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 Post subject: Trick front suspension?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2005 11:31 am 
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TBI Slant 6

Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 8:05 am
Posts: 152
Location: Portland OR
Car Model*: 1964 Valiant 2dr post
So after reading about Mopar suspensions and the trials and tribulations of many autocrossers...listening to the constant arguments over urethane bushings or not for the lower control arm...then going to the websites of many of the fine companies producing quality parts ( Firmfeel, Bigblockdart, ARengineering etc.)...I am still struck by the fact that no comprehensive solution exists for the LCA bushing.

So I came up with my own solution which is nothing more than taking these other ideas and products to what I believe is the natural conclusion...why these companies haven't done it themselves really sort of bothers me since the solutions seem fairly obvious to me, and doesn't require much more work than what is already being produced with the current product lines.

I have a desire to educate, but being a small manufacturer myself, I wouldn't mind creating a product and making a couple bucks helping other Mopar Freaks improve the handling of their machines...that said, I'm not that excited about explaining to these other manufacturers how to do it right the first time, especially in detail.

My personal opinion is that tubular uppers are not the best or only solution to the caster problem, although they are nice products no matter how you look at it, but I would rather have an LCA fix and use my stock upper arms, instead of spending a bunch of money only to still have to run a rubber bushing or have the urethane one move around (although I don't think its that big an issue with good strut rods. So why not put my money where the real issue is...

I don't want to just put up some pics of my finished products and brag about how great I am while showing the world the solution...

So here is my idea...

I have only just started creating the parts, and I am willing to chronicle my efforts here if there is interest. I would go thru my concepts and my decisions regarding what I want to do and why I chose to do it my way. I will show the machining proccess with pictures so people could see just what it takes to make this kind of stuff, and I would welcome any discourse or debate about my ideas. My goal would be to educate and help people learn to think thru stuff without just jumping on the bandwagon of a few key words in a marketing campaign(and of course, learn from others myself). Also...this is an experiment of the do-it-yourselfer extrordanaire...me...Karl Boe...AKA Gearhead...and it could fail...it may just plain not work well, or I might not be happy with something about how the car rides or...etc...

So this is your chance to go thru this with me...and experience it as if you were doing it yourself, in real time, as it happens, but without the expense.

Is anyone interested...I need to go to work now, but if by morning a few good souls can show me its worth the extra 40 hours it would probably take me to write about this, create the images(I am also video taping everything), post them to the net and this forum, and to try to stay on top of the thread...I will do it.

In the end...I'm hoping this works great like most of my endeavors, I would like to create the most comprehensive handling kit for A-bodies that exists for the front suspension. I would like to create a DVD that comes with the kit that covers installation, setup, and tuning of the suspension...and basically have a product so good, no body could compete at my price. I doubt it would make much money, but if it helped me pay for my fuel injection efforts and such, I would be happy.

Of course...it could fail, from which we could learn just as much...like how stupid even a smart guy like me can be sometimes, or why it didn't and how to fix it...or who knows...

There would be at least some natural delays in the thread, to to my busy schedule, and the fact that I go to CA once a month to be with my dying Mom and Dad. but I wouldn't abandon it cause I am not that kind of person...you will see it thru with me as it gets installed on the car and tested.

SO...is any body interested???

Karl

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64 GTO...10.80's@122 on street radials
Destroked 455, Qjet carb, stock ign, 2200 stall

64 Valiant...17.40's@78 so far
450k old 225, 4spd, 2.92 8.75, Carter 2bbl, headers
dual 2.25"...My daily driver


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2005 12:02 pm 
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Yes please!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2005 12:22 pm 
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I'm assuming you are talking about moving the LCAs forward a bit, and locating with good bushings like Delrin or something and a Dutra-disc-type limiter.

I am happy to engineer things myself and enjoy doing that, but if a good product/solution exists for a reasonable price, I'm all for that too.

I am interested.

Lou

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2005 12:36 pm 
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Turbo EFI
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Yes, I'd be very interested. Not being much of a fabricator myself, I prefer someone else to do all the work, even if I have to shell out a few bucks... Please keep us posted, and let us know what you come up with!

VM


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2005 12:45 pm 
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As a heavy A-body suspension user(due to geography and miles) and a bit of a tinkerer/inventor I think you have a cool idea.

My company manufactures and sells products . We are currently putting together DVD instructions and I believe you are on the right track here as well.

Your open book design process will prosper under the continuous audit of interested/knowledgable parties.

First piece of input: Redesign the strut rod as part of the process! i believe it is the root cause of bushing failure AND debate.

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 Post subject: LCA fix...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2005 1:27 pm 
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Supercharged

Joined: Thu May 12, 2005 11:50 pm
Posts: 6136
Location: So California
Car Model*: 64 Plymouth Valiant
Sounds good to me, but as I haven't fully gotten into the front suspension yet (no room to take it apart, but it's on my todo list) and have only done KYB's and anti-roll bars, and better tires

What's the LCA problem?

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Ed
64 Valiant 225 / 904 / 42:1 manual steering / 9" drum brakes

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2005 3:51 pm 
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Turbo EFI
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Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2003 7:34 am
Posts: 2479
Location: Lubbock, Texas
Car Model*: 1964 Plymouth Valiant V200 Sedan
I look forward to watching this develop.
I'm in the middle of my own suspension rebuild/ brake swap. Decisions have been made, money spent, and work done, but there will always be room for improvement. I have chosen a combination of stock replacement, factory upgrades, aftermarket parts, and a couple of home-made bits to suit my present needs, long-term plans, and the realities of a budget.
UCA's, LCA's, strut rods, and their assorted bushings are all candidates for redesign.
Quote:
I would like to create the most comprehensive handling kit for A-bodies

While it would be great to see a complete kit for those who want and can afford to do it all at once, I do hope you're looking at offering individual pieces, as well.
Let get this party started.

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"When you find a big kettle of crazy, it's best not to stir it." - Pointy-haired Boss

1964 Valiant V200, 225/Pushbutton 904
BBD, CAI, HEI, LBP, AC, AM/FM/USB, EIEIO


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2005 4:47 pm 
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Heck, yeah....me too! My '68 is on jack stands out in the garage with the front clip off, and the needed parts for a LBP disc swap laying around. It also should have a front suspension rebuild, and I'm more than willing to read what you write, and hopefully discuss things.

Roger


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2005 6:18 pm 
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Hey Gearhead... this sounds just great. I can provide you with some drawings and or explanations about how I redesigned the idler arm to K-frame bushing. I experimented a lot with diffrent materials, inner and outer shell combinations, and finally I ended up with a great delrin bushing, stock outer shell, no inner shell at all. I machined it outta delrin solid stock, and left the upper "lip" taller (so it needs to be pressed further than regular idler arm bushing). My handling changed drastically. I look forward to follow up your reengineering of LCA. I installed custom strutrods some time ago (regulable ones like firmfeel sells) and that lil diffrence was noticeable. Much more stable front end align settings.

Keep it coming! thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

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 Post subject: what timing!
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2005 7:13 pm 
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Turbo Slant 6
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Joined: Tue May 06, 2003 5:53 am
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Location: Crestline, CA
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I just finished up the rear suspension on my Barracuda, after a protracted struggle with the rear disk brake installation. I am about to put on rear wheels/tires, pull the car out of the garage, and turn it around, and start on the front end. So, yup, I am interested. Sign me up. Heck, use me as a guniea pig.

Greg


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 8:10 am 
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Turbo Slant 6
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Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2005 12:22 pm
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Location: Austin Texas
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gearhead wrote:
Is anyone interested...I

Karl


Count me "interested." I don't own an A-body, but anything you do could easily be extended to a B- or C- body. The design is essentially the same, the A-body parts are just smaller (usually- some parts interchange between A- and B- suspensions).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 12:08 pm 
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TBI Slant 6

Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 8:05 am
Posts: 152
Location: Portland OR
Car Model*: 1964 Valiant 2dr post
OK...great...sounds like plenty of you are interested.

First...I don't have alot of time today, but I type fast so we'll see how far I can get...

Second, I want to make it clear that I'm really impressed with the companies I mentioned and the quality of the products they produce, as I stated above, my problem is only that I could not buy from them what "I felt" was the really needed items to solve all of the issues I feel need to be dealt with...so I don't want to sound like I am belittling there efforts and many of the parts I am making are much like theirs...because well...because there aren't many other ways to make them and the solutions are sound.

That said, I am on a budget for time and money, and I probably would have made the parts myself even if they had them, not because I wouldn't gladly buy them to save me the effort, but because I have little money but many machines, and I like doing things myself.

And before I get going...Argentina...this will sound silly, but I hadn't even realized the idler was on a bushing...when I read what you wrote I ran outside to my parts car and realized I would have ended up redoing that too...so yes, I am interested in your design and I would have made the parts from Delrin as well, a wonderful material.

And if I ever do produce a kit from this stuff I would of course make the parts for B and C bodies as well because it would be easy.

So where do we start...the beginning I guess.

Forgive any spelling errors, I have had trouble with spell check messing up my posts, and I type fast and think even faster and sometimes do weird things with words by accident.

The test subject, (I'll post a good picture later it needs a wash right now do to heavy T-storms rolling thru last few days and its my daily driver)...

1964 Valiant 200, 2dr post. Owned car since 1992 or so. 350k miles Original 225" push button auto 7 1/4.

Shortly after purchase a lucky deal fell in my lap and I got a 4sp 8 3/4 posi Barracuda for $400. My girlfriend at the time whom I was building the car for didn't want a Cuda so I swapped out much of the parts and here is the current configuration...

Original 225 with 2 brrl and 3:1 headers with 2.25 duals. Cast iron 833 with the 6 cyl gear set. 8 3/4 sure-grip small bolt pattern with 3.23 gears and 10" drums in rear. 6 leaf rear springs with urethane rear bushings and KYB shocks.

15x7 small bolt rallyes with Falken ZIEX ZE512 tires (225/50/15) Awesome z rated tires and a huge improvement over my old s rated 235/60/14's. But the ride is harsher by 40% or so...

Front suspension is as old as the hills and stock except for 10 inch drums I installed out of Cuda. No sway bar yet. .840 T-bars

Manual everything, and 20:1 steering or whatever, I am going to change steering wheels to a 14" from the 16" stock to decrease the ratio but haven't the cash for a different box and have designs on possible rack as later project.

The car used to handle pretty darn decent considering....but now that I've tightened the rear end up with new stuff, it darts around pretty bad, and is unstable on exit and entry to corners...not unsafe or anything...just not so much fun!

I love this car almost as much as my GTO and just love driving it. And I drive pretty hard, banging gears most shifts all day every day. By the way...I'm charmed and have a virtually perfect driving record.

Goals of project:

Well...this is personality to some extent, and readers of this thread must understand that I am not like most people, I still own the 70 GTO I bought in hi-school, and it was my daily driver running 12's from 80 to about 87. In 1987 the suspension got so bad in my 70, that it was easier to pull the engine and drop it into my 64 so I could work on the 70. I drove the 64 as my daily driver until about 2000. From 80 to 91 I raced twice a week sometimes travelling up and down the west coast to race bigger events with good payouts...I always drove and pulled the slicks from the trunk and never once towed it home broken.

The 70 GTO has big sway bars and was set up for handling as best I knew how as a kid with no money. I still own my race go kart as well, and lived in a strange hood as a kid that didn't mind me using it as transportation all around for years...so I'm used to "handling like a gokart"! My 64 Goat has urethane front bushings but a small 7/8" sway since its basically for drag racing. The rear is very modified with boxed control arms and relocated upper arms. I spent considerable time working my rear suspension over many rears and the car can now click off 11,ohs at will on regular s-rated street radials and even hooks on the street, better than the Valiant until I got the Falkens!!!

Everyone who drives my 64 can't believe how well it drives, handles and behaves for what it is...and if the parts in the engine weren't so expensive, I'd still being putting gobs of miles on it every week. I by no means want to imply it is a Viper killer or anything, for in any road race just about anyone could get away from me in the corners...but as an example, if your are flying thru mountain roads in Nevada at high speed, the car handles very well, and is a blast, has great predictable manners and is just plain fun...

Now why did I just make you read all that crap...well, I don't drive any other cars than those. My 64 has a roll cage and aluminum door panels, the 3" pipes sound wonderful but theres no point in a stereo...cause I wouldn't be able to hear it and I like to listen to the solid lifters clatter. It is quiter now than ever since I now have headliner and carpet, but it didn't for the first ten years.

And that didn't bother me at all. The way I see it, I spend a huge portion of my waking life in a car, and I like to enjoy life, I don't like spending any of my exceptionally short time in this universe doing anything that doesn't bring me some form of pleasure and satisfaction. So if tons of that time is in a car, then I want to enjoy every minute I'm in that car because those are minutes of my short life!

So I'm not interested in fuel economy (although I always tune for the best possible of course), and I don't mind if the exhaust is a little loud, in fact I like it, I don't want cushy seats that make me feel like I'm sitting in fron of a tv, and I don't mind feeling the road...now all that said, I don't seek out a harsh ride, and I want as good and smooth a ride as possible, not spine jarring. But I won't spend a lot of time worrying over how harsh a decision I make might be...if something turns out to bother me, I will find a way to fix it later...

So my point is that I am not in this thread going to try to build a nice handling Cadillac. I want a Go-Kart/autocrosser/roadracer/occasional drag racer/daily driver. And that is what I will build in this thread. If it turns out that the ride is so harsh it bothers even me, then I will report that fact and start looking for input on solutions to the issue.

I have the first couple of parts done now, so starting with my next post I will start discussing the whys and hows of whats going on in my head. I know that there are a number of approaches I could take for some of the issues I want to deal with, but I will explain why I chose the path I am taking for each part. Don't be afraid to suggest alternatives, I doubt I will change anything because now that some parts are done, the path is paved...but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty to learn, or other ideas for future projects or others on a similar path.

I leave for CA some time this weekend, but I will take a CD of pictures of my work and should be able to keep posting.

I'll try to post agian today or tonight...but I must go to work soon...I mean now...

Karl

_________________
64 GTO...10.80's@122 on street radials
Destroked 455, Qjet carb, stock ign, 2200 stall

64 Valiant...17.40's@78 so far
450k old 225, 4spd, 2.92 8.75, Carter 2bbl, headers
dual 2.25"...My daily driver


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 1:21 pm 
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Note, Karl, that your car does not have a bushing in the idler arm. 66-down A-bodies used a ball-type idler, while 68-up used a bushing mounted through the K-frame. Lots of people complain about the ball-type early unit, but I have not had problems with mine. Possibly more flex of the K at the mounting point.

67 is a one-off year and apparently the idlers are ball-type and unique.

Lou

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 1:29 pm 
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Me, I'm looking forward to learning what you do to reinforce the idler arm and/or its mount. This is a relatively weak area in the pre-'68 cars.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 1:31 pm 
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Dart270 wrote:
Note, Karl, that your car does not have a bushing in the idler arm. 66-down A-bodies


Erm...than what am I gonna do with these idler arm ball bearing conversion kits for '62-'66 A-bodies, that I've got on my shelf...?

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