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Suspension Overhaul


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First things first, I removed the gas tank. The watts bar sits right in front of it, so rather than struggle getting that fitted in, I figured it would just be easier to take the tank out. My goal this weekend is to get everything removed in terms of shock absorbers, leaf springs, and rear axle. Not sure if I'll have fitment issues with my current exhaust, but I'm leaning towards yes, so will likely be removing it as well.

PSX_20210723_093224.jpg

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Plain Jane | 1971 F Code Coupe 302/C4 Automatic

Goin' to Town Rig | 1971 F100 Ranger XLT LWB 390FE/C6 Automatic

Commuter | 2018 Tesla Model 3 Midrange RWD

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thx for sharing, really curious to see how these goodies will fit and function.

Good luck with the install

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73 modified Grande 351C. (Finally back on the road woohoo!) 

71 429CJ. ( In progress )

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Awesome package. Once you have that done you will need new sticky tires. Those tires will be the weak link to get the most out of the suspension.

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20160929_171923_edit2_small.jpg

 

1971 M-Code Mach 1 w/Ram Air, 408 stroker, 285/291 0.558" roller cam, Blue Thunder intake, TKO600, Hooker headers with electric cut-offs, FiTech EFI w/ RobBMC PowerSurge pump

Strange center section with Truetrac, 3.5 gear and 31 spline axles, 4-wheel disc brakes

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3 hours ago, tony-muscle said:

Awesome package. Once you have that done you will need new sticky tires. Those tires will be the weak link to get the most out of the suspension.

Absolutely. I'm thinking I'll get some continental extreme contact DWS06 tires when I do. I have them on my other car and they perform really well for all seasons. Going to need to find some good wheels as well since my current ones are only 15x8.

Plain Jane | 1971 F Code Coupe 302/C4 Automatic

Goin' to Town Rig | 1971 F100 Ranger XLT LWB 390FE/C6 Automatic

Commuter | 2018 Tesla Model 3 Midrange RWD

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Ok everything that needs to come off the car is out. Going to be taking tomorrow to start wire wheeling everything under here and prep for paint. Figured I might as well do that now since I don't know when I'll have the rear disassembled like this again. 

PSX_20210724_193239.jpg

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Plain Jane | 1971 F Code Coupe 302/C4 Automatic

Goin' to Town Rig | 1971 F100 Ranger XLT LWB 390FE/C6 Automatic

Commuter | 2018 Tesla Model 3 Midrange RWD

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Test fitting everything today. A couple of things I've noticed. 

1: the gas tank straps are going to have to to in before the watts bar as it looks like the bar sits right beneath them.

2: not going to be able to use the factory brake line support bracket as the 3rd link bar needs to go where it is. Going to have to do some creative brake line rerouting.

 

Next step is to take out the pinion snubber plate that's welded in the transmission tunnel with a spot weld drill, then I can actually bolt the watts bar and 3rd link bar to the frame.

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Plain Jane | 1971 F Code Coupe 302/C4 Automatic

Goin' to Town Rig | 1971 F100 Ranger XLT LWB 390FE/C6 Automatic

Commuter | 2018 Tesla Model 3 Midrange RWD

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Ok both the watts bar and 3rd link bar are bolted to the frame rails now. The watts bar slid over the frame rails no problem, but I did have some difficulty getting the 3rd link bar fully seated - it was about 1/8" too narrow as you can see from the first pic. Emailed Shaun at StreetorTrack and he said that's typical as some cars will have wider or narrower set frame rails than others, and to use a dead blow hammer to get it lined up.

 

I will say the step bolts they gave you use to bolt everything up are pretty intuitive. They have you drill a 1/2" hole on the outboard side of your frame rails, and a 3/8" hole on the inboard side, so that the step bolt can effectively clamp both sides of the frame rails. Let's you torque them on pretty tight without worrying about warping anything.

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PSX_20210729_120933.jpg

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Plain Jane | 1971 F Code Coupe 302/C4 Automatic

Goin' to Town Rig | 1971 F100 Ranger XLT LWB 390FE/C6 Automatic

Commuter | 2018 Tesla Model 3 Midrange RWD

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Good ole shoulder bolts... 

That's gonna be a cool upgrade!

[align=left]Jeff T.

 

When I die I want to die like grandpa, peacefully in my sleep... not screaming, like his passengers. [/align]

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Ok fuel tank is back in! Took the opportunity to clean it up and get new gaskets and hardware. The fit against the watts link bar was very tight, but manageable. There's just barely enough room to fish the EVAP line between the tank and the frame. Now all that's left is welding the 3 brackets onto the rear end housing, and bolting it in. That's going to be next week's goal.

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PSX_20210730_123128.jpg

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Plain Jane | 1971 F Code Coupe 302/C4 Automatic

Goin' to Town Rig | 1971 F100 Ranger XLT LWB 390FE/C6 Automatic

Commuter | 2018 Tesla Model 3 Midrange RWD

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Moving along great. I think they sort of blew you off on the frame rails having lots of variation. We stamped sub frames for Ford on several different vehicles. You do not get but a few thousandths of variation due to the parts coming from a hard die not fabricated.
The bolts you mentioned are standard socket heat shoulder screws like are used in dies. They are about equal to a grade 5 bolt. On factory bolts that go through a channel we welded in stamped brackets to prevent collapse. The shoulder bolts to work though.
I was reading through some of the SCCA rules the other night and saw they have approved the Swedish Steel Docal for use in roll cages. About time been around for over 15 years and is way better than 4140 or 4150. No weld issue with it.

When a man is in the woods and talks and no women are there is he still wrong??:P

David

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12 minutes ago, Carolina_Mountain_Mustangs said:

Moving along great. I think they sort of blew you off on the frame rails having lots of variation. We stamped sub frames for Ford on several different vehicles. You do not get but a few thousandths of variation due to the parts coming from a hard die not fabricated.
The bolts you mentioned are standard socket heat shoulder screws like are used in dies. They are about equal to a grade 5 bolt. On factory bolts that go through a channel we welded in stamped brackets to prevent collapse. The shoulder bolts to work though.
I was reading through some of the SCCA rules the other night and saw they have approved the Swedish Steel Docal for use in roll cages. About time been around for over 15 years and is way better than 4140 or 4150. No weld issue with it.

Yeah I am a little disappointed in how hard it was to get the 3rd link bracket over the frame rails. I essentially had to use a jack to hold one side of the bracket flush with the frame rails, then use a dead blow mallet on the other side to get it to seat. So far that's been the only hitch though.

At this point all I'm waiting for is my rear end housing before final assembly. I marked it up for welding and dropped it off at my welding guy's shop on Monday, so hopefully getting it back before the end of this week.

Plain Jane | 1971 F Code Coupe 302/C4 Automatic

Goin' to Town Rig | 1971 F100 Ranger XLT LWB 390FE/C6 Automatic

Commuter | 2018 Tesla Model 3 Midrange RWD

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Are you upgrading your brakes? I will have a Wilwood front brake kit #140-13477 for sale soon. I probably have about 5,000 miles on it. This work great for street and AutoX, but I am now upgrading to a bigger kit so it can handle track time as well.

https://www.wilwood.com/BrakeKits/BrakeKitsProdFront?itemno=140-13477

Edited by tony-muscle

20160929_171923_edit2_small.jpg

 

1971 M-Code Mach 1 w/Ram Air, 408 stroker, 285/291 0.558" roller cam, Blue Thunder intake, TKO600, Hooker headers with electric cut-offs, FiTech EFI w/ RobBMC PowerSurge pump

Strange center section with Truetrac, 3.5 gear and 31 spline axles, 4-wheel disc brakes

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, tony-muscle said:

Are you upgrading your brakes? I will have a Wilwood front brake kit #140-13477 for sale soon. I probably have about 5,000 miles on it. This work great for street and AutoX, but I am now upgrading to a bigger kit so it can handle track time as well.

https://www.wilwood.com/BrakeKits/BrakeKitsProdFront?itemno=140-13477

I will be looking at upgrading brakes eventually, yes. But I am also wanting to get this car some track time as well, so going to go with something a bit bigger. I am thinking of this kit with matched rears since I know for a fact it will work with my granada spindles. Thanks for the heads up though!

Edited by Galucha

Plain Jane | 1971 F Code Coupe 302/C4 Automatic

Goin' to Town Rig | 1971 F100 Ranger XLT LWB 390FE/C6 Automatic

Commuter | 2018 Tesla Model 3 Midrange RWD

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17 hours ago, Galucha said:

I will be looking at upgrading brakes eventually, yes. But I am also wanting to get this car some track time as well, so going to go with something a bit bigger. I am thinking of this kit with matched rears since I know for a fact it will work with my granada spindles. Thanks for the heads up though!

Wow. That's a nice kit with 14" disc. 

20160929_171923_edit2_small.jpg

 

1971 M-Code Mach 1 w/Ram Air, 408 stroker, 285/291 0.558" roller cam, Blue Thunder intake, TKO600, Hooker headers with electric cut-offs, FiTech EFI w/ RobBMC PowerSurge pump

Strange center section with Truetrac, 3.5 gear and 31 spline axles, 4-wheel disc brakes

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ok finally moving again on this project. Got the housing back with the brackets welded on. The tabs for the third link are just tacked on right now so that I can verify their position and fitment before filling in the rest of the welds. Went ahead and test fitted everything to make sure there weren't any issues with binding - none that I can see and everything lined up perfectly with the exception of the passenger side exhaust pipe - I'm going to have to cut that off unfortunately and get it rerouted.

 

Next I'm going to be cutting the excess leaf spring pad area off so that the coils don't bind on them, and clean up/paint the housing.

PSX_20210824_104013.jpg

PSX_20210824_104026.jpg

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Plain Jane | 1971 F Code Coupe 302/C4 Automatic

Goin' to Town Rig | 1971 F100 Ranger XLT LWB 390FE/C6 Automatic

Commuter | 2018 Tesla Model 3 Midrange RWD

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Used a sawzall to cut off the leaf spring perches and deburred with a flap disc.

 

The CPP brake lines fit pretty easily with no major reshaping. I think I will straighten out the driver's side tubing section, but it's nothing major compared to other brake line kits I've purchased.

PSX_20210825_103830.jpg

PSX_20210825_103816.jpg

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Plain Jane | 1971 F Code Coupe 302/C4 Automatic

Goin' to Town Rig | 1971 F100 Ranger XLT LWB 390FE/C6 Automatic

Commuter | 2018 Tesla Model 3 Midrange RWD

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Ok everything is bolted in and now begins the long and arduous process of checking clearances, binding, and setting angles. Unfortunately my passenger side exhaust tube was binding so I had to cut it off at the muffler. Will have to get a new tube made and routed over the axle.

 

Using a magnetic digital angle finder here is a huge help. Basically just attaching it to stuff and them dropping the car then checking the readings on it.

A few things I'll be setting:

Ride height

Pinion angle (shooting for 1.5° to account for change under load)

Centering between the frame rails

Thrust angle (as good as I can get it)

Watts link angles

After test driving and getting an alignment then I can focus on more performance oriented tuning such as anti-squat, anti-dive, and cross weights.

PSX_20210826_113244.jpg

Plain Jane | 1971 F Code Coupe 302/C4 Automatic

Goin' to Town Rig | 1971 F100 Ranger XLT LWB 390FE/C6 Automatic

Commuter | 2018 Tesla Model 3 Midrange RWD

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Pinion angle is set! Just took it for a cautious test drive, and everything seemed great. One note though, in the instructions, you are supposed to weld in a clearance box in the trunk. It has you doing this before you set pinion angle. I would recommend doing that AFTER setting pinion angle, as the bolt on top of the rear end housing gets torqued to 100ft lbs and is very difficult to get to from underneath the car.

Also noticed that my ride height in the rear was pretty low, even with the coilovers fully adjusted out. Right now the front of the car rides about 7/16" higher than the rear, so I will probably level it out. The distance from the ground to the bottom of the fender lip is 26 7/16" / 26" on the front / rear

PSX_20210826_142913.jpg

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Plain Jane | 1971 F Code Coupe 302/C4 Automatic

Goin' to Town Rig | 1971 F100 Ranger XLT LWB 390FE/C6 Automatic

Commuter | 2018 Tesla Model 3 Midrange RWD

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Wow... i cant wait for a report from the track

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20160929_171923_edit2_small.jpg

 

1971 M-Code Mach 1 w/Ram Air, 408 stroker, 285/291 0.558" roller cam, Blue Thunder intake, TKO600, Hooker headers with electric cut-offs, FiTech EFI w/ RobBMC PowerSurge pump

Strange center section with Truetrac, 3.5 gear and 31 spline axles, 4-wheel disc brakes

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Awesome video comparison. The rear axle angle with the new suspension is rock steady. What about side-to-side axle movement when cornering hard? I couldn't pickup much from the video but in theory you should get some side-to-side movement with the leaf springs.

20160929_171923_edit2_small.jpg

 

1971 M-Code Mach 1 w/Ram Air, 408 stroker, 285/291 0.558" roller cam, Blue Thunder intake, TKO600, Hooker headers with electric cut-offs, FiTech EFI w/ RobBMC PowerSurge pump

Strange center section with Truetrac, 3.5 gear and 31 spline axles, 4-wheel disc brakes

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44 minutes ago, tony-muscle said:

Awesome video comparison. The rear axle angle with the new suspension is rock steady. What about side-to-side axle movement when cornering hard? I couldn't pickup much from the video but in theory you should get some side-to-side movement with the leaf springs.

I'll have to check through my footage and see if I have anything that would show that.

Plain Jane | 1971 F Code Coupe 302/C4 Automatic

Goin' to Town Rig | 1971 F100 Ranger XLT LWB 390FE/C6 Automatic

Commuter | 2018 Tesla Model 3 Midrange RWD

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Ok I did actually have some footage that kind of illustrates the rear axle movement with the leaf springs. Its hard to tell, but you can see that it was swaying back and forth about 1/2" during hard cornering.

 

 

Another thing I noticed is just how bad these tires are for handling. I love the look of the magnum 500s + BFG radial TAs, but they are really holding the car back unfortunately. In the second part of the video you can see how they are rolling over onto the sidewalls. The good news is I found someone on marketplace near me selling a pair of 18x8 American Racing VN510 wheels with michelin pilot sport 4s tires. Picking those up today, and hopefully I'll find a matching pair of rears in the coming weeks.

731468151_Screenshot_20210908-142919387(1).thumb.jpg.843dd2f757925584325bd627e612034e.jpg

 

I estimate that I'll be able to shave about 46lbs of unsprung weight with these wheels/tires as well:

Old wheels/tires

  • 4 15x8 Wheel Vintiques Magnum 500 wheels - 30lbs per wheel
  • 4 235/60R15 BFG Radial TA - 27lbs per tire

New wheels/tires:

  • 2 18x8 VN510 wheels - 20lbs per wheel
  • 2 18x10 VN510 wheels - 23lbs per wheel
  • 2 245/40R18 Michelin tires - 22lbs per tire
  • 2 285/40R18 Michelin tires - 26lbs per tire

Weight before: 228lbs

Weight after: 182lbs

Weight savings: 46lbs

Edited by Galucha
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Plain Jane | 1971 F Code Coupe 302/C4 Automatic

Goin' to Town Rig | 1971 F100 Ranger XLT LWB 390FE/C6 Automatic

Commuter | 2018 Tesla Model 3 Midrange RWD

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