spring perches and are not recommended for high performance applications. I suggest replacing the "T" bolts with over-the-axle "U" bolts (green arrows).
  • With the traction bar completely tightened against the spring perch, I can see a gap between the leaf spring mounting pad and the leaf spring on your set-up (yellow arrow). A gap in this location could cause the rear axle to shift/move on the leaf springs during extreme torque. I suggest installing a good set of polyurethane leaf spring pads on both the upper and lower side of the leaf springs for a tight fit (orange arrow). See link under photo.
  • And as Ericnova explained... the extra tabs on the mounting plate of the traction bars are for various shock mount locations on different vehicles (blue circles).
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On a positive note, it looks like you have an 8.5" rear axle in you Nova... and it is stronger than the 8.2" version.
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Good additional info RifRaf...I wrote nearly a whole book and still managed to leave a few details out that are also important.(y)

I don't know if BlackOut15 has an actual gap under the leaf stack, or if it is just the qriginal rubber pads have just badly disintegrated.
When I set my Nova up for heavy drag use I replaced those rubber pads with custom aluminum flat bar spacers, for a totally solid mount from bar to perch to the spring.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You guys totally called it. The more I think about it, the more I want to just switch them out. This car will see more street than strip and these old things give me only like 2” of ground clearance.
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I find that when I re-do a set, I make the front section longer using the excess tube cut off the back section of the bar in order to get the snubber under the eye, and cut the snubber height in half or a little lower making the snubber about 1 to 1-1/4" tall and flat topped.
Then eather make a single saw cut through the top and side walls of the bar but not the bottom wall of the tube, about right at the point the front edge of the spring mount plate is welded to the tube, ....and then bend the bar up to close the cut and weld the cut shut to make the bar solid again. This gets the front end up away from the road and closer to the spring eye. Sometimes takes a double wide cut to get enough gain to get the bar nicely positioned as far as height.

Alternative to the cut and weld method is a wedge shim between the bar mounting plate and the spring leaf to change the angle of the bar that way.

Once you do that, they effectively don't hang any lower than a Cal-Trac type bar's front pivot.
 
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