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Old 03-31-2007, 10:14 PM
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elky weak points

im wanting to know what the weak points of the suspension is on a 1970 el camino. and what i can do to stiffen it up. as of right now i have moog springs front and back (cargo control in the back) with lakewood 70/30 drag shocks front and back. i really like the way it handles but it still feels a bit loose. ive got ideas on what to do to stiffen up the suspension and frame but id like to hear other things i can do and if what ive been thinking is good or bad.


i plan on getting lakewood traction action lift bars in the rear with 29" tall by 10" wide MT tires. i dont have a sway bar in the back right now but i do want to add one. in the front i plan on getting global west g-plus control arms with skinny MT tires. i really like the way my shocks and springs handle. i also am planning on getting a 8 point roll cage. also i want to get rid of my power steering and get a manual box. raked front end is what im looking for but id like to lift the back and not lower the front. id like to hear everything you think about what i plan on doing criticize the heck out of my plans. thank you. if i left anything out let me know... or if you want/need more info let me know.

p.s. i plan on going to the strip now and then.
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Old 04-02-2007, 12:43 PM
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El Camino's were never designed to be a drag strip vehicle ... No traction if you make any serious horsepower ( I had a 1970 SS 454 El Camino ... Black ). I had it back when it was new ... and kept it until the mid 80's ...

The frame is strong enough for most any street-able Chevrolet engine ... disc brakes on the front are almost a requirement ... ( real Super Sports had them ) ... a 12 bolt rear is a good idea too ( Super Sports came with the 12 bolt standard ) ...

I lowered mine about 1 and 1/2 inches all the way around and by lowering the center of gravity ... it really improved the cornering and handling.
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Old 04-02-2007, 12:52 PM
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Put in a set of four link support braces. They originally came on SS's but you can buy them repopped. They tie the upper and lower fourlink bars together at the frame.
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Old 04-02-2007, 06:08 PM
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What do you mean by "it still feels a bit loose"?
Have you completely gone through the front suspension? You mention shocks and springs but have you checked the upper and lower ball joints, the inner and outer tie rod ends, the idler arm, the drag link, the intermediate shaft on the steering, wheel bearings, control arm bushings or the steering box? Any or all of these can contribute to a loose feeling. It is a 37 year old car.
On the rear Hotchkis makes a much better control arm brace than the factory piece, also they have boxed upper rear arms to go with the boxed lift bars.
For your front runners, I would save the skinnys for the strip. Try stopping in less than ideal conditions, you will be in for a big surprise.
I think you will have to do some cutting to get an 8 point cage in an El Camino, but if you can it will do wonders for strengthening the frame.
Good Luck
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Old 04-02-2007, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ownerT
What do you mean by "it still feels a bit loose"?
Have you completely gone through the front suspension? You mention shocks and springs but have you checked the upper and lower ball joints, the inner and outer tie rod ends, the idler arm, the drag link, the intermediate shaft on the steering, wheel bearings, control arm bushings or the steering box? Any or all of these can contribute to a loose feeling. It is a 37 year old car.
On the rear Hotchkis makes a much better control arm brace than the factory piece, also they have boxed upper rear arms to go with the boxed lift bars.
For your front runners, I would save the skinnys for the strip. Try stopping in less than ideal conditions, you will be in for a big surprise.
I think you will have to do some cutting to get an 8 point cage in an El Camino, but if you can it will do wonders for strengthening the frame.
Good Luck

what i mean by loose is that while driving it seems to want to float not bad at all. i still have control. ive checked all the suspension and the linkage in the front its all good (for being that old anyway). im sure its just old ball joints (i just wanted a 2nd opinion.) i tightened up the box a bit and that helped out a little but not much at all. i would like to swap it out for a manual box. i think i do have to trim up to fit a roll cage coz the only one i can find that would best fit is the gm chevelle cage from jegs.

Hotchkis is a bit more expensive then lakewood. is there a difference between the 2??? coz if they both do the same thing i dont wanna pay more just for a brand name you know.

would the stopping be better with skinnies even if i put discs in the back???
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Old 04-03-2007, 04:38 AM
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Drag shocks - be they 70/30 or 90/10 DON'T handle. Make the choice now, you can have a street/strip car that won't handle or a canyon carver that won't hook up.
Life is full of compromises, so my choice would be stock f41 type suspension that loses a few tenths at the strip. Others may chose launch above all else. Like I said, make the choice and build a car that is good at one thing rather than one that's bad at many.
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Old 04-03-2007, 05:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elcaminodragster
what i mean by loose is that while driving it seems to want to float not bad at all. i still have control. ive checked all the suspension and the linkage in the front its all good (for being that old anyway). im sure its just old ball joints (i just wanted a 2nd opinion.) i tightened up the box a bit and that helped out a little but not much at all. i would like to swap it out for a manual box. i think i do have to trim up to fit a roll cage coz the only one i can find that would best fit is the gm chevelle cage from jegs.

Hotchkis is a bit more expensive then lakewood. is there a difference between the 2??? coz if they both do the same thing i dont wanna pay more just for a brand name you know.

would the stopping be better with skinnies even if i put discs in the back???
You contradict yourself, either the suspension and steering parts are tight with no play or they are not. Every moving part needs to be checked.
Unless you have the tools to fab a roll cage, modifying a Chevelle cage would probably be easier. An 8 point cage will have two bars that connect from your main cage to the rear frame, to get there you will have to pass through the back window. There will also be two bars that connect from the front of the cage to the front frame rails, they need to pass through the firewall.
The reason I mentioned Hotchkis is that their upper rear arms are boxed and they are adjustable (that could help at the strip). Hotchkis also makes a much superior brace for the control arms than the factory piece. You could go budget and box the stock arms yourself. The Lakewood bars you mention would be fine for the lowers
Rear drums will stop just as good initially as discs, the drums have a larger surface area than the discs, it is in repeated stopping that the cooling ability of discs have an advantage. Most of your breaking is done with the fronts, put too much bias on the rear and in an sudden stop the back will pass the front.
I also agree with Ian, the shocks are not the best choice for a duel purpose car.

Last edited by 1ownerT; 04-03-2007 at 05:29 AM.
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Old 04-03-2007, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanRiordan
Drag shocks - be they 70/30 or 90/10 DON'T handle. Make the choice now, you can have a street/strip car that won't handle or a canyon carver that won't hook up.
Life is full of compromises, so my choice would be stock f41 type suspension that loses a few tenths at the strip. Others may chose launch above all else. Like I said, make the choice and build a car that is good at one thing rather than one that's bad at many.

from personal use i love the handling of the 70/30 shocks. i had kyb shocks in before they did pretty good. but i love the way 70/30s handle. i did my research about the shocks before i bought them mainly because they said DRAG. after i read about them... and i read a lot! i found that as long as you keep the sway bar on in the front while driving on the street they will perform just like any other shock should on the street. and of course im keeping my front sway bar on while on the street. id be stupid if i didnt.
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Old 04-03-2007, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ownerT
You contradict yourself, either the suspension and steering parts are tight with no play or they are not. Every moving part needs to be checked.
Unless you have the tools to fab a roll cage, modifying a Chevelle cage would probably be easier. An 8 point cage will have two bars that connect from your main cage to the rear frame, to get there you will have to pass through the back window. There will also be two bars that connect from the front of the cage to the front frame rails, they need to pass through the firewall.
The reason I mentioned Hotchkis is that their upper rear arms are boxed and they are adjustable (that could help at the strip). Hotchkis also makes a much superior brace for the control arms than the factory piece. You could go budget and box the stock arms yourself. The Lakewood bars you mention would be fine for the lowers
Rear drums will stop just as good initially as discs, the drums have a larger surface area than the discs, it is in repeated stopping that the cooling ability of discs have an advantage. Most of your breaking is done with the fronts, put too much bias on the rear and in an sudden stop the back will pass the front.
I also agree with Ian, the shocks are not the best choice for a duel purpose car.

i know i sound like im saying one thing and doing another. im sure its the ball joints that are cazing me to have that floating feeling. i had the same exact prob on my sisters 68 mustang. i just wanted a second opinion. on the 68 my dad had tighten up the box a couple turns and it was tight turning it but it still felt like it was floating. evertime we hit a small bump we felt like we were driving on a ball.


hey everyone... i keep getting ppl tellin me that i need to figure out what i want to do with my car its MAINLY street driven i dont plan on hardcore drag racing when i say "goin to the strip now and then" when i say that it means go to the strip have some fun and go home.
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Old 04-03-2007, 02:01 PM
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Forget about the road race control arms. They won't help unless you do some serious cornering. Dick Miller sells a tried and true rear suspension kit.
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Old 04-03-2007, 02:03 PM
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Also, a friend of mine bought a Jeg's roll cage and it was a horrible fit. The Chris Alston Chassisworks one is much nicer.
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