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73 Suspension

H

Hijinx

Guest
I have looked through the old threads on suspension upgrades, but need some validation. As a starting point, I have recently installed KYB Gas-Adjust shocks all around and a VBP 330lb rear fiberglass spring.

First, I need to go through my front end and replace all of the bushings and such. I plan on putting in a poly-graphite kit, I think that is a no-brainer. So the front end will get a full kit with these and new tie-rods, ball joints and such.

Question 1 - What else should I consider doing up front? Chris - I know you put the VBP front mono-spring. I dont really plan to race my Vette, however that is a pretty slick setup. Do I spring for it? It looks like you lose some ground clearance with it, which on an already low car may not be a great deal.

Queston 2 - I have heard that the KYB Gas Adjust shocks I got are not a good combo with the rear fiber spring. VBP tells me I should have gone with the KYB GR-2's or the Bilstein Sport shocks. I have to admit that handleing is OK with the Gas-Adjust, but not great. (Possibly not as good as with the old shocks I had). Ride is a bit better though.

Question 3 - OK, I am probably already looking at $1000 of front end work, unless I do it myself (which I might). I hate to not address the rear end to some extent too. I definately want the VBP Smart Strut and the Diff Cross Member Reinforcing Kit. Should I do this without rebuilding the rear trailing arms? Mine are working fine, with no extra sounds or slop. However, they are very rusted and scaling. I know that this would be around $2000 to rebuild (If I dont do it).

I could sure use some advice here guys. You know the Vette suspension better than I and I want to do it right - once! With plans to put around 400hp under the hood, I need to suspension to work. Thanks for you input up front.
 
H

Hijinx

Guest
One last item. Looked in the VBP catalog some more today. I will probably go with their kit that has the larger diameter sway bars, Bilstein Sport shocks and slightly heavier front springs. Still a bit iffie on the mono front spring. I only have the front sway bar, so the kit should help. Thoughts?
 

69MyWay

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2001
Messages
4,364
Location
Auburndale, Florida
Corvette
1969 Killer Shark
You know I am going to encourage you to go all the way if you really want my opinion. If you weight out the total cost of a complete front rebuild including the bigger sway bar, powder coating your stock upper and lower a arms, new tie rods, etc. etc. you are darn close to just doing the complete VB&P front kit.

No worries on ground clearance because----------on a C3 the oil pan is the lowest part of the ride anyway.

One other fabulous benefit of the mono front is you can adjust both the ride height and stiffness. This is something you can't do with coil springs, unless you buy half a dozen of them at one time and try each one out until you find what you like best.

The NUMBER ONE reason I went with the complete mono fiberglass set up was to allow me to se the ride height and stance in the most aggressive/attractive possible without resorting to heating, cutting, shimming, changing the front springs over and over again to get it right.

Now, here is your other serious thought. What do you want out of the car? If you are not going to ever Autocross, or ameteur road race it, maybe you should just put stock, not even poly bushings in it and keep the springs you have. Spend your money on go faster engine stuff and make it leave the red light like a rocket.

If the trailing arms are not broke, don't fix them. The offset trailing arm conversion will only help you if you are going with freaky weird rim offsets. Otherwise, a new front busing in the arm, and keep on riding.
 

vigman

Motor head!!!!
Joined
Feb 13, 2001
Messages
3,471
Location
Valencia, CA,USA
Corvette
88 Convert ( SOLD ) /1973 coupe 4 speed/1964 Vert!
My .02

Stock...... get the bigger anti sway bar and GOOD hardware for the links ( some of the stuff out there as far as the bolts go is CHEESY)

Put you $$$$$ in the rear bearings & spindles
maybe some beefy U joints. As everybody knows the rear bearings are a PAIN when they start to go. Because there a pain they naturally recieve a lack of attention.


Mike
 
H

Hijinx

Guest
Some good advice, exactly what I need. Chris, I guess I am torn on the front end. With the type of driving I do (no Autocross), I dont know if the front mono is worth it. I have to agree though, with the cost of paint or powdercoating and everything else it would probably be a break even. Adjustable ride hight would be a big plus. I think I am going to call VBP tomorrow and talk to them about a package deal. Their package includes the rear fiber spring, which I already have. So I'll get some relief there. I expect to spend around $1000 on the front end (parts and labor). If I start adding in for sandblasting and powdercoating, that will be another $250 or so.

Maybe I can get them to sell me their Grand Touring PLUS System, pull the front and rear springs out and add in a front end rebuild kit. I'll let you know how it goes with them.
 
H

Hijinx

Guest
OK, after lots of discussion with VBP and my local Vette shop, here is where I am at. Using all of the VBP Touring Plus kit, 460 front springs, Bilstein shocks, larger sway bars, rear Smart Strut, and a complete front end poly kit, along with a control valve rebuild I am looking at $2200, parts and labor. What I will end up with is a completly new suspension, sans rebuild of the rear trailing arms. What do you guys think? Labor accounts for $1300 of the total. Do I spring for it, or buy all the parts and try to dig into it my self. Big difference, they do it and I am down for less than a week. I do it and its a month plus job. Thoughts from those of you who have tackled this type of work?
 

69MyWay

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2001
Messages
4,364
Location
Auburndale, Florida
Corvette
1969 Killer Shark
Suspension work is difficult, especially if you don't have all the parts. That will give you a very fresh car and those kinds of upgrades last for years.

You will have a safer, stronger, better driving car in less than two weeks.

Sounds like a plan!
 
W

wolf_walker

Guest
I did that and more to the 74, didnt fine it especially hard really, but I've done some suspension upgrades/rebuilds before on old cars, this was however my first GM vehicle.

$1300 is allot of cash that could be put toward the rest of the car, if you can do it yourself I would.. :)

I'm also a cheap S.O.B. :D
 

69MyWay

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2001
Messages
4,364
Location
Auburndale, Florida
Corvette
1969 Killer Shark
I do agree with Wolf Walker. I can squeeze a dime out of a nickle. The trouble with suspension stuff is that I have NEVER had a good experience with ANY alignment shop in my LIFE. Yes, those words are all caps cause I am screaming them at you. If you find a good alignment shop you are one lucky fellow. I thought I found one here locally a couple of years ago. They made my S-10 drive like an arrow straight down the road. The only ones that could do it. Then, I blew my front tires off in three months. Took it to another shop and found out the fellow had toed it in to the point it could not pull. I had taken back to that first shop half a dozen times because the steering wheel was not ligned up, or it pulled, etc. My 49.99 alignment cost me several days of my time and another 79.99 for a different shop to get it right (plus shims, etc). I still did not trust the last shop. The last shop spent more time bad mouthing the first shop, then just doing the job. I also got stuck for a $250 alignment on my V8 Fiero because I had changed all the suspension and the shop ended up billing me on an hourly basis to pull it into specs. It still pulled to the right, but did not seem to wear tires! I am very concerned about the future alignment of my 69. I am considering going to a shop that prepars race cars and hoping I don't get a bunch of lip.


Okay, here is where the real problem comes in IF you do it yourself. The alignment shop can screw up the alignment, do a half butt job, and if it does not drive right they can blame it on improper installation of parts. They may give no warranty or guarantee on the job since they did not do the install etc.

So, personally, I would still take that risk for $1,300, however, that adavantage you have is that alingment shop will marry that car once this job is done. They will have no excuse for it to pull or wear tires and you can hold them to giving you a quality job. However, be aware that they may still try to tell you that the frame is bent (this is a classic excuse for them to avoid doing the job right), or you have bad wheel bearings or a bad tire. So, you won't have your bases 100% covered, but pretty close.

Finally, I am sorry if I sound negative about going to a shop. I hope that nobody has ever had the nightmares I have had.

Good luck.
 
W

wolf_walker

Guest
Nightmares? Oh hell, been there. Took the 74 to the Chevy dealer, thinking well, they can atleast align it and stick an inspection sticker on it. Wrong. I'll not bother with details, but it was three days and $600 later before they let it go, still without an inspection sticker due to a hanging seatbelt that I fixed at home in twenty minites. :( Idiots. Something like $300 for the alignment, and I suplied the shims for the front and rear.

Took my VW truck to Sears once, the guy doing it was nice atleast, just didnt know what the heck he was doing, so I proceded to use their machine to align it to the specs I always use for it(dead flat and strait, for interstate driving). Clueless..

I will either rob a bank and buy an alignment rack or invest in some older equipment and have a flat concrete pad poured and do it my damn self. The incompatance level is absolutly silly...

:(
:(

/end morning *****iness/
 
H

Hijinx

Guest
Thanks for all the advice. While I hate to spend the $1300 on labor, and even though I have torn into suspension systems before, I think I am going to give it to them to do. I definately do not have the press needed to get some of the bushings out and would have no idea how to get the shims right and everything even closely aligned. I would sure like to use that money for other things, but piece of mind is worth a lot too. Thanks again for the help.
 
H

Hijinx

Guest
Well, bit the bullet, and placed the order today. The Corvette shop has me slated for Monday after next to bring it in to get everything installed. Here's what I ended up with;

VBP Grand Touring Plus kit
- ADDCO sway bars
- Bilstein Sport Shocks
- 460 front springs
- 330 rear fiber spring
- Poly-Adjustable rear struts
- Poly rod end and ball joint boots

Full front end rebuild kit in Poly (Energy Suspension)
New ball joints & tie rod ends
Heavy Idler Arm
Rebuilt Control Valve

I may spring for new brake lines as well. Total for all parts and labor is going to be $2500. She should drive great though after they are done.

I'll let you know.
 

Twin_Turbo

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 11, 2001
Messages
618
Location
Enschede, The Netherlands
Corvette
1982 Twin Turbocharged Red/Black
This is the way to do it IMO! (C3/C4 combo :D )

achse03.JPG
 

Twin_Turbo

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 11, 2001
Messages
618
Location
Enschede, The Netherlands
Corvette
1982 Twin Turbocharged Red/Black
Whooopsiee... xquize me for the size! :(
 
H

Hijinx

Guest
OK, mine sucks! Seeing your undercarridge makes me drool. Man, you have got to have a bundle invested in that! Looks great though. I would love to have your setup. Very nice! A smaller pic would not have done it justice. So that motor setup fit under the stock big block hood? How much carb tuning do you have to do?:eek
 
6

69vettester

Guest
Jinx..
Yours dont suck..what your doing will make your car ride like new..money very well spent..
Im envying your front end allready:_rock
TC

PS..real sweet twinnie, $$No doubt of that...
 
H

Hijinx

Guest
Thanks, Tom. Yea, I know, Its Vette envy. An ugly affliction. I'm on my way though. Another year and I should have her in pretty good shape. That is if my wife doesnt leave me first!
 
T

tacoed

Guest
Going fast is GREAT but going fast and keeping it on the road is even greater!! Do it once and do it right my american friend go with the mono all the way around then power up that rocket and GOOOOOOOOO!!! :drink
 

Twin_Turbo

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 11, 2001
Messages
618
Location
Enschede, The Netherlands
Corvette
1982 Twin Turbocharged Red/Black
tomconners said:
Jinx..
Yours dont suck..what your doing will make your car ride like new..money very well spent..
Im envying your front end allready:_rock
TC

PS..real sweet twinnie, $$No doubt of that...


Nah,.. depends! If you DIY it is affordable!

The Koni coil overs aren't too expensive, the Dana44 off a C4 cann probably be bought for $500 or so and for the rest it's a bit of welding here and there. The Brembo calipers ARE expensive but there are other brands that will suit.

Marck
 

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