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Old 08-12-2004, 02:08 PM
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Four Bar Rear Suspension in Street Rod

Hi, I was hoping someone could answer a couple questions and also provide their 2 cents on how they feel about putting a triangular 4-bar set-up in a 1938 Chevy 2 door sedan. The car will not be raced (just an occasional burn out) mainly a cruiser, but I'm not so worried about a soft ride (like a parrallel leaf set-up would give). 9" rear-end and I want to run it low. The thing is I already have a triangulated four-bar kit, mounts, etc, no coil overs though. I could sell the set-up and put it towards a leaf spring kit if the four-bar is a really bad idea.......Questions:
Is a triangular four-bar kit o.k. to run on the street?
What spring rate should I run? (weight of car - aprrox 3200lbs)
Does anyone have good directions for installing the four-bar set-up?

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Old 08-12-2004, 02:44 PM
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There are plenty of rods out there using four bars. The triangulated eliminates the need for the panard bar but gets in the way of over the axle exhaust systems. Biggest draw back is that the pinion angle doesn't change with suspension travel causing more load and ware on the u-joints. A plus is that it can be run with air bags to control ride height. At this point a good idea would be to get the Suspension Handbook by HP or SA Designs. This way you could look at the full range of options available and how each is installed as well as the positives and negitives of each.
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Old 08-12-2004, 05:30 PM
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sodas38,

4-bars are run on the street all the time (my 32 has one and it behaves rather well - you can see the 4-bar up close in my journal) but building and installing them correctly can be a challenge. There has been quite a bit of good discussion of this issue on HR.Com in the past and if you do a search of this site it will turn up a number of good threads (including pics etc) that will help you get that system you already have installed right. Pony's suggestion of getting the "Chassis & Suspension Handbook" published by HP Books is a good one. You might also want to get "How to Build Hot Rod Chassis" from SoCal Speed Shop. You can get them both from Amazon (I think I paid $27 for the two of them).
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Old 08-12-2004, 06:03 PM
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Another OLD guy in on this subject........


I have a 4 bar rear suspension in my 32. It is on coils, not coil overs. It rides great. There is almost no room under a 32 for leaf springs ( they would be too short.............sorry ride characteristics)

But on a 1938 Chevrolet...........I would most definitely go with leaf springs. It is just easier, and a good ride. They make a mono-leaf for them..........rides even better. I have a set of them for my new 40 chassis.

Leaf springs also leave LOTS more room under the car for exhaust.

Just my 2 cemts........

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Old 08-12-2004, 08:44 PM
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Geeze, you're right Deuce. It WAS just us old dudes on that one. I'm sure I would have noticed before you pointed it out...but I couldn't find my bifocals.

Anyhow, you're right about going with the leaf spring option if ease of construction and saving space are your high priorities. I would guess that the only overriding advantage of the 4 Bar would come in the area of hard acceleration or all out racing. ...which sodas38 isn't going to be doing.
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Old 08-13-2004, 04:46 AM
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I find that, as I get older, those around me are hiding my bifocals because, when I can see, I'm so nit-picky.

In this case, sodas38 called it a 4BAR setup and you guys just fell right into step. It's a 4LINK. A 4bar is when the front bracket picks up both links and keeps them parallel. Not very popular any more, but Morrison still sells them. (Personally, I like them and, if you angle them up, you avoid the severe squat.)
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Old 08-13-2004, 06:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by BillyShope
I find that, as I get older, those around me are hiding my bifocals
Wait'll they start hiding your TEETH.
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Old 08-13-2004, 08:32 AM
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A four bar is going to be far more superior than leaf springs... and realistically, I have ridden in a lot of leaf cars that dont ride worth a55. One of the nice advantages about a four bar, besides the obvious handling and performance upgrdes is going to be the adjustability you are going to have to be able to change srping rates with coil overs and the ease of swpping over to air if you ever desired.
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Old 08-13-2004, 09:36 AM
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Thanks a million for the advice. I have cruised a number of different boards, but this one is by far the best for great nuts and bolts answers. I also appreciate the fact that the answers and advice came from several veterans (nice term for "old"..... I will be putting togehter a project journal on this car as I build it. I just dragged the frame home and have started on stripping the old of it. Yikes lot of rivets on these 37-39 chevy frames!!!! Oh well off to grinding I go. I think I'm going to go with the four-link set-up as air bags down the road might be an option for me. Thanks again!!
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Old 08-13-2004, 05:40 PM
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Soda, sounds like you have decided and on your way. I have and Air Ride Technology triangulated 4 bar set up in my 36 pickup and love it. Big improvement in ride, traction and handling over the parallel leafs that were under it for 207,000 miles. In fact I like it so well, I am going to retrofit my 36 coupe with the same set up. As far as spring weight for the coil overs, I would go with 450 pounders as a start. That should be close.
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