Last week I mentioned I got a few goodies from Summit Racing. That meant that this past weekend was install time!
With the purchase of the tall upper ball joints, I was finally able to wrap-up (for now) the front suspension on the car. It's still had the stock coils in it which needed changed after I replaced the rear leafs with Hotchkis 3" drop pieces.
It took about 4 hours wheels up to wheels down, but the new ball joints and Hotchkis coils are in. The only thing left on the front suspension is to get an alignment done.
After a quick journey over the curb onto the street and back, it's actually settled another half to 3/4's of an inch in place.
One thing that this did however was worsen the lean that the car has always had to the passenger side. This is pretty common in early F-bodies and is usually the result of either springs not clocked correctly or the body mount bushings. The body mounts on this car are in desperate need of replacement, so that's my number one suspect currently. I clocked the springs per what I've been reading on line with the pig tail just in front of the inspection hole in the upper mount.
The install was pretty straight forward. Since all I needed to do was replace the upper ball joints and springs, I didn't bother with removing the rotors. Just a pickle fork in the upper joints and a jack beneath the lower control arm to support the load. After the joints were separated, I simply lowered the jack and control arm to gain access to the stock springs
The early F-bodies are horribly undersrpung. Good if you like ride quality, bad if you like handling. The stock unites here should be 325 lb rate. The replacement Hotchkis units come in at 600 lbs to match the increased 175 lb rate in the rear leafs.
Notice that although the stock spring is some 4-5 inches longer, with the additional rate of the Hotchkis spring, it lowers the car only about 2" up front.
Finally buttoned up and ready to be placed back on the ground. You can see the added height of the tall upper ball joint in this picture.
Once the car was back on the ground I got a chance to inspect wheel to fender clearance which I had been suspecting would be a problem. The wheels on the car carry to shallow of backspacing as it is. The front disc brakes don't help matters be increasing hub to hub width by an 1 3/4". I do have rub issues in the rear, but I suspected I would in the front as well, even with the smaller wheel and tire. Turns out I actually have plenty of room.
This changes my wheel strategy a bit and I can probably save a bit of money by purchasing off the shelf wheels instead of having to go with custom forged pieces. That leaves more money to go the next step on the suspension which would be coil overs and the ride tech tru turn components.
All in all it was a successful weekend. Though I didn't have time to install the new brake proportioning valve. I'll do that next weekend.