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Old 07-15-2003, 08:12 PM
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Ladder bar suspension install question

I am going to install a ladder bar suspension in my 56 Buick Special. The previous owner had inatalled a Chevelle 10 bolt with the Chevelle suspension, but to say it was a hack-job would be too nice!

So I figure ladder bars with coil-overs would be the way to go.

Using a 33" ladder bar, they would have to be mounted way inside on the tubes, somewhat close to the housing. This is because the 56 Buick uses an "X" frame, and in order to have a spot to mount the front crossmember I need to move the bars way inboard. My question is.....do the coil-overs have to be mounted right behind the ladder bars, or can they be moved outward. I think I see some body roll in the future if both the ladder bars AND the coil-overs are both mounted close to the housing. By close, I mean about 2" - 3"on either side of it, centered of course

So, to recap...ladder bars inboard, coil-overs outboard. This will be a weekend driver, never raced, and about a 300hp 350ci with an atuomatic.

Any thoughts? Thanks!

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Old 07-15-2003, 08:32 PM
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That setup will work fine...as a matter of fact the closer the shocks are to the wheels the better. Most kits come with the shock mounts on the rear of the ladder for convenience and fit inside of wide slicks and tubs.
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Old 07-16-2003, 07:32 AM
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You probably already know this but if you're going to mount the ladder bars that close together don't forget to use a panhard bar to keep the axle from moving side to side. The diagonal bar that some ladder bar systems come with won't allow complete movement of the suspension on curves and is really designed for strip use.

Good luck.

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Old 07-16-2003, 08:16 AM
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Thanks for the replys!!

Centerline..... I know the diagonal bar usually runs from a rear mounting point to the opposite front mounting point. Does the panhard bar mount in a different location? I saw a picture of parts layed out on Art Morrison's web page that showed the mounting brackets on the panhard bar to be different, and the bar is much shorter.
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Old 07-16-2003, 11:06 AM
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You can see one in this pic of the frame for the 41 Coupe pictured to the left. The panhard bar runs from a bracket welded to the inside frame rail to another bracket welded to the rear end housing. (In this case its the bracket that sticks up just to the left of the center of the housing.) As the rear moves up and down the panhard bar keeps it centered. The longer the panhard bar the better it keeps things in place (due to the arc it moves through). On this one, since the rear frame was narrowed 19" to make room for the tubs, it is pretty short.

There are different types and even bolt on systems are available but this is the basic panhard bar installation. Its a simple solution to the problem, and has been used by builders for ages.





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Old 07-17-2003, 10:35 AM
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Glock;
If you are not narrowing or tubbing that car, I think I would lean away from the ladder bars and look at more of a four link type linkage set up with a somewhat shorter bar. Ladder bars work well in there given inviroment ( narrowed street/strip car ) but on an un-narrowed driver that will see alot more street than stip you would be better off. If you look at the basic geometry of a ladder bar it is going to behave like a traditional solid 2-link and not really provide the axle articulation needed to obtain a good ride. A well engineered four bar system will allow for plenty of articulation and will also keep your pinion angle corrected within an acceptable range. Now if you are narrowing it up and you alrady have the ladder bars, I would go with what centerline had done on his....... That is a nice little set up he did!

Tony....
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Old 07-17-2003, 11:46 AM
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umm, from http://www.cachassisworks.com

Quote:

Tech Tips
This information is provided to help you decide which type of suspension or chassis is best for your needs.

Ladder Bars vs 4-link Wheelie Bars, do I need them?
Leaf Springs vs Coil Springs Subframe vs Chassis Kit
Rear Suspension Locaters Roll Bar vs Roll Cage

LADDER BARS vs 4-LINK
A 4-link is like anything else that’s infinitely adjustable: If you’re not going to spend the time it takes to get it adjusted correctly, you’re better off with a part that doesn’t adjust. If you want to buy something that’s inexpensive; that doesn’t take a lot of real care and extra energy to install; and that basically works right out of the box, then ladder bars are for you. If you want your car to go as fast as possible, and you’re willing to invest whatever energy it takes, choose a 4-link.

Neither type of suspension is perfectly suited to all-around highway operation. To be 100-percent streetable, a rear suspension must allow the rearend to “roll” independent of the body. This movement is necessary to smoothly transverse potholes, speed bumps, curbs and other irregularities in the road. Chassisworks now offers ladder bars and 4-links with large, urethane-bushed rod ends which greatly increase the amount of rearend roll available — a real plus for Pro Street applications. Additionally, these urethane bushings will absorb some of the road vibrations.

The importance of rearend roll is greatly diminished on smooth surfaces, of course. Typically, a 4-link allows the rearend to roll a few degrees more than ladder bars. Our new Pro Street 4-link offers an unprecedented amount of suspension travel and, consequently, an incredibly smooth ride. Incidentally, this is the first race-type 4-link ever designed specifically for high-powered street cars and trucks. Beware of old-style “4-bar” designs. These are borrowed from the street-rod industry, and will not hold up to high horsepower.

One more thing: All of your chassis and suspension components should be purchased from a single source. If you buy a Chassisworks 4-link or ladder bars and another company’s subframe, you’re compromising whatever science was designed into each system — assuming you can even get the parts to fit! Frame design has a tremendous amount to do with the bracket design. A knowledgeable chassis builder actually designs the suspension first, and then designs a frame that will hold it.
LADDER BARS
Unlike “slapper bars” and other bolt-on devices, welded ladder bars give you a strong suspension with some basic adjustability. Any ladder bar that uses an adjustable front mount can be adjusted for three things. First is what we’ll call the suspension’s “intersect point” in the chassis. When you raise or lower a ladder bar in its front mount, you’re actually adjusting the intersect point of how the drive loads are applied in the chassis. Secondly, you can adjust pinion angle by rotating the two rod ends at the rear of the ladder bar. Finally, you can adjust the preload in the car by setting one side differently from the other, effectively shifting weight from one rear tire to another. Adjusting pinion angle or preload in a standard-type ladder bar requires removing the bar, then screwing or unscrewing the ends.

What’s known as a “double-adjustable” ladder bar allows you to adjust pinion angle and preload in the front intersect point without removing the bar from the car. A double-adjustable style is just easier to use. It has right and left threads, so it works like a turnbuckle: You can loosen and rotate the adjuster without taking off the bar. There are two real advantages to having the adjuster in the bottom bar, instead of the upper bar: (1) It’s easier to get to with a wrench, which solves a real problem in many cars; (2) the rod angle goes straight back and straight forward, so you can move it a lot further before the spread between the two tubes gets so great that you can’t put the bar back on the car.

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