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Old 12-04-2008, 10:33 AM
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Chassis Engineering IFS

Hello all
My first post, as a 54 year old computer dinosaur I hope I don't mess up.
Has anybody on this board had experience using CE bolt-on X-member and IFS on an old Ford? I've read a good deal on this site regarding MII IFS pros, cons and failures and searched for old threads regarding use of CE front end but can't seem to find anyone using this set up on a pre '48 Ford. My '35 currently runs a Super Bell droped axle, Posies low spring, CE wishbone split kit, CE anti roll bar, panhard bar, Edelbrock gas shocks and Flaming River Vega steering box. Been running this about 3 years now. I'd like to go IFS for a few reasons- to acommodate OD auto trans (200r4), eliminate wishbone interference with full length headers and improve ride, steering and handling. The current set up rides kinda hard, seems to have pretty limited travel and requires your full attention at speed (70 or so). I've had good luck with CE stuff and think their quality and support has been great, but I sure would like to hear from somebody who has actually used this front end in an application similar to mine. Great board by the way-very informative and well run.
thanks
Kim

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Old 12-04-2008, 06:34 PM
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In our shop, we have not used that cross-member but, it will solve some of your issues. Clearance for the OD, for sure. The ride will probably improve. The driveablity will be better, if put in properly. It is all about the geometry. We guarantee to our our customers, they will be able to fold their arms, and the car will drive it self for 1/4 mile. So if installed right, it will drive good.
Dave
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Old 12-04-2008, 08:04 PM
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Chassis Engineering IFS

Thanks for the reply Wildman. If you haven't used the CE crossmember, which ones have you used? Any recomendations? I'm interested in the CE unit because of the ease of installation, adjustable ride height and my experience with CE's quality of construction. They don't seem to put form over function. Under a full fendered 35 it will be difficult to observe the beauty of perfect welds, plating and polished billet. As far as driving hands off for 1/4 mile...... Also, I'm curious, do coilovers provide any real advantages over standard coil springs and high quality shocks? I don't have coilover experience, been using transverse leaf springs and such for years.
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Old 12-04-2008, 09:47 PM
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Lots of questions so here goes.

The setup you have on your Ford now can be tuned to give you a terrific ride and darn good handling in most cases. It sounds like you could use some work in the tuning department on your car. I have set up many front ends like this to ride and handle excellently. As a matter of fact I am building a 35 Ford Sedan right now with exactly what you have. If the car is low, I would avoid full length hedders, they like to drag on speedbumps etc. You should also be able to work around the clearance problem for the trans as the wishbones attach below the frame x-member.

I have not installed that particular front end in a 35, but have installed Heidts, TCI and several others that are not worth mentioning. The Heidts Mustang II front end is excellent though it requires welding for the install. The CE unit you are looking at appears to be good from what I can see. I would recommend a Mustang II design over a Heidt's Superride, TCI Show car suspension or other similar front ends. The Mustang II geometry is better in my opinion.

Coil-overs do not offer any benefit in ride or performance in particular over a standard coil spring/shock setup. The real benefit in a coil-over is the ease of changing springs and ride height (the CE unit you are looking at has taken care of this problem), and many units have adjustable dampening on the shocks. Higher end units are adjustable in compression and rebound which is nice if you take the time to get them set properly and want to spend the money.

One question I would ask CE is if you will be able to adjust the upper spring mount with fenders installed. I would think it would be a tight fit.

Good Luck, and remember, in most cases, it isn't what you got, it's what you do with it!
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:49 PM
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Chassis Engineering IFS

Good to hear from you aosborn. Good info and good advice. There are headers that exit just above oil pan height that would probably work other than wishbone interference. Also, I do believe the th200r4 will fit (tight squeeze!) as it really isn't any bigger than the th350 in there now. I have a core tranny to mock this up with. I like the traditional axle front end- heck I' the one who put it in there. I would be very interested to pick up any tuning tips you may have for this set up. I started out with the Super Bell 4" drop axle,CE anti roll bar, panhard bar and front shock kit, mono leaf spring, 11" disc brakes and 205/65r15 tires on 6" wheels. Nice and low in front- Spindle sits about 1 1/2" above bottom of frame. Out back are parallel mono leafs mounting a Curry 9-plus rear end with 10" disc brakes, CE shocks. This iteration rode truck like and would snap your neck over freeway expansion strips. Springs were stiff and shocks seemed weak. Replaced rear monos with spring packs from Eaton Detroit spring and got immediate improvement. These springs are flat at ride height. Next came a Posies Super Slide low spring for the front. Again, the ride improved with very little snap over expansion strips. I then changed the shocks to Edelbrock gas street rod shocks. This also made some improvement. However, the ride is still kind of stiff and dead feeling in front. A lot of vertical movement of the chassis. You can watch the hood bob up and down in front of you. I don't notice this in my buddy's 34 with IFS. I can find no bind in the front suspension and there is 4 to 5 inches between axle and bump stop. New tie rod and drag link and Flaming River steering gear are also in place. Steers pretty good, a little sloppy on center. Panhard bar installed parallel to drag link to help eliminate bump steer. 125 mph on smooth road no problem, bumpy road at elevated speed (not 125) requires full attention- not bump steering but rough ride. Handling around corners is adequate but you're not going to out corner any Corvettes. Understeers at traction limit but you don't want to go there.
Jeez, I do go on! My 47 Merc rode better nothing more than a tube axle and cheap shocks. Anyway, tuning tips for this set up are welcome. I'm not real anxious to tear apart a "completed" car. Still like to hear from CE IFS users
Kim
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Old 12-06-2008, 10:39 AM
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Sounds like there may be several issues that need attention.

First off is the play in the steering on center. When the wheels are exactly straight ahead, is the steering gear centered? If not, it needs to be so you are on the high point in the gear. If it is centered, is there slop in the gear? If so, that needs to be adjusted out with the over center adjustment. I can help with that process if you need it. Make sure all the steering linkage and king pins are tight as well.

Second, you say it drives well on smooth roads but not on rough. It seems that alignment is good, but you may have the springs too stiff or it is over dampened. To find out, remove the shocks and disconnect the anti-roll bar and bounce the front end or even take it for a short ride on a bumpy road. Does it still feel stiff? If yes, remove some of the shorter leafs and replace them with spacers to maintain your ride height until you are happy with the ride. Reconnect the shocks and see if that degrades the ride to an unacceptable level. If so, soften the dampening either by adjustment or replacement. When all that is good, reconnect the anti roll bar and retest. It should have tight enough links to control body roll, but not bind up and lock up the suspension. Sometimes extremely short end links will cause that problem.

Lastly, check the alignment. I usually run positive 3-5 degrees caster on a car like yours, with 1/2 degree negative camber (must bend the axle) and about 1/8 inch toe-in. If power steering, you can play with the assist with a preassure and volume reducing valve from various sources.

When everything is dialed in and you are on smooth roads with good tires you should be able to give those Corvette drivers a run for their money!
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Old 12-06-2008, 03:42 PM
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Those are all good tips aosborn. Steering gear is centered correctly and I have adjusted box twice. Too tight would cause bind in steering. Steering linkage(drag link) tie rod and all ends are near new. Forged spindles with new king pins and bushings,bushings honed by machine shop. The caster should be within the 3-5 degrees you mentioned, I believe Ford used around 7 deg stock. The spring perches were checked to ensure proper angle when the wishbones were modified. I'm not sure what the camber is on the Super Bell axle. I will check the toe, thats pretty easily done. I think you hit it when you said oversprung and/or overdamped. I never thought of running without shocks nor did I think of removing leaves from the spring. I've removed leaves from a stock spring before along with reversing spring eyes to lower a car but I guess I thought an aftermarket unit would be spot on. What was I thinking? Most aftermarket stuff I've used required fine tuning with hammers, torches and grinders. anti roll bar uses links about 5 inches long and sits level at ride height. I will disconnect it and remove shocks and give it a test. Even if I decide to switch to IFS, this stuff is good to know. Thanks
Kim
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Old 12-06-2008, 05:40 PM
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If you need help, I'm just down the road from you in Issaquah, and I'd like to help if you need it...

K
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Old 12-08-2008, 03:24 PM
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"The real benefit in a coil-over is the ease of changing springs and ride height (the CE unit you are looking at has taken care of this problem)"

Well seeing 125 MPH I hesitate to comment (!!) but the problem with coilovers as I see it is that if you change the spings and therefor ride height, the shock might not be at the optimal location as regards bounce and rebound. This is why I like separate springs and shocks.
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Old 12-08-2008, 04:30 PM
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Hey Kim,

We just finished this '36 coupe last spring. It has CE IFS. The owner had it on the Power Tour this year, and is very satisfied with the ride quality and handling. He says that except for the lack of elbow room, it was every bit as comfortable and fun to drive as his '69 Chevelle. I put a few hundred shake down miles before we turned it over to the owner, and I was quite surprised at how well it handled.



We bolted the IFS in, checked the caster, and then welded it in a few strategic places for good measure.




Joe G.
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Old 12-08-2008, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by user151
"The real benefit in a coil-over is the ease of changing springs and ride height (the CE unit you are looking at has taken care of this problem)"

Well seeing 125 MPH I hesitate to comment (!!) but the problem with coilovers as I see it is that if you change the spings and therefor ride height, the shock might not be at the optimal location as regards bounce and rebound. This is why I like separate springs and shocks.
If you change the spring rate you simply readjust the spanner nut until your prior ride height is reset. That keeps your shock travel the same.

If your car won't do at least 125, then what is the point of having a "hot rod"!
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Old 12-09-2008, 06:30 PM
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Hey Bates K,
Thanks for the offer. It's great to meet a fellow rodder in the area. Maybe you've seen my car out and about, a deep indigo blue pearl 35 5w with ghost flames and red steelies with 41 ford caps. Voted best street rod at Carnation 4th of July show. Big shock to me. Probably won't do much to it til after the holidays.
Thanks for the input 151. I agree, coilovers probably dont offer a lot of advantages over separate springs and high quality shocks. I assume you are questioning the wisdom of doing 125 on public roads and I would agree that its not too wise. Somebody was tailgating and harassing me on the interstate, the car was newly done, I decided to punch it up a bit to put some space between us. When I thought I'd reached about 100, which took very little time, I backed off and glanced at the tach. Just under 5k rpm, speedo read 135. Kinda scared me, was the first time I'd ever really nailed it. 4800 rpm calcs @ 125 mph with my gearing and tire size. Only time I've ever gone that fast in a car. I've adjusted and don't do that any more. Guess the speedo's a little optimistic.
Joe G, awesome pics. I'm currently too computer stupid to post photos but hope to figure it out soon. Wotta dinosaur! Very nice 36. Your experience with the CE IFS is just what I was looking for. I think the CE crossmember looks beefy, it's been around a while, uses stock geometry, and I can't find anybody with complaints about it. However, Osborn and Bates have me considering tuning up that dropped axle of mine. If I go IFS, I am leaning toward the Chassis Engineering set up.
Aosborn, thanks for having my back. Now if I could just get this thing to do 125 in the 1/4 mi.......
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Old 12-09-2008, 08:52 PM
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If you ever get down around Olympia stop by the shop by the shop for a visit. I'd like to see what you come up with on that front end.

Andy
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