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69..upgrading suspension questions??

6

69vettester

Guest
Hello again to all rookies like me, seasoned veterans, and the qualified Gurus that are with this excellent community.
Im going to go through the suspension of my recently acquired 69 350/300 (havent named her yet) and upgrade it as much as my pocket book will allow.
My shopping cart at vette brakes and suspension is growing but I havent started depleting my visa yet.
Because Im a rooky vette owner, I want to post almost everything I do on the board a little at a time and hopefully avoid some dumb guy errors!
First Im looking at getting 460lb GT coil springs, 330lb fiberglass spring, a poly conversion kit and "Brinn touring shocks" which are very pricey, anyone know anything about them??
Any advice , words of wisdom, or random comments will be appreciated..
Thanks in advance..
Tom
 

69MyWay

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2001
Messages
4,364
Location
Auburndale, Florida
Corvette
1969 Killer Shark
Tom,

Nice choice of year models. I am deep in a 69 convertible restoration. I kind of nicknamed my car 69 My way. In fact, that may be my personal tag. That says it all. I am building this car to suit me and my needs.

We can keep in touch. I will be happy to send you pics if you like. I would like to see yours.

Right now I have the body back on the frame and am perfecting the front clip.

I did the entire VB&P performance plus suspension. That is the fiberglass front and rear spring, tubular front control arms, poly bushings, etc. etc. etc. Don't have any idea how it will handle or ride like. It sure looks cool. I wanted a suspension that would let me raise and lower the ride height to suit my taste.

I hate when sharks sit to high in the front. That is a risk with the coil springs. There is no way to tell exactly how it will sit and no easy way to adjust the ride height after they are installed except for replacement.

I have also installed the race flares front and rear and molded in a inner lip to make them look more stock. Got the L88 hood.

I plan on 17" plus rims, 454 fuel injected engine .060 over, roll bar, vintage a/c, high output stereo, side pipes etc.

Chris
 
6

69vettester

Guest
Thanks Chris,

I decided on the year, and the conv,4sp, 350, early on and didnt budge till I found one in my range.
I decided to start with a small block cause after research I became wary of overheating consideration of the big block.

When I first saw my car it was on the auction at e-bay..I won the bid, it wasnt cheap, but under 18k.
The seller had a bunch of excellent pics there and I never snagged them onto my compute, now they are gone.
I have some hard pics and will get them scanned on when I can.

cosmetically, in and out, she is strikingly beautiful , thats for sure.
She's got a JVC 14 disk changer surround sound system in the back too,

The paint has bubbled though from improper covering in hot and humid climate. cant see it exept close up or in the right light, Ill redo sometime down the road.

Im body work dumb, so I dont understand much about that part of your reply

You mention a front fiberglas spring, I didnt know that was an option??somehow I didnt see it as an option when I looked at the VB&P suspension list. Ill relook, Or is it available only in the kit you got..
Im doing my car for GT only, is it possible that some options are not available if your doing just GT??

Ditto on the front to high kind of ride..
Mine is sitting just about right, I have long spring bolts in the rear 8" I think so I have some adjustment potential there. I also see some spacers in the front springs? I assume thats because the springs have lost there "stuff" and would sag without them?

Your car will be awsome indeed when your done!
Looking forward to your progress updates and Ill be sure and keep you updated..
Tom
 
6

69vettester

Guest
Tyla..
Heh..heh..Yep I got the drift with that adjustment cams boogie...
After 8 tries, I finally got both rear wheels camber set to what I feel is between 0 and -1 degree!! What a hassle. Up on jack stands , adjust , down and test drive, back up again..8 times..whew. I have the touch now, but I will be switching to adjustable/poly during the suspension work..
Tom
 

Tom Bryant

Well-known member
Administrator
Joined
Nov 9, 2000
Messages
7,206
Location
Edgerton, Ohio, United States
Corvette
1959 black 270hp (9/2/69) 1981 Beige L81(10/20/80)
Suspension

Tom,

Sounds like you have a nice car. I'm not an expert at setting up Shark suspensions but I know who is. One of our community venders is Guldstrand Motorsports out there in California. They have been setting up and race preparing these cars longer that most other companies have been around. And of course Dick Guldstrand is a Corvette racing ledgend.

Log on to their web site and look around. Send Dave an email or call him and talk about what you want from your car. He has helped other CACC members that were rebuilding their suspensions and I have heard it was a very informative and pleasant experience. http://www.guldstrand.com

It pays to get second opinions when you are looking at a major expenditure. Dave says "Some people sell you parts. We sell you performance."

Tom
 
6

69vettester

Guest
oops..Didn't know vender folks were here to help..sorry GS796 I really am looking around and will continue to!
Tom Conners
 
6

69vettester

Guest
59Tom
Okay , Glad you pointed out somemore options for me..My wallet has a bottom with my project so believe me Im shopping around :)
Tom
 

69MyWay

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2001
Messages
4,364
Location
Auburndale, Florida
Corvette
1969 Killer Shark
Tom,

I have never bought any Guldstrand products, but I hear great things about them. I plan on getting the bump stear kit from them.

As far as VB&P goes, yes, the front spring is a single fiberglass spring. It is a complete package from them. I have no coils up front. It is kind of strange looking from underneath. They don't have any good pictures of it on their web page. However, if you order the paper catalog, there are some good photos there. Give my your home e-mail address and I will be happy to send you some pics of mine. I think it cost me around $1,800 for everything front and rear. That included tie rods, lower rear strut rods, bushings, shocks, custom upper and lower control arms, giant sway bars etc. etc. Not a bad deal when you add up even stock parts piece by piece.

The rear is also fiberglass and sits on the dual mount system. This is really cool as it came with a pair of powder coated brackets that I mounted to the rear upper cross member. The spring pivots off that instead of the rear differential housing. Front and rear springs have four settings each to adjust the stiffness of the ride. They also adjust just like your rear on each end with the long bolts that contron ride height. Pretty flexible system. Since I had the frame out of the car, it was easy to install. However, doing this conversion with the body on will be a little big more difficult.

Since I bought and installed it, I have heard really good and really bad things about it. Little late now to change my mind. I have heard good from people that actually have them on their cars right now, and bad from vendors that don't sell the product. So, take your guess. I will know in the future myself.


As far as the engine goes, obviously I think more power is better. I recently struggled between putting in a high tech high power aluminum headed roller small block that I already have collecting dust in the garage, or dropping the big $$$$ and putting in the fuel injected big block.

I might not get a chance to go back and do this over, so I am going with the big engine now. I am a Hospice Volunteer. If I learned anything from my work with them, it is that life is short-enjoy it now, because there may not be a next year, or next year to put things off.

Glad you joined. Can't wait to hear more about your car.
 
H

hdjpcp

Guest
Tom,
Five years ago I put almost the identical components you're considering in my '72. All from VB&P, and I'm thrilled with the results. I put the fiberglass spring in the back, the 460 lb springs in the front, the adjustable rods, the big sway bars front and rear, and poly bushings all around. The shocks I installed are the KYB Gas-adjusts. Van Steel rebuilt the trailing arms.
The car sticks to the road like it's bolted down. I love it!!! I will admit the ride roughened, but it's a Vette. If I was worried about a plush ride I'd buy a Cadillac. It also sits about an inch higher than it did, but getting the ride height even all around wasn't too difficult (adjustment to the rear sway bar) and as long as it sits level, it's hardly noticeable.
I highly recommend the VB&P components. Good luck!
John
72 Coupe, 350/330HP
 
V

Vettart

Guest
upgrades

Except for the fiberglass spring, many of the parts you need may be at the Chevrolet dealer parts counter. There is a book that cross references parts that are compatible across brands and years. For instance, perhaps a Z28 coil or a Caprice station wagon spring, or a big block spring would give you the same characteristics at a lesser price. The only problem is I have not seen the book around for quite some time. Perhaps amazon.com can help locate on. I believe it was called the auto parts cross reference guide. The dealer may be able to help locate it or has it on his computer at the counter. It's worth a try.
 
S

Scott81

Guest
Tom,

By no means am I close to being an expert, but I did my research and a lot of shopping around before I decided to buy. I did a complete rear suspension by myself...no small project I assure you. Before you buy from VB give Dave at Guldstrand a call, I couldn't be happier with his service and his help...which he gave me plenty of.

Here's a link to everything I did, this should keep you busy for a while! ;)

http://www.sharkwerkes.com/sharktank/tech2/rear1.html

Scott
 
6

69vettester

Guest
Thanks all..seems my confusions are lessening with the feedback..

Scott..how great and what a coincidence I had found your article and looked through your procedures sometime back while I was still shopping for the 69.. or became a member of the list!!
Ill go through it again of course, as Im hands on now..
Tom
 
R

redmist

Guest
Vette Brakes and Products

You should definetly do your own research to be comfortable with your decision.
My conclusion based on my research was VB&P produces excellent products at a VERY reasonable cost and provide advice which is NOT colored by a desire to make a sale.
 

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Joined
Jan 10, 2001
Messages
13,453
Location
CenCoast CA
Corvette
71 04 12 19
The choice of 460 lb/in. fronts and a 330 lb/in. rear spring would be about right for a street high-performance small block. That is not road raced or autocrossed.

Stabilizer bar choices sould be 1-1/8 front bar and either a 1/2-in or 9/16 rear bar.

As for bushings, in the front, I prefer the Global West Del-A-Lum. It's the best street high-performance bushing there is. They tend to be a bit pricey, however, so graphite-impregnated polyurethane is the next-best choice.

At the rear, I like Vette Brakes and Products' "Smart Strut" kit along with polyurethane trailing arm bushings. Again, make sure any poly bushings are the graphite-impregnated type. They are less liable to squeak and groan in cold or damp weather than are the non-graphite units.

Keep in mind that with C3s, any bushing with compliance lower than the stock rubber stuff, will transmit more road noise and harshness into the cockpit. Those cars are already harsh and noisy so if NVH is something you already don't like, I'd stick with OE rubber bushings.

As for shocks, I've tried a number of different brands in my years as a C3 owner and I think the best choices are Bilstein or Tokico. If you go with the Bilsteins, you have a choice of two different valving choices. If you are mainly an easy driver but make an occasional sporting drive with on a club run, use the "HD" Bilsteins. If you run the car hard a lot, use the "Sport" Bilsteins.
 
6

69vettester

Guest
thanks Hib...good info.
Im going to think awhile on the bushing conversion, Ill be doing everything in stages ..shocks and smart struts first ..by then Ill have decided on the bushings..
Im pretty set on the 460ft and 330fiberglas rear combo, though seems Ive heard mention of fiberglas breaking (wrong shocks is what Im thinking caused that??)..
Thanks again
Tom
 

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Joined
Jan 10, 2001
Messages
13,453
Location
CenCoast CA
Corvette
71 04 12 19
I've use a VB&P 'glass rear leaf on my 71 BB for more than ten years. I've used two different rates, the 360 lbs/in. and the 330 lb/in. and I've never broken on.

I have broken an OE, steel leaf spring. The original rear spring broke back in the early 80s about a year after I bought the car.
 

silver 80

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 9, 2001
Messages
562
Location
madison,wi
Corvette
1980 silver with blk interior 1987 blue / blue
71 BBFH

Hey Hib are you talikng about the BBFH
Like to ask you about the wheels and back spacing
you are using.
tom
 

Tom Bryant

Well-known member
Administrator
Joined
Nov 9, 2000
Messages
7,206
Location
Edgerton, Ohio, United States
Corvette
1959 black 270hp (9/2/69) 1981 Beige L81(10/20/80)
rear leaf

Hib,
I had the castle nut break or come off on the right end of my '65. The main leaf went down on the pavement and twisted to the rear. Thankfully I was only a block from home and the posi was in good working order. Replaced it with a $10. used 7 leaf out of a '66 427. Rode rougher but handling was improved.

Tom
 
S

sd pacecar

Guest
I have just finished with my front end rebuild. I used Guldstrand hard rubber bushings, VB Street/Slalom front coils, (dropped the front end at least an inch!), Bumpsteer kit from VB, HD tie rod sleeves from VB, KYB GR2 shocks from VB, 330lb rear spring from VB, TRW upper/lower ball joints and idler arm. Rebuilt front calipers from Muskegon Brake. 17x8.5 five spoke rims from Performance Wheel Outlet and Firestone SZ50 255/45 rear and 255/40 front. It's a brand new car, almost.:L :Roll
 

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