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Old 11-19-2006, 07:52 PM
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ladder bar suspension

I am in the process of building what I will call a Rat Rod. It is a 1947 willys jeep cj2a on an S10 frame. My question is how do I go about making my own ladder bars they will be about 28" long.Any help would be helpful

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Old 11-19-2006, 08:06 PM
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Do you mean actual construction of the bars or designing the geometry or both?
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Old 11-20-2006, 06:33 PM
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Both.I am new to building rear suspension.I think laddder bars would work best but I am open to any helpful ideas.The frame is from a 1991 S10 the rear springs are to long to use on the jeep body.thank you for any help you can offer
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Old 11-21-2006, 12:46 AM
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Sounds like you want to go w/ coil springs and ladders. I have two ways you can use fully functional ladders w/ leaf springs too. W/ coils, you also need a panhard bar to keep the rear from moving sideways. here are a few version of a panhard bar;







The third one is preferable - the longer the bar is, the less lateral movement as the bar swings in an arc as the rear goes up and down.

The best lateral locating system is the watts linkage shown below. With this setup there is zero lateral movement no matter what the rear does up and down.


The coil spring mounts can be as on a stock Oldsmobuick or fancy coil overs, doesn't matter. I'll assume you know what you want and how those work.

As far as the ladder bars go, weld them up using cold rolled steel tubing, square or round and make them strong. They can be any shape as simple as this,


or fancy like these I found on some web site,



Commercial units usually come w/ 5/8" spherical rod ends at the front but I prefer to use 3/4", especially on the street. Want to stay alive after all. Front mount should be strongly welded to the frame or bolted to it w/ 4 grade 8 1/2" bolts. Use grade 8 fasteners throughout.

A lot of commercial T-bars show a bolt on attachment to the rear axle. DO NOT do this. The rear T-bar brackets MUST be welded solidly to the axle. A T-bar works by preventing the axle form twisting from torque on accelerations and there is no U-bolt in the world that can be tightened enough to prevent twisting of the axle. At the rear of the T-bars use two 5/8" clevis' on each bar. the mounting points should be ~6" apart to provide the leverage to prevent axle twist. Do not try to get away with a single mounting plate welded to the axle on each bar. Healthy engines can twist single plates right out of the weld on the housing. Use two 3/8" plates for each bar and design them to wrap the axle housing a full 180deg.

Last edited by willys36@aol.com; 11-21-2006 at 01:00 AM.
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Old 11-21-2006, 06:51 PM
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I would first like to thank you very much for your help so far.When you say the moou have would be much mounting points for the t-bars should be no more than 6" apart I assume you mean the widest part of the bars.How would I mount the watts link to the axle,on the front or back of axle.My project will only have a 283 with a 5 speed it should only put out about 350 to 400 hp,I may put a 4:11 in also.Any ideas I will call a rat rod.
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:23 PM
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That's at least 6", larger is better. Watts links usually go behind the axle housing best - more room there. Need to attach each short bar to the frame on each side and to the nutating middle link. Weld the nutating link bracket to the rear cover on a Salisbury type or the housing pumpkin on a Hotchkiss.
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